March 24, 2017 Hang In There Baby!


Monteux Vienna Philharmonic, Symphonie Fantastique, RCA LM-2362, 1960

I really didn’t even want to know what this is all about.  If ever there was a time I bought a record for the cover, this was it.  Here is a porcelain skinned and heavily made up Barbie doll dressed up as a belly dancer with her hair in a bun and covered by a pink lace shawl. It’s all overshadowed by the hangman’s noose about to smear her make up as it goes around her head.  And she doesn’t seem all that concerned about it either, using her last few moments alive to flash some bedroom eyes.


I don’t buy classical records.  Yes, I know, I should try to improve and expand my horizons, but I get much more of a thrill from finding a decent cheap copy of Julie London’s Yummy Yummy Yummy (I Got Love In My Tummy) than I ever will from a 1960 recording of an 1830 symphony written by Hector Berlioz.  Incidentally, the noose bit all makes sense after reading the wikipedia page on the strange life of Hector Berlioz.


I’m not alone in my distaste for records like this.  Many record shops have classical sections tucked into a lonely dust filled corner.  There’s hardly ever anyone looking through the bins.  Without the magical cover, this would just be another sad addition to the pile.  It’s this kind of record that winds up becoming an art project, cut into coasters or a cheap clock that you’d find at a crafts fair somewhere.  I only found it because it was misfiled into my favorite store’s discount Jazz bin.  Maybe someday my curiosity will get the better of me and I’ll actually try to listen to this, but for now, it’s a prime candidate for framing.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $2, $279 Remaining

December 11, 2016 Passing Classical Gas


Joshua Rifkin, The Baroque Beatles Book, Elektra EKS-7306, 1965

As we’ve seen, people did virtually anything to jump on The Beatles bandwagon.  Besides blatant knockoffs designed to confuse people, some companies came at the same target with somewhat more noble pursuits in mind.


Producer and arranger Joshua Rifkin conducts an unknown group of studio musicians (branded as the Baroque Ensemble Of The Merseyside Kammermusikgesellschaft here) performing Beatle melodies as Bach would have imagined them.  It’s pretty tedious at first, then you kind of get into it.


Elektra, as evidenced by the folk singer drawn into all their early labels, considered themselves a higher brow record label for the material they released.  This “concept” album was apparently the idea of their president, and Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Member Jac Holzman.  Again, the noble experiment, with its pithy liner notes, was designed to show that The Beatles were serious musicians.  So, I give this record a B+ for effort.  I just don’t want to have to listen to it very much.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $2, $582 Remaining