Monday, July 13, 2009

A brief (musical) note.

(Gratuitous Vintage Hallowe'en Postcard shown for no reason except that it's really stunning.)

Before I dash headlong into the continuing saga of family Hallowe'ens and my place in them, I wanted to take a second and point something out to the drunken (Max?) souls here at the ol' S&P.

On your right is a li'l jukebox, and while you certainly never have to play it, I feel obliged to mention that you're missing out if you don't.

Now, I made sure it wouldn't automatically play; that kind of thing annoys me on 'blogs.

But you can click it if you wish, and listen to some fine October tunes.

Of course, no Hallowe'en is complete without Linus and his Great Pumpkin, and Vince Guaraldi's 'Great Pumpkin Waltz' is a wistful 3/4 jazz tune which immediately sends me to All Hallow's Nirvana. This song simply is Hallowe'en.

Next, 'Pumpkintime'. An elegant 'new grass' instrumental from The Darol Anger/Barbara Higbie Quintet's 1986 album, 'Live At Montreaux'. It is harvest music. A glass of heavy red goes well with this tune, along with a slight breeze and the scent of distant rain.

The next track is the love song There Never Was A Love Like Mine from Mad Monster Party (1967), sung by Gale Garnett. This tune is Autumn to me. I grew up a jazz/bossa nova guitar fanatic, and this song always stood out for its pretty chords and changes on a classical (nylon string) guitar. So come Fall, when the film would run on TV, this song became a highlight. You may not like it but it's my pub. Don't make me call the bouncer.

Witch's Night Out (1978) was a remarkable little Hallowe'en special starring the voices of Gilda Radner and Katherine O' Hara. Adult, hip, witty, but still suitable for kids, it was a favorite for a generation. I still wait for a DVD release, but my DVD burn of a long-out-of-print FHE videocassette still does the job. A great tune.

Grim Grinning Groove, is my own piano jazz take on Buddy Baker and X. Atencio's legendary song from Disney's Haunted Mansion. It's me playing one of my favorite songs in my favorite style. Your mileage may vary.

Attaboy, Luther! is actually my pet name for the main title from Don Knotts' incredible spooktacular, The Ghost & Mr. Chicken (1966). You've seen it, you love it; if you haven't and don't, you do not belong at the Skull & Pumpkin (there's a nice divey, skanky bar up the way where everyone's talking about 'Saved By The Bell' and drinking Zima).

The Trees Weep Leaves is a beautiful and heartfelt piece from a relatively obscure CD, 'Autumn In New England' put out in the late 90's by David Huntsinger. The whole album's just gorgeous, so get it. But this song is my favorite cut.

And then there was The Gonk. Herbert Chappell's odd little tune was used to great and bizarre effect in George Romero's incredible Dawn of the Dead (1978). It's a zombie thing. Much like the score for the opening scene of Night of the Living Dead a decade before, it just reminds me of Hallowe'en (remind me to post that piece, Drive To The Cemetery, soon).

Then we have the title track from Mad Monster Party (1967). Sung by Ethel Ennis, it's a classic among horror and Hallowe'en afficionados; the core piece of the greatest score in Rankin-Bass' history.

Now I've added Bing Crosby's incredible Headless Horseman song from Disney's 'The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad' (1949). Total class, total swing, totally Hallowe'en.

I'm going to add more as time goes on, but this is a good start.

Really, it's great listening while reading, and if you can't multitask like that, then once you've read everything, give it a listen.

Good music is essential for any public house worth the name. I think this stuff is gold.

Chill you soon-

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