Before and After #1: Mancini and Mercer - Moon River demo

I've decided to start a new "before and after" series.  I get recordings on a regular basis that need help and thought it might be fun to share what some of them sounded like originally.

Let's get right to it.

  • TITLE: Moon River (1962 demo)
  • PERFORMERS: Henry Mancini (piano) and Johnny Mercer (vocal)
  • SOURCE: Aluminum core lacquer grooved disc (or acetate), 45 rpm
  • RELEASE: Oxford American Magazine, Georgia Music Issue, Winter 2015

*Earbuds or headphones work best for this.

First off, let's just acknowledge how awesome this is.  As far as performers and songs go it doesn't get more iconic than this.  In addition to being a beautiful song, Moon River helped put Johnny Mercer back on the map after a long dry spell and ended up earning both Mercer and Mancini an Academy Award in 1962.  


This is the unreleased demo for that song!

The recording was sent to me to be restored and mastered for the CD that would accompany the upcoming Oxford American Georgia Music Issue.  The audio that I received to work from was the "before" version I posted above; already digitized using a very nice turntable and stylus.  I've written about this scenario before; I could hear that the stylus that was used wasn't appropriate for this type of record.  Digital restoration is much more effective if you get a good transfer.  I asked Chris Mancini, Henry Mancini's son and the owner of the record, if he wouldn't mind sending me the acetate so I could give it a go here.  He agreed and the next day it was taking a ride on my turntable with a more suitable stylus.