The Mason Williams Phonograph Record

The Mason Williams Phonograph Record

by Mason Williams

Overview

Producer Mike Post and composer Mason Williams packed all sorts of experiments into this half-hour listening experience called The Mason Williams Phonograph Record, and though there are some interesting moments from the clever singer, it is the instrumental masterpiece "Classical Gas" that displays the highest level of creativity. The 45 rpm was a number one adult contemporary hit in the summer of 1968 while the award-winning artist was writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. It became so successful that Williams has a separate website with everything one could want to know about the tune linked to his own www.masonwilliams-online.com. It won Grammys in 1968 for composition, performance, and Mike Post's arrangement, and maybe because of its huge popularity, it feels out of place in the context of this concept disc. The 27 seconds of folksy banter that make up "Life Song" or the "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" riff that is all 30 seconds of "Dylan Thomas" are disposable bridges between musical elements that matter, the closing instrumental "Sunflower" -- part of a film project where the songwriter "set up cameras in the desert" to capture "the largest flower ever done" -- a skywriting airplane drawing underneath the rising sun. Stan Cornyn's always difficult liner notes explain it, but not as well as the photo of the plane on the back cover. "Wanderlove" emulates Simon & Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter" without the flamenco guitar -- the artist saved that for "Classical Gas" -- and it appears the folksinging duo was a major inspiration to him in the development of this project. Al Capps' arrangement of "Baroque-a-Nova" is noteworthy --- sounding like the Bob Crewe Generation on speed, and a candidate for a much better segue after the hit than the downer that is "Long Time Blues." A politically incorrect "The Prince's Panties" is another excessive track, showing that Warner Brothers Seven Arts allowed the team many indulgences. It paid off as there are a couple of gems and one diamond found when sifting through The Mason Williams Phonograph Record's rough.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/25/1990
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
UPC: 0075992716925
catalogNumber: 1729

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mason Williams   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Lyle Ritz   Bass,Electric Bass,Upright Bass
James Burton   Guitar
Mike Deasy   Guitar
Jim Gordon   Drums
Tommy Scott   Woodwind
Israel Baker   Violin
Harry Bluestone   Violin
Hoyt Bohannon   Trombone
Gary Coleman   Percussion
Jesse Ehrlich   Cello
Gene Estes   Percussion
Carl Fortina   Accordion
Jimmy Getsoff   Violin
James Getzoff   Violin
Jack Gootkin   Violin
Jim Horn   Woodwind
Armand Karpoff   Cello
George Kast   Violin
Jerome Kessler   Cello
Larry Knechtel   Bass,Piano,Electric Bass
William Kurash   Violin
Richard Leith   Trombone
Lew McCreary   Trombone
Emanuel Moss   Violin
Stanley Plummer   Violin
Jerome Reisler   Violin
Ralph Schaeffer   Violin
Sid Sharp   Violin
Robert Sushel   Violin
Tibor Zelig   Violin
Dick Hyde   Trombone
Gayle Levant   Harp
Joseph Ditullio   Cello
Michael Melvoin   Piano
Johnny Vidor Strings   Violin
David Bennett Cohen   Guitar
Sidney Sharp   Violin
David Burk   Violin
Bobby Korda   Violin
Casey   Guitar
Bob West   Bass,Electric Bass
David Duke   French Horn,Tuben
William Hinshaw   French Horn,Tuben

Technical Credits

Mason Williams   Arranger,Composer
Mike Post   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown   Composer
Capps   Arranger
Duke Ellington   Composer
Phil Kaye   Sound Effects
Michael Lietz   Engineer
Stan Cornyn   Liner Notes
Ed Thrasher   Art Direction

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