Ray Anthony

Dancing Over the Waves

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Dream dancing, star dancing, dancing over the waves -- Ray Anthony invoked a myriad of lulling images for his mood-music-for-dancing albums in the '50s and '60s: the ocean, the heavens, even the reverie induced by his own music. The evocative cover art, the romantic melodies, and the muted arrangements combined to create an idealized world of sentimentality and glamour. The cover of Dancing Over the Waves depicts a couple in formal evening attire dancing at dusk on the beach while behind them, the soft-focus sea foam dissolves into the clouds; the dancers' lightness of being is so exaggerated that their shoes make no impression in the moist sand. It's a brilliant, almost subliminal touch that exemplifies Anthony's mood music, which similarly works its magic via vague associations and subtle flourishes. The repertoire is central to sustaining the aura: "Romance," "Melody of Romance," "My Dream of Jeanie." There is no question that Anthony was a skilled musical Svengali, but he made a lot of albums like Dancing Over the Waves -- most of which are highly effective and enjoyable, but fairly interchangeable.