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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bossa Nova Guitar - Paulinho Nogueira

Joao Valentao
Bossa Nova Guitar
Paulinho Hogueira
Hamilton - Division of Dot HLP 12157
1965

Paulinho Nogueira was a virtuosic musician who adapted a Brazilian feel to sophisticated acoustic guitar (violão) playing. He is distinctive for not having been influenced by jazz, as most popular Brazilian virtuosos have been. His playing was often reckless during his samba renditions, but he had a special bent on the ancient Brazilian musical tradition of doleful, tender, delicate interpretations, in which altered chords don't play a significant role. He recorded 27 solo albums and toured throughout the world, playing his violão for 50 years. Read more on Nogueira's Billboard page.

Several tracks have bits of vocal chorus inserted as accents and there are other 60s flourishes that help anchor the record in space age sound. The engineering is very good for a budget label.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Brazilian Jazz - Bossa Nova - Marco Rizo

One Note Samba
Brazilian Jazz
Bossa Nova
Sonido de Marco Rizo
Somerset SF-18800
1964

Somerset is known for budget records even though the label did manage to release a number of great recordings including this one.

From the back cover: Rizo... "was arranger/conductor for the "I Love Lucy" show."

There is a decent amount of material online about Rizo. Visit his wiki page or marcorizo.com which, I believe, is a site maintained by his sister Vilma. The link is to a page on which CDs by Rizo are available for purchase.

Supercussion - Dick Schory's Percussion Pops Orchestra

Shimboo
Supercussion
Dick Schory's Percussion Pops Orchestra
RCA Victor LSP-2613
1963

This is the third RCA LP that I've found that was apparently created by RCA to promote "Dynagroove" technology. I'm unsure if the promotion did much to promote Dynagroove because the music, although "nice"... seemed dated for the time and that RCA's attempt to show off the engineering, by forcing the high and low end of the audio, made the music seem unnatural.

However this record in the promotion is not like the other albums. While RCA, again presses the dynamic envelope, the percussion approach on this project totally works. In fact, it all works. The cool music is a blend of percussion, swing jazz, easy listening and space age sound. Dynagroove done right!

Hot Line For Sound

Taste Of Honey
Hot Line For Sound
Musical Explorations In Beats... Bongos... Boffs
Bob & Phil And The Orchestra
Enoch Light Presents
Project 3 Total Sound PR5002SD
1966

I'm not sure what definition of "Boff" Light had in mind... "blow, punch"?

Out of all the Light records I've blogged so far, this may be the coolest 60's cheese filled entry. The project may actually lack the beats, bongos and boffs as advertised, but there are lots of ping pongs to go around. Side two features a few smooth and jazzy tracks.

There is a cover of Michelle (J. Lennon, P. McCartney) on this album that is good fun. It was hard to choose a sample for you. I had to go with Taste Of Honey, (R. Marlow, B. Scott). The twisted organ notes featured on the track are pretty cool. From the jacket notes: This instrument played is a Lowery Organ – an unusual new instrument that permits glissandi and bent notes. In the second chorus Tony Mottola is heard on guitar, playing intervals musicians refer to as Oriental fifths, supported by what arranger Lew Davies evocatively describes as "stabs" from the organ on the right.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Suddenly It's The Hi Lo's

Suddenly It's The Hi Lo's
Orchestra Under The Direction Of Frank Comstock
Columbia CL 952
1957

The reason I picked this album up was that I believe that I saw a Hi Lo's cover featured in a book titled "Strange Music". So I expected something strange... or at least bland. But I found neither to be true. I'm not much for group vocal stuff, but this stuff seems forward looking and may possibly have influenced The Manhattan Transfer.

Anyway, this Hi Lo's album was an engaging listen for me and I'll pick up more of their records as I run across them. For more information, check out The Hi Lo's site. There is also a link to some downloadable sound files.

Moon River Revisited - Lee Erwin - Emery Theater

Moon River Revisted
Lee Erwin At The Mighty Wurlitzer
Audiocraft Recording Co., Cincinnati, Ohio OVC-ATOS LP-100
1979

Moon River was a "dreamy music" radio show first aired on WLW in 1930 when Powell Crosley Jr. decided that quite music was needed to end the broadcast day. The segment enjoyed the longest run of any musical program in the history of radio, always a sustaining (unsponsored) broadcast. Lee Erwin played organ on the program for over ten years.

The organ featured at The Emery was played by Erwin for three years at The RKO Albee Theatre that was located in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. This amazing theater that was torn down in 1977 (such a shame). I'm lucky enough to own box seats from The Albee.

The organ from The Albee was moved to The Emery sometime in the late 60s. After an eight year program of restoration the organ was dedicated in 1977.

For a time in the late 80s the caretakers of The Emery Theater (The Ohio Valley Chapter American Theatre Organ Society?) made a great effort to keep the theater open to the public on a limited basis. I saw a number of movies there, including The Marx Brothers At The Circus, It's A Mad Mad Mad World and a spectacular treat, Spartacus, a technicolor movie which required, as I remember it, some special screen extensions to accommodate the particular print shown. The image was almost 3D-like. I wish that I could something online about this version of Spartacus, but I can't.

And the CATOS made an effort to recreate the movie going experience of times gone by. Of course, they featured the Wurlitzer during intermissions. That was a special time for entertainment in Cincinnati.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Exciting Sound Of Acquaviva And His Orchestra

I Found A Rainbow
The Exciting Sound Of Acquaviva And His Orchestra
Decca DL 74465
1963

The following brief bio found on Acquaviva's wiki page is the only decent reference I could find on the artist.

Nick Aquaviva (Nicholas Paul Acquaviva) (April 11, 1925 - October 14, 1998), known professionally as Tony Acquaviva or simply Acquaviva, was an American composer, conductor and string instrumentalist, a student of Serge Koussevitzky and the founder of the New York "Pops" Symphony Orchestra, a 135-member ensemble that selected and performed melodic new works by young composers. As a struggling young musician in New York, he roomed with singer Guy Mitchell, sleeping on the floor for lack of furniture and once admitted to the press that the refrigerator there contained only one jar of mustard. He recorded for MGM Records (notably the LP album "Music of Acquaviva", MGM E3226), and his works include "The Cavalier's Ball" and "My Love, My Love", the latter recorded by his wife Joni James, who he married at St. Patrick's Cathedral on December 1, 1956) which reached Gold Record status at its release. Acquaviva was a resident of Rhode Island. Nick and Joni have two children adopted from Italy.

Acquaviva was credited in the jacket notes only by his last name. However, a number of composition credits are listed as "Nicholas Acquaviva"including the sample track posted above: "I Found A Rainbow". I was attracted to the album by the well executed cover design. The music is, full, lush and well engineered easy listening.

Afro Percussion - Olatunji And His Drums Of Passion

Masque Dance
Afro Percussion
(Babatunde) Olatunji And His Percussion, Brass, Woodwind, And Choir
Arranged by Rayburn Wright
Columbia CL 1634
1961

Terrific blend of Afro Percussion and western influences.

Olatunji's 1959 (wiki reference) Drums Of Passion is his first and most popular recording and can be found online. This record seems more obscure and isn't to be found online.

Olatunji!
Drums Of Passion
Columbia CS 8210
1960 (Billboard reference)

Babatunde Olatunji first U.S. release. The album is available on CD and by download. Not influenced by jazz to the extent of Zungo!, however, the inviting arrangements seem westernized to me. Exciting stuff for the 1960s listener and still a treat today!

Below is a live performance of Akiwowo with a smaller group opening for The Grateful Dead, New Years Eve, 1986.



African Waltz
High Life
Olatunji And His Drums Of Passion
Columbia CS 8796
1963

Music From Latin America

Music From Latin America
Decca Records DL 38078

Compilation album featuring diverse "Latin" sounds from the likes of Toni Arden, Russ Morgan, Stan Kenton, Jose Albeniz, Les Brown, Pepe Gonzales, and Beacham Coakley.

This is an obscure album with a terrific cover that I can find no mention of online.

The record label features an interesting copy line: Prepared especially for Colonial Stores. The Colonial Stores, Inc, was for much of the 20th Century one of the nations largest supermarket operators. In June 1955 Albers Super Markets, based in Cincinnati, OH, was purchased by and merged into Colonial Stores. This may or may not be why I found this record in the Cincinnati area. Apparently Colonial had the buying power to purchase what must have been it's own "budget" records pressed just for their outlets.

The Modern Five

I'L Contadino
La Bambola
The Modern Five
Discos Rex RR 8005

We feature an Italian group with an English name. I can't find any mention of the group online. I can translate enough of one paragraph from the back cover to note that the group appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.

The material is not dated. Back cover signed by Adriana (bajo), Gianni (Dir-Bateria) along with maybe another signature or two and some other writing.

The music matches the whacky cover art. 60s Italian pop with one English cover of Sam & Dave Hold On I'm Coming.

Great fun!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Guantanamera

Guantanamera
Design Records (Pickwick) DLP-260

Ouch... talk about budget. The first track is some weird lounge-like number followed by material found that Design found in the dumpster of another budget label. Fortunately, for me... the title track is catchy, in a weird way. Maybe you gotta be me to appreciate stuff like this...

The Eloise Trio

Shake, Shake, Senora
The Eloise Trio
Decca Records DL 78983
1960

From the April 25, 1960 Billboard: The Eloise Trio is the trio responsible for the sound that is getting plenty of air plays, Chi Chi Merengue. This time included in the Decca album which bears their name, and also includes a variety of tunes with a calypso flavor. Eloise Lewis, featuring singer of the group, sang before her first real audience at an amateur show in the Bahanes, when she was 11. In 1957, she opened at Blackbreads with her two partners (Bucky and Bert), and opening that marked the official birth of the Eloise Trio.

This is a terrific album featuring the wild and exotic vocals of Eloise Lewis. The vocal stylings are rich and complicated. The band is super tight and Decca did a great job engineering the LP.

Here's a blog with a little more information on Eloise.

All but one track, as far as I can tell, are downloadable from the typical online sources. Zombie Jamboree is a good tune to start with. Blackbeard's Cha Cha, credited by Lewis is also cool featuring a twangy electric guitar. Shake, Shake, Senora is the one tune that I could not find online.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Organ & Bongos

Baldwin Organ & Bongos
Fabulous Eddie Osborn
Audio Fidelity AFSD 5974
1962

This is the second "organ and bongos" album I've run across by Osborn. The first being titled Baldwin Organ and Bongs Bongs Bongs (1960). If I had a better filing system for my records... I'd go pull the other album and see if this isn't a reissue. I almost positive it is the same album but with better cover art.

Your Number Please - Julie London

Julie London
Your number please...
Liberty Records LST 7130
1959

After a long day of blogging records I like to listen to a London album to chill. And there's nothing like looking at the smoking hot London to give you something to dream about before you go to sleep at night.

Italian Guitars

Only Love Me
Italian Guitars
Series 2000
TIME Records s/2023
1961

February 27, 1961 Billboard: The alternately swinging and exotic sound of guitars, mandolins and accordion fill the stereo air of this new sound-type LP. ...give a large and fulsome sound that very effectively carried through the stereo speaker set-up.

This is a very nice space age entry featuring many pickers as noted on the cover, including the mysterious Mr. "X". The sound is clear and ringing. Great engineering from TIME (Bob Arnold and John Cue).

Arranged and conducted by Al Caiola.

Fantastico!

Avevamo la stessa eta
Fantastico!
Marino Marini Quartet
Columbia W 168
1960

Marini was an innovative musician who used an echo chamber of his own design and is said to have been the first European performer to use sound mixing on stage, anticipating techniques used by rock musicians in the 1960s. He also combined Neapolitan with various musical styles and reinterpreted America standards.

This record is loaded with style blends, twangy guitar and other assort 60s light pop touches which makes for a fun listen.

Songs lyrics get basic translation on the back cover (sample): Avevamo La stessa eta - You were the smartest one in geography. I remember, and I still have the flower you gave me the day I failed my exam. I used to help you with your arithmetic in exchange for candy. We were the same age, no one knows it now, but now you are ten years younger than I. I don't understand it, but time passed only for me. We were the same age, only my heart knows it now, the same age.

Read the full bio on Marini's wiki page.

Goldie Hill

Living Alone
Goldie Hill
Decca Records DL 74034
1960

August 1, 1960 Billboard gave this album "very strong sales potential". The Golden Hillbillie has a powerful package of weepers, rhythm songs and other country material. Album is well-recorded and should do extremely well in its field.

I normally don't buy vintage country, but I liked the cover photo on this one.

Hill was one of the first women in country music to reach the top of the country music charts. She had success and turned it down to when she married country singer Carl Smith and retired to living on their horse farm.

This is Hill's first of four albums on Decca released in the early 60s before she retired (or while she was making the decision to retire). Even the jacket notes hint that she is "retired". When you play this album you will be glad Goldie is happy in her homemaker's humming, but you will hope she will return to the studio for more recording soon.

See her wiki page for Hill's complete bio.