|Billy Vaughn with Gale Storm|
Billy went through four stages during his recording career. In the first, 1954-1957, his sound is virtually indistinguishable from the hundreds of other pop orchestras of the period. Heavy on the strings, this period produced few recordings of note. (Sorry dad, I just don't like "Shifting, Whispering Sands" much.) One song worth checking out is "When the White Lilacs Bloom Again," featuring the harmonica heard on many of Billy's recordings.
The second stage, 1957-1963, is the definitive Billy Vaughn. Here Billy uses his trademark "twin sax" sound almost exclusively. He features an alto sax for the melody, with a second alto sax a third away. Supporting instruments always included four tenor saxes for the body, with a rhythm section, usually containing one or two guitars, a piano, drums, and bass. Sometimes other instuments were used, such as strings, but the "twin sax" sound always is prominent. To me, even though most of the recordings are covers of other's songs, Billy's arraingements sound fresh. As long as he just tried to be himself, the recordings never sound trite or boring. In the third stage, Billy thought he would lead yet another Glenn Miller revival. He adopted a brass and woodwinds section, and his trademark sound is rarely heard. This lasted from about 1964 to 1966. Mostly, others arrainged the music. In fact, I often doubt that Vaughn had anything to do with these albums, being too busy working for Dot. Probably someone else is even directing the band, but Dot wanted to use the popular Vaughn name to sell albums. These albums are rarely horrible, but lack life.
The last stage, 1967-? is what I would call "sax renaissance." Vaughn returned to the twin sax sound, but with a fuller orchestra. He continued to record for Paramount when the management and name of Dot records changed. These recordings are not as good as Vaughn in his prime (many were recorded in Europe, and do not utilize Mr. Gordon), but are still enjoyable. During this period, Billy tried some vocal group records, ala Ray Conniff. I think these are an assault to mankind. Avoid these at all costs.
Ratings (in parenthesis)
(1) Run for your life. Bad, Bad, Bad
(2) Avoid. Tarnish on the Vaughn Name
(3) Not good. Perhaps a good track.
(4) Uneven at best.
(6) Consistent, perhaps uninspired, but very listenable
(8) Much to recommend
(9) Excellent Album. Definitive Vaughn.
(10)Makes my top 25 albums list.
|Label||RECORD # (see note)||Album Title||My Rating||I Own?|
|Dot||109 (10")||untitledSweet Music and Memories||44||NY|
|Dot||3001||Sweet Music and Memories||4||Y|
|Dot||3016||Golden Instrumentals, The||3||Y|
|Dot||3064||Melodies in Gold||5||Y|
|Dot||3086||Music for the Golden Hours||4||Y|
|Dot||3100||Sail Along Silvr'y Moon||8||Y|
|Dot||3119||Billy Vaughn Plays the Million Sellers||3||Y|
|Dot||3156||Billy Vaughn Plays||9||Y|
|Dot||3260||Billy Vaughn Plays Stephen Foster||2||Y|
|Dot||3276||Summer Place, A||6||Y|
|Dot||3288||Great Golden Hits||8||Y|
|Dot||3322||Look for a Star||5||Y|
|Dot||3366||Wheels and Orange Blossom Special||7||Y|
|Dot||3409||Greatest String Band Hits||7||Y|
|Dot||3424||Chapel by the Sea||4||Y|
|Dot||3442||Shifting, Whispering Sands, The||3||Y|
|Dot||3458||Swingin' Safari, A||6||Y|
|Dot||3497||1962's Greatest Hits||8||Y|
|Dot||3540||Number 1 Hits vol. 1||6||Y|
|Dot||3558||Greatest Boogie Woogie Hits||7||Y|
|Dot||3559||Blue Velvet and 1963's Greatest Hits||5||Y|
|Dot||3593||Another Hit Album||5||Y|
|Dot||3625||12 Golden Hits from Latin America||9||Y|
|Dot||3654||Moon Over Naples||5||Y|
|Dot||3698||Great Country Hits||5||Y|
|Dot||3782||Sweet Maria (singers)||?||N|
|Dot||3811||Golden Hits (best of)||7||N|
|Dot||3828||Ode to Billy Joe||6||Y|
|Dot||10500||Big 100, The||7||Y|
|Dot||25813||I Love You (singers)||?||N|
|Dot||25837||Pretty Country (singers)||?||N|
|Dot||25882||Current Set of Standards, A||8||Y|
|Dot||25897||Alone with Today (singers)||?||N|
|Dot||28599||Have Yourself a Merry, Merry Christmas||?||N|
|Dot||25937||Windmills of Your Mind, The||7||Y|
|Dot||25975||Winter World of Love||6||Y|
|Dot||SQBO 91490||Nearness of You, The (Capitol Record Club only)||6||Y|
|Hamilton||?||Songs I Wrote||5||Y|
|Hamilton||?||A Strauss Waltz Concert||?||N|
|Paramount||5032||Theme from "Love Story"||5||N|
|Paramount||5037||I Don't Know How to Love Him||5||Y|
|Paramount||6025||An Old Fashioned Love Song||4||Y|
|Paramount||6044||Country's Greatest Hits||8||Y|
|Ranwood||7025||Play 22 of His Greatest Hits||6||Y|
This listing makes no attempt to list records issued by Pickwick, as
those records were solely re-issues of previously released material.
Note on Numbering. Dot Mono albums have a 3 prefix. Dot Stereo albums have a 25 prefix. The "Big 100" album must be a special set.
Also, please see the Percy Faith pages
Picture of Billy Vaughn's vocal group the Hilltoppers from the Ed Sullivan show. Billy is farthest to the left, next to Mr. Sullivan. Thanks to Ron Fleshman for sending this!