Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hi-Fi Follies

I admit it, sometimes I buy records just for the cover. And some of the best record covers out there belong to hi-fi demonstration records from the early sixties. These are relics from a bygone era in which people actually cared if the music in their home sounded good or not, and were not willing to settle for the sound from some miniturized piece of junk they could also take to the beach with them.

Anyway, this was one of those cases where the album jacket was just too cool to pass up, whether the music on it was any good or not. The album is called Motion in Percussion and Orchestra on a label I had never heard of called "Sonic Workshop." The cover has one of those neat 3D flip card type things (think Their Satanic Majesties Request), that had the word MOTION moving back and forth depending on where you looked at it. Cool!

My first clue that the music inside might be actually good were the names of two of the percussionists, Irv Cottler and Larry Bunker. I knew Larry had spent some time drumming for Bill Evans, and Irv was a regular at Frank Sinatra's sessions. These guys were more than just session drummers, they were among the best in the biz.

The next clue to this record's coolness came when I got it home and noticed that the list of recorded "instuments" included a roller coaster. In keeping with the post-war craze for participatory entertainment, this LP promised you a sonic "ride" on a roller coaster by combining specially composed music from the Hollywood "Pops" Orchestra with the sounds of an actual roller coaster. Hang on to your hat when you listen to it, because it's actually more successful than you might expect. For your listening pleasure I also include "Dizzy Fingers" because no album like this is complete without percussion that moves from left-to-right in the least naturalistic manner imaginable.

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