Three Great American Light Orchestras
GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5199
Three Great American Light Orchestras
PERCY FAITH AND HIS ORCHESTRA
All arrangements by Percy Faith
1 Somewhere ("West Side Story") (Stephen Sondheim; Leonard Bernstein)
Columbia GS7 (Columbia Record Club 5th Anniversary Album) 1960
2 Petite (Mon Petite Monde a Moi) (David E. Coleman; Rudi Revil)
Columbia 4-40390 1954
3 The Last Dance (Percy Faith)
Columbia 4-40826 1956
4 My Shawl (Stanley Adams; Xavier Cugat)
Columbia 4-39322 1950
5 La Mer (Beyond The Sea) (Charles Trenet) (The Percy Faith Strings)
Columbia CS 8124 1959
6 Mon Oncle (Theme from the film) (Franck Barcellini)
Columbia CS 8214 1960
7 Italian Street Song (from "Naughty Marietta") (Victor Herbert)
Columbia C2S 801 1958
8 Go-Go-Po-Go (Percy Faith)
Columbia CS 8360 1961
DAVID ROSE AND HIS ORCHESTRA
All arrangements by David Rose
9 California Melodies (David Rose)
MGM C 788 1959
10 I’ve Got The World On A String (from "Cotton Club Parade") (Harold Arlen; Ted Koehler)
MGM C 754 1954
11 The Happy Bow (David Rose)
MGM SE 3895 1961
12 Lonesome On Main Street (David Rose)
MGM E 3067 1953
13 The Mask Waltz (David Rose) featuring RAY TURNER, piano
MGM E 3067 1953
14 Flavia (David Rose)
MGM C 788 1959
15 Ponderosa (from the TV series "Bonanza") (David Rose)
MGM SE 3960 1961
16 It’s A Most Unusual Day (From the film "A Date With Judy") (Jimmy McHugh; Harold Adamson)
MGM SE 3895 1961
PAUL WESTON AND HIS ORCHESTRA
All arrangements by Paul Weston
17 Whispers In The Dark (Leo Robin; Frederick Hollander)
Columbia CL 572 1954
18 My Darling, My Darling (from "Where’s Charley?") (Frank Loesser)
Capitol ST 1563 1961
19 Day By Day (Paul Weston; Sammy Cahn; Axel Stordahl)
Columbia CL 574 1954
20 Soon (Ira Gershwin; George Gershwin)
Columbia CL 574 1954
21 There Will Never Be Another You (from the film "Iceland") (Harry Warren; Mack Gordon) featuring PAUL WESTON, piano
Capitol ST 1223 1959
22 When April Comes Again (Paul Weston; Doris Schaefer)
Capitol ST 1192 1959
23 Folks Who Live On The Hill (from "High, Wide and Handsome") (Jerome Kern)
Columbia CS 8050 1958
24 Who (from the show "Sunny") (Jerome Kern)
Columbia CS 8049 1958
25 Paul Weston discussing his Jerome Kern recordings in 1958 for a special promotional feature by Columbia Records.
Stereo: tracks 1, 5-8, 11, 15, 16, 18, 21-24; rest in mono.
Percy Faith was born in Toronto, Canada, on 7 April 1908, the oldest of eight children. As a child he learned the violin and piano, and originally he expected that he would pursue his music career as a concert pianist. But he injured his hands in a fire, which forced him to turn instead to composing, arranging and conducting.
During the 1930s he was regularly heard in live music broadcasts on Canadian radio, and his programme "Music By Faith" was carried by the Mutual network in the USA, prompting offers of work south of the border. He eventually succumbed in 1940 and moved to Chicago, leaving Robert Farnon (previously his lead trumpeter) to conduct his Canadian orchestra. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1945.
Initially Faith concentrated on broadcasting, although he did make some commercial recordings for the Majestic, Decca and RCA labels, several of which have featured on other Guild CDs. However, many other recordings, mainly derived from his radio programmes, were issued by Voice Of America on transcription discs, but these were not available to the general public. Some of them may now be heard on Guild GLCD5174 and GLCD5181. Things were to change dramatically when he signed a Columbia (CBS) contract in 1950 to provide backings for the label’s top singers which also allowed him to begin a regular programme of recording singles and albums of his own.
He soon discovered that his singles sold well and the new long playing records needed the kind of popular instrumental sounds that had formed the basis of his broadcasts for so many years. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Faith arranged all his own material, and his exciting and vibrant scores made his work stand out among the rest. He accompanied many of Columbia’s contract singers, and even contributed the odd popular song, such as My Heart Cries For You for Guy Mitchell. One of his best-selling singles was Theme from "A Summer Place" (on Guild GLCD5165) which is still frequently heard today. It won the Grammy Award for ‘Record Of The Year’ in 1961. A second Grammy followed in 1969 for his album Love Theme from "Romeo and Juliet".
Percy Faith’s albums usually concentrated on the rich source of popular music of the time, which was available in abundance in musicals on Broadway and Hollywood films. But he also had a penchant for the exotic sounds of Latin-American music, and some of his best-selling collections featured his distinctive arrangements of the music of Mexico and Brazil. Like his fellow orchestra leaders, he had to acknowledge the changing tastes in popular music during the 1960s, and for a while he managed to attract a younger generation of listeners with albums devoted to lush orchestral arrangements of current song successes.
Although his recording career was always paramount, his composing and arranging abilities naturally attracted offers of work elsewhere. He composed the popular theme music for the television series "The Virginian", screened by NBC in the US and also shown in many countries around the world. In Hollywood he received an Academy Award nomination for his arrangements of the songs in the Doris Day film "Love Me Or Leave Me".
But today it is his numerous albums that have created a resurgence of interest in his work, thanks to their reissue on CD. Faith was always busy, whether working in the recording studios, radio, television or films. He died at Encino, California, on 9 February 1976, aged 67.
David Rose tends to be remembered today for two great instrumentals – Holiday For Strings (his own extended version is on Guild GLCD5189) and The Stripper (1962). But he achieved far more than that during his long and illustrious career. He was born in London, England on 15 June 1910, and the family moved to the USA when he was just four-years-old.
After leaving the Chicago College of Music at the age of 16, he joined Ted Fio Rito's dance band, and three years later became a pianist/arranger/conductor for NBC Radio. He moved to Hollywood, and in 1938 formed his own orchestra for the Mutual Broadcasting System, and featured on the programme "California Melodies". His own theme for this series is the first item in his segment of this collection.
Rose began working in movies in 1941 and is credited with scoring 36 films. In 1943 he had a big hit with his own composition Holiday For Strings which firmly launched him as a light music composer in the eyes of the public. Other catchy novelties soon followed, such as Dance Of The Spanish Onion (on GLCD5101) and Manhattan Square Dance (GLCD5102). During military service in World War II Rose was conductor for the Army-Air Force morale-boosting stage musical "Winged Victory", which was filmed in 1944. By the late '40s he was a regular on Red Skelton's radio show, moving with him into television. He later wrote scores and themes for over 20 television series and won Emmy awards for his 14 year stint on "Bonanza", 10 years with "Little House On The Prairie" and his work on three much-acclaimed Fred Astaire specials.
After chart success with Calypso Melody in 1957, Rose had a worldwide smash hit in 1962 with another of his own tunes, a humorous and satirical piece called The Stripper. He had actually composed this four years previously for a television show called "Burlesque", and it gathered dust on his record company’s shelves until they needed a ‘B’ side for Ebb Tide. A Los Angeles disc jockey picked it up, and the rest – as they say – is musical history. It spawned a complete album - "The Stripper and Other Fun Songs for the Family", one of the 50 or so LPs he recorded, including the best-selling "Like Young" and "Like Blue", made with André Previn. He won numerous Emmy and Grammy awards and six gold records.
Apart from his record, film and television work, Rose was guest conductor with several symphony orchestras. His Concerto For Flute And Orchestra was first played by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and later by the Boston Pops. Towards the end of his life his enduring passion was miniature steam trains, which ran on 900 feet of track around his house. On several occasions he travelled back to his native land where he met fellow English train enthusiasts. Such visits usually prompted invitations to conduct, and in October 1971 he was one of four distinguished conductors with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, who introduced their own music to a packed Royal Albert Hall audience as part of Filmharmonic ’71.
His private life attracted media attention in 1941 when he became the first husband of Judy Garland. The marriage didn’t survive the pressures of Hollywood fame, but David eventually found the right partner in his third wife, Betty, who survived him. He died on 23 August 1990, at his home in Burbank, California, aged 80.
Paul Weston is the only one of the famous trio of conductors on this CD actually to have been born in the USA. It all began way back on 12 March 1912, when Paul Wetstein (later to become Weston) was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. As a very young man he needed to find something to occupy him following an horrific train accident which had almost killed him, and he decided to study arranging whilst undergoing a long convalescence. (Interestingly there are similarities with Percy Faith’s early life). It proved to be the turning point in his career, especially as he had previously failed an audition to join a dance band as a clarinet player.
While still doing some graduate work at Columbia University, in 1934 he sold some arrangements to the Joe Haymes Orchestra. When Tommy Dorsey took over the Haymes orchestra in 1935, he hired Paul Weston as his chief arranger. This association lasted five years, during which time the Dorsey band produced some of its most memorable recordings, including the legendary Song of India, Stardust and Night and Day. While with Dorsey, Weston met his future wife, Jo Stafford, who was then a member of the Pied Pipers vocal group: they eventually married in 1952.
After leaving Dorsey he worked with Bob Crosby and the young Dinah Shore. At Crosby’s invitation he went to Hollywood in 1940, and the following year he did his first film arranging for the Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire movie "Holiday Inn". Other films quickly followed, and while at Paramount he met songwriter Johnny Mercer, who in 1942 was in the process of forming Capitol Records in partnership with record-store owner Glenn Wallichs and composer Buddy de Sylva.
So in 1943 Weston joined the staff at Capitol, where he recorded with their growing roster of singers. At the same time he was working extensively in shows on radio and later television, often with Jo Stafford. Thereafter he was picked by many top stars as their musical director.
In 1950 Weston had left Capitol for Columbia Records, where he built upon his previous successes with mood music 78s, by producing a series of LPs that soon accumulated healthy sales. Despite this, in 1958 he was sacked by A&R Manager Mitch Miller and returned to Capitol where some of his earlier big sellers were re-recorded in stereo. As a freelance he also backed Ella Fitzgerald on her ‘Irving Berlin Songbook’ for Verve.
Weston was no mean composer, and he collaborated on several big hits, among them Day by Day, I Should Care, Shrimp Boats, Autumn in Rome, Gandy Dancers’ Ball and When April Comes Again. His standing among his peers can be judged by the fact that he was a founder member and first president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), the organisation which began awarding Grammys in 1958.
Unlike some of his contemporaries, he liked to use the whole orchestra, not just a few sections. "All I did was add strings to a dance band" he once explained. "The reason it still swung was because I used good jazz musicians." These included soloists of the highest calibre, like Ziggy Elman, Eddie Miller, Paul Smith and Barney Kessel. He sometimes resisted the temptation to amplify the strings, by having the rest of the band play softly during important string passages, resulting in a chamber-music quality that went right to the heart of his kind of music.
Aside from his orchestral work, Paul became the ‘Jonathan’ of Jonathan and Darlene Edwards – a spoof act he formed with his wife Jo Stafford in which she was a poor amateur hopeful with an equally useless accompanist. Record buyers loved it, and it even won them a Grammy.
The final ‘bonus’ track on this CD features Paul discussing the project to record 24 pieces by Jerome Kern, preceded by two of his arrangements from that album.
In 1971 the Trustees of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave its Trustees Award to Paul Weston. He died on 20 September 1996, at Santa Monica, California, aged 84.
Potted biographies such as these can only attempt to give basic information about the musicians who have given so much pleasure to the world. It is hoped that those who appreciate this kind of music will be encouraged to learn more about them, through the many sources of information available from reference books and the internet. Fortunately their rich legacy of recorded music remains widely available for the enjoyment of future generations.