Now, as my regular readers know, I am actually quite fond of Easy Listening music as a whole, and have a particular partiality for the early forms of the genre from the 1960s, so when I acknowledge that even I am not inclined to defend Lawrence Welk, that should carry some weight. Let’s leave aside his asinine television mannerisms, because they admittedly don’t have much to do with his actual music, and look at him in the context of his genre. His two closest peers in the field of true Easy Listening of that era were Percy Faith and Mantovani. Like him, they were leaders of high-profile Easy Listening orchestras popular among older audiences at the time, but they were phenomenally gifted orchestraters who actually put an enormous amount of effort and care into their orchestral arrangements. While they may still have reputations as punchlines among those who’ve never actually listened to them, their actual music has in reality aged extremely well. Welk’s arrangements, on the other hand, just sound laughable today…in fact, they sound exactly like the stereotypical picture of early Easy Listening most people today imagine when they think of the genre. They alternate between being sickeningly syrupy and obnoxiously perky, and always leave lots of room for Welk’s trademark accordion, which only serves to remind one of why that instrument is now largely limited to parody performers like Weird Al Yankovich. This piece, the theme song to his infamous television show, falls into the ‘perky’ side of his output, and is probably the worst thing Frank Loesser ever had a hand in writing. Even among people who listen regularly to Liberace, Mantovani, Percy Faith or Henry Mancini, you’ll find virtually no-one willing to admit to liking Lawrence Welk, and there’s a reason for that beyond the ridiculous persona.
Verdict: A complete and utter embarrassment in any time period.