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Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas - The Three Suns

White Christmas
The Three Suns
A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas
RCA Victor LPM-2054

Out of the million or so Christmas albums released to the world, I think that I have discovered my favorite. From the suggestive cover, to the inventive music, this holiday set actually got me into the ding dong dandy holiday mood!

Each song is a cool little experiment.

From Billboard - November 2, 1959: The Three Suns offer a different sound in this bright holiday package, utilizing chimes, bells, an oboe and two tubas. Here you have an exotic version of "White Christmas," plus amusing versions of other seasonal fare, including "The Chipmunk Song," "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Winter Wonderland." Good off-beat programming for jocks in search of something new in yule wax.

Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
Skaters Waltz
The Chipmunk Song
White Christmas
Ding Dong Dandy Christmas
The Christmas Song
Russian Sleigh Song
Jingle Bells
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Jingle Bell Rock
Sleigh Ride
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Winter Wonderland

The Colonel's Mandolin Band

Love Lifted Me
The Colonel's Mandolin Band
Favorite Old Church Hyms For The Glorification Of Christ
Grant Enterprises, Louisville, Kentucky

Here's an obscure KFC collectible. Making this record was a pet project for Sanders.

From the back cover: This was easy to do because the children live only a few miles from The Colonel's home, Blackwood Hall, which is a landmark in the Shelbyville area. Also, the Colonel has helped the children to make this record and plans to place 30,000 of these LP records in Canada alone. Because the Colonel is a famous Kentuckian, we were honored to have the band incorporated as The Colonel's Madoline Band.

Why, the curious line about sending 30,000 copies to Canada?

The record plays like most good unusual vanity press gospel recordings. The mandolin gimmick isn't over sold and David Arnholter, the vocalist, is just too cute!

The Sound Of Bold

Bold Man & The Most Beautiful Wash In The World
The Sound Of Bold

OK... here's a great find. I found this 12" album at a Goodwill in Northern Kentucky. The jacket is red and there is no back cover printing. The label is also red printed with just the album and tracks titles. At first I thought the album might be one of the many "DJ" or "Club" albums that seems to be flooding the thrift stores these days.

Much to my amazement, this is a 60s marketing tool for Proctor and Gamble's laundry detergent, Bold!

For the most part, this is a collection of audio advertising P&G developed to market Bold.

Now... why did P&G press this album with a cover like this, with no information printed on the jacket? If this record was prepared for radio advertising, the cover would have additional information and the record would have been prepared entirely differently. Plus there are a few straight instrumental tracks included. If I had to guess, the record was a give-away. But it must have been bundled with a box of Bold or with something else. Anyway, no other information to be found online.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lee Evans In Concert

If I Should Lose You
Lee Evans In Concert
The Concert Touch
New And Exciting Popular Piano Arrangements
Command Records RS 33-858

The cover features another wonderful Charles E. Murphy cover graphic. Often copied, Enoch Light/Command is known for a slew of fine minimalist jacket designs.

This Command release was originated and produced by Enoch Light. The "A" side does have a touch of that "concert hall drama" to it. The B side, a little jazz and light pop. The project seems to lack real direction and folks in the know were likely to pass up this album for a Shearing release.  And, in my opinion, the engineering just isn't up to Light's excellent standards.

I can't find much info on Evans other than he made several records on the Command Label in the 60s. There are copious jacket notes that essentially state that Light "discovered" Evans playing in a "trio" and serving as musical director for Carol Channing.

The Secret 7 Raymond Scott

The Secret 7 Raymond Scott
The Unexpected
Top Rank Records RS 635

This was an "unexpected" find in the discount bin today. First, what do you make of a jacket cover like this with a mysterious title and a guy sitting behind a microphone like he was about to do the nightly news in the 60s? I looked over the back cover notes and the album appeared to be music, which it is.

The first few tracks are bouncy jazz tunes and then the third track, The Cow Jumped Over The Moon, started playing and I heard high pitch voices. I thought that I had been listening to the record at 45 instead of 33... but no... There are "Martian-like" vocals on this track. Wonderfully odd.

After reading Scott's wikipedia profile I found that he was an "early electronic music pioneer and adventurous sound engineer". Scott apparently recorded futuristic compositions for television and radio along with Soothing Sounds For Baby (1964) which today sounds uncannily similar to the ambient work of Tangerine Dream or Brian Eno.

He developed his own (synth) machine that he dubbed "The Electronim" (spending 11 years and close to a million dollars working on) and patented a large number of consumer electronic products such as telephone ringers, alarms, chimes and sirens.

Can you say genius?

The wikipedia article goes on to say that Scott became reclusive and secretive about his inventions in the late 60s. He eventually did do some work for Jim Hendson (Muppets) under the name Ramond Scott.

Later still he was hired by Motown to serve as their electronic music and research department head. However no Motown/Scott inventions have yet been publicly identified.

My growing collection of El-Bakker Albums

Port Said
Music Of The Middle East
Mohammed El-Bakkar And His Oriental Ensemble
Audio Fidelity AFLP 1833

The cover model is credited as Nejla Ates, dancing star of "Fanny". Read about her colorful life.

Port Said
Music Of The Middle East
Mohammed El-Bakkar And His Oriental Ensemble
Audio Fidelity AFLP 1833
Sultan Of Bagdad
Music Of The Middle East Vol. 2
Audio Fidelity AFSD 5834
Music Of The African Arab
Mohammed El-Bakkar And His Oriental Ensemble
Vol. 3
Audio Fidelity AFSD 5858
Dances Of Port Said
Mohammed El-Bakkar And His Oriental Ensemble
Vol. 5
Audio Fidelity AFSD 5922

Here is volume 5 sporting another cheesecake cover. In this case, the model was actually topless when photographed. The "pasties" were added in production (cut and paste).

Exotic Music Of
The Belly Dancer
Mohammed El Bakker & His Oriental Ensemble
Audio Fidelity SFSD 6154
Music For A Belly Dancer
Audio Fidelity Records AF 2411

This is a gatefold jacket 2 record set repressing of AFSD 5895 The Magic Carpet and AFSD 5834 Sultan Of Bagdad.
Orient SLPO161
Rashid Sales Co., Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Versatile Henry Mancini

The Versatile Henry Mancini And His Orchestra
Producer: Si Waronker
Engineer: Ted Keep
Cover Design: Pate/Francis & Assoc.
Liberty Records LST-7121

From the back cover: Henry Mancini is one of the arranger-composer stalwarts at Universal-International Studios. He is best known for his background music to the Peter Gunn television series and his score for The Glenn Miller Story.

Surrounding himself with a noteworthy crew, Mr. Mancini chose as his first mate the brilliant guitarist Laurindo Almeida, literate and unique interpretations of the tropic mood. The boatswain is one of the world's top accordionists, Dominic Frontiere. His impeccable musicianship is well displayed in "Driftwood And Dreams" and "The Breeze And I." Lulu Jean Norman adds spice and warmth with her beautiful obligatos on "Flamingo" and "Moon Of Manakoora."

Bob Bain's bass guitar and Lou Maury's tasty organ stylings join Mr. Mancini to create some wonderful moods.

To those who long for balmy tropic breezes and gently swaying palms, this album is dedicated.

From Billboard: July 13, 1959: This is a new Mancini. Unlike the "Peter Gunn" jazz-oriented material for which he's best known currently, this is lush, almost ethereal music that suggests the languorous tropics. Included in the group are Dom Frontiere, accordion, the great Laurindo Almeida on guitar, Lou Maury on organ, Bob Bain on bass guitar, and the high soprano voice of Lulu Jean Norman. "Bali Hai," "Poinciana," "Return To Paradise" are samples. Splendid mood music in the relaxed setting. Mancini name will also add sale potential.

Bali Hai
The Whispering Sea
Return To Paradise
The Naked Sea
The Breeze And I
Driftwood And Dreams
Moon Of Manakoora
Sleepy Lagoon
Ebb Tide
Off Shore

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The 20th Century Strings Vol. 1 - Hugo Montenegro

The 20th Century Strings
Volume 1
Arranged And Conducted By Hugo Montenegro
20th Fox SFX 3018

I love much of Montenegro's work, especially his ground breaking work with the Moog. This record pre-dates that period. The music starts off slow, or easy, but works into a nice "60s" light groove which seems to be somewhat ahead of the trend.

Flamingo, the second track on the B side is especially nice, even though it lacks the "light pop" vibe found on the rest of the LP.

One interesting note about the copy I found. Inside the jacket, in a separate sleeve, was a Salesmen's Demonstration Record. This record, complied with a sampling of current recordings, would have been used by a representative of Fox to market records some fashion. Somehow, the record seems like it spent its life in this jacket. Anyway, a neat find.

The New Stars In Action

Oldsmobile Spotlights
The New Stars In Action
RCA Victor PRM/PRS-167

Promotional vehicle "Prepared Expressly for Oldsmobile by RCA Victor".

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


The Primitive Sounds Of Tak Shindo
Edison International SDL 100

Mganga! was the first album released on The Edison International label, according to a June 16, 1958 article in Billboard. The article listed distributors for the new label created by Jack Ames, former V.P. and general manager for Liberty Records. Tak Shindo is mentioned as having "...been active in screen and TV composing and recently received screen credit on 20th Century-Fox and CBS-TV vehicles. He scored "Destination Tokyo" for Fox."

Ames told Billboard that Edison-International's purpose will be to record the unusual in concept and treatment but still retaining commercial appeal.

Ames was one of the partners and co-founders of the Liberty Label in February, 1955.

Liberty, in my opinion, is one of the best labels creating music and especially great exotica in the 1950s. Apparently Ames intended to carry on what he started at Liberty. The cover image suggests that the record might be "tribal folk". But the LP is total Americanized exotica.

This recording is available on CD import as a double release with Ethel Azama's Exotic Dreams. Apparently the CD was mastered from a mono-release of this recording (I have the stereo vinyl release).

Interesting that Mganga! is packaged with Exotic Dreams. I have that album as well and the two, in my opinion do not mix well. I don't consider Exotic Dreams to be a strong release to begin with. A decent stereo release of this album would stand alone just fine I think.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Christmas With Kate Smith

White Christmas
Christmas With Kate Smith
Rondo RX-1

Here we have a wonderful vintage album cover featuring Kate Smith. I think this record may be a re-issue of a 1959 Tops label release with the same title. Rondo didn't release material until 1961 and the Tops release, interestingly enough, has the exact same photo of Smith on the cover superimposed over a different "holiday" graphic.

El Condor Pasa - Paul Mauriat

Melancholy Man
Paul Mauriat And His Orchestra
El Condor Pasa
Produced by Paul Leka for Heather Productions, Inc.
Studio: Les Dames Studios, Paris, France
Mastering: Gibert Kong
Assistant Engineers: Maurice Valencin and Phillppe Lerichomme
Art Direction: Des Strobel
Design: Terry Rose / Bradford-Cout Design
Photos: Stan Malinowski
Philips PHS 600-352
Mauriat creates interest with complex arrangements, unique tempo changes, unusual instruments and subtle well placed electronic effects. Even a cover of "Gentle On My Mind", an "easy listening" song if there ever was one, seems heavier by a deep bass groove.

The engineering is excellent.

Love Story
El Condor Pasa
To Be The One You Love
Melancholy Man
Tonta Gafa y Boba
Black Harlem
My Sweet Lord
Gentle On My Mind
Burning Bridges
Lonely Days
Etude In The Form Of Rhythms & Blues

Shock Music In Hi-Fi

Shock Music In Hi-Fi
Don't Dare Listen To This Music Alone
The Creed Taylor Orchestra
ABC-Paramount ABC-259

The album has probably been blogged 100 times, but here it is again.

It's a lovely trip to the land of "horror exotica". When looking at the image of the cover online, I couldn't have guessed that the photo is of Toni Darnay. The same photo is on the back cover. She is recording some part of this album (apparently a scream) in the studio when it was shot. How times have changed. from the few photos on the back cover, many of the folks in the studio were wearing suits and ties.

I was marveling over how daring the work is. But then I stopped to consider that all of these folks had grown up with radio programing that was loaded with sound effects. So if you combine that experience, musical trends of the day and a new sense of experimentation found in emerging "atomic age art & design" this record might have seemed like the thing to do at the moment... a room full of business suits or not.

Creed Taylor released a follow-up to this album titles "Panic. Son Of Shock". It's cool... but this is the must have.

Merry Christmas From Al Morgan

White Christmas
Merry Christmas
From Al Morgan
Jewel Records, Cincinnati, Ohio JRC 84019

Al had a moment in the "limelight" with a hit cover of "Jealous Heart". Morgan also had a TV show on the Dumont Network in the very early days of the medium.

Morgan made a number of albums including a lounge record on Coral, Al Morgan At The Dunes (1959) and much later, a double lounge album, A Lifetime Of Memories. Morgan was also a man of faith and he made The Place Where I Worship which is a straight forward 2 record set recorded with members of his church.

There was a long list of people helping to produce this recording including seven musicians, a group of children vocalists, adult back ground singers, musical and vocal arrangers, a concept person and an album designer.

And Rusty York credits himself with the cover photo. I only mention this because York was the owner operator of Jewel Records. He normally is credited as the engineer. I've said this before, if someone wants to write about the history of recording in Cincinnati, they need to do a book on York.

This recording may not seem like the most slick Christmas album, but have you heard Bob Dylan's Christmas album? It would be my guess that this album was made and marketed locally because people in the area knew and loved Morgan. So it didn't matter if he wasn't another Bing Crosby.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sounds Of Music

Lilt Of The Latin
Sounds Of Music
Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District Non-Marching Band
Joseph Curatilo, Conducting
Century Records Custom Recording Service

Apparently the "Sanitary District Non-Marching Band" is a loose organization of Bay Area musicians who are still non-marching today and more affectionately known as the "Sewer Band".

Stereo Action - It's Magic

I've Got The World On A String
Stereo Action
It's Magic
Marty Gold
RCA Victor LSA-2290

Here we have another installment in the "Stereo Action" series. As with the other releases, this is a double thick cardboard jacket with a die-cut. The square shape in the middle of the cover reveals the colorful space age image found on the gloss record sleeve.

RCA's gimmick was to "wow" record buyers with stereo. The engineers "rolled" the audio from channel to channel. Through my headphones and to my ears, this technique is pointless and annoying. However, a February 1961 "Billboard (Magazine) Pick" review favored the album saying that the technique "...should make the disk a favorite if hi-fi and stereo bugs."  It is also curious that, according to the same Billboard review, that this record was available in "monaural". I don't know if that's a mistake. Who would buy a mono version of this record?

Stereo Action - Leo Addeo

I Found A Million Dollar Baby
Stereo Action
The Music Goes 'Round And 'Round
The Sound You Eyes Can Follow
Leo Addeo And His Orchestra
Produced by Marty Gold
RCA Victor LSA-2353

The record comes in a heavy (double thick) jacket with a die-cut through the front cover (the oval shape revealing the spiral image found on the glossy record sleeve).

The recording was made in Webster Hall. This is a concert hall referred to on many albums I've collected from the period. However, this is the first time the jacket notes have referred to the environment as "...a somewhat garish dance hall...".

There are a number of "Stereo Action" albums to be collected. Additional releases also feature lavish die-cut covers.

Basically, RCA attempted to grab the attention of record buyers by playing up "stereo" as some sort of mystical technique that might actually "visualized". All RCA did, for the most part, was to roll audio from one channel to another. And, frankly, it's a bit annoying (at least listening through headphones). Maybe listening through speakers would be better. Enoch Light/Command and Mercury put stereo to better use during the same time period.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Band On Parade

Band On Parade
30 Years
1946 - 1976
Halker-Flege Post #69
American Legion Band
Reading, Ohio

And now for something completely different.