This is the original music composed for the 1960â€™s Addams Family television series, as written by noted television and film composer Vic Mizzy. The familiar vocal version of the main theme is presented at albumâ€™s end; the longer, instrumental version that opens the album is more in line with the jazzy themes and incidental music that Mizzy scored for the show. Alongside the trademark harpsichord (most prominent on â€œGomezâ€), Mizzy mixed a healthy dose of electric guitar, jazzy woodwinds and bouncy bass into his charts, but the female chorus and tympani will remind you that these are easy instrumentals in the vein of Neal Hefti, Nelson Riddle, Billy Mure and others. If youâ€™re a fan of the television show youâ€™ll quickly recognize the character themes and incidental music cues, many of which were used in abbreviated form â€“ here you get the entire tunes. This is a great find for Addams Family fans and anyone who collects â€˜60s easy-pop. [Â©2011 hyperbolium dot com]
After an underwhelming run on Mercury, Johnny Mathis returned to Columbia in 1967 to begin a string of fine albums with arranger/producer Robert Mersey. His second album back at Columbia provided Mathis an opportunity to rework 1960s pop, folk and adult contemporary hits in his own style; chief among the covers is his romantic treatment of the title tune. Reclaiming the song from Hopkinsâ€™ dance hall hit single, Mathis and arranger Robert Mersey give the song a romantic treatment that adds Latin touches to a vocal whose cadences suggest â€œIf I Were a Rich Manâ€ from Fiddler on the Roof. Mersey leaves Mathis a great deal of room to stretch out, claiming a number of MOR classics with his trademark vocal waver, and adding a nice twist to Jose Felicianoâ€™s interpretation of the Doorsâ€™ â€œLight My Fire.â€ The album included two adult contemporary chart hits, â€œYou Make Me Think About Youâ€ (from the soundtrack to With Six You Get Eggroll), and a cover of Simon & Garfunkelâ€™s â€œThe 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelinâ€™ Groovy).â€ Thereâ€™s nothing truly startling here, in fact the albumâ€™s craft is finely understated, but Mathisâ€™ subtle reinvention of these hits shows the magic of his style. [Â©2011 hyperbolium dot com]
Rather than picking an artist or label or scene or sound, Legacyâ€™s pulled together thirteen original hit recordings that show the range of music that AM radio brought to its listeners. Collected here is New Orleans R&B (â€œYa Ya,â€ 1961 and â€œWorking in the Coal Mine,â€ 1966), Dixieland Jazz (â€œWashington Square,â€ 1963), Easy Listening (â€œA Fool Never Learns,â€ 1964), Folk Pop and Rock (â€œWeâ€™ll Sing in the Sunshine,â€ 1964 and â€œIn the Year 2525,â€ 1969), Garage Punk (â€œLittle Girl,â€ 1966), Soul (â€œIâ€™m Your Puppet,â€ 1966 and â€œCherry Hill Park,â€ 1969), Bubblegum (â€œSimon Says,â€ 1968), Trad Jazz Vocal (â€œThe Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde,â€ 1968), and Vocal Pop (â€œWorst That Could Happen,â€ 1969).
Even within these individual songs you can often hear more than one genre exerting its influence, such as the steel guitar and horns that provide accents to the superb pop production of Merrilee Rushâ€™s â€œAngel of the Morning.â€ In this day of highly balkanized music channels and individually programmed MP3 playlists, itâ€™s hard to imagine such variety inhabiting a single mass-market playlist, but that was part of AM radioâ€™s power to attract and keep a broad swath of listeners. Playing this collection will remind you how good record and radio people were at picking and making hits â€“ the winnowing process disenfranchised many, but what got through the sieves, particularly what got to the top of the charts, was often highly memorable.
Legacyâ€™s disc clocks in at a slim 35 minutes, but whatâ€™s here is a terrifically nostalgic spin whose songs stand up to repeated listening forty-plus years later. True, Andy Williamsâ€™ â€œA Fool Never Learnsâ€ might wear out its welcome before the other tracks, but itâ€™s part and parcel of the ebb and flow of 1960s AM radio. This set isnâ€™t meant to be an all-inclusive compilation of any one thing in particular, but a reminder of the breadth that once graced individual radio stations across the land. There was a unity to AM radioâ€™s audience thatâ€™s been replace by the free choice of the empowered individual. That personalization carries with it many benefits, but the range of this set may remind you of whatâ€™s also been lost. [Â©2010 hyperbolium dot com]
These set is a budget-priced MP3 version of the 4-CD set Complete Sessions issued on the Fine & Mellow label. It collects 102 tracks recorded by Jackie Gleason and Bobby Hackett between 1952 and 1959, with Gleason conducting an orchestra and Hackett adding his trumpet. The set includes the original albums â€œMusic for Lovers Onlyâ€ (1952), â€œMusic to Make You Mistyâ€ (1953, and not including the tracks featuring saxophonist Toots Mondello), â€œMusic, Martinis and Memoriesâ€ (1954), â€œMusic to Remember Herâ€ (1954), â€œMusic to Change Her Mindâ€ (1956), â€œMusic for the Love Hoursâ€ (1956), and â€œThat Momentâ€ (1959). The last two, which were the final two pairings of these artists are previously unreleased. The last of the albums is also the only one originally released in stereo, though it seems to be reproduced in mono here. Even stranger, most of the tracks from â€œThe Love Hoursâ€ seem to be broader than plain mono, but not really stereo. One channel or two, Gleasonâ€™s orchestrations are lush, with relaxed tempos and dramatic string arrangements that provide a compelling place for Hackettâ€™s languid playing and smooth tone. The material sticks mostly to standards, and though Hackett has a jazz background, this is very much easy listening music. A hundred-and-two tracks (over five hours of music) may be more than the casual mood music fan can use, but for Gleason fans or anyone looking for hours and hours of pleasant background music, this set is a steal. Note that the track ordering does not follow that of the original albums, and the detailed booklet supplied with Fine & Mellowâ€™s CDs are completely absent. [Â©2009 hyperbolium dot com]