Friday, 28 September 2018


«Enjoy a wild, all-out performance of “Puppet Man” featuring Julio Ruggiero on Fender bass, Bernie Glow and Mel Davis on trumpets, Dick Hyman on electric organ, Arnie Lawrence on alto sax.

Experience the new Beatles hit “Let It Be” starring the solo performances of Derek Smith on piano, Bob Tricarico on tenor sax, Dick Lieb playing the Moog.

Travel on the “Marrakesh Express” featuring Vinnie Bell on guitar, Arnie Lawrence on alto sax, Billy LaVorgna on drums.

Hear beautiful “Scarborough Fair” with unbelievable Moog excitement.

Reminisce with “It Was a Very Good Year” starring Arnie Lawrence, sax; Bob Alexander, trombone; Al Klink, flute - all three using new electronic equipment which adds fantastic “sound expansion” to their great performances.

These and many other provocative hits make “Permissive Polyphonics” a new, highly personalized experience in listening excitement.

Every explosive advance in modern arranging and modern instrumentation has been explored in this fascinating album.»

[from the back sleeve notes of "Permissive Polyphonics"]

Hey, long time no see! Another long hot summer is gone and autumn has begun... Almost two months are already passed since the last post, so it's high time for something new here on Stereo Candies.

Before I start rambling on this mindblowing Stereo-4 Quadraphonic version of Enoch Light and The Light Brigade's "Permissive Polyphonics", I would like to express my gratitude to Steve K., a follower of this blog who donated his precious and pristine copy of the album so that we all could enjoy: thank you Steve!!!

So, for those who may not be aware of his importance, let's start with a short biography of Enoch Light just slightly adapted from those available on Wikipedia and Space Age Pop:

Enoch Henry Light (18 August 1905, in Canton, Ohio – 31 July 1978, in Redding, Connecticut) was a classically trained violinist, danceband leader, and recording engineer.

As the leader of various dance bands that recorded as early as March 1927 and continuing through at least 1940, Light and his band primarily worked in various hotels in New York. For a time in 1928 he also led a band in Paris. In the 1930s Light also studied conducting with the French conductor Maurice Frigara in Paris.

Throughout the 1930s, Light and his outfits were steadily employed in the generally more upscale hotel restaurants and ballrooms in New York that catered to provide polite ambiance for dining and functional dance music of current popular songs rather than out and out jazz.

"Permissive Polyphonics" back cover

At some point his band was tagged "The Light Brigade" and they often broadcast over radio live from the Hotel Taft in New York where they had a long residency. Through 1940, Light and his band recorded for various labels including Brunswick, ARC, Vocalion and Bluebird.

He broke up the band toward the end of the 1940s and went into management, working for several record companies before becoming president of Waldorf Music Hall Records in 1954. Later on, as A&R (Artists and Repertoire) chief and vice-president of Grand Award Records, he had several successes with Dixieland and Honky-tonk piano albums.

He sold Grand Award to AB-PT (...then ABC Records...) and formed Command Records in 1959 with the specific aim of capitalizing on the emerging market of stereo fanatics. His music was intended for older audiences, presumably because he saw them as more-serious audiophiles who had more money to spend on high end stereo equipment, as opposed to most popular music of the time, which was generally intended for teenagers and young adults.

Light is credited with being one of the first musicians to go to extreme lengths to create high-quality recordings that took maximum advantage of the technical capabilities of home audio equipment of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

He fully explored left-right channelization without stooping to tricks like ping-pong effects, and his experiments had a huge influence on the whole concept of multi-track recording that would become commonplace in the ensuing years.

"Permissive Polyphonics" inner gatefold, left panel

Light was a meticulous engineer and put as much effort into the quality of his recording equipment and production systems as into the music itself. He tested a number of New York studios before selecting. Doing so, he arranged his musicians in ways to produce the kinds of recorded sounds he wished to achieve, even completely isolating various groups of them from each other in the recording studio.

The first of the albums produced on Command Records, "Persuasive Percussion", became one of the first big-hit LPs based solely on retail sales. His music received little or no airplay on the radio, because AM radio, the standard of the day, was monaural and had very poor fidelity. Light went on to release several albums in the Persuasive Percussion series, as well as a Command test record.

The Command album covers were generally designed with abstract, minimalist artwork that stood out boldly from other LP jackets. These pieces were usually the work of Josef Albers. Light was so interested in the sound of his music that he would include lengthy prose describing each song's sounds. In order to fit all of his descriptions on to the album sleeve, he doubled the size of the sleeve but enabled it to fold like a book, thus popularizing the gatefold packaging format.

During his years at Command, he pioneered many recording techniques such as the use of 35 mm magnetic film instead of magnetic tape, thereby reducing the effects of "wow" and "flutter". These recordings were released under the "35MM" series, starting from "Stereo 35/MM" released in 1961.

Musicians who appeared on Light's albums include The Free Design, The Critters, Rain, Doc Severinsen, Tony Mottola, Dick Hyman and organist Virgil Fox (on the Wanamaker Organ). As an arranger, Lew Davies was one of the label's most important contributors.

"Permissive Polyphonics" inner gatefold, right panel

In 1966, Light sold the Command record label to ABC Records. Unfortunately the quality of the Command LPs released after Light's departure deteriorated until ABC discontinued releasing new material on the label in 1971. The Command name was then used by ABC on quadraphonic LP releases from the ABC, Dunhill, Westminster and Impulse! catalogues and on double album compilations and special anthologies from Command's catalogue until 1976, when the label was officially retired.

After the sale of Command Records, Light launched a new label called Project 3 and continued recording. Light produced several successful big band albums with an ace-group of studio musicians, many of whom were veterans of the greatest bands of the Swing Era who were still regularly working in New York's television and recording studios.

Released as Enoch Light And The Light Brigade, the arrangements used on those recordings were transcribed note-for-note from some of what were the hallmark original recordings. The arranging reconstructions of these now "classic" arrangements were completely reconstructed by arrangers Dick Lieb, Dick Hyman, Tony Mottola and Jeff Hest.

Among Light's later works, also released as Enoch Light and The Light Brigade, we'd like to mention at least two gems that benefited of the then recently invented Moog synthesizer, namely "Spaced Out" (1969), and "Permissive Polyphonics" (1970), the subject of this post.

Enoch Light, circa 1966

"Permissive Polyphonics" contains the following tracks:

01. Marrakesh Express (3:13)
02. Let It Be (3:54)
03. Easy Come, Easy Go (3:35)
04. Puppet Man (3:10)
05. Prelude For Young Lovers (2:26)
06. It Was a Very Good Year (2:38)
07. Mas Que Nada (3:12)
08. Monday, Monday (3:25)
09. Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay (3:09)
10. Scarborough Fair (2:26)
11. Michelle (3:08)
12. Pass and I Call You (4:20)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in September 2018 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with complete artwork reconstruction and printable PDF files.

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

"Permissive Polyphonics" was released on Project 3 Total Sound in 1970. I wasn't able to discover the specific recording and publishing dates, but since the original version of the most recent song on the album, The Beatles' "Let It Be", was released as a single in early March 1970, I guess that a mid-year release date is fairly correct.

The album was made available in three formats: LP, Reel-To-Reel and 8-Track Cartridge. In addition to the classic Stereo mix, the album also received the Quadraphonic treatment and, according to the thread going on in this forum, different quadraphonic mixes exist.

I must admit that I'm not an expert on this matter, and just reading the discussion linked above I came down with a big headache... Anyway, the quadraphonic version of "Permissive Polyphonics" that I'm offering in this post is the "Stereo-4", also called "EV" or "EV-4".

I haven't had the chance to listen to the other quadraphonic mixes of the album, but according to Steve K. - who, as you may remember, is the donor of the vinyl record that I used for my remaster and also a great fan of this album - this is by far the superior mix.

Catalogue number is "50-2019" in the top right corner on front of the sleeve, "PR5048SD" on the spine and "PR 5048 QD" on the center labels. Five writings differentiate the cover of this particular version of the album from all the others:

- "Realistic" is printed in the top left corner;
- "Processed in STEREO-4™" is printed below the "this is the NEW stereo." blurb that also appear on the top left of cover (...which in turn is also usually written on a white sticker, and not directly printed on the cover...);
- "TM" is written just above the end of the album title, suggesting that it is a trademark;
- "Allied Radio Shack - A Tandy Corporation Company" is printed in the bottom left corner, making it clear that this item was sold through the old RadioShack chain of electronics stores;
- "20 TO 20,000 CPS AUDIOPHILE SERIES" is printed in the bottom right corner.

By the way, there is no trace of this version of the album among the many listed in the pertinent Discogs entry; it may be that it's a bit of a rarity or... Who knows.

A credit for the album design does not appear anywhere in the sleeve notes. It's a pity that the author of the simple but effective artwork featured on the cover is left unknown, but it happens sometimes...

As far as I am concerned, this album sounds great and for once please allow me to say that I'm completely satisfied with the results of my remaster: the vinyl was almost flawless, the original mix is superb and I was able to get rid of all the usual vinyl-related imperfections without compromising: mission accomplished!

Enoch Light conducting, circa 1967

Dick Lieb, Dick Hyman and Tony Mottola have discussed their personal and professional relation with Enoch Light in three precious interviews conducted in 1996-97 by Robbie Baldock for the Spaced Out / Enoch Ligth website.

As author of all the arrangements of "Permissive Polyphonics" and player of the Moog synthesizer parts used on all its tracks, Lieb's interview is particularly interesting because offers first-hand commentary about the album. It also makes it clear that, contrary to what many believe, The Free Design were not involved as vocalists on this project.

The following liner notes and track-by-track commentary are taken from the inner gatefold of the album. Audio previews of all the tracks are also included along with a detailed credits and personnel list at the bottom.

Oh, and since we are on the subject: the track-by-track commentary on this particular version of the LP is slightly different from the one that was included on the regular stereo copies: it omits a few details about the position of the instruments and also doesn't mention Bob Haggart's participation to the recordings.

Here we go:

«This new Enoch Light album integrates most of the new discoveries in the field of electronic music and exploits them through the highly personalized and professional work of many of the world's finest musicians.

Enoch Light has consistently been a pioneer in recording innovations. He produced the first really significant musical stereo recording "Persuasive Percussion", and has participated in the development of many new recording techniques. These include multi-microphone placement, recording on 35 mm. magnetic film, the use of special microphones which complement the characteristics of the various orchestral instruments and experimentation with the Dolby system and with the Neumann automatic mastering lathe equipped with the SX68 cutter head.

In selecting the songs for this album we have taken advantage of the great changes in modern popular song composition and combined these wonderfully fresh, inventive ideas with the newest of recording techniques. We do hope that this album will give you great pleasure and that you will enjoy the musical excitement which motivated all of us at these recording sessions.

Marrakesh Express
(written by Graham Nash, originally performed by Crosby, Stills & Nash)

We're off and running on the Marrakesh Express, with the Moog synthesizer supplying the train whistle effect. Vinnie Bell's electric sitar presents the tune. This exciting arrangement is spurred on by the swinging jazz of Arnie Lawrence's electric alto sax, Billy LaVorgna's great drumming and Julio Ruggiero's driving bass. The vocal group takes over in the second chorus, complemented by the power-packed horn ensemble. The Marrakesh Express roars out of sight with Arnie Lawrence wailing again on electric sax.


Let It Be
(written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, originally performed by The Beatles)

Gospel-style piano, played by Derek Smith, opens this arrangement, answered by the soulful tenor sax of Bob Tricarico and a brass choir. The Moog is featured melodically in a variety of timbres in this version of the Beatles' classic. Also featured is the vocal group "speaking words of wisdom" against a driving rhythm section and insistent horns.


Easy Come, Easy Go
(written by Jack Keller and Diane Hildebrand, originally performed by Cass Elliott, it was later brought to success by Bobby Sherman)

Marimba, Fender bass and drums establish a rhythmic figure and are joined by the delightful combination of three alto flutes and one bass flute. Phil Kraus' marimba and Dick Hyman's electric harpsichord takes up the rhythm and introduce the vocal group. The Moog is again heard in a featured melodic role, followed later by a "shuffle" feeling and a sumptuous flute solo by Don Ashworth.


Puppet Man
(written by Howard Greenfield and Neil Sedaka, originally performed by Neil Sedaka, it was later covered by The Fifth Dimension)

Vinnie Bell's guitar is pitted against a wailing sax section before the brass make their introductory statement. The Moog states the first chorus of the tune, punctuated by hard-hitting brass figures. A climactic explosion on the Moog is heard before the brass take over. This arrangement also features great organ fills by Dick Hyman behind the chorus and some fine jazz by Arnie Lawrence on electric alto sax.


Prelude For Young Lovers
(written by Frédéric Chopin, adapted by Dick Lieb)

Once the atmosphere is set by Dick Hyman on electric harpsichord, three flutes and an English horn engage the brass section in a cascading dialog. The theme of this piece (taken from Chopin's "Prelude No. 4") is first stated by the voices. The beautifully interweaving melodic lines cushioned on a flowing, rhythmic accompaniment add to this sensitive orchestration by Dick Lieb.


It Was a Very Good Year
(written by Ervin Drake, originally performed by The Kingston Trio, it was subsequently made famous by Frank Sinatra)

A recurring motif by the Moog structures the introduction and sets the verses off from each other. Electronically amplified horns are featured: Arnie Lawrence on alto sax, Bob Alexander on trombone and Al Klink on flute divide the solo work, each with his own inspired jazz flavoring. And notice how the electronically produced lower octave adds such a new spatial dimension to the normal sounds of their horns!


Mas Que Nada
(written by Jorge Lima Menezes a.k.a. Jorge Ben, originally performed by him, later covered by Sérgio Mendes)

Trumpets and the Moog join the happy jazz samba set by the rhythm section in anticipation of a luscious bass flute solo by Don Ashworth. Trumpets play the first chorus over the soft cushion of four flutes, vibes and voices. The arrangement also features a "swing" chorus. Reverberation fills the air as the tune fades out.


Monday, Monday
(written by John Phillips, originally performed by The Mamas & The Papas)

The "wah-wah" guitar of Vinnie Bell is featured along with piano, bass and drums in the introduction. The tune itself starts as a duet between Vinnie and the voices. A full sounding horn ensemble adds "punch" to the arrangement, as does an exciting "double-time rock" section. Later on Urbie Green's trombone is heard soaring over the ensemble as the tune goes in to a fade ending.


Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay
(written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper, originally performed by Otis Redding)

The "white-noises" of the Moog are used to punctuate organ, bass and drums before they are joined by Vinnie Bell's guitar. The explosive brass chorus is followed by Walt Levinsky's alto sax solo. After Bob Rosengarden's drums do some fancy shuffling, Urbie Green's commanding trombone makes the first statement of this Otis Redding tune. The vocal group is again featured in some "soulful" swinging.


Scarborough Fair
(a traditional English ballad, adapted and brought to success by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel)

Bass and drums start on the left (in 5/4 meter!) and swing across to the right where they are joined by the drone sounds of Vinnie Bell's guitar, the vibes and the organ. The Moog takes up the melody, moving rapidly through the speakers with a unique timbre. The ensemble swings into a jazz waltz, as the voices enter on the third chorus, complemented by four saxes (who later switch to three alto flutes and one bass flute for some jazz figures). The Moog (played by arranger Lieb), flutes and voices follow each other as the arrangement fades to an end.


(written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, originally performed by The Beatles)

Bells, voices, bass and organ build a pyramid of sound after which the four flutes pile up for a similar pyramid. Bernie Glow (right) and Mel Davis (left) - an incredibly matched pair of giants! - engage in a beautiful and seemingly effortless flugelhorn duet on the melody. This arrangement also features a subtly blended vocal group and very sensitive flute playing.


Pass and I Call You
(written by Johann Sebastian Bach, adapted by Dick Lieb)

Pun intended! Bach's "Passacaglia in C minor" is at the core of Dick Lieb's writing here. Bass, drums and guitar pave the way for an explosive ensemble. The Moog takes over and announces the Bach theme which will be the basis for some very clever variations in the "top" part of the band. Featured in this arrangement are Vinnie Bell, Dick Hyman (with a remarkable solo on organ) and some really hard swinging musicians and singers!

Here's the complete credits and personnel list of "Permissive Polyphonics":

Dick Lieb: Moog synthesizer
Dick Hyman: organ, harpsichord
Derek Smith: piano
Vinnie Bell: guitar, electric sitar
Julio 'Julie' Ruggiero: Fender bass
Bob Haggart: Fender bass
Billy LaVorgna: drums
Bob Rosengarden: drums
Phil Kraus: marimba, vibes
Al Klink: flute
Don Ashworth: flute, bass flute
Bernie Glow: trumpet, flugelhorn
Mel Davis: trumpet, flugelhorn
Arnie Lawrence: sax, alto sax
Walt Levinsky: alto sax
Bob Tricarico: tenor sax
Bob Alexander: trombone
Urbie Green: trombone

Arranged by: Dick Lieb

Executive Producer: Enoch Light
Associate Producers: Tony Mottola / Jeff Hest

Recording Engineer: Donald Hahn
Mixing: Chuck Irwin
Supervising Engineer for 4 Channel Mixing: John Eargle
Mastering: Phil Austin

Enoch Light in the studio, circa 1967

More information about Enoch Light and "Permissive Polyphonics" is available here:

If you have any other useful information about Enoch Light and "Permissive Polyphonics", 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!

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