The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Monday, October 29, 2012

Listen to the Rhythm of the Rain Again

(On the Music of The Cascades)
by aLfie vera mella

The Cascades was an American band / vocal group that was popular in the Philippines especially in the 1970s through the 1980s, particularly because of their debut album, Rhythm of the Rain (1962) (also known as the blue album), which contains most of their familiar songs, like "Rhythm of the Rain," "The Last Leaf," "Punch and Judy," "There's a Reason," "My First Day Alone," "Lucky Guy," "Angel on My Shoulder," and "Shy Girl."

In 2005, I had the opportunity to exchange e-mails with John Gummoe, a member of The Cascades. I think I wrote an entry on my blogspot about my love for the music of The Cascades, and Gummoe stumbled upon it and consequently contacted me. That time, they were planning to stage a concert in the Philippines, so he was kind of inquiring with me if their music was indeed popular in the the country. I told him that many Filipinos could actually sing along with or at least hum to many of their songs.

The single "Rhythm of the Rain" catapulted The Cascades to the charts especially in 1963; to this day, the song remains a favorite standard ballad in the Philippines.

Here's one of Gummoe's e-mail to me, dated April 5, 2005:
Thank you so much for your kind words. I always like to hear from our fans around the world. Are you in the Philippines? We are leaving Saturday for three concerts there, two in [Metro] Manila and our final day in Cebu, at the Waterfront Hotel. In Manila, we will be at the Araneta Coliseum and at the Hard Rock Cafe in Makati City. Thanks for writing and I'm so glad I was able to please you and your family all these years.       
John Claude Gummoe
However, that's about it for many people who know The Cascades. Even my knowledge about the music of the group was somehow limited to the group's debut album, which remains a regular on my media player.

That's why I checked them out on Wikipedia again to update my knowledge about the group and their music. That's when I realized that, actually, the group was able to follow up their debut with two more albums before the 1960s ended—What Goes On Inside (1968) and Maybe the Rain Will Fall (1969). I have already acquired copies of both albums. I will listen to them later. 

The Cascades in the 1960s and in the 2000s; the group released three studio albums in their heyday: Rhythm of the Rain (1963), What Goes On Inside (1968), and Maybe the Rain Will Fall (1969).

According to my research, lead vocalist Gummoe quit the group in 1967 to pursue a solo career; he was replaced by Gabe Lapano, who also made significant contributions to the songwriting and arranging process of The Cascades' last two albums.

The reason I suddenly got interested again with The Cascades is because my band haLf man haLf eLf would be making our original arrangement of "Rhythm of the Rain"; we would be incorporating the Classical piece "Les baricades mistérieuses" ['The Mysterious Barricades'] by the French Baroque composer François Couperin into the backbone rhythm of the song. We applied this style also on our arrangement of "I Melt with You" by Modern English, in which we inserted Bach's "Minuet in G Major" in the instrumental part of the song. This has been a distinct element of haLf man haLf eLf's music—staying true to haLf man haLf eLf’s declared style of music—Classical New Wave.

In the original arrangement of The Cascades "Rhythm of the Rain" my band haLf man haLf eLf is currently working on, we are incorporating into the backbone rhythm portions of "Les baricades mistérieuses" by the French Baroque composer François Couperin.

This is a harpsichord performance of  "Les baricades mistérieuses," which Couperin originally wrote for the harpsichord in the first place. The performer in this video is the American harpsichordist Elaine Comparone. I am more drawn to the sound of the harpsichord than that of the piano because it reminds me of the tiny brilliant beauty of musicbox melodies.

This is my band haLf man haLf eLf's original arrangement of "Rhythm of the Rain," although this video was taken during the practice session when we first tackled the arrangement as a group; so it's not yet really flawless. However, the musically observant should be able to notice the complex arrangement of our version. Notably, we used Couperin's "Les baricades mistérieuses" as the introductory to the song as well as the background of the coda. Also, we incorporated the Celtic tune "Roxborough Castle" (by Jeremy Sherman) in the instrumental interlude. Lastly, we use the bridge and the carrier melody of the song "(Feels Like) Heaven)" by the British New Wave band Fiction Factory as part of our version.

"The Last Leaf" is my favorite song by The Cascades; the story of the lyric of this song is actually in reference to the short story of the same title by the American writer known as O. Henry, who was actually William Sydney Porter; I'm an enthusiast as well of O. Henry's stories.

"The Woman's a Girl" is a beautiful song included in the second album of The Cascades, What Goes On Inside (1968), which still carried the musical style of the debut album. (Just never mind the video; this was the only video of it that I've so far found on YouTube.)

Many people who are familiar with the music of The Cascades most likely haven't heard of this song, "Maybe the Rain Will Fall," which came from the group's third and final album of the same title, released in 1969. In this album, The Cascades had obviously incorporated more Folk and Country influences into their music.

Final Note
The members of the band that eventually became The Cascades in 1962 when a record label signed them and released their first major single, “There’s a Reason,” were John Claude Gummoe (lead vocals), Eddie Snyder (guitar), David Szabo (keyboards), Ronald Lynch (keyboards, saxophone), Dave Stevens (bass), and Dave Wilson (drums). Their debut album, Rhythm of the Rain, released in 1963, became a major hit in many countries. The group continued to perform and make music until they disbanded in 1975. They reformed in 1995 and in 2004 for live performances, but nothing significant in terms of new materials came out of it.


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