MOOG! - Claude Denjean and the Moog Synthesizer, London Phase 4 Stereo SP 44155

Phase 4 jumped on the Moog bandwagon in this 1970 release. Denjean plays Moog melody leads over twelve rock and pop hits of the day, including "Nights in White Satin," "Sugar Sugar," "Lay Lady Lay" and "Come Together." This album works better than a lot of this ilk. There's some tasty fuzz lead guitar, and an in-your-face, energetic drum/bass rhythm section. The rock songs really rock! One gripe: Moog's of this era were notoriously hard to keep in tune, and the one Denjean used definitely had that problem. Recorded in Montreal and Paris, produced by Claude Denjean and Dominique Lamblin.

AN ASTROMUSICAL ODYSSEY - Sounds Galactic, London Phase 4 Stereo SP 44154

Released right before Moog!, An Astromusical Odyssey is Phase 4 at its most musically adventurous. Ten songs with "space" themes (including "Aquarius," "Up, Up and Away," The Beatles' "Across the Universe" and Joe Meeks' "Telstar") are given typical Phase 4 arrangements plus a whole lot of synth sound effects, reverb, echo and flanging (i.e., the "wind tunnel" effect). Sometimes the electronic gimmicks work, sometimes not ("Telstar" is actually not as weird as the original), but it's certainly interesting. Uncredited band, arrangements by John Keating, produced by Tony D'Amato & Ray Richardson, engineered by Arthur Bannister.


THREADS OF GLORY - 200 YEARS OF AMERICA IN WORDS & MUSIC - with the voice talents of Henry Fonda, Burt Lancaster, Jonathan Winters, Forrest Tucker, Rosalind Russell, Hugh O'Brian, Fred MacMurray, Walter Pidgeon, Ronald Reagan, Nancy Davis Reagan, Ernest Borgnine, John Forsythe, Richard Carlson, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Cesar Romero, Roscoe Lee Browne, Anne Baxter, Susan Oliver, William Bakewell, George Hamilton, Lloyd Nolan, Lorne Greene, Virginia Gregg, Joan Foster, Daws Butler, narrated by Lee Bowman, London Phase 4 Stereo 6SP 14000

This 6 LP box set was issued in 1975 for the American Bicentennial. D.H. Toller-Bond, in his written intro in the 12" x 12" booklet, states that this is "not just a spoken-word project." Dramatic music and sound effects supplement the spoken text, which in snap-shot fashion portrays the history of the United States from the Revolutionary war through President Nixon's resignation and Gerald Ford's inauguration. And what a cast! Much like Hollywood epics with too many cameos, the dozens of well known voices actually are something of a distraction. Perhaps more of an annoyance, at least for avid listeners of Phase 4 recordings, is that all of the music, and apparently many of the sound effects, are recycled from previous Phase 4 releases, including much lifted from the releases mentioned in Part 2 of this article. Disc 6 conatins excerpts of the music used in the main production.

Much patience is needed to sit through this whole production. There's no great revelation or insight into US history to be gained here. While important areas such as slavery, the plight of native Americans and Civil Rights are given a passing nod, they are pretty much ignored. A lot of time is given to big speeches by big politicians. Although, hearing Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis Reagan reading the Bill of Rights is kind of fun! And speaking of fun, try to guess who the following portray (click on the name for the answer):

Burt Lancaster
Jonathan Winters
Lorne Greene
Fred MacMurray
Ernest Borgnine

Produced by Tony D'Amato/Si Albert, engineered by Cyril Arthur Bannister and Pat Collier, script by Si Albert, voices directed by Lee Bowman (voices recorded at Sunset Sound Studios, Hollywood). Mr. Bowman does the majority of the narration.


PART 4 - PART 5 - PART 6 - PART 7