2003   AUGUST 29   #241

Rose Hill Junior High School Jazz Ensemble - Lady Madonna

Dana Countryman writes:

When I walked into the Everett, WA Goodwill store near my house a few years back, little did I know I'd come out with one of my best scores ever. I picked up a copy of a local school band album by the Rose Hill Junior High School Jazz Ensemble on a whim. It was only a buck, so I took a chance. Besides, they did a cover of the Beatles' "Lady Madonna" - that HAD to be interesting. Boy, was I right....

...was he ever right!

When Dana told me on the phone in early 2000 about this high school band record my senses were at full attention. I crossed my fingers as I often do when hearing or seeing a school band record, hoping that it will yield treasure.

You see, every 1 out of every 20 school band records is worth keeping really (on the average). Most are standard faire, with classical numbers, choral selections or contemporary song covers of the easy-listening variety. And the funny thing is, when you do find that one record that is pure gold, there will be only one good song on it! There are exceptions to the rule however, and I've heard a handful of records that come through with a couple of good numbers but it's rare to come by a records such as The Lochiel and South Carvolth Schools albums (found by Uncle Bri in Canada and reissued on CD as The Langley Schools Music Project by Irwin Chusid). It really all boils down to the music instructor/teacher, for this is where the magic begins.

I'm not quite sure what is happening here with Lady Madonna. The rest of this album (and the other Rose Hill album I've heard from the year before in 1981) contain pretty passerby material, in regards to covering standard songs.

Back to the story... so Dana calls me and tells me about this record. He tells me that on this 2-LP release from 1982 that the kids of Rose Hill take up a full side of the release with just one song, Lady Madonna. Now my attention is really focused. I cross my fingers and hope for the best...

Upon my first listen I can remember just staring at the speaker, for the entire song. This is not your normal cover of Lady Madonna. Each kid gets a solo. And when it comes to lyrics, forget it!... they scat! The first kid scatting begins at the 5:42 minute mark in the song.

Oh, and it clocks in at almost 20 minutes, a big download, but worth it!

- Otis Fodder

TT-19:41 / 18MB / 128kbps 44.1khz
from the LP, "Us As We Are" 1982