Five centuries, seven languages, and six singers with 35 years of remarkable experience inform this rare collection of choral music. In the world-renowned King's Singers resplendent voices, ancient and modern choral music comes to life with all the blazing immediacy and timeliness of the gospel of the nativity. With 25 pieces of music–ranging from familiar works such as "Coventry Carol" to the obscure Tchaikovsky piece "The Crown of Roses"–the King's Singers move through this hallowed and festive set with the vocal mastery that only three-and-a-half decades of accomplished work together is capable of creating. A number of contemporary carols written in the last century by composers such as John McCabe, Philip Lawson, John Rutter, and others are balanced by pieces by Bach and a host of traditional works. Lawson's "You Are the New Day," performed with a string quartet, stands out as one of the more notable performances. Like most of their music throughout Christmas, it reminds listeners that the art of music often interprets divine aspects gladly realized here on Earth.
Prelude was a successful match of McDuff's small-combo organ jazz with big band arrangements by Benny Golson. In part, that was because the blend was well-executed, never fighting with or drowning out McDuff's organ. But it was also because the mixture made it stand out amidst the scads of organ jazz records being churned out in the early '60s. While a very young George Benson was in the core quartet on guitar, a dozen others supplemented the players, including trumpets, trombones, French horns, and saxophones.
Philwit & Pegasus is an epic in search of a narrative or gripping theme, not to mention decent pop songs. The quite detailed and lengthy historical liner notes on the CD reissue of this rarity give the impression that principal creator Mark Wirtz thought he was devising an arty song cycle of sorts, or a movie on record. What it sounds like, however, is a collection of fairly unrelated unexceptional pop songs, decorated by occasionally ambitious grandiose instrumentation that sometimes puts it as close to easy listening as to pop/rock. The influence of the most Baroque elements of the Beach Boys and late-'60s California sunshine pop can be felt at times (particularly on "My What a Lovely Day It's Been"), as can (on "Yoyo Thoughts") early mellow laid-back L.A. country-folk-rock. The 2003 CD reissue on RPM adds four bonus tracks.
Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. of AMG wrote of the lager 8 disc set: Time-Life's The Folk Years is a massive survey of folk, pop-folk, and folk-rock from the 1950s and 1960s spread out over eight discs. At 15 songs per CD – equaling 120 total – this chronicle offers a healthy sampling of popular folk music covering dozens of known and forgotten singers and bands. The emphasis of the collection is on popular folk and popular music influenced by folk, meaning that most of the songs here charted. This emphasis also gives The Folk Years a broader appeal than the average folk revival compilation, making it as fun as it is educational.