I got into some detail on those Mercury "Perfect Presence" and "f:35d" series in my presentation
about the 35mm Fad at the ARSC conference in Rochester. To be honest, those Mercury series were
me-too competitive reactions to the success of Command Records' "Persuasive Percussion,"
"Provacative Percussion," etc. It's not overstating to say that those Command hits totally shook up
the pop music business for a while, and all the labels came out with one version of me-too or
another. The Fennell records were more non-similar than other Mercury pop records of that time,
because they were produced by the classical department rather than the pop guys. I would also call
the Mercury "pop-ish" records by Quincy Jones ("Around The World With Quincy Jones") and Billy Byers
to be more jazz than "stereo showoff pop" like the rest of the me-too crowd.
Here's a good summary of the Mercury PPS/f:35d series:
I have some of the titles in the list where Kohji doesn't have photos, I will send him scans for the
website. By the way, nothing beats Kohji's website for all things Mercury labelography and cover
Regarding Richard Hayman, he was an interesting cat. He started out making pure "adult pop" records
and arranging things like TV music and commercial ad music. He got more far afield with Mercury. His
album "Havana In HiFi" was one of the first "stereo showoff" 2-track tapes that Mercury released in
1956. It was recorded at Capitol NYC and holds up as a good Latin pop album to this day. In 1960 or
so, he made an album at Fine Recording called "Voodoo," which included real-deal Haitian "witch
doctor" drummers performing an allegedly real voodoo ceremony. In the late 60's, he made a
Latin-tinged Moog record for Command, also recorded at Fine Recording. He made other pop records for
Mercury at my father's studio. One of the old artifacts I dig having is the Hayman-autographed first
pressing of "Voodoo," with the inscription - "Bob, here's to more firsts in the new studio." I
assume he was talking about the first (and only) time a voodoo ceremony was performed in the
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Burnham" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2015 12:42 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury Living Pr esence Marcel Dup r é Box Set
Thanks for setting me straight; I was obviously in error about the Herbert CD, and I've always
respected Richard Hayman's work, but that doesn't change my impression that the "March of the Toys"
would have been best left with Herbert's orchestration. But since you've pointed out one error, I'm
going to re-visit it and see if I still feel the same way. My comments about the superior recording
I was always a fan of the Mercury big band type of recordings, like"10 trombones like two pianos"; I
don't know whether these were Fine recordings or not but I thought they were great Hi-Fi demo
Sent from my iPhone
> On Oct 7, 2015, at 8:30 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Dave:
> Fennell Conducts Victor Herbert was arranged by Richard Hayman. The others (Gershwin and Porter)
> were arranged by Rayburn Wright. Here is an interesting bio of Ray Wright written by Donald
> Hunsberger, who was the other long-term leader of the Eastman Wind Ensemble:
> The Gershwin and Porter albums were originally released as one CD. The Herbert was transferred but
> never released. I found the DAT transfer and Andy Walter did some really good nip and tuck
> mastering on it.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Dave Burnham" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, October 07, 2015 6:17 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury Living Pr esence Marcel Dupr é Box Set
> Well Tom, my copy should arrive in a week or so and I'm certainly hoping I can echo Richard's
> praise when I get it. I have also recorded countless pipe organs and I recognize that while I have
> never tried the technique myself, the MLP recording method should be ideal for organ recordings.
> I'm encouraged by the comments about the subway because any attempt to get rid of subway rumble
> would probably rob the recording of the essential 32 foot sounds. I have listened to organ
> recitals in churches near subways and they haven't reduced my enjoyment of the concerts at all.
> Perhaps we are more tolerant of that which we cannot change.
> But to throw you another complement, I believe the MLP vol.3 box is a flawless mastering job! I
> don't know if my memory is faulty and that they are the same masterings as the early '90s releases
> but they had a thrilling impact on me. My only complaint was that I got weary of the arranger on
> the Porter, Gershwin and Herbert CDs, (I've forgotten his name). I was particularly incensed that
> he would re-orchestrate the "March of the Toy Soldiers" from "Babes in Toyland". Victor Herbert
> was a superb orchestrater and I don't think there was any need not to use his arrangements of
> instrumental numbers. That's just my opinion, (and I'm NOT a musician). However it was very
> interesting to hear a Fine studio recording not using the normal Fine set-up. I think he trumped
> most other studio recordings of that kind of material mainly because of his experience with the 3
> mike configuration.
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Oct 7, 2015, at 5:29 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Thanks Richard! This makes me feel good, to get a good report from someone who's actually heard
>> and recorded a bunch of pipe organs. As you'll hear, the French organs sound very different from
>> Aeolian-Skinners. I was amazed at the trippy sounds Dupre was able to get out of the
>> Saint-Sulpice instrument in particular. Check out CD4 cuts 2-12 CD7 cut 7. That's in the Moog
>> league of trippy sounds from an analog instrument.
>> Regarding the subway, highly annoying! It was the story behind the dozens of splices in fragile
>> acetate tapes. Oy.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Wednesday, October 07, 2015 4:33 PM
>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Mercury Living Presence Marcel Dupré Box Set
>> Hi, Tom,
>> I received the Marcel Dupré Box Set a couple of days ago from Amazon.CA
>> for a very reasonable price. I had used their low-price pre-order system
>> and received a substantial reduction from the originally quoted price.
>> I'm very happy.
>> All I can say is FANTASTIC! I haven't even gotten into the Paris and
>> Rouen recordings yet, just have spent time with the St. Thomas and Ford
>> The fact that the St. Thomas recordings were made a year after the
>> rebuilding of the organ by G. Donald Harrison--a project that
>> precipitated his death--means this is a very important milestone
>> recording of one of the great examples of Aeolian-Skinner organ building
>> at its peak, played by one of the great organists of all time.
>> As you have noted, a flood damaged that shortly after the recording was
>> made and the Gilbert Adams renovations to the organ have not fared well
>> and also, as you have noted, a MAJOR renovation is in the works,
>> although the leading light behind that renovation, Dr. John Scott, the
>> replacement for the late Dr. Gerre Hancock (my friend and mentor), has
>> also died, unexpectedly at a young age.
>> I am very impressed with the sound that the Mercury team obtained on the
>> St. Thomas recordings, having recorded the later incarnation of that
>> organ many times, including for a record released in the past on my own
>> label, featuring Dr. Judith Hancock performing Mozart and Dupré. I need
>> to check if the precise same pieces are on my recording and the MLP set.
>> That will be a fun comparison. Judith is a superb organist.
>> I do appreciate the Saint Saëns Organ Symphony and it is interesting to
>> compare the new CD version to the Box Set #2 version. I will, at some
>> point, do a careful comparison, but for now, I've just enjoyed
>> listening. Marvellous!
>> I also became enthralled reading the diary excerpts in the book. Totally
>> fascinating. Your mother made quite the impression on Mme. Dupré. And
>> yes, the subway is one of the main non-joys of recording at St. Thomas.
>> The cost of ameliorating that is phenomenal. While in theory it could be
>> done, the price prohibits it.
>> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.