Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Halmark Record Like Few Others

My inclination was actually to title today's presentation "A Halmark Record Like No Other", but since I haven't seen every Halmark record, I'm not going to make that assumption. But I know I haven't seen another one like this. What we have hear is clearly a vanity recording of a gentleman singing his own song, accompanied (very likely doing it himself) by a single guitar.

To hear any "real live musician" on a Halmark track - Halmark being the home of the canned, discarded backing track over which the house singers would sing the lyricists' offering - is startling. It's also jolly fun to see this solo performance carry the credit "High Fidelity Vocal and Orchestra directed by Ted Rosen".

As to the fun to be had listening to Daniel L. Johnson singing and playing his song "Backing Up in Boston", well, that fun is certainly there to be had, but I'll leave the discovery thereof to the listener!

For the flip side, it's back to the Halmark salt mines, for a tried and true backing track, one I've heard on at least a dozen of the label's releases, over which we have the typically shrill stylings of house tenor Jack Kim. I will admit that I have listened to "Time That I Take Out" three times today, and while I recognize that the lyricist (the wonderfully named Preston Prescott) is expressing his reasons for leaving his relationship, his wordy expressiveness leaves me gasping at times, unable to quite figure out the specific meaning of some of his phrases, including the one in the title.

Oh, and technically speaking, Ted Rosen didn't direct the High Fidelity Orchestra heard on this side, either.


Stu Shea said...

What the hell is he singing about? What is "backing up"?
And how is anyone supposed to know when these records came out? They must have the most bizarre numbering scheme in history.
Thanks for this!

Darryl Bullock said...

Hi Bob. The vocalist on the A side is Will Gentry, aka Ramsey Kearney. If Daniel L Johnson does appear on the disc he must be playing guitar - although I would have thought that would have been Will/Ramsey too. Ramsey knocked out a load of similar demos on the Promo acetate label: my guess is that Mr Johnson paid Kearney to make the demo and then got Ted Rosen at Halmark to press up copies cheaply...but that's just a guess!