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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nightcap - Dick Leibert

Dick Leibert
Westminster WP 6039

I didn't expect to find this album online for purchase/download... but there it is.

For some reason, you don't get the fabulous original cover with the download.

I also found it curious that Westminster released a pop album as the label is best known for classical music releases.

There are references to Dick Leibert online, but for the most part he seems to be somewhat obscure.

From the back cover: Dick Leibert was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and educated at the Moravian Prep School and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. He began to play organ professionally at fourteen years of age, when he got a job as theater organist for Loew's in Washington, D.C. Later he toured the Lowe's theater circuit, and then played for two years at the Brooklyn Paramount. Against stiff competition he won the auditions for the permanent post at Radio City Music Hall at the time of the theater's opening, and his performance there made him America's most popular organist. He now devotes much of his time to TV, radio and concert appearances.

Leibert covers a number of my favorite tunes, including Laura and September Song. However, aside from the terrific cover art, I have to recommend Korla Pandit to friends of The Atomic Attic who are looking for fab Space Age organ fare.

Destination Moon - Ames Brothers

Destination Moon
Ames Brothers With Sid Ramin's Orchestra
RCA Victor LPM-168

This is the mono cover, which is basically the same as the stereo release, but designed without the "Living Stereo" graphic stripped across the top. This LP is available as MP3 download purchase so I will not be posting a sample.

Sid Ramin provides a nice space age platform to help The Ames Brothers launch to The Moon. The cover, the orchestration and The Ames Brothers smooth vocals make for solid and classy late 50s vinyl collectible!

Destination Moon
Clear Out of This World
East of the Sun
Count Every Star
No Moon at All
I'm Shooting High
Music from Out of Space
Stella by Starlight
It's Only a Paper Moon
The Starlit Hour
Beyond the Blue Horizon

Star Wars - Don Ellis

Music From Other Galaxies And Planets
Featuring The Main Title Theme From Star Wars
Don Ellis And Survival
Atlantic SD 18227

What?!! Another Star Wars theme album blogged in The Atomic Attic this week? The Force works in mysterious ways my friends.

This album can be found on CD so I will not be posting a sample. I noted when checking for a CD on Amazon that someone connected with the Ellis estate posted an interesting review. Basically, this album was thrown together in six days because of some contractual deal with Atlantic. The reviewer apologizes for the album because of the hurried nature of the production and that he feels the quality is not as good as other Ellis albums.

This being the first Ellis album I've stumbled across... I can't compare it to his other work. I simply enjoyed the record because it all at once, very 70s (like adventure TV theme music)... but with touches of 60s light pop mixed up with pop jazz passages and, of course a touch of space. The music is an interesting hybrid that I think lovers of 70s/60s/jazz/disco/a touch of space albums will love... er... if you know what I mean.

Life Is Just A Bed Of Neuroses - Katie Lee with Ray Martin

Life Is Just A Bed Of Neuroses
Katie Lee with Ray Martin And His Orchestra
RCA Victor LSP-2214

Oh man, to bad, this LP is available on a CD. A CD that feature 35 Lee tunes (tunes from this album and Songs Of Couch And Consultation) so I will not be posting a sample.

Normally I don't get into comedy albums and music... but this project is different. It's insane. Well, OK... you can see where I'm going with this review.

The presentation of the vocals and orchestration isn't over the edge. The vibe is easy listening/broadway/space age with very pleasant and straight forward vocals by Lee. The contrast and humor are born from the lyrics which are terrific. And, if we might consider that behavioral science terms weren't common in most households in 1960... this record, to my thinking... would seem crazy to most.

The whacked thing is that the songs seem as fresh and funny now as back in the day. They don't make neuroses like they used to! Visit Lee's website:

Themes For Secret Agents - The Roland Shaw Orchestra

I Spy

Themes For Secret Agents
The Roland Shaw Orchestra
Produced by Tony D'Amato
Engineer: Arthur "Butch" Bannister
Phase 4 Stereo
London SP 44076

From Billboard - April 23, 1966: The Roland Shaw Orchestra takes the cream of the secret agent themes from films and TV and comes up with a real cloak-and-dagger album. There's "Thunderball," "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," "Goldfinger" and more. The sound is outstanding.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Mr. Kiss-Kiss Bang-Bang
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
The Ipcress File
The Saint
The Avenders
From Russia With Love
I Spy
Our Man Flint
The James Bond Theme

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Motion In Percussion - The Hollywood Pops Symphony

Voodoo Moon
Motion In Percussion
The Hollywood Pops Symphony
Conducted By Robert Lowden
Miller International
Sonic Workshop - Project No. 0100

This is a curious album that was produced by D. L. Miller. Miller of Somerset Records, his budget label that produced some good product, including 101 Strings projects (there are some great 101s out there).

Miller seems to have distanced himself from the "budget" side of his business for this project. It might appear that he wanted to try his hand at producing a slick and trendy album. This package was obviously influenced by Enoch Light's Command label. The jacket is a book-fold construction and more, the red panel on the cover, featuring the word "MOTION", is die cut into the jacket. The insert is a piece of plastic that "blinks" when you turn the jacket one way and then the other.  The color changes from red to yellow and the word motion repeats, but changes in size. This was an EXPENSIVE jacket to produce. Design credit goes to W. Dressler.

The engineering is very good on this record (recorded at United Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA). The quality is close to what I hear coming from Command or Mercury during this period.

The content of this album is as good as many of the fun, light pop records coming from Command at the time and Miller is right on top of the trend, borrowing ping pong and percussion stylings from Light. Voodoo Moon is probably one of the cooler tunes off the album. There is also a cool cover of Caravan on the album as well as a dramatic cover of Ski Run from the movie Spellbound.

Sabre Dance
Old Soft Shoe
Bats In The Belfry
Ghost Riders In The Sky
Voodoo Moon
Roller Coaster
Dizzy Fingers
Flight Of The Bumblebee
Beguine For Bongos
Ski Run

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More Mission Impossible - Lalo Schifrin

More Mission Impossible
Arranged And Conducted By Lalo Schifrin
Paramount PAS 5002

Wow! What a great record! Schifrin wrote the Theme From Mission: Impossible (a song that is on this album). It was a treat to hear that song again, to refresh my memory as to how unique the tune is.

Needless to mention, a CD is available so I won't be posting a sample.

The track Self Destruct is also standout. I've never heard tubular bells used with such effect.

Read about Schifrin's brilliant career on his wiki page.

Folkdance Underground

Kostursko Opo (Macedonia)
Folkdance Underground

Curious private press with a home-made cover. The record content, according to the cover, is copyright free material which was assembled onto 200 copies costing $1.75 each. Copies were being sold for $2 to help pay for the pressing so that the responsible collective could give away free copies to "folkdance" groups.

There is a complaint at the outset of the copy which goes on about one nameless record merchant (who apparently they all know) who was appropriating music without consent, pressing and selling 45s and profiting from sales without compensating the artists. This person so incensed these people that they former the Folkdance Underground to help guide other performers through a fair record making process and to help with the ins and outs of personal appearances.

Click on the image above to read the entire page.

Jungle Odyssey

Jungle Odyssey
Evolution/ RPM Records, South Africa 2005

When I found this album in the bin at the thrift... I almost put it back because the cover and song titles suggests that the album is a childrens record. I then noted on the back cover a list of instruments used in the recording that included Vibes, Xylophone, Congo Drums, Clavinette, Harpsichord and Bongos. How could any record go wrong with a set up like that?

If I had read the too small jacket notes I would have then learned that a composer/arranger by the name of Mike Simpson, a 30 year veteran of the music business, had produced this album. Simpson worked with the likes of Henry Mancini, Gene Krupa, Jack Teagarden and Danny Kaye and had written music for TV and films. THEN I would have figured out that the record was originally marketed to adults. Not that children would not LOVE this record!

Unfortunately I can't post a sample because this album is available for purchase/download. Too bad, because this record is so crazy good! You've got to get a copy! The vibe is hard to describe... It is like Exotica was visiting the zoo one day. She was walking along minding her own business, intently sucking on a lime Slurpee.  Suddenly she trips over a jungle root blocking her path finds herself flung headlong into a pit swarming with 60s Ping-Pong Light-Pop. The creatures don't rip her to shreds... rather they mate with her. Later she gives birth to this record.

I think that is clear enough.

The Mancini Touch

A Cool Shade Of Blue (LSP-2001)
The Mancini Touch
RCA Victor LPM-2101 & LSP-2101
Produced by Dick Pierce
Recording Engineer: Al Schmitt
Recorded at RCA Victor's Music Center of the World, Hollywood, California, on August 10, 11 and 14, 1959

From Billboard - January 26, 1960: Henry Mancini proves on this fine new album that he can do more than the music for "Peter Gun" with this very attractive big band waxing that could turn into another best-seller. The outstanding Mancini arrangements are played by the 35-piece ork with a sharpness and precision that is a pleasure to hear. Tunes include Mancini originals such as "Let's walk" and "A Cool Shade Of Blue" and standards including "Snow Fall" and "That's All." The stereo sound is excellent.

Featured Performers:
Bob Bain - Guitar
Vince DeRosa - 1st French Horn
Vic Feldman - Vibe and Marimba
Ronnie Lang - Baritone Sax and Alto Flute
Shelly Mann - Drums
Dick Nas - 1st Trombone
Ted Nash - Alto Sax
Johnny Williams - Piano

Monday, June 13, 2011

At Home With The Barry Sisters

At Home With The Barry Sisters
Roulette R 25060

Available for purchase online so I will not be posting a sample.

From the back cover: These are Jewish melodies that are indigenous to Jewish culture, just as any songs of any culture or nation must of necessity be. The songs run the gamut of every human emotion; songs of love and devotion, of laughter and sadness, of remembrance of things past and of hope for the future. It is for that reason that although the girls sing in Yiddish, they are in truth speaking musically in a universal language.

To my surprise, the recording is not "folk" music, but inventive late 50s pop arrangements. There is nothing dull about this recording. The copy got it right, the girls are speaking a musical language that anyone who digs space age music can enjoy.

Grand Ole Opry's New Star - George Jones

Play It Cool
Grand Ole Opry's New Star
George Jones
Country Song Hits
Starday Records LP-101

There aren't many country albums to be found up here in The Atomic Attic but this album turns out to be the first record released by both Jones and Starday Records.

Session personal:

George Jones – vocals, guitar
Hal Harris – guitar
Benny Barnes – guitar
Herb Remington – steel
Buck Henson – bass
Link Davis – fiddle
Doc Lewis – piano

I'm In The Mood - The Silver Strings

Perez Prado's Big Band Sounds
Played By Dave Pell's Big Band
P.R.I. Records 3006

This album is available by purchase/download so I will not be posting a sample.

Tops, a budget label launched this subsidiary label in 1960 and this record was one of the nine introductory releases. Records were priced at $1.98. If I'm reading the Billboard article correctly, the titles are all Dave Pell Plays (tributes) to the likes of Harry James, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Lawrence Welk, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Mantovani and The Dorsey Brothers.

The music is good (not wild) Latin done up big band with a slight space age flare. The online download doesn't feature the original cover art and of course, you only get the nifty translucent vinyl... if you buy the vinyl.

Bread, Love and Cha Cha Cha - Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra

Bread, Love and Cha Cha Cha
Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra
Columbia CL 1016

This album can be found on a combo CD with Cugat Calvalcade so I will not be posting a sample.

I just love the cover, Cugat with his ever present hot red head. What is that thing he is holding on to? Oh... that's a cigar silly... wait... no... it is a loaf bread. And the hot red head? Why, that's Cugat's fourth wife, Abbe Lane!

Cugat's albums are always fine Latin pop efforts. This album is only a Cha Cha album in name, there are a few calypso tracks on this album, Very, Very Satisfied and The Banana Boat Song and several mambo tracks.

Whatever Lola Wants is one of the better space age tracks featuring some electric guitar passages.

Mambo! - Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra

Sun! Sun!
Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra
Mercury Records MG 20108

Cugat is my favorite Latin artist. He managed to consistently blend the Latin sound with pop vibe to create some most sparkling space age tunes of the his time. This album is no exception. Most of the tracks really smoke for 1956 when compared to the competition and they still sound great today. However, there are three tracks on side 2 that sound out-of-place or if they were recorded for a soundtrack.

Gypsy Mambo
Riviera Mambo
Park Avenue Mambo
Sun Sun Babae
China Boy Mambo
Mambo Mania
My Prieta
Acapulco Polka
Festival Babalu

Golden Saxophone Hits - Sil Austin

Peter Gunn
Golden Saxophone Hits
Sil Austin
Mercury Stereo SR 60663

Austin blends a 50s sax vibe with a touch of 60s light pop on this pressing made fresh by his energetic approach. The Mercury engineering is terrific as usual and really makes the audio pop. Of course, the cover of Peter Gunn is the stand-out track.

Apparently, Austin made over 30 albums for Mercury (see Austin's wiki page for details). That is an impressive track record.

The Harmonica Rascals

Sabre Dance
The Harmonica Rascals
Grand Prix Series K-177

Here is a relatively obscure Harmonica Rascals album. The Rascals were a group of harmonica players formed by Borrah Hinevitch in the 1920s that lasted into the 1950s. The group was a comedy/musical act (see video embedded below) and featured number of "little people" including Johnny Puleo (who, I think, is NOT pictured on this cover). Members also included Leo Diamond and Richard Hayman, both who went on to become even better know harmonica players.

The Rascals also made a number of motion picture shorts between 1932 and 1942.

I couldn't date this album. A guess would be late 50s. There is no indication on the cover who the members are in this version of the group.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Thinking Man's Band - Si Zentner And His Orchestra

Si Zentner And His Orchestra
... a thinking man's band
Liberty Records LST 7133

This one is available on CD so I will nopt be posting a sample.

Zentner's stuff is always solid. There are no space age fireworks but the music is solid for big band lovers.

Big Band Bash - Ted Heath And His Music

Big Band Bash
Ted Heath And His Music
Phase 4 Stereo
London Sp 44017

Available on CD, so I will not be posting a sample. This is a great Heath space age album. This recording sounds very much like a Command project. There's some ping-pong going on, the music has that touch of that early 60s "light pop" humor and the stereo engineering is as good as the excellent sound you are treated to on most Enoch Light projects.

Heath's cover of Harlem Nocturne, the second track on side 2, is very cool. This is an inventive and enjoyable record.

Spectacular Harmonicas

Ritual Fire Dance
Spectacular Harmonicas
MGM Records E3846

This is a Richard Hayman project. I have blogged a number of his albums up here in The Atomic Attic. One of his projects, an album titled Voodoo! is an excellent exotica recording.

This released featured covers of some of my favorite tunes including Ritual Fire Dance. I like the way Hayman arranged this song and, overall, the album has an appealing space age vibe to it.