The Current Event
Web page built by Michael Covington, 2006
|Hits of Simon and Garfunkel||Instrumental||33 1/3 rpm LP||Ambassador S98094|
|Hits of Simon and Garfunkel||Instrumental||33 1/3 rpm LP||Music for Leisure 144
|Hits of Simon and Garfunkel||Instrumental||8-track tape||Ambassador E89894|
|Hits of the Beatles||Instrumental||33 1/3 rpm LP||Ambassador S98095|
|What is Truth?||Vocal||33 1/3 rpm LP||Ambassador S98098|
|Hits of the Rolling Stones||Vocal||33 1/3 rpm LP||Ambassador S98102|
The items listed above are, as far as I can tell, the complete output of a little-known band that flourished around 1969.
My interest in The Current Event stems from the fact that their Simon and Garfunkel album was my favorite record in ninth grade. More about that here.
In 2002, I started to search catalogues and online record dealers to try to find a better copy of my old favorite, and the mystery deepened. I couldn't find the record in any catalogue (certainly not in Schwann), and no publisher's address is given anywhere on it (except "SPC, Newark, N.J." on the disc label). At the time, I created this web page and titled it, "The Current Event Band or Musical Hoax?"
The mystery is no longer so deep. Thanks to MusicStack, we have much larger online catalogues of used records, and there are usually one or two The Current Event records in circulation. eBay also usually has several (click on the link to search for them).
Nor is Ambassador Records a mystery. There has been more than one company by that name. The Current Event's label is not this one (founded 1977, Oshawa, Ontario), nor this one, which produces Christian music in Florida.
It turns out that Ambassador is a label that was used for general-market records by Peter Pan Records (which normally made children's records under its own name). And the company still exists as Inspired Corporation, with Peter Pan Music as one of its divisions.
I strongly suspect The Current Event was a studio band. The very name suggests it they play for the current event, whatever it is and I have heard very similar combinations of instruments used to back up singers.
They may also have roots in jazz. There are jazz improvisations here and there on the Beatles album, And they turned "Cecilia" into a jazzy instrumental, which, to my taste, is better than what Simon and Garfunkel did with it this is a tune I definitely prefer without the lyrics.
Apparently, some people hate this kind of music. Used-record dealers say things like "kitsch" and "exploito" (the latter denotes mediocre cover performances of current hits). But I wonder if they have listened to the music at all. The jacket of the Simon and Garfunkel album (shown below) is comical enough to keep people from taking it seriously.
And, historically, it may have fallen into the gap between rock and jazz at a time when that gap was especially wide. Like Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass, it's too lively to be "easy listening" but too conventional to be rock.
I'm referring to the instrumentals. The vocals impress me rather less, and the main thing they show is that this group was very versatile (or its composition changed).
I'd like to hear from anyone with further information about The Current Event.
I find the order of songs more pleasing if the sides are played in reverse order, so that you start with "Homeward Bound," go through livelier songs in the middle of the program, and end with "The Sound of Silence." I wonder if the sides were swapped in production.
I seriously doubt that these are actually the same musicians as the other three albums. The lead male vocalist here is definitely American. Several songs have prominent female vocalists, and there are no women shown in the two group pictures of the British band on the instrumental albums.
The selection of songs is unusual; several are African-American spirituals. The words to "Oh Happy Day" contain an error that will annoy Christians: consistently, the singers say "when Jesus washed his sins away" (the word should of course be "my").
Side 2 has applause apparently from a live concert; Side 1 doesn't.
Hits of the Rolling Stones
I can't tell whether the lead vocalist is British or American here.