Friday, November 16, 2007

The Performers Who Never Existed

You should know of one of the most brilliantly marketed ploys ever perpetrated upon the listening public, and a release which must have created certainly a degree of perturbation for the listener.
"The Piano Artistry of Jonathan Edwards" is the record, which was released around mid-century.
Also listed is the name of a vocalist, Darlene Edwards.
In actuality, Jonathan and Darlene Edwards were Paul Weston, one of the leading pop pianists and arrangers and conductor of his own orchestra, and his wife Jo Stafford, preeminent among the top vocalists of the day. I believe that she is still among us, and is probably in her eighties.
The record does not mention the true identities of the performers, and uses the Edwards name instead. The program notes do not let on in any way the true identity of these two, but go on to describe them; for instance, Jonathan Edwards is described thusly: " in presenting Jonathan Edwards on records,, Columbia has achieved another remarkable "first" - another talent begins its skyrocket rise to the top of the entertainment world".
Darlene is described as " a prominent clubwoman and a driving force in her community, returned from private life to take part in this album, selecting her own repertoire of sophisticated songs".
Both Stafford and Weston must have practiced together for months in order to perform in the manner projected in this album. I cannot, nor will I attempt to describe the level of performance which is heard - all I can ask is that you make a solid attempt to obtain this record.
The two made at least one more album; however, this initial release is the one to search for.
I hope that you will be able to get hold of this historic performance. There is nothing out there quite like it.
To further entice you, I should point out that friends and students of mine who listen to the record end up almost literally rolling on the floor with uncontrollable laughter.
And, by the way, the photo on the album shows a pretty young blond woman next to the piano, listening to the music. The pianist is not seen; however, the hands of the pianist ARE visible - what creates a sense of mystery about these hands is that they are both right hands.
Enough said.

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