17.Caissons Go Rolling Along (The U.S. Field Artillery March)
18.Star Spangled Banner
Recorded from July 23 to 25, 1962.
While most folks in the 1960s were being consumed by the unholy flames of rock & roll, a somewhat smaller sect was experiencing the wonders of stereo through the soft baton of Robert Shaw. Unlike Mantovani, Herb Alpert, and the Ray Conniff Singers, who saw the mining of the rock movement as a tool of survival, the Robert Shaw Chorale found inspiration in the songs of Robert Foster and in the increasingly popular realm of sea shanties and spirituals. Essentially, Shaw did for easy listening what Martin Denny and Esquivel did for exotica. Battle Cry of Freedom is exactly what you'd think it is. Eighteen hammy and meticulously arranged songs of patriotism, from "the Battle Hymn of the Republic" to "Dixie," are impeccably performed and often quite poignantly by the heavenly voices of the R.S.C. As the decades have progressed, 20th century easy listening has acquired a definite "kitsch" tag, however, nestled amid the soft polyphony of Robert Shaw and his Chorale is a hint of "coolness." After all, in the '60s, easy listening was the equivalent of 21st century indie pop. ~ James Christopher Monger