"People," said John Schroeder, "are looking for a change from the incessant beat." Schroeder, then the manager of England's Pye Records, believed that a good orchestral pop song could become a hit at least Top 20 even during the heyday of the beat group, and set out to prove it. The John Schroeder Orchestra, as the band was called for about twenty minutes, featured some of the country's top musicians, including pianist Johnny Pearson, drummer Kenny Clare, and bassist Tony Reeves; a string section of eight violins, two violas and two cellos was dubbed in as needed. It was Reeves who came up with the idea of cutting Vince Guaraldi's 1962 jazz-piano classic "Cast Your Fate to the Wind," and Schroeder who invented the name "Sounds Orchestral." Pye put it out as a single and waited for it to die in the marketplace; instead, the pirate radio stations embraced it, sales started to pick up, Pye started to give it a push, and Schroeder was vindicated: he had a Top Ten hit both in England and in the States. While subsequent singles went nowhere in particular, Sounds Orchestral, with mostly the same personnel, issued a dozen or so albums, each dedicated to the proposition that a pretty pop song is worth the effort.
Where can I get this on CD?
In 1995, the British label Sequel reissued the first Sounds Orchestral album (Cast Your Fate to the Wind, NEM CD 617); Sequel is essentially defunct, but parent Castle continues to sell the disc as CAS 72151. The cover art, same as it was on the LP issue, is, as they say, Not Safe For Work. It's in stereo; if you want the mono mix, which is less string-heavy, you'll need to get Abkco's Cameo-Parkway 1957-1967 box set (9223-2).
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