Monday, November 24, 2014


If the GlassDuo album I posted last week had you hungering for more musical wine glasses...

My review of the first Musical Betts album posted here three years ago also applies to this one: "The Musical Betts were a husband-and-wife duo who played (mostly) instrumental versions of gospel songs on such instruments as cowbells, marimba, musical saw, slide guitar, and sleigh bells. And vibraharp, which I think is like a vibraphone. Really cool stuff, but alas I know nuthin' about 'em...It's a bit odd hearing melodies played on instruments like cowbells performed not as Spike Jones-like comedic music, but in a stately, emotional manner."

Well, that was easy. I have nothing further to add except that we know a little (very little) bit more about these two, thanks to this album's liner notes: Mrs. Betts was a "college teacher" in Michigan before she met Rev. Clarence, but we don't even learn her first name! Also, this album's volume level has to be one of the lowest ever. Nice relaxing music for when that tryptophan kicks in.

The Musical Betts "The Golden Bells"

UPDATE: reader Richard L. writes "The low level may be result of a very astute engineer.  The bells have an incredible amount of very high frequency (even ultrasonic) sound levels.  Early analog audio equipment could not handle this at normal levels resulting in a lot of audible artifacts (partial erasure of the tape, thumps, and distortion).  Also, the VU meters would not respond to the quick attack of the bell clapper hits.  This is the sad voice of experience speaking.  One solution was to run everything at -10 dB to get more transient headroom."

1 comment:

Holly said...

Enjoyed the 1st lp, looking forward to this one. Thank you!