Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Piano Rolls & Voices - All Time Christmas Hits

Here's a fun album that was one of my first posts over at FaLaLaLaLa last year:

LINER NOTES:

While this album was being recorded, a young man was invited to observe the session from the control room. He enjoyed the sound but was astonished to look through the studio glass and see no one at the keyboard!

He was watching a Duo-Art instrument at work, and being too young to remember the national craze for Pianola player pianos required an explanation of how this new and fascinating instrument operated. Air forced through tubing by a pump, he was told, causes hammers to strike the proper strings of the piano, all regulated by a continually moving perforated paper roll.

Although a familiar sight fifty years ago, the Pianola has not lost its charm. In fact, a whole new audience has developed for this “live” form of reproduced music. Piano rolls and players are very much available today, and the Aeolian selections used here demonstrate the versatility of the instrument. Singers performed with the player to help with the Christmas cheer of the repertoire.

Enjoy perennial favorites such as Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!, always identified with this time of year, and The Chipmunk Song, All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth and Frosty The Snow Man for the children.

Skillful vocal arrangements by Dick Hyman blend the voices with the rolls and provide an old-time lilt that has just the right spirit for the holiday season. Don’t mind the slight hum on the record – it’s the electric motor that provides the power for the vacuum pump.

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I found this at a thrift store for 10 cents. The only player piano Christmas album that I knew of was an Intersound CD that I own and is long out of print. I thought I hit the jackpot!

Upon listening, the voices threw me for a loop. Think Mitch Miller in a saloon in the old West and you can imagine what these songs sound like.

But where else can you hear a player piano perform "The Chipmunk Song"?

One last note: Dick Hyman, the vocal arranger, has had a long musical career dating back to the 1950s. He has served as composer / arranger / conductor / pianist to most of Woody Allen’s movies since 1983.


The Piano Rolls & Voices - All Time Christmas Hits


Happy listening...


Capt

1 comment:

johnny dollar said...

let's not forget what a wink-wink-nudge-nudge-inducing name "dick hyman" is :D