David Carroll & His Orchestra

Let's Dance Again!

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Although David Carroll's string of easy listening orchestrated LPs in the '50s and '60s garnered him a reputation as a top-shelf arranger, he was concurrently working behind the scenes as the head of Artists and Repertoire (A&R) at Mercury Records, producing early rock & roll classics by the Diamonds, the Platters and the Smothers Brothers. After his Top 40 outing Let's Dance (1958), Carroll issued the follow-up, Let's Dance Again! (1960) to an even more enthusiastic reception, climbing all the way to number six during the first week of 1960. Modern consumers will be initially struck by the lightweight scores, conjuring comparisons to typical vintage elevator music. However, the incorporation of discreet stereophonics made Carroll's releases a coup for audiophiles -- whose selection of stereo discs was limited to sound effects and percussion-laden gimmickry. The instrumentalists were assembled out of the finest that Chicago had to offer, including major record studios and the Chicago Symphony. They collectively create what modern ears might regard as simple and ultimately insensate background sounds. But such a generalization dismisses some relatively excellent material, such as the cover of the Russ Conway hit "Side Saddle," the Ol' West ragtime "Hey! Chick," as well as the noir and boppin' "Swamp Fire." "Doodlin' Drummer" sports an uncredited lead from Elmo Tanner (whistling), perhaps indicating the tune might have been an unused cut from the monaural pressing of Let's Dance. After Carroll left Mercury Records in the mid-'60s, he continued a close association with the Smothers Brothers, working on both their television show and personal appearances.

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