One of the great things about the Deep Tracks library is the wide range of musical influence you hear on a daily basis. A lot of it, maybe even most of it, reflects the influence of the Mississippi Delta blues and what happened to them after they moved to Chicago. But there’s so much more than that. The folk rockers are reflections of Pete Seger, Woody Guthrie and all those guys. Country rockers show the influence of Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and Bill Monroe. And then there’s progressive rock where we hear the influence of so-called classical music. And by “classical music” I’m talking about symphonies, concertos, sonatas and all that. The classic rock of the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries, more or less. A good example of this influence is Jethro Tull. They took Bach’s “Bouree in E Minor” and made it an FM rock staple. Well, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is a showcase for all that long-haired music.
If you were flipping through someone’s record collection ’68 / ‘69, you’d find some Beatles, some Stones, Dylan, the Animals and all the rest. And you wouldn’t be surprised if you came across an album called Switched On Bach by Walter Carlos. It was an enormously successful record that popularized the moog sythensizer. Somewhere in the middle of the set we’ll hear part of the 2nd Movement from the Brandenberg Concerto and, at the very end, we’ll hear a 2 Part Invention in F Major. Perhaps the second most influential synthesizer record of classical origin was Tomita’s Snowflakes are Dancing from 1974, a collection of Debussy compositions also renderered on the Moog. Elsewhere we’ll hear some Yes, The Beatles, and of course, The Electric Light Orchestra. But first, lest we take all this serious music, too seriously, let’s go to the Contractual Obligation album for “Decomposing Composers.” Here’s Monty Python.
|Monty Python||Decomposing Composers|
|NBC Symphony Orch.||Beethoven’s 5th (excerpt)|
|The Beatles||Roll Over Beethoven|
|Walter Carlos||Brandenberg Concerto, 2nd movement|
|Yes||Cans & Brahams|
|Electric Light Orchestra||Roll Over Beethoven|
|Budapest Symphony Orch.||William Tell Overture (excerpt)|
|Walter Carlos||2 Part Invention in F Major|
That’s a “2 Part Invention in F Major” as performed by Walter Carlos from the wildly popular album Switched on Bach, one of the earliest records featuring the moog synthesizer. But you won’t find that on cd by Walter. Now you’ll find it under the name Wendy Carlos, along with the rest of her synthesized catalogue. Earlier in the set from the same album, we played the 2nd Movement of Bach’s “Brandenberg Concerto.” Before the “2 Part Invention” we heard one of my all-time favorite pieces of music, an excerpt from Rossini’s “William Tell Overture,” which most of us think of as the Lone Ranger part of the thing. I don’t care how classical that is, it rocks. And I’m willing to bet that’s the first time The Budapest Symphony Orchestra has visited the Deep Tracks.
At the very top of the set, we had a little fun with Monty Python’s “Decomposing Composers.” After that, the legendary Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra with an excerpt from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony followed by The Beatles version of “Roll Over Beethoven.” I had planned to play the original version but, much to my surprise, it’s not on either of the two Chuck Berry Greatest Hits albums I have, one of which is a two-record set. How is that possible? In the middle of the set from the Fragile album, “Cans and Brahams,” Rick Wakeman’s arrangement of the third movement from the Fourth Symphony in E minor by Brahams. That came out in 1971, no doubt influenced by the work of Walter/Wendy Carlos. After that, Tomita’s arrangement of Debussy’s “Children’s Corner, No. 6” from his album Snowflakes are Dancing. And then, the inevitable, Electric Light Orchestra’s classical take on “Roll Over Beethoven.” From the Way Back Studios, that’s more culture than you’ll find in a petri dish. Listen, if you’d like to correct me on any of my mispronunciations or whatever else I got wrong in this little excursion, feel free to drop by my website or facebook page and shoot me an email. I’m not proud. I’m Bill Fitzhugh back next time with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here, in the Deep Tracks.