It's The Talk Of The Town
About This Album
Recorded in 1959, this was Ray's first album featuring a 25 voice chorus singing the lyrics. It was reissued on CD in the United States in 1989 (Columbia CK 8143) and later in Australia (Columbia 471107 2, shown on the right). Both versions have been deleted.
Almost any time Ray Conniff lifts his baton, the town is likely to have something to talk about, and this particular moment is no exception. Beginning with his first album, "'S Wonderful," and continuing through the series listed below, Ray has endowed dance music with a tantalizing beat, a new sound and some very stylish arrangements, featuring a wordless chorus. Now, in his latest collection, he brings the chorus forward and supplies them with words as well, giving these excellent singers the spotlight they deserve and bringing, moreover, a new dimension to his music.
The bright, singing sound of the Conniff music is still very much to be heard here, despite the emphasis on the chorus. Ray's analysis of popular music in recent years has enabled him to come up with new ideas in the application of familiar sounds, and again and again he has uncovered combinations that have caught and retained the public's fancy. As an accompanist for vocalists on single records, and particularly as the leader of the sparkling organization heard in his albums, he has provided dance music with a delightful new impetus that seems to gather momentum as it goes along.
Apart from the fact that the lyrics are sung in this newest Conniff program, the main departure is that of mood; here Ray and the singers are in a somewhat more reflective vein, and many of the selections are slower in tempo and smoother in over-all design. The familiar shuffle beat is on hand, of course, punctuated here and there by the warm sound of a harp, and the chorus is in its mellowest form. They start off with the title number, an agreeably mournful ballad written in 1933 by Marty Symes, Al Neiburg and Jerry Livingston, and then move on to You're an Old Smoothie, introduced by Ethel Merman in "Take a Chance" (1932). The composers were B. G. DeSylva, Richard Whiting, and Nacio Herb Brown. This affectionate foolishness gives way to the lively Buttons and Bows, an Academy Award-winning song by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, first heard in the 1948 movie "Paleface." Let's Put Out the Lights turns the time backward again to 1932, in terms of a charmingly intimate song with words and music by Herman Hupfield, and then another old smoothie turns up in 1946's It's Been a Long, Long Time, devised by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne. The first part of the program concludes with another Academy Award-winner, Allie Wrubel and Ray Gilbert's Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, from "Song of the South" in 1947.
Continuing this mellow divertissement, Ray Conniff and his singers come up with that hand-clapping hit of 1941, Deep in the Heart of Texas. This tribute to what is now the second largest state in the union was written by June Hershey, to Don Swander's music. 1932 was a good year for songs (and for this album) as Ray Conniff turns to Love Is the Sweetest Thing,devised by Ray Noble on the opening notes of God Save the King. Another Ethel Merman success turns up next, in Irving Berlin's lasting They Say It's Wonderful from "Annie get Your Gun" (1946), and then the Conniff singers present a melting rendition of Hands Across the Table, composed by Jean Delettre in 1934 to words by Mitchell Parish, and introduced by Lucienne Boyer. My Heart Cries for You, by Carl Sigman and Percy Faith, helped make Guy Mitchell one of the brightest new stars of 1950, and the program is rounded off by a fragrant melody from Cole Porter's extensive list, Rosalie from the 1937 movie of the same name.