Search Manic Mark's Blog

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Soundpower - Marty Gold

Soundpower!
Marty Gold
RCA Victor LPM-2620
1963

This album is one in the series of LPs produced by RCA to help promote "Dynagroove". The series quality is uneven. Some experiments with stereo were annoying and others, like this album... were released in mono. Why RCA would released a mono version of an album designed to promote new technology in 1963... I have no idea. So I can't comment on how RCA manipulated the stereo on this record.

Billboard liked this entry and from the brief, I take it, listening to the album in stereo dramatically improves the experience.

There are some cool tracks on the album but I have to be honest and say that it simply didn't grab me like so many other albums that I've collected from the period. You can find this album on a somewhat pricey CD so I can't post a sample.

Mr. Lucky Goes Latin - Henry Mancini

Mr. Lucky Goes Latin
Henry Mancini
RCA Victor LSP-2360
1961

For those of you afraid to jump into Mancini... because you think he's way... easy listening. Then you haven't listened to his early stuff. Mancini created some really fabulous fringe hybrid exotica/space age/lounge stuff. This album is a perfect example of blending period trends to create a fresh sound with a Latin touch.

Highly recommend! The album is available on an expensive import CD so I will not be posting a sample.

The Legend Of Pele - Arthur Lyman

The Legend Of Pele
Arthur Lyman
HIFI Record R813
1958

This is a fabulous Lyman exotica album. All the bells and whistles... not to mention bird calls are to be heard on this LP recorded in the Aluminum Dome on the grounds of the Kaiser Hawaiian Village Hotel on Waikiki.

This, like many other Lyman albums can be had on CD. However, there are some folks on Amazon complaining about quality as if the CD as if it was produced from a mono copy of the album.

What a treat it must have been to see these four guys do this piece live. This record is a concept piece based on the story of Pele as told in copy on the back cover. The album plays out like a story, each song seems to blend into the next. The sound is dramatic, rich and full. Terrific stuff.

Relaxing With Perry Como

Relaxing With Perry Como
RCA Victor LPM-1176
1956

I thought visitors to The Atomic Attic would appreciate this lovely space age cover gracing this Como release.

Vibrations - The 3 Sounds

Fever
Vibrations
The 3 Sounds
BST 84248 BLP 4248
Blue Note / Liberty Records
1967

One of the many albums produced by The 3 Sounds, an American jazz trio, while they were together from 1956 through 1973.

Their wiki page suggests that the group released nine LPs for Blue Note between 1958 and 1962. Apparently they press at least one more in 1967.

There is a nice 60s "vibration" to a number of tunes on this album in addition to a number of more "timeless" arrangements. You can find a few 3 Sounds CDs online, but not this album.

Two Cigarettes In The Dark

Two Cigarettes In The Dark
Two Cigarettes In The Dark
The Jay Stevens Concert Orchestra
Tops L1554

This is one of my favorite "bad habits" covers.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Guitar's Greatest Hits - Tom Tomlinson And Jerry Kennedy

Caravan
Guitar's Greatest Hits
Tom Tomlinson And Jerry Kennedy
Mercury Records MG 20626
1961

This was the first of four albums Tom and Jerry released for Mercury with a general "rock and roll" theme.

Here is Tommy Tomlinson's Rockabilly Hall Of Fame page. And here is Jerry Kennedy's wiki page.

I never thought I find a "rock" cover of Caravan... but here it is.  And there are a few other fine tunes on the LP including a cover of Raunchy.

Gazpacho - Phil Bodner

Gazpacho
The Brass Ring under the direction of Phil Bodner
Dunhill ABC Records DS-50034
1968

I never thought I'd find an album titled after a bowl of cold soup... but here it is.

And I never thought that an album titled after a bowl of cold soup would be available for purchase/digital download from online vendors... it is.

I'm not big fan of brass albums, but this is a good one if you like "Now Sound" (which Bodner is credited with creating) or 60s lounge flavored brass.

On the back cover there is a credit to Annette Burden for the actual Gazpacho Dinner as seen on the cover.

Have You Never Been Mellow - Paul Mauriat And His Orchestra

El Bimbo
Have You Never Been Mellow
Paul Mauriat And His Orchestra
MGM Records M3G 4999
1975

In 1975, when this album was release. I was listening to the Ramones and saw AC DC play a small club in Columbus, Ohio. I would have rather been caught dead then found with a Mauriat record on me.

Times change and I could throw my spine out of place if I bang my head at this age. So here I am listening to Paul Mauriat. Mauriat is best known for arranging and conducting many light pop or easy listening albums. The think Mauriat's light sound may be the best of its type coming out of the late 60s/early 70s. He can take worst pop song (that I still won't listen to) and make it better. He had a knack for timing, phrasing and injecting slightly unusual instrument (sounds) into his arrangements that hold your attention, creating a sense of anticipation, making you wonder what he will do next with the tune you are listening to.

This album may be the lightest of all Mauriat albums I've listened to to date. Although El Bimbo is pretty cool, some of his earlier work is a bit more "groovy".

El Condor Pasa is an another excellent Mauriat album.

Love Makes A Small World - Enrico With Raoul Meynard

Arrivederci Roma
Love Makes A Small World
Enrico With Raoul Meynard And His Orchestra
Warner Bros. Records W 1288
1959

Enrico, The Young Continental.

From the back cover: Just as the public is deserting the Ivy League and Blue Jean Look for the new Continental Look, so Enrico we hope, will be the New Look in singers.

Also from the back cover: Breaking through language barriers, this album is hearing proof that love is the great leveller, the differences in modes and manners among nations are forgotten when Love Makes A Small World.

Apparently love wasn't enough to help Enrico and Warner's PR copy writer conquer the cold cruel world. Enrico appears to have slipped into obscurity after this release.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Roman Guitar - Tony Mottola

Arrivederci Roma
Roman Guitar
Tony Mottola
Command Records RS 816 SD
1960

This is the first of two Mottola "Roman Guitar" albums. Click here to view my post of Volume Two.

I think this release is more "light-pop" which Enoch Light (Command Records) was getting more heavily into in 1960. The follow-up may be a bit more "romantic" in sound.

Both covers feature very nice Charles E. Murphy designs (the art for this cover is credited to Paul Bacon).

The Chihuahua Marimba Band

Chihuahua Bash
The Chihuahua Marimba Band
Cry Of The Wild Goose
Spinorama S-191

If for no other reason (and... there really isn't another reason)... I post a sample from this album for your Chihuahua's listening pleasure.

Guitars... By George! - George Barnes

It Must Be True
Guitars... By George!
George Barnes
Decca Records DL 8658
1957

Here is another fine album by George Barnes. I've collected one other Barnes LP that you can find posted here (Guitar Galaxies).

The LP seems one or two songs short of material on each side (to fill out the vinyl). I don't know why this is.

The Whistle Blues is a great track as is Plink, Plank, Plunk and others. But, for a sample,  I warmed up to the dreamy tune titled It Must Be True.

Fiddle On Fire - Joe Venuti

I Want To Be Happy
Fiddle On Fire
Joe Venuti
Accompanied by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra
Grand Award
G.A. 33-351
1957

Billed on this Enoch Light Grand Award release as "The World's Greatest Jazz Violinist".

This is a fine album with a sound that seems ahead of it's time on a number of tracks. I'm not sure who was working with Whiteman at this time or if there were a few New York session men sitting in with his people. But the piano work and the guitar work are as "on fire" as Venuti's Fiddle.

Curiously, Whiteman's list of "major" recordings ends on his wiki page with a 1956 release.

Venuti's wiki page places him in "relative obscurity in the 1940s and 1950s." He was playing with Jack Statham at the Desert Inn Hotel in Las Vegas during this period.

The Silence - Roy Etzel

Goldfinger
The Silence (Il Silenzio)
The Blue Trumpet Of Roy Etzel
MGM E/SE-4330
1966

From the back cover: Roy Etzel, who is known in his native Germany as "Mister Trumpet." has most enviable international reputation. His first MGM album (and incidentally his first LP to be released in the United States) reflects that very same international flavor with music from a variety of countries from around the world.

The album's vibe is a curious blend of standard horn arrangements and fun 60s light pop/easy listening. Maybe the blend is more than just curious... As I listen to side 2 it sounds downright odd.

Odd is a good thing up here in The Atomic Attic.

16 Top Hits

Enchanted Sea
Unforgettable
16 Top Hits
ARC Sound LTD. Toronto, Ontario

Obscure album featuring a collection of covers marketed to young adults in the late 50s or early 60s.

From the back cover: Find your own top favorites here on this LP, recorded for you by the country's leading vocalists and orchestras in highest fidelity.

The results are pretty good for a cover album. I bought the album for the cover of an exotica favorite of mine, Enchanted Sea. But Unforgettable also has a cool dreamy sound. Those tracks turned out to be a lot of fun!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Boss Beat - Sandy Nelson

Boss Beat
Sandy Nelson
IR Imperial LP-12298
1965

Gosh dang it! This one is available by MP3 purchase/download so I will not be posting a sample

This is a great mid-60s light-pop album that is set apart from period counterparts by the driving boss beat of drummer Sandy Nelson. There is one unique song on side two titled Drums In A Sea Cave. This song has an exotica vibe and also reminds me of a big band drum solo. The tune is totally different than any other song on the album and is one of my favorites. The album winds up with a wild cover of The 3rd Man Theme.

This LP was recorded several years after Nelson was in a motorcycle accident, receiving injuries that required amputation of his right foot and part of that leg. Obviously Nelson made a come back and recorded this fine album along with many more to follow. Read about Nelson on his wiki page.

Forbidden Fruit - Nina Simone

Nina Simone
Forbidden Fruit
Colpix CP 419
1961

Currently available on at least four different CDs including one combo CD with her album Newport and one triple CD with Sings Ellington and Folksy Nina.

This was my first Simone find. I bought the album for the cover art (I'm a sucker for tropical theme art). I'm not totally unwashed... I had heard of Simone and expected to find reviews on Amazon in support of this album. I didn't. So I thought... what the heck I'll say a few words. Great stuff... The LP is a mix of jazz, blues, torch songs and a few more unique and moody pieces that I recommend (if you are just purchasing single MP3s) titled: Rags And Old Iron and Just Say I Love Him.

The LP sound like it was recorded in an empty club with one microphone. This isn't a bad thing, the sound is a bit raw and smoky. The performances sound really fresh like everyone was having a good time. Colpix Records gave Simone all creative control so that she would sign with them. Simone was working on her "pop music" career to help fund her classic music studies. She was indifferent about having a recording contract and kept this attitude toward the record industry for most of her career.

Read more about her amazing life on her wiki page.

Women Of The World

Night Las Vegas
Women Of The World
Orchestra Conducted By Riz Ortolani
Decca DL 79112
1963

Sound track album from a film by the directors of Mondo Cane, Gualtiero Jacopetti, Paolo Cavara and Franco Prosperi. From the Amazon DVD description: Here is the female of the species as mothers, murderers, warriors and whores, respected as high-powered executives and objectified as bodacious bombshells, grasping for eternal beauty and even engaging in "unnatural friendships." From love in the streets of Paris to death on the African plain, the MONDO masters turn their unflinching eye on all the things never before known - and never before shown - about WOMEN OF THE WORLD.

I've got the Mondo Cane soundtrack. That record features many great space age/exotica styled standalone tunes. This album, for the most part, is bargain basement easy listening and doesn't come close to hinting at "murderers, warriors and whores". Possibly there was some sort of satirical contrasts between the visuals and the music that made sense. The sample tune is short, but has some whacky life to it.

The illustration that graces the cover of the current DVD release appears to have taken its cue from the album cover. Below is the movie poster.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sounds Terrific - The Chorus And Percussion Of Keith Textor

The Wind And The Rain In Your Hair
Sounds Terrific
The Chorus And Percussion Of Keith Textor
Stereo Action
RCA Victor LSA-2365
1961

First, I have to apologize for the die-cut on my cover image. It cut missing a piece of the cover. Maybe I'll find a better example in the future.

I've also seen this cover with the RCA "Loving Stereo" banner at the top. This album is stereo as you might expect. But that wasn't always the case, even with "stereo demonstration" records. I've found mono versions of stereo demonstration records.

Anyway, the RCA Stereo Action series was assembled to help promote stereo for RCA. The jackets in the series all featured heavy white cardboard covers with an inner cardboard sleeve featuring abstract art that peeks through the die-cut.

Some records are better than other when it comes to demonstrating stereo. This one isn't so well done. There is too much pointless wandering of sound from one channel to the next. And at times, a channel just seems to go dead. Not good. But the music is a fun blend of light percussion that was trendy at the moment and the easy listening vocals are somewhat ahead of their time. You would be hearing vocals like this all the way into the early 70s.

The sample above is a lot more dreamy then the rest of the bouncing light pop heard on the album.

If you want to listen to some great stereo, check out a few Enoch Light's Command Label recordings from the same period.

Chacksfield Plays The Beatles' Song Book

Chacksfield Plays The Beatles' Song Book
Phase 4 Stereo
London SP 44142

According to his wiki page, Frank Chacksfield scored a number 1 hit on "some" Amercian charts for his 1954 single, a 78rpm titled Ebb Tide (a tune that became an exotica standard).

It was hard for me to believe that 16 years later in 1970 (if the date I found is correct) Chacksfield released an easy Beatles album. It's also hard for me to believe that you can find this album on CD with a covers project he did on Simon & Garfunkel.

To me... it just seem like a risky project at the time and this light pop vibe didn't age well.

Norwegian Wood has a nice, almost "spy" movie quality to it. But generally... and I'm almost never this hard on any record... the album sounds sort of like a high school band project. I mean... a GOOD high school band... but...

Sabrosa

Sabrosa Musica
de Jaimie Llano Gonzalez su organo y ritmos
Vol. VI
Musica de Rafael Excalona
Industria Electro-Sonora. S.A. Medellin, Colombia

I believe Sabrosa translates to "Tasty" Tasty Music?

There are photos of other Sonolux album covers on the back cover that suggest Sonolux pressed an entire series of albums titled Sabrosa with Gonzalez. All the covers have are cheesecake but don't show nipple like this one.

The music is quite fun featuring a 60s space age organ vibe, a treatment I haven't hear before.

Apparently Gonazlez is still active and there is an hugh list of his work available on Amazon so I refrain from posting a sample here. This is just one of those odd records with a fun cover that I find in Northern Kentucky from time to time.