Ray Conniff


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Ray Conniff rushed out his second album of 1968, completing the third and last recording session for it on Monday, April 8, and issuing the completed LP before the end of the month, if reference sources are to be believed. It's not clear what the rush was for, except that the arranger/conductor was on a hot streak, with It Must Be Him, issued in January, on its way to gold-record status. Like that album, this one was credited to Conniff and the Singers, a mixed vocal chorus that rendered song lyrics in a relentlessly perky style. The selections were all covers of pop hits from 1964-1968, among them the maudlin title track, which hit number one for Bobby Goldsboro the week Conniff recorded it. The chorus' upbeat style wasn't really appropriate to the song, and it was also at odds with the sentiments of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Theme From 'Valley of the Dolls'," and particularly "Sounds of Silence," songs containing reflective and sometimes bitter reflections in keeping with the turbulent times of the '60s. That didn't matter to Conniff, of course; he simply borrowed identifiable musical elements from the original recordings (the harpsichord on "Love Is Blue," the twangy electric guitar on "Sounds of Silence") to remind listeners of what they'd heard on the radio, and directed the chorus to sing the lyrics as if they were on a Mitch Miller session, no matter what the words might portend. Fans of the original songs may have found the results disconcerting on occasion, but Conniff was aiming at a less-discerning audience that could have hummed along when hearing the songs on the radio without paying close attention to the words. And he hit the bull's-eye once again; Honey went on to earn him another gold-record certification.

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