A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
This one is absolutely As Good As It Gets on side one. It’s a real treat to hear such a crazy assortment of percussion instruments with this kind of amazingly clear, high-resolution sound! It’s just bigger, richer and clearer than any side we can remember playing.
Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs, and rightfully so. It certainly can be a Super Disc, but only when you have the right pressing. This is one of the Demo Discs on the TAS List which truly deserves its status when, and only when, you have the right copy. (The typical copy is quite good, but it sure doesn’t sound like this.) Nothing else in our shootout could touch it. And it’s IN PHASE. Many copies are not.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
Top end, plain and simple. It’s the RARE copy that really has the incredible extension of this side two. The space, the clarity, the harmonic complexity — perhaps one out of ten copies will show you a side two such as this.
The highs are so good on this record you can use it as a setup tool. Adjust your VTA, tracking weight and the like for the most natural and clear top end, then check for all the other qualities you want to hear and you may just find yourself operating on a higher plane than before.
Music for Bang, Baa-room and Harp is yet another one of the many pressings we’ve discovered with reversed polarity on some copies.
Are audiophile reviewers or audiophiles in general listening critically to records like this? I wonder; I could not find word one about any polarity issues with this title, and yet we’ve played four or five copies with reversed polarity on side two. How come nobody is hearing it, apart from us?
We leave you, dear reader, to answer that question for yourself.
As is usually the case with these vintage Living Stereo pressings, the vinyl has issues at times, particularly on the quieter tracks, but then again those aren’t really the draw here. We think you will be very happy with this record — it plays the way a very clean RCA pressing from 1959 tends to play, on our system anyway, and if your experience is different we are happy to take it back, no questions asked.
Commentary from the Space Age Pop website
Schory was a classically trained percussionist who moved easily from symphony to experimental music to popular recordings. He served in the percussion section of the Chicago Symphony, worked as educational and Picture of Dick Schoryadvertising director for the Ludwig Drum Company, formed the New Percussion Ensemble and commissioned contemporary composers to write pieces for it, and wrote and recorded musical backgrounds for radio and television commercials.
Schory was a major influence on both classical and popular percussion music. He moved comfortably from the concert hall to the recording studio, and worked closely with music educators to broaden acceptance and understanding of percussion instruments and compositions. He wrote in 1960,
There are no limits when it comes to instrumentation in the amazing new field of percussion ensembles. Everything from auto brake drums, inverted rice bowls, and even a manifold from a ’46 Chevrolet are included with surprisingly good musical results. If it can be struck and can be classified as a percussion instrument, someone, somewhere has scored for it.
Schory’s albums for RCA offer choice samples of this music, sometimes simply enhancing standard studio band arrangements with percussion accents, but often rebuilding the whole piece around the percussion ensemble. Critic R. D. Darnell of High Fidelity magazine was one of Schory’s strongest supporters, writing of the album, Wild Percussion and Horns A’Plenty,
At first glance, Schory’s program conforms more closely to current trends (which he pioneered long before the now-dominant “Persuasive” and “Provocative” [see Enoch Light–ed.] series) but he consistently transcends these in musical taste, verve, unfailing wit, and superb sense of dramatic stereogenics.
While we might now cringe at the thought of anyone practicing “stereogenics” of any kind, dramatic or not, we can certainly recognize Schory’s ability to bring the highest level of professionalism in his mastery of percussion to space age pop.
National Emblem March
Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
Ding Dong Polka
April in Paris
Holiday in a Hurray
Duel on the Skins
September in the Rain
The Sheik of Araby