Dick Schory – The Happy Hits – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

Side One – A++. This side is full and rich yet clear. Listen to that crazy banjo on track two; that’s not an easy instrument to get to sound right, but the RCA engineers pull it off. The brass is a bit “hot” at times so we took off one plus. For all we know this is as good as it gets. 

Side Two – A++, not quite as warm as side one, but more lively and really jumpin’. The last track is truly Demo Disc quality. The bottom and top are extended and the sound is rich in the best possible sense of the word. Superb sound and plenty of fun, wacky music!

  • Super Hot on both sides on this rare title – the sound is killer on most tracks
  • Side one is rich and tubey yet clear, our favorite combination
  • Side two has the best sounding track on the album – Demo Disc quality
  • Quiet vinyl, with sound that’s more lively and energetic than most Schory discs

As is usually the case with these vintage Living Stereo pressings, the vinyl may not be dead quiet but it’s certainly quiet enough for any problems to stay hidden well underneath the music. 

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.