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Friday, November 8, 2013

Martha Davis And Spouse

Umbrella Man

Martha Davis And Spouse
ABC-Paramount ABC-160
A Product Of Am-Par Record Corp.

From the back cover: This is their first LP recording debut. Up to now, with the exception of their much-applauded appearances on such as the Perry Como and Garry Moore TVers, Martha Davis and Calvin Ponder (who is actually her real-life spouse) have reached only limited audiences in cafes, hotels and supper clubs in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the new Mecca of show business, Las Vega. It seems surprising, therefore, that their fan mail and following should be so large. Not really, though. Both being accomplished musicians and being lucky enough to find in each other, both musically and personally, the qualities with highlight and enhance their own, they are unique in that everybody who hears them, loves them. And that's because they love their work and the people who hear them.

Martha, born in Wichita, Kansas, began her career in the Chicago of Benny Goodman, "Father" Earl Hines and Art Tatum, growing up in an atmosphere where many all-time jazz giants were belting out their greatest and most inspirational musical endeavors. As a single, she shared honors with a distinguished sisterhood of singer-pianists, such as Julia Lee, Nellie Lutcher and Cleo Brown. And there is nothing wrong with her choices of all-time favorites, either. Top singer in her book is Ella Fitzgerald. And the great influence pianistically is the immortal "Fats" Waller, two of whom compositions, "Slightly Less That Wonderful" and "Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now," grace the album. Their combined influence can be heard in her singing and playing.

Calvin Porter started life in St. Louis and worked for some time as bass player in groups with names like "Four Cats And A Kitten," in which he was, naturally, a Cat. For several years after they were married, he and Martha continued to work separately, until the lucky day in 1949 when the team of Martha Davis and Spouse made its appearance.

An intelligent quiet man with a dry sense of humor, he complements (and compliments) his wife's gay warmth and effusiveness in every way. When they work (or rather, play) together, they just have a ball. Incidentally, the unusual name for the act, "just happened" the way things "just happen" in good swinging sessions. As Calvin explains it, they didn't want Martha to lose the following she had developed as Martha Davis, and how much can your billing suffer when you change your name from Cat to Spouse. Not at all, Calvin. Not at all. On the contrary, much more than billing was gained. Listen – Jim Friedman

From Billboard - April 13, 1957: This package is the wax debut of a talented night club duo currently playing at the Blue Angel. Martha plays a Fats Waller-type piano and chants a hip, sophisticated song; hubby plays bass, sings and indulges in banter with mama. Makes pleasant listening, altho it is difficult to catch on a disk the subtle and sometimes ribald charm the couple display in their East Side nitery act. Tunes are mostly great standards, "Two Sleepy People," "Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now," etc. Anyone who has seen the act will find the album irresistible.

Two Sleepy People
Slightly Less Than Wonderful
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now
Umbrella Man
You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me
Back Street
The Surrey With The Fringe On Top
Life Is So Peculiar
I Like The Likes Of You

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wille Restum At The Dream Lounge

Quiet Village
Willie Restum At The Dream Lounge
Gone Records LP-5011
End Records

Upscale lounge LP featuring a ton of Restum personality.

Restum obit.

From the back cover: I'm writing to you from the world famous Dream Lounge in Miami Beach, Florida. I've been playing (my baritone sax) and singing (something new has been added) at this happy and intimate lounge for two years to date.

Two gentlemen are to be mentioned for their great help and assistance with the making of this album. They are Bernie Berns and Vinnie Scott. Bernie plays the piano and Vinnie plays the drums. They both have proved themselves invaluable in assisting me to entertain. Their spirit and desire to play is contagious. They are definitely responsible for making my stay at the Dream Lounge the long and happy one that it is.

Mack The Knife
Intermission Riff
Sixty Minute Man
Harlem Nocturne
Night Train
Bill Bailey
Willies Theme
Quiet Village
Almost Like Being In Love
Willies Blues
Brother Bill

Blues When Your Lover Has Gone - Pete Condoli

Willow Weeps For Me
Blues When Your Lover Has Gone
The Trumpet Of Pete Condoli
Somerset P-17200

From the back cover: Pete Condoli blows a blues program for dancing or the sweet pain of broken-hearted listening. He is ably backed up by Jimmie Rowles Piano - Red Mitchell Bass - Milt Bernhardt Tombone - Al Hendrickson Guitar - Ted Nash Sax.

When D. L. Miller adds his name to the album (Recorded in Hollywood under the direction of D. L. Miller), the production value seems to be higher, as the cover art and sound is on this Somerset release.

When Your Lover Has Gone
Blues In The Night
Frankie And Johnny
Lonesome Lover Blues
Careless Love
Cry Me A River
Feelin' Mean And Lowdown
Lost Lover Blues
Willow Weeps For Me
Empty Mattress Blues

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.

The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.
Music From The Television Series
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television
Present an Arena Production
Starring Stefanie Powers, Noel Harrison
Co-starring: Leo G. Carroll, Randy Kirby
Executive Producer: Norman Felton
Supervising Producer: David Victor
Produced by Douglas Benton
Arranged and Conducted by Teddy Randazzo
Cover Design: Acy R. Lehman
Director of Engineering: Val Valentin
MGM Records E/SE-4410
Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the cover art.

I rank this set high on my list of all-time groovy Atomic Attic space-age "spy/secret agent themed favorites.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Shall We Gather At The Boat Dock
Out Of The Frying Pan
Mother Muffin
Movin' On
The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.
Sneaky Search
Somewhere In Greece
The Countess
Bomb Scare
Follow The T.H.R.U.S.H.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Four Stops In Brazil

Saudade, meu bem, saudade (baiao) Nascimento
Four Stops In Brazil
London Ducretet-Thomson Records TKL 93193

Compilation album featuring four artists: Jerry Mengo And His Orchestra, Roger Boudin And His Rhythm, Pepe Luiz And His Orchestra and Juanito " El Guitarra".

For the most part, this is a restrained late 50s (?) Latin mood/pop collection. However, I enjoyed the more peppy sample track posted above.

Samba fantastico
Mulher renderia
Saudade, meu bem, saudade
Maxixe do cafe'
No se irrite
El humahuaqueno
Sabia la na gaiola
Baiao do conqueiro
Fiesta del tabaco
Sabia cantador
Carnaval en Rio
Samba carnavalesco
Esta noite serenou

Dance Party

Anvil Chorus
Dance Party
Royale 1801