Thursday, 28 June 2018

DICK HYMAN "STROBO / LAY, LADY, LAY" (1969)



Richard "Dick" Hyman (born March 8, 1927, New York City) is an American jazz pianist/keyboardist and composer, best known for his versatility with jazz piano styles. Over a 50-year career, he has functioned as a pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and, increasingly, as a composer. His versatility in all of these areas has resulted in well over 100 albums recorded under his own name and many more in support of other artists. [1]

Hyman's career is pretty intimidating in its achievements and scope. He has scored, arranged and/or performend for Broadway, movies, television and live radio, and he's recorded in every format, from 78s to CD-ROMs. He's got a whole gamut of music genres covered, from Jazz and Blues to Classical to Pop and Electronic Psychedelia. Hyman is exceptionally renowned as a professional musician, and was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in 1995. His articulate and wry anecdotes, commentary on the business, and techniques of making music have been published along with sheet music in a series of books. [2]

Beginning in the mid-1950s he started recording with his own name for MGM. His cover of "Moritat", on harpsichord with his trio, sold over a million copies in 1956 and was the most successful recording of the tune until Bobby Darin did it as "Mack the Knife". He was the musical director of The Arthur Godfrey Show from 1958 to 1961. He was an early staple of Enoch Light's Command label, for which he recorded light classical, swinging harpsichord, funky organ, and "now sound" combo albums. He also demonstrated his continuing interest in new keyboard instruments, releasing two of the earliest Moog albums. Hyman has stayed in demand as much as any musician around, working for TV, scoring film soundtracks for Woody Allen, and, more recently, as a jazz pianist and organist. [3]

Hyman is best remembered among the Spage Age Bachelor Pad Music aficionados for his 1963 album with Mary Mayo - who provided otherworldy wordless vocals - the aptly entitled "Moon Gas" masterpiece, which was already covered here on Stereo Candies both in mono and stereo. His seminal album "Moog - The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman", recorded in late 1968 using mainly the Moog Modular, was also covered by yours truly here and its follow-up "The Age of Electronicus" is also going to be featured very soon.

In the meantime it's time to take care about another precious little gem...

Sources:

[1] from Wikipedia

[2] from the introduction to an interview with Dick Hyman conducted by Michael David Toth, published on Cool and Strange Music!, issue #7, 1997

[3] from Space Age Pop Music


Dick Hyman, 1969


Here's the track list for this 7" single:

01. Strobo (2:58)
02. Lay, Lady, Lay (3:16)

Both were remastered in June 2018 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the original release.

As usual, please have a look at the comments for the download links.



Bearing catalogue number 45-4136, the "Strobo / Lay, Lady Lay" promotional 7" single was released by Command-ABC Records sometime around mid 1969, probably in July or August. Housed in a company sleeve, the record offers exclusive mono tracks that are not featured on the two aforementioned Hyman's Moog albums released the same year.

Available in two different versions, a commonly found item coming with the usual black and white promo labels and a rarer variant with coloured center labels, the single was not commercially released, at least as far as I know.

The choice of using exclusive promotional tracks seems odd to me... Maybe these pieces were intended for a cancelled release, who knows... Anyway, I'm glad that they exist in some form and I can't help to wonder if other material recorded around the same time was shelved and/or lost.

This article informs us that, after taking part to the realization of "Moog - The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman" and "The Age of Electronicus", Walter Sear did not program the Moog Modular used on these new recordings, he just rented out the synthesizer to Hyman.

I managed to create pseudo-stereo versions of these pieces, they will be available soon as bonus tracks to my remaster of "The Age of Electronicus".



So, on Side A we find "Strobo", an original number written by Hyman himself. In a similar fashion to the hit "The Minotaur", recorded in late 1968, the track is built on the top of a dense rhythm played by the Maestro Rhythm Unit, a primitive drum machine, probably feeded through an Echoplex.

Some people describe this music as Proto-Techno and others even catch a glimpse of Drum 'n' Bass in its skittering beat. Whatever your view on the subject is, "Strobo" was pretty ahead of its time and its shrill keyboard lines undeniably have a futuristic charm.

The flipside presents an instrumental version of "Lay, Lady, Lay", a song written by Bob Dylan originally released months earlier on his "Nashville Skyline" album. Hyman replaces the original vocal lines with the Moog, giving the song a very strong imprint. The acoustic rhythm section in the background adds to the value of this cover, creating a somewhat pleasant alienating effect.

As much as I enjoy "Strobo", I must admit that this piece induces me in a compulsive state, and I can't help to press the repeat button again and again...


The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered single, enjoy "Stroboo" and "Lay, Lady, Lay"!






More information about Dick Hyman, "Strobo / Lay, Lady, Lay" and the Moog Modular synthesizer is available here:

http://www.dickhyman.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Hyman

http://www.spaceagepop.com/hyman.htm

http://www.discogs.com/artist/15443-Dick-Hyman

http://moogfoundation.org/moog-a-history-in-recordings-dick-hyman-master-stylist-of-the-moog-modular/

http://tapeop.com/interviews/92/dick-hyman/

http://tapeop.com/articles/92/dick-hyman-bonus/

http://robertjaz.com/2014/06/happy-birthday-dick-hyman/

https://www.moogmusic.com/news/happy-birthday-dick-hyman-0

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/dick-hyman-the-beat-goes-on-dick-hyman-by-chris-m-slawecki.php?page=1

https://www.moogfoundation.org/thom-holmes-the-rarest-of-moog-modular-recordings/

http://officenaps.com/now-sound/moogs/

https://www.discogs.com/Dick-Hyman-Strobo/master/1297969

http://www.45cat.com/record/454136us

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moog_modular_synthesizer

https://www.flickr.com/photos/matrixsynth/sets/72157602368600280/



If you have any other useful information about Dick Hyman and "Strobo / Lay, Lady, Lay" - especially corrections and improvements to this post - or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

11 comments:

  1. DOWNLOAD LINK

    http://www.mediafire.com/?pd3...

    If you download this file please consider leaving a comment, your feedback is important!

    Please let me know if the link is broken and I'll do my best to quickly fix it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanx very much! You are the master of the remaster. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. You have a wonderfull blog. However I would like to ask you friendly to remove my 'splogman's log' from your blogroll. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strange request... Anyway, your every wish is my command, done!

      Delete
  4. Thank you. Yes, I can understand it may seem strange to you: making a blog and at the same time wanting to stay under the radar, but that's me ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. So nice to see Strobo get its due - I scored this 45 back in 1997 and it has remained one of my favorite moog tracks of all. Oddly enough, my B&W label features an extra graphic above the Command logo that reads "Electronic Pop Music" in groovy type with lightning bolt accents.

    I must ask - did you remaster the track yourself? Also, your posting of Electric Eclectics - your remastering as well? I have the CD reissue of it that sports extra tracks, and it sounds close to your version... Thanks so much for this stuff and keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Keith, thanks for your comment, you're welcome!

      If memory doesn't fail me, for my remaster I used the original vinyl for most of the album, and the CD reissue for the quieter tracks/parts on Side B which were quite hard to declick/denoise due the intrinsic nature of the electronic sound that is often recognized as 'noise' itself giving way to poor results.

      Delete
    2. I was referring to "The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman", of course... By the way, yes, I personally take care of remastering all the music that I post on the blog. I don't have a statistic about it, but I would say that at least 90% of the material is remastered from the original vinyl releases, cheers!

      Delete
  6. On thorough listen your remastering has far more warmth and 'air' to it. Fantastic work - looking forward to Electronicus!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Keith, "The Age of Electronicus" is available here.

      Delete

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