Search Manic Mark's Blog

Saturday, October 1, 2011

In-citement - The Pair

Let It Be Me
In-citement
The Pair
Liberty LST-7461
1966

If you follow my blog you may have noted that I'm fond of Liberty releases. I've said that I have yet to stumble across a Liberty LP that I didn't enjoy and this is one Liberty pressing that I LOVE!

This seemingly obscure duo features Carl (Carlo) Craig (vocalist and left on the cover photo) and Marcus Hemphill playing the upright bass. The recording was made at The Mecca in Burena Park, California. The engineering is excellent. Like I said, I love this LP and I'm not that big into male vocalists. It is hard to believe that just a singer and bass player (an unusual combination) can be so captivating and cool.

Apparently this is the third release for the duo following The Pair Extraordinaire and The Pair Live at The Ice House (both on Liberty). Liberty did spend money promoting the group but I can't find much real bio information on them.

Bill Cosby wrote the jacket notes for this album and there is a note in Billboard, January 20, 1968 noting that "The Pair" were supporting Cosby on tour. And that they were booked at The New Frontier Hotel and in Las Vegas and then at Harrah's Club in Lake Tahoe.

I also found a note in Billboard, March 21, 1966 stating that the duo had just signed with The William Morris Agency.

The Young Lovers

Aquarius
The Young Lovers
Pickwick SPC 3163

The Young Lovers... apparently an obscure (and slightly groovy) choral group.

Springfield Rifle

Left Of Nowhere
Springfield Rifle
Burdette ST 5159
Manufactured by Capitol Records
1969

One of those "psych" obscurities that I rarely find at the thrift. "Psych" is a label that you can apply to only a few tracks. The music is a mixed bag of covers/approaches.

The Springfield Rifle worked out of Seattle, Washington. The members: Jeff Afdem, Harry Wilson, Terry Afdem, Bob Perry and Joe Cavender.

It Ain't Happened
Will You Love Me Tomorrow
100 Or So
Tunesmith
Left Of Nowhere
That's All I Really Need
He Will Break Your Heart
By The Time I Get To Phoenix
I Loved Her
My Girl

Music For Nervous People - John Clegg And His Orchestra

Speak Easy
Music For Nervous People
John Clegg And His Orchestra
RCA Victor
LPM-1732
1958

Interesting title and cover illustration. I gathered from the cover art that the music might sound sort of "frantic". However, the set is smooth and easy, intended to help CALM down "nervous people".

While I may have expect the "nervous", I love the soothing, dreamy music that plays through much like a Jackie Gleason concept LP.

Speak Easy
Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
Thinking Of You
Wildflower
Yours Sincerely
Through A Thousand Dreams
Sea Shells
It Can't Be Wrong
So Help Me (If I Don't Love You)
When Day Is Done
My Dream Is Yours
Sweet Dreams

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Fantastic Sound Of Guitars Unlimited

A Whiter Shade Of Pale
The Fantastic Sound Of Guitars Unlimited
Phase 4 Stereo
London SP 44147
1970

Arrangements - John Keating
Producers - Tony D'Amato & Ray Richardson
Engineer - Arthur Bannister

From the December 12, 1970 Billboard: Another outstanding package of entertainment from The Guitars Unlimited.

Indeed, the majority of London's Phase 4 series LPs are outstanding space age entertainment.

My first impression is that, for 1970, the sound is a little thin. But, if you are into easy listening/space age stuff the "minimalist" arrangements or sonic impression the record imparts might well grow on you. I even warmed up to covers of The Beatles, Come Together, OB-La-Di and Let It Be after they played a bit.

The sample, A White Shade Of Pale, is a particularly quirky arrangement.

I Want To Be Happy - Joe Harnell

Carioca
I Want To Be Happy
Joe Harnell
Columbia Special Products
BN573
1960

Terrific album that blends period easy listening and small combo jazz in support of Harnell's fine keyboard treatments.

Credit is given to Frank Hunter and Harnell for conducting the orchestra. Hunter released his now collectible exotica album, White Goddess a year earlier.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Music To Watch Girls By - Les/Larry Elgart

Night Walk
Music To Watch Girls By
Les/Larry Elgart
Columbia CS 9433
1967

This Elgart big band LP comes with a sunny splash of space age fun. Want to read up on the Brothers Elgart? Check out their page on spaceagepop.com

Marian Montgomery Swings For Winners And Losers

The Exciting Mister Fitch
Marian Montgomery Swings For Winners And Losers
Capitol Records T 1884
1962

What a terrific space age jazz/blues album! According to Montgomery's wiki page (discography), this was Montgomery's first LP. This album doesn't appear to be available in digital form at this time.

The blend of Montgomery's fantastic "smoky club voice" and the band are right on. I love the organ breaks by Dick Hyman. Other session musicians include Sam "The Man" Taylor - Tenor sax, Joe Newman - Trumpet, Osie Johnson - Drums, Kenny Burrnell and Chuck Wayne - Guitar, George Duvivier, Milt Hinton and Joe Benjamin - Bass and Joe Venuto, Phil Kraus and Willi Rodriguez - Percussion.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ellington Fantasy - Hugo Montenegro

Caravan
Ellington Fantasy
Hugo Montenegro
Vik LX-1108
1957

Mood album arranged and conducted by Montenegro who would go on to make electronic music that would influence future generations of musicians.

12 Tops Hits

Bird Dog
12 Top Hits
Crown Records CLP 5038
1957

Budget jacket photo and studio group.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Lure Of The Blue Mediterranean - Alex Stordahl And His Orchestra

A Night In Tunisia
The Lure Of The Blue Mediterranean
Alex Stordahl And His Orchestra
Decca Records - DL 9073
1960

Marketed in a January 4, 1960 Billboard advertisement by Decca as a "travel and historical" package.

The jacket is lavish gate-fold affair featuring a die-cut cover which allows a color photo on the first page of an 11 page insert to peak through. Copy is written by Horace Stutton, travel editor for The Saturday Review.

Alex Stordahl, who passed away in 1963 was best known for his work with Frank Sinatra. From Stordahl's wiki page: With sophisticated orchestrations, Stordahl is credited with helping to bring pop arranging in the modern age.

Over-all, this is pleasant easy listening record that plays it a "safe" for the time period if you compare the LP to what Denny, Lyman and others were doing. You will find several space age tracks to enjoy titled Tunis and A Night In Tunisia.

Babalu - Afro-Cuban Rhythms

El Cajon
Babalu
Afro-Cuban Rhythms
Allegro Royale 1515

Here's no surprise. Allegro Royale music is usually some of the worst found on any budget label.

However, surprise, this album features a decent Afro-Cuban set.

Gypsy Music From All Over The World

A Russian Fantasy - Sania Poustylnicof
Gypsy Music From All Over The World
Somerset SF-15600

Nice cover for a Somerset album. The set is "off-the-shelf" stuff from Sania Poustylnicof, 101 Strings, Marischis Del Oro and Curro Amaya Flamencos. The release date as found on the Somerset Discography site is 1962. But there is a record featured on the back cover that mentions the year 1968.

Fairly stock stuff featuring a nice cover of A Russian Fantasy by an obscure artist. This same tune was featured on a record titled Gypsy Romance on Dyna-Disc.