Sunday, November 14, 2010

Monty Kelly

“Easy Listening” is pretty much a category that’s disappeared into the mists of time. Well wait, that’s not entirely true. We have Michael Bublé, but he’s a singer. The vocal variety is still around, getting a kind of weird revival every so often, but the instrumental kind, if it’s still there, I’m not aware of it.

It’s the kind of music our parents listened to, Mantovani, Lawrence Welk, Ray Conniff, Percy Faith, Hugo Winterhalter, Paul Mauriat, all of whom had top 40 singles. We called it elevator music, because it so resembled the Muzak that was played in elevators, office buildings, department stores.

One of the most ubiquitous of easy listening ensembles was 101 Strings, and we will get to them specifically later, but they had dozens of LPs over a few decades. One of their arrangers was Monty Kelly. Before his involvement with said orchestra, though, he made recordings under his own name. Only one ever made the charts.

Monty Kelly:

Summer Set – This bears a more than passing resemblance to some of what Billy Vaughn was up to in his prime. The title evokes images of women in straw hats, wearing cotton skirts and sitting at tables on terraces, sipping cocktails, with the ocean in the background, and the men in light suits, slightly Latin looking, and… ok never mind. This is from the spring of 1960, his only hit.

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