Have you ever stopped to wonder what would happen if you took a musical interpretation of a gothic horror story and mixed it with an instrumental about a troubled musical genius and combined that with a Brazilian jazz interpretation of a classical German tone poem based on a philosophical novel that doubles as the theme to a classic sci-fi film and then spiced it all up with a snappy Latin beat? Me neither, at least not until today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl which is easier to listen to than it is to explain. So how do I say this? Imagine Pink Floyd’s tribute to Syd Barrett as filmed by Stanley Kubric based on a screenplay by Edgar Alan Poe with a soundtrack by the Alan Parsons Project based on his interpretation of “The Fall of the House of Usher” while Eumir Deodato simultaneously updates Richard Strauss with occasional incursions by Carlos Santana. That about sums it up.
So right about now you’re either flipping over to Classic Vinyl or you’re asking yourself, what the hell’s a tone poem? Which is what I did, and here’s what I discovered. A tone poem is a piece of orchestral music in which the content of some non-musical source – in this instance Nietzsche’s philosophical novel “Thus Spake Zarathustra” – is illustrated or evoked. Now, Richard Strauss wrote the original “Thus Spake Zarathustra” in the late 19th Century. About eighty years later, Eumir Deodato gave it a pop jazz reinterpretation that got significant airplay on FM radio. But the set opens with an excerpt from side two of The Alan Parson’s Project album Tales of Mystery and Imagination, essentially a tone poem based on Edgar Alan Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher.” That leads into a two minute mash-up with parts of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” that you don’t want to miss. After that, a couple of nice segues with Deodato’s “2001” broken into two parts and mixed with two from Santana’s third album. So, from the Way Back Studios, here’s some mystery and imagination.
|Alan Parsons Project||Fall of the House of Usher (excerpt)|
|Pink Floyd||Shine On You Crazy Diamond (part 1)|
|Deodato||Also Sprach Zarathurstra (part 1)|
|Deodato||Also Sprach Zarathurstra (part 2)|
|Santana||No One To Depend On|
Creed Taylor was a trumpet player before he moved to the other side of the microphone. Once on the business side of the record industry, he ended up with his own label, CTI. CTI was one of the prime movers in jazz-fusion and one of the biggest records they ever released was Eumir Deodato’s album, Prelude. His nine-minute interpretation of Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zerathustra” became a wildly improbable hit. We used to play the whole thing on the FM side, but it was so popular, CTI issued a single version edited to about five minutes; that hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on Adult Contemporary charts. We took the nine minute version and broke it into two parts, mixed with a couple from Santana’s third album. “No One to Depend On” at the end of the set and “Guajira” right in the middle.
At the top of the set we had some fun with the Alan Parsons Project and Pink Floyd. Now, Parsons is best known for having been the engineer on Dark Side of the Moon which came out in ‘73. After that, Parsons joined with Eric Woolfson to form the Alan Parsons Project. In 1975 they released Tales of Mystery and Imagination, a sort of musical interpretation of several of Edgar Alan Poe’s short stories. We heard an excerpt from the gothic horror tale “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Three minutes into that, we did a fun mash up with a couple of minutes of Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” a song written in nine parts, from the album Wish You Were Here, all of which is a tribute to Syd Barrett, a guy whose life is tragic enough that he could have been the subject for a story by, say, Edgar Alan Poe.
Well, to quoth the raven nevermore, we’re all out of time. Thanks for listening, I’m Bill Fitzhugh and you can read all about it at billfitzhugh dot com or look for me on Amazon dot com. Either way, I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl before you know it. And I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.