Russ Morgan and his Wolverine Band
Everest SDBR 1095, stereo LP, recorded 1960.
Russ Morgan (1904 -1969) led one of the best dance bands during the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, until his death. The above LP, however, is a bit more animated than his usual standard. Wolverines being a clue, Morgan assembled a group of some of the finest sidemen active in ‘50s recording sessions, including trumpeter Dick Cathcart, clarinnettist Matty Matlock, guitarist George Van Epps, saxist Eddie Miller, etc. The rousing program includes such oldies as Mama’s Gone, Goodbye; Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home; That Da-Da Strain; Squeeze Me; etc., while the jacket is provided with informative notes by Morgan’s wife, Shirley, and son, David. Worth the search.
Peter, Paul and Mary
Warner Brothers, WS1449, stereo LP, recorded 1962.
PP and M were, arguably, one of the finest musical vocal groups in any genre. This first of several great albums during their initial seven- or eight-year run (followed by solo outings and intermittent reunions) still holds up incredibly well as a listening experience, even for myself who is no longer a folkie. My personal favorites are, and will always most likely be, 500 Miles, Its Raining, Cruel War and If I Had My Way, especially with the late Mary’s eloquent, haunting gifts of both phrasing the melodic line with both P’s deploying their own harmonies or vice versa.
Finally, their gifted music director, Milt Okun, who whipped the Chad Mitchell Trio into pristine shape for their own several Mercury albums, carefully and methodically honed, nurtured and led them to a level of success they would most likely have never achieved if they had been on their own.
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