Search Manic Mark's Blog

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Nonstop Discotheque Party Dance

Fame
It Only Takes A Minute
Nonstop Discotheque Party Dance
Gillette Madison Company
GSLP 3530

According to the back cover… you should be able to do (dance) the "robot" to the track: It Only Takes A Minute.

The Hustle
Fame
Let's Do The Latin Hustle
7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Blow Your Whistle
Lady Marmalade
It Only Takes A Minute
Do It 'Til You're Satisfied
Bad Luck
Get Down Tonight
Shining Star

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ike Cole

Ike Cole
The Brother Of Nat "King" Cole
Guest Star GS 1502

Thought I'd share a good example of this nice, but somewhat obscure, Guest Star cover. The set is available online, so I will not be posting a sample.

Guest Star, a budget label, delivers a sweet and smooth sounding set by Nat's brother, Ike.

Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
I've Got The Whole World On A String
Who's Sorry Now
Stars Fell On Alabama
That's My Desire
Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
Hands Across The Table
I Can't Give You Anything But Love
I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You
Don't Worry 'Bout Me

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Percussion Front Row Center - The Randy Heller Percussionists

In The Still Of The Night
Percussion Front Row Center
The Randy Heller Percussionists
PRI Records

This LP appears to be one of Heller's more obscure sets. Pressed on colorful yellow vinyl the set features a colorful Latin/Jazz vibe and that early Command label "ping-pong" bongo sound. The arrangement of In the Still Of The Night is just crazy.

From the back cover: When Randy Heller was in college, studying to be an ophthalmologist, his favorite pastime was sitting in his dormitory room in front of his record player, listening to original cast albums of Broadway shows, and accompanying the performances on the bongos. But instead of turning out to be the best bongo playing ophthalmologist in Beverly Hills, he wound up being perhaps the only bongo player in Hollywood who could spell ophthalmologist.

Randy Heller is kept might busy nowadays, however, arranging, playing and conducting albums that feature his "Percussionists." "Fortunately," says Randy, "I've been able to do a lot of what I like best – the great Broadway show songs played with all kinds of Latin rhythms and instruments." Randy's not the only fortunate one; the listener and dancer are lucky, too. As record buyers have come to realize, dance packages are often not worth listening to, and many displays of Latin-jazz fireworks defy dancing to. But Randy Heller's Percussionists fall into neither classification. Without compromising in either direction, Randy comes up with tunes, tempos, sounds and ideas that make for equally fascinating dancing and listening. It's what he chooses to call "vertical stereo," the kind of music that appeals to both the top and bottom, the ears and feet, of the human body.


I Love Paris
Be A Clown
A Foggy Day
Easy To Love
Small World
The Jones Boy
My Heart Belongs To Daddy
Manhattan
Always True To You In My Fashion
Malaguena
Just A Little
In The Still Of The Night

My Moods And Feelings

Love
My Moods And Feelings
A Self-Discovery Record
Ultrasound Records ULT 3384
1975

Happiness
Unhappiness
Afraid
Love
Angry
I've Got The Giggles
Shy
Envy
Pretending
Feeling Good All Over

Polka Dots And Moonbeams - Johnny Hamlin Quintet

Play, Fiddle, Play
Polka Dots And Moonbeams
Johnny Hamlin Quintet
RCA Victor LPM-1379
1957

Johnny Hamlin: piano and electric accordion
Leland K. Baska, Jr.: Reeds
Kenneth Earnes: Bass
Art Mooshagian, Jr.: Trombone and Trumpet
Donald Hamernik: Drums

This intriguing cover art, featuring a nice relaxed portrait of Hamlin, sets the tone for the disc set that engages you, for the most part, with a laid back jazz groove.

From the back cover: Lionel Hampton, whose superb artistry is matched only by his ability to discover new talent, suggested that we keep our eyes on Johnny. Shortly after that some of the regular patrons of the Blue Note informed us that there was a small group playing in the Chicago area and speaking with a great big musical sound. And, finally, we heard one of Johnny Hamlin's early records and were convinced that he should have a hearing before the large and fairly informed audience of the Blue Note.

The immediate result of Johnny's Blue Note engagement was an RCA Victor recording contract. This in itself was a neat plum to pluck so early in his career. This album is the result of Johnny Hamlin's first recording date with Victor.


Also see Powder Puff Jazz and Hip Trip Down Some Other Street

Polka Dots And Moonbeams
Moonlight In Vermont
Cyclone
The Note Is Blue
Play, Fiddle, Play
I Remember April
Dancing On The Ceiling
Mood Indigo
El Gaucho
A Foggy Day
Summer Love
Battle Of The Horns

Sweet And Lovely - Lou Stein

Athena
Sweet And Lovely
Lou Stein
His Piano And Orchestra
Coral CRL 57003
1955

From the back cover: "Sweet and Lovely" is the kind of music Lou Stein has been playing ever since he began. Born in Philadelphia a little more than 30 years ago, Lou tried many instruments in his youth and mastered two of them: saxophone and piano. He was specializing in the reed instrument when he was called on to substitute for a missing piano player, so a pianist he became.

He was lucky with teachers – he speaks with special enthusiasm about Gregory Ashman, who often accompanied violinist, Efram Zimbalist. His career was temporarily interrupted when in 1943 Lou joined the army where for three years he was with Major Glenn Miller's Band.

A few years later, he was in New York with the Charlie Ventura Sextet. He was also heard with such famous personalities as Percy Faith, Andre Kostelanetz, Rosemary Clooney, and the Lawson-Haggart Jazz Band. He also appeared on many of the most celebrated TV shows.

Never losing his interest in the classics, Lou Stein is equally at home in modern jazz and music of a traditionally romantic nature. This collection illustrates the latter vein.


From Billboard - May 7, 1955: Pianist Lou Stein and his orchestra play dreamy, romantic music on this LP, which should appeal to deejays in search of first-rate mood music programming for late-night sets. Stein's perceptive, leisurely paced piano work puts the package several notches above the usual mood-music package and gives added meaning to such memorable standards as the title tune. An attractive cover girl aptly illustrates the album's central theme.
Cover photo by Anthony Guyther

Sweet And Lovely
Fools Rush In
Imagination
It's Easy To Remember
Athena
Love Locked Out
Out Of Nowhere
I Only Have Eyes For You
I'll Never Be The Same
Makin' Whoopee

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rhonda

Rhonda
Orchestra Under The Direction Of Frank Comstock
Columbia CL1080
1958

Available digitally as Rhonda Fleming Sings Just For You, so I will be be posting a sample.

From the back cover: All things considered, it would be enough for most mortals if girls who look like Rhonda Fleming (and very few of them there do) were content to just sit around and be beautiful. Mis Fleming is a really staggering sight, without a trace of the brassy artificiality that surrounds many movie stars, and if she were completely devoid of talent, no one would care very much. The happy truth, however, is that she is an actress of considerable attainment, and – as revealed here for the first time on records – a singer with a remarkably sweet voice that speaks solid training and marks her as an artist with an impeccable taste in her songs.

Although she has been seen in Hollywood musicals, apparently no one ever thought to ask her to sing, and it was not until she made her nightclub debut at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas in 1957 that she revealed her vocal talents. She was an overnight sensation, and was immediately signed to record for Columbia and to make a series of television appearances as well. These activities, combined with her continuing work in motion pictures, make her one of the busiest artists around these days.

Rhonda was born in Los Angeles and attended schools there in Beverly Hills, aiming towards a business career. Occasionally she appeared in school plays and studied music as well, sometimes appearing with the school band. Her family had a considerable show business record, however; her mother, Effie Graham Louis, had appeared on the Broadway stage, and her grandfather, John E. Graham, a distinguished leader in Mormon church circles, was a theatrical producer in Salt Lake City. These influences slowly cast their spell over Rhonda, and one day she entered Jesse Lasky's "Gateway To Hollywood" radio contest. With her stunning appearance and notable talents, she got as far as the semi-finals. She was crying in the wings when the late Jean Hersholt discovered her and advised her to keep on trying.

Returning to school, Rhonda kept up her studies, still hoping. Her photograph appeared in a high school magazine and was spotted by agent Henry Wilson. He got in touch with her, and helped her forward to her first motion picture appearance, Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound," with Ingrid Bergman. Thereafter she was signed to co-star with Bing Crosby in "A Connecticut Yankee." Some thirty films followed, most of them doing justice to her green eyes and red hair, if not to her acting abilities in every case. Most recently she has been in "The Buster Keaton Story" as a guest star, in "Gunfight At The O.K. Corral" and "Gun Glory." Hoping to make use of her vocal training, she accepted an offer to appear in Las Vegas and startled critics and customers with her enchanting performances as a singer, a feat she duplicated at a recent international Columbia convention of salesmen. Those disenchanted merchants, already regaled by such artists as The Hi-Lo's, Johnny Mathis and Erroll Garner, among many others, fell completely apart when Rhonda sang Around The World In Eighty Days, a performance she repeats in this collection.


Don't Take Your Love From Me
Around The World In Eighty Days
Love Me Or Leave Me
The End Of A Love Affair
Under Paris Skies
Baby, Baby All The Time
With The Wind And The Rain In Your Hair
When I Fall In Love
I've Got You Under My Skin
Then I'll Be Tired Of You
Love
They Can't Take That Away From Me

Octets By Alec Wider - The George Russel Octet

House Detective Registers
Octets By Alec Wilder
The George Russell Octet
MGM Records E3321

From the back cover: Along with the penning of hit songs and the composition of impressive symphonic music, Wilder has been active as an arranger and orchestra in both the jazz and "long-hair" fields. For example, at one point in his career while working upon a commission for a large orchestral work for Howard Barlow and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, he was chief arranger in the development of the accompaniments used by Mildred Bailey in her radio and recording appearances. Jazz elements crept into his serious music and elements of serious music into his "pop" material. At first, this exchange between occasionally opposed fields within his music was uncontrolled, though the result was usually apt and right in effect. Then, however, Wilder began to develop his remarkable series of octets which, at last public count, extended to nearly thirty in number. These octets are designed to have all the spirit and drive of improvisatory jazz, but they are carefully arranged and most performing parts are fully written out. Liberties on the part of the performers are provided for, but only within a rather strictly confined range. The rhythms and accents are always those of "pop" music, but the manipulative techniques are those of rigid classical counterpoint. On this level, the similarity to Bach seems remarkable. The harmonies are pungent, modern, and adventurous, neither revolutionary nor conservative.

The scoring, in all cases, calls for flute, Bb clarinets, oboe, harpsichord (or piano), bass clarinet, bassoon, English horn, bass and drums.


The back cover description does a good job of capturing the approach of the set. I can only add, that while the disc is physically broken up into actual tracks… the set plays through more like one piece of music. The tone is sort of "loopy" as if you were walking through a haunted house… but the atmosphere hadn't turned "dark" yet. Even though each song might be thought of as an "extension" of the track you just finished listening too… each track is just as engaging as the one before it. Becoming "engaged" in the set might take two of three tracks, however, by the end of the set you'll likely want to listen to the album all over again.

Seldom The Sun
Pieces Of Eight
Neurotic Goldfish
Such A Tender Night
Little Girl Grows Up
Remember Me To Youth
She'll Be Seven In May
Dance Man Buys A Farm
The Amorous Poltergeist
House Detective Registers
Walking Home In The Spring
The Children Met The Train
Little White Samba

Obsequio Musical - Los Millonarios

Triunfamos
Satisfaccion
Obsequio Musical
Los Millonarios
Discos Fuentes
Miami Records MFS-3060

Triunfamos
La Mentira
Me Quiero Perder Contigo
La Luna Y El Toro
El Arbol
Satisfaccion
Sigue De Frente
Carta Fatal
Elena
Que Bonito Amanecer
Prisionero De Tus Brazos
Egoismo

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dinner In Rio - Fafa Lemos And His Orchestra

Dinner In Rio
Fafa Lemos And His Orchestra
RCA Victor LPM-1017
1954

Available from online digital vendors, so I will not be posting a sample.

This sweet and light mood pop set features a nice cover of Brazil and Baia (a peppy track that includes whistling). For some reason (perhaps a popular dish), RCA included a recipe for Shrimp with hearts of palm and coconut milk on the back cover.

From the back cover: Fafa Lemos himself was born in Rio. He began to study the violin at the age of seven, and when he was thirteen, appeared as soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Rio. At eighteen he was playing first violin in the Rio Symphony, but several years later left the classical field for a lucrative job as soloist in the Casino de Urca. In 1947 he organized his own orchestra, which performed at Rio's better clubs. In 1951, he became an exclusive RCA Victor recording artist, producing several hits, of which Granfino is perhaps the best known abroad.

These recordings were made on March 31, April 5 and 7, 1954, in RCA Victor's Hollywood studios, under the supervision of Herman Diaz Jr.

Brazil
Nem Eu (Not I)
Ita No Norte (The Boat From The North)
Mama Eu Quero (I Want My Mama)
Risque (Erase It)
Madalena
Baia
Nos Tres (We Three)
Gracioso (Graceful)
Ninguem Me Ama (Nobody Loves Me)
Copacabana
Paraiba

Love

Loving You True
Crystal Ball
Love
Columbine Records
L-3

It's Love I'm After - Lena Linebarger
Love - The Gate To Paradise - John Rodriguez
Forever - Eleanor Otto
Love Through The Years - Ethel C. Parker
Don't Make The Same Mistake - Odell Tillman
Love Will Be Love - Cora Stallworth
Loving You True - Louis V. Adolph Sr.
I'll Never Know - Jean McCrea
Love Of God - Helen Keas
Crystal Ball - Cora White
Roses You Hold - Andy Bailey
Since You - Sally Dunlap
Lillie - Roy Snell
God's Gift Of Love - Inez Pulliam

Monday, September 22, 2014

They're Playing Our Song - Billy Butterfield And His Orchestra

My Ideal
They're Playing Our Song
Billy Butterfield And His Orchestra
RCA Victor LPM-1441
1957

From the back cover: On My Ideal Dottie does a hauntingly beautiful vocal and the reeds all play clarinet behind her, a nice innovation.

In '46 Billy was striking out on his own with a good sized band of fifteen pieces, playing around the Middle West. In '48 he abandoned this and came to New York to spend a few years at Nick's with the stalwart there. In '51 he started up a big band around New York playing many dates. But '51 was more eventful for him that that, for he and Dottie Smith were married that year. They now live just a short hop from us (Mary Morse, Rutgers University) over on North Shore, Long Island, that short hop of two rivers, and 250 assorted bridges, tunnels and clover leaf traffic traps.


Cover photo: Wendy Hilty

Trumpet and leader: Billy Butterfield
Trumpets: Bernie Glow, Tony Faso, Jimmy Nottingham
Trombone: Lou McGarity, Cutty Cutshall
Saxes: Boomie Richman, Danny Bank, Toots Mondello, Nick Caiazza
Clarinet: Hank D' Amico
Bass: Jack Lesberg
Piano: Mickey Carrano
Vocal: Dottie Smith (Butterfield)

Goodbye Blues
Time On My Hands
All The Things You Are
It's All Right With Me
The Folks Who Live On The Hill
Again And Again And Again
Singin' The Blues
I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You
Stormy Weather
Harlem Nocturne
The Song Is You

For My True Love - Laurindo Almedia and Salli Terri

Lass From The Low Countree
For My True Love
Laurindo Almeida, Guitar
Salli Terri Mezzo Soprano
Martin Ruderman, Flute
Capitol Records SP8561
1958

The look of the cover art, graphically, seems ahead of its time. The set also plays like a later recording and sounds fresh today, due in part, to the excellent engineering. "Chamber concert" might suggest a "conservative" sounding set, but I found the play through light and almost "pop" at times. The album is a nice fit into The Atomic Attic collection.

From Billboard - November 17, 1958: An unusual group of Spanish, Italian, English and French pieces, beautifully played by the guitarist and Martin Ruderman on flute and sung excitingly by Miss Terri. Almeida adds a haunting lute solo. Charming cover drawing. The disk makes a satisfying chamber concert.

Jota Cancion And Polo
Pavane, Op. 50
Lass From The Low Countree
Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair
Galliard: Come Again, Sweet Love Doth Now Invite
Passarinho Esta Cantando
Modinha
Prelude - Au Bois du Rossignolet
Gagliarda - O Cessate di Piagarmi
Gigue - from Lute Suite No 1 in E - Bist Du Bei Mir

That Fresh Feeling! - George Shearing

Waltz For Sheba
That Fresh Feeling!
George Shearing
Produced by David Cavanaugh
Cover Photo: Capitol Photo Studio, Ken Veeder
Capitol Records ST 2567
1966

From the back cover: This album might aptly have been titled Shearing Revisits Shearing, for in it he plays new Shearing versions of songs that first introduced him to America. These are by no means painstaking note-for-note recreations. These are fresh new versions of Shearing Landmark tunes – such immediately identifiable Shearing hits as "Don't Blame Me," "The Breeze And I." "We'll Be Together Again," "Pick Yourself Up," and many more.

Terrific Shearing set featuring timeless, rich sounding light jazz arrangements.

I'll Be Around
The Continental
When Your Lover Has Gone
Changing With The Times
Don't Blame Me
The Breeze And I
We'll Be Together Again
Pick Yourself UP
For You
Waltz For Sheba
Measure For Leisure

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Sound Of Combat Training

Combat Training
The Sound Of Combat Training
Boyd Recording Company - Radcliff, Kentucky
RCA Victor Custom, Chicago, Illinois