Saturday, April 7, 2007

A Taste Of Honey - Coral Records

A Taste Of Honey

1966 Coral Records CRL 757486 Stereo / CRL 57486 Mono

Side One
1. A Taste Of Honey (Clarinet Solo With Chorus And Orchestra)
2. The Shadow Of Your Smile (Love Theme From "The Sandpiper") (Instrumental)
3. The "In" Crowd (Clarinet Solo With Chorus And Orchestra)
4. Theme From "The Yearling" (Instrumental)
5. I Know A Place (Clarinet Solo With Chorus And Orchestra)
6. It's Been A Long, Long Time (Clarinet Solo With Chorus And Orchestra)

Side Two
1. Cast Your Fate To The Wind (Chorus With Instrumental Accompaniment)
2. Lucky Pierre (Clarinet Solo With Orchestra And Chorus)
3. I'm Henry Viii, I Am (Clarinet Solo With Chorus And Orchestra)
4. Fountain In The Rain (Clarinet Solo With Chorus And Orchestra)
5. Stand By Me (Clarinet Solo With Chorus And Orchestra)
6. King Of The Road (Clarinet Solo With Chorus And Orchestra)

Liner Notes:

Pete Fountain - A Taste Of Honey

Arranged And Conducted By Charles "Bud" Dant
Cover Photo: Hal Buksbaum
Pete Fountain Plays A Leblanc Clarinet Exclusively

Although the accent remains that of New Orleans, this collection finds Pete Fountain surveying the contemporary scene from a Nashville vantage point. The musical approach is intrinsically the same as that which resulted in those phenomenally successful albums, "Licorice Stick" and "Mr. Stick Man," but there is a difference in the material.

Most of the tunes Pete has chosen made the ascent into the Top Forty recently. Any tune that attains such elevation is, of course, inescapable. It penetrates the
consciousness somewhere, via records, radio or TV. Sometimes the penetration is not at first agreeable, but repetitions are not always vain. With familiarity may come tolerance, then acceptance, and finally an amused pleasure. Thus Pete developed an unlikely affection - unlikely in a jazz musician - for such items as I'm Henry VIII, I Am, the Herman's Hermits hit, and for Roger Miller's country song,King Of The Road.

By the law of averages, a good many of these songs will be among your favorites, too, but there is additional interest in hearing how Pete has interpreted them, especially when they attained fame in instrumental form. A Taste Of Honey is a good example.

Herb Alpert's arrangement for the Tijuana Brass changed the conception of the number from that of a soft folk song to a sparkling, brazen, fiesta air. This was the way people obviously wanted to hear it, and while the tonal qualities of clarinet and voices result in different textures, Bud Dant has sought to translate rather than depart from the Tijuana design. Further examples of adroit translation and Pete's flexibility occur with Cast Your Fate To The Wind and The "In" Crowd, both of which featured piano in the hit versions. The five-piece chorus (three girls and two boys) makes a valuable contribution to these, both wordlessly and with lyrics.

The Shadow Of Your Smile, from that controversial movie, "The Sandpiper," understandably captured the public ear. Pete's melodic version of it was made with a background of strings, which are used less often in Nashville than in the other recording centers. They are exceedingly effective, too, in the Theme From "The Yearling," which was recorded in anticipation of its deserved survival. The conga drum on this, incidentally, is played by Grady Martin, the famous guitarist.

A rock 'n' roll beat is permitted Petula Clark's hit, I Know A Place, but in It's Been A Long, Long Time Pete returns to the relaxed lyricism that is endemic to New Orleans. There is a swinging interlude as the tempo doubles, and if he gives this performance a special feeling, it is perhaps because it is one of his wife's great favorites. In fact, Pete and Beverly Fountain share a kind of "in" joke in the form of their own personal lyrics to this number. (Only the legalities prevented release on this record.)

Lucky Pierre is the name of a bistro opposite Pete's Place in New Orleans, which suggests that Pierre is lucky on both sides of the street, for Pete's rightful name is Pierre La Fontaine, Jr. The inter-play between drums, clarinet and chorus is unusually attractive on this original composition.

Of the remaining titles, the jaunty I'm Henry VIII, I Am affords another glimpse of Grady Martin, this time on his customary guitar. Johnny Mercer's lyrics to Fountain In The Rain made it a natural for Pete to record, the rapport between clarinet and chorus making this one of the prettiest tracks. The striking bass guitar on Earl Grant's hit, Stand By Me is played by Owen Bradley's brother, Harold, the top man on the instrument in Nashville. And King Of The Road has been played by the Nashville brethren so often that the arrangement for this performance was a "head," put together in the studio with a minimum of effort.
This is, in short, a many-faceted album, one in which Pete Fountain and his clarinet cater not only to those with a taste for honey, but to those with a taste for the wind, the rain and the road.

Stanley Dance

1 comment:

  1. I remember listening to this as a kid when my mom would play it on her stereo during the sixties. Sure brings back memories! I especially liked the theme from "The Yearling." I wish some of these were available on iTunes.