Monday, January 26, 2009

Private Music

Irwin and I have previously warned about the dangers of a stunningly boring album recorded by Raymond Scott in 1957, and subsequently issued under three titles in the US. It's my duty to further caution collectors who value their time and/or ears: a fourth pressing of this dreary record was released in 1966 by the Spanish label Orlador, with the title MUSICA PARA LA INTIMIDAD. I would have guessed this means "Music For Intimacy," but according to at least one Google translator, it's "Music For Privacy." Had RS kept the recording private, the world would be a better place. Not even a sexy chica displaying her color-coordinated pants, shoes, and upholstery can make this lackluster album worth purchasing. If you see this record, run away. If you're unfortunate enough to already own a copy, under any of its titles, please smash it with a hammer into a thousand little pieces, place the debris into a Ziploc baggie, and send it to me or Irwin; we will incinerate all copies at a public bonfire in Texas on September 9th at midnight. Location TBA. Consider this a WANTED poster (click image for larger view):


  1. I would have gone with "music for intimidation".
    That album needs a serious industrial-strength remixing so its very name doesn't break you out in hives every time you think of it! Or an album of covers in Norwegian death-metal style!

  2. Nice try jeff, no way i'm smashing up my copy of Amor, just so you can reassemble it and hear the sweet sounds of Sam the Man Taylor playing over a lush string accompaniment and smooth exotica jazz rythms.

    I hold my ground, this album is a standout in its genre even though Scott's personal stamp is much more subtle than usual.

    Viva Amor!

  3. Adam,

    I respect your opinion, but, as you may have noticed, I just don't like this record. You're not the only fan to find some charm in it, though. Here's an excerpt from the entry:

    "Even among his supporters, The Rock 'N' Roll Symphony is the most controversial album of Raymond Scott's career. ... it is rather plain, though elegant, mood music, professionally scored, with a rhythm section consisting of piano, electric bass and drums, and the distinctive sound of saxophonist Sam 'The Man' Taylor -- a real plus to some expert listeners, though it might not make a difference to others. Occasionally the strings are a little overbearing, and that has led to its low standing among some of Scott's most dedicated supporters ...

    "A good way to describe the effect of the album is that it is like soundtrack music for a period romantic mystery movie directed by David Lynch, though some might say that there is nothing to distinguish it from countless other easy listening albums of its kind, of which The Rock 'N' Roll Symphony was likely the first."

  4. Jeff,
    Thanks for including part of my review. I'm sorry that you find this part of Raymond's output so painful. Believe me, I don't drag my pristine Everest copy of the original out very often for a spin. But at worst it's merely a snoozer, and at its best it was a groundbreaking album in an area that simply doesn't hold up now. But at least Raymond doesn't have anything hopelessly embarassing, such as Sinatra has "Trilogy" or Ray Anthony has "Dirty Trumpet for a Swingin' Party."

  5. Hi Dave,

    As you know, we're eager to celebrate RS's SOOTHING SOUNDS FOR BABY series, but ironically, it's RnRsymph that puts me to sleep. As ignorable, 'ambient' music, I suppose it succeeds on some level, so it may be pleasant for some listeners. It's not 'painful' to me, but it's also not compelling in any way (they're not even RS's compositions!); I'd rather hear silence. Your AllMusic review & comment above make a good case for your perspective, however, & I concede it's not a huge embarrassment, just a 'snoozer,' as you admit.