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Space Age Music Maker

Frank Barber


Frank Barber's work ranges all over the place. At one end of the spectrum you find albums like Hi-Fi Dinner Music, a mild and undistinguished slice of mood music, and When the Guards are on Parade, a tribute to London dripping with Britannic nostalgia. At the other end, you find Deep Percussion, a hippy-dippy delight of now sounds featuring a great cover of Piero Umiliani's "Mah-Na, Mah-Na," (originally heard on the soundtrack of "Sweden: Heaven and Hell," but etched into our memories as the music to which Benny Hill chased countless scantily-clad "birds"). Originally recorded as Happy Percussion in the U.K. and produced by Norrie Paramor, Deep Percussion was one of the last percussion showcase albums of the Space Age Pop era.

Barber was the lead A&R man for British label, Oriole, in the mid-1960s. When seen against the whole of his career, his percussion albums appear to be anomalies, for they are bracketed by a string of unrepentently-middlebrow albums. After Deep Percussion, Barber seems to have specialized in catering to swing-era nostalgia, with albums like Hits of the 30s and Hooked on Glenn Miller.


Recordings

  • Hi-Fi Dinner Music, Capitol T-10082
  • When the Guards are on Parade, Columbia (UK) 33SX1193
  • Room 504, Columbia (UK) 33SX1233
  • Swinging Percussion, Studio Two TWO 127
  • Percussion in Colour, Studio Two TWO 203
  • Melodic Percussion, Capitol ST 2794
  • Deep Percussion, Polydor 24-4508
  • Glenn Miller Medley, JDC Records JDC0078
  • Hooked on the Big Bands, Victory Records VIC702
  • Now's the Time, Haynes Records HS1002
  • Big Bands are Back!, Sugar Hill SH9231
  • Salute to the Big Bands, Pulse CD


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