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Wade Denning (who passed away near Halloween in 2007) was a big-band composer and arranger in the 40’s and 50’s. For 20 years, he was an arranger for “Ted Mack’s Family Hour” … during that time, he also composed over 550 advertising jingles. In the 60’s and 70’s, he composed music for children with Kay Lande (including a terrific Halloween album). One such recording is this compilation of some classic and some original scary short stories.

We’ve got some of the usual suspects … The Headless Horseman (I remember being pretty scared of this version when I was a kid), The Tell-Tale Heart (which suffers a bit by being shortened … reducing the “slowly-building tension” that Poe was so good at), and The Railroad Signal Man by Dickens. There are also some Wade Denning originals … the Ghost Ship in particular isn’t bad. Composer and folk-story-teller Oscar Brand contributed the script for two tracks.

On the tracks where the narrator is telling a story, the sound effects are a nice addition and are suitably spooky. On a couple of tracks, it isn’t so much “story telling” as it is “first person” horror. This fits in nicely with the Troll Records ghost story albums from the 70’s … certainly worth a few listens.

The artwork on the back cover is terrific, too.

Wade Denning – Famous Ghost Stories! With Scary Sounds
 
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