The Command Revolution
:: Beautician Blues ::
:: Wichita Lineman ::
I'm beginning to think it's slightly incriminating to begin posts with sentences like, "I was browsing the Ferrante & Teicher section when...," but I suppose if I didn't type things like that, I wouldn't be doing this in the first place. So, yes, I really was looking through the F&T section at one of my favorite vinyl haunts, with the intent of finding their cover of Wichita Lineman. Truth be told, I don't even know for sure if they ever covered it, but seeing as they covered just about everything else, I'm operating under the assumption that this exists. I could probably look it up, but that's less fun. Anyway, for a few minutes I thought I had found it.
What I had actually found was a label compilation that was either in, or awfully near, the F&T section. No biggie, as I will take any version of Wichita Lineman I can get, and your dang tootin' I wanted to hear the Glenn Miller Orchestra's take. I don't know that 25 years after his plane disappeared, Major Miller would have approved of what the Orchestra bearing his name (here led by Buddy DeFranco) was up to, but I will say that this does sound pretty much exactly like Glenn Miller doing Wichita Lineman. Brilliant analysis, I know, but what's true is true. In other words, I don't think Glenn's skeletal fist rose out of the sand on the ocean floor in anger. Although that's a pretty cool visual.
I should mention here that Mike will be doing a series of all Wichita Lineman posts in the very near future. I, for one, cannot wait.
The most pleasant surprise on this little collection was by Mystic Number National Bank, a band I would want to have heard based on name alone. The song is pretty smokin' psychedelic soul. I couldn't find much information on this Kansas City band, but I read on a message board that the guitar player had a stub for his pick hand, and that they often played in a KC venue called The Place that was previously a potato chip factory. Good enough for me!
Finally, I have to comment about this compilation itself. Probe and Command were smaller labels under the ABC imprint. Command was Enoch Light's baby, and was definitely Easy Listening for the nightly cocktail crowd. Probe was short-lived and was intended as an outlet for more Psychedelic endeavors. Combining these two for one compilation makes for quite an uneven listening experience. The quirky Moog offerings of Dick Hyman share space with Doc Severinsen, The Soft Machine, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. I can't imagine anyone having the open-mindedness to actually sit down and enjoy this in its entirety. I mean, couldn't they have had a Probe side and a Command side? Then again, maybe the person in charge of this went on to create the "Jack FM" format.