Saturday Single No. 161

Originally posted November 28, 2009

I’ve mentioned over the last couple years how my musical tastes were sculpted in part by the music my sister owned and listened to during her high school and college years. When she got married and moved away from St. Cloud, she took with her a small collection of LPs, many of which I’d come to love. If I wanted them close at hand again, I’d have to go find them.

The most important of those records were (and this is a slightly odd list):

Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane
Tapestry by Carole King
Music by Carole King
Teaser & the Firecat by Cat Stevens
For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her by Glenn Yarbrough
The Lonely Things by Glenn Yarbrough
Wildflowers by Judy Collins
Whose Garden Was This by John Denver
Mudlark by Leo Kottke
Circle ’Round the Sun by Leo Kottke
Traditional Jewish Memories by Benedict Silberman
Invisible Tears by Ray Conniff and the Singers

I was never systematic about finding them. I could have gone to Musicland in the mall or downtown to Axis in the months after my sister left home and found most of those, I think. I didn’t do that. Instead, I looked haphazardly over the years at flea markets and used record shops, finding a record every now and then, and replacing poor copies with better copies when I found them. (I’m currently on my fourth copy of Yarbrough’s For Emily.) It wasn’t until I began collecting vinyl in earnest during the 1990s that I also began to look seriously for those ten records.

By the time I went online in 2000, I had all but the Leo Kottke albums on vinyl. Eventually, I found and entered the world of music blogging, where I found some of the albums as digital files, most notably the John Denver album and the two Leo Kottkes. (Vinyl versions of those two Kottke albums now reside in my collection as well, thanks to Mitch and Bob, friends of mine and readers of this blog.)

As I entered last evening, the only albums from that list above that I did not have in digital format were the Ray Conniff and Traditional Jewish Memories. Even having a USB turntable was of no help, as my vinyl copies of those two albums are too worn to make for good listening, much less to make good rips.

So, as I do occasionally, I went to Captain Crawl, one of the two best search engines I know for music blogs (Totally Fuzzy being the other), and cast out my net for the Ray Conniff album. I found three blogs that had posted it recently, all – it appeared – from CD. I’d never seen a CD of the album in print, so I checked some online retailers. As I expected, the CD is out of print, but the album is available as a digital download here.

The music on the album is, of course, light and a little sappy. Some of the selections – “I Walk The Line” for one – don’t work well with the Conniff formula (though none of the tracks are as utterly clueless as Conniff’s version of “Photograph,” which I posted some time ago). But as sappy as the tunes are, they’re still old friends, and wandering through the album last evening was a pleasure. So here’s the Conniff version of “Singing the Blues,” the song that Guy Mitchell took to No. 1 for ten weeks in 1956. It’s today’s Saturday Single.

“Singing the Blues” by Ray Conniff and the Singers from Invisible Tears [1964]

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