15 March 2012

Geraldo 1969 - QE2/ Hello Again

Label: Morgan
Year of Release: 1969

You'll never be able to convince everyone of the benefits of a lot of easy listening and lounge music, but sometimes it's hard to understand why. Frequently perceived as laidback, smooth and blending into the background, it could actually often be quite rowdy, speedy, and bold, like both sides of this mysterious outing from the late sixties.

Side One opens with what sounds like a forgotten ident for an ITV regional station, then - POW! The horns blast into life, a guitar joins the party, and eventually after a few more horn blasts, a stylophone steps in. It's true to say I'm probably losing a few readers here, but such cynical types need to remember that there was a time in musical history when the stylophone was considered a novel enough instrument to be given pride of place on professional recordings, and not just a toy (David Bowie, we were continually reminded, used it on "Space Oddity"). The way the device is used as part of the arsenal of a lounge orchestra in this instance is peculiar and strangely likable, and the tune swings along at a merry, almost mod beat speed.

At the risk of repeating a refrain very familiar to this blog, it's actually the B-side I prefer. "Hello Again" starts off sounding exactly like the work of a freakbeat outfit before establishing its easy credentials - but again, the speed, vim and vigour of the thing shouldn't be underestimated. If placed mid-way through a standard mod DJ set, nobody would flinch (much).

I know nothing about Geraldo 1969 who I'm going to assume were a session ensemble put together by the Morgan Studios team. The Morgan label itself was of course owned by the recording studios of the same name, and failed to produce any hits at all during its existence. We've covered its history in a bit more depth elsewhere, and the compilation "House of Many Windows" is well worth tracking down, highlighting as it does some marvellous pieces of psychedelic pop which came out of that stable at the time.


Simon Mclean said...

Geraldo was a well-known bandleader of the 1940s, real name Gerald Bright - so presumably it's either him or a relative who co-wrote this (Ebbinghouse is arranger/conductor/trombonist Bernard Ebbinghouse).

It's a bit different to the kind of thing he was doing at his most famous, to say the least!

23 Daves said...

Thanks for the information, Simon! Presumably this was his attempt to move with the times... Stylophone and all.