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Holiday Recommendation: A ROYAL HOLIDAY BALL FOR ALL
Blog
Posted on Dec 20 2006 by Greg
Whether you're into princesses or not, how can you go wrong with outstanding holiday music sung by some of today's greatest voices, including Paige O'Hara, Jodi Benson, Judy Kuhn and Lea Salonga?

The selection of songs is fresh, with familiar songs that haven't been done to death on other Christmas albums, like "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," "The Christmas Waltz," and "Christmas Island," plus a wealth of original songs like "I'm Giving Love for Christmas."

Each princess gets her time in the spotlight, i.e. Snow White twitters along with comments from the Dwarfs, Cinderella is joined by the mouse chorus, etc. and the orchestrations are lavish and pure Disney, much like the great Disney albums of the past 50 years.

Among the talents behind the album are songwriters Don Grady and Marty Panzer, who really deliver something special here -- not a mere piece of merchandise to tag onto a billion dollar franchise, but something really inspired. Grady in particular has a long connection with Disney, first as a Mouseketeer and then as Disney favorite Fred MacMurray's son Robbie on the long-running comedy series, "My Three Sons." Grady has been making great music for Disney on countless videos, games and, most recently, on the Fox and the Hound II website.

My favorite selection on the album is Pocahontas's towering version of "Silver and Gold," with lyrics slightly altered for her character. Judy Kuhn's interpretation added a dimension to this already-great song that I'd never imagined before.

The Princess Christmas Album is a must-have for fans of Disney, holiday and fine music in general. It's available at amazon.com
or you can download right now from iTunes.







HOLIDAY ALBUM REVIEW
Blog
Posted on Dec 02 2006 by Greg
Original TV Cast:
Basil Rathbone, Vic Damone, Johnny Desmond, Patrice Munsel, The Four Lads, Robert Weede, Betty Madigan, Martyn Green

The 2006 reissue of this great album on CD is big news, especially for fans of Disney Legend Tutti Camarata and the classic Rankin/Bass TV shows. And it has BONUS TRACKS! This is a Columbia cast album from 1956, based on the CBS ALCOA HOUR live-action musical TV special starring Basil Rathbone as Scrooge. Camarata conducted the magnificent score by Janice Torre and Fred Spielman ("Paper Roses").

THE STINGIEST MAN IN TOWN was remade as an animated ABC special by Rankin/Bass in 1978 starring Walter Matthau as Scrooge, with the same songs. There was no soundtrack album, though a promotional LP that tied in with the 1978 show was released by the "Alcoa Singers."

Some of the 1956 arrangements on the Columbia album always sounded very Rankin/Bass to me, with the sweeping violins (that sound like Rudolph taking off). It turns out, as Tutti himself recalled, that longtime R/B arranger/conductor Maury Laws may have worked with Camarata on the arrangements, by coincidence! Anyway, it's really worth a listen I had given up hope that it would ever make it to CD. What a great gift!








Making Mouse Tracks for the EMP in Seattle
Blog
Posted on Oct 12 2006 by Greg and Tim

The biggest event in Disney music history
kicked off last November 3-5, when virtually the entire staff of Walt Disney Records joined an illustrious group of legends from Disney films and records, celebrated historians and throngs of fans for the kickoff of "The Music Behind the Magic" exhibit at Seattle's Experience Music Project.

The lilting voice of "The Little Mermaid," Jodi Benson, was the star attraction at the gala kickoff ceremony. She gathered all the children together and led them in a medley of Disney tunes including her signature "Part of Your World."

It was my privilege to lead several panel presentations, including one featuring the "Voice of Hollywood," Miss Marni Nixon, whose bestselling memoirs are on sale here.

Recently-crowned Disney Legend Ginny Tyler talked about touring Disneyland with Walt himself. She even brought along her Legends trohy -- which is too big for her to carry!

Robert Tieman, of the Walt Disney Archives, was instrumental in bringing rare items to the exhibit. He was also signing copies of his new interactive book, "The Disney Keepsakes".

Disney historians abounded, from writer/producer Jeff Kurtti (see his new book "Disney Dossiers" here), effervescent artist Stacia Martin, to Les Perkins, who founded Disney Character Voices, and Paula Sigman-Lowery, who launched the Disney Collector's Society.

Never-before heard Disney songs that were cut from well-known films were introduced by Disney artist Russell Schroeder and sung for the first time by composer Michael Silversher, who joined Patty Silversher for a look at what it's like to write songs for Disney.

This joint event by the EMP, Walt Disney Records, and the Seattle "MountainEars" chapter of the NFFC was a huge success, and the exhibit will start touring late in 2007.

To see if Experience Music Project will be taking "The Music Behind the Magic" to your town, click here.









Thank you, Mr. Sherman!
Blog
Posted on Jul 06 2006 by Greg and Tim
“It's just wonderful! What a great and lasting tribute to the wonderful people who created and marketed those “mouse tracks.” (Great title!!!)” - Oscar-winning Mary Poppins composer/lyricist/screenwriter RICHARD M. SHERMAN






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