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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Ethel Smith's Cha-Cha-Cha Album


No Tickee, No Cha Cha

Ethel Smith's Cha-Cha-Cha Album
Including Mambos - Merengue and Other Latin Rhythms
Decca Records DL 8164

From the back cover: It was in Pittsburgh's Carnegie Tech Institute that Ethel studied organ, and incidentally, Spanish. After graduating she got a job playing in the pit for a Shubert show. It was her first taste of commercial musical life and she liked it well enough to tour with the company for twenty-eight weeks. Next came an offer to accompany a singer in one of Hollywood's studios. One day, on the set, she noticed a Hammond Electric Organ – at the time, only recently developed. She took to it immediately and apparently it took to her too. Ethel soon adopted the electric organ permanently as her chosen solo instrument, mainly because it responded so sensitively to the highly colorful rhythms she loved so well.

When Cordell Hull sailed southward to attend the first Pan-American conference, Ethel was one of the few women who traveled with his party. She had managed to snare the post of chairman of the entertainment committee. Her first and long-dreamed of South American trip served to whet her appetite for other more extensive expeditions, and she decided to make a first-hand study of the native music.

So well did Ethel learn to interpret the music of South America that she was offered an engagement at Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana. It was while playing there that an executive of a tobacco company invited her to return to New York for the "Hit Parade" radio show. Ethel was featured as one of its stars for over a year.

Her first film for MGM was "Bathing Beauty," in which Ethel traded musical punches with Harry James to a delightful draw. Since then she has appeared in many motion pictures and made personal appearance tours to the delight of her countless followers. To the world in general, she is known and deservedly lauded as "The First Lady Of The Organ."

From Billboard - September 17, 1955: Ethel Smith's organ albums are steady sellers, and this one – a collection of cha-chas, mambos and merengues – may very well chalk up extra sales in view of the current vogue for Latin American rhythms. The LP features 12 south-of-the-border instrumentals, with "Sweet And Gentle" and "Deilcado" particular standouts. Miss Smith is at her show manly best on Latin-American material and her visual assets are becomingly displayed in a leggy photo on the cover.

Sweet And Gentle
Society Cha Cha Cha
Lemon Merengue
No Tickee, No Cha Cha
Lover's Cha Cha
Flirtation Mambo
Rico Vacilon
Montmartre Mambo

1 comment:

  1. The back cover notes are musically more informative than her Wikipedia entry.


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