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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Big Band Beatles Songs - Bob Leaper

All My Loving
Big Band Beatles Songs
Arranged And Directed By Bob Leaper
London LL 3391
1964

This album was reissued in 1968 on Decca/Phase 4. There is a rare and pricey import CD out there apparently remastered from the original recording.

Most Beatles covers albums turn out to be cheesy fun or just not so good... I mean... who can really cover The Beatles? However this album, the first for London by Leaper, features unique arrangements and rocks out The Beatles in big band fashion.

This promotional copy has a solid white label also imprinted with "Not For Sale".  "Happy Radio Gets Results - WWIL" is stamped on the back.

Some Other Street - Johnny Hamlin Quintet

On A Little Street In Singapore
A Hip Trip Down Some Other Street
Johnny Hamlin Quintet
Philips PHS 600-060
1963

From the back cover: The Hamlin Quintet has become an established regular on the nightclub circuit from Las Vegas to Chicago. The group has appeared frequently in the last few years in the lounge of the Riviera Hotel and the Wagon Wheel in Reno. Though such locations as these do not usually allow for much of a jazz presentation to be highlighted, one might say Hamlin's unit has incorporated a jazz feeling into their work in spite of their audiences.

The Theme Scene - Henry Mancini

NBC Nightly News Theme
The Theme Scene
Henry Mancini
RCA AQLI-3051
1978

Here's a Mancini album that you can only find on vinyl. The music is a curious blend of the traditional Mancini sound to include disco and easy. But somehow, even when faced with updating his sound to include disco and arranging 70s TV theme music, Mancini still manages to make an album with great moments.

Works For Chamber Orchestra - Conducted By Bruno Maderna & Luciano Berio

Works For Chamber Orchestra
Conducted By Bruno Maderna & Luciano Berio
Mainstream MS 5004
1970

I believe this is a 1970 reissue of a TIME Records (58002/mono). Both albums features the exact same cover (gatefold) design. Available for online purchase so I will not be posting a sample.

I enjoyed this set. The "living" instruments are occasionally blended with electronic effects to produce a dramatic sound that seems to create a bridge, tying together the sound of 60s/70s avant-grade.

From the inside cover: Differences, (1958)-(1960) by Luciano Berio, demands the most from the listener and promises him the greatest rewards in return; not only because of the scope of its proportions but also through the abundance, diversity, and unusual character of the elements set into motion. The work makes use of multi-channel tape and five instruments – flute, clarinet, harp, viola and cello (which, recorded directly on the central loudspeaker, provides a line of direction for the work's development). More or less elaborate sound materials, played by all the instruments, are recorded to provide the substance of the accompanying tape, where they appear either in their original form or more or less altered by electro-acoustical means. In this recorded version the tape sounds are placed left and right of the "living" instruments and also at the center behind them (to give a recorded "optical illusion").

Love Is A Hurtin' Thing - Leo Addeo And His Orchestra

Love Is A Hurtin' Thing
Love Is A Hurtin' Thing
Leo Addeo And His Orchestra
RCA Camden CAL 2134
1967

Bahia - The Arthur Lyman Group

Bahia
The Arthur Lyman Group
HIFI Record R815
1959

Available through all the usual outlets, so sorry, I will not be posting a sample. I thought some folks might like to see a nice scan of the covers.

Lyman's 4th release according to his wiki page. Another in a series of fine Lyman exotic albums filled with all the good stuff! All of Lyman's albums were recorded live without overdubbing.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Don't Look Back - The Johnny Mann Singers

Land Of Love
Don't Look Back
The Johnny Mann Singers
Liberty Records LRP-3535
1967

Looking for the groovy easy listening land of love? Look no further!

Solo Encores - David Carroll And His Orchestra

Big Ben Boogie - Chimes Solo By Frank Rullo
Solo Encores
David Carroll And His Orchestra
Mercury Records SR 60180
1960

Here we have another good David Carroll set. What makes this album interesting is that Carroll allowed each artist featured on the LP to solo on a track, supported by the orchestra under Carroll's direction.

Strings For Young Lovers

Exotic Night
Strings For Young Lovers
Somerset SF-31000

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Best Of '64 - Hugo Winterhalter

Shangri-La
The Best Of '64
Hugo Winterhalter And His Orchestra
KAPP KS-3407
1964

Here's another Winterhalter album that is frequently left behind at the thrift. The reason could be lackluster cover art or just Winterhalter's typical sedate brand of easy listening. However, Winterhalter's mid-60s stuff can be fun so I was willing to risk my 50¢. There is nothing outrageous to report, but if you like 60s light pop, you should get along fine with this music.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Musical Body With JoAnn

The Musical Body With JoAnn
Music By Bill Hampton

Today's Top Hits! - David Carroll

Telstar
Today's Top Hits!
David Carroll
Mercury Records 135 304 MCY
1963

Carroll made several albums, such as Percussion Orientale and Percussion in Hi-Fi, which are noted as his standout projects.

Hidden inside this lame cover are a few pop gems. The album turned out to be a nice light pop space age album. Aside from one "traditional" sounding track on side two (a song that seems out-of-place), the album was a great listen.

Lovely Hula Hands

Nani - Alice Namakelua
Lovely Hula Hands
Waikiki Records

This is an obscure compilation set pressed on red vinyl.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mambo Happy! - Perez Prado

Mambo Happy!
Perez Prado
RCA Camden CAL 409
1958

This is an outstanding and early space age Mambo album! Inventive and smoking!

The LP is available on CD, so I will not be posting a sample.

Visit Pardo's wiki page for bio info.

Haunani The Voice Of Hawaii

Kawika
Haunani The Voice Of Hawaii
Decca DL 4561
1965

Obscure Hawaiian album.

From the back cover: Already hailed as "The Voice of Hawaii", Haunani headlines the show in the appropriately entitled Monarch Room of the famed Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach.

At times, her back up band sounds like they've been hanging with Martin Denny. Denny was hired in 1970 by Sheraton as entertainment director for the Monarch Room. At that time the policy was changed to book big name acts and to move away from "Hawaiian" music. Certainly all the artists who lived on the island knew Denny and he knew them.

Holiday For Swingin' Trumpet - Jabbo Williams

Blue Moon
Holiday For Swingin' Trumpet
Jabbo Williams And His Quartet
Harmony - Columbia HS 11019
1960

This is an obscure album and artist.

Terrific small combo jazz.

Paul Griffin Swings With 101 Strings

Love For Sale
Paul Griffin Swings With 101 Strings
Audio Spectrum SAS-605
1965

101 Strings
Swing With Hammond Organ
Featuring Paul Griffin
Recorded Under the Direction of D. L. Miller
Alshire Production S-5116
Manufactured by Budget Sound
1968

Spectrum released four "Griffin" LPs. Each release featured similar cover photos.

The album is an interesting hybrid of Griffin's Hammond Organ and the 101 Strings. A number of arrangers were apparently involved on this project and some of them weren't sure how to effectively blend the funky organ sound with strings. Love For Sale has that swinging Monty Kelly touch.

Close Your Eyes
Satin Doll
Pebbles In The Sand
Definitely Blue
Blues In The Night
Love For Sale
Body And Soul
Add Strings
Solitude
Good-Bye

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mac Arthur Park - The Ray Charles Singers

Mac Arthur Park
The Ray Charles Singers
Command ABC Records RS 936 SD
1968

Recently offered online as purchase/download so I will not be posting a sample.

This is an album produced several years after Enoch Light sold his label to ABC. The album format is still the same, a gatefold, although the inside presentation is differ than the Light format. The engineering, while very good, doesn't seem to be as crisp or deep as Light's work.

None-the-less, this is a fun light pop album to include in your collection.

The Blues And The Beat - Henry Mancini

The Blues And The Beat
Henry Mancini
RCA Victor LSP-2147
1960

This one is available on CD so I will not be posting a sample. The CD seems to be somewhat pricey. However, vinyl copies are reasonably priced.

I love Mancini's earlier stuff. Of course, these records have all been well reviewed. But that doesn't stop me from adding my two cents when I personally stumble across a fantastic album. As you can tell from this blog that I've listened to a pile of recordings. Many are cool, some are flamboyant and most are interesting in some respect, but few seem achieve the Mancini "touch".

This recording is particularly dynamic, cool, smooth and lush. The craftsman ship is superb.

Folks Songs - Tony Mottola

Wayfaring Stranger
Careless Love
Folks Songs
Tony Mottola
Originated And Produced By Enoch Light
Art Direction By Charles E. Murphy
Command Records RS 823 SD
1961

I wonder how this album sold for Command? When I spied the cover in the bin my first thought was that the record was an early 80s release because the cover graphic looked so "modern". Then seeing that it was a Command/Mottola project, from 1961, no less, I wondered if I should even bother because of the "folk" and "banjo" references on the cover. I wasn't keen on spending money on a "folk" album.  Of course, I took the chance on Mottola.

A buyer in the early 60s may have wondered about the cover/contents just as I had. The album is filled with period Command light pop approaches (almost cartoon-like music... not to say that approach isn't fun) and more subtle, but Command updated covers of traditional folk tunes.

You get all that for better or worse along with the typical superb Command engineering.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Jose Melis In Movieland

Invitation
Jose Melis In Movieland
Mercury Records MG 20648
1961

Melis stuff is generally too conservative for me. However, this LP kicks off with a nice space age groove.

Jankowski Plays Jankowski

Little Old Town
Jankowski Plays Jankowski
Mercury SR 61219
1969

Groovy and inventive light pop with a brass edge. On some tunes Jankowski's piano becomes more of an accent instrument. In the sample... it sounds like he is playing a child's toy piano. Janjowski's playing becomes more a part of the song, rather than the "featured instrument".

The engineering is excellent.

Paradise Moods - Martin Denny

Clair De Lune
Paradise Moods
Martin Denny
Sunset SUS-5102
1970

Is this a "compilation" album? There is at least one tune from Afro-Desia and one from Hypnotique. Most songs appear as part of the track list for this album only (as far as I can tell) when I do a search. Some tracks sound more "vintage" and other sound more like Denny's small combo jazz stuff.

House Of Terror

Ghost Story
House Of Terror!
Parade Records PA 103
1975

I've listened to a number of "Halloween" records since I've been collecting. I have to say, this is one of the best I've stumbled across. This is a 2 record set. There is also a nice comic book included (stapled to the spine). There are a few online references that suggest Neal Adams was the illustrator. Audio stories accompany the comic book.

Parade went the distance to create a great package by hiring good professional voiceover actors, writers and sound engineer(s) to create a fun recording. There are also a few musical numbers on one side. One of which starts out as a story and then morphs into a song (the sample above).

Soft And Sweet - The Three Suns

Soft And Sweet
The Three Suns
RCA Victor LPM-1041
1955

Available on CD. So, sorry, I will not be posting a sample.

Check out the fun cheesecake cover! This is more "standard" Three Suns stuff (rather than some of their more adventurous/experimental stuff). Good easy from the mid-50s.

Ten For Cocktails

Ten For Cocktails
Mr. Boston
Columbia Special Products

This album was created as an advertising vehicle for Mr. Boston Distiller, Boston, Massachusetts.

It Must Be Him - Al Caiola

Live For Life
It Must Be Him
Al Caiola
United Artists UAS 6637
1968

From the February 24, 1968 Billboard Magazine: Guitarist Al Caiola has supplied his own arrangements for this roundup of songs that take easily to his lush, rhythmic and ballad virtuosity.

A few tracks off this album can be found as purchase/downloads including the fab High Chaparral (theme from the TV show). I've posted a sample that is available only on vinyl as far as I can tell.

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me - Raymond Lefevre

La Passionnata
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
Raymond Lefevre And His Orchestra
KAPP Records KL-1510
1968

"Spanish Eyes" is a sticker fixed to the cover. Lefevre is a French easy listening orchestra leader, arranger and composer. Some of the best 60s easy listening arrangers were French.

Not all the tracks are as dramatic as the sample, but the album as a whole will hold your interest if you are into the 60s mood groove.

Ridin' High - Frankie Carle

Ridin' High
Ridin' High
Frankie Carle At The Piano
Vocalion VL 3622
1958

From the October 27, 1958 issue of Billboard: "Will appeal to many who don't cotton to the rock and roll groove."

More, More Piano - Winfred Atwell

Caravan
More, More Piano
Winfred Atwell
London Records B 20040

Here's an album that features a great cover and the music is better, or more "peppy" than the cover suggests.

Winfred Atwell was extremely popular in Europe and Australia in the 50s. She was making about $5,000 a week during her 1955 Australian tour. Read about Atwell on her wiki page.

Ballet HI-FI - Mishel Piastro And His Concert Orchestra

Ballet HI-FI
Mishel Piastro And His Concert Orchestra
Decca Records DL 8777

I was drawn to the album by the quirky cover.  I wish the music had lived up to the quirky cover photo.