by Ken Mason, DCW staff
Just in time for Christmas shopping, “The Beat Goes On” is happy to announce the addition of 12 more CDs to our series of historic drum corps recordings from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
Several exciting treats are in store for drum corps enthusiasts in this latest batch.
We lead off with the oldest surviving master tapes in all of drum corps. Stetson D. Richmond’s drum corps recording career began in 1950, when he brought his tape recorder to a contest in Toms River, NJ, on June 10 to record the Hawthorne Caballeros just for fun.
Fortunately, he also recorded some of the other corps at that event as well. Richmond went on to record at several other contests in 1950 and 1951, sharing copies with friends.
Interest in his recordings grew to the point where his hobby took on businesslike proportions and, starting in 1952, he began making his recordings available to the general public. Very few of the 1950-1951 recordings survived over these 55 years, but the ones presented on this CD are in remarkably good shape.
Forty-five years ago, the Massachusetts drum corps scene was quite competitive. The local circuits featured class A lineups with as many as 10 corps exchanging victories with each other, all of whom were of national caliber. Those corps that did attend nationals at that time proved their point on the field.
The “Tournament of Drums” CD captures many of those corps with a bold, bright sound, suggesting that the weather and recording equipment were as near perfection as the drum corps themselves.
Not to neglect the Midwest, Richmond teamed up with several other people when necessary to cover the activity nationwide.
In 1962, he had Ken Kobold’s help in the Illinois area, where the top junior corps were making great strides competitively. Coincidentally, Kobold was making great strides in capturing the full presence and impact of the drum corps sound on his recordings that year. Note that the Illinois VFW show, postponed by rain, was combined with a later contest in Woodstock, IL, including corps from Wisconsin and Ohio, for a wider regional respresentation.
At long last, the year 1966 joins “The Beat Goes On” catalog. And what better way to start things off than with the complete VFW Nationals show, including the famed performance of the I.C. Reveries. This was the night the corps protested by sitting on the starting line until they were allowed to perform in judged exhibition to the delight of a rabid audience.
In order to accomodate all 14 performances from that night, we present a three-CD set that also includes four of the juniors from the Dream, also held in Jersey City’s Roosevelt Stadium just three days prior to the VFW show. Thus, the set is titled, “Three Discs, Two Shows, One Stadium.” These recordings preserve the wide dynamic range of the performances, offering a completely different audio perspective from the Fleetwood versions.
Also available in 1966 is a stellar lineup of top senior corps. The fledgling DCA circuit’s Eastern cluster squared off at the “March of Champions” show in Baltimore, MD. If the New York Skyliners, Hawthorne Caballeros, Long Island Sunrisers and Reading Buccaneers aren’t enough of an attraction by themselves, collectors will want to note the rare recordings of the Yankee Rebels and Reilly Raiders from that year.
Meanwhile, the “Symphony in Brass” covers Pennsylvania’s other top seniors such as the Pittsburgh Rockets, Westshoremen, Hanover Lancers and Westmoreland Esquires, with a visit from the Marching Ambassadors of Toronto.
The American International Open had a particularly strong lineup in 1975, as our three-CD issue attests. Hear a cross-section of the finest juniors of the era at this late-season showdown, recorded by Alf Wateska.
“The Beat Goes On” CD series brings you historic drum corps recordings from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, digitally remastered from the original tapes of Stetson D. Richmond and Alf Wateska.
Look for ordering details for these newly-issued CDs in the December issue of Drum Corps World on page 8 or view the full list of 76 CDs at the DCW on-line store — click on “New Historic CDs” or “Richmond/Wateska Historic CDs”.