Today’s music video is Who’s In The Strawberry Patch With Sally and the song is performed here by the American band leader, Ray Conniff, with his orchestra and singers.
This video was posted to You Tube by philsmusic1000
When you think of big bands, you go back to the 1940’s and earlier and think that was the era for that. However, they continued right to this day really, only in a slightly different format, but still basically the same as they always were.
Last week my Sunday Music Post was on the Marty Robbins song A White Sports Coat. In that Post, I mentioned that Marty had specifically asked for Ray Conniff to do the arranging and provide the musical backing and the harmony vocals. Ray Conniff was the in house arranger for Columbia Records, and it would surprise you to know how many of those artists contracted to Columbia back then used those Ray Conniff singers and orchestra as backing for their hits at that time. Working in that position for Columbia also gave him the opportunity to release his own easy listening music albums, where he would arrange modern hit music into that easy listening format, and use his own pretty large orchestra and also his large group of harmony vocalists as well.
All up, Conniff released almost a hundred of these original albums, an enormous volume of work really. While using popular songs, he also wrote almost 60 original songs himself. He had Number One albums in the U.S. as well as in the UK, and in the U.S. his major chart successes were on the Adult Contemporary Charts. where in fact he had a Number One Single, a vocal arrangement of Lara’s Theme from the film Doctor Zhivago, and that vocal version of the song was titled Somewhere My Love, a song which also charted near the Top Ten on the mainstream music charts as well. He also has another five songs go into the Top Ten on that Adult Contemporary Chart.
Now, while I am only mentioning Ray Conniff here, there were quite a large number of these band leaders all doing similar Music, and some of the biggest names in that genre were Percy Faith, Andre Kostalenetz, James Last, Paul Mauriat, and Bert Kaempfert, to mention just five others from a large group of those big bands.
For no particular reason, I have chosen the song for today as Who’s In The Strawberry Patch With Sally, the Levine and Brown composition which Tony Orlando and Dawn took into the Top Ten in 1973. If you listen closely, you’ll notice that the song is a little risque, but even in those days, they could get away with a lot of pretty risque subjects in song.
What you might notice is that the big band sound is there as well as a large group of harmony vocalists. Conniff was known to use a lot of instruments in his large orchestra, something easily done in a large recording studio where he was the Senior Arranger. At times he even used as many as eight male and eight female vocalists as well, to give a much fuller vocal sound, and he had a list most times of 12 female and 13 male vocalists, sometimes using them all.
The image above is that of the album which included this song, The Way We Were, released in 1973. As you can see, it includes the image of a pretty young woman, a virtual standard thing on all Ray Conniff albums from across the years.
He sold quite literally millions of albums, both in the U.S. and around the World as well. He was still recording albums well into the 1990’s when he was well into his 70’s and older, and he passed away in 2002 at the age of 85. All up he had a recording career of almost 45 plus years, an astounding time for any artist.