From the Bunker Vault:
First off, I offer my apologies for the less than perfect record quality of this post. Looking at the worn threads, I would have to guess that this pressing from 1969 has seen a lot of use since its inception. I’m not surprised, it was someone’s favourite.
Earl Grant is a phenomenal pianist, organist and singer from an era where performing original material wasn’t as important as being simply an amazing performer. Just listen to this amazing rendition of ‘The Love Theme from La Strada’. This is a master pianist at work. It is brilliantly complex while remaining light, effortless and beautiful. It grabs my attention completely every time.
However great this record is, it provides only a narrow view of what an amazing performer Earl Grant was. I first encountered him by chance, picking up his ‘At Basie Street East’ record based solely on the track listing, his playing credits, and Earl’s crooning face on the cover. That record includes what is most likely my favourite rendition of ‘Fever’, performed to absolute perfection and originality.
(you can hear it here in a vinyl mix I created:
‘Spanish Eyes’, the LP this song is taken from, is from my girlfriend’s collection. She was lured in by the gazing eyes on the cover while digging at Vinyl Envy in Victoria, not knowing of my personal appreciation for Earl Grant; a fitting testament to the strength of Earl Grant’s long gone marketers. ‘Spanish Eyes’ focuses primarily on Grant’s proficiency on the piano and organ. He doesn’t lend his voice to any of the songs on this record. Undoubtedly proven with this song, he can captivate with his hands alone.
Earl Grant, like the majority of artists past, falls outside the canon of acclaimed music and thus has faded from popular culture. But at his peak, he was widely known and celebrated. It’s easy to draw comparisons to an artist like Frank Sinatra, except he never had the definitive hits that he claimed as his own. But listening through his expansive record collection, you will most likely discover he lays claim to one for you personally. Having been so popular, his music permeates most record stores, so as long one stays open to discovery, you’ll inevitably end up with one in your collection. One of the not so secret aspects most vinyl collectors enjoy so much. From never heard of to personal favourite.
Artist: Earl Grant
Song: Love Theme from La Strada
Album: Spanish Eyes