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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dinner In Buenos Aires - Terig Tucci

Clavel Del Aire
Dinner In Buenos Aires
Salon Orchestra under the direction of Terig Tucci
RCA Victor LPM 1019

These recordings were made in Studio 2 of RCA Victor's 24th Street Studios, New York City, on March 11, 12 and 25, 1954, under the supervision of Herman Diaz Jr.

The fabulous cover model is waiting for a fancy hotel restaurant waiter to place a nice meat pie in front of her. A recipe for Empanadas (Meat Pie) along with Jogote (Ground Meat) is supplied on the back cover along with this about Terig Tucci:

Terig Tucci, who conducts the salon orchestra in these selections is a native of Buenos Aires whose talents as a composer, arranger and conductor have gained him distinction both in Argentina and in the United States. In recent years, he has been musical director of Latin-Amercian programs for International General Electric and a musical commentator for the World Broadcasting Co. He has spent many years as conductor and musical director on the staffs of both the National Broadcasting Company and the Columbia Broadcasting System. Three of his compositions are included in this collection – Senda Pampeana, Estilo Crillo and Serenata Incaica. The latter was used as a theme in the film, Kon-Tiki – Notes by John S. Wilson

The Jigote sound pretty darn good: 1 1/2 lb. ground meat, 1 hard boiled egg, 1 onion, capers, olives, raisins, chile or tabasco sauce, salt and pepper. The set, however, lacks the "spice" I expected to hear from this RCA period product.

Clavel Del Aire
Ay Mi Cholita
Senda Pampeana
Estilo Criollo
El Bigote De Tomas
Adios Pampa Mia
Pericon Por Maria
Salud, Dinero Y Amor
Serenata Incaica
Donde Hay Un Mango

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Soft Lights, Soft Music

Melody Of Love
Soft Lights, Soft Music
Top Favorites Played In Waltz Time
Tiara Spotlight Series
TMT 7550

My Wild Irish Rose
Take Me Out To The Ball Game
Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland
You Tell Me Your Dream
I Love You Truly
Love's Old Sweet Song
Melody Of Love
Down By The Old Mill Stream

Spicy Songs For Cool Knights - Katie Lee

Woman, Go Home
Spicy Songs For Cool Knights
Katie Lee
Specialty Records SP5000

Art Direction: John Ewing
Photography: Bernie Friedman
Recording: Bunny Bobyn
Production: Bud Freeman

From the back cover: A rancher's daughter from Tuscon, Arizona, Katie Lee graduated from college, came to California to fight the battle of Hollywood. Waiting for her "break" in motion pictures she worked as a singer with obscure instrumental groups in various West Coast lounges. Her own harsh appraisal of her talents as a jazz vocalist, cocktail style, led her to search for more unique and less competitive avenue for her talents.

At parties and "casual" dates she began to experiment with the folk songs she had learned as a child. She studied for a year to improve her unschooled talents on the guitar.

Finding Los Angeles peculiarly unreceptive to unknown folk singers Katie Lee, along with three other entertainers, organized and opened Hollywood's "Cabaret Concert," an off-beat night club with Greenwich Village overtones. Burl Ives caught her act, helped her with repertoire, interpretation and bookings. She became increasingly interested in collecting folk songs and folk song lore. Carl Sandburg gave her additional aid.

Katie insists the brotherhood of folk singers is an uncharted group devoted to mutual assistance. Harry Belafonte has helped her with calypso and Caribbean songs. Josh White worked with her to develop a dramatic guitar style.

For the past two years Katie Lee has been playing the hotel circuit as an entertainer. Eight weeks out of very year she lectures on folk songs and folk lore.

From Billboard - December 16, 1957: There's something oddly attractive in the manner chirp Katie Lee handles this package of "spicy songs." Altho her voice lacks the range and polish of many other singers, it's adequate enough to attract sales, particularly among egghead, ex-urbanite class of buyers. Some of the selections might properly be termed folk tunes, i.e., "Venezuela." tho it's the title that will pique the interest.

The Knight
Johnny Ringo
My Mother Chose My Husband
Poor Miss Bailey
The House Of The Rising Sun
Blow The Candles Out
Lavender Cowboy
Lotsa Money
The Eddystone Light
The Frozen Light
Woman, Go Home

Harem Twist - George Chadian's New England Ararat Orchestra

Harem Twist

Harem Twist
George Chadian's New England Ararat Orchestra
Ara Records - Lincoln, Rhode Island
ARA 1003

From the back cover: George, a great-great-great-great-grandson of the illustrious Hoseh Yallah Noah, has in her honor invented the Harem Twist. However, he found that to honor her properly, her Twist had to be danced by a group, as no single dancer can do it justice.

Also from the back cover: The New England Ararat Orchestra is one of the very few orchestras in the entire country that play not only Armenian, Greek, Turkish, and Arabic music, but also American music. Their popularity is evident by the constant demand for their services.

Musician credits (from below the back cover photo): Front Row, left to right: Costa Provas, Tambourine; Harry Papuan, Dumbeg; George Chakoian, Oud. Second Row, left to right; Diran Der Mardirosian, Congo Drums; Jack Chakoian, Sax; Carl Narsasian, Clarinet. Also on the recording but not in the photograph are two former members of the band: Chris Acadian, Dumbeg and Vahe Der Manuela, Piano.

Cover model/dancer: Asmahan
Photo by Stephen Fenerjian

Hye Bar & Amarat Special
Sweet Spring
Duke Bounce
Dance Of Laz
Don't Make Me Twist
Hopscotch Twist
Harem Twist
Just One Glance
Plato's Rock
Sweet Girl
Shish Kebab Twist & Good Night Twist

Machito With Flute To Boot

Machito With Flute To Boot
Machito And His Afro-Cuban Ensemble
Produced by Teddy Reig
Roulette Birdland R 52026

Featured soloists:
Herbie Mann - Flute
Johnny Griffin - Tenor Saxophone
Curtis Fuller - Trombone

Available from the usual online vendors, so I will not be posting a sample.

An outstanding set in so many ways. Top shelf "tiki/exotica/jazz" period release.

From the back cover: Machito has for years been one of the leading exponents of Afro-Cuban jazz. His experimentations and excursions into this realm have been highly successful and in this collection he once again shows the extent of his understanding and experiences in this complicated but adventurous music.

In a previous Afro-Cuban album, "Kenya," Machete's main interest was in presenting the various percussion instruments such as bongos, timbales, guiros, congas and maracas. In this set, the concentration is more on presenting the featured soloists in relationship to the full sound of the Machito orchestra. It also places heavy emphasis on authenticity of rhythm whereas the Kenya album was keyed to a greater reliance on melody.

All material in this album was written and arranged by the featured flutist, Herbie Mann. It should be noted here that Herbie Mann has written and arranged for countless small ensembles; this however, marks his first effort with a big band. His effort is an excellent one! Not only in his talented performance on flute always prevalent, but throughout, his keen awareness of authenticity marks the album as a unique jazz accomplishment. Along with his regular flute used on such numbers as "Ring A Levio" and "Carabunta," he uses the alto flute on "Bacao," a lovely slow Afro-rhythm melody, the E-flat flute on "Brazilian Soft Shoe," which features Johnny Griffin on tenor and Curtis Fuller on trombone with a quick samba rhythm and a very different African flute which can be heard on "The African Flute" which features a 'Bata' rhythm in 6/8 time, and "Love Chain" which carries a 'baba' rhythm and features the use of a chorus of voices.

We have mentioned the various rhythms used because this too is a pronounced part of this collection. There is the calypso rhythm in "Calypso John," the rumba beat in "To Birdland And Hurry," the mambo drive in "Answer Me" and the cha cha sound in Machito covers such countries as Brazil, Jamaica, Haiti and Africa. There is even a touch of the middle-east countries in "Afro-Jazziac".

Two very out of the way numbers should be noted: "Afternoon Death" is a very morbid, mournful piece which features Johnny Griffin and Curtis Fuller, as well as Herbie Mann. This number represents ancient African sacrificial ceremonies when the sacrifice meant just that – afternoon death." "Carabunta" is another number filled with authentic, legendary meaning. The rhythm called 'santo lukumie' is used in religious ceremonies in Africa.

The extraordinary is the key to the album. It is the type of original, inventive and experimental work that creates and fosters ideas that push the boundaries of jazz beyond the four walls of a dimly lit night club for the cold, impersonal air of a recording studio. This is jazz in action, jazz that creates a setting for the free expression of the soloist, and at the same time reaches down to the roots of the music and offers the primitive rhythms that are its origins. – Bud Katzel

Brazilian Soft Shoe
Ring A Levio
Afternoon Death
To Birdland And Hurry
Calypso John
The African Flute
The Davis Cup
Answer Me

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Soft And Warm - Roberto Rossani

Blue Moon
Soft And Warm
Roberto Rossani conducts his Orchestra and Chorus
Somerset P-12300

From Billboard - January 11, 1960: A sexy cover proves an eye-catcher. No type or title at all on the front – merely the art, with the more prosaic information, relative to artists and songs on the back cover. Lush performances by work and chorus of such standards as "If I Loved You." "All Things You Are," "Blue Moon," etc. Big orchestral sound. Set was cut in London.

I've never seen a Somerset or other U.S. label manufactured period jacket that features this level of provocative cheesecake art not to mention the exclusion of cover type. Unfortunately, the set is not as hot as the cover art.

If I Loved You
All The Things You Are
I'll See You Again
Blue Moon
There's A Small Hotel
I Surrender Dear
Some Enchanted Evening

Belly Dancers' Music

Side 2
Belly Dancers' Music
Standard Phono Corp. LP-423

Cover photo taken during the actual performance of the famous Belly Dancer "Yolanda" at the Cabaret and Restaurant "Zapion Pavilion" L.I.C., N.Y. - Photo & Cover by C. Daphnides

No musician credit.

Cocktails Dinner & Dancing - Shep Fields

I Can't Get Started

Shep Fields Plays
For Cocktails, Dinner and Dancing
Produced by Morty Palitz
Original Painting & Cover Design by Si Leichman
Jubilee JGM 1056

From Billboard - December 2, 1957: There's nothing "rippling" about this set, even if the lengthy notes say so. Most of the selections spotlight a cocktail type piano with rhythm accompaniment, with a few others featuring strings as well. It's fairly attractive listening music which, on the basis of the name, can probably sell some copies, especially in Field's home base area of Houston.

The Billboard reviewer is too kind. This set is stylistically unfocused and a bit of a budget mess.

From the back cover: The orchestra: Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm.

A sound, a distinctive sound, one that can be instantly recognized and identified with a singer or an orchestra, is a requisite for success in music. No sound is more easily recognized than the Rippling Rhythm that has helped keep Shep Fields at the top of the musical heap for more than twenty years.

She was born and educated in Brooklyn. At Erasmus Hall High and St. John's University until his father's death made income necessary. He had started his band in high school, played dances and proms all over Metropolitan N. Y. When he left college, he picked up the band business again. Soon he was looking for that distinctive sound. He tried hundreds of musical innovations. None gave him the thing he sought.

Then, in an off-moment, at a soda-fountain, a voice humming through a straw gave him the musical idea that became his "Rippling Rhythm". Fields parlayed the sound of the soda straw into a million-dollar" enterprise. He and his music have been heard coast-to-coast, sold millions of records, appeared at such as the Waldorf-Astoria, Statler in New York, Paramount Theatre, Meadowbrook, Ambassador in Los Angeles, Glen Island Casino, etc,. etc., etc.

In 1952-53, Shep and his orchestra began playing the "Prom" and Xmas Season in Texas and around the Southwest. He liked the territory so much he decided to make Houston his headquarters. So, for more than 3 years now, he has been affiliated with the Shamrock-Hilton Hotel there, playing for 3 to 6 months each year. His band plays the rest of the year on tour around the Southwest at special Civic functions, dances at Colleges, etc. For more than two years, Shep was a Disc Jockey in Houston.

If I Could Be With You
I Can't Get Started
Let's Fall In Love
Linger Awhile
The Way You Look Tonight
The Night Is Young And You're So Beautiful
Soft Lights And Sweet Music
One Night Of Love
Love Is The Sweetest Thing
Sweet And Lovely
Three O'Clock In The Morning

Monday, December 28, 2015

Bach Ground Blues & Green - Laurindo Almeida - Ray Brown

Fughetta II
Bach Ground Blues & Green
Laurindo Almeida
Ray Brown
Century City Records CCR-80102

"Bach Ground" is the classically inspired interplay between guitarist Almeida and bassist Brown who are occassionally supported by a drummer who adds a subtle rhythm line. The "classical" tracks are set in-between the first and last track which are heavy on the "brazilian guitar / jazz bass" fusion. The best stuff, as always, from Almeida and friends.

The back cover scan isn't "crooked", it would appear that the cover was "designed" that way.

Brazilian Green
Pega Joso
Make The Man Love Me
Just A Bossa Nova
Conversa Mole
Preludio II
Preludio I
Fughetta IV
Mo' Greens

Come Dance With Us - Greg Finley

Come Back To Sorrento
Come Dance With Us
Greg Finley And His Orchestra
Al-Fi C 4077

Also released, featuring the same cover art, on Golden Tone 14077 and as Your Dancing Party - Westerfield S 14077 (I can not find a cover image, only a listing for the Westerfield release).

More likely than not, this is a collection of stock tracks and the name "Greg Finley" was made up.

The sample, Come Back To Sorrento picks up into the song to finish up as a nice lounge jazz piece.

Swanee River
Adios Muchachos
Little Brown Jug
Old Black Joe
The Merry Window Waltz
In Old New York Cha Cha
Come Back To Sorrento

Friday, December 25, 2015

Hawaii Calling - The Polynesians

Hawaii Calling
The Polynesians
Photography by Joseph Tauber - Cover design by Hobco Arts
Crown Records CLP 5206 & CST 223

Harry Baty, Sam Kaapuni, Bob Nichols with Bernie Kaii, Ernie Tavares and Marie Terangi

Terrific "islands" set featuring, on the cover, the artists, including Marie Terangi.

The set features space age swing tempo tunes mixed with jazzy passages and Terangi's terrific numbers, one at the end of each side of the disc.

As with most of Crown's catalog, this one is available from online vendors.

From the back cover: Harry Baty, leader of the group, is a master of Island melodies. Not only has he achieved remarkable success on recordings, but in motion pictures and television as well.

Harry is backed by arranger-guitarist Sam Kaapuni, and Bob Nichols, steel guitar.

Making her debut for CROWN records is the remarkable Marie Terango – Tahiti's most famous folksong interpreter. Marie performs brilliantly on two selections, showcased by percussion only.

Little Grass Shack
My Yellow Ginger Lei
Princess Purple
Lullaby Of Birdland
Tanga Ta Hura Hura
Little Brown Girl
At The Barefoot Bar
Hawaiian War Chant
Tahiti Nui

Soft And Sweet - Guy Lombardo

Golden Earrings - chorus by Don Rodney
Soft And Sweet
Guy Lombardo And His Royal Canadians
Photo by Larry Gordon
Decca Records DL 8135

From the back cover: In the musical world, when one speaks of a fabulous family that has remained a fabulously successful organization, everyone immediately things of the Lombardos. There were, to begin with, Carmen, who plays flute and saxophone, and is also a composer as well as singer; Lebert who fell in love with drums when he was a kid, but who now has the lead trumpet spot; Victor, youngest of the brothers, a virtuoso on sax; and Guy who, as a boy, studied the violin but got few chances to play it after he organized the Royal Canadians.

Guy was a youngster of eleven when, in his native town of London, Ontario, he got together the nucleus of the band which, many years later, was to climb to the peak of popularity in America. A neighborhood youngster by the name of Kreitzer was persuaded to join the band, and he is still with him.

Guy tried to settle down to a job in a bank when he finished school, but music was an overwhelming urge and, in 1921, he surrendered to it and began rehearsing his first band, which he then called "The Lombardo Brothers and Their Orchestra." In the meantime, he kept his job with the bank and worked with his musicians during every spare moment. Guy was, and still is, a perfectionist. Up until 1924 he played nothing but local dates, refusing to push the band too fast until he felt it was ready. After that his group was heard in Cleveland and Chicago by enthusiastic audiences.

Then in 1929, Guy accepted the invitation of the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Here the band, renamed The Royal Canadians, definitely established themselves as the nation's number one "sweet" band – a title they still hold today. The Lombardos have made their headquarters at the Roosevelt Grill, returning year after year.

All The Things You Are
Long Ago
Star Dust
Golden Earrings
Where Or When
If I Had My Way
How Deep Is The Ocean
Honest And Truly
La Vie En Rose
With A Song In My Heart
I'll See You In My Dreams

Thursday, December 24, 2015

An Evening At The Pump Room - David Le Winter

Rhumba Rhapsody
An Evening At The Pump Room
Dance To The Music Of David Le Winter And His Orchestra
Mercury Records MG 20280

From Billboard - November 25, 1957: As a society band maestro, Le Winter is well known in the Chicago area. For that reason, this set, which is another in a growing series of society packages, can do a brisk business there with the expectancy of buy minor action elsewhere. Current competitors outdo this in both quantity of tunes and liveness of sound. A doubtful addition to inventory.

Competition in the 1957 market would be heavy, but this LP is as good as many piano driven big band club room sets found in stores at the time. The album's theme, music that was actually performed at The Pump Room, is probably why the reviewer felt that the sound lacked "liveness" in that some arrangements seem "soft" or the set lacks stylistic drive because the music was meant as dinner entertainment and not for the concert hall.  If Le Winter had strayed from his authentic dinner club sound then the album theme would have made no sense and his Chicago market would have been turned off.

Also see: Latin Melodies

Rhumba Rhapsody
Tea For Two
I've Got You Under My Skin
Falling In Love With Love
I Concentrate On You
My Funny Valentine
Autumn Leaves
Hand To Mouth Boogie

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Melody Cruise To Paris - Irving Fields

Side one sample
Melody Cruise To Paris
With Irving Fields And His Trio
Oceanic Records OCP 512

Songs are arranged into a continuous medley per side, played through as you would likely have heard the Trio perform them in a club.

From the back cover: The keyboard versatility of Irving Fields in personal appearances on the radio, in TV and via his numerous recordings has won him the reputation and ranking of "foremost among modern popular pianists."

Irving Fields was born in New York on August 4th, 1915. He started playing piano at the age of nine and in the incredibly short space of three years, gave a recital in Carnegie Hall. His debut was so impressive that he was awarded a scholarship to the Eastman School of Music. Another scholarship enabled him to continue his studies at the Master's Institute in New York.

At the conclusion of his studies, Irving began his professional career by playing with a small combo in a night spot in the Adirondacks. From there Fields took a job on a luxury liner cursing to South America. It was during these trips that he familiarized himself with Latin music to the extent that years later Xavier Cugat was amazed to learn that Fields was a North American!

It was shortly after this that the Army beckoned and Irving Fields was employing his "fabulous fingers" in the medical corps rather than at the keyboard.

After his honorable discharge, Irving really bounded into the limelight by writing such smash hits songs as "Managua, Nicaragua," "Miami Beach Rhumba," " Wedding Samba," "Take Her To Jamaica" and "Come Away To Comaguay" among others.

The Irving Fields Trio has appeared at the Roxy Theatre in New York, Thunderbird Hotel in Las Vegas, Versailles in Miami Beach, Traymore Hotel in Atlantic City, Park-Sheraton in New York, Gray's Inn in New Hampshire and many other of the nation's top night spots. On television he has been featured on the "Colgate Hour," "Cavalcade Of Stars" and "Startime." The name of Irving Fields has long been a radio byword because he and his Trio have been broadcasting over full network shows on NBC, CBS and MBC for some years.

In addition to being a songwriter and performer, the highly versatile Fields has also been vocal coach and arranger for such stars as Carol Bruce, Nancy Walker and Mary Jane Walsh. He was a musical director for ABC and at one time conducted his own large orchestra.

It's Delightful To Be Married
Parlez Moi D' Amor
Autumn Leave
La Vie En Rose
Je Vous Aime Beaucoup
The Last Time I Saw Paris
All My Love
Ta-Ra-Ra Boom Ti Aye
Dreams Of Paris
Mon Homme
Will Anybody Buy My Violets
Place Pigalle
I Love Pairs

Slightly Latin - Paul Smith Quartet

Palos Versdes
Slightly Latin
Paul Smith Quartet
MGM E/SE 4032

From Billboard - February 2, 1963: This is a smooth individualistic tour-de-force for Paul Smith and the other members of his quartet. The feeling is "commercial Latin" (various rhumba and bolero tempi), but the numbers run all over the hemisphere, from Lecona's "Malaguena" to the R&H "Surrey With The Fringe On Top." Smith is front-and-center as the album's star on piano, celeste, electric organ and the slick backing, and percussion work is all he could ask for. A nice platter for middle-road radio programmers.

From the back cover: Paul Smith is the Stan Musial of popular music: a versatile, reliable, inventive performer whose very presence on any record date is invaluable. A native Californian (he was born in San Diego), the 40-year-old keyboard master has had experience in many facets of the music whirl. His father, a trumpeter, and mother, a vaudeville performer, provided the initial impetus. At age 19, Smith was a member of Johnny Richards' band. A year later, in 1942, he joined veteran Ozzie Nelson's crew. Summoned to army service in 1943, he served as an MP with our forces in Germany, doubling with a band headed by trumpeter Ziggy Elman. After the war, Smith returned home, to work with Les Paul's trio, as accompanist to the Andrew Sisters and with Tommy Dorsey's band. In 1949, he decided to settle in Hollywood, probably the wisest decision he ever made.

Few musicians have become as sought-after as Smith in Hollywood's diversified circles. On assorted keyboards (piano, organ, harpsichord and celeste), he's become a stalwart on many radio and TV shows originating in Hollywood (occasionally he can be seen on camera backing Dinah Shore on that kiss-dispenser's television show).

On innumerable record dates, from jazz sessions to large orchestra pop tapings, he's been the pianist whose skill enables him to match perfectly with the chosen setting. On his own time, when the demand for his services abates (and that rarely occurs), he's fronted his own combo, in person and on records. In recent years, he's taken time off to server as accompanist to Ella Fitzgerald. The fact that he fulfilled the duties of that assignment so well provides added endorsement of his artistry; few musicians could satisfy the requirements of the Queen of jazz singers and those of the radio-TV production executives.

When I Fall In Love
The Desert Song
My Romance
My Reverie
Saturday Night
Palos Verdes
I Could Write A Book
For All We Know
Surrey With The Fringe On Top
You Stepped Out Of A Dream

This Love Of Mine - Eddie Baxter

This Love Of Mine
The Unique Artistry Of Eddie Baxter
Cover photo by Phil Howard
Rendezvous Records RLP 1303

From the back cover: As in his albums "Speak Low" and "Temptation," Every note you hear is played by him on a keyboard instrument. The instruments heard are piano, organ, celeste, electronic piano, electronic celeste. The lush tones of the Hammond organ are further enhanced by the use of Leslie speakers and a special electronic bass attachment. An assembly of keyboards adds new distinctive sounds and a full orchestral feeling.

Eddie's unique artistry is the culmination of many years of varied experience in the music field. He began his career at the early age of eleven by playing for dancing classes, and has since accompanied top-notch singers, dancers, and all types of theatre acts. His years on the road with orchestras such as Glen Gray and Frankie Masters contributed to his vast backlog of experience and are evident in his piano and organ arrangements.

The Eddie Baxter ballad style became familiar to television audiences of "The Continental." with Renzo Cesana, when it originated in Hollywood in 1951, and his arrangements of "up" tunes were heard daily on the Jack Elroy show for over three years. As a staff organist at NBC for four-and-a-half years, he played for a number of varied types of radio and television shows.

Working as a single in clubs and restaurants he has gained keen insight into the kind of music people want to hear. Listeners' requests and their reaction to tunes, play a great part in helping him select the numbers for his albums.

This Love Of Mine
To Each His Own
Star Eyes
Over The Rainbow
Because Of You
Where Or When
What's New
That Old Black Magic

Romantic Strings - Helmut Zacharias

Love For Sale (Stereo)
Romantic Strings
Helmut Zacharias And His Magic Violins
Recorded by Deutsche Grammaphon / Polydor R Series
Decca Records - A Division of MCA Inc.
DL 8949 & DL 78949 (STEREO)

From Billboard - November 30, 1959: Violinist Zacharias is much in evidence on this group of standards, many of which are show tunes. He is backed by massed violins which all adds up to a listenable program of background music. Salable product, recorded in Germany by Duetsche Gramophon.

Love For Sale
I've Got You Under My Skin
Embraceable You
I Can't Give You Anything But Love
April In Paris
You Go To My Head
Body And Soul
Makin' Whoopee
Love Is Here To Stay

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Music For The Cocktail Hour - Page Cavanaugh

Music For The Cocktail Hour
Page Cavanaugh
Craftsmen C-8037
Music For The Cocktail Hour
Page Cavanaugh
Tops L1523

From the back cover: Page Cavanaugh began his musical career at the age of ten in his home state of Kansas, winning highest honors in inter-state piano contests.

In 1940, Page went to Hollywood, and quickly became known on the West Coast. In 1942 he joined the Bobby Sherwood band and after touring for seven months, Page cut his career short by enlisting in the Army. It was during this three year Army stretch that the Page Cavanaugh Trio was formed. Discharged in 1945, Page took his trio to Hollywood and was placed in such leading clubs as the Trocadero, Ciro's, etc. which resulted in the rapid rise of the Trio to national fame. Frank Sinatra heard the group and took them to New York to accompany him at the Waldorf-Astoria, as well as on Old Gold series.

The latter part of 1947 found the trio playing practically every part of the United States, Canada, Honolulu and Europe.

Page likes "the road" and enjoys making new friends. He has made several trips overseas to entertain the Armed Forces.

The Page Cavanaugh Trio are known as a perfect group for vocalists. The group is augmented with four-way vocal arrangements which, in combination with clever instrumentation, makes for a style that is excitingly different, proof of which can be quickly found in this great new full range Hi-Fidelity.

From Billboard - October 17, 1960 (Craftsmen review): The piano man and group perform with a vocal quartet in offering nine listenable sides. "Nobody's Sweetheart," "My Ideal" and "Cuckoo In The Clock" are samples. some danceable material, too, but the accent is on providing a pleasant background sound.

Nobody's Sweetheart
The Way You Look Tonight
My Ideal
Moonlight On The Ganges
Two Sleepy People
Junior Hop
Something In The Air
Cuckoo In The Clock
Lazy Lover

Pink Hawaii - Billy Mure

Return To Paradise
Pink Hawaii
Billy Mure And The Islanders
Strand Records
SL/SLS 1070

On this set you will hear a mix of space age "Island" approaches, all of which blend nicely together. From the more traditional "steel guitar sound", to "exotica", to that early 60s light pop "sound". A representative example was hard to choose. My personal favorite was the "exotica-flavored" (bird calls) Return To Paradise which is a perfect soft blend of instruments, choral accents and environmental sounds.

Mure didn't create a "guitar" album, rather, he made a balanced light pop space age set.

From the back cover: A while back, when a popular television show was being filmed in Hawaii, the host of the show, along with the members of the cast, were enthusiastic in their appraisal of the beauty of the state.

They expressed it in terms of of everything looking so "PINK" and lovely. Therefore, the noted guitarist and composer BILLY MURE wrote a song to express this beauty, and thus "PINK HAWAII", an extremely delightful album of popular Hawaiian melodies.

Pink Hawaii (Pompadour)
Sweet Leilani (Joy)
Blue Hawaii (Famous)
Flamingo (Tempo)
Song Of The Island (Miller)
Hawaiian War Chant (Miller)
The Moon Of Manakoora (Franck)
Return To Paradise (Remick)
I Found My Wahine (Pompadour)
Hawaiian Drums (Heatherfield)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Thinking Of You - Les Baxter

Thinking Of You
Les Baxter
Cover Photo by Sam Offee
Capitol Records T474

Seems like a more obscure or out-of-print Baxter, but I found the set on Spotify. Offered here to present a scan of the back cover which features an image of Baxter

Nice period mood set.

Thinking Of You
Speak Low
Because Of You
With My Eyes Wide Open I'm Dreaming
I Love Paris
Miss You
Nevertheless (I'm In Love With You)
Lost In Meditation
The Nearness Of You
Vieni, Vieni
Little White Lies

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cugat's Favorite Rhumbas - Xavier Cugat

Besame Mucho (Vocal by Del Campo)
Cugat's Favorite Rhumbas
Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra
CL 6021

This is the more obscure release (10 - inch LP) of this set.

Begin The Beguine
Estrellita (My Little Star)
Green Eyes (Aquellos Ojos Verdes)
La Paloma (The Dove)
Say "Si Si" (Para Vigo Me Voy)
La Golondrina (The Swallow)
Besame Mucho (Kiss Me Much)
Celito Lindo (Blue Skies)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Feet - David Carroll

Blue Blazer
Happy Feet
David Carroll And His Orchestra
Arrangements by David Carroll
Produced by Quincy Jones
Mercury Records MG 20846

From Billboard - January 26, 1964: David Carroll puts together smart, modern vocal stylings with slick instrumental arrangements here, somewhat in the style popularized earlier by Ray Conniff, and turns out a highly listenable album of pop material.

"Modern vocal stylings" in my opinion, might have been added so that Carroll's 1964 Mancini-like approach would sound less "dated"or at least "well-worn". Only on Hallelujah Gathering do the Dick Williams Singers background vocal treatments seem to mesh completely and creatively with the instrumental arrangement.

In hindsight, regardless of how the album shoehorns into the "light-pop" musical timeline, the instrumental arrangements were strong enough to stand on their own sans The Dick Williams Singer's contribution. The sample above was one of several tracks which Carroll or Quincy Jones decided not to use the Dick Williams Singers. Cool stuff.

My Kind Of Girl
A Doodlin' Song
Learnin' The Blues
Don't Blame Me
Opus One
Blue Blazer
Hallelujah Gathering
The Best Is Yet To Come
Happy Feet

Adventure In Sound - Brass - Pete Rugolo

Brass At Work (Rugolo) - MG20261

Brass At Work (Rugolo) - SR60044

Adventure In Sound
Brass in Hi-Fi (from back cover)
Pete Rugolo And His Orchestra
Mercury Records SR60044& MG20261

I'm not sure why there is a difference in play length between the two samples, unless Rugolo re-recorded the set for the stereo disc.

From the back cover (MG20261): Like the companion album, Reeds in Hi-Fi (MG 20260), this set of new arrangements by Pete Rugolo is designed to showcase a particular group of instruments to maximum musical effect with an eye on the fan interested in high fidelity recording qualities. Four trumpets, four trombones, three French horns and tuba were used with a variety of sectional breakdowns, special mute effects, and all the available tone colors that could conceivably be derived from this instrumentation. "We made a complete orchestra out of a brass section," say Pete, and the results brilliantly bear out his contention.

From Billboard - March 9, 1959 (listing under "Reviews and Ratings of New Jazz Albums): Here's an interesting sound experience, whereby Rugolo utilizes our trumpets, four trombones, three French horns and a tuba in a variety of sectional breakdowns, and special mute effects. Selections range in mood from the Lunceford-like "My Mother's Eyes" to the Kenton concert piece "Salute." Ace musician line-up includes Barney Kessel, Maynard Ferguson, Andre Previn, Pete Candoli, Ray Linn, etc. A sock stereo package for both pop and jazz fans.

My Mother's Eyes
All The Things You Are
Can't We Talk It Over
God Child
Brass At Work
Song For Tuba
Rose For David
Everything Happens To Me

Hawaiian Festival - Lani Kai

Moon Over Hawaii (titled differently on other releases)
Hawaiian Festival
Lani Kai and His Hawaiians
Diplomat DS 2424

Repacked tracks from a number of sources including this long list of reissues: Hawaiian Record Mystery Covers.

Hawaiian Love Song
Hali Loci
Love's Lost
Moon Over Hawaii
Hawaiian Shores
To My Sweetheart
Hawaiian Stars
Beautiful Girls And Sunshine
Chanting Guitars
Sailing In The Sunset
Dreams Of Hawaii
Waikiki Moods
Girl Of The Island
Hawaiian Skies
Island Dreams
Island's Goodbye
Hula Mula
Luau Lei
Dancing Surf

Classic Gems

Classic Gems
The New London Symphonic Orchestra
Conducted by Lionel Atkins
Cover Design by C. Arnold Carlson
Golden Tone C4019

A gem of a cover. Classical music featured on the disc.

Slavonic Dances
Dance Of The Trumblers
Ballet Egyptian
Dance Lithuanian

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Music For Listening And Dancing - John Senati

Music For Listening And Dancing
John Senati And His Orchestra
Roy McRoy On The Trumpet
Grand Prix Series K143

Super budget mood package that sounds like it was created using material from more than one source.

Mack The Knife
Darling My Heart Is Yours / Standing In The Rain / Sing, Nightingale Sing
Two Hearts In May / If I Had A Love That Loved Me
Wine, Women & Song
Love Is A Story / Missouri / Two Blue Eyes
Lovely May
Morning Journals

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Millions Strings - Helmut Zacharias and Werner Muller

Monte Carlo Melodie
A Million Strings
Helmut Zacharias And His Magic Violins
Werner Muller And His Orchestra
Decca DL 8382

For a 1956 effort, this is a very good lush strings set that may have been the inspiration for David L. Miller's 101 Strings Orchestra which apparently began releasing records in 1957. Both Zacharias and Muller would go on to make a number of interesting space age recordings.

From the back cover: This album emphasizes the spell of the violin – the cumulative effects of the orchestra of Werner Muller and Helmut Zacharias sound figuratively like a million strings.

Two of Muller's numbers in this album have an interesting history. The song "Bistro" was written by two Belgains, a lilting waltz in which Werner alternates the French sound of the Musette with lush strings. "Monte Carlo Melodie" was written by an American, Al Frishc. Muller gave it its first recording, and it is now sweeping the country.

From Billboard - November 17, 1956: Violinist Zacharias fared well sales-wise with his recent single waxing of "White Lilacs," and his latest LP – a worthy successor to his "Wine Woman and Waltzes" package – should also spark a healthy return. Zacharias and his Magic Violin are lushly effective on six romantic selections, while Werner Muller's ork reflects an equally lyrical sweet-string mood on six other Continental instrumentals. Fine for deejays.

I Want To Be Happy
When The White Lilacs Bloom Again
Lisbon Antiqua
Blue Blues
Monte Carlo Melodie
Spanish Violins
The Song From Desiree
The Elephant Tango

Thrill To The Fabulous Carol Bruce

Thrill To The Fabulous Carol Bruce
Tops L1574

Available from at least one online vendor so I will not be posting a sample.

Surprisingly nice mood/blues set from a vocalist better known for her stage productions. Bruce trades in the typical forceful "broadway" vocal stylings that you hear from most period cross-over artists for a more listenable (to my ears) subtle and soulful blues sound.

From the back cover: Carol's rise to supremacy in the musical comedy field was given initial impetus when she scored resounding success in Louisiana Purchase. Not satisfied with holding down a lead role in this show, she was also featured vocalist on the Ben Bernie radio show and simultaneously made her bow in the upper bracket supper club circuit, appearing at the Cafe Pierre, the Sert Room of the Waldorf-Astoria and the Persian Room of the Plaza.

Hollywood was inevitable and after the close of Purchase, Carol was signed by Universal Studios. Here she made her quota of pictures including This Woman Is Mine with Franchot Tone, Keep Em Flying with Abbott and Costello and Behind The Eight Ball with the Ritz Brothers. Personal appearances and numerous club dates followed in the wake of her Hollywood stint. Her return to New York was an auspicious one when she wowed fans and critics at the famed 'jewel box' of the East – the Copacabana. Then came a co-starring role on the Al Jolson Show and an appearance at the Paramount Theatre on Broadway.

Carol's greatest personal triumph, however, was her recreation of the immortal Helen Morgan role of "Julie" in Kern's and Hammerstein's classic Showboat. To play this part had always been an ambition of Carol's and it was a dream come true when she found herself on stage playing her favorite character. when the show opened at the Ziefeld Theatre in New York, the critics were unanimous in their praise and heaped accolades on the young star – Carol Bruce. The called it one of the truest and most moving portrayals of a role ever witnessed on the American musical stage. Her magnificent job won for her the Donaldson Award and a coterie of fans who will never forget the Julie as played by Carol Bruce, nor the songs as sung by her.

Showboat was followed a season later by "Along Fifth Avenue". She then started doing a considerable amount of Summer Stock work appearing in Bloomer Girl, One Touch Of Venus, Annie Get Your Gun, Lady In The Dark and others.

Television has not been denied the beauty and talent of this beautiful star. She has gone before the cameras on such shows as Toast Of The Town, Show Time USA, The Earl Wrightson Show, The Is Show Business, The Faye Emerson Show, The Milton Berle Show and Musical Comedy Time. She has also turned in superlative acting jobs in strictly dramatic roles on Studio One and The Armstrong Circle Theatre, etc.

Miss Bruce's successful revival of Pal Joey on the summer circuit in 1951 led to the equally successful revival of the show on Broadway. Miss Bruce subsequently took over for Vivienne Segal in New York and then toured the states as "Vera Simpson". Mr. Jack Hylton of London was so impressed with Carol's performance that he immediately signed her to create the role in his London production. Miss Bruce became an overnight sensation and the complete toast of London during her nine month stay. During this time, Carol also appeared at the London Palladium with Noel Coward. Upon her return to the States, she did many television appearances and added new laurels last summer when she re-created the role of "Mother God'damn" in Shanghai Gesture>

Miss Bruce also has recorded many platters for Columbia, RCA Victor and TOPS. She performed "Lady In The Dark" May 1957 at the Ann Arbor Festival.

Blue Skies
Blue Prelude
I Get The Blues When It Rains
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
Carol's Blues
I'll Be Seeing You
St. Louis Blues
The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else
Calypso Blues
The Glory Of Love
Blue & Brokenhearted
Take Me In You Arms

Happy Cha Cha Cha - Laurindo Almeida

The Suspense Cha Cha (mono version)
The Suspense Cha Cha (Dimensional Stereo)
Happy Cha Cha Cha
Laurindo Almedia And The Danzaneros
Produced by Bill Miller
Capitol Records T1263/ST1263

Excellent, jazz-inspired period space age cha cha set, featuring original, inventive Almeida material.

From the back cover: These twelve tunes were composed and arranged by guitarist Laurindo Almeida, who is backed up here by the same impressive array of instrumental talent that first recorded them for the sound track of the Hecht-Lancaster motion picture, Cry Tough.

Especially well know to jazz fans are the names of Allan Reuss, (co-featured on guitar with Laurindo) and trumpeter Don Fagerquist, whose soft and fluid stylings provide one of the real highlights on this album. The rhythm section consists of percussion stars Alvin Stoller, Milt Holland, and Chico Guerrero, with Joe Mandragon on bass and Dante Varella at the piano. (Jimmy Rowles takes over the key broad duties on the last tune, "Big Town.")

Latin tempos come quite naturally to Brazilian-born Laurindo Almeida, who has established himself as one of the world's most accomplished and versatile performers since coming to this country in 1947. Although he is well remembered as a featured soloist with the Stan Kenton band, Laurindo's career has been largely devoted to studio work for the past few years, and his many Capitol recordings and concert appearances have earned him international renown as a classical guitarist.

From Billboard - November 30, 1959: A happy group of cha chad featuring guitarist Almeida arranged and composed all the tunes in the set, and many of the tunes here were used in the flick "Cry Tough." With Almeida are a group of potent jazz names who perform the tunes with spirit. A very good set for cha cha fans.

Sarita's Mambo
Mambo Sin Mayores Consecuencias
The Suspense Cha Cha
13 Perros
Happy Cha Cha Cha
Mambo A La Teen
Luna De Miel
Club Caballero
Pica Pau
Big Town

Monday, December 14, 2015

Living Strings Play The Music Of Hawaii

Lovely Hula Hands
Living Strings Play The Music Of Hawaii
Pickwick (RCA Camden CAS-661)

1966 Pickwick reissue (from RCA masters).

Strong Hawaiian/Lush Stings/Light Pop space age set. The sample features "jazz-inspired" passages.

Sweet Leilani
To You Sweetheart, Aloha
Song Of The Island
Pagan Love Song
Drifting And Dreaming
Lovely Hula Hands
The Hawaiian Wedding Song
Blue Hawaii
Aloha Oe

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Noviembre 32 - Orgullosa Maria

La balada de John y Yoko
Sentado en el muelle de la bahia
Noviembre 32
Orgullosa Maria
Son-Art D-293

La balada de John y Yoko
En una playa junto al mar
Orgullosa Maria
Lisa de los ojos azules
Caminando por el centro
Campos Eliseos
Sentado en el muelle de la bahia
Maria Isabel
Azucar, azucar
Tu nombre me sabe a hierba
Te regalo mis ojos
Estoy loca por ti
Hace frio ya
En el ano 2525

Fernando Valades - Voll. II

Tal Ves Mi Despedida
La Inspiracion De Frenando Valades
Su Piano Y Ritmos
Vol. II
RCA Victor MKL - 1405

Pleasant lounge set with all tunes, apparently, written by Valades.

Regalo Del Cielo
Cantale Mar
No Me Niegues
Tu Sabras Si Te Vas
Tal Vez Mi Despedida
No Mas
Nada Mas Una Noche Te Pido
La Vida O La Razon
Espera Que Te De Mi Amor
Por Que No He De Llorar
El Diccionario

Friday, December 11, 2015

Presenting Margarita Sierra

Cuando Vuelva A Tu Lado
Presenting Margarita Sierra
The Sparkling SeƱorita From Spain
Accompanied by Silvo Masciarelli and His Orchestra and Frenando Sirvent at the Guitar
Seeco CELP - 407

This excellent set is split between more traditional "Flamenco" numbers and more period "light-pop"flavored tracks.

Sierra appeared in an early 60s American television series, Surfside 6 as nightclub singer Cha Cha O'Brien. She died in Hollywood, California in 1963 at the age of 27 from complications following heart surgery.

There is a 1961 listing in Billboard for another album she made: Margarita (Cha Cha) Sierra (Warner Bros. 4248).

From the back cover: The current rage in American nightclubs is foreign chanteuses, and one columnist was heard to remark that there were more of them here than in Europe. Perhaps the most exciting young lady of them all is a singing flamenco beauty from Seville, Margarita Sierra.

Born in Madrid, Spain, this dark-haired, flashing-eyed beauty was a sensation on the continent and in Havana, Mexico City, and Caracas before making her American debut at the Nautilus Hotel in Miami Beach. It was while she was appearing at the Nacional Hotel in Havana that she was tapped for her Florida engagement, which proved as equally successful.

Miss Sierra was immediately brought to New York by Angel Lopez to star in his Latin-Amercian cabaret in the East. This was followed by engagements at the Viennese Lantern and the Maisonette Room of the St. Regis Hotel.

Miss Sierra speaks little English and sings but little more, but she nevertheless generates a sizzling rapport with her audience. She has an exceptionally well-developed voice and a repertoire stacked with the familiars that rate her the windfall applause, including "Malaeguena", "Lisbon Antigua", a Mexican medley and "Noche de Ronde". Her rendition of "Who'll But My Violets" is reported to be the best since Lupe Velez introduced it many years ago at the Rialto in New York City.

Wherever this sultry Miss has appeared in top-ranking supper clubs and hotels throughout the world, the wall have echoed with thunderous "Bravos" for her fine performances. At each engagement she captures the audience in the same "tender trap". She sings with a surefire charm that weaves a spell over breathless swains at ringside. With her fine contralto voice and stylized treatment, the Spanish lyrics take on lucid meaning.

One of the most striking assets in Miss Sierra's favor is her gorgeous wardrobe, which consists of fabulous gowns – all originals – designed by Spain's leading couturiers; Raffran of Barcelona, Vianor of Barcelona, and Marbel of Madrid. While appearing in Miami she was requested to display them at a special fashion show at one of the Florida resort's more exclusive shops.

Ole Flamenco
Libon Antigua
Romancero Gitano
Te Quiero Dijiste
Sortija De Oro
El Botijero
Cuando Vuelva A Tu Lado
A La Vera Del Agua
Latin Potpourri (Ay, Ay, Ay - La Paloma - Cielito Lindo - Mexican Hat Dance)