Norman Petty

Original Norman Petty Trio & Ensemble, Vol. 1

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There are 15 tracks dating from 1951-1954 by either the Norman Petty Trio or the essentially similar (with added vocalist Georgiana Veit) Norman Petty Ensemble on this compilation. It is mainstream vocal pop music of the period, given its main distinction of the swelling organ, which will strike many modern listeners as extremely dated and corny. For those very reasons, it might attract some fans of the sort of lounge-mood music that can't be re-created, now that such instruments are no longer made. In truth, the organ sounds like the kind of music that used to play during intermission at the cinema in the first half of the 20th century, sometimes with a faint layer of funereality. Norman Petty wrote only a few of the cuts here, which largely stick to interpretations of popular standards, polkas, sambas, and a bit of country & western ("Jambalaya" and "Hey! Good Lookin'"). All are arranged so that they might be played at hotel lounges and tea rooms without raising an eyebrow. There's no specific release information in the track listings, and as Petty's first commercial recording wasn't released until 1953 (according to the liner notes on The Original Norman Petty Trio & Ensemble Vol. 2), one could reasonably assume that some of these songs were previously unreleased. There's little qualitative difference between the two volumes, but if one must choose between them, Vol. 1 should get the nod, as it includes their most successful recording "Mood Indigo."

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