Strings And Things Go Stereo!

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Strings And Things Go Stereo!

1 Around The World (from "Around The World In Eighty Days") (Victor Young)
Stereo Fidelity SF-2800 1958
2 A Wonderful Guy (from "South Pacific") (Richard Rodgers)
Warner Bros. WB 1218 1958
3 Brazil (Aquarela do Brasil) (Ary Barroso)
Stereo Fidelity SF-1900 1958
4 The Trolley Song (from "Meet Me In St. Louis") (Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin – arr. Conrad Salinger)
Verve MG VS-6012 1958
5 Love Is A Many-Splendoured Thing (title song from the film) (Paul Francis Webster, Sammy Fain – arr. Annunzio Paolo Mantovani)
Decca SKL 4002 1958
6 Change Partners; Mandy (Irving Berlin)
CBS ASF 1010 1958
7 Tahiti : A Summer Night At Sea (Les Baxter)
Capitol ST 868 1958
8 Harlem Nocturne (Earle Hagen)
Columbia BTD 712 1957
9 Front Row Centre (Joe Reisman)
RCS LPS 1519 1957
10 Street Scene (Alfred Newman)
Stereo Fidelity SF-3000 1957
11 Naughty Nautical (Anthony Tamburello, arr, Bruce Campbell)
Everest SDBR 1018 1958
12 There’s No You (Harold S. Hopper, arr. Nelson Riddle)
Capitol ST 915 1958
13 Orchids In The Moonlight (Vincent Youmans, arr. Morton Gould)
RCA Victor LSP 1656 1958
14 Swinging Sweethearts (Skiffling Strings) (Ron Goodwin)
Mercury SR 60026 1958
15 Sand In My Shoes (Victor Schertzinger)
HMV DSD 1751 1958
16 Cornish Rhapsody (from the film "Love Story") (Hubert Bath)
Decca SKL 4014 1958
17 Lucky In The Rain (from "As The Girls Go") (Jimmy McHugh, Harold Adamson - arr. Robert Farnon)
Everest SDBR 1011 1958
18 Gemini (Hal Mooney)
Mercury SR 60073 1958
19 Pavement Pigalle (Joseph Kuhn)
Somerset SF 2500 1957
20 Canadian Sunset (Eddie Heywood)
Dot DLP 25119 1958
21 Saraband (Leroy Anderson)
Mercury SRS 60103 1958
22 My Evening Star (based on Wagner’s ‘O Star Of Eve’)(Ralph Sterling, Dorcas Cochran)
Mercury Wing SRW 12506 1958
23 La Seduccion (Lara)
Mercury SR 60005 1958
24 Spring Madness (Leo Shuken)
Disneyland STER 3032 1958
25 The Song Is Ended (Irving Berlin)
HMV CSD 1251 1958
* LP credits ‘Jack Saunders Orchestra’
+ LP credits ‘Everest Concert Orchestra Conducted by Derek Boulton’

The copyright dates after the catalogue numbers state when the original recording was first released, according to printed catalogues and/or information on disc labels or sleeves.


When record companies started issuing stereo LPs in 1957 and 1958 they were taking a big gamble. Less than ten years earlier they had begun persuading collectors to part with their hard-earned cash to buy players that were capable of reproducing LPs and, shortly afterwards, 45 rpm records. To be precise, stereo recordings had been available a little earlier on commercial reel-to-reel tapes (cassettes were still years away in the future), but sales must have been very small. The same fate could have befallen stereo LPs, because initially they were not compatible with ordinary mono record players, so new equipment had to be purchased – not to mention an extra loudspeaker!

It had taken a long time for stereo to reach the public. It might have arrived sooner, but for the Second World War. The system ultimately used by the recording industry was developed back in the 1930s by EMI’s brilliant sound engineer Alan Blumlein. Experiments he conducted at Abbey Road Studios in December 1933 and January 1934 demonstrated that stereo on discs was possible (he originally called it "binaural sound"), and one of his early tests featuring the Ray Noble Orchestra was included on the Guild CD "In Town Tonight – The 1930s Volume 2" (GLCD 5116). Had Blumlein not died as a war casualty in 1942 at the early age of 38 he would undoubtedly have been widely recognised as a genius, especially as he also worked on developing electronic television and radar systems.

Initially there seemed some reluctance on the part of the major record companies to embrace the new technology wholeheartedly, and for a while it was small independent companies that made the pace. But it wasn’t too long before it was realised that this was the future of recorded sound, and light orchestras soon began experimenting with imaginative arrangements that took full advantage of the possibilities offered by stereo.

It has to be said that some were so gimmicky that they spoiled the music. Also sound engineers spent time experimenting with the placing of instruments within the orchestra, before the familiar "strings on the left" pattern became generally accepted.

The new format spawned new names, and record producers did not hesitate to tempt the public with exotic sounding titles that disguised the fact that they were probably not quite what they may have seemed. It is highly likely that The Cinema Sound Stage Orchestra, The Rio Carnival Orchestra, The Paris Theatre Orchestra and The New World Theatre Orchestra are one and the same. Together with 101 Strings, they were names used by the American Miller International Company on their bargain basement priced Essex, Somerset and Stereo Fidelity labels. Many of these recordings were issued in Britain on Pye’s Golden Guinea label and were regarded as being "cheap and cheerful" and inferior to the products of the major record companies. But, as the examples included here show, there were some real gems among them, in terms of both performance and recording quality.

The recordings usually employed various European symphony and radio orchestras and were linked by the name of Joseph F. Kuhn who composed, arranged, scored or conducted most of the early ones. Doubtless there would have been many more had it not been for his untimely death in March 1962 at the age of 37. He was musical director for the Miller International Co., producer of Somerset and Stereo Fidelity record albums and was well known for his recording work in Hollywood, the US east coast and Germany.

Warren Barker (1923-2006) is making his Guild Light Music debut on this CD. Born in Oakland, California, as a schoolboy he learned to play the piano and trumpet, before studying under composer Mario Castelnuevo-Tedesco at the University of California in Los Angeles. His career was firmly rooted in the film, radio and television studios around Hollywood, and in the 1950s he was a musical director at Warner Bros Records. He also worked on many popular TV series such as "Hawaiian Eye", "Bewitched" and "Daktari" although (like so many indispensable ‘backroom boys’ in the music business) his name didn’t always appear on the credits. Barker has also been associated with the 20th Century Fox, Columbia and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios as composer/conductor for motion pictures and television and in 1969 was on the arranging staff for the Oscar-winning film "Hello Dolly". The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honoured him in 1970 for his original music in the award-winning series "My World And Welcome To It", based on the life of James Thurber.

Buddy Bregman (b. 1930) was A&R Manager of the fledgling Verve Records label (founded by Norman Granz in 1956) for the first two years of its existence. On 20 & 21 March 1957 he took his orchestra into Studio A at Capitol Records and conducted an album honouring one of Hollywood’s greatest arrangers, Conrad Salinger. Such was Bregman’s esteem for Salinger that he retitled his orchestra ‘The Conrad Salinger Orchestra Conducted by Buddy Bregman’ for the LP "Conrad Salinger – A Lovely Afternoon". For these sessions Salinger recreated some of his memorable scores first heard in movies such as "Meet Me In St Louis", "Singin’ In The Rain" and "The Band Wagon". It would be hard to understate the influence of Conrad Salinger (1901-1961) on Hollywood movies of the 1940s and 1950s. His credits include orchestrations for nine Broadway productions from 1931 to 1938, before concentrating on films, most notably for MGM. Unlike some of his contemporaries, his arrangements did not always call for large orchestras, which sound systems of the 1940s (before the days of hi-fidelity) sometimes struggled to capture successfully. Instead he relied upon cleverly constructed and elaborate arrangements (sometimes with a unique staccato sound from the trumpets) which became his trademark. Despite his work on numerous landmark films, he never won an Oscar. Rather unfairly such honours were usually bestowed on the conductors of the music, rather than the arrangers who were the true creators of the glorious sounds.

Annunzio Paolo Mantovani (1905-1980) became the conductor of one of the most famous light orchestras from the 1950s onwards. Born in Venice, his family came to England when he was aged four and he was something of a prodigy on the violin by the time he reached sixteen. But he leaned more towards popular music, and fronted many different kinds of ensembles before long-playing records (especially when stereo arrived) brought him worldwide acclaim. Despite a very busy schedule embracing radio, television, concerts and recordings he also found time to compose and arrange for his magnificent orchestra. A prime example of the latter is his setting of the hugely popular film theme Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing which comes from his first stereo LP recorded in May 1958 and quickly released a few months later. It was an immediate success, especially in the USA, and sales exceeded one million copies.

In the USA Frank De Vol (1911-1999) is known primarily as the composer for the radio and TV series "The Brady Bunch", but light music fans appreciate that his career has been far more substantial.

Texas born Les Baxter (1922-1996) decided to abandon a career as a concert pianist, and chose to concentrate on popular music. He played the tenor sax and is reported to have been influenced by Coleman Hawkins and the Duke Ellington Band. At the age of 23 he joined Mel Tormé’s Meltones and recorded with Artie Shaw, but his heart was set on arranging. As his career progressed he worked for Capitol and RCA, and two of his early hits were Unchained Melody and Quiet Village, which was a track on his memorable LP "Le Sacre Du Sauvage". Thereafter he tended to be asked to record more pieces with an ‘exotic’ appeal, and stereo certainly allowed him to experiment with different instruments, especially within the percussion family.

Norrie Paramor (1914-1979) tended to be better known by the public for his work with pop stars on EMI’s Columbia label, but he also made numerous instrumental recordings and his albums featuring the soprano Patricia Clark caught the public’s attention. Harlem Nocture is a rare example of an early stereo tape recording issued by EMI in 1957, before they quickly vanished upon the arrival of stereo discs.

Another American musician making his Guild debut this time is Joe Reisman (1924-1987). He began his career playing saxophone and arranging with the Herb Miller Band, and his work was soon accepted by many others such as Bob Crosby, Jack Teagarden and Louis Prima. As a member of the Jimmy Joy Band he met Patti Page, and in 1950 he became her principal arranger and conductor on many of her hits. Now that he was known in the business offers came in for recording and television work with many top singers, and his business acumen resulted in A&R appointments with Roulette and RCA. Later in his career he worked with Henry Mancini, John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

When Tony Tamburello died in September 1992 at the age of 72 a short report on his passing in the New York Times described him as a pianist and vocal coach. His ‘clients’ included Tony Bennett (whom he once managed) and Judy Garland, and he was one of those musicians who seemingly was known by everyone within show business, but no one outside. He loved to compose pleasant, tuneful music but he lacked the ability to arrange his own pieces for full orchestra. At times like this he turned to his musical friends and especially those whom he greatly admired. This brought him into contact with Robert Farnon (1917-2005) who put him in touch with his own publishers, Chappell, who began accepting his works, such as Party Dress on Guild GLCD 5142. In 1958 Everest Records of the US commissioned an album of original compositions from Tony which it called "Music Tailored To Your Taste". The Robert Farnon Orchestra was engaged, and sessions took place during the summer of 1958 in London at the Friends’ Meeting House and the IBC Studios in Portland Place. Bruce Campbell did most of the arrangements, but Farnon’s name could not appear on the record for contractual reasons. So his orchestra was renamed ‘The Everest Concert Orchestra’ and the conductor was credited as ‘Derek Boulton’ – actually Farnon’s manager!

Nelson Riddle (1921-1985) was a trombonist who turned to arranging and conducting – with spectacular results. His work with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Dean Martin, Judy Garland and Peggy Lee possibly prevented him from fully realising what could have been a highly successful career making instrumental albums on his own. His brilliant arrangement of There’s No You comes from his first stereo album for Capitol.

Morton Gould (1913-1996) became one of the most highly respected American composers and arrangers, and his distinguished career was crowned with a Pulitzer Prize just a year before his death at the age of 82.

David Carroll(b. 1913) was musical director of Mercury Records from 1951 to the early 1960s, during which time he accompanied many of the label’s contract singers as well as making some instrumental recordings of his own. Ron Goodwin’s great success with Skiffling Strings in the UK came to the attention of orchestras in the US, and David Carroll gave it a fresh new sound – as well as a new title, since Americans had no idea what ‘skiffling’ was!

George Melachrino (1909-1965) was one of the top British conductors of light music, with his records (especially LPs) selling in large numbers around the world. Both HMV (in the UK) and RCA (in the US) quickly released new stereo LPs of his music in 1958 to help establish public demand for the new format.

Pianists Marjan Rawicz (1898-1970) and Walter Landauer (1910-1983) came to Britain in the 1930s to escape Nazi persecution, and they quickly became very popular through their broadcasts and recordings. Cornish Rhapsody by Hubert Bath (1883-1945) remained a regular concert favourite long after if was first heard in the 1944 film "Love Story". This was just one of several ‘film concertos’ inspired by the success of Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto from "Dangerous Moonlight" in 1941.

The American movie producer Mike Todd became known around the world for two main reasons: his 1956 film "Around The World In Eighty Days", and his short marriage to Elizabeth Taylor in 1957-58. Before that Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen (born between 1907 and 1911 according to which reference book you believe) was making Broadway audiences happy with his many successful musical shows, starting with "The Hot Mikado" in 1939. Following his death on 22 March 1958 his widow was determined that the music from his shows should form an important tribute to his memory, and in London she discussed a major recording project with Robert Farnon. At that time Farnon was much in demand for broadcasting, films and recording: his Decca albums of the 1950s were hailed as arranging masterpieces, and it was claimed that his ideas had influenced the top arrangers of his generation on both sides of the Atlantic. There was just one slight problem: Elizabeth Taylor had set up the project with Everest Records in the USA, and Farnon was under exclusive contract to Decca in the UK until the end of 1958. So the usual solution was decided – put someone else’s name on the record label, in this case Jack Saunders, who had been Todd’s musical director in the past. The sessions took place in Walthamstow Town Hall, London during the summer of 1958, and the album was released in both mono and stereo versions in the USA later in the year. The British release was on the Top Rank label in February 1960, but only in mono. As well as conducting his large concert orchestra (filled with top session players) Farnon sketched out all the arrangements, although Gary Hughes assisted with some of the intricate orchestrations.

Harold (Hal) Mooney (1911-1995) was an American composer, arranger and conductor who worked with most of the top bands and singers during a long career.

Billy Vaughn(1919-1991) began his career playing piano and singing baritone in the group ‘The Hilltoppers’, before joining Dot Records as musical director where he accompanied many of the label’s top singers.

As well as being a respected arranger and conductor, Richard Hayman (b. 1920) was also a harmonica virtuoso, and he sometimes adapted his scores of popular melodies so that he could perform on his favourite instrument. This formula brought him two chart successes in the early 1950s, with 78s of Ruby and April In Portugal. He followed Leroy Anderson as an arranger for the Boston Pops Orchestra over a period of more than 30 years, and also served as Music Director of Mercury Records.

Phil Boutet and the Clebanoff Strings are yet two more orchestras new to this series of CDs. Both were active in light music spheres in the 1950s, with Boutet’s name linked to some 101 Strings recordings. Chicago born Herman Clebanoff (1917-2004) joined Mercury Records in the mid-1950s, and went on to conduct around fifteen instrumental albums for the label.

Salvatore (‘Tutti’) Camarata(1913-2005) was an accomplished trumpet player, but he found his true musical niche during the 1930s as arranger for top bands such as Charlie Barnet, Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Paul Whiteman. For a number of years he was musical director of ABC and Decca Records, and was a co-founder of London Records (the US arm of Britain’s Decca). He also worked for the Disney Studios and helped to establish Disneyland Records, for whom he recorded the quirky Spring Madness.

Frank Cordell (1918-1980) was a fine composer, arranger and conductor whose work first became noticed through the tuneful backings he often supplied to some contract singers on HMV singles in the 1950s. Occasionally he was allowed his own 78s, and he was also responsible for several fine LPs which quickly became collectors’ items. The cinema beckoned with some prestigious projects and he was nominated for an Oscar for his work on "Cromwell" (1970).

© David Ades 2009

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