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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Ole! - Xavier Cugat

Flute Nightmare
Ole!
Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra
Columbia Sound Promotions "Special Issue" (sticker fixed to the back cover)
Columbia CL 618

From the back cover: A reigning favorite with North Americans for the better part of two decades, Cugie has recently returned from a tour of Europe that was wholly triumphant. Continentals have long been addicted to tangos, mambos and rhumbas, but much of their music has been afflicted with a kind of watery politeness that drained if of vitality. Cugat and his uninhibited crew were revelations to the citizenry, and their richly-orchestraed presentations met with a response that kept them abroad for months.

The uncredited cover model is Abbe Lane, an American singer and actress who was married to Cugat (1952-1964). I believe she may also do vocals on a number of tracks.

Nice package featuring none of that "watery politeness" we like to avoid. Good stuff.

The Americano
Anything Can Happen
Cerezo Rosa y Manzano
Los Timbales
Alma Llanera
Africano Soy
Flute Nightmare
Strangers In The Dark
Lisboa Antiqua
Humpty Dumpty
Night Must Fall
Carnival In Uruguay

Holiday For Harp - With The Daphne Hellman Quartet

Clear Out Of This World
Holiday For Harp
With The Daphne Hellman Quartet
Arrangements by Jimmy Stutz
Harmony Columbia
HS 11002
1959

From Billboard - April 13, 1959: Diverse program of standards, popular tunes and folk songs in a swingin' style display of versatility of the harp as a popular music instrument.

March Of The Siamese Children
Summertime
Swedish Pastry
Have You Met Miss Jones
La Ronde
Blue Tango; Syncopated Clock
Swingin' Shepard Blues
Swingtime In Scotland
Poinciana
Clear Out Of This World
Down The Road A Piece
Bad Timing

Holiday In Havana - Bebos Valdes

Mambo Caliente
Holiday In Havana
Mambos And Cha Cha Chas
Bebo Valdes And His Havana All Stars

From the back cover: Born in 1918 near Havana, Bebo Valdes looks more like a heavyweight champion than a musician. But music has been his main interest, ever since he played the piano as a child. He studied at the Havana Conservatory, and soon began to play with and arrange for the leading bands of Havana. A trip to Haiti, where Bebo played for one season with a Haitian band and studied the African rhythms of that strange island, led to his association with the "Tropicana". He has been highly popular there for the past six years.

Zig Zag Mambo
Smoocha-Cha
Mambo Caliente
Miramar
Chiribiricocola
Cha Cha Cha Lesson
Music Box Mambo
Hotcha-Cha
Mambo Riff
Pan Pan Pan
Big Shot Cha Cha Cha
Mambo Cantabile

Ecstasy - Ted Dale

What Is This Thing Called Love
Ecstasy
Ted Dale's Orchestra with Vic Damone and Kay Armen
Hollywood Records LPH-122

Decent budget mood with a few Damone/Armen tracks thrown in for good measure.

Night And Day
What Is This Thing Called Love
My Blue Heaven
Lullaby Of The Leaves
A Kiss In The Dark
The Song Is You
I Surrender, Dear
Diana

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Feathery Feeling - David Carroll

The Inch Worm
The Feathery Feeling
Voices And Violins
David Carroll And His Orchestra
Mercury Records 20286
1958

Easy listening, light as a feather… but the sample above has a nice vibe to it.

Fascination
I Love You Truly
Now Is The Hour
Sometime
The Inch Worm
When You Come To The End Of The Day
Madonna
Dinner At Eight
A Beautiful Lady In Blue
Lingering Lovers
The Ship That Never Sailed
Tango Americano

Mambo With Morales

Mambo de la selva


Mambo With Morales
Humberto Morales
Harmony HL 7039
1957

Solid vintage Mambo set. Great engineering.

St. Louis Blues Mambo
Ku-Kue
Mambo Jive
The Up And Down Mambo
Noro's Jump
Mambo De La Selva
Guili Guili
Scharneco's Mambo
Mambo Away
Humberto's Jump

Thursday, May 8, 2014

We Could Make Such Beautiful Music - George Williams

The Bad And The Beautiful
We Could Make Such Beautiful Music
George Williams And His Orchestra
RCA Victor LPM-1205
1956

From the back cover: George Williams, in this unusual musical salute to beauty, has recorded instrumental versions of a dozen melodies that correspond, in grace of melody and harmony, with the tributes to beauty in their titles. Four of them are his own compositions; a fifth is the unusual treatment of Stephen Foster's last song, Beautiful Dancer (written a week or two before his death in 1864); the other seven are popular songs spanning more than forty years.

George Dale Williams was born November 5, 1917 in New Orleans, but left the Crescent City at the age of four months and was raised in Oakland, California. Studying at Chico State College in north California, George had eyes, and more significantly, ears, for the profession of music teaching. With this in mind he made a searching study of every instrument, from 1934 to '37, and at the end of that time was reasonably competent on all of them but especially proficient as a pianist. All this left him superbly equipped for the job in which he soon found himself gaining a livelihood: that of professional ball player, playing second base with the Oakland Acrons.

Someone evidently called a foul ball on George, for after a few months he was heard pounding the keys in a local night club, and later the life of the traveling sideman overtook him as he wandered through Texas and assorted other states with Merle Howard's orchestra.

Back in Los Angeles, gigging with Bob Astor's band in 1939, he connected with Jimmie Lunceford, a good friend of Astor's, and in the fall of that year started to write for Lunceford. The following spring he quit this job to build the entire library for the newly formed Lionel Hampton band.

After working his way east as pianist with Sonny Dunham's orchestra, George spent nine months as arranger with Glenn Miller until the band broke up in 1942. The Maritime Service took up his time from '43 to '46, after which there were many assignments from Harry James, Roy Eldridge, Charlie Ventura and Vaughn Monroe; then, gradually, the decision to branch out on his own as a recording bandleader.


We Could Make Such Beautiful Music
Oh You Beautiful Doll
Beauty And The Beat
Beautiful Blues
So Young So Beautiful
The Bad And The Beautiful
Wake! Beautiful Dreamer
The Night Is Young And You're So Beautiful
Beautiful Love
But Beautiful
Beauty Rest
You Are Too Beautiful

Genuine Electric Latin Love Machine - Richard Hayman

The Windmills Of Your Mind
Genuine Electric Latin Love Machine
Persuasive Electronics By Richard Hayman (Arranged and Produced)
Command/ABC 947S
1969

Hayman got everything right on this album. He shows off his command (no pun intended) of a variety of period technologies and pop sounds (including the Command sound). Hayman masterfully blends early electronic (sounds), period moog and natural instruments (including a terrific vocal passage on The Girl From Ipanema) into lively arrangements that injects life into many of the older standards covered.

Hayman made a good number of what I would label as more "typical" period mood albums. On Voodoo! (1959), one of my favorite Hayman efforts, he takes risks to make a good "exotica" album. But, on this LP, he takes only risks, has a lot of fun, and makes it clear that he ranks amongst the best creative minds of the time.

The engineering is also outstanding.

The Windmills Of Your Mind
La Compara
The Peanut Vendor
The Look Of Love
Hare Krishna
Spanish Eyes
Goin' Out Of My Head
Dansero
The Girl From Ipanema
Samba De Victoria
Melody #2

More Music For Relaxation - The Melachrino Strings

Misty
More Music For Relaxation
The Melachrino Strings and Orchestra
RCA Victor LPM-2278
1961

Follow up album to Music For Relaxation LPM/LSP - 1001.

Selig Furniture Courtesy of Bloomingdale's. Clothes by Pantino, Inc.

From the back cover: I hate to be insistent, but you really do need this kind of therapy. After all, Melachrino and his strings are a perfectly relaxed group, and this music added to "their" relaxation. Think what it will do for yours.

Alone
The Champagne
Poor Butterfly
Drifting And Dreaming
Fascination
Among My Souvenirs
The Four Seasons
Paradise
Serenade In Blue
Mam'selle
Misty
I'm Getting Sentimental Over Your

Deep Purple - Jessie Crawford

Deep Purple
Deep Purple
The Organ Poetry Of Jesse Crawford
Promenade Records
2074

Deep Purple
Over The Rainbow
Laura
Swinging Down The Lane
Bye Bye Baby
Some Enchanted Evening
Bali Hai
Wondbar
So In Love
Let's Take An Old Fashion Walk

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

29 Strings And Then Some - Armengol

Song Of India
29 Strings And Then Some
Armengol And His Orchestra
RCA Victor LPM-1457
1957

This RCA features an attractive looking jacket and a rather dry sounding classical mood set.

The jacket notes below offer insight into late 50s RCA production process.

Here is what happened with 29 Strings by Mario Ruiz Armengol. 

The "Powers That Be" in both the Artist & Repertoire and Sales Promotion Departments of RCA Victor were pleased and excited about the wonderful sound and excellent sales of an album titled One Night In Acapulco (LPM-1292) by one Mario Ruiz Armengol. At a weekly planning conference, a joint meeting of the minds occurred and it was decided that another mood music album by Armengol was needed quickly, capturing the same lilting rhythms as were featured in One Night In Acapulco.

Immediately the wheels began to turn in myriad directions… Sales – Advertising – Artist & Repertoire… All moved to accomplish the fact of a new Armegol album. John Camacho, head of A&R for the International Department, flew off to Mexico to record the music with the collaboration of Mariano Rivera Conde, head of A&R for Mexico. This was necessary because Mario Ruiz Armengol is the for most Arranger-Conductor of popular music in Mexico and both Armengol and his orchestra could be located in Mexico City. RCA Victor also maintains an excellent studio in Mexico City, part of RCA Victor Mexicana, and so it was decided that the recording date would be scheduled in Mexico City. We think it was a logical decision.

With Camacho flying down to Mexico City for the recording session, creative minds back in New York set themselves to the tedious task of evolving a title and an album cover that would do justice to the music and talent of Mario Ruiz Armengol.

Several title were suggested, but finally it was decided to call the album 29 Strings and Then Some, since by a strange coincidence this would be the exact number of stringed instruments in the Armengol Orchestra. The title was selected only after one die-hard finally gave up his suggested title of "145 Strings," which would have been the number of actual strings on all the instruments used. It was pointed out that such a title might be a wee bit misleading and so it was dropped in favor of the tile now decorating the front cover.

Having decided on the title, a cover was created in keeping with the title and the music and, at the same time, eye-appealing and attractive for store display. Then the liner was assigned and completed. The recordings were finished – the sound and performance reviewed by the A&R director – the complete sleeves were rushed by the printer to the factory. Stampers were made, part of the complex process that transfers music from tape to disc. Finally, the completed product was ready.

Serenade
A Song Of India
Largo
Song Without Words
La Golondrina
Ave Maria
Old Folks At Home
Lullaby
Andante Cantabile
Intermezzo

Waltz Time In Vienna

Voices Of Spring
Waltz Time In Vienna
Hollywood Records
LPH 11

Voices Of Spring
One Thousand And One Nights
Tales From The Vienna Woods
Kiss Waltz
Artist's Life
Flug Schriften
Blue Danube
Rhine Bells
Vienna Life
Southern Roses
Lagoon Waltz
Emperor Waltz

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?

The Boxer
How Much Is That Doggie In The Window
And More Songs About Your Favorite Dogs
Mostly Written By Cy Coben
Featuring Frank Milano and The Golden Orchestra
Directed by Jimmy Carroll
Golden LP
LP-136

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Look Of Love - Midnight String Quartet

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
The Look Of Love
And Other Rhapsodies For Young Lovers
Midnight String Quartet
Arranged by Al Capps
Produced by Snuff Garrett
Viva 36015
Distributed by Dot Records

Viva produced a number of these "Rhapsodies For Young Lovers" LPs. Don't expect much from this album, but the lounge cover sample featured above is pretty crazy fabulous.

The Look Of Love
By The Time I Get To Phoenix
Kiss Me Goodbye
Love Sonata
Classical Gas
MacArthur Park
Love Is Blue
Apologize
Theme From Valley Of The Dolls
Midnight Memories
Young Girl
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Monday, May 5, 2014

Lights And Shadows - Al Nevins

Concerto in Lights and Shadows
Lights And Shadows
Dinner Music by Al Nevins and His Orchestra
Arrangers: Sid Ramin and Irwin Kostal
Soloists: Eddy Manson, mouth organ; Morty Nevins, accordion; Buddy Weed, piano, in Concerto in Lights and Shadows
RCA Victor LPM-1475
1957

From the back cover: Lights and Shadows… an album of contrasts in sound designed for romance and for dreaming… music to relieve any tension and dissolve any problem… music which induces a happy state of contemplation and relaxation…

This album is more than dinner background music. It doesn't seem to me as if the RCA copy writer actually listened to the recording when they wrote the jacket notes. This is a mood concept album. The "theme" is nicely expressed in the title, Lights and Shadows. Some tracks present a "heavy" mood, while other tracks are lighter, but still "dramatic"in nature. The arrangements include a number of different types of instruments, including the accordion, which make for creative sounding accents.

Good stuff!

Also see: Escapade In Sound

I Concentrate On You
Whispering
Twilight Time
Concerto In Lights And Shadows
Among My Souvenirs
Musetta's Waltz
Love Your Magic Spell Is Everywhere
My Heart Sings
Ecstasy Waltz
All The Things You Are
The Night Is Young And You're So Beautiful
The Way You Look Tonight

Everybody's Talkin' - LeRoy Holmes

Staircase
Everybody's Talkin'
LeRoy Holmes
United Artists Records UAS 6731
1972

I didn't expect much from this album, but was pleased to hear many crisp, creative arrangements done up in that early 70s mood vibe. The engineering is also very good.

The World That Only Lovers See / The Chairman
Midnight Cowboy / Midnight Cowboy
Alice's Restaurant Massacree / Alice's Restaurant
We / Me, Natalie
Staircase / Staircase
Everybody's Talkin' / Midnight Cowboy
They Call The Wind Maria / Paint Your Wagon
You And I / Goodbye Mr. Chips
The Bridge At Remagen / The Bridge At Remagen
Justine / Justine
Tomorrow Is My Friend / Gaily, Gaily
Theme From "The Madwoman Of Chaillot / The Madwoman Of Chaillot