Jun 25, 2009

HARPERS BIZZARE - ANYTHING GOES (WARNER BROS 1967) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 2 bonus

Harpers Bizarre's second album, released in 1967, is a joy for pop music lovers, and the best of their four Warner Brothers releases. The opening, "This is Only the Beginning," establishes a faux radio broadcast typical of the 1940's, leading directly into the opening verse of "Anything Goes," sung by Cole Porter himself! This segues into the group's performance of the song (featuring Van Dyke Parks on piano; check out his later work, both solo and with the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson), and is followed by another Cole Porter tune, "Two Little Babes In the Wood," again featuring Porter's own voice on the intro. Naturally, these two songs sport some of the cleverest lyrics ever written. These are followed by the first of two songs by one of the 20th century's greatest songwriters, Randy Newman, "The Biggest Night of her Life," a sweet, uptempo song with an instrumental break the flapper set will love. Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen's title song from the movie "Pocketful of Miracles" is a pure joy, and is followed by another Randy Newman song, "Snow," a beautiful, moody, emotional piece. This is followed by a cover of the big band-era classic, Glenn Miller's "Chattanooga Choo Choo," in a sparkling arrangenment that pays homage to the original. "Hey You In the Crowd," an original by Ted Templeman and Dick Scoppettone of the group, is an unptempo charmer presented in a faux-live-on-stage style. Doug Kershaw's classic "Louisiana Man" and the Edith Piaf classic "Milord" both get top-flight treatments here, followed by another Templeman/Scoppettone original, "Virginia City". "Jessie" by Jimmy Griffin (later to be a member of Bread, and to win an Oscar for co-writing "For All We Know" from the movie "Lovers and Other Strangers") is an urban mood piece with a melody that owes a lot to George Gershwin. David Blue's "You Need A Change" is a lost gem, and makes you wonder why Blue never won wider acceptance. The original album closes with "High Coin," by the brilliant Van Dyke Parks. It's unusual, as you would expect from Parks, but the Harpers handle it with aplomb.There are two bonus tracks, "Malibu U," by Don and Dick Addrisi (of "Never My Love" fame), the theme from a frothy little TV series of the day; and the 45rpm version of Kenny Rankin's "Cotton Candy Sandman," a different version of which would appear on the LP "Harpers Bizarre 4". (Neither of these bonus tracks has appeared on LP or CD before.) The arrangements on this album are absolutely top-notch, and much credit goes to Perry Botkin, Jr., Nick de Caro, Bob Thompson, and Van Dyke Parks, as well as Ron Elliott of the Beau Brummels, a group which also spawned the Harpers' own John Petersen...[net]


Anonymous said...

Thank You.

Gerard said...

Another good one.Thanks

aReaL said...

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Anonymous said...

Hi from Cy
Thanks for both of the Harpers Bizzare: close harmony singing supreme.
When I was young, watching black and white television I recall a 'barbershop' group came on and they are forever stuck in my psychic memory. No wonder Harpers, Association, Mamas and Papas and not to forget The Beach Boys etc all were able to wash my ears clean and make me feel elated.
Wonderful to hear all of this Sunshine stuff again.
Thank you very much.
Cy from Pck.

Slackjack said...

Thanks. Another album I used to own, another old friend I can welcome back to the fold.