Switched On Santa
1. Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer 2:13
2. Jingle Bells 1:43
3. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 2:02
4. Tijuana Christmas 1:59
5. My Favorite Things 2:23
6. The Little Drummer Boy 4:56
7. Christmas Bells 1:51
8. White Christmas 2:51
9. Joy To The World 1:05
10. When Christmas Comes 4:29
11. Angels We Have Heard On High 1:42
12. Silent Night 2:06
13. What Child Is This 2:04
Electronic Music Engineered By Jean Jacques Perrey
Music Arrangements By Sy Mann
Produced by “Bugs” Bower
Executive Producer — Joe Abend
Recording & Mixing Engineer – Frank Abbey
The Clavinet and Cembalet sounds heard on this
album are musical instruments — Courtesy of
M. Honer, Inc. Hicksville, N.Y.
Sy Mann showed his eariiest musical talent at age 6 when he began to correct mistakes, made by his older sister who was then a cello student, by reaching up to the keyboard of the family player-piano and striking the “right note”. His parents took him to a piano instructor when he was 7 and in a short time it was discovered that he possessed absolute pitch. During public school assemblies he gave demonstrations of this phenomenon to the applause and wonder of his classmates and teachers. He continued his music education at NYU. Excelling in his music studies, Sy was elected to membership in the National Honorary music fraternity, PHI MU ALPHA SINFONIA and, later, held the post of student president of the music department of NYU School of Education. Back in civilian life after almost 4 years of service, Sy returned to NYU for his B.S. degree in Music Education, now a married man and father of a baby boy. Not particularly desirous of entering the teaching field, Sy continued with performing engagements, playing for most of show business’ top acts as well as stints with the bands of Alvino Ray and Benny Goodman. In 1949 he entered the radio field as staff pianist and arranger for New York’s top independent station WNEW. He then established himself in the recording, jingle and film music fields. In 1954 he joined the CBS music staff and currently is pianist-arranger on the Arthur Godfrey Show where he doubles on trumpet, vibraphone, clavietta, electric harpsichord and other assorted keyboard instruments. He has contributed his talents to numerous stars like Barbra Streisand, Tiny Tim, Sammy Davis, Connie Francis.
Anybody who plays piano can play The Moog Synthesizer. It is a computer like instrument with a piano keyboard. Since only one note sounds at a time to make music one needs a multi-track tape recorder to record each line of music separately. An electronic engineer is needed not only for the circuitry but also to program the millions of different sound combinations available — also each time the sound is changed The Moog has to be tuned! It takes about one hour of recording time to produce 30 seconds of listenable music. In this album Sy takes the Moog Synthesizer and creates today’s electronic Christmas tree out of this new musical wonder. The Moog, a strange machine of lights, cords, inputs and outputs enters the festive world of the merriest season of all. It’s a wonderful gift for today’s caroleers. Sy Mann giftwraps all your Christmas favorites in the most exciting musical sound, and puts them under your glittering tree. Gift tagged to read “Merry Christmas from The Moog”
THOUGHTS FROM THE KING:
One reason I’m featuring this record is in honor of Robert Moog, who passed away this year and who invented that huge monstrosity behind Santa there on the cover. It’s that machine that’s making the lovely bleeps and bloops that make up the music on this record. It heralded quite a revolution in music, and I for one am appreciative of Mr. Moog’s unique ingenuity.This album is a great little curiosity. While in some ways it may sound somewhat cold and calculated, I think that it has plenty of spirit. It’s incredible to think that this was done entirely on a monophonic keyboard — only one note can sound at a time. In order to make all the chords, Mann had to record over his previous performances, playing one note in each chord at a time. It’s kind of insane to think about. Perhaps what makes it work is the fact that Mann was not really a “synth guy”. He was a pianist/organist/arranger and so the arrangements are actually fairly conservative. They could easily be duplicated on an old Wurlitzer organ and not change much. Because of this, the music is not spacey or sci-fi, but is instead more homey and contemporary (at least for 1970!). There is, however, some stylistic stretching and sonic adventurism, probably due to the influence of Jean Jacques Perrey, the man responisble for The In Sound From Way Out (and is, coincidentally, the man in the Santa suit on the cover!). Listen to the bridge of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town for some interesting sonic choices. And for some reason, several of the tracks on side two all begin with a few measures of We Wish You A Merry Christmas before settling down into their proper arrangements. Curious….
Well, enjoy this little introduction to the season, and give thanks to Bob Moog, a bit of the spirit of Christmas Past, Present and Future — all in one.