Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space

After learning of the great Leonard Nimoy's passing yesterday I felt compelled to dim the lights, and dust off this special thrift store relic for a spin on the hi-fi. As Vulcan serenades of yesteryear filled the air, I realized it might also be nice to materialize a quick record report tribute to the multi-talented actor and the unforgettable and ever fascinating Star Trek character he so convincingly portrayed.

Backed by some mildly spacey, sometimes surf-rock sounding sixties pop stylings, Mr. Spock soothes our illogical, worried human minds with his smooth and restrained baritone vocalizations.
At times, the more uptempo musical arrangements remind me of the sort of mainstream  "groovy" sounds typically heard during a teen dance party scene as depicted in a sixties TV show. At other times, it sounds like the sort of "space-age," easy listening background orchestrations one might hear while unwinding with an ice blue Andorian ale in the original U.S.S. Enterprise's lounge.

1967 Dot Records DLP 25794 (stereo)

Side One
Theme from "Star Trek" (2:04)
Alien (1:57)
Where is Love (1:50)
Music to Watch Space Girls By (2:17)
Beyond Antares (2:03)
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Earth (2:12)

Side Two
Mission Impossible (1:58)
Lost in the Stars (2:25)
Where No Man Has Gone Before (2:24)
You Are Not Alone (2:02)
A Visit to a Sad Planet (2:50)

                                                              Star Tracks

 The version of the Star Trek theme included on this LP is propelled by a driving bass line and insistent drums along with vibrato-laden "interstellar" guitar runs; and if you close your eyes, the spirited Hammond organ work might just make you feel like you've been transported to a vast roller rink on the outskirts of Alpha 5.

In the spoken word piece Alien, Spock describes for us some differences between Earth and Vulcan and the inhabitants of each world. Similarly, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Earth is also spoken word and tells about Earth and Vulcan.

Where is Love is a gentle ballad of love and longing sung with deep vocals. Spock's human side is definitely showing on this uncharacteristically emotive number from "Oliver!" (Nimoy starred in a 1972 production of the play).

You Are Not Alone asks: What will we do when finally we meet beings from another planet? Will we "greet them or turn them away?" Will we teach them war, will we teach them hate?"

The cautionary narrative, A Visit to a Sad Planet ends the album on a heavy note. It uses a U.S.S. Enterprise First Officer's log entry (and an ominous backing track) to describe a desolate planet in the Milky Way Galaxy where an apparently advanced civilization has been reduced to a smoldering wasteland of radioactive ruins because the inhabitants could not live in peace and destroyed everything with their fighting.

Thank you Mr. Nimoy for all that you've given our highly illogical, but fascinating world. 

 Watch Mr. Spock playing the Vulcan Lute as Lieutenant Uhura sings a song about him.