2003   MARCH 6   #065

The Harry Sands Orchestra - Intro/Just You And I/Circle Dance-Hokey Pokey


The bulk of this material was recorded live at a wedding reception somewhere in Northern New Jersey, sometime in the mid-1980s. The band hired for the occasion was the Harry Sands Orchestra, Mr. Sands being the drummer, lead vocalist, and MC. The other players are unknown.

This tape succeeds and enlightens on a number of levels. For one thing, it does take you right there, to a real New Jersey wedding reception, giving you every important element, from the intro of the bride and groom through the ‘Hokey Pokey" (and Sands" brilliant "everybody coicle, make a grea-big coicle'), right down to the signoff and the band actually congratulating itself on a job well done! Also, it gloriously allows Mr. Sands to reveal his full credentials as an musical ‘outsider", both behind the drum kit and on the microphone. It also includes everything that give wedding bands a bad name: the corny (and demeaning) patter, the complete lack of real groove and taste, the horns blaring continuously over and through vocals, the rhythm section guys throwing needless jazz quotes in whenever possible, the hideous quality of the vocals themselves, the botched-up lyrics (especially Sands, who sounds like he is near seizure in trying to remember some of the words), and much more.

There are two remarkable elements to think about here. One is that, out of all the great bands available in this part of the country, these people chose and elected to hire Harry Sands of their own free will, and no doubt pay him a princely sum. They certainly had access to quality bands, and could preview them easily via their gigs, live showcases, or video, but this is the direction they chose. And, sadly, it points up the fact that if you get enough drinks into anybody, the quality of the entertainment becomes less important, as witnessed by the fact that, despite the music, it seems as if a good time was had by all. Now, you can have the same good time that the attendees of Joseph and Elizabeth"s Wedding had, only in a slightly different way.

- Hoppy Stone

TT-7:38 / 7MB / 128kbps 44.1khz