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Ray Martin & His Orchestra, Dynamica cover
Ray Martin & His Orchestra, Dynamica, 1961

“Stereo Action. The sound your eyes can follow.” is what it reads on the left hand side of the cover of Ray Martin & His Orchestra’s 1961 album “Dynamica”. Over 20 years ago, a friend gave me a cassette he was listening to (thanks Derek!) onto which he had recorded an album he had found at a thrift store, which I never saw. For over 20 years, I’ve wondered what the origin, or rather the identity of this album could be. It has a very 60s-ish Martin Denney space-age sort of sound to it, with lots of over the top stereo placement and panning. Over the years, I’d pieced together the titles of several of the tracks on the album by doing Google searches for the lyrics in the songs I didn’t recognize. The song “Shadrack” was an obvious choice due to that word being the only lyrics in the piece. Also included were “Indian Summer”, “Malaguena”, “Lullaby of the Leaves”, “Cry Me a River”, “Mood Indigo”, “Stormy Weather”, and with no lyrics, “Flight of the Bumblebee”. The main problem was that for a long time that was all I had, and most of the songs were composed by other folks and had been recorded by lots of various folks. This morning I was importing the long-ago-recorded-to-mp3 version of my tracks, under the album titled “50’s Music Cassette” as my friend had written “50’s music” on the cassette originally, when the thought struck me to look up all the song titles in Google. For some reason it hadn’t occurred to me to do this before and I hadn’t listened to it in a long time, so I just plugged in the 8 track titles I knew, and out came… Ray Martin & His Orchestra, Dynamica, recorded originally in 1961.

Ironically, the album isn’t hard to find. It is available in a few versions on Google Music and Apple Music, including “Dynamica Remastered” – so it was sitting there the whole time waiting for me to find it. Also kind of funny, I had the sides reversed, so the first tracks in my digitized version are actually side 2 of the original album. All the tracks are great, but one of my favorites turns out to be called Humoresque, which has these crazy high-pitched human giggling and whooping sounds throughout. Check it out online or in stores or better yet, on the original vinyl if you can find it. Despite finding out its true identity and the better recordings online, I think I’ll continue listening to the digitized cassette recorded version I’ve been listening to for 20 years, with all its crackle and muffle and fuzz…