Sunday, September 11, 2005

Hugo Winterhalter, Part 2--Apologies due

I've got two apologies to make here. The first "apology" is to the folks at Beyond the Roots of Lounge, whom I criticized for their let's-head-for-the-bars response to the Katrina tragedy. Little could anyone know that their posts were prescient: the mayor of New Orleans just announced that he is sending 60 percent of his police force to Las Vegas for rest and recuperation. "Asked if it was appropriate to party in these circumstances, he responded: 'New Orleans is a party town. Get over it.'" (Source: Charles Krauthammer.) Mayor Nagin, meet BTROL. BTROL, meet Mayor Nagin. You two are one of a mind.

(Spell Check doesn't recognize "prescient." And I thought I were illiterate.)

My second apology (no quotes) is for promising to present Hugo Winterhalter sides that anticipate the sound of Ray Conniff's singers by six or seven years. This is embarrassing, but I was really thinking of Norman Luboff and/or Ray Charles (not the Coca Cola spokesman). How to explain?

You see, I never listened much to Conniff's late-'50s "bop-da-bah" stuff--it must not have ever interested me. So, my knowledge of Conniff comes from his 1970s LPs (his version of My Sweet Lord, for example) and from the backgrounds he provided for Columbia singers in the 1950s. And it's hard to tell those things apart, sometimes--I thought Conniff had backed Desi Arnaz on the 1953 I Love Lucy, for example, but it was Norman Luboff. To make a long and sad story short, I had confused Conniff's sound with that of Luboff and Ray Charles (not the Coca Cola spokesinger). Oops.

I suppose I could go back and delete a couple sentences from my Winterhalter post, but that would be dishonest. Plus, someone would probably spot it.

To err is human. To lie about it is neo-con. So... I screwed up. My Lounge Historian permit is in an envelope, ready to go back to the Lounge Historian Home Study CourseĀ® headquarters. I'll never live this down.

Anyway, here are two excellent examples of the Winterhalter chorus sound, which anticipated the NORMAN LUBOFF CHOIR and RAY CHARLES SINGERS sound(s) of a few years later. Note that I said nothing about Ray Conniff. In fact, I never, at any time, made any connection between 9/11 and Columbia vocal backings. If anyone did, it was an underling. Who will be chewed out and punished with a promotion.

Blueberry Hill, Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra and Chorus, 1949 or 1950. Dedicated to Fats, who, thank God, was found alive.

I'll See You in My Dreams (Isham Jones), Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra and Chorus, 1951. By the greatest pop songwriter ever, and you may quote me.

I'm one of the probably few people (in my generation, at least) who loves the Winterhalter/Luboff sound. Statistically speaking, anyway. It was the choral sound that changed pop music, whereas Conniff's "bop-bah-dah" sound, however entertaining, lead nowhere in an evolutionary sense. Yet, which of the two gets all of the press? The one that lounge/space-age/exotica historians find to their liking, not the one that made infinitely more difference in the scheme of things. And what else is new....



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