Monday, October 31, 2016

Halmark Records Meet the Actual Sounds of the 70's!

I apologize for the lack of posting this month. It's been tremendously busy, as I've been preparing for a big event I'm part of, had a bit of computer problems, and put everything on hold in order to take the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet one of my heroes (more on that in a future post).
This will be a bare-bones post - the old-time ads will return next week. But I heard the following record for the first time last week, and something about it really caught my ear, and I wanted to share it: 

What caught my ear was the first track, "Everybody Wanna Dance!". This submission seems to have forced Halmark into the 1970's. Because none of their tired, MOR flavored, or Muzak flavored backing tracks would have fit this lyric at all - it's quite a different lyric than the flowery, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes ridiculously overblown lyrics they usually got. Even the word "Wanna" seems quite a ways out of their typical audience's wheelhouse. And those lyrics: It's about dancing to the latest beats. Click on the Halmark link (or just listen to the other three tracks here) if you want to hear what they usually produced.
No, for this one, they had to actually find someone who could come in and create a backing track that sounded moderately like 1974, complete with a chugging drumbeat, synth effects, guitar parts and live backing vocals. If it weren't for actually seeing the label, I'd have never thought this was a Halmark release. Have a listen!:
And that uses up just about all my time. I'll let you discover the joys of the remaining three flaccid numbers on this EP for yourself. Here they are:


Stu Shea said...

Bob, that's kind of an amazing find. Thanks!

Sammy Reed said...

"Everybody Wanna Dance" is definitely an improvement for Halmark!
I don't think I've heard any of these tracks before, although "Rainy Day Man" and "Under the Stars" have a very similar sound to the other Halmark tracks.
"Open Your Eyes" also seems to be something beyond Halmark's usual sound!
I wondered if it was yet another Halmark track with the same tune as a popular song.
Maybe "Yes I'm Ready"? No, the rest of the song besides that one part don't match.
So I thought, "Fooled Around and Fell in Love"? Nope again - The song overall don't match it either.
So although parts of that track seem to be [b]heavily[/b] inspired by those above songs, it is, nonetheless, "original".
Those 2 songs are a [b]very[/b] welcome change of pace!

Graham said...

Just finished listening to Everybody Wanna Dance, not bad, but I'd say that Halmark bought in a keyboard synth rather than the full ensemble. It's one of those tracks where you find yourself trying to work out how to do it better. The other being Tin Pan Alley's "Oh Sing a song of I-O-W-A!", which is calling out for a fuller orchestration and a Broadway chorus.