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Saturday, July 2, 2011

With All My Heart - The Gunter Kallmann Chorus

Tiny Bubbles
With All My Heart
The Gunter Kallmann Chorus
Four Corner Records FCL-4237
1967

Billboard gave this album a glowing little review in the April 1, 1967 issue. I'm not making this up.

The Gunter Kallmann Chorus, a group out of Germany, specialized in lightest cotton candy fluff easy listening music ever heard.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hi-Fi Zither - Ruth Welcome

Stardust
Hi-Fi Zither
Ruth Welcome
Capitol Records T942
1957

When will the Zither make a comeback in pop music?

This is Welcome's first of 14 albums. The music while pleasant, is a bit reserved when compared to Zither Magic! which was released a few years later. That album is an outstanding and a more "conceptual" project.

From the back cover: It wasn't until after World War II, when she was asked to entertain at military hospitals, that Ruth thought again of the Zither. It was a ideal portable instrument to play while making the rounds of hospital wards. The only model that Ruth could find at the time was a 150-year old Schwartzer harp-zither, which she had restored by Yorkville's zither specialist, Pap Schuck. Since zither players were – and are – in a definite minority here, there were no published arrangements for the instruments. However, the boys wanted to hear popular American music, so being a pianist – Ruth made her own arrangements from piano scores.

Capitol also noted on the back cover that Ruth's Zither was equipped with a pick-up that the engineers were able to plug directly into their console which helped capture the full frequency range and minimized distortion.

Themes From "The Third Man"
Does Your Heart Beat For Me
Charmaine
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
Hi-Lilli Hi-Lo
Fascination
There Goes My Heart
The Three Bells
My Melancholy Baby
Song From Moulin Rouge (Where Is Your Heart)
Stardust

Maria Elena - The 50 Guitars Of Tommy Garrett

Maria Elena
The 50 Guitars Of Tommy Garrett
Liberty LMM-13030
1963

Available on CD/download purchase. So I will not not be posting a sample.

Terrific album featuring covers of some of my favorite exotica tune including Jungle Drums, Taboo, Brazil and The Breeze And I. The sound is rich and full.

The "Premier" Liberty line of records was their "upscale" product. Conceived and designed for the more "high-brow" buyer. This package featured a fabulous gatefold, die-cut (shapes over the eyes) artwork. And apparently "thicker" vinyl.

I found in interesting that on my copy the cover was damaged at the top, revealing the word STEREO and the stereo catalog number. Apparently Liberty found a way to run the entire print job for both version and simply assembled them onto the cardboard frame differently.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Xavier Cugat - The Beautiful New Sounds Of Strings

The World We Knew
Xavier Cugat
The Beautiful New Sounds Of Strings
Musicor Records - M2S3179
1969

I love Cugat's stuff. I've got a number of Cugat albums collected up here in The Atomic Attic. When I spied this two record set, the packaging looked odd in that the cover is flimsy, cheap and I also wondered how Cugat would work in strings. At first I considered that this package was some type of "covers" set. I had to search around the web just to convince myself that this is actual Cugat recording.

I found proof and was convinced.  Somewhat near the end of Cugat's recording career, he produced this set, a pure easy listening album that sounds NOTHING like his earlier music.

There are a few groovy mood tracks to be found on this record.

I also noted that budget minded Musicor used an image of the model shoot above on the cover of a Hugo Winterhalter 2 record set.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Goldfinger - Ray Martin And His Orchestra

007
Goldfinger And Other Music From James Bond Thrillers
Ray Martin And His Orchestra
Produced by Ethel Gabriel
Engineer: Bob Simpson
RCA Camden
CAL(S)-913
1963

Recorded in Webster Hall, New York City

If you enjoy 60s spy/secret agent sets, you will likely consider this to be one of the best efforts by any arranger of the time. I place this set on the same level as Neal Hefti's two "Batman" albums, my favored "high art" space age recordings.

From the back cover: Ray Martin relates perfectly to our British-based boulevardier. He migrated to England from Austria in 1938, enlisted in the British Army and saw enough of intrigue and spy stuff to have a winking empathy for what goes on with Ian Flemming's character. He has been Staff Conductor at B.B.C., scored films and written song hits like Blue Violins. In 1946 he became a naturalized British subject and has been living in the United States since 1957.

Goldfinger
The James Bond Theme
Under The Mango Tree
From Russia With Love
Bond's Lament
007
Girl Trouble
Honey's Theme
Jamaica Jump
Galore's Theme

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Death Of A Department Store Santa


Warm And Tender - The Three Suns

Warm And Tender
Warm And Tender
The Three Suns
RCA LSP-2617
1962

This is one of The Three Suns albums arranged by Charles Albertine and produced by Nevins-Kirshner.

Currently only available on vinyl, this is a terrific space age easy listening album. There is something unique to be heard in each song. Fun stuff.

Mono Jacket
Warm And Tender
The Three Suns
RCA LPM-2617
1962

Hawaii - The Knightsbridge Strings

Hawaii
Hawaii
The Knightsbridge Strings
Monument MAS13005
1967

I've found one other Knightsbridge Strings album titled Nostalgic Swing Mood. That set is apparently one of 10 Knightsbridge albums recorded on the Purist label.

From the back cover of this album we learn that Bill Justis, Malcolm Lockyer and Reg Owen "charted the lush and great sounds".

The cover features a Milton Glaser illustration. I found an ad Monument ran in the October14, 1967 issue of Billboard feature this and two other Knightsbridge LPs, all with Glaser illustrations.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blowin' In The Wind - Arthur Lyman

Blowin' In The Wind
Arthur Lyman
HIFI Records Life Series L 1014
1963

Available on CD/purchase/download.

There are the usual great exotica tunes to be found on this album including a tune titled Eden's Island. But there are also a few fine, but "softer" tunes, that take a more "folk" approach to the arrangements. A nice example from side one would be He's Gone Away.

The recording features a nice selection of tunes that reflect the album title.

Skin And Bones - Carl Stevens

The Moon Was Yellow
Skin And Bones
Carl Stevens
Mercury Records - SR 60013
1958

When searching for this album online I noted about five different versions of the cover. All featuring this photograph, but with different violators such as a logo, stereo or high fidelity banner, etc.

For some reason this album is not available on CD/purchase/download. The record is a pretty nice late 50s smooth jazz project that feature space age touches.

There are a number of name studio musicians listed on the back cover:

Percussion - Frank Rullo, Bobby Cristian, Phil Durant and Norm Jeffries. Harp - Pete Eagle. Piano - Dick Mara and Marty Rubenstein. Bass - John Frigo. Conduction, Trumpet - Carl "Chuck" Stevens. Trombones - Tommy Shepard, Cy Touff, Paul Crumbaugh, Bob Dale and Barrett O'Hara. Saxophones - Howard Davis, Mike Simpson and Benny Baileys. Guitar - Frank D'Rose. Accordion - Sam Porfirio.

Rodgers And Hammerstein - Stradivari Strings

The Sound Of Music
Ping Pong Percussion Of Rodgers And Hammerstein
Stradivari Strings
Pirouette Records RFM 42

When I found this record I couldn't believe my eyes. I was looking at a budget label "ping pong percussion" recording made by Stradivari Strings with Rodgers and Hammerstein as the theme? How good could this album be?

As is typical with many of these albums claiming to be "ping pong"... the effects end when the easy listening begins. There is no blending of "elements". Pirouette tacked the effects onto music that they  had on the shelf.

I like the album because the concept is so goofy and so cheaply executed.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Treasure Chest - Bill Snyder His Magic Piano And Orchestra

Treasure Chest
Bill Snyder His Magic Piano And Orchestra
Decca Records DL 8437
1958

Available by purchase/download so I will not be posting a sample.

I bought this for the cover photo. That's Snyder holding a toy piano covered with gold foil.

The music starts out with a nice space age piece and then slides into easy listening. The engineering is excellent.