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Mel Henke - La Dolce Henke
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Warner Bros. Records WS 1472

The Lively Ones
Walkin' My Baby Back Home
The Twisters
Let's Put Out the Lights
Open the Door, Richard!
Farmer John

Last Night on the Back Porch
It's So Nice to Have a Man Around The House
All That Meat
You're Driving Me Crazy
Baby, It's Cold Outside
Woman in Space

 

IF YOU'VE BEEN WONDERING what Hollywood does when the lights are turned down low, here's the answer: Hollywood plays "La Dolce Henke." This new party game has captured such personalities (you'll hear their voices on this album) as Herschel Bernardi, Mel Blanc, Gloria Wood, Doris Drew, Beverly Ford, Ardeen de Camp and Peggy Taylor. Jud Conlon's singers also join in. They, together with their leader, composer-arranger-conductor Mel Henke, have come up with a sound-filled set of twelve intriguing musical sketches of a subject that concerns everyone between the ages of 12 and 72 (in Hollywood, those age limits are somewhat extended).

The fertile imagination that developed these musical extravagances—Mel Henke—is one of those elite of the entertainment world whose highly skilled talents in music have made him a youthful legend. One listen to the pyrotechnical arrangements on this album will show why Henke is what he is: just about the most in-demand arranger for professional and commercial recordings today (he is, for instance, the man who brought exciting musical arrangements to television commercials with his revolutionary spots for Chevrolet).

To record this unique album, Henke had at his baton some of the most swinging musicians in Hollywood. Four blowing trumpets belong to Bobby Guy, Shorty Sherock, Leonard Mack, and Tony Terran. The trombones: Moe Schneider, Jim Henderson, Bill Schaefer, and George Oliver. John Mayhew and Morris Bercov handled reeds, while Bob Reed was on bass. Elliott Fisher played his unique electronic violin on Woman in Space, while Beverly Ford demonstrates her unique four octave range on this selection. Percussionists were Larry Bunker, Johnny Cyr, and Milt Holland. Holland should receive an extra nod for blowing not only drums but footsteps, Mason jar, and some other unusual instruments.

With this calibre of an orchestra, swinging is axiomatic. The basic musical tracks are enough to warrant a full album to themselves. But Henke, being the kind of person he is, does more. With a full set of Hollywood's most provocative voices (often the familiar but unknown sort that peddle you products over television), Henke swings his arrangements into even more delightful areas through the use of these voices. Each track tells a story—or perhaps two stories, as Henke often slips in an O'Henry twist toward the last few bars of each number.

Actually, this sort of creative album making destroys categorization. It, just like Henke, is in a class all by itself. For this is, indeed, a most dolce sort of album. Perhaps not one you'll want to pass along to your grandchildren. But you'll be surprised in how much spryness this will bring out in your own grandmother. You, too. 


THE COVER PHOTO, which was taken in Hollywood, of course, depicts San Francisco radio personality Tom Donahue, radio station KYA, San Francisco, surrounded by four girls who heard he was in show business.  Sid Avery, Professional Photographer, arranged it all.