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  • Writer's pictureladiesvoices

Fabulous Friday: "Fool On the Hill," Singers Unlimited

I first encountered Singers Unlimited at a Chanticleer concert in Madison in the 90s. They sang Gene Puerling's arrangement of "I Dream of Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair." I looked them up, was fascinated by them, and bit the bullet and bought the 7-CD boxed set. I've never looked back.

Singers Unlimited was formed in 1971. They recorded 15 albums. They were four singers: mezzo Bonnie Herman, tenor Don Shelton, baritone (and founder and primary vocal arranger) Puerling, and bass Len Dresslar. Puerling and Shelton had been in the Hi-Lo's, a male quartet in the 50s and 60s. They met Herman and Dresslar in Chicago, they were all gigging singers in the advertising business, which was based in Chicago at the time. Bass Dresslar was best known as the "Ho, ho, ho" of the Jolly Green Giant.

Puerling was a genius at vocal arrangements. He wrote intricate counterpoint for the voices and came up with some surprising and far-out chords. The group was based purely in the studio, they did next to no live performances, due to the fact that many of their arrangements were multi-track recordings. This arrangement of "Fool On the Hill" splits into 15 parts at the end.

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