Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Lilah Gillett and Harvery Prinz Play the Hammered Dulcimer Duets Happy Hammerin' Audio House 1979
Oh man, why not, right? How bad could it be, right? Well honestly, it's not that bad at all. Lilah Gillett and Harvey Prinz throw down on their dulcimers; hardcore. They do some traditional, some waltzes, and even throw in a few rags, one of which was penned by Kansas Citian, Charles Johnson. I mean, keep in mind you have to like the sound the hammered dulcimer, then you have to be prepared for two hammered dulcimers going at it with each other (no dueling, though, just harmonizing). Once you get over the fact that there is no other musical accompaniment, the arrangements are enjoyable and it's surprising how much room two of these instruments can fill.
Both these players are seasoned vets, so that's good. Further, at the time of it's release, both were Overland Park residents. A little research will lead you to YouTube videos with Lilah Gillett at the Dulcimer Players Convention which indicates she was a founding member in 1963 (I'd post them, but there's like 4 videos and each one is 20 minutes). Further, the back cover lets you know she was once a teacher of the instrument.
Harvey Prinz was such a fan of the instrument, he ran a small Overland Park business making them himself. His maker skills were even commissioned by the Walnut Valley Association of Winfield, Kansas, for use in their festivals. Research shows though, that Harvey's true passion however was the Lutheran Church as he was an acting Reverend. Nevertheless, his love of the instrument allowed him to record this album (there's apparently two others, both of which also feature Lilah Gillett).
Anyway, I'm not saying it's the best hammered dulcimer album I've ever heard, but I am saying it's the only album to focus solely on the hammered dulcimer I've ever heard. Strange record, though. I can't really put my finger on it's purpose. Audio House didn't fund it as they were a custom label, they recorded and put your music on vinyl for a set fee. So these two footed the bill in a custom press apparently to advertise Prinz's handcrafted dulcimers and lessons taught by Gillett. No doubt, I'm sure there were some family and friends that scooped up the album as well.