Search Manic Mark's Blog

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tops All-Star Orchestra

All-Time Favorites
Tops All-Star Orchestra
Tops L1514

Tops is known for their cheesecake cover art. This LP is sweet on the outside but bland on the inside.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Upper St. Clair High School

Where Is The Love
The Best Of Friends
Sweet Caroline

Upper St. Clair High School
This One's For You
Grubb Associates Recording
1976 - 77

Fantastica Music From Outer Space - Russ Garcia

Music From Outer Space
Russ Garcia
Liberty LRP 3084

Fantastica is a wonderful blend of science fiction movie sounds effects, soundtrack styled orchestration and exotica.

Of course, you can't please everyone. A critic at the time of release, Ralph Gleason didn't care for this project saying that it was "More like the soundtrack of a horror movie than anything else".

Garcia creates a journey for the listener and blends one tracks magically into the next. Sit back close your eyes and float effortlessly through space in the middle of this fantastic soundtrack!

Music From Outer Space
Russ Garcia
Liberty LST 7005

Above is a scan of the stereo jacket. Sound effects on this release travel from channel to channel for greater to make for an even better trip through space! Awesome!

Hawaii Honeymoon - The Waikikis

Sugar Moon
Hawaii Honeymoon
The Waikikis
KAPP KS-3432 1965

According to information I found on discogs The Waikikis were a "Belgian studio band from the 1960s, which specialised in easy listening Hawaiian style music." They were most popular in Belgium and Germany, but their releases were also available in American.

The songs that emerged from behind the somewhat pedestrian cover art (a photo courtesy of America Airlines), are for the most part, are great fun and make for excellent Tiki Party music.

Martin Denny - Forbidden Island

The Exotic Sounds Of Martin Denny
Forbidden Island
Producer: Si Waronker
Engineers: Bob Land and Ted Keep
Cover Design: Garrett-Howard
Liberty Records LRP 3081 & LST 7001

There were two different cover designs for this Denny release, one for mono (top image) and, apparently, two for the stereo release.

The stereo cover (bottom image) is printed on foil which is an expensive process requiring a extra run through the press first to print a white ink base to support the subsequent four color run.

This Denny set is one of my favorite "exotica" releases.

Port Au Prince
Little China Doll
Bali Hai
Narcissus Queen
Goony Birds
Sim Sim
March Of The Siamese Children
Forbidden Island

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Joe Bushkin "I Get A Kick Out Of Porter"

Joe Bushkin
I Get A Kick Out Of Porter
Capitol - 1958

That's Joe sitting on a F9F-8T, Gurman Navy Cougar.

My copy sports a yellow label marked "Sample Album for Radio - TV Use".

The album is a masterwork. A nice blend of jazz piano and orchestration that propels you into the space age.

Johnny Pineapples & His Orch.

Hawaiian Holiday With Johnny Pineapple & His Orchestra
Pickwick International - 1960

I can not find any information on the original Johnny Pineapple.

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind - The Now Sound Orchestra

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
The Now Sound Orchestra Presents Music From
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Star Wars, 2001 A Space Odyssey
Peter Pan Records (8205) 1977

Here we have another mystery LP with no information to be found even though the record label is Peter Pan (a reasonably well known company that made audio products for children).

The music is a curious blend of natural sounding orchestrated instruments, synth instruments and fun noises arranged a somewhat classical style to mimic the actual soundtrack. At some point each track shoots off into SPACE to visit Planet DISCO!

I didn't expect much from this project but found myself enjoying this record despite my the disco...

Also, in case you were wondering, like I was, what the giant thing stuck on top of the space ship is? I guess no one at Peter Pan understood what the thing was either, so they added a note to the back cover to let us know that it is a "solar sail".

Cha Cha Fiesta - Fred Denise

Jivin' Cha Cha
Cha Cha Fiesta
Fred Denise Orchestra
Palace (Buckingham Records)

Great cover!

I can find no information on Fred Denise.

The Enchanted Woods

The Enchanted Woods
Dennis Farnon and His Orchestra
RCA - 1958

2/12/11 Update (From another collector/researcher. Thanks Pat!)

I've been researching a project by Chet Atkins recorded in 1958 -- "Chet Atkins in Hollywood." Dennis was the orchestra leader and arranger for that album. In doing my research (for a writing project), I located Dennis -- still composing and arranging, and living in the Netherlands, at age 87!! It has been amazing to talk to him about that era of music and recording. Besides being an orchestra leader and RCA artist at the time, he was also the west coast pop album A&R director for the label. The bulk of Dennis's composition work is not mainstream pop -- his most notable work was soundtracks for cartoons. He did all the soundtracks for the Mr Magoo film and tv series, and a lot of the incidental sound fx (orchestral sounds) for Rocky & Bullwinkle. He also scored for movies. He's an amazing guy.

Baldwin Organ And Bongos Bongos Bongos

Baldwin Organ And Bongos Bongos Bongos
Doctored For Super Sound
Audio Fidelity - 1960

Here's a space age pop organ album with Eddie Osborn at the keyboard and Bob Rosengarden on the bongos. I love the cover with the hypo. I wonder what the doctor was injecting Eddie with?

I found precious little into online about Osborn and less about this album.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Until We Meet Again
Dick Hyman at the Lowrey Organ
Command Records - 1963

This cover design is signed by the artist (printed as part of the cover): Charles E. Murphy

Hyman's sound, on this project, could be a little more far out (in "electrodynamic" space) for my tastes.


Morton Gould
RCA - 1957 (liner notes) - 1960 Billboard's "Reviews of The Week's LP'S"

Even though Gould is well known, I couldn't find much info on this particular Gould "exotica" project.

I love the jacket art.

The music consists of lush instrumentals that attempt to seduce you into the "garden".

Very nice... but the chick in the sparkly getup is the better seducer!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lenny Dee - Dee Most!

Let Me Call You Sweet Heart
Lenny Dee
Dee - Most!
Decca Records -

Lenny Dee made a PILE of recordings. This offering is listed fourth on the stack of many projects on his discography found on wikipedia.

Call It Love - The Gunter Kallmann Chorus

Call It Love
The Gunter Kallmann Chorus
4 Corners - Kapp Record - 197?

Another installment in the Gunter Kallmann easy listening series. Kallmann, a german, produced product for the U.S. AM radio market. Kallmann recordings are the most crushing easy listening albums I've come across. They are so consistent and recognizable enough that they become an art form unto themselves.

Sounds In Space

Sounds In Space
RCA Victor - 1958

Terrific atomic age artwork on this RCA project that was produced to demonstrate the audio dynamics of new fangled stereo players.