Search Manic Mark's Blog

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hungarian Folk Songs

Why Must I Not Love You?
Hungarian Folk Songs
Qualiton Recording
Hungary 1978

Who can resist this cover? This would be a Komondor, the largest of the Hungarian dog breeds? Known as the "King of the Working Dogs" the Komondor are perhaps one of the most unusual looking dogs in the world. After a bath this dog can take three days to dry.

Why is there a dog on the cover? I have no idea. The song titles, thankfully, are translated on the back cover (although the number of tracks on the record and the song title number do not match). One song, on the B side is titled "Little dog, big dog". That's it for the dogs songs. Other song titles are humorous. Titles include: My sweetheart is chic, Who knows why you have gone away?, Crying is not worthwhile, Maidens, maidens, maidens in the village, You are my woman, There is a ditch and there is a pit, The snow has covered the road, I don't need that, My boots are wrinkled and The raven is croaking... yes... My boots are wrinkled and The raven is croaking.

Three's A Crowd When It's Intimate Jazz

Alone Together
Three's A Crowd When It's Intimate Jazz
The Phil Moody Quintet
Somerset SF-10400
1960

This curious cover attracted me to this album. I'm still trying to ascertain the meaning. Why is three a crowd? OK... it's a romantic evening and three's a crowd. But why another girl? Maybe the guy thinks that three is a good idea. Or his date is OK with three.

Anyway, I normally call Somerset albums "budget"records. But aside from the "budget" cover idea... the music is quite good. The stripped down jazz makes me want to find an old fashion lounge to sit back in a comfortable chair and sip an adult beverage while these guys play.

Bwana A - Arthur Lyman

Bwana a
More Exotic Sounds Of Arthur Lyman
HIFI Record R808
1958

From the back cover notes: Bwana A was composed by Arthur Lyman and John Kramer for boss and good friend Henry J. Kaiser. Bwana A, literally interpreted, means something like "boss friend."

Another stellar project (his fourth release) from one of the kings of exotica, Arthur Lyman.

It is interesting to note that Lyman albums were recorded live, without overdubbing. He recorded in the aluminum Kaiser geodesic dome auditorium on the grounds of the Kaiser Hawaiian Village. The auditorium offered acoustical qualities that add a reverberation to his work that help give it a that far away other world quality. Lyman recorded after midnight to avoid recording unwanted noises, but apparently, on occasion you can hear the dome settling at night when it cooled off. There is a photograph of the auditorium on the back cover of this album along with a more technical explanation of the acoustical qualities.

Orienta

Orienta
The Markko Polo Adventures
RCA Victor LPM-1919
1958

Occasionally, on this blog, I talk about the exotica musical form taking you on trips to fantastic worlds. Apparently, in 1959, RCA understood this (saying as much on the back cover). They (Gerald Fried) created this world with a few interesting tricks. Overlaying crowd noises, adding odd little sounds  and recording music that sounds like it was recorded in the distance (or in the next room).

This album was arranged by Gerald Fried who is know for arranging music for films and TV, including Star Trek. Apparently Fried went to high school with Stanley Kubrick and composed scores for his first four films.

One blog covering this work mentioned that some folks may consider this project a "parody" of exotica. To me, 1958 seems a bit early in the timeline to be doing a parody when the form only received it's "label" in 1957. Who would get the joke? In fact, exotica as a whole, could be considered a parody of world/folk music traditions. Could it be that Fried just wanted to make an "exotica" LP and this is what he came up with?

Whatever is the case, this record is a great addition to your collection.

Rome 35/MM Enoch Light

Via Veneto


Rome 35/MM
Enoch Light and his Orchestra
Command Records
RS 863 SD

Another terrific Light project featuring a great cover by Charles E. Murphy.

Light's projects, in my opinion, are hard to match for sound. This record is no exception, recorded on Stereo 35 MM Magnetic Film which Light pioneered, it is a pleasure to listen to.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Take Me Along! The Ray Charles Singers

The Look Of Love
Take Me Along!
The Ray Charles Singers
Command RS 926 SD
1968

This record was made after Enoch Light sold the label to ABC in 1965. This record was made in 1968(?) and ABC was still using the Light's gatefold jacket design? That's amazing... but that's a good thing because there is enough space on the inside to explain who the Ray Charles Singers are (a very long and complicated story).

Apparently these folks (featured on the cover) are the actual group members. Most of whom, after a recording session, ran out to the airport to have a photographer set up this photo. What the jacket notes have to say about that: But on the bus back to town, they were a disgruntled group of girls. All that preparation and you can't even see their faces!

Ray Charles is seen on the cover, wearing the hat.

The music is easy listening. But there are touches of 60s pop influences that help make most of the tracks interesting (if you are into 60s easy listening... that is).

Music From Monitor

Wide Wide World
Music From Monitor
Alcoa
1960

Apparently a rare promotional record from The Aluminum Company Of America.

According to the jacket notes ALCOA decided that they needed to make "the home-buying and home owning public more conscious of the need for better housing and more willing to invest the necessary funds to obtain better housing." I'm not kidding, this is how it reads.

As a part of ALCOA's project to make people feel horrible about not living in an aluminum sided house... they lunched a radio program in 1959 on NBC called "Monitor". They used this program as a platform for all sorts of "experts" to spew about "housing as they see its problem and its effect on American life."

Man... Fortunately Monitor also featured music to help perk you up from the guilt you must have been feeling for living in a brick house. And some of that music is featured on this LP.

I must admit that ALCOA bought themselves an amazingly cool Space Age/Atomic Age record cover! "Aluminum Music Sphere Designed by Lester Beall for the ALCOA Forecast Collection. Now this is a great use of aluminum! Love it!

The music is not pure space age or as cool as the cover looks but Wide Wide World is awesome sounding along with Sid Bass's How High Is The Moon (a song from this Sid Bass LP). I would call the LP a mix of bachelor pad and easy listening. Overall, not a bad collection with a few dull tracks to give your time to ponder why everything you see in your house is not made out of aluminum.

Milva

Io Di Notte
Milva
Fiesta Records, NY/Dischi Ricordi, Italy
FLPS 1578
1967

Love the cover, don't understand the lyrics... grooving on the sound. There are many fun and varied pop tunes with a 60s flare on this set.

I found Milva on wikipeida. Maria Ilva Biolcati. She is fabulously popular and has made countless albums.

Stereo Dynamics! To Scare Hell Out Of Your Neighbors

Adolf Hitler (Excerpt from Edmond De Luca's "Conquerors of the Ages" The London Philharmonic
Stereo Dynamics! To Scare Hell Out Of Your Neighbors
Somerset SF-11400
1961 (stereo version)

Budget label release.

This record has it all that includes a weird looking cover and the number one track on the A side titled Adolf Hitler.  On further investigation, apparently Luca wrote an entire piece of music that featured all the most "popular" conquerors. Including Hitler. Very little information can be found online about this project.

The back cover states: To Test Your Stereo Equipment of Scare Hell Out of Your Neighbors.

I'm not exactly sure what the hell Somerset was up to... Surely they just wanted to make a buck packaging songs they paid nothing for.

The second track on the A side is Fire Goddess by The Surfmen is a very cool track is followed by a scary organ track and then.... WTF... La Paloma? An exercise in musical contrasts! I get it! Scare your neighbors! LOL!

What a fun record!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sex ...should we wait?

Sex ...should we wait?
Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Willke
Hiltz Publishing Co.
Artist Recording, Cincinnati, OH
1969

Arguably one of my more rare local recordings I've found. A two record set made during a talk at The University Of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Memo Salamanca Cha Cha Cha

La Basura
Memo Salamanca And His Cha Cha Orchestra
Cha Cha Cha
Audio Fidelity AFLP 1813
1957

Terrific cover with lots of copy on the back describing how to do the Cha Cha. However, there is no information on Salamanca.

Apparently, Salamanca's first name was actually Guillermo. He died in 2008 at the age of 83.

Nice set that is as perky as the cover art. The vocals seem to have had a little reverb added giving the record an interesting sound (for the period).

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hugo Winterhalter Goes... Latin

Delicado
Hugo Winterhalter Goes... Latin
RCA Victor LSP-1677
1959

Wonderful spicy cover from the RCA art department created to hide a not so spicy record.

Much of the album is Winterhalter's struggle to find the "Latin" groove.

Forest Of The Amazon

Villa-Lobos: Forest Of The Amazon
Heitor Villa-Lobos conducting the
Symphony of the Air & Chorus
Bidu Sayao, Soprano
United Artists 8007

United Artist Records 1959 release of Villa-Lobos work which was based on, Green Mansions, a novel and MGM movie of the same name.

Apparently the movie producers wanted Villa-Lobos to score Green Mansions, but there were problems with the score due to Villa-Lobos writing music for the novel rather than the film adaptation or he used an early version of the script. There were problems in editing and Bronislaw Kaper completed the work on the film.

Villa-Lobos edited his full score into a cantata and that is what is presented on this record.

Shy of exotica but a nice piece of music with added excitement from Bidu Sayao, a famous Brazilian Soprano.

Textures - Bill Dobbins

Textures
The Bill Dobbins Jazz Orchestra
Advent Cleveland, OH 5003
1973

According to the jacket notes "Textures" was commissioned by The John F. Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts in 1969.

I don't normally look for jazz LPs, but I was drawn to the funky 70s cover art. Apparently this LP is  obscure and I found just one other copy online. I also found a Bill Dobbins, jazz composer and pianist online. This work in not on his list of "recordings". But there is a photograph of him printed on a slip sheet found inside the jacket.  Apparently this record was made when Dobbins was in his mid-20s.

Textures is the "A" side, however, by way of posting a sample, I'm going with "The Balcony", the second track found on the B side. "The Balcony" was inspired by The Kent State University shooting, according to the jacket notes. And, at the very least, this song seems to have made a big impression on Chris Colombi, Jr., Jazz Critic for The Cleveland Plain Dealer (author of the jacket notes).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tops 12 Top Hits

Searchin'
12 Top Hits
Featuring Great Hollywood Vocalists And Orchestras
Lew Raymond Orchestra with The Toppers
Tops L1510 A-6

Tammy
12 Top Hits
Featuring Great Hollywood Vocalists And Orchestras
Tops L1510 A-7

Tops overprinted this stock cover with titles, releasing more than one mix of titles using the same catalog number. The "A-7" at the bottom of the list denotes, I guess, the part of the "run" to include the particular mix of track titles featured on the LP.

Future Sound Shock - Enoch Light

Give Joy To The World
Future Sound Shock
Enoch Light And The Light Brigade
Project 3 PR 5077
1973

Light strikes again with incredible sound. "Future Sound Shock" refers to the engineering which is Quadraphonic (stereo pressing PR 5077 SD). Even though this record isn't a Command project, the jacket is still a Light gatefold with information about Project 3's path to Quad sound and this record filling the inside. Light was one of the first to create music using 4 channel.

Light created Project 3 after he sold his Command label to ABC.

The A Side starts out with some light 70s AM radio pop and goes into light bachelor pad jazz and then, half way into the B Side he offers up an unusual track which I've posted as a sample above. Then back to space age easy listening.

Cool stuff.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Music For Pooped People

Song Of India
Music For Pooped People
Eddie Kay Octet
Mercury Record Corporation MG 20228

By today's standards, the title is a double take. Additionally the jacket notes, when listing "tired" people refer to a housewife as "fagged-out".

The music is mood spiced with a touch of jazz. Song Of India plays unlike the rest of the set and smacks of exotica.

Kay's Octet musicians include: Eddie Kay, Pete Carpenter, Rudy Cangie, Ramez Idress, Bob Nelson, Bill Nader, Carl Maus, Joe Lichter and Gene Garf.

Hawaiian Favorites - Akoni Lani & Danny K. Stewart

My Little Grass Shack
Hawaiian Favorites
Akoni Lani And His Islanders
Danny K. Stewart And His Aloha Boys
Tops L 1517

This is a split LP, featuring more "traditional" sounds on the A side (the Akoni Lani side) and a more of a "lounge" sound by Danny K Stewart on the B side.

Hawaiian War Chant
Song Of The Islands
Naka Pueo
Lovely Hula Hands
My Little Grass Shack
Huki Lay
Silhouette Hula
The Pupuli Hula E
Knock-Kneed Napua
Fort St. Rag
One More Aloha
There's A Yellow Rose In Hilo

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Vogue Picture Disk - Art Kassel - Sooner Or Later

Sooner Or Later
Sooner Or Later
Art Kassel and his Orchestra
Vocal By Gloria Hart
Vogue Picture Record R781

1940s 10 inch 78 RPM

Vogue Picture Disk - Art Kassel - I Love You

I Love You
I Love You - For Sentimental Reasons
Art Kassel and his Orchestra
Vocal By Jimmy Featherstone
Vogue Picture Record R781

1940s 10 inch 78 RPM

The Golddiggers

The Golddiggers
Metromedia Records

The Golddiggers were an easy-on-the-eyes girl group created as back-up for Dean Martin on his variety show.

According to jacket notes attributed to Dean Martin, Greg Garrison producer of Martin's show put together this group of ladies in 1968.

From the back cover: In the spring of 1968 Greg Garrison, the producer of my television show, got a notion to put together a group of 12 beautiful young girls who could sing and dance the songs that were popular in the 20s and 30s. He called them "The Golddiggers." After he had shaped the act, he invited me into a rehearsal studio to look and listen. They were so fresh and talented I just sat there wide-eyed... I looked like the guy who jumped on his bicycle and discovered there was no seat.

After several appearances on my show, they were such a hit I asked them to star on my summer show. The did, and they have been re-signed to star as my summer replacement this year too.

What I love about these kids is that they are real conscientious. One time they were unhappy with a performance they gave... they locked their dressing room door and had a cry-in. I appeased them of course. I knew they were just kids, so I gave each of them a set of crayons and a Peyton Place coloring book.

I know one thing, the Golddiggers are going to go far because they are talented and believe in themselves, and I can't tell you how happy I am to have them around. I love youth... the oldest thing on my show is my scotch.

Dean Martin.

Crayons and Peyton Place coloring book? Dean... you are so BAD!!! LOL!

This is a great 60s easy listening album. Very light left-over space age pop with that campy TV show feel. The girls have a website. Songs from this LP will play for you when you load the homepage.

Actual Business Letters

Actual Business Letters
Dictated At Various Speeds
Sten-O-Disc
Los Angeles, CA

She's all about the exciting world of actual business letters...