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Thursday, February 26, 2009
POP! GOES THE WESTERNS
by LUTHER HENDERSON and His Orchestra
COLUMBIA RECORDS CS 8279 Circa 1960s STEREO
Got a minute? That's all it takes to discover the freshest, most inventive music of the sixties. Cracking the whip is Luther Henderson, brilliant arranger of ballads and blues for many leading singers. In this new collection of fancies, Luther looks west, casting a decidedly urban eye over some of the songs of the plains. The hand-clapping excitement he gives these songs is splendidly bracing.
Among other things, the hand-clapping Luther makes so integral a part of his arrangements sets up a lively sense of listener participation. Whether the claps are on the beat, off the beat, or both, the result is music that irresistibly invites listening. Of the songs chosen, DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS has hand-clapping built in! Luther has seen to it that here too there is an inventive new approach by providing unexpected places for its appearance or avoiding it altogether. And whether the tune is a Western classic, like WAGON WHEELS or TUMBLING TUMBLEWEEDS, a "rube"-type jest such as GOOFUS, or the basic CHICKEN REEL, the Henderson crew produces a zestful air that these songs have rarely known. Listen for the rocking rhythm of TENNESSEE WALTZ, the hint of the cha-cha in RIDERS IN THE SKY, the swinging melange Luther makes of OLD MacDONALD'S FARM. Join in the fun: listen, clap!
You will also enjoy Luther Henderson' and His Orchestra in "THE GREATEST SOUND AROUND" (CL 1420/CS 8217) and "CLAP HANDS" (CL 1430/CS 8149).
THIS COLUMBIA STEREO FIDELITY RECORDING IS DESIGNED FOR USE ON 33 1/3 RPM STEREOPHONIC REPRODUCERS
Tennessee Waltz- 2:47 Acuff-Rose Pub. (BMI) Riders in the Sky- 2:09 Ed. H. Morris & Co., Inc. (ASCAP) Down Hoe-In It- 2:10 Lu-Mel Music, INc. (ASCAP) Goofus- 2:32 Leon Feist, Inc (ASCAP) Chicken Reel- 2:21 Public Domain Wagon Wheels- 2:22 Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., Inc. (ASCAP)
Don't Fence Me In-2:29 Harms, Inc. (ASCAP) Tumbling Tumbleweeds-2:20 Williamson Music Inc. (ASCAP) Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes-2:19 Four Star Sales Co. (BMI) Deep in the Heart of Texas-3:03 Peer International Corp. (BMI) I'm an Old Cowhand-2:09 Leo Feist, Inc. (ASCAP) Old MacDonald's Farm-2:19 Public Domain
Editor's note: I'm pretty disappointed in this record! The "unexpected places for its appearance or avoiding it altogether" clapping routine is unacceptable! Clap you heathens! I want clap-clap-clapping until I'm slap-slap-slapping my knees and thighs in excitement. Like a monkey. But Luther had to go and sully it with musicianship! Boo hiss. I was expecting a John Waters-esque sound throughout the LP once the first track started playing but it was not to be. Seriously, how hard would it have been to make an album of lots of clapping and minimal music? You blew it Mr. Henderson and your so-called orchestra.
Also, I think there is one small skip at the end of "Deep in the Heart of Texas" on Side B or it could have just been the sound of NO HANDS CLAPPING. Grrrr.
I came across this record on a few blogs and managed to track down some audio from WFMU's site. I would love to hear more from this honky-tonkin' caterwaulin' queen. Listen to the tracks below and I think you will too!