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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Zither South Of The Border - Ruth Welcome

Estrellita
Zither South Of The Border
Ruth Welcome
Capitol ST 1397
1960

One of the numerous Welcome albums on Capitol. My favorite will always be Zither Magic. But this project also strikes me as being one of her better projects. The "Latin" selections work nicely as zither arrangements.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Songs Made Famous By The Beatles

Michelle - Ray Martin
Songs Made Famous By The Beatles
RCA Records - CAS 2438
1970

Beatles covers albums are usually a good bet if you are looking for something "not-quite-right" or "oddball". I mean, who can do "The Beatles" and get away with it?

This "compilation" album, however, is really right-on. This is an inventive "space age/light pop" approach. Ray Martin's cover of Michelle is the best I've heard (for this time period). Hey Jude (Living Strings - Arranged and conducted by Johnny Douglas), The Fool On The Hill by Living Jazz (Arranged and conducted by Phil Bodner), The Long and Winding Road by The Living Trio (Arranged and conducted by Al Caiola), Eleanor Rigby by Living Marimbas (Arranged and conducted by Leo Addeo), Yesterday (Ray Martin and his orchestra), Let It Be (Arranged and conducted by Al Caiola) and Ol-la-di, Ob-la-da (The Electric Harmonica with the New Group - Arranged and conducted by Alan Black Schackner) are all pretty damn great!

Even the almost "polka" harmonica cover of Ol-la-di, Ob-la-da, as whacky as it is... is pure fun!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mediterranean In Perspective - Judd Solo and the Italiano Quartetto

 In Old Lisbon
Mediterranean In Perspective
Judd Solo and the Italiano Quartetto
Studio 2 Stereo TWO 108
E.M.I. Records - Hayes - Middlesex - England
1966

This is another example of why I buy records that most people don't look twice at. There is always a chance the you hear something fun regardless of what the jacket suggests.

This set plays like a groovy space age Three Suns album.

From the back cover: Guest soloists: Hugo D'Alton, Kenny Baker, J. E. Buck, Jnr., Ronnie Price, Ernie Shear and Manny Winter.

Also from the back cover: ...This system was used in the making of this record – Judd Solo's second LP for E.M.I. Judd has become well-known through his radio and television work, together with his appearances at the London Hilton Hotel. He sings in no less than eight languages, and plays guitar as well as leading his Italiano Quartetto.

Kenny Baker, listed as the trumpet player on the album.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gypsy Magic - The Kardos Trio

Zigeuner
Gypsy Magic
The Kardos Trio
Harmony Columbia HL 7207
1959

This album could be a reissue from a 10 inch 33 to this 12 inch? There is a lot of unused space on both sides the disc.

The record and artist(s) are obscure. The album features the sparkling violin of Earnest Kardos (pictured on the back of the jacket).

The music is more "pop" flavored and is at least a cut above the standard 50s Gypsy "folk music" styled recording.

Sensational! - Mario Said

Spooky
Sensational!
Mario Said
Orchestra Conducted and Arranged By Tommy Oliver
Liberty LST-7562
1968

Somewhat obscure artist and Liberty album. Easy listening with a touch of 60s orchestrated pop.

From the back cover: Mario Said can't hide his classical roots. For years he looked across a keyboard at Bach and Brahms, and ended up playing about the best classical piano anyone has heard in Panama, where he was born and raised. He studied at the Conservatory Of Music in Panama for eight years, and performed classical concerts in places like the National Theater (Latin America's answer to Carnegie Hall).

Don't Sleep In The Subway
By The Time I Get To Phoenix
Hey Girl
Scarborough Fair
Walk Away Renee
Free Again
We Can Fly
Spooky
Theme From "Valley Of The Dolls"
Release Me
Moonlight
The Importance Of The Rose

Many Splendored Themes - The Fantastic Strings Of Felix Slatkin

Peter Gunn
Many Splendored Themes
The Fantastic Strings Of Felix Slatkin
Liberty Premier LSS 14011
1961

This album was fun for me to collect if only for the amazing packaging. Both the front and back cover feature fragile die-cuts that allow the colorful inner sleeve to peak through. Terrific graphic design for 1961.

The music is lush orchestrated easy listening with nice space age touches. The cover of Peter Gunn is one of the "funkier" selections from this fine Liberty release.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Exciting Sounds From Romanic Places

Exciting Sounds From Romanic Places
Leo Diamond's Orchestra
ABC- Paramount
ABCS-268
1959

This Diamond LP is considered to be one of his more experimental recordings. A few songs begin with what seems to be a mix of environmental and other effects that set the stage for the rest of the tune. Strange Enchantment is one track that lead-in effects and music blend nicely thanks to theremin tones that play throughout.

One inventive touch is that Diamond uses the theremin instead of the steel guitar in spots. An idea that might still be explored for modern day exotica groups?

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

So What's New - Horst Jankowski

Highway At Night
So What's New
Horst Jankowski
Mercury MG 21093
1968

The music is sparkly just like the cover model. Light space age glitter.

Read more about Jankowski on his wiki page.

The Synthesizer - Featuring Dick Hyman at The Moog

Alfie
The Synthesizer
Featuring Dick Hyman at The Moog
Command ABC Records RSSD 968
1973

This Command ABC features two discs are sandwiched into a standard single rather than a gatefold jacket.

Packaging may have been down scaled because many of the tracks are repacked from earlier Hyman albums including Moog: The Electric Of Dick Hyman (1969) and The Electric Eclectics Of Dick Hyman (1969). And a few tunes, like the one I posted as a sample, as best as I can tell, are available only on vinyl.

From the back jacket: "Re-produced for Two-Fer's by Don Thorn".  I'm not sure what that means in terms of what may or may not have been altered from the original release(s).

Reissues or not... great stuff from the early years of the moog.

Dancing In The Dark Disco Greats - Enoch Light & The Light Brigade

I'm Your Boogie Man
Dancing In The Dark Disco Greats
Enoch Light & The Light Brigade
Project 3 PR 5098 SD
1977

This is the second "Enoch Light" disco album I found this week. I thought it was the same release (Feelings At The Movies) but featuring different cover art and title. However, all of the song titles are different with the exception of the Theme From Star Wars.

At this point, "Project 3" must have been using Light's name only as he was retired and would pass away in 1978.

Both albums are produced by the Jeff Hest and Tony Mottola. Mottola along with the fabulous Vinne (Vincent) Bell.

Tommy Dorsey And His Orchestra Featuring Frank Sinatra

Tommy Dorsey And His Orchestra Featuring Frank Sinatra
Coronet Records CX 186
1963

This is a budget LP featuring a album title that suggests that Dorsey is backing Sinatra. I have no idea, but the album is a collection of songs culled from various sources. The Sinatra vocal stuff sounds like copies of mono and not very good copies (this album was also released in stereo). The Dorsey tracks, all tunes with the word "Dance" in the title like Arab Dance, sound much better and swing.

Godzilla King Of The Monsters

Godzilla vs. The Alien Invasion
Godzilla King Of The Monsters
Wonderland Records WLP 312
1977

"He's a friendly creature, really. He's just too big for the modern world!"

The Copper Plated Integrated Circuit

Circuit Breaker
The Copper Plated Integrated Circuit
Plugged In Pop
Sear Electronic Music Productions
Studio Engineer: Russ Hamm
Command ABC Records 9455
1969

From the jacket notes: This album was recorded in the studios of Sear Electronic Music Productions, Inc., in New York City. The Studio contains two complete Moog Synthesizers with a total of four keyboards, a modified Baldwin Harpsichord, keyboards, a modified electric piano, a Novachord, and a variety of specially constructed and modified sound-generating equipment.

Cool early moog album that projects that Command "light-pop" feel and the expected excellent Command engineering/sound.