With this album Studio Two presents just three of the many facets in the musical talent of the distinguished French conductor and arranger, Franck Pourcel. It contains some very individual arrangements of chart-toppers, a selection of Tangos and a collection of vintage numbers from the 1920s.
They say in France that if you were to make one large pile of all Franck Pourcel’s microgroove records which have been sold throughout the world you would have the equivalent in height of twenty Eiffel Towers one on top of the other On the personal level, despite so much success, Franck Pourcel is the “quiet man” of popular French music. This is perhaps surprising, for when you hear him speak you know immediately he comes from the warm-blooded, argumentative South of France. He’s only kept the accent!
In his orchestrations Pourcel has always put the emphasis on the string section. Even in 78 r.p.m. days the superb violin tone which came through his shellac recordings for La Voix de son Maitre (French H.M.V.) was phenomenal for the time. This impeccable string tone remains the Pourcel hallmark. just as the quality of the melody is the chief consideration in his choice of repertoire. His ‘pop. arrangements frequently transform the slightest thematic notion into a piece we can enjoy hearing time and again. One of his biggest successes was in the ‘singles’ field. He recorded Only You in the United States two years after it had gone out of the charts and sold 2,400.000 copies! The first recording Franck Pourcel ever made, back in 1952, was a tango – Leroy Anderson’s Blue Tango. His treatment of the four tangos here is majestic; the strings in full concert array playing in the grand manner with the renowned accordion virtuoso, Joss Baselli.
It’s to be expected that a Frenchman from the Midi knows a good vintage when he hears it I 1925 was the year of Chaplin’s Gold Rush, “bijoux de fantaisie” and The Charleston. 1925, too, was the year Maurice Chevalier, he was already 37 then, told his cheeky little tale of Valentine showing how the physical attributes of a young girl can so change with the time that you may not recognize her years later when she is all big feet and double chin.
Franck Pourcel finds 1926 a vintage year as well. How his strings can make the Black Bottom bounce again, likewise Tiptoe Through The Tulips. No, No Nanette was the musical show of that year, and we hardly think it was by accident that Franck Pourcel chose:
“I want to be happy, but I can’t be happy, Till I’ve made you happy too”.
Merci, maitre Pourcel.
Ron Goodwin And His Orchestra – The Gypsy Fiddler Helmut Zacharias And His Orchestra – Light My Fire Valentino Aranjuez – Mon Amour Vocals – Mike Sammes Singers Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra – Spitfire Prelude Mr. Acker Bilk – Basin Street Blues Bravo Brasso – When I’m Sixty-Four Vilem Tausky – Overture: The Arcadians
Manuel And The Music Of The Mountains – Theme From “A Summer Place” Brian Bennett – Wichita Lineman Wout Steenhuis And The Kontikis – Patu Patu Ake The Hallé Orchestra – In The Hall Of The Mountain King Sid Sidney Orchestra – Spanish Eyes Franck Pourcel And His Orchestra – Hey Jude Chico Arnez And His Cubana Brass – Mexican Whistler Johnny Douglas And His Orchestra – Overture: “Bitter Sweet”
“Hawaiian Honeymoon” is a most apt title for this delightful album because it follows the wedding of Hawaiian guitar to a superb collection of popular hits, many of which are of world-wide status, and all of them have appeared in the best-selling charts somewhere in the world.
For all those to whom the Hawaiian guitar is the most romantic sounding of instruments this album will find ready acceptance, “the sound” producing, in such an individual style and treatment, a beautiful performance for so many of these melodies of today.
The stereo effect is quite startling and for the technically minded was, I am told, obtained by direct injection, the themes being played separately and remixed to provide the full stereo effect.
For the layman such as myself it sounds tremendously full and clearly two separate parts combine perfectly to give rhythmic and melodic effect, whichever the tune demands.
This is not the first LP made by the Waikiki Islanders featuring Basil Henriques, and having heard the previous releases I can confirm that this latest album is outstandingly the best so far.
Henriques’ control of such a complex instrument (the pedal Hawaiian Guitar) is really quite superb and though the arrangements of the various items are uncomplicated there is always great authority in the playing and, when necessary, tremendous drive in the rhythmic effect.
In short, “Hawaiian Honeymoon” is a thoroughly enjoyable and listenable album.
Two years ago, the first album by Garry Blake “Sounds Like Swingin'” burst spectacularly upon a scene where new recording ideas are scarce. It was hailed by the critics as “Fresh and sparkling” One said : “If Garry Blake can maintain this standard in future albums, we are in for some rare delights!” Up came album No. 2 “More Sounds Like Swingin’ ” – exploding at the seams with enough ideas to fill a whole textbook on the art of orchestration. The same crisply recorded brass and flutes, with a swinging rhythm section as the foundation.
When A. & R. Recording Manager Norman Newell asked for album No. 3, Garry was not content to carry on in the same mould. There were new horizons to be explored. He wanted to add strings to the existing Garry Blake Sound. “Fine,” said Norman, “If you can think of some new way to use them”. Then out it came – not one string section, but two each working independently of the other. Thereafter followed a series of many meetings with sound engineer Malcolm Addey, to discuss how such effects could be “brought to life” to their fullest advantage. Here was a challenge to tax everyone’s skill. Finally, titles were chosen and Garry went away to pour out his ideas into the orchestrations.
The recording date was fixed, and from the first moment that the musicians started to play they sensed that this was something new – convention had been shattered and the whole atmosphere became electrified. This is why recording was invented – to capture occasions like this and preserve them for you to re-create in your own home. Familiar tunes like If I Were a Rich Man, Strangers In The Night, Music To Watch Girls By, and many others, all glisten with new excitement, as the strings rise and fall like fountains playing in the sun – first from one speaker then the other.
This is not just another record, it is a new experience, recording with an added dimension. Here are enough ideas to fill a dozen albums, all packed into twelve brand new shining arrangements, each bearing the distinctive stamp of Garry Blake.
Whoever thinks up the titles for albums was right to save that word for this one. If ever an album had “IMPACT” then this is it!
Harry Stoneham probably gained most fame from his theme tune for the UK’s chat show legend Michael Parkinson. Every week his theme opened the show but few ever got to hear the full version. You can now hear it below if you wish together with an example of his work on this marvellous record which was recorded in the same hallowed rooms that gave the world Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. The cover features model Suzy Shaw who graced many a cover during the seventies including several Top of the Pops covers featured here in Cover Heaven such as this
It is apt (though coincidental) that this album should have made its debut in the year of Britain’s entry into the Common Market, as it forms a salute to the songwriters of Continental Europe.
Here are 27 superb tunes with the accent on those bright and bouncy two-beat melodies which sweep the Mediterranean discotheques and beaches each summer insidious tunes which we come back humming after lazy sunny fortnights in Majorca, France and the Algarve.
Yet back home, if you’re like me, you forget the title (and couldn’t pronounce it anyway); you never discovered the singer’s name, and your local record dealer is singularly unimpressed by your la-la-ing of the song in question! And a surprising number of Continental hits never find their way across the Channel, except to special import order.
Harry Stoneham and I thought a goodly cross-section of these tunes would make a pleasing format for a toe-tapping, sun-filled album. Many, of course. have found their way into the British hit parade too; one or two were even written in Britain yet achieved much greater success on the Continent than they did here.
Popcorn is somewhat surprisingly an American composition for synthesiser. It says much for Harry Stoneham’s mastery of his instrument that the ‘Popcorn’ sounds he produces on this disc are all from two electronic organs not a synthesiser in sight! But then I could fill a book with my admiration for Harry’s music. However, there isn’t enough space here so put on the LP and let that speak volumes!
When Laurens Hammond introduced his first organ, he certainly did not foresee that this instrument would mean a revolution in the world of music. Now, over thirty years later, THE HAMMOND ORGAN has a unique reputation as being the finest organ available. It is used in churches, concert-halls, recording studios and homes, and many musicians owe much of their reputation to the instrument, among them JIMMY SMITH, JACKIE DAVIS, ETHEL SMITH, EDDIE LAYTON and KEN GRIFFIN, world-famous artists in their particular styles. Now, the Hammond Brothers (in reality well-known Belgian organists Jan De Nef and Co Pilley) have joined forces, with the aid of a Hammond Concert Organ and a Hammond Luxe Spinet, to produce, after long hours of experimentation and rehearsal, “Hammonds in Harmony’. The arrangements (by T. Rendall) were made specifically with stereo reproduction in mind and the selection of titles was chosen for the possibility of unique chords and harmonies. No tricks have been employed in the recording, the organists played in the studios just as you hear it on the record. Surely, a Hammond record with a little “something” extra.
You may be under the impression from this cover alone, should you be unfamiliar with Howard Blake’s career, that this is just another throwaway cheapie like many others from the 60s and 70s. However this album is but one small piece of the Howard Blake jigsaw of career spanning highlights. Mr Blake is also the composer of the famous “Walking In The Air” song from the animated children’s film “The Snowman”. But alongside this Goliath of the music world he also wrote countless numbers for TV, radio, commercials and films. Those of a certain age may remember, for example, the Bounty chocolate bar TV adverts (“a taste of paradise”) and if you do you’ll almost certainly recall the tune that accompanied it. Hear it here for a quick reminder. In the meantime – “Sink back into that comfortable armchair and savour ‘That Hammond Sound’.
FOLLOWING THE INCREDIBLE SUCCESS OF HOWARD’S FIRST ALBUM, “HAMMOND IN PERCUSSION”, IT WAS DECIDED THAT A FURTHER ALBUM IN THIS SERIES SHOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE. “THAT HAMMOND SOUND” ONCE AGAIN DEMONSTRATES THE SUPERB ‘STUDIO 2 STEREO’ SOUND, AIDED BY THE MOST UP-TO-THE-MINUTE RECORDING TECHNIQUES AND BRINGING INTO YOUR OWN HOME THE EXCITING SOUNDS PRODUCED BY THIS GROUP OF LONDON’S TOP MUSICIANS. EVERY TRACK ON THE ALBUM HAS BEEN SPECIALLY ARRANGED BY HOWARD HIMSELF AND HE ALSO COMPOSED THE VERY WISTFUL TITLE, SCORPIO. SO, SINK BACK INTO THAT COMFORTABLE ARMCHAIR AND SAVOUR “THAT HAMMOND SOUND”.
“Manuel and The Music of the Mountains” was the pseudonym of prolific musician/arranger and composer Geoff Love. We have another Geoff Love album cover here which was released under his own name rather than Manual. The Studio2 Stereo series of albums from the 1960s and 1970s was EMI’s dedicated label for serious music consumption.