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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

America's Most Popular Cha Cha's

Baby It's Cold Outside Cha Cha
America's Most Popular Cha Cha's
Alfredo Gomez And His Latin America Orchestra
Audition Records AUD 33-5937

Here's an obscure Cha Cha record on an obscure label featuring a lost to history (as far as I can tell) recording artist.

There is an organ featured on a few tracks that helps to create an unique sounding Cha Cha song. This is a pretty dang good space age record.

Heart Of Hawaii

Dark Dawn
Heart Of Hawaii
Promenade Records 2223

There is no information to be found on this budget label release. The back cover is loaded with fluff about Hawaiian history and so forth. There is no mention of who the artist is on the jacket.

Most of the songs have a wonderful haunting vocal treatment that keep the tracks from becoming your average mood.

There is also an excellent and very dramatic cover of Hawaiian War Chant on this album along with a nice cover of Beyond The Reef. I chose a track from the B side, Dark Dawn, because it seemed to be the most unusual and most mood setting song on the record. Give it a chance, there is a weird little guitar break about half way through.

Ping Pong Sound Of Guitars In Percussion

Sun Spots
The Ping Pong Sound Of Guitars In Percussion
By Eddie Wayne & Group
Coronet Records CXS-139
A Division Of Premier

The entire album title is misleading as far as the "percussion" is concerned. But the music is cool and for the most part "surf" guitar influenced.

I made some attempt to find info on Eddie Wayne online with no success. There are songs with a more driving beat on the album, but I warmed up most to the last track on the B side, Sun Spots.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quiet Nights & Brazilian Guitars - Guitars Unlimited

Here Lies Love
Quiet Nights And Brazilian Guitars
Guitars Unlimited
Arranger and Conductor: Jack Marshall
Producer: David Cavanaugh
Capitol/EMI Records T 2451


Guitar - Al Hendrickson, Bob Bain, Howard Roberts (jazz solo), Jack Marshall, Laurindo Almeida (solo), Roshinha De Valenca, Tommy Tedesco, Tony Rizzo
Bass - Joe Mondragon
Bells - Frank Flynn
Percussion: Milton Holland, Shelly Manne

Excellent light jazz with a 60s vibe. Recommended.
The Girl From Ipanema
Manhã De Carnival (Theme From "Black Orpheus")
Meditation (Meditação)
Here Lies Love
Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars (Corcovado)
One Note Samba (Samba De Uma Nota So)
These Are The Ways Of Love
O Barquinho (Little Boat)

Jackie Gleason Presents - Velvet Brass

The Man I Love (stereo)
Jackie Gleason Presents Velvet Brass
Capitol Records W859 (mono - 1957) & SW859 (stereo - 1959)

Alto Saxophone: Toots Mondello

From Billboard - February 2, 1959: Capitol Record's latest release of stereo LP's should find a hearty reception from stereophiles. Included in the 16-LP release are stereophonic versions of sets that have in most cases proven big monaural sellers.

Headlining the pop releases is "Oklahoma!" In stereo the album is even more charming and this release should create new interest in the set, which has long been a best-seller. Another strong pop album in the group is "Jackie Gleason Presents Velvet Brass," which lends itself very well to stereo, because of the many contrasting ork effects.

You're Driving Me Crazy
But Not For Me
Me And My Shadow
Take The "A" Train
By The Beautiful Sea
Am I Blue
What's New
Girl Of My Dreams
My Buddy
I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
September Song
Out Of Nowhere
Chinatown, My Chinatown

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Music For Cards, Conversation And Cuddling

Sunset Melody
Music For Cards, Conversation And Cuddling
Harry Hermann And His Orchestra
Decca Records DL 8563

Billboard indicated that this album had "Moderate potential" even though they thought the cover was "attractive".

This is a somewhat obscure Decca release and I could find almost nothing online concerning Harry Hermann.  From the back cover: the fact that at seventeen, he was playing with the Vienna Philharmonic under the direction of Richard Strauss.

I'm not sure exactly what story the cover art is telling. The ever-so-light mood music is way too low key to play during a shouting match.

Spectacular Harps

Spectacular Harps
Robert Maxwell
MGM Records E3836

From Billboard - August 8, 1960: MGM Records, as part of its fall program of close to 30 new releases, has included a blockbuster sound "spectacular" series, which is sure to create new fuss and feathers in the growing market for disks with the accent on what has been referred to as the "ultimate" in sound.

Unlike several other companies, which have started separate label identification for their super-sound packages, MGM sticks to its own mother logo, using the "spectacular" tag as a cross identification.

Initial release in this group consists of five all-instrumental sets, each one which is keyed to a specific school of instrumentation. Certainly one of the most colorful of these is the "Spectacular Brass" set and one number alone. "Let Me Entertain You," from Gypsy,' with a flock of swaggering, full-blown brass sounds, is worth almost the price of admission itself. Another interesting set features a colorful harmonica ensemble. Robert Maxwell, harpist extraordinaire, also contributes fine listening via his "Spectacular Harps" album. The group is rounded out with sets featuring accordions and percussion. The latter, tho well made, will find a highly competitive market.

Vet a.&r. man, Eddie Heller, is to be commended for producing the line-up.

Chapel In The Pines
Harp Tango
It's A Sin To Tell A Lie
The Simple Things
Happy Days Are Here Again
Hong Kong Holiday
Ebb Tide
Lefty's Hideout
Little David Play On Your Harp
Alice Blue Gown
Limehouse Blues

Moog - The Electric Eclectics Of Dick Hyman

The Electric Eclectics Of Dick Hyman
Command ABC Records 938-S

This is the first of several "Moog" synth records Hyman made on the Command label. This LP can be found, including some tracks from the follow-up LP, The Age Of Eletronicus, on CD.

I read one review that make you think the entire LP is filled with cheesy music. The first few tracks on the A side are sort of cheesy sounding. I like that 60s sound, myself. But the remaining tracks on the A side are dark and mysterious and seem to me to pave the path for many science fiction sound track arrangements to come. Side B opens with a long track titled The Minotaur. The vibe reminds me of something Frank Zappa might have done if he swapped in his guitar for a Moog long enough to compose one song.

The rest of side 2 is equally atmospheric.

Serenade In The Night - Philip Green


Mood Music
Serenade In The Night
Philip Green And His Orchestra
MGM Records E3119

From the back cover: Philip Green has emerged as one of the most talented and popular bandleaders in post-war England. It is possible that the American forces stationed in the United Kingdom contributed to the development of a public taste for popular music which carried on after the war. Certainly such leaders as the late Glenn Miller and their bands registered successfully with the British as well as the Yanks. Fortunately, there were local men like Philip Green who kept this trend alive and even enhanced it.

Thoroughly grounded in music from the age of 7 when he started studying piano, Philip Green won a scholarship to Trinity College where he majored in orchestration, theory, and composition. after college he played in numerous orchestra and at 19 became London's youngest full-fledged conductor at the Prince Of Wales in the West End. He then became well known for his programs on Radio Luxembourg which were beamed to England and featured him often, as many as 17 times in a week.

During the war period Green conducted many shows for BBC which were a morale builder for the troops.

Serenade In The Night
The Dream Of Olwen
Cornish Rhapsody - Parts 1 and 2
Tango De La Rosa (Song Of The Rose)
The Broken Melody
Ecstasy Tango
Mandolins In The Moonlight
Salut D'Amour
Gaelic Fantasia - Parts 1 and 2