Search Manic Mark's Blog

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Soundpower - Marty Gold

Marty Gold
RCA Victor LPM-2620

This album is one in the series of LPs produced by RCA to help promote "Dynagroove". The series quality is uneven. Some experiments with stereo were annoying and others, like this album... were released in mono. Why RCA would released a mono version of an album designed to promote new technology in 1963... I have no idea. So I can't comment on how RCA manipulated the stereo on this record.

Billboard liked this entry and from the brief, I take it, listening to the album in stereo dramatically improves the experience.

There are some cool tracks on the album but I have to be honest and say that it simply didn't grab me like so many other albums that I've collected from the period. You can find this album on a somewhat pricey CD so I can't post a sample.

Mr. Lucky Goes Latin - Henry Mancini

Mr. Lucky Goes Latin
Henry Mancini
Produced by Dick Peirce
Cover Design: Don Peters
Engineer: Al Schmitt
RCA Victor LSP-2360

Baritone Saxophone: Ted Nash
French Horn: Vince DeRosa
Guitars And Mandolins: Bob Bain, Laurindo Almeida
Organ: Bobby Hammack
Percussion: Frank Flynn, Larry Bunker, Milt Holland, Shelly Manne
Piano: Jimmy Rowles
Reeds: Ronny Lang

From Billboard - February 27, 1961: This should be another smash album for Henry Mancini, the composer of the "Mr. Lucky" TV music, as well as the "Peter Gunn" hit musical albums. On this new set Mancini puts the accent on the Latin beat, using "Mr. Lucky" tunes for a rhythmic, sophisticated musical set, in the groove for either listening or dancing. Tunes include "Mr. Lucky," "Rain Drops In Rio," "Cow Bells and Coffee Beans" and "Speedy Gonzales." Mighty attractive wax, well recorded and bearing the suave Mancini touch.

Mr. Lucky Goes Latin
Rain Drops In Rio
The Dancing Cat
Cow Bells And Coffee Beans
The Sound Of Silver
Tango Americano
No-Cal Sugar Loaf
Blue Mantilla
Speedy Gonzales

The Legend Of Pele - Arthur Lyman

The Legend Of Pele
Sounds Of Arthur Lyman
HIFI Record R813

Lyman throws in all the "exotic" bells and whistles... not to mention his bird calls on this set that was recorded in the Aluminum Dome on the grounds of the Kaiser Hawaiian Village Hotel, Waikiki.

What a treat it must have been to see these four guys do this set live. This concept is based on the story of Pele as explained in the back cover copy. Each song blends into the next on the disc to create a flowing sonic impression or story of "The Legend". Terrific stuff.

Fire Down Below
Hana Pele
Ye Lai Sian
Hana Maui
Magic Island
Cubana Chant

Relaxing With Perry Como

Relaxing With Perry Como
RCA Victor LPM-1176

I thought visitors to The Atomic Attic would appreciate this lovely space age cover gracing this Como release.

Vibrations - The 3 Sounds

The 3 Sounds
BST 84248 BLP 4248
Blue Note / Liberty Records

One of the many albums produced by The 3 Sounds, an American jazz trio, while they were together from 1956 through 1973.

Their wiki page suggests that the group released nine LPs for Blue Note between 1958 and 1962. Apparently they press at least one more in 1967.

There is a nice 60s "vibration" to a number of tunes on this album in addition to a number of more "timeless" arrangements. You can find a few 3 Sounds CDs online, but not this album.

Two Cigarettes In The Dark

Two Cigarettes In The Dark
Two Cigarettes In The Dark
The Jay Stevens Concert Orchestra
Tops L1554

This is one of my favorite "bad habits" covers.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Guitar's Greatest Hits - Tom Tomlinson And Jerry Kennedy

Guitar's Greatest Hits
Tom Tomlinson And Jerry Kennedy
Mercury Records MG 20626

This was the first of four albums Tom and Jerry released for Mercury with a general "rock and roll" theme.

Here is Tommy Tomlinson's Rockabilly Hall Of Fame page. And here is Jerry Kennedy's wiki page.

I never thought I find a "rock" cover of Caravan... but here it is.  And there are a few other fine tunes on the LP including a cover of Raunchy.

Gazpacho - Phil Bodner

The Brass Ring under the direction of Phil Bodner
Dunhill ABC Records DS-50034

I never thought I'd find an album titled after a bowl of cold soup... but here it is.

And I never thought that an album titled after a bowl of cold soup would be available for purchase/digital download from online vendors... it is.

I'm not big fan of brass albums, but this is a good one if you like "Now Sound" (which Bodner is credited with creating) or 60s lounge flavored brass.

On the back cover there is a credit to Annette Burden for the actual Gazpacho Dinner as seen on the cover.

Have You Never Been Mellow - Paul Mauriat And His Orchestra

El Bimbo

Have You Never Been Mellow
Paul Mauriat And His Orchestra
Recorded at Studio des Dames, Paris
Recording Engineer: Dominque Poncet
Assistant Engineer: Herve Hochet
Cover Photo: Pierre Carlotti
MGM Records M3G 4999

El Bimbo
Rock The Boat
Feel Like Makin' Love
Angie Baby
I Won't Last A Day Without You
Rock Your Baby
Pacific Holiday
Have You Never Been Mellow
Over The Rainbow/Singin' In The Rain
The Way We Were
I Got A Name

Love Makes A Small World - Enrico With Raoul Meynard

Arrivederci Roma
Love Makes A Small World
Enrico With Raoul Meynard And His Orchestra
Warner Bros. Records W 1288

Enrico, The Young Continental.

From the back cover: Just as the public is deserting the Ivy League and Blue Jean Look for the new Continental Look, so Enrico we hope, will be the New Look in singers.

Also from the back cover: Breaking through language barriers, this album is hearing proof that love is the great leveller, the differences in modes and manners among nations are forgotten when Love Makes A Small World.

Apparently love wasn't enough to help Enrico and Warner's PR copy writer conquer the cold cruel world. Enrico appears to have slipped into obscurity after this release.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Roman Guitar - Tony Mottola

Arrivederci Roma
Roman Guitar
Tony Mottola
Command Records RS 816 SD

This is the first of two Mottola "Roman Guitar" albums. Click here to view my post of Volume Two.

I think this release is more "light-pop" which Enoch Light (Command Records) was getting more heavily into in 1960. The follow-up may be a bit more "romantic" in sound.

Both covers feature very nice Charles E. Murphy designs (the art for this cover is credited to Paul Bacon).

The Chihuahua Marimba Band

Chihuahua Bash
The Chihuahua Marimba Band
Cry Of The Wild Goose
Spinorama S-191

If for no other reason (and... there really isn't another reason)... I post a sample from this album for your Chihuahua's listening pleasure.

Guitars... By George! - George Barnes

It Must Be True
Guitars... By George!
George Barnes
Decca Records DL 8658

Here is another fine album by George Barnes. I've collected one other Barnes LP that you can find posted here (Guitar Galaxies).

The LP seems one or two songs short of material on each side (to fill out the vinyl). I don't know why this is.

The Whistle Blues is a great track as is Plink, Plank, Plunk and others. But, for a sample,  I warmed up to the dreamy tune titled It Must Be True.

Fiddle On Fire - Joe Venuti

I Want To Be Happy
Fiddle On Fire
Joe Venuti
Accompanied by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra
Grand Award
G.A. 33-351

Billed on this Enoch Light Grand Award release as "The World's Greatest Jazz Violinist".

This is a fine album with a sound that seems ahead of it's time on a number of tracks. I'm not sure who was working with Whiteman at this time or if there were a few New York session men sitting in with his people. But the piano work and the guitar work are as "on fire" as Venuti's Fiddle.

Curiously, Whiteman's list of "major" recordings ends on his wiki page with a 1956 release.

Venuti's wiki page places him in "relative obscurity in the 1940s and 1950s." He was playing with Jack Statham at the Desert Inn Hotel in Las Vegas during this period.

The Silence - Roy Etzel

The Silence (Il Silenzio)
The Blue Trumpet Of Roy Etzel
Produced by Cantagallo Music Productions
Director of Engineering: Val Valentine
Cover Design: Acy Lehman
Cover Photo: Lester Kraus
MGM E/SE-4330

From the back cover: Roy Etzel, who is known in his native Germany as "Mister Trumpet." has most enviable international reputation. His first MGM album (and incidentally his first LP to be released in the United States) reflects that very same international flavor with music from a variety of countries from around the world. 

Also from the back cover: Roy Etzel first moved into a professional trumpet career in 1947 when Kurt Edelhagen invited the young trumpet player to join his most successful big band. Roy left school to appear with the Edelhagen aggregation and soon became a favorite of the band's fans. After his stint with Edelhagen, Roy formed his own small combo and went on a very successful tour of the Continent. He visited France, Sweden and Switzerland.

Returning to Germany, Roy accepted a most attractive offer by Max Gregor to join his group. With Gregor, Etzel got to be known in even more European countries and also scored a sensation in the Soviet Union. It was soon after this that his recording of Jenny became the talk of the Continent. This led to his joining Hugo Strasser for a multiple of TV appearances. – Notes by Barbara K. Votens

The Silence (Ill Silenzio)
Sonny Boy
Puerto Rico
La Mama
Oh, Warum?
No Ho L'eta
El Amor

16 Top Hits

Enchanted Sea
16 Top Hits
ARC Sound LTD. Toronto, Ontario

Obscure album featuring a collection of covers marketed to young adults in the late 50s or early 60s.

From the back cover: Find your own top favorites here on this LP, recorded for you by the country's leading vocalists and orchestras in highest fidelity.

The results are pretty good for a cover album. I bought the album for the cover of an exotica favorite of mine, Enchanted Sea. But Unforgettable also has a cool dreamy sound. Those tracks turned out to be a lot of fun!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Boss Beat - Sandy Nelson

Boss Beat
Sandy Nelson
IR Imperial LP-12298

Gosh dang it! This one is available by MP3 purchase/download so I will not be posting a sample

This is a great mid-60s light-pop album that is set apart from period counterparts by the driving boss beat of drummer Sandy Nelson. There is one unique song on side two titled Drums In A Sea Cave. This song has an exotica vibe and also reminds me of a big band drum solo. The tune is totally different than any other song on the album and is one of my favorites. The album winds up with a wild cover of The 3rd Man Theme.

This LP was recorded several years after Nelson was in a motorcycle accident, receiving injuries that required amputation of his right foot and part of that leg. Obviously Nelson made a come back and recorded this fine album along with many more to follow. Read about Nelson on his wiki page.

Forbidden Fruit - Nina Simone

Nina Simone
Forbidden Fruit
Colpix CP 419

Currently available on at least four different CDs including one combo CD with her album Newport and one triple CD with Sings Ellington and Folksy Nina.

This was my first Simone find. I bought the album for the cover art (I'm a sucker for tropical theme art). I'm not totally unwashed... I had heard of Simone and expected to find reviews on Amazon in support of this album. I didn't. So I thought... what the heck I'll say a few words. Great stuff... The LP is a mix of jazz, blues, torch songs and a few more unique and moody pieces that I recommend (if you are just purchasing single MP3s) titled: Rags And Old Iron and Just Say I Love Him.

The LP sound like it was recorded in an empty club with one microphone. This isn't a bad thing, the sound is a bit raw and smoky. The performances sound really fresh like everyone was having a good time. Colpix Records gave Simone all creative control so that she would sign with them. Simone was working on her "pop music" career to help fund her classic music studies. She was indifferent about having a recording contract and kept this attitude toward the record industry for most of her career.

Read more about her amazing life on her wiki page.

Women Of The World

Night Las Vegas
Women Of The World
Orchestra Conducted By Riz Ortolani
Decca DL 79112

Sound track album from a film by the directors of Mondo Cane, Gualtiero Jacopetti, Paolo Cavara and Franco Prosperi. From the Amazon DVD description: Here is the female of the species as mothers, murderers, warriors and whores, respected as high-powered executives and objectified as bodacious bombshells, grasping for eternal beauty and even engaging in "unnatural friendships." From love in the streets of Paris to death on the African plain, the MONDO masters turn their unflinching eye on all the things never before known - and never before shown - about WOMEN OF THE WORLD.

I've got the Mondo Cane soundtrack. That record features many great space age/exotica styled standalone tunes. This album, for the most part, is bargain basement easy listening and doesn't come close to hinting at "murderers, warriors and whores". Possibly there was some sort of satirical contrasts between the visuals and the music that made sense. The sample tune is short, but has some whacky life to it.

The illustration that graces the cover of the current DVD release appears to have taken its cue from the album cover. Below is the movie poster.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sounds Terrific - The Chorus And Percussion Of Keith Textor

The Wind And The Rain In Your Hair
Sounds Terrific
The Chorus And Percussion Of Keith Textor
The Sound Your Eyes Can Follow
Produced by George Avakian and Victor Sack
Recorded in Webster Hall, New York City
Cover Photo: Scotty Sapiro
Stereo Action
RCA Victor LSA-2365

From the disk sleeve: Keith Textor and Stereo Action (RCA Victor's exciting concept in stereophonic sound) were made for each other. Both have years of solid practical experience behind them which makes possible the flexibility required by the latest in sound reproduction equipment.

Keith Textor is a classically trained musician who organized a vocal group called The Honey Dreamers after his discharge from the Navy. The group was based in Chicago and appeared frequently on NBC.s Dave Garroway television show, playing a solid year at the Hotel Sherman's College Inn before moving on to New York and the cast of the Kay Kyser TV show.

He left the group at that time, worked for almost four years with Fred Waring as a featured performer, then joined Max Liebman's "Show of Shows." Since then, he has concentrated on composing and arranging for vocal groups of varying sizes. Some of his work has been for the radio and TV commercials of national products – most notably L&M cigarettes. But much of his energy has been directed toward records and television.

This record is a tour de force for his various talents. The almost visual aspects of Stereo Action call for a musician who can think in terms of stage production, of presenting a choreography of sound across the wall of your living room, from speaker to speaker. And Keith Textor does just that, moving voices, orchestra and sound effects like precision drill teams is an exciting display of virtuosity which enhances the musical value of the excellent songs which he has chosen.

Engineer Bob Simpson decided that the singers would sound fuller and he helped by having them face each other as they sang. The four boys were placed in a line facing the four girls, and each group had its own 47 Telefunken unidirectional mike. Each group was recorded on its own channel.

The musicians changed basic channel position frequently. Percussion was miked with an RCA 10,001. The woodwind player had an RCA 77DX. The tiny brass section – one trombone and one trumpet – also was miked with an RCA 77DX. The drummer drew an RCA BK5, the guitarist an Electro-Voice mike, and the bass player a 77DX.

Simpson felt, as his tape began to roll, that the studio arrangement and the choices of mikes was the most flexible possible. When those tapes arrived at Rerecording 5, the studio where Stereo Action is created, Engineer Dick Gardner had plenty of material to work with. Thanks to advance planning by Textor, Simpson, and the producers, it was possible to perform such improbable feats as (and you can hear this frequently, in many combinations, throughout the album) moving the boys' and girls' voices against each other, crossing some instruments at the same time, holding others in place, and moving the rest of the band at a pace and direction quite independent of everything else. How was this done? Ah-top secret!

From Billboard - May 29, 1961: In a brief period of several months, RCA Victor has successfully established its line of Stereo Action albums. It is known that each of the first four packages which were released during February and March sold about 35,000. Variations up or down from this figure were not more than 10 per cent. The first four packages were Marty Gold's "It Magic," Ray Martin's Dynamics," Dick Addeo's "The Music Goes Round and Round." Two subsequent Stereo Action albums, released in May, also give indications of being solid sellers. These packages are Keith Textor's "Sound Terrific" and Vic Schoen's Brass Laced With Strings."

According to Bob Yorke, division vice-president, Commercial Records Creation Department, the schedule of Stereo Action releases is being stepped up. Initially, eight were planned for this year, Yorke now plans a total of 15 for 1961. Next two upcoming are "Crazy Rhythm," by Guitar's Unlimited Plus 7, and "Future," by Bernie Green.

Music In Action

The Stereo Action line was RCA Victor's concept of "Music In Motion" and entails of "Music In Motion" and entails a deliberate effort to move the sound of instruments or voices from speaker to speaker to suspend the sound between speakers, etc. The packaging is de luxe, with detailed notes on studio equipment and a track-by-track breakdown of the music.

According to Yorke, the line caught on at the dealer and consumer level. There had been no mass exposure via radio; in fact, radio play was generally on monaural equipment. Similarly, no consumer advertising had been scheduled until this month. "It just filled a vacuum." Yorke remarked, and he added that the packaging had much to do with consumer acceptance.

In recently debuted lines base on concept of sound, it has been customary for the manufacturer to establish a monaural counterpart of the stereo version. RCA Victor has decided not to do this with Stereo Action. "We don't need the mono version to get off the nut and feel it would be unwise to water down the image of the line." Yorke stated. He added that despite the stable sales strength of the six initial packages, all involved in the project had not yet fulfilled themselves artistically. "We continue to learn new techniques... and the yardstick of merit must be musicality," Yorke added.

Surrey With The Fringe On Top
A Foggy Day
Gone Wit The Wind
You Turned The Tables On Me
Hey, Look Me Over
Syncopated Clock
Lonesome Road
South Rampart Street Parade
The Wind And The Rain In Your Hair
I Get A Kick Out Of You

Chacksfield Plays The Beatles' Song Book

Chacksfield Plays The Beatles' Song Book
Frank Chacksfield And His Orchestra
Producers: Tony D'Amato and Ray Richardson
Engineer: Arthur Lilley
Design: Framlett, Barsanti & Assoc.
Phase 4 Stereo
London SP 44142

Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the cover art.

It is still hard for me to believe that London released an easy listening Beatles cover album in 1970.

When I did the original post in 2011, I couldn't get into the concept or sound. However, the set sounds better to me as I listen to it again while I do this 2018 update. After listening to maybe 4,000 mood music albums since that time I guess I have a lot more examples to compare this set to. I'm reminded, once again, how subjective art can be. The Norwegian Wood and The Fool On The Hill arrangements are very good.

Get Back
Got To Get You Into My Life
Hey Jude
A Hard Day's Night
Norwegian Wood
Ticket To Ride
The Fool On The Hill
Come Together
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da


Sabrosa Musica
de Jaimie Llano Gonzalez su organo y ritmos
Vol. VI
Musica de Rafael Excalona
Industria Electro-Sonora. S.A. Medellin, Colombia

I believe Sabrosa translates to "Tasty" Tasty Music?

There are photos of other Sonolux album covers on the back cover that suggest Sonolux pressed an entire series of albums titled Sabrosa with Gonzalez. All the covers have are cheesecake but don't show nipple like this one.

The music is quite fun featuring a 60s space age organ vibe, a treatment I haven't hear before.

Apparently Gonazlez is still active and there is an hugh list of his work available on Amazon so I refrain from posting a sample here. This is just one of those odd records with a fun cover that I find in Northern Kentucky from time to time.