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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Blue Hawaii - The Polynesians

Blue Hawaii
The Polynesians
Crown Records CST 163

As with most Crown recordings this album can be downloaded by MP3 purchase. But you don't get the original album cover.

The Polynesians were: Harry Baty, Sam Kapuni, Freddy Tavares, Bob Nichols, Joe Guerro and Joe Keawe.

The sound is "folk" with pop flourishes. Kou Kino Mambo, the last track on the B side is my favorite.

How Insensitive - Brasilia Nueve

How Insensitive
By The Brailia Nueve
Contemporary Bossa-Novas
Arranged by Bill Potts
Decca DL 74910
1967

This is a great jazz flavored bossa-nova album. You may be able find the album on an expensive Japanese import CD with different cover art.

Musicians include: Bill Potts - Piano, Zoot Sims - Saxophone, Markie Markowitz - Trumpet, Mel Lewis - Drums, Richard Davis - Bass, Chino Pozo - Conga, Charlie Palmieri - Cabasa, Louie Ramirez - Percussion, Tony Gottuso - Guitar and Barry Galbraith - Guitar.

This album isn't mention on Bill Potts' wiki page.

The album has a timeless cool jazz club sound about it.

Friday, April 8, 2011

After Theatre At The Little Club - Kurt Maier

South Pacific Medley
After Theatre At The Little Club
Kurt Maier Piano And Rhythm
Decca DL 8699
1957

Curious recording from the veteran (five seasons) "house" artist appearing at Billy Reed's Little Club.

Apparently The Little Club was the first restaurant in America to be mentioned for serving the "Caesar Salad.

All I can think of is that The Little Club was such a popular place that someone at Decca thought that they could sell records based on the name alone. This recording is basic lounge. Usually pressings like this are found on private press or on smaller labels.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Winter's Here

Don't Take Your Meanness Out Of Me
Winter's Here
Fraternity Records, Cincinnati, Ohio
F-1001 - 1955

This was a nice score today. Jerri Winters worked with Stan Kenton for eight months in 1952, replacing  June Christy. She recorded several songs with Kenton. When she landed in New York, from the jacket notes, she stuck out on her own but found the Big Apple a tough nut to crack. But, "... in spite of all its pressures, that initiated experimentation with style, and where Jerri Winters assumed her own identity rather than live in the reflected incandescence of derivation."

She released three solo albums, according to her wiki page. This one, (Fraternity's first release), Somebody Loves Me (1957 Bethlehem) and Winters Again (1962 Charlie Parker). Her second and third albums can be found on CD.

Don Coasta arranged the material and directed the the orchestra. Coasta is best known for his work with Frank Sinatra. It may be that he was working for ABC-Paramont Records at this time and was farmed out for this project? It's hard to tell from his wiki page. He was voted number one in Cash Box as the most popular recording arranger and conductor, apparently in 1959(?).

I thought, from the budget look of the jacket this was some local private press. There is very little personal information to be found on Winters.

This is a photo from University Of North Texas Digital Library. Identified are Stan Kenton and Jerri Winters, 1952.

Budget Compilation

Satisfaction
You Can't Trust A Friend
Modern Sound MS 1011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Stripper - Si Zentner

One Mint Julep
The Stripper
Si Zentner And His Orchestra
Liberty LST 7247
1962

July 14 Billboard: "...should appeal to both adults and teen dancers." I have to laugh at that. I can imagine what my Mother would have thought if I brought home this album with the cover ablaze with the suggestive title and tawdry silhouettes."

Swing fueled space age with a touch of "bump and grind".

Fly Me To The Moon

Fly Me To The Moon
And The Bossa Nova Pops
Joe Harnell His Piano And Orchestra
Kapp KS-3318
1963

Billboard published a short Harnell piece the week of release in the February, 1963 issues under "Artists' Biographies". The single from the album Fly Me To The Moon, was charting "well" on Billboard Hot 100.

This album is available on CD. This is one of those few recordings that seems timeless to me. Opinions are are relative, but the album seems like Harnell could have recorded it yesterday. The sound is very light on the 60s light pop if you know what I mean. The tracks are just fresh sounding. The entire album is consistent and one song flows into the next creating smooth trip for the listener. The engineering is excellent.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hawaii's Greatest Hits Vol. 2

Hawaii's Greatest Hits Vol. 2
The New Hawaiian Band
Decca Records DL 75088

You will find numerous search returns on The New Hawaiian Band, but very little real information including the release date. The instrumentals were produced in Hawaii by Charles Bud Dant. Band members are listed on the back: Sonny Kaopuiki, leader and guitarist; Pua Almeida, doubling on guitar and uke; Jimmy Kaopuiki, bass; Benny Saks, vibraphonist; Alvin (Barney) Isaacs, steel guitar; and the incomparable Ohta San – probably Hawaii's greatest ukuele player.

This is a nice album. The music is light 60s Hawaiian style pop. Very smooth, slow and understated, not that crazy Enoch Light sound (not that there's anything wrong with that)! The "traditional" sound is augmented by enough 60s vocal flourishes and instrumental touches to keep your interest. What sets this recording apart from the piles of Hawaiian albums I have is the great engineering. There is a rich bass or low end to this record that is missing from most. All instruments are crisp and clear. The over all sound is rich and soothing.

For a slightly space age "island" sound, this album would be a good choice for you.

Organ Reveries - Jesse Crawford

Organ Reveries
Jesse Crawford
Celebrity Records UT 176

This looks like a late 50s release. Crawford passed away in 1962. 

Celebrity was a budget label. Apparently this recording was also released on Crown, another budget label. Someone has purchased and digitized, what seems like the entire Crown library and offer the MP3s online (including this record). I don't know what the Crown cover looked like, but you don't get any cover art with your MP3 purchase.

Love this cover and the zombie-like ballerina.

101 Strings - Hits Of Today

101 Strings
Hits Of Today
Alshire 5326

This is another one of the few 101s that I've found that I like.

First check out the cover model. Come on honey, spread them a little more... a little more... until it hurts!

Great covers of Brazil, Malibu Sun, Theme From Jaws (yes... the Theme From Jaws).

The titles I checked can be had by the MP3 download. Of course, the original cover image is not included.

Three cheers for vinyl!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blue Hawaii

Beyond The Reef
Blue Hawaii
Kamuela And His South Sea Islanders
The Most Romantic And Popular Songs Of The South Seas
FDR Waldorf Music Hall, Inc. MHK 33-1219

Obscure budget album. From the back cover: Kamuela and his South Sea Islanders feature the usual instrumentation of Hawaiian orchestras: two steel guitars, a Spanish guitar, ukulele, bass, drums, with a flute doubling on clarinet. Kamuela, who plays all the glissading solos on his steel guitar, was born in Honolulu, where he worked in the famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and who, since arriving in the United States, has been featured in such noted Hawaiian orchestras as those of Lani McIntyre and Ray Kinny.

The Band I Heard In Tijuana Vols 1 & 2

Flamingo
What Now My Love
The Band I Heard In Tijuana Vols 1 & 2
10 Hits In That Happy Sound
The New Sound of Los Norte Americanos
Somerset SF-27300 & 25700
1966

This brass album that turned out to be a wacky surprise. There is lots of that 60s fun to go around, however, Volume 2 is slightly groovier.

Isle Of Dreams - Joe Maize

Bali Ha'i
Isle Of Dreams
Instrumental Favorites Of Hawaii
Joe Maize And His Cordsmen
Decca DL 4555
1965

This is an obscure artist/album featuring pleasant Hawaiian steel guitar music with touches of space age vibes along with the accordion. There are a number of exotica favorites on the record including Bali H'ai, Pagan Love Song, Hawaiian War Chant and The Moon Of Manakoora. There is also a terrific "oriental" number titled Lotus on this record. The sound of the recording is split between these "exotic" numbers and more "folk" sounding tunes. The album is a surprise addition to my "exotica" collection.

From the back cover: His (Maize) partner, Marty O'Conion, does the distinctive musical arranging.

The only real info on Maize comes from spaceagepop.com: 

Will Louviere described Joe Maize and his Cordsmen as a "cross between the Three Suns and the Three Stooges," and that about sums it up. Maize was a versatile console steel guitar player, ala Alvino Rey, and like Rey, he unashamedly used his instrument for melody, percussion, and sound effects. The group performed in night clubs ranging from the Boulevard in New York City to the Mocambo in Hollywood, with an occasional gig at one of the hotels on Waikiki, but most of the time they were based in Las Vegas and Reno. The spirit of their act was not unlike that of the better-known Mary Kaye Trio, which played some of the same venues, such as the Painted Room of the Desert Inn: moving back and forth between instrumentals, vocals, and comic skits and often combining all three.

Presenting Joe Maize and his Cordsmen is a classic Space Age Pop album, complete with the obligatory standards such as "Misirlou"and "The Third Man Theme", lots of string wizardry by Joe, and nice jazzy accordion work, always a favorite of mine.

Havana In Hi-Fi - Richard Hayman

Havana In Hi-Fi
Richard Hayman And His Orchestra
Mercury Records SR-6000
1957

Lovely cover on this Hayman release. Curiously, I've seen another Mercury "stereo" cover for this record and the art is cropped differently and the Mercury logo was placed down into the image area.

All of the tracks can be had by the MP3 download. The image provided is from the original mono release (the feet aren't cropped).

The music is heavily or should I say lushly orchestrated.

Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White

Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White
And 9 Other Magnificent Hits
Tops 9749
1963

Latin effort from Tops. Tops released a slew of these records featuring this "star burst" shape on the cover.

Curiously, each song credits Dave Pell with different wording.

Dave Pell's wiki page.

The album seems somewhat obscure, but you can find all of the tracks offered online by download. Although you would not know that the tunes came off this album, because you have to keyword songs to find them and you don't see the original cover art. In other words, it would be impossible to assemble all the original songs together if you didn't have an album, or the cover image above to go by. Again, vinyl seems to be the best way to collect music as far as I'm concerned.

The music is peppy, a touch space age and the engineering is very good.

Desert Song

Songs From Romberg's Desert Song
Varsity Singers And Orchestra
Gramophone 20207

Obscure Gramophone release. The jacket is constructed the same fashion as Plymouth jackets. It would not surprise me to find that these two budget labels shared the same office (a basement office).

The cover art grabbed me. The print job is a two color affair, blue and metallic silver. Plymouth may have beg, borrowed or outright stole content for their records, but they demonstrated a creative spirit when it came to creating cover art.

I don't have anything glowing to say about the music or who The Varsity Singers are. The record plays like they ripped off a soundtrack from a movie. And it is apparent that Gramophone didn't have enough content so they filled up side two with some canned orchestrated music they found somewhere. I've run across this more than once.  A Plymouth release I have features non-credited Jeanette MacDonald music on the B side.