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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

CD REVIEW - Laurel and Hardy Laughtoons - Volume One

Laurel and Hardy Laughtoons Volume One
Music by composers
Screen Archives SAE-CRS-016 (US)
11 Tracks 72:55 mins

Prepare for a nostalgia overload! If your golden memory cup wasn't already flowing over following FSM's release of music from the Tom & Jerry cartoons, this release of music for the Laurel and Hardy TV shorts will certainly cause a major overflow.
In 1971, Richard Feiner, owner of the Laurel and Hardy silent short subjects library, created seven minute condensations of the great comedy pairing's silent classics, made back in the 1920s, thus exposing them to a whole new audience. I certainly remember them running almost endlessly on UK TV when I was young, and spent many very happy moments in their company.
The music for these shorts was overseen by the late George Korngold, son of the famous composer Erich (The Adventures of Robin Hood et al), and was composed bythe likes of Fred Steiner, Ruby Raksin, Jeff Alexander and Lyn Murray, with orchestrations by such asTony Bremner, the late Christopher Palmer and John W. Morgan, all familiar names to soundtrack collectors.
Suites from nine of these shorts are presented on this album, some of which are actually longer than the shorts themselves, designed to represent the original theatrically-released shorts they were drawn from.
The music is of a similar, slightly jazzy, nature to that of the Tom & Jerry cartoons, though obviously more of a '20s slant. As with T & J, the composers also incorporate familiar tunes of the time or before, along with popular classics like The William Tell overture and The Barber of Seville. Of course there are plenty of pratfalls and frantic chases along the way, as well as more whimsical scoring.
Some of the suites commence with brief dialogue extracts and the disc begins and ends with (what else) the familiar "Dance of the Cuckoos" by T. Marvin Hatley, albeit re-orchestrated by pianist-composer Stuart Oderman, resident pianist at the time of the New York Founding Tent of the Sons of the Desert, the international Laurel and Hardy organization.
The accompanying booklet features many stills from the featured shorts, plus album co-producer Ray Faiola's notes, which include a brief guide to each short and its music.
For further details and to hear some audio samples, go to Can't wait for Volume Two!


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