Search Manic Mark's Blog


Monday, March 30, 2015

Organ Favorites

Song Of India
Organ Favorites
The Dream Dusters Featuring Kenny at the Hammond

Who are The Dream Dusters? This set is played by one guy, the mysterious 'Kenny'.

Maybe the Dream Dusters are the ladies that hang out as Kenny plays his organ. There is no telling what will happen after she finishes that glass of bad habits...

El Choclo
La Paloma
Celito Lindo
American Patrol
I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen
Ida, Sweet As Apple Cider
Song Of India
Frankie And Johnnie
In The Evening By The Moonlight
La Golidrina

Born Free - Cheltenham Orchestra

The Lion Hunt
Jungle Jazz
Blues For Elsa
Kuianga Kill
Born Free
The Cheltenham Orchestra

The orchestra is a small combo affair (Jungle Jazz and Blues For Elsa) or a stock track or two (The Lion Hunt and Kuianga Kill) Wyncote added to help fill the LP. I swear that I've heard this budget set before.

Regardless of where the material came from, and as you can hear for yourself, not a bad play through.

Born Free
Grass Grows Free
Cast Your Fate To The Wind
The Lion Hunt
Jungle Jazz
Blues For Elsa
Kuianga Kill
Lioness Beat
Beyond The Trees
Five O'Clock High

Accordion de Paris - Jo Basile

Mom Homme
Accordion de Paris
Jo Basile, his Accordion and Orchestra
Audio Fidelity
AFLP 1815

Sometimes I don't care what the set sounds like. It's enough that I've found a great looking jacket. In this case, the cover features another example of an accordion player and lady of the evening enjoying their bad habits. There must be a reason why this type of image is frequently associated with Paris and accordion players. The back cover is literally filled with 9pt. copy fluff that attempts to illustrate what Paris sidewalk cafes are all about. But there is no mention as to why the cafes are over run with street walkers and badass accordion players.

The set is traditional and the engineering, excellent

Comme Ci Comme Ca – Tout Ca
Fleur De Paris
April In Paris – I Love Paris
Boum Musette
Ballade De Rabouine
Piano De Pauvre
Mademoiselle De Pairs
L'ame Des Poetes
Mon Homme
Raiion De Musette
Le Denicheur
Pigalle-Le Seine

Play Bach - The Jacques Loussier Trio

Play Bach
The Jacques Loussier Trio
London Records
LL 3144

I believe this release is available at your usual digital download sites so I will not be posting a sample. I decided to present the London (rather than the similar Decca cover) front and back cover for those of you that are interested in collecting a copy. The back cover on this release offers us photos of the trio members, Jacques Loussier, Pierre Michelot and Christian Garros in the studio.

From the back cover: "I had no wish to arrange Bach, nor disarrange him; while presenting him differently, I have not changed him." – Jacques Loussier

From a 1964 Billboard Jazz Merit note on Play Bach London LL 3454: Exciting interpretations of Bach's Preludes No. 1, 2 and 12 in an idiom that straddles the jazz and classical fields. Loussier's free-flowing arrangements complement the master's melodic line in a performance that treats the classics with swinging respect. Should garner fans from both fields.

Beat Tropicale

Beat Tropicale
Latin Rhythms by Jose Bethancourt and His Orchestra
Saveage Drum Fantasy featuring Richard Campbell and Harry H. Coon

Available at your usual pay-for-download sources, so I will not be posting a sample.

Today we feature this feisty color cover art that advertised a tasty "tropical" set that was released to compete for a piece of the hot period "exotica" market. A split set left me favoring side two, which is the more "experimental", or more adventurously arranged side.

From the back cover: A note on personnel: Richard Campbell was winner of the famous Gene Kuppa drum contest, back in the '40s; his active career has included a U.S.O. tour through South America and Africa, where he studied authentic native rhythms such as are used on this tape. Harry H. Coon toured with the great Ben Bernie band, winning wide acclaim from musicians as well as the public from his sensational drumming. In composing this tape, Messer, Campbell and Coon worked closely with engineer James Cunningham, himself a musician, to achieve new and unusual effects.

Inspiraion - N. E. Paulos
Cha-Cha-Cha - Mario de Jesus
Cactus Polka
La Cumparsa - E. Lecunona
Jungle Flute - Jose Bethancourt

Savage Drum Fantasy

Watusi A. P. B.
Masai Rumble
Tumbatu Tintintambula
Tombs Of Cameroon
Bantu Bonce
Kikuyu Strut
Mombassa Bombilation
Nairobi Mambo
Ubangi Boom
Breezy Zambezi
Specter of the Zulu Goddess
Sumbawanga Rattatto

Sunday, March 29, 2015

One Billion Dollars In Progress

One Billion Dollars In Progress
The Sounds Of Steelmaking (Produced by Hardman Associates, Inc.

Lavish, artfully produced 72 page full color 12 x 12 hardbound coffee table-style promotional book that included an LP titled The Sounds Of Steelmaking. The sleeve was glued to inside of the back cover.

The promotion contains a number of one, as well as two page color images.

Everything Is Beautiful - Mountain Dew Brass

Everything Is Beautiful
Mountain Dew Brass

Sugar Sugar
Everything Is Beautiful
Hey, Mr. Bluebird
He Loves Me All The Way
Roomful Of Roses
My Love
A Heart Full Of Love
El Paso

What's Next? - Foster Edwards' Orch.

Mona Y Coleta
What's Next?
Foster Edwards' Orchestra
Rondo Records LPM IN-100
Recording Session: September 15, October 1, 10, 1964

Music composed, orchestrated, arranged and conducted by Foster S. Edwards I
Produced and directed by Foster S. Edwards I
Album design, layout and editing by J. J. Edwards
Photography by Bob Fairer

Saxophones: John Peirce, Dick Mordenti, Babe Moore, Gordon Anderen and Orvie Fleming
Trumpets: Dickie Mills, John Chech, Buzzy Mills and George Graham
Trombones: Roger White, Hub Houtz and Gene Isaeff
Piano: Mario Talucci
Bass: Frank Exposito
Drums: Russ Patrick

Gatefold designed jacket feature inside pages.

The cover: Bertha and Tina, the Circus Room elephants, and their trainer Jenda Smaha were photographed through the courtesy of John Ascuga's Sparks Nugget, East Reno, Nevada. Photo by Bob Fairer.

From the inside copy: As one can see, The Sparks Nugget has spared no cost in the sound equipment it uses in the Circus Room. All of the acts who have entertained in John Ascuaga's theater-restaurant agree that the Circus Room has the best sound equipment of all the clubs, showrooms, theaters, and lounges they have played. Not only does the Nugget have the best sound equipment, but it has the best electronics engineer to operate it.

Referring to the sample above: Mona Y Coleta - This is a jazz suite, portraying the Spanish matador. The hairpiece worn by the professional matador is referred to as the "coleta." Mona Y Coleta is written in several movements, all of which depict the different moods that a bull fighter experiences on those Sunday afternoons. Rather than explain what the different moods of the music mean to me, I would prefer to have you use your own imagination and create your own image.

My inspiration for writing this suite was my daughter, Cheri, who is very fond of the Spanish mode of music. In 1962 Cheri was severely injured in a tragic accident that nearly took her life. During the five weeks that she was unconscious, I decided that if she were ever regain consciousness I would orchestrate Mona Y Coleta so she might hear it as a tribute to her. She lived, and Mona Y Coleta was born. To you, Cheri, I dedicate Mona Y Coleta.

Also from the inside, how Foster ended up at The Nugget: In 1961 it was announced that The Sparks Nugget was going to build a show room. After continuously "buggin'" Carl Ravazza and Lee Frankovich at the Nevada Entertainment Agency (they were the booking agents for the room; Carl is still the booking agent, but Lee Frankovich has been the General Manager of The Sparks Nugget since the Fall of 1962), Foster was finally asked to have lunch with John Ascuaga to discuss the orchestra at the Nugget. "After a very nice and relaxing luncheon," Foster recalls, "John Ascuaga asked me but one question, 'Can you play elephant music?" Foster answered that he had "played for dogs, chimpanzees, monkeys, and ponies. I don't see why I can't play for elephants."

In June of 1962 Foster took his orchestra into The Nugget Circus Room and has been pleasing the people and the acts ever since. It might be interesting to note that Bertha and Tina, the Circus Room elephants, are the only elephants in the world that have their own conductor, composer, and arranger. So you see, not only the acts and the audiences pleased, so are the elephants!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Man And His Dream - Acquaviva

Always The Sea
A Man And His Dream
Acquaviva And His Orchestra
MGM/Lowe's Inc. E3696

Notes from the back cover explain that Acquaviva's artistic approach was "conceptual" in nature: Men dream of many things during the course of their lives – fame, wealth, love, the achievement of ideals, the establishment of important ideas. But, always, in each man's life there is one dominant dream, one he strives after more than the others.

My own special dream as I grew up was to conduct a special sort of orchestra in a special sort of music. In my reviews, I visualized a symphonically-seated orchestra that would bring to "pop" music all of the dazzling musical coloration, all of the thrilling mass of composers like Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov and other of the immortals. Somewhere, I knew there was possible a bridge between classical and "pop" selections – I hoped to help erect that bridge.

As I built a career as a professional musician, I met many other who shared my ideas and were excited by their possibilities. There were composers who wanted to expand their scope of expression, arrangers who had strikingly original ideas for orchestrating. Music, after all, had to exist before we could convince anyone to sponsor the creation of a hugh orchestra, so we set to work. The first results of these experimentations were set forth in an MGM long-playing set called "Music For Your Midnight Mood." You, the public, seemed to like our "new" music very much. The success of that recording told me that my dream had come true. – Acquaviva

Also see: The Exciting Sound Of Acquaviva

Curtain Time
Always The Sea
This Might Be Love
One Moment More
New York In A Nutshell
A Man With A Dream
Road Show
Alone With You
Am I In Love
Prayer For Peace

Johnny Smith

Johnny Smith
Personnel: Johnny Smith - guitar, Hank Jones - piano, George Duvivier - bass and Don Lamond - drums
Director Of Engineering: Val Valentin
Cover Design: Acy R. Lehman
Cover Photo: Irv Elkin
Engineer: Bob Arnold
Cover Guitar: (Johnny Smith Model Guitar) Gibson JS.
Verve/MGM Records Division V6-8692

Gatefold/die-cute cover jacket design.

From the inside cover: During the fifteen years since he recorded his famous version of Moonlight in Vermont, Smith has made many albums, but it is probably no exaggeration to say that on none of them has he had an accompanying unit so well attuned to his needs as this. His three companions are fellow spirits in terms of technical ability and devotion to music. Despite extraordinary instrumental facility, none is a exhibitionist, for their facility is at all times governed by good taste.

From Billboard - June 24, 1967 "Jazz Spotlight": A soft, but vibrant style pervades each tune – each a first class performance.

Memories Of You
Manha De Carnaval
Here's That Rainy Day
Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most
The Shadow Of Your Smile
My Favorite Things
Golden Earrings
On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
The Girl From Ipanema