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Friday, June 27, 2014

Hawaii - Hollywood Strings

Hawaiian War Chant
Hawaii
Composed By Elmer Bernstein
And Other Songs Of The Island
Composed By Outstanding Hawaiian Composers
George Nielsen Conducting The Hollywood Strings
Crown Records CST 561

Budget all the way? Not that good, or better, depending on your perspective. This a lush orchestrated album featuring engaging light pop arrangements.

Hawaii
Mahina
Whispering Sea
Hawaiian Love Song
Lani Kai
Hawaiian War Chant
Maori's Farewell
Blue Hawaiian Waters
Trade Winds
Aloha Oe

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Percussion Sounds And The Harmonica - Eddy Manson

Wish You Were Here
Ciribiribin
Percussion Sounds And The Harmonica
Eddy Manson
Spinorama Records MK 3105

Budget album featuring typical period percussion touches that dress up the surprisingly creative arrangements to include interesting jazz segments on a number of tracks.

Wish You Were Here
Slaughter On 10th Avenue Theme
I Love You
In The Still Of The Night
Ciribiribin
Jumping Jack
Old Devil Moon
September Song
La Paloma
Yellow Rose Of Texas
Cheyenne
Nellie Bly

A Tribute To Ken Griffin - Charles Rand

Song Of India
A Tribute To Ken Griffin
Charles Rand At The Organ
Coronet Records CX-167

A Tribute To Ken Griffin accented with early 60s "Command-styled" ping-pong percussion.

Song Of India
Barcarolle
Toyland
Pan American
Cool Pipes
La Cucaracha
Stars Of Love
Absinthe Frappe
Love Song
Jungle Pipes

My Cherie Amour - Les Reed - Eddie Lester Singers

The Spartans
My Cherie Amour
Les Reed und sein Orchestra
Eddie Lester Singers
Phase 4 Stereo Decca SLK 16878

Something In The Air
Good Morning Starshine
Spinning Wheel
I'll Find My Love
The Spartans
My Cherie Amour
Sweet Caroline
Crystal Blue Persuasion
A Way Of Life
Sugar Pie
On Days Like These
Love Is All

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nashville Country Guitars - Les And Larry Elgart

I Can't Stop Loving You
Nashville Country Guitars
Les And Larry Elgart
Swampfire Ambassador SF 203

This album is a mystery to me. From the back cover photo and notes you know that Elgart Brothers had something to do with this album… just what involvement they had, Swampfire does not make clear.

From the back cover: "They've (the Elgarts) gathered some of the best guitarists ever assembled in one Nashville recording studio…" and "Yes, Les and Larry Elgart have assembled it all here with the unforgettable sound of the Nashville Country Guitars."

The back cover also advertises two additional Elgart/Nashville albums, "Piano" and "Brass".

This light pop country album features a horn section (no mention if the Elgarts actually play on the album), steel guitar, 70s choral segments… the works. The musicianship is professional, but the arrangements lack cohesion and direction.

If you listen to a lot of "budget" light pop albums and like to hear something "off beat", this Nashville Guitars album may be for you.

Gentle On My Mind
King Of The Road
I Can't Stop Loving You
Your Cheating Heart
Tennessee Waltz
Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
Only The Lonely
My Heart Cries For You
Green Green Grass Of Home
Third Man Theme

30 Dance Hits - The Shotguns

Fast Twisting
30 Dance Hits
The Shotguns
Wyncote SW-9094
1964

30 songs that literally run one into another without missing a beat. Thankfully the song titles are presented on cover, typed with space between them…

Locating a sample and matching the track to the title? Forget about it! OK… I extracted a sample from the end of the record… so I think the title is "Fast Twistin'"

You get 30 danceable and yes, FUN low budget studio covers and the cover photo of the young man dancing with his mother. OK, she's not that old… I don't think.

City Guy Plays Country - Al Caiola

Ring Of Fire
City Guy Plays Country
Al Caiola
United Artists Records UAS 6255
1963

From the back cover: Fulfilling a long-time ambition, Al recently held a three-day session at famed Bradley Studios in Nashville, cutting some of his all-time favorite country tunes. Accompanied by members of The Jordonaires, and backed by the top country side-men in the business, Al recorded thirteen of the greatest country tunes of the last two decades.

From November 23, 1963 Billboard: Caiola is back with a fine album of guitar picking'. The set features the soloist in varying moods, but playing country material throughout, and for the most part, playing in a country vein. The album is filled with the great country tunes of the past and present and the guitarist is often showcased in front of a fine string ensemble.

Ring Of Fire
I Love You So Much It Hurts Me
Walking The Floor Over You
Cold Cold Heart
Singing The Blues
Bye Bye Love
Kaw-Liga
Jealous Heart
Blue Banjo
Ep Paso
Wolverton Mountain
I'm Movin' On

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mexican Pearls - Don Randi

My Funny Valentine
Mexican Pearls
The Exciting Piano Of Don Randi
Jack Neitzsche - Arranger (orchestrated tracks)
Palomar GS 34002

Don Randi - Piano
Dick Brandt - Bass
John Clauder - Drums

There are some stellar keyboard moments to be heard on the LP that came inside this budget looking jacket.

From the back cover: In the music world today there are what are known as technicians, mechanics, and, to many, unemotional pianists! Fortunately, every few years a talent will arise with technique and emotion combined to make a new sound and feeling. Don Randi has this rare ability. He is as exciting to watch in person as he is exciting to listen to on record.

This album, I'm sure, will prove that Don Randi is really the bridge between the hard school of jazz and the commercial pop world.

Don's listening audience is primarily not a jazz audience; although, if you dig jazz, he reaches you very ably.

At this point, I'd like to mention that Don Randi has played piano, harpsichord and organ on over fifty hit-million selling records for various artists such as The Righteous Brothers, Bobby Darin, Frankie Lane, Doris Day, Ronettes, Beach Boys and many others. He is one of the most in-demand pianists for recording sessions.

Not only is he talented as a pianist, buy equally as well as a composer and arranger. He has written or co-written many songs such as Mexican Pearls.

Don is a well schooled musician with fourteen years of formal classical training under his belt. He was born in New York City, but grew up in Woodridge, New York, in the heart of the Catskill Mountains. He later move to Los Angeles to study at the Los Angeles Conservatory Of Music and Los Angeles City College in order to finish his education.

Don is currently appearing at a night club in Hollywood known as Sherry's or Don Randi's second home. People kid him about this, because he has appeared there on and off for the past six years. When he is not a Sherry's, he usually appears in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago and many other cities in the world.

– Phil Spector


Mexican Pearls
I Don't Want To Be Kissed
A Lot Of Livin' To Do
Grandpa's Still
My Funny Valentine
The Randi Sermon
Follow Me
John Brown's Body
Theme From Mondo Cane
Bass Blues
Thistle Down
Spanish Harlem

Dame Dreaming - Bill Dogget

Sweet Lorraine
Dame Dreaming
With Bill Doggett
King Records 532
1957

From Billboard April 27, 1957: Dreamy, leisurely paced instrumental treatments in a low-pressure rock and roll vein by organist Doggett and his boys. Striking color photo of pretty brunette and provocative title gives album good display value.

From the back cover: The Bill Doggett success story is not a new one. The same struggles, the same trails, the same tribulations that every musician encounters before success are part of the Doggett story. Bill's musical knowledge dates back to the time when he was nine years old. He wanted to study the trumpet but his family decided that the expense would be too great at that time so Bill turned his attention to the family piano. He studied long and hard and soon became an accomplished musician. When he was sixteen he made his first professional appearance in his native Philadelphia. That didn't last long for his aunt came and took him off the job since the hours were beginning to tell on his schoolwork. In school Bill was considered a good student. When he was graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia in 1933, Doggett got a job with Jimmy Gorman's Orchestra which paid eighteen dollars per week and that was a lot of money in those days, so Bill struck with it. In 1938 Doggett formed his own orchestra. After a few months he sold the entire organization to Lucky Millinder and Dogget Devoted his time to arranging and writing music.

In 1943 Bill became the pianist and arranger for The Ink Spots. During his tenure with The Ink Spots, Bill arranged many of their long to be remembered hits.

1947 was the year that probably changed Doggett's entire musical career. He got a job as pianist with Louis Jordan's band and the fellow he was replacing was Bill Davis. Davis wanted to leave and devote some time to the study of the Hammon Organ as a jazz instrument. About six months later Jordan hire Davis to go on his tour of theater dates at three times the salary he was paying Doggett for arranging and as the pianist in the band. As Bill put it, "That was the bitter end." Six months later Bill left the Jordan outfit to study the Hammond organ.

Organist Doggett made his first record date accompanying Ella Fitzgerald. This was his first time to play the organ outside of his home. The first record that he made with Ella was "Smooth Sailing" and it was a big fat hit. The word spread about the terrific organ background and two more hits rolled off with Ella – "Rough Riding" and "Air Mail Special."

With Bill's popularity soaring, he was encouraged to form his own combo, and on June 6, 1952 The Bill Doggett Combo played their first date at New York's famed Baby Grand. The rest is history.

Because Bill Doggett believes in the golden role, he gives full credit for his success to the three musicians who make up the quartet. Berisford Shepherd, known to his friends as "Shep", has been playing drums with Doggett almost since the group was formed. He is a master at the drums. Born in Honduras in Central America, his family moved to Philadelphia very shortly thereafter and he still resides there. In January 1955, guitarist Billy Butler joined the Doggett clan. Billy is also a native Philadelphian. Early in life Butler studied the violin but turned to the guitar because it enabled him to play the type of music he liked. John Collins aided Billy in his studies on the guitar. Billy is a fine musician with fresh ideas and plenty of imagination. The youngest and newest member of the combo is sax man Clifford Scott. Clifford was born in 1928 in San Antonio, Texas. It was always his ambition to become a professional musician. Scott plays both tenor and alto sax, clarinet and flute. He has played with Roy Milton and Lionel Hampton and joined Doggett in 1956.


Sweet Lorraine
Diane
Dinah
Ramona
Cherry
Cynthia
Jeannine
Tangernie
Nancy
Estrellita
Laura
Marcheta

Saturday Date - Matt Dennis

Saturday Date
White Christmas
Saturday Date
Matt Dennis
Tops LP1596
1957

From the back cover: Authoritative Down Beat Magazine, in a review (printed August 8, 1956) of Dennis at a Hollywood club, refers to"… the complete individuality of his personality and act… Coupled with his astonishing songwriting creativity is his flair for mature cocktail lounge artistry. He's relaxed; his charm is sincere, unobtrusive, he seems to enjoy what he's doing and has that requisite ageless quality."

A native of Seattle, Washington, Matt Dennis comes of a musical family. His father was a widely known singer and his mother played violin professionally. After the family moved to San Rafael, California, Matt emerged as the maestro of his high school orchestra.

Already a budding songwriter, he debuted professionally in a specialty and playing piano and singing his own songs on the Horace Heidt Show. A few years later he collaborated with singer Dick Haymes in forming a dance band which Haymes fronted. When that swinging little aggregation disbanded, Matt went on to serve as accompanist and vocal arranger to such topflight singers as Martha Tilton, Margaret Whiting and the Stafford Sisters. The day dawned when the Stafford sister named Jo left the act to join the great Tommy Dorsey as a member of the Pied Pipers… It wasn't long before she had persuaded Dorsey to audition Dennis. With his famed eye for talent, Tommy immediately hired Dennis as arranger-composer.

For Matt this was indeed the Big Break. In one year Dorsey recorded fourteen of his songs for the major company with which he was then affiliated. Dennis' songs became the springboard-to-sucess for the Dorsey vocalists. The first solo record made by Jo Stafford, for example, was Dennis' Little Man With A Candy Cigar; first big hit for Connie Haines happened to be Matt's great standard. Will You Still Be Mine; and the first solo recorded by a spare and winsome boy from Hoboken (Frank Sinatra) after he left Dorsey was a Dennis song, The Night We Called It A Day.

Other hits recorded by the Dorsey band from the prolific pen of Matt Dennis during that period were Everything Happens To Me, Let's Get Away From It All and Violets For Your Furs.

World War II broke up the Dorsey-Dennis association, with Matt spending three and a half years in the Air Force. On discharge he began writing and singing for top New York radio and television shows, such as The Chesterfield Supper Club, The Seven-Up Show, Dick Haymes-Autolite Show and The Shaeffer Revue. In 1948 he returned to the West Coast to fill long standing engagements at the swankier supper clubs and to perform in several Universal-International musical shorts and two Ida Lupino features, The Bigamist and Jennifer.

Since then, Matt Dennis has solidified his position as top nightclub attraction in all the major cities. Additionally, he has been featured entertainer on many television programs, including NBC-TV's Ernie Kovacs' Show, Rosemary Clooney Show and Steve Allen's NBC spot.


Rock Me To Sleep
True
Hitch Up The Sleigh
Lazy Countryside
Don't Blame Me
I'm Through With Love
They Can't Take That Away From Me
When We're Alone
Saturday Date
White Christmas
Natch

Monday, June 23, 2014

Dance Party In Hi-Fi - Werner Muller

Music For Mitzi
Dance Party In Hi-Fi
Werner Muller And His Orchestra
Decca Records DL 8688

Released on the Polydor label in 1958.

From the back cover: Werner Muller, who has earned a widespread reputation in Europe as arranger and conductor, makes his home in Berlin, Germany, where he has been the musical director of the American sponsored radio station RIAS. Today a favorite among American music lovers, Mr. Muller made his initial impress in this country with his overwhelmingly popular Decca recording of "Maleguena", featuring a vocal by Caterina Valente.

All The Things You Are
Music For Mitzi
Dobs Dixie
Siboney
Katharina
I Only Have Eyes For You
Dobs Boggie
Promenade
La Cucaracha
Cumana
Dinah
Leap Frog

Love Means You Never Have To Say You're Sorry - The Sounds Of Sunshine

Rainy Days And Mondays
Love Means You Never Have To Say You're Sorry
The Sounds Of Sunshine
Ranwood Records R-8089

Most tracks feature vocals and or strings by Don Ralke

Love Means You Never Have To Say You're Sorry
I Do All My Crying In The Rain
It's Impossible
Make It With You
For The Good Times
Livin' It Day By Day
Anything Can Happen
If
Yesterday Keeps Getting In The Way
El Condor Pasa
Put You Hand In The Hand
Rainy Days And Mondays

B'Way Cha Chas - Fred Sateriale's Big Band

Toyland
B'Way Cha Chas
Fred Sateriale's Big Band
Dipolmat Records FM22

The record features a "Pirouette" label.

Budget Big Band Cha Cha that features good engineering and a photo of the obscure Sateriale band on the back cover.

Also see Broadway Latin America Party (Spinorama's release of this material) and Big Band Cha Cha Cha

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes Cha Cha Cha
I Love Paris Cha Cha Cha
Old Man River Cha Cha Cha
I Talk To The Tree Cha Cha Cha
On The Street Where You Live Cha Cha Cha
There's Nothing Like A Dime Cha Cha Cha
Yama Yama Man Rhumba
Kiss Me Again Cha Cha Cha
Everyday Is Ladies' Day Meringue
Toyland Cha Cha Cha
Twilight In Barakeesh Mambo
In Old New York Cha Cha Cha

Let's Fly To The Moon

Trip To The Moon
Let's Fly To The Moon
Playtime Records PT 109

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Aphrodisia - Jackie Gleason

Violet Mist
Aphrodisia
Jackie Gleason Presents
Produced by Dick Jones
Capitol Records W1250
1959

From Billboard - October 5, 1959: Another in the long series of delightful mood albums inspired by Gleason. This one features big banks of shimmering strings, with the fine organ assistance of (Wild) Bill Davis. Tunes are all Gleason originals and bear such titles as "Pastel Flame", Dawn Desire," "Pink Chiffon" and "Perpetual Emotion," which advance the mood as noted in the set's title. Mighty satisfying listening and jocks will find some good bands here as well.

Billboard nailed it. From the title and cover art to the song titles and the tracks themselves, this is another brilliant piece of conceptual mood art from Gleason!

Seraglio
Blue Crystal
Pastel Flame
Dawn Desire
Violet Mist
Rapture
Silver Sunset
Pink Chiffon
Perpetual Emotion
Orange Velvet
Farewell Rendezvous
Glamour

Dance Party - Perez Prado

Caribbean Mambo
Dance Party
Perez Prado And His Orchestra
Eddie Maynard And His Orchestra
An Evening Of Musical Pleasure
Spinorama Records MK 3025

Here we have another unlikely budget mix of Prado's Latin tracks supplemented with Eddie Maynard filler all packaged inside a festive cover featuring nice people who don't look like they've ever done the Cha Cha (or Mambo).

Flamingo Cha Cha
Cha Cha No. 5
Blue Tango
Miami Beach Mambo
La Paloma
Heat Wave
Umpaquita Cha Cha
Cha Cha No. 8
When Johnny Comes Marching Home
Caribean Mambo
Anvil Chorus
La Clave

Warm & Willing - Norrie Paramor

I'm Shooting High
Warm & Willing
Norrie Paramor And His Orchestra
Playing Jimmy McHughs Biggest Hits with the "Floating" voice of Patricia Clark
Capitol Records T 2357
1965

Here we have another one of those unusual Paramor and Clark collaborations. In the sample above, Clark's voice seems to "float" compared to other tracks on set which Paramor's formula requires Clark to sing a segment that sounds "classical" in style, rather than simply flavoring the song with tonal accents.

From Billboard - October 2, 1965: The lush, romantic sounds of the Paramor strings, highlighted by the beautiful soprano voice of Patricia Clark are featured on this fine package of modern standards…

I Feel A Song Comin' On
Where Are You
You're A Sweetheart
Lovely Lady
Warm And Willing
It's A Most Unusual Day
I'm In The Mood For Love
I'm Shooting High
My Own
Lost In A Fog
Dream, Dream, Dream
Thank You For A Lovely Eve

Gentlemen Prefer… Marie Wilson

If We Didn't Have Worms
Gentlemen Prefer…
Marie Wilson
Introduced By Ken Murray
1957

This is an interesting and playful recording that demonstrates the genius and versatility of Wilson as a recording artist.

From the back cover: Marie Wilson (Katherine Elisabeth White) has become famous from coast to coast for her wonderful characterization of the "dumb blonde" in the television series My Friend Irma. But every media of the entertainment world has to share the talents of this delightfully entertaining performer.

Unique in her field, Miss Wilson is a much sought after on stage and television, as she is by the grinding movie cameras or the famous night clubs in the 48 states.

A real cinderella, she signed her first movie contract with Warner Brothers at the age of 15, and became an immediate success. She went on to win laurels on the stage at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood in Ken Murray's Blackouts. Going smoothly from one medium to another, she has gathered a multitude of credits. Her picture appearances include Never Wave At A Wac, Girl In Every Port, The Story Of Mankind, and many others. Theatre goers throughout the country have seen her on the Legit Stage in The Little Hut and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter. She has just recently completed a new television series for her producer husband Bob Fallon. Mr. and Mrs. Bob Fallon are the parents of "naturally" a handsome three year old son.


Premiere
A Little Girl From Little Rock
If We Didn't Have Worms
Helpless
It's So Nice To Have A Man Around The House
Rock The Wolf
Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend
Without One Word From Me
Lettuce
A Toot-Doodle-Doo

Twilight Of Honor - John Green

Phoenix Fire
Twilight Of Honor
And Recordings Of These Other Great Motion Picture Themes
Original Sound Track Recording Of Instrumental Music By John Green
MGM E-4185
1963

Although the packing suggests that this set is a Chamberlain project, what we really have here is an MGM assembled John Green compilation album.

Despite the LP being assembled from a wide variety of sources, MGM managed to release a groovy sounding album. Credit should be given to the Director of Engineering, Val Valentin for the even sound mix.

Chamberlain's "Blue Guitar" is great 60s fun and can be purchased/downloaded at the usual online outlets.

From the back cover: Winner of four Academy Awards, and nominated 11 times, Green has had a brilliant career in motion pictures. For 10 years he was Executive in Charge of Music at MGM studios. His score for "Twilight Of Honor" marks his return to that lot after six years of free-lance projects which included being conductor and co-music director for "West Side Story," and supervisor, arranger, orchestra, and conductor for "Bye Bye Birdie."

Twilight Of Honor Prelude
Phoenix Fire - Alto Saxophone Soloist: Ronny Lane
Love Theme From "Twilight Of Honor"
Juke Jezebel
Blue Guitar - Richard Chamberlin
They Long To Be Close To You - Richard Chamberlin
Theme From "Murder At The Gallop" - Ron Goodwin And Orchestra
55 Days At Peking - Bill Evan, Piano And Orchestra
The Haunting - Lalo Schifrin, Piano And Orchestra
Theme From "Ride The High Country" Robert Holiday Orchestra
Theme From "Black Orpheus - Harry James And His Orchestra
Theme From "Hud" - Lalo Schifrin And Orchestra