MEDIA BLACKOUT #668.329!
SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Jackie Gleason – Jackie Gleason Presents
Music For Lovers Only: Orchestra Conducted By Jackie Gleason: Trumpet Solos By Bobby Hackett (Real Gone Music) :: As
always, the Media Blackout audience is the greatest audience in the world!
And if you get that allusion, then you poor souls
will definitely dig where I’m coming from when I tell you that Music For Lovers Only was one of the
many 16s, 45s, 78s, and 33s which were already ensconced in the musical Morgan mansion by the time I showed up—which
explains the formative influence that this seductive, string-soaked, sax session had on my amatory aesthetics right from the
very beginning. Indeed, I still have that original 1953 Capitol Records version, even though it’s now all plumb
tuckered out from the many ribald rotations I gave it on the old multi-speed Nordmende.
Now the oft-told story—and it’s a
beaut—goes that Jackie Gleason was in his penthouse at the Park Sheraton hotel one night watching an old Clark Gable
movie which contained a love scene that was enhanced by an orchestra playing on the soundtrack. At which point Gleason thought:
If a guy like Gable needs background music in a love scene, then what chance does some poor schlub in Brooklyn
have? So he went into the studio and recorded the luxuriously lush Music For Lovers Only as an amorous aural
aid to poor schlubs everywhere. And you’re still wondering why Orson Welles bestowed upon Gleason the sobriquet “The
Needless to say, I was first in line to buy the album anew when Capitol debuted Music For Lovers Only in
a digital version in 1987. Now, a quarter of a century later, the smart folks at Real Gone Music have reissued this vinyl
Viagra in an upgraded edition for a new century of make out artists. As might be expected, the sonic upgrade has resulted
in a smoother, fuller bodied sound; you know, just like a Reginald Van Gleason III coffee cup that’s been spiked with
a liberal load of swanky booze. But then I saw something that made me think that I might have had one too many myself.
what it says in the liner notes to the 1987 Capitol version: “For the first time since its initial release, this classic
album is being presented in its entirety, offering all 16 selections contained in the original long-play album, digitally
re-recorded from the analog master recordings to ensure superior sound reproduction.”
Now here’s what it says in the liner
notes to the 2012 Real Gone version: “This reissue marks the first time that this all-time classic album has been reissued
in the CD era by itself and in its full-length version.”
Even I couldn’t make sense out of that, so I turned
to ace audio engineer Steve Hoffman who was kind enough to provide me with this much needed advice: “The album was recorded
twice; once, the original mono version and a later stereo remake. If the version they put on this new CD is in mono,
it is indeed the first time it’s been issued on CD. The old CD was the stereo remake.”
These words he speaks
are true; after doing an A-B comparison of both through headphones, it would seem that the new version is in mono—but just barely. The two versions are so similar
that the difference between them is almost negligible. Granted, the stereo version does have a bit more spatial separation for the rhythm, but everything else is pretty
much dead center on both. And while the rebel in me wishes that Gleason had hired Leon Russell to mix the stereo version using
his patented Asylum Choir II ping-pong technique, the romantic in me is glad that he didn’t.
But don’t take my
word for it, just listen to what Joe The Bartender said late one night in his Brooklyn saloon after Mr. Dennehy dropped by
to ask him about the potent pudenda-parting power of Music For Lovers Only. “Pal,” Joe said, as he casually
wiped the inside of a glass. “Make no mistake; to be on the make, you’ve gotta partake!”
In other words, you’d
have to be Crazy Guggenheim not to buy a copy.
And away we go!