Thursday, November 14, 2013

God is His

Almost invariably, when I hear a Noval 45 for the first time, two thoughts come to mind:

1.) What on earth would the average record collector - one with no knowledge of song-poems - think upon happening upon this record, and listening to it for the first time? (Especially, but not limited to, situations where what they probably assume is the artist billing - in this case, Ada Billy - doesn't match the masculine singing on the record.)

2.) Was any customer EVER satisfied with the product the received from Noval? Given, that is, that virtually every record I've heard on the label features a singer who seems incapable of either staying on pitch or reading the melody on the page in front of him accurately.

Today's feature, "God is Mine" is a perfect example of the latter question. This is the same guy, I think, who is on most of the Noval records I've heard, and he is thoroughly incompetent. Listen how he hesitantly pauses over the word "step" at the 32 second point, and then wavers on the long note just after that. And there's more than a little wavering on the last note. He also lands poorly almost every time there is a jump of more than a few notes up or down the scale, and generally seems to be unsure of where about half of the notes are supposed to be - the whole thing is just sung tentatively, as if he's afraid of stepping on a land mine.

And it's not like this would be a difficult song to sing - it moves at a snail's pace, has simple words and stays within a rather small range. Add that all of that is on top of a dreary, deadly backing arrangement, and you have quite the song-poem pastry.

The flip side, "Little Band of Gold" is, at least, peppy, but the same problems continue. Right from the start, in the first two lines, the vocalist comes within striking distance of the melody at several points without quite getting there (I particularly like the notes on the word "message", and the complete breakdown of his reading of the tune on the title line) - despite the fact that the pianist is playing the notes of the melody behind him.

I sure love that Noval label.

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