July 09, 2013

The Mystic Moods Orchestra - Maria Elena (1967)

Brad Miller’s passion in life was recording sounds as accurately as possible. In the 1950s, he recorded some of the USA’s last steam locomotives, as well as thunderstorms, crowds of people, and other various sounds he thought were unique or pleasant. In an effort to sell his work, Miller created Mobile Fidelity and experienced a moderate level of success. One night, in the mid-‘60s, a disc-jockey in the San Francisco, California area took one of Miller’s recordings and thought it would be interesting to play it on top of some easy listening music. Listeners loved it. The DJ told Miller about his discovery, and soon, Miller was working with musical arranger and composer Don Ralke to create their own version of the DJ’s idea. What resulted was the first Mystic Moods Orchestra album, One Stormy Night, in 1965. Usually, original music tracks such as the ones on One Stormy Night continued throughout the ‘60s until the orchestra moved to the Warner Bros. label in the ‘70s. Then, rather than original music, the sounds of nature and people were generally put over contemporary pop instrumentals. Around this same time, the albums began to feature erotic pictures of couples on the cover, marketing them to adults as “mood music.” Unfortunately for Miller, the societal switch from vinyl albums to CDs didn’t work out in his favor. Miller himself passed away in 1998 and his business, which had been struggling for years, collapsed the following year.

This track comes from the Mystic Moods Orchestra’s fourth album, titled Mexican Trip. Released in 1967, each song on the album was laid on top of sounds of the ocean, children playing, trains, people cheering, etc. in the usual Mystic Mood fashion. This song in particular appears as the album’s seventh track. The original song was written in 1932 by Lorenzo Barcelata, who dedicated the song to the wife of Mexican President Emilio Portes Gil, MarĂ­a Elena. Although the song had accompanying words available in both Spanish and English, this particular version replaced the words with sounds of the ocean.

album art

The Mystic Moods Orchestra - Maria Elena (1967)

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