Amoeblog

Mort Garson 1924 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, January 14, 2008 06:58pm | Post a Comment

Every once in while you realize certain names are always appearing in the credits of old albums, and it’s a constant surprise. I was always astounded by how often I’d find Mort Garson's name, and on some of the most unlikely records. From Doris Day to Mel Torme to Glen Campbell, and all those albums of nice soft-pop vocals from the likes of The Letterman or the Sandpipers or the Glenn Yarborough record of Rod McKuen covers. And you would usually find Mort Garson conducting or arranging those safe but somewhat innocuous collections of ‘pop hits of the day’ by the Hollyridge Strings or the Sunset Strings. And if you’re lucky enough to find it, you’d see Mort Garson provided background music to Laurence Harvey reading poetry on Atlantic. And why do I think it’s so odd? Because whenever I think of Mort Garson I think of the legendary pioneer in electronic music, and not the multi-faceted, in demand arranger and conductor.

Mort Garson, who also co-wrote the classic "Our Day Will Come," died this past January 4th of renal failure in San Francisco. He was 83. Born July 20, 1924, in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, Garson attended the Juilliard School of Music. He was a pianist and arranger with dance orchestras before serving in Special Services during World War II and before moving onto Los Angeles and the pop music world. But it was his work as a composer using the then novel Moog synthesizer on a series of albums in the late 1960s and '70s that is his lasting claim to fame, especially to record collectors and electronica enthusiasts. These albums, especially the 1967 exotica classic, and influential, The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds,  established his cult following. The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds is one of the first electronic and psychedelic albums put out by Elektra Records.

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(In which Job answers fan-mail.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 4, 2007 12:00am | Post a Comment
I've been getting a lot of fan-mail from you readers lately, for which I am both humbled, grateful, and confused.

Confused because many, if not most, of your mail asks me which character from "Hill Street Blues" I most identify with.

First of all, this seems to me an absurdly obtuse line of questioning. As a reference for psychological profiling, the cast of some cop show from the 1980's, now lost in a sea of copycats and time, is hardly an adequate tool. It's as equally preposterous to me as say, concluding that I must be "really romantic, a good match for people born under the sign of Aquarius, and inclined to keep trophy-cuttings from those I kill," simply because I was born in the month of October.

While I appreciate that said TV show (the first two seasons of which are available on DVD at your local* Amoeba Music store) is chock full of humanity, likeable and endearing characters, realistic police procedure and deft dialogue, I balk at your insistence that I be summed by any one of its cast. I am unique! I am an individual!

It reminds me of the episode wherein Officer Joe Coffey tries to convince fellow officer, Lucy Bates, of his true feelings for her. She doesn’t believe him and by the end of the episode he gets shot. You see? It doesn’t pay to pigeon-hole.

Is this a veiled promotional spot for “Hill Street Blues”? Could I be so square? So out-of-touch or quaint?

Well, you can have all your so-called "reality TV". None of them glitter and sparkle with the luminousness of a young Veronica Hamel's glossy kisser...


...Come to think of it, she does kind of look like me...