Command’s Persuasive Percussion vs Crown’s Predominant Percussion

With the release of Persuasive Percussion in 1959 on his Command label, Enoch Light produced the first ping pong percussion LP.  It was a best seller and many imitations quickly followed which will eventually take us back to Crown Records. But first, a bit about the inventive Mr. Light who might more accurately called Mr. Sound.

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The Persuasive Percussion LP on Command came about because Light was obsessed with capturing the expansive sound of modern stereo technology.  He used both channels to their fullest, recording a record that sounded as if each channel were on opposite sides of a ping pong table. Light also worked to upgrade the recording process, bragging that he was recording on sprocketed 35mm magnetic movie tape to cut down on the “wow & flutter” of unsprocketed tape. Light’s enthusiasm for the sound he was capturing was expressed in extensive liner notes and he had to invent the gate-fold LP design to contain all the writing. Enoch Light produced a series of percussive “ping pong” style LPs in a variety of genres on Command and other labels.  From the start, Light’s percussive LPs featured abstract art covers of bold graphic shapes and bright colors that still attract collectors.

You can bet any success like Light’s would produce imitators, especially from the masters of plagiarism like the Biharis. Unlike Herb Alpert, there’s no record of Enoch Light suing Jules B or any of the other budget record men who borrowed his idea. None of the labels were more bold in copying Light’s first LP than Crown with their 1960 LP Predominant Percussion, the cover featuring a pattern of dots that could easily trick the buyer into thinking he was purchasing an authentic Enoch Light LP!  Note that Crown released the LP in both mono & stereo with the mono release defeating the purpose of Light’s inventive ping pong stereo LP idea.

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The Crown percussive catalogue never amounted to much more than their initial release plus this brass & percussion LP (1961) which came after Light’s similar release.

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Here’s partial list of labels that commanded Light’s Command percussion theme as their own, some of which are currently displayed above my piano. This list is taken from the LPs I’ve collected over the years for their cool abstract art covers, not for the music in the grooves. They’re all budget labels and several are owned by the same parent company.

Celebrity Records (Premier Albums Inc), Westminster (ABC-Paramount), Directional Sound  (gatefold/Premier Albums Inc), Coronet Records (Premier Albums Inc), Broadway Records, Time Records (gatefold), Kimberly (Precision Radiation Instruments Inc), Pirouette Records (Synthetic Plastics Co), Golden Tone (Precision Radiation Instruments Inc), Stardust, Tilton.

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3 thoughts on “Command’s Persuasive Percussion vs Crown’s Predominant Percussion

  1. I don’t believe Time Records was a budget label; rather, they were another audiophile label trying slavishly to imitate Command. They had some fairly heavyweight names among their arrangers and conductors, including Hugo Montenegro, Jerry Fielding, Don Sebesky, and Maury Laws; and drew from the same pool of NYC session men as Command, some of whom played on Time under pseudonyms due to contracts with other labels, including Al Caiola (credited as “Mr. Guitar”) and Tony Mottola (credited as “Mr. X.”) Time also recorded avant-garde music by John Cage and others.

  2. Jeff, you are indeed correct as always. The Directional Sound LPs are also top quality, at least in their gatefold sleeves. Look for an update soon in the text. Thanks!

    1. Me? Always correct?? Hardly. But I should have added that Maury Laws went on to a long, successful career as staff composer and arranger for Rankin-Bass, the “Christmas special” animation company.

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