The Andrew Oldham Orchestra - East Meets West
CD, Album, Reissue, Remastered, Japan, 2013 (originally released in 1965)
This is a super interesting album due that Andrew Loog Oldham has a fascination with American pop, and here he puts his focus on his love for both The Four Seasons and The Beach Boys. For me, this is what made the Rolling Stones so noteworthy during the Oldham/Brian Jones years -the mix of R n’ B with the love of contemporary pop. Keith Richards spoke of the love of the blues, but with the Stones, in this time period, it was the crazy mixture of their original passion and the hit parade of that time.
Oldham was probably one of the first pop people to worship the brain of Brian Wilson, and the whole orchestra idea of his comes from a mixture of Wilson and the classic Phil Spector era, which were happening at the time of these recordings. Now we get homages to artists or a sound many years after the original recording, but Oldham and company paid their respects almost instantly when these hits were on the pop charts.
The Four Seasons was masterminded by member Bob Gaudio and the Season’s record producer Bob Crewe. Both of these men crafted, wrote and produced the New Jersey aesthetic as it happened. Oldham’s appreciation sort of goes behind the Wizard’s curtain to look at how they work. The Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra is a great deal a tribute to the men behind the sound booth with the engineer.
The music here touches on the greatness of the Beach Boys and The Four Seasons, but the purpose could be meant for various reasons. Since both artists were popular at the time, it could be seen as a cash-in to what was happening in the charts at the time, but I think a lot of it has to do with Oldham’s love for the medium of pop stardom, pop record making, and the vision of the guy in the studio who conducts and makes the music. It is also about image, so there is a visual aspect to this narrative as well.
This Japanese issued CD has both mono and stereo mixes, and there are differences between them with respect to sound and even mood. Again, the best $28 I have spent on a recording.