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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

America's Most Popular Cha Cha's

Baby It's Cold Outside Cha Cha
America's Most Popular Cha Cha's
Alfredo Gomez And His Latin America Orchestra
Audition Records AUD 33-5937

Here's an obscure Cha Cha record on an obscure label featuring a lost to history (as far as I can tell) recording artist.

There is an organ featured on a few tracks that helps to create an unique sounding Cha Cha song. This is a pretty dang good space age record.

Heart Of Hawaii

Dark Dawn
Heart Of Hawaii
Promenade Records 2223

There is no information to be found on this budget label release. The back cover is loaded with fluff about Hawaiian history and so forth. There is no mention of who the artist is on the jacket.

Most of the songs have a wonderful haunting vocal treatment that keep the tracks from becoming your average mood.

There is also an excellent and very dramatic cover of Hawaiian War Chant on this album along with a nice cover of Beyond The Reef. I chose a track from the B side, Dark Dawn, because it seemed to be the most unusual and most mood setting song on the record. Give it a chance, there is a weird little guitar break about half way through.

Ping Pong Sound Of Guitars In Percussion

Sun Spots
The Ping Pong Sound Of Guitars In Percussion
By Eddie Wayne & Group
Coronet Records CXS-139
A Division Of Premier

The entire album title is misleading as far as the "percussion" is concerned. But the music is cool and for the most part "surf" guitar influenced.

I made some attempt to find info on Eddie Wayne online with no success. There are songs with a more driving beat on the album, but I warmed up most to the last track on the B side, Sun Spots.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quiet Nights & Brazilian Guitars - Guitars Unlimited

Here Lies Love
Quiet Nights And Brazilian Guitars
Guitars Unlimited
Arranger and Conductor: Jack Marshall
Producer: David Cavanaugh
Capitol/EMI Records T 2451


Guitar - Al Hendrickson, Bob Bain, Howard Roberts (jazz solo), Jack Marshall, Laurindo Almeida (solo), Roshinha De Valenca, Tommy Tedesco, Tony Rizzo
Bass - Joe Mondragon
Bells - Frank Flynn
Percussion: Milton Holland, Shelly Manne

Excellent light jazz with a 60s vibe. Recommended.
The Girl From Ipanema
Manhã De Carnival (Theme From "Black Orpheus")
Meditation (Meditação)
Here Lies Love
Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars (Corcovado)
One Note Samba (Samba De Uma Nota So)
These Are The Ways Of Love
O Barquinho (Little Boat)

Jackie Gleason Presents - Velvet Brass

The Man I Love (stereo)
Jackie Gleason Presents Velvet Brass
Capitol Records W859 (mono - 1957) & SW859 (stereo - 1959)

Alto Saxophone: Toots Mondello

From Billboard - February 2, 1959: Capitol Record's latest release of stereo LP's should find a hearty reception from stereophiles. Included in the 16-LP release are stereophonic versions of sets that have in most cases proven big monaural sellers.

Headlining the pop releases is "Oklahoma!" In stereo the album is even more charming and this release should create new interest in the set, which has long been a best-seller. Another strong pop album in the group is "Jackie Gleason Presents Velvet Brass," which lends itself very well to stereo, because of the many contrasting ork effects.

You're Driving Me Crazy
But Not For Me
Me And My Shadow
Take The "A" Train
By The Beautiful Sea
Am I Blue
What's New
Girl Of My Dreams
My Buddy
I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
September Song
Out Of Nowhere
Chinatown, My Chinatown

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Music For Cards, Conversation And Cuddling

Sunset Melody
Music For Cards, Conversation And Cuddling
Harry Hermann And His Orchestra
Decca Records DL 8563

Billboard indicated that this album had "Moderate potential" even though they thought the cover was "attractive".

This is a somewhat obscure Decca release and I could find almost nothing online concerning Harry Hermann.  From the back cover: the fact that at seventeen, he was playing with the Vienna Philharmonic under the direction of Richard Strauss.

I'm not sure exactly what story the cover art is telling. The ever-so-light mood music is way too low key to play during a shouting match.

Spectacular Harps

Robert Maxwell
Spectacular Harps
MGM Records E3836

Robert Maxwell used the harp more as a percussion instrument, an innovative approach.

This album was marketed by MGM as part of a "Spectacular" series of records. Albums featuring "brass", accordions, percussion and harmonicas where released at the same time as Spectacular Harps.

The record isn't one that sets a "mood". Songs range from soft and atmospheric to cheesy 60s light fare. But all songs sound fresh and unique.

Moog - The Electric Eclectics Of Dick Hyman

The Electric Eclectics Of Dick Hyman
Command ABC Records 938-S

This is the first of several "Moog" synth records Hyman made on the Command label. This LP can be found, including some tracks from the follow-up LP, The Age Of Eletronicus, on CD.

I read one review that make you think the entire LP is filled with cheesy music. The first few tracks on the A side are sort of cheesy sounding. I like that 60s sound, myself. But the remaining tracks on the A side are dark and mysterious and seem to me to pave the path for many science fiction sound track arrangements to come. Side B opens with a long track titled The Minotaur. The vibe reminds me of something Frank Zappa might have done if he swapped in his guitar for a Moog long enough to compose one song.

The rest of side 2 is equally atmospheric.

Serenade In The Night

Mood Music
Serenade In The Night
Philip Green And His Orchestra
MGM Records E3119

I can find precious little information on Philiip Green.

I would label this album "light exotica". The track list features a number of popular exotica tunes.

The A side is somewhat more interesting than the B side, which seems to fall back more heavily on standard mood arrangements.