Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation/Mancini
September 15, 2012
Henry Mancini released an album on RCA called Our Man in Hollywood, part of a series of recordings by RCA artists, and it was on this LP that we heard “Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation.” Most of us realize that Mancini made separate studio recordings of his soundtracks to make them easier to listen to and as a result many of his recordings became top sellers for RCA. His orchestra consisted of some of the finest sideman that Hollywood had to offer. Being a trombone player I quickly learned all of the Ted Nash solos and could play most of them after a lot of practice. The album also introduced “Days of Wine and Roses,” another Oscar winner as well as the love theme from another Stewart film “The Glenn Miller Story,” called Too Little Time. Perhaps Mancini felt at the time that Hobbs, basically a monothematic soundtrack with lots of source material wasn’t worthy of its own release. It was an album that I quickly wore out as it also had Wishing Star (Waxman) and a wonderful new arrangement of Dreamsville, a favorite of mine originally introduced on the “Peter Gunn” platter. Several years ago Intrada released a 1500 limited edition recording of the complete soundtrack and it quickly sold out making this CD a must have if you let the first one slip through the cracks.
A big band prelude nicely leads into the “main title” which is featured on an electric guitar with harmony from the percussion and lush material from the strings. A memorable melody it is featured on several of the tracks in the score. Rock and roll is the key word for “Cream Puff” which features a nice sax solo as well as a guitar solo with good percussion rounding out a nice departure from the main theme. After a repeat of the main theme “Up His Nose” switches to a variation of Prelude and Fugue on the organ. This is a bit of a departure from the typical sound of a comedy score.”Early to Rise” is right back to the main theme and then the track switches to a dream like sequence with harp glissando carrying the track. A very romantic version, included as an audio clip, 23 – Roger and Peggy is featured in “Roger and Perry.” Henry pulled out all of the stops on this arrangement of the “main title.” A bubble gum slow dance with the sax leading and guitars featured in harmony makes you want to hear Frankie Avalon singing. Mancini features the harpsichord and swirling strings in yet another style of the “main title” which also uses muted brass as a harmonic line to make this a favorite track of mine. If you hear some wow and flutter on “Rudders and Sails” there is nothing wrong with your stereo system. You were warned in the liner notes that there was a glitch or two and this is one of them. As you might guess the “Cast and End Title” is the “main title” with a nice Hollywood ending coda.
Some of the best tracks are to be found in the bonus tracks with a nice selection of Mancini rock and roll with a combo. It does remind me of his Combo album which one should seek out if you don’t have it in your collection. There is a nice version of the “main title” twist style in “Hobbs’ Bigtime Swing” that it not to be missed. The last track is sung by Fabian and Peters and I can only recommend if your in to this kind of thing.
While certainly not his best score it is still a good one because all Mancini material is worth having. This score is coupled with Dear Brigitte which deserves its own review. In fact I’m already thinking about it.