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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Soul Of The East - Buddy Sarkisan and His Mecca Four with Fred Elias

Turkish Nightmare
Soul Of The East
Buddy Sarkisan and His Mecca Four with Fred Elias
Wyncote SW 9020
1964

Wow! This is a budget label surprise! A totally smoking "belly dancing" LP!

From the back cover: The Mecca Four have appeared on television and have shared night club and concert billing with top recording artists, including a phenomenally successful appearance at the Yale Bowl. Leader Buddy Sarkisan has been called the king of Near Eastern Drummers, while Fred Elias, a graduate of the Boston Conservatory of Music, is generally acknowledged as the finest violinist in his field.

There is no Sarkisan information to be found online. The notes suggest that this is the second album for Sarkisan on Wyncote. But I can't find the album online.

Lure Of Paradise - Andre Kostelanetz

Lure Of Paradise
Andre Kostelanetz
Columbia CL 1335
1959

Available on a combo CD with The Lure Of France. So I will not be posting a sample.

I have to give this album a bit of a break. In 1959 the "exotica/tiki" trend was really starting to gell and it must have been difficult for some composers to put there finger on the vibe. In this case, there are some really nice tunes on the album. Bali Hai even blends in some environmental sounds. But other tracks are more easy listening and some play like show tunes or sound track. Uneven as the album is, the cool tunes win the day. These tunes include Gates Of Heaven (a traditional Japanese Court Ceremonial) that is wonderfully mysterious.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Come To Hawaii - The Hawaiian Beachcombers

Beyond The Reef
Come To Hawaii
The Hawaiian Beachcombers
Unart S 21024
1967

This album was a bit of a surprise. There is a Denny/Lyman sound going on behind the steel guitar. The record features decent arrangements and a consistent smooth sound throughout.

Apparently The Beachcombers were a studio group.

Hawaiian Record Mystery - Covers

Over time I've collected the following Hawaiian albums. As I listened to them I began to take note of several songs that I had heard before. So I referred back to early posts on my blog and noted that the recordings are all the same. Somehow, all of these labels pressed the same set, changed the name of the group or artist and repackaged the material.


Hawaiian Magic
Featuring The Orchestra Of Lani Kai
Diplomat D-2326

Hawaiian Holiday
Leni Okehu And His Surfboarders
Internation Grand Award Series AKS-105

Hawaiian Romance
The Island Serenaders
Palace PST-613

Hawaiian Holiday
Leni Okehu And His Surfboarders
Grand Prix Series K105

Aloha Hawaii
Harry Kaapuni And His Royal Polynesians
Coronet Records CX 43

The Waikiki Surfriders
Design Records
DLP 243

Hawaiian Interlude
Jonnie Alunani And His Orchestra
Spinorama S-12

Hawaii Tattoo
The Hawaiians
Crown Records CST454

Holiday In Hawaii
The Hawaiians
Crown Records CST 125

Hawaiian Holiday
Hawaiian Holiday
Terry McKee And His Band
Pirouette FM12

Hawaiian Starlight
Hawaiian Holiday
Lani Scott and Orchestra
Golden Tone 658

Red Sails In The Sunset
Sounds Of Hawaii
Diplomat Records D2328

Every Day Is A Fun Day In A Little Red Schoolhouse

Mister Grouch
Every Day Is Fun Day In A Little Red Schoolhouse
Peter Pan Record Of Knowledge 8086

Slow Glow - Annita Ray

Slow Glow
Annita Ray
AVA Records A/AS-16
1963

This album is available for purchase/download so I will not be posting a sample.

Julie London is one of my favorite torch singers. I thought of London when I put this LP on the turntable.

Apparently this is Ray's only solo 12 inch release. Obscure as the record is, you can find it on import CD and by digital download. Ray seems not to have a wiki page and I wasn't able to find out what happened to her elsewhere online.

Gold Award Hits - 101 Strings

Aquarius
Gold Award Hits
101 Strings
Alshire S-5161
1969

As 101s go, this one isn't bad. A few of the arrangements are 60s bold enough to hold your interest. The Love Theme From Romeo And Juliet features bongos of all instruments.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Very Best Of Martin Denny

The Very Best Of Martin Denny
United Artists
UA-LA383-E
1975

The engineering on this compilation is excellent.

This is an autographed copy.

To Bob and Madaline
We had a lot of laughs
To Two swell people
Aloha
Matin Denny
3/13/83

Quite Village
Bali Hai
Hawaiian Wedding Song
Pearly Shells
Ebb Tide
Beyond The Reef
The Enchanted Sea
Martinique
More (Theme From "Mondo Cane")
Tiny Bubbles
A Taste Of Honey
Beyond The Sea

Dancing At The Discotheque - Lester Lanin

West Indies Ska
Lester Lanin
Dancing At The Discotheque
Philips PHS 600-145
1964

What a curious record! 60s flavored fox trots, a stray merengue and cha cha and a few lindys as you might expect from Lanin mixed in with wild numbers like West Indies Ska, Tennage Craze, Got My Mojo Workin' and Bye Bye Baby that are over the top! The contrast between tracks is a bit of a shock to the senses.

Hawaiian Magic - The Waikiki Islanders

Beneath Hawaiian Skies
Hawaiian Magic
The Waikiki Islanders
Tiffany Records 2006
1960

This is a obscure album featuring fine island music. This album may or may not be connected somehow to the history found on this page. There are no artist names printed on the jacket to help me make connections and this album doesn't appear as reference on the site. At some point, someone out there will correct me or help me fill in the blanks.

Enjoy!

Kojak

Five Star Final
Kojak
2 Exciting Stories
Peter Pan Records BR 518
1977


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Latin Happening - Tony Hatch

Working In The Coal Mine
A Latin Happening
Tony Hatch
Warner Bros. Records - WS 1671
1967

This is a nice and groovy light pop Latin flavored LP with moments of uniqueness. It looks like the title track, which is the last tune on side 2, is available for purchase/download. But the rest of the album can only be had on vinyl.

Read more about Hatch on his wiki page.

The Great TV Themes - Frank Chacksfield And His Orchestra

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Great TV Themes
Frank Chacksfield And His Orchestra
Phase 4 Stereo London SP 44077
1966

I have to admit that most Chacksfield albums I've stumbled across fail to impress me. It seems like he tried to ride the trendy waves of pop music after early success with Ebb Tide but couldn't grasp the nuances that made space age music cool.

However, this album is the exception to my experience. There are some great space age tunes on the LP. The overall vibe is bright and fun.

The Sound Of Sight - Ray Martin

The Sound Of Sight
Music For An Experiment in Imagination
Composed and Conducted by Ray Martin
Phase 4 Stereo Spectacular
Decca PFS 4043
1964

Available for purchase on combo CD with Memories Are Made of Music. So I will not be posting a sample.

The CD doesn't feature the complete Jack Davis cover illustration. So here you have it.

I've got several Ray Martin albums. His covers album of James Bond tunes is stellar. Check out the track titled Goldfinger.

This album is highly entertaining. It starts off a tad slow but gets whacked quickly. The concept is to create sonic stories with orchestra and sound effects. Like a movie soundtrack without dialog. I'm not sure if the experiment was entirely successful... but the approach does present us with some "music" that reflects the playful nature of the Davis illustration.

Honeymoon In Manhattan - The New World Theatre Orchestra

After Hours Joint
Honeymoon In Manhattan
The New World Theatre Orchestra
SF-3000
1958

Somerset is known for budget records. But the company did release interesting recordings. This album could be considered a "concept" album. There are four extended tracks on each side, each titled in such a way to give your the impression that you are going on a tour of NY. The music, while leaning towards orchestrated easy listening, is complex and holds the interest.

And you can tell that D.L. Miller, label owner, was excited by the project because of the large bold faced credits found on the back of the jacket: All arrangements, except Slaughter On 10th Ave. and Street Scene, in this album were scored by Joe Kuhn, cover photo by Frank Zimmerman – Cover art, Joe Krush. This album was produced under the direction of D.L. Miller.

The one thing I find curious... is the "embossed" Somerset logo oddly printed in the middle of the cover. As a designer myself, it makes no sense to place it there. And why the metallic ink overprint?

Desmond Blue - Paul Desmond

Desmond Blue
Paul Desmond With Strings
Arranged and Conducted by Bob Prince featuring Jim Hall, guitar
RCA Victor LSP-2438
1962

Available as CD/download so I will not be posting a sample.

Excellent space age small combo jazz blended with easy listening strings. Smoky, blue and smooth.

Read about Desmond on his wiki page.

My Funny Valentine
Desmond Blue
Then I'll Be Tired Of You
I've Got You Under My Skin
Late Lament
I Should Care
Like Someone In Love
Ill Wind
Body And Soul

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An Evening At Goldie's New York

An Evening At Goldie's New York
Mercury MG 20544
1960

There is some incredibly long copy on the back cover going on and on about Goldie's (a popular East Side club). It's difficult to get to who's actually playing on the album. Louis Golson Hawkins and Wayne Sander's (the proprietor) seem to be the piano duo featured on the album which features mostly easy listening medleys. The music really doesn't do it for me. But I love the cheesecake cover!

Sizzling Strings - Castanets - Percussion

Solea Canastrea - Soleares
Sizzling Strings - Castanets - Percussion
Don Luis Quintero and the Madrid Festival Orchestra, plus the Mario Valero Dancers and guitarist Jose Alvarez
Directional Sound DS-5007
Premier Album

Apparently Premier (a budget label) decided to compete with the success of Command Records in the early 60s "with a few "percussion" projects of their own. The jacket is a "Command-like" gatefold.

There is no "percussion" or "ping-pong" on this album. The track titles include great tunes like Granada, Espana and Ravel's Bolero... but they do not deliver the goods as advertised.

And apparently there were not enough "Luis" tracks in the can so DS threw in one Flamenco dance and guitar track they had on the shelf. They are dramatically different in tone from the rest of the music. However, in my opinion, the Alvarez track is the high point so I'll post that as the sample.

Enjoy!

Rich Man, Poor Man Theme - Don Tweedy Orchestra

Swamp Fire
Rich Man, Poor Man Theme
Don Tweedy Orchestra
King 966
Gusto Records 1976

Apparently a self-produced private press from an obscure orchestra. Tweedy seems to have released about four albums.

Standard easy listening for the most part. Swamp Fire gets the big band treatment.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Santa Claus And The Fun Street Gang

Santa Claus Is Discoin' To Town
Santa Claus And The Fun Street Gang
Classic Christmas
CCR 1948
1982

I know it sounds like I fooled around with the pitch or speed. Nope... this is the real track...

The Hollyridge Strings - Play The Hits Of Simon And Garfunkel

Scarborough Fair Canticle
The Hollyridge Strings
Play The Hits Of Simon And Garfunkel
Capitol ST8-2998
1968

The Hollyridge Strings specialized in orchestral versions of contemporary pop artists. I expected some 60s cheese, but experienced a well produced easy listening album. This Hollyridge entry was arranged and conducted by Mort Garson.

Harmonica Magic Of Leo Diamond

Waterfall
Harmonica Magic Of Leo Diamond
RCA Victor LPM-1042
1955

I believe this was Diamond's second LP which followed his great first solo album Skin Diver Suite.

Diamond is my favorite space age harmonica player. He had a way of playing the harmonica and arranging tunes that blended his instrument with the orchestra to create sonic impressions that pushed the envelope.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Luiz Bonfa

Love Birds
Oba Oba
Luiz Bonfa
Dot DLP 25804
1967

This album was a bit of a surprise. From the cover I was expecting a "folk" guitar LP. But what I got was a smooth blend of light pop, latin, and space age easy listening vocals with Bonfa supporting the mix.

You can read about Bonfa on his wiki page. And here is a link to his impressive discography.

This is a cool album.

South Pacific - John T. Williams and Walter Ruick

Bali Ha'i
South Pacific
Tops L1614
Featuring The Duo Pianos of John T. Williams and Walter Ruick
1958

Curious small combo, lounge approach from the budget label, Tops.

Soft Guitars - Mr. "Guitar" and Mr. "Y"

Clair de Lune
Soft Guitars
Mr. "Guitar" and Mr. "Y"
Series 2000
Time Records 52052
1962

Artists as listed on the jacket are: Guitars - Don Arnone and Mr. "Guitar", Bass - Frank Carroll and Harp - Gloria Agostini.

Very nice small combo soft jazz album.