Author Topic: A Mercury disc  (Read 90 times)

TC Chris

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A Mercury disc
« on: September 09, 2019, 10:13:43 PM »
Every night at 10, my public radio station plays "new age" piano music, which I hate, for an hour.  That has become an excuse to listen to my own recordings. I've been working through LPs--some from the dumpster collection, some from the library sale.  Tonight I popped on "Marching Along," a 1956 Mercury "Living Presence" mono LP of Frederick Fennell conducting the Eastman Wind Ensemble in marches.  One side is Sousa, the other miscellaneous other famous marches. You can read the list here:

https://www.discogs.com/Frederick-Fennell-Eastman-Symphonic-Wind-Ensemble-Marching-Along/release/2465283

Mercury was famous for its large-ensemble recordings (bands & orchestras) because their sound was so much better than most of the competition at the time.  And actually, many of those discs from the 1950s and 1960s sound damned good today.  This s one of those.  One microphone; no gain-riding on the recorder.  And wow, it sounds good. 

I was a high school band musician, playing trombone.  I was awful.  I hated to practice and didn't.   But that one hour of the day in high school was the one hour I looked forward to.  Making music was just fun.  This disc reminds me of the great joy of playing in the band.

Chris Campbell

electra225

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Re: A Mercury disc
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2019, 09:55:01 AM »
I played trombone in the high school dance band.  I wanted to play piano, but my grandparents were having none of that.  Piano was a girl's instrument in their minds.  I didn't like playing trombone, because the trombone did not carry the melody.  Then along came a young man named Floyd Cramer who pretty much changed their minds, but, by that time, I was too old to start on the piano to play in the high school band.

I was at an auction the other day where there was an entire album of RCA red label records.  Classical music for the most part.  10" 33 rpm mono records, and they did not get a bid.  I should have bought them because they were Red Label, but passed.
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TC Chris

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Re: A Mercury disc
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2019, 06:10:18 PM »
My mother kept trying to get me to take piano lessons, but I shared the bias that it was too girly and successfully deflected all the urging.  Of course, I have regretted it ever since.  I was watching the Aretha Franklin gospel music documentary a while back and was terribly jealous of those people who could just sit down and make the most beautiful sounds.  I have to look at the keyboard to type, for goodness' sake. 

I did like making music in the band--marching and concert, and can still remember the trombone parts of many of the pieces we played.  I could probably sing them better than I ever could play them.  Some day when I retire I intend to seek a few lessons and see if it comes easier as an old guy who has listened to lots of music and knows what it should sound like.  Credit goes to the band teacher, a kind, tolerant, generous man named Walter Cramer.  I like to spell out his name as a way of honoring teachers, those people who affect our lives in so many ways.

Chris Campbell

electra225

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Re: A Mercury disc
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2019, 08:16:30 PM »
Our band director was Clifford Victor Harris.  He taught us that anybody can meet the standard, and that we should always SET the standard.  We beat plenty of the big city schools in statewide band contests.  I remember one rival, Evansville Reitz, that had like 1200 students in the top four grades.  We only had 150 kids in K-12 the first few years after consolidation.  Mr. Harris marched 100 band members plus pom-pom girls.  We had kids two or three years out of high school who still played with the band for a number of years.  You had to be in sixth grade to play in the high school band.  We had a music store as our sponsor, so we had the best equipment and sheet music, particularly for a small-town high school.  Mr. Sylvester, who owned the local habberdashery, supplied the pom pom girls with PF Flyers.  Last I knew, Vic Harris was still alive.  IIRC, he was 92.
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19and41

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Re: A Mercury disc
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2019, 09:28:48 PM »
I guess you were lucky, Greg.  It would've been mighty hard carrying that piano in the marching band.   :D
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