“A popular melody is as international a language as you will find anywhere in this world of ours. You don´t have to know the text to hum or whistle a happy tune – no matter what country of origin.

It is therefore little wonder that dance band leader Jean Couroyer roams musically across many borders in gathering material for his recording and makes sure of the widest possible acceptance by selecting the most popular dance rhythms.” (J.H. Watson from the liner notes to International Hit Parade)

This is another Swiss Varieton LP that I bought together with the Aprés-Ski in Kitzbühel album.  Varieton was a sub-label of the main Swiss label Ex-Libris, used for budget releases like this one. The production is not so bad though, using thick cardboard and slick printing. It looks almost like an american album. The illustration on the sleeve however looks like it was drawn in five minutes by somebody who was not into the job at all. And it probably was. Regrettably I have had similar experiences in the past. The customer doesn´t really care or know the difference and I don´t really care or have the time either. So I rush a job. But receiving some product weeks later that reeks of all the reluctance it was crafted with feels bad. It´s embarassing to do poor work. Luckily those jobs are the exception, but at least for some reason they are always the best paying.

The raw and bold brush work and the combination of the innocent big girl dancing with the bald little man stands out though. He´s hanging in mid-air and she´s missing an arm but there´s a primitive charm to it. Most certainly the rest of the album´s design was done by other people than the guy who did the sketch. The Ad Lib font used for the title of the album was designed in 1961 by Freeman Craw for the American Type Founders (ATF), so it was pretty hip at the time. When I see the font I think of Crypt Records, because they have used it excessively on their album covers and for their catalogues since the 1980´s.

Sure, all this analysis is redundant considering that apart from three twist songs the album is pretty forgettable, at least to my ears. But I buy some records for other reasons than the music and I do enjoy this restrained orchestra rock´n´roll that was made for old people. Maybe because I am old. Not a lot of information on the Internet about Jean Couroyer, but I guess he is from Switzerland.




6 Comments on “JEAN COUROYER ORCHESTRA, Midnight Twist, 1962”

  1. Chris Zwarg says:

    Varieton was a popular label of the popular record-subscription club that also produced the “MMS” and “Concert Hall” classical recording as well as various other, less commonly encountered labels. All of these are rather infamous for the fantastic pseudonyms used whenever artists were employed that had exclusive contracts elsewhere. This might be the reason you couldn’t find out much about the artists here – quite possibly they went by very different names for the rest of their careers! For an overview of the enterprise look here (mainly from the classical viewpoint, but a Varieton EP is pictured near the bottom of the page):

    Keep up the good work!


  2. KLinNYC says:

    My twist collection has grown tremendously after discovering your blog.
    Thank you.

  3. Pierre says:

    How did You Manage to date your varieton records. I have some myself but I haven’t been able to date them. Any suggestions.
    Thanks in advance
    BTW nice Blog

  4. mischalke04 says:

    I´m not an expert, I just found this site of another collector:
    Thanks for caring.

  5. Mariet says:

    i am looking for a orchestra rock and twist to play on a private party at Cannes-FR

  6. Nancy, Australia says:

    I have this LP! Paid a king’s ransom (one dollar) to well-known charity shop that charges $20 for used shoes while fine vinyl goes for a song. Great ’60s cover graphic ruined by lazy artist who can’t draw shoes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s