There are many horrifying creatures to dress up as this Halloween night, and a few that are downright ghastly, but if you're good, and by all means sincere, then you're in luck. The Good Pumpkin will reward you with delectable musical treats. In fact, since you're here right now, that's proof enough of your goodness and sincerity, right?
Oh, hell no. So let's get on with the treats.
I know quite a few of you have crumb catchers, and while anyone below the age of fifteen is surely too young to watch a Hitchcock movie like, oh, let's say "Psycho," for example...
...they'll probably love "Strangers On A Train." And they also might enjoy "Alfred Hitchcock Presents 'Ghost Stories For Young People,'" a 1960 LP which is full of spo-o-o-oky tales, like "Johnny Takes Vanishing Lessons" and "The Open Window."
And yet the scariest part for kids - though the most fun for you - will likely be Hitchcock himself given his mucus-clogged, sonorous voice as he introduces each tale. Better yet, you can take these free-standing intros and secretly drop them into your kids' playlists. That'll really scare the stuffing out of them.
Just kidding, of course. Mwuahaha!
I don't think Halloween is complete without Vince Guaraldi, and on the 1968 LP "Oh Good Grief" even the melancholy "Great Pumpkin Waltz" is included, so how can you go wrong? Along with that Halloween theme, all of your favorite Guaraldi Peanuts jazz cuts are here - but with a bit of a twist.
In this instance, Guaraldi re-orchestrated his themes with electric guitar, harpshicord and a lot of other atypical instruments, or at least atypical to these pieces. We've all heard "Lucy and Linus Theme" a billion times before, but now it sounds fresh (and just slightly hippie-chick) (this is a good thing) (and no, that ain't a cigarette in his mouth).
More treats! Have you heard of "Lambert, Hendricks & Ross?" Lots of people haven't. I didn't know who they were till my Cuban Luvuh introduced me to them.
I guess you could call them sort of a precursor to "Manhattan Transfer," but they're more hard-core jazz than that, though I love both groups. They collaborated with the Count Basie Orchestra, amongst other jazz greats, and "High Flying," in which they perform with The Ike Isaacs Trio, won them a Grammy Award for Best Vocal Group Performance in 1962.
There's a lot to treasure here, like their take on "Cookin' At The Continental" and "A Night In Tunisia," to name just two standouts (the opening number, Blue," is gorgeous). Plus it's a super Cheerful Exclusive! too.
There's always a place for Herrmann on Halloween (try the "Shower" cue from "Psycho" when those li'l trick or treaters come knocking) (I did this once and my neighbor was appalled, I tell you, appalled) (the kids loved it). But then, really, Herrmann is for the ages. And in this age, specifically, there's a must-have, spanking new 14 CD overview of his work at Fox.
And, yes, it's a Cheerful Exclusive!, two CDs at a time. In the first two, there's the complete scores from "Jane Eyre" and "Anna And The King Of Siam," and they've both been restored to perfection from the original tracks (in "Jane Eyre's" case, for the first time). So take note, Herrmann-Heads, this collection is pour vous!
Me? I'd much rather have chocolate - but the good stuff.
Toss around some treats in the comments, if you like!