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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Hawaii Is Waiting For You - Art & Dotty Todd

Beyond The Reef
Hawaii Is Waiting For You
Art & Dotty Todd
The Best Songs of The Island by The Islands' Favorite Singing Team
Produced by Sonny Burke
Art Direction: Ed Thrasher
Reprise 6152

From the back cover: Art and Dotty Todd are two of the nicest people you will ever want to meet. You will find their fans, literally, around the world. They have appeared in The Bahamas, The Hawaiian Islands, Hong Kong, Nassau, and Japan. Wherever they go, they make lasting friendships. And both the Todds are what you might call "born talents."

Dotty studied classical music at an early age, and by the time she was twelve she was playing concert piano and had also won herself a scholarship to music school. Her first job in show business was as a band vocalist in Salt Lake City. Later she met and married Art, and they became a team, scoring a big hit record with a tune titled "My Happiness." Together, they have appeared many times on "The Ed Sullivan Show," and the shows of Arthur Godfrey and Steve Allen.

Art Todd started playing banjo and singing on radio at the tender age of fourteen. After completing his education, he devoted his life to music, and has met with great success. Art, incidentally, is an excellent golfer, having won fourteen tournaments. – Ira Cook - KMPC - Hollywood, California

I'll Never Leave Hawaii
On The Beach At Waikiki
Akaka Falls (Ka Wailele O Akaka)
Hawaiian War Chant (Ta-Hu-Wa-Hu-Wai)
Love Song Of Kalua
The Hukilau Song
My Ukulele And Me
The Hawaiian Wedding Song (Ke Kali Nei Au)
My Take (My Man)
Hawaii Is Waiting For You
Beyond The Reef
Song Of The Islands

I Love Paris - Pete Fountain

Autumn Leaves
I Love Paris
Pete Fountain
Plays The Sweetest French Melodies
With Charles Bud Dant and His Orchestra
Coral Records CRL 57378

From the back cover: Consider for a moment the ingredients that were used to create this most unusual and exciting of all Fountain albums. The basic idea of having Pete record something different from his usual New Orleans Jazz tunes led to the choice of these delightful French songs, all of which he loved and felt he would like to play in his own style.

The selection of a foundation, or rhythm section, was no problem. Naturally, the boys who have always sparked Pete's great style on his previous hit records and TV performances were used – Jack Sperling, the swingin'est drummer, Stanley Wrightsman, the last of the two-handed pianists, and Morty Corb, the bass fiddle player who plays the right notes and the right time. This group can do more in the interest of real imaginative musical back-ground than most larger orchestras.

Then came the first big question; should these songs be recorded with just this rhythm section (as in many of Pete's previous hit albums), or should some new and provocative sounds he introduced to add frosting and excitement. Our being an era of new sounds in recording, it was decided to add French horn (mais oui!), trombones, a large string section, plus another percussionist, namely Pete's own vibe player, Godfrey Hirsch.

The final ingredient was obvious. Since this was now a large orchestra, there was to be a conductor and arranger. The only man for this dual job was Pete's musical and A&R director, Charles Bud Dant, who has been swinging the baton and writing music on all of his big band recordings since Pete left Lawrence Welk.

From Billboard - July 31, 1961: Fountain strays far from the Dixie path on this latest effort, as he applies his sub-tone clarinet sound to a number of popular melodies having to do with France, with a backing by a big ork, highlighting strings. It thus becomes a fine mood presentation, with such tunes as "I Love Paris," featured. Artful cover shows a winking Pet Fountain in typically French attire. Set can do a lot of business.

I Love Pairs
Comme Ci Comme Ca
Frere Jazz
Autumn Leaves
La Vie En Rose
April In Paris
C'est Magnifique
Two Loves Have I (J'ai Deux Amours)
C'est Si Bon (It's So Good)
The Song From Moulin Rouge (Where Is Your Heart)
My Man (Mon Homme)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Lovely Hula Hands - Bobby Hammack

Lovely Hula Hands
Lovely Hula Hands
Bobby Hammack at The Organ
With Hawaiian Instrumental Accompaniment
Coral Records CRL 57384

Lovely Hula Hands
The Beauty Hula (Haoheno Keia No Beauty)
Malihini Hula
Pua Mana
Cocoanut Grove
Hawaiian Hula
The Hukilau Song
Princess Poo-poo-ly (Has Plenty Pa-pa-ya)
Maids Of Maui
Remember Hawaii

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Sound Of The Million Sellers - Don Costa

The Sound Of The Million Sellers
Don Costa and His Orchestra
Produced and Conducted by Don Costa
Deluxe 3500 Series
Wall To Wall Sound
United Artists Records WW 3513

Mack The Knife
Lisbon Antigua
Poor People Of Paris
April In Portugal
Third Man Theme
Blue Tango
Never On Sunday

The New Birth Disco

I Wash My Hands Of The Whole Damn Deal
The New Birth Disco
All Selections Previously Released
Produced by James Baker and Melvin Wilson for Basement Productions
A&R Coordination: Marge Meoli
Remixing Engineers: Don Holden and Steve Francisco
Remixed at RCA's Music Center of the World, Hollywood, California
Photography: Nick Sangiamo
Art Direction: Acy Lehman

Money Runner
Them Changes
We've Got To Pull Together
Comin' From All Ends
Got To Get A Knutt
I Wash My Hands Of The Whole Damn Deal

Broadway Sampler - Stradivari Strings

They Call The Wind Maria
Broadway Sampler
Stradivari Strings
Spin-o-rama High Fidelity
MK 3099

On The Street Where You Live (From "My Fair Lady")
Hello Young Lovers (From "The King & I")
They Call The Wind Maria (From "Paint Your Wagon")
The Night Was Made For Love (From "The Cat & The Fiddle")
Waltz At Maxims (From "Gigi")
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (From "Roberta")
June Is Bustin' Out All Over (From "Carousel")
Why Do I Love You (From "Showboat")
The Sound Of Music (From "The Sound Of Music")
I've Told Every Little Star (From "Music In The Air")

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Versatones

Rock And Roll My Blues Away
The Versatones
RCA Victor LPM-1538

From the back cover: The year – 1956; the month – January; the organization – the DePaur Infantry Chorus. Here two buddies with excellent singing voices, and a third, who not only could sing but could also play guitar, began performing for their own enjoyment. In October 1956, these lads with nothing on their minds but music put aside their given names and became what is today one of the most potential trios in the music industry... possessing handsome features, fine showmanship, and great talent... The Versatones.

John Greenwood, leader, had varied childhood ambitions. However, he was constantly exposed to music at home and soon became fascinated by melodious tones. Completing Kent State University, receiving an invitation to a Marian Anderson Contest, and encouraged by his family by his family, John started his voice training as a tenor. First and foremost in his mind was music. He has appeared in "Carousel" and "Street Scene." When caught after a recording session and asked what he enjoyed most, John is apt to remark, "Why, hearing the song played back is just about the biggest thrill I get."

Music began early in life for Herbert Stubbs, his father being a guitarist. Since time commenced for Herbie he wanted nothing but to sing, and with assistance from teachers and friends, music became his life. He continued on to Juilliard with a scholarship. All types of music, appeal to this young man, but he feels that he gets the most satisfaction out of singing "work songs" whereby he can project the strength and depth of his voice (baritone bass). Prior to forming The Versatones, Herbie worked with the Melody Men, played the Palace, and appeared in "House of Flowers" and "Carmen Jones."

Ronald Chapman, with a childhood ambition of commercial illustration, soon trained his sights toward the musical field when his brother gave him a guitar. This was just the start of a great career of many fascinations. Glee Clubs and Gershwin Night at the Lewisohn Stadium are just a small portion of what went into forming his fine talent. He feels that the formation of his chosen profession began with the DePaur Chorus and the beginning of The Versatones. Here, indeed, is a man of many talents, composer of many tunes, processor of a fine baritone voice, and expert at the guitar and piano.

Bikini Baby!
The Sun Hasn't Shone
Hawaiian War Chant
Lovel Teenage Girl (Lovely Hula Girl)
Wagon Wheels
Rock And Roll My Blues Away
A Light Will Shine
All Around The Bush
Where Should I Begin
Ninety-Nine Percent Won't Do
Don't Darling Don't
Just Can't Hate For Lovin' You

Thinking Of You - Andre Previn

Lost Letter
Thinking Of You
Andre Previn
His Piano and Orchestra
Arranged and Conducted by Andre Previn
Cover Photo: Leigh Weiner
Columbia CS 8395

From the back cover: 

I might as well tell you at the outset that on the subject of Andre Previn, I am not an impartial observer. I have been observing I'm at close quarters for a good many years now, under all sorts of circumstances and in all kinds of roles, and from the beginning of our friendship, I have been what you call a partial observer. Unlike Will Rodgers, I have met a lot of men I didn't like – but Andre isn't one of them.

For the moment, let's forget the fact that he was born in Berlin in 1929, arrived in this country 10 years later (already an accomplished pianist), played with dance bands, graduated to soloist, developed into a wickedly talented movie composer and arranger, appears with first-line symphony orchestras, won two Academy Awards, swings in the best smoke-filled jazz spots – and, at 31, has only realized a smidgin of his colossal potential. No, let's not go through all that. You already know it by heart. It's one of the authentic musical legends of our time.

Let's talk for a moment about Andre Previn, the man, In the first place, he's a delightful conversationalist – witty, perceptive, original. You won't be surprised, if you've listened to only four bars of Previn, to know, he's a man of exquisite tastes. One small example: his growing collection of American paintings is well on the way to becoming one of the finest private holdings in the land. He's an insatiable reader. My job as a columnist requires me to read continually, but Andre has not only read every book I've read, he's read books I'll never get around to reading, plus books I never heard of, and to make it worse, he can quote long passages from most of them. Most important – and this is getting to be a quality almost unique among jazz pianists – he has humor. He can laugh at himself, and at the solemn pretensions of those who would take all the bounding, boundless joy out of jazz. He is, in short, the most eclectic of all the musicians I've met. The only reason I will now go on and call him the leader of the eclectics or, General Eclectic – is that he is as addicted to monstrous puns as I, Previn knows. Add to this the fact that he is married to an attractive, intelligent and talented girl named Dory Laugdon – she collaborated with him on When Will I Hear From You, one of the songs in this album – and you will understand why I am happy to tell you that Andre Previn is a lousy tennis player. He is not perfect.

I frist met Andre in 1950, during the Korean War, and there will be no puns at this point about "Body And Seoul" or "My Little Yalu Basket," At this time, I was in the morose habit of hanging around a tacky Market Street jazz spot called Fack's, drinking down my disappointment at not having been summoned to active duty by a grateful nation that had found me indispensable during World War II.

Well, I was standing at the bar there one night, choking on my own bitterness, when in walked this young soldier from the Presidio. I hated him on sight. Here he was, a defender, whereas I, who had been in the first wave to hit Omaha Beach in Nebraska, had been deemed too old, too soft. Also shy and nervous. Approaching the saloon's owners, George Andros, he asked diffidently: "Okay if I play the piano a little?" "Go ahead, kid," said Andros. I swung around to watch, sourly, as the soldier sat down. His hands, I noted, were short and stubby; at least he wouldn't play octaves in the manner of Carmen Cavallaro. But then he underwent a remarkable metamorphosis. The slouchy posture over the keyboard became a powerful crouch. The pudgy hands turned into steel traps. I could swear smoke came out of his ears as he suddenly pulled himself together and swooped down the keyboard with all the authority and confidence of pure talent. as a marvelous flood of notes, clear and sparkling as diamonds, swirled through the fetid air, I whisper to George: "Who's THAT?"

"Don't you know?" he answered, looking down his nose as though I had asked for a drink from Beethoven's Fifth, "That's Andre Previn. You never heard of him?"

Yes, I had heard of him, and now at last I was hearing him – the enfant incroyable who, though barely out of his teens, had already become the most hotly-discussed new pianist in a field overcrowded with formidable practitioners. To his detractors, and there were several, undoubtedly worried, he was "nothing more than a clever cocktail pianist." To his supporters, and there were many (and how they grew!), he was the most refreshing young gale to come blowing down the stale halls of jazz in years.

I think Andre, being intelligent, was aware of his critics, and he set about to prove them wrong with a vengeance. Year by year, he has expanded his style and range and repertoire until, from the standpoint of technique and imagination, he is the very definition of what cocktail piano isn't. His classical training and interest has stood him in good stead: unlike too many of his contemporaries, he knows the value of dynamics and shading. And his facility continues to be awesome. Today, there is hardly a jazz pianist around who doesn't suspect, secretly, that he has found a way to play the cracks.

To use perhaps the most overworked word in the lexicon, I think you'll like the sound of this album, the latest in the long string of Previn successes. It is the sound of quality – the sounds of Andre Previn. – Herb Caen, San Francisco Chronicle

Thinking Of You
When Will I Hear From You
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
P.S. I Love You
Hello My Lover, Goodbye
Yours Sincerely
What's New
Lost Letter
I Remember You
Don't Worry "Bout Me
Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
Signing Off

Rodger & Hart Percussion & Strings - George Siravo

My Funny Valentine
Rodgers & Hart
Percussion & Strings
Arranged and Conducted by George Siravo
Artist & Repertoire: Bob Shad
Original Engineers: Frank Abbey & Bob Arnold
Re-Recording Engineer: John Cue
Mastering: Hal Diepold
Liner Notes: Leonard Feather
Album Coordination: Arpena Spargo
Album Design: Burt Goldblatt
Typography: The Composing Room, Inc.
Recorded August 10, 22, 1960
STEREO Series 2000
Time S/2015

Personnel and Instrumentation


Mac Ceppos
Jack Zayde
Paul Winter
Alvin Rudnitsky
Harry Melnikoff
San Rand
Paul Wolfe
Max Hoffman
Alex Cores
Leo Kahn
Julius Brand
Felix Orlewitz
Abram Bell
David Novales
Stan Kraft
David Montagu
Harry Cykman
David Nadien
Sylvan Shulman
Harry Katzman
Julius Schacter
Harry Urbont
Max Hollander
Paul Gershman
Avram Weiss
Felix Giglio
Ira Finkstein
Charles Libove


Isidore Zir
Ted Adoff
Leon Frengut
Sidney Brecher
Howard Kay


Maurice Brown
Seymour Barab
George Ricci
Maurice Bialkin
Alan Shulman

French Horn:

John Barrows

Piano, Celeste, Keyboard Glockenspiel:

Henry Rowland


Urbie Green
Frank Rehak
Chauncey Welsch
Dick Hixon
Louis McGarity


Barry Galbraith
George Barns

Drums and Percussion, bongos, xylophone, vibraphone, triangle, tympani (2 sets), tambourines, temple blocks, bells, chimes, orchestra bells:

Don Lamond
Ted Sommer
Sol Gubin


Dominic Cortese


Margaret Ross

From the inside cover: Siravo was born (and still lives) in Staten Island, New York. There were no musicians in his family: "I was the only one who got off on the wrong track," he observes. Studying saxophone, clarinet and flute, he made his professional debut very early. He played in, and helped to organize, the original Glenn Miller orchestra in 1937.

For several years Siravo lived on the West Coast, brightening the studio scene for Ray Heindorf of Warner Brothers, Johnny Green of MGM and others for whom he orchestrated diligently. His experience as a background writer for vocalists has also been extensive; two of his best known associates are Frank Sinatra and Doris Day.

For the present album George employed an orchestra that included some twenty violins on the right channel; four violas, four celli, four trombones (and on some tracks one French horn) on the left; a regular four-piece rhythm section (piano, bass, guitar and drums) stretched across the landscape, plus two additional percussion men, one on each channel; a harpist, and, on one track only, an accordion.

From Billboard - October 17, 1960: Another of an interesting number of recordings where the emphasis lies principally in sound, with the song material merely a device for showing off the sound. In this disking, a tremendous compliment of strings (29 violins, 5 violas and 5 celli) were used against French Horn, trombones, guitar, accordion, harp, bass and a large assortment of percussion and drums. The sound is topnotch with the only possible drawback being an overemphasis on percussion on the kind of melodic material that doesn't require that kind of treatment. Fine tunes include "Blue Moon," "Spring Is Here," "Funny Valentine," etc.

Where Or When
My Funny Valentine
Blue Moon
Falling In Love With Love
I Married An Angel
Spring Is Here
The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
The Lady Is A Tramp
You Are Too Beautiful
I Didn't Know What Time It Was
My Heart Stood Still

Love Story - Percy Faith

My Sweet Lord
Love Story
Percy Faith and His Orchestra
Arranged and Conducted by Percy Faith
Produced by Irving Townsend
Cover Art: Kim Whitesides
Back Cover Photos: Bruce Wilson
Engineering: Jack Lattig
Columbia C 30502

From Billboard - February 13, 1971: Percy Faith's orchestra and vocal chorus are in top form again as they charmingly delineate some of the current pop hits. "I Think I Love You" is the title song and the key to sales but so could cuts like "Theme From Love Story," "My Sweet Lord," "Rose Garden" and "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother."

Everything's Alright (From the Rock Opera "Jesus Christ Superstar")
Theme From "Love Story"
Love The One You're With
He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
Easy Days – Easy Nights
The Green Grass Starts To Grow
I Don't Know How To Love Him (From the Rock Opera "Jesus Christ Superstar")
I Think I Love You (From the TV series "The Partridge Family")
My Sweet Lord
Rose Garden
Don't Say Goodbye