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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Rockin' With Reed - Jimmy Reed

Rockin' With Reed
Jimmy Reed
Vee-Jay LP 1008

Sometimes the discount bin coughs up a surprise. In this case, the original release of this LP which can also be found as digital download from your usual vendors and also, apparently, in re-release on vinyl. No secret to blues collectors, this is a fine LP and there are many examples of the cover art to be found online. However, I could not locate a nice example of the back cover, so I'm sharing a scan from my copy.

Read Reed's wiki page and you'll find that The Rolling Stones and Jerry Garcia, amongst a number of artists were influenced by his work. I sight these two artist here, because I can certainly hear Reed's influence in their work.

I like to give credit to Vee Jay's engineers for applying studio quality recording techniques to the set, without over producing. They left the basic raw emotion of Reed's dynamic style well enough alone to produce an amazing blues LP.

From Billboard - September14, 1959: Reed created good sales with his first package. This one should find a ready market. It's authentic blues with Reed accompanying himself on harmonica and guitar, and the bass and drums giving a solid beat. In the folk style, the tunes are Reed's own.

Going To New York
A String To Your Heart
Ends & Odds
Caress Me Baby
Take Out Some Insurance
The Moon Is Rising
Down In Virgina
I Know It's A Sin
Wanna Be Loved

Girls, Guitars And Gibson - Don Gibson

Fireball Mail
Girls, Guitars And Gibson
Don Gibson
Produced by Chet Akins
RCA Victor LPM-2361

From Billboard - July 31, 1961: The appealing voice of Don Gibson comes across with warmth, virility and humor on this outstanding LP. Produced by Chet Atkins, the album is a winning compilation of long-time favorites and newer material done with exquisite taste in a variety of tempos and moods. The arrangements and instrumental performance behind the singer are stunning, while Don's vocal efforts are equally top-notch.

From the back cover: The recording sessions went off without a hitch; Don never sounded as relaxed as he did when singing to Anita Kerr's arrangements. The guitarists who made up the trio were tremendous; Johnny Smith, the jazz guitarist who gives just the right touch to any ballad, flew in from Colorado Springs to make the dates; Nashville's Hank Garland, the driving stylist who is also developing an enviable national reputation as a jazz man; and Harold Bradley, another fine local guitarist. If this group sounds more jazz inspired than you would expect to hear out of the country music capitol of the world (Nashville, Tennessee), you must realize that both kinds of music are basically improvisatory and are inspired by very emotions. If fact, one of the best places in the nation to hear good jazz is in Nashville at Jimmy Hyde's Carousel, where country guitar players meet jazz musicians, not only to admire each other's craft, but also to join together to play one kind of music – American music.

Lonesome Road
I Think It's Best
Born To Lose
White Silver Sands
No One Will Ever Know
Fireball Mail
Above And Beyond
Driftwood On The River
Compton Races
Beautiful Dreamer
Cute Little Girls
The Last Letter

Late Hours Open House - Frank DiFabio

You And I Alone
Late Hours Open House
Frank DiFabio And His Trio
Brunswick Records BL 54103 (yellow promotional label)

From the back cover: Mr. DiFabio, born and launched (career-wise) in New York, has been playing some of the most popular clubs in Florida for the past several years, but returns to Gotham soon for an engagement at the famous Embers, with Jazz favorite Jonah Jones.

Having studied harmony and theory at the well-known Juilliard Conservatory of Music in New York, and Schillinger's theory of rhythm under David Holguin, Frank has appeared with such eminent musical names as Les Elgart, Louis Prima, Billy Butterfield, Art Mooney, Buddy Rich and Billy May. He has functioned as accompanist for vocalists such as Johnny Mathis and Jackie Paris.

The trio, featuring the piano of Frank DiFabio, includes Eddie Schwager on bass, and Lee Schwartz on drums.

From The Hickory Record: DiFabio performed with jazz greats from Frank Sinatra and Louis Prima to Nat King Cole and Johnny Mathis. He came to Hickory (North Carolina) from New York City in the 1980s and became the house pianist for Lake Hickory Country Club and Rock Barn Golf and Spa – a post he held for 20 years

If I Had You
You And I Alone (Frank DiFabio)
Let Me Off Uptown
Lil' Darlin'
My Son (Frank DiFabio)
Lullaby Of Leaves
Darrah (Frank DiFabio)
Sweet And Lovel
Everything Beautiful (Frank DiFabio)
Homeward Bound (Frank DiFabio)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Music From A Surplus Store - Jack Fascinato

Foggy Recollections
Music From A Surplus Store
Jack Fascinato
Produced by Bill Miller
Capitol Records T1225

From the back cover: ...a collection of seemingly un-musical implements from the hardware shelf, such as trowels, putty knives, and crowbar, are blended with more usual orchestral sounds in twelve fun-filled original compositions by Jack Fascinato and Ken Snyder.

Each song bears a description of which tools were used in the composition such as the song titled Foggy Recollections... a somber number that uses an electric motor with variable speed control to make a sound pattern much akin to that of a diaphragm-type foghorn.

From Billboard - August 10, 1959: Stereo bugs will have a field day with this gem. Fascinate employs many colorful ork effects in presenting the interesting set. Tunes and tempos are nicely varied. Sound is excellent, and an amusing and displayable cover gives the LP sales plus values. Wide appeal.

A "gimmick" album? An experimental set or a conceptual effort? All of these elements are a part of this project, but Fascinate was able make one super creative set in which all of the experimentation becomes secondary to his fine arrangements which would appeal to any buyer of the time who was turned on to Mancini or other composers who were endeavoring to make "dynamic" mood music.

From jazz to lush strings... there is a sound for everyone.

Oily Boid
Pixie Pipes Parade
Sleepy Time
Chinatown Bricklayer
Adios Castanets
Latin Hardware
Spring, Sprang, Sprung
Makin' Tracks
An Old Saw
Basket Weaving
Foggy Recollections

Bonnie Lou Sings!

I'm Available
Bonnie Lou Sings!
King Records - Cincinnati, Ohio

From the back cover: Bonnie Lou is more than a singer... she is almost an "International Institution." Her tremendous popularity in England, Scotland, Australia and other countries, coupled with her local and national popularity have made her more than a star. Her appeal is so strong it has made her a "make believe" personal friend and visitor to the thousands who have devotedly watcher her on television... and to those who know her as "only a voice" on radio.

This talented young woman has such a sincere, neighborly way of singing, and portraying a song, she seems instinctively to "catch" the story and the meaning, and translate it to music. This talent, plus an abundant amount of blonde, blue-eyed, feminine beauty has won her a following numbering men (who think her as a girl-friend), women (who feel she is the sister, or the girl next door), children (who love her friendly charm), and Grandfolks (who visualize her as their daughter).

Bonnie Lou has been appearing professionally for about 14 years. At the age of 13, still in pigtails, she started out as a country singer on radio in Bloomington, Illinois. Because of her unique manner in portraying a song, listeners took interest and expressed opinions to the station. Thus, in her early teens, she made her first professional impression on the public. At 18, Bonnie Lou joined the Midwestern Hayride. Since then she has played fairs, stage shows, conventions, centennial celebrations, etc., where her individual styling is always in demand.

One would never know from the numbers offered in this album that Bonnie Lou first came to the attention of the public by her ability for yodeling, but it was a natural heritage, handed down by a Swiss grandmother. From folk singing and barn-dancing activities, she progressed to the popular field.

Tennesse Wig Walk
Teen Age Wedding
Papaya Mama
The Texas Polka
I'm Available
Seven Lonely Days
Waiting In Vain
Runnin' Away
No Rock 'N Roll Tonight
Tennessee Mambo
No Heart At All
Dancin' In My Socks
Miss The Love (That I've Been Dreaming Of)
Little Miss Bobby Sox

Accordion Magic - Dick Continuo

Blues In F
Accordion Magic
Dick Contino
Hamilton A Division Of Dot Records
HLP 135

A multipage full color DOT marketing brochure was found stuffed inside this jacket. The oversized fold-out advertised "100+" albums DOT have for sale in their inventory with an offer to mail you their full catalog in exchange for 10¢.

Continuo succeeds on this set of standards by doing what he did best, weaving a swing/jazz beat into his arrangements.

Dark Eyes
I Wonder, I Wonder, I Wonder
Cool Water
Sentimental Me
Till I Waltz Again
Hava Nagila
Almost Lost My Mind
Flight Of The Bumble Bee
She's Funny That Way
Blues In F
I'm Beginning To See The Light

The Elgar Touch - Les Elgar

Autumn Serenade
The Elgart Touch
Les Elgart And His Orchestra
Columbia Records CL 875

From the back cover: Distinctive sound? Crisp, clean dancing beat? Interesting lively, and melodic arrangements? Only one musical organization gives you all three – Les Elgart and his Orchestra!

Listed on Billboards 1956 "Best Selling Popular Albums" and "Pop Albums Coming Up Strong" lists

Swingin' Down The Lane
Don't Be That Way
Autumn Serenade
Fascinatin' Rhythm
I Had The Craziest Dream
Three To Get Ready
Stompin' At The Savoy
Street Of Dreams
The Swingy Swan
Slo Roll
Where Or When
The Dancing Sound

Thursday, August 18, 2016

First Edition - George Shearing & Jim Hall

George Shearing
Jim Hall
First Edition
Produced by Carl E. Jefferson, President, Concord Jazz, Inc.
Recording and Mixing Engineer: Phil Edwards
Mastered by George Horn
Cover Photo: Bruce Burr
Art Direction: Dick Hendler
Recorded at Soundmixers, New York, N.Y. September 1981
Concord Jazz CJ-177

From Billboard - May 1, 1982: Here's a highly compatible duo. Piano and guitar collaboration pleasantly on eight quality songs with "Street Of Dreams." "I Hear A Rhapsody" and "Careful" emerging as standouts. It's a collaboration that ments(?) additional recording. Notes are by Ira Gitler (Jazz Times).

Street Of Dreams
To Antonio Carlos Jobim
I See Nothing To Laugh About
Without Words
I Hear A Rhapsody
To Tommy Flanagan

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ralph Flanagan In Hi-Fi

Ralph Flanagan In Hi-Fi
RCA Victor LSP-1555

Cover Photo by Irv Bahrt

From Billboard - May 31, 1958: Good collection of tunes all styled in a very danceable manner. This could find favor with those looking for dance sets.

From the back cover: It's been ten years since Ralph Flanagan led his brand-new band into RCA Victor's studios and emerged with a batch of brilliant recordings that were to establish his as one of the top dance orchestras of the the times. There have been a lot of changes in the world since then, but few in the music of Ralph Flanagan.

Some of these changes have occurred in the field of audio-electronics, with the resultant vast improvements in the sound of recorded music. And it's because of these very changes that this brand-new set of hi-fi recordings by Ralph Flanagan reveals a new depth to this music, a kind of three-dimensional feeling that unveils, as never before, the colorful tones of his reeds and his brasses and all the subtle nuances of his arrangements.

If you read between the lines, the RCA notes seem to excuse the dated approach the producers took in their effort to create this set which they hoped might appeal to Flanagan fans. The younger late 50s space age buyer who was consuming more dynamic big band-type arrangements at that time would likely not have been impressed.

Hot Toddy
My Hero
Street Of Dreams
Giannini Mia
Where Or When
Penthouse Serenade
If I Loved You
I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time Serenade
Some Enchanted Evening
Rag Mop

Tchaikovsky The Sleeping Beauty Ballet Act 2 - Antal Dorati Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra

The Sleeping Beauty Ballet Act 2
Op. 66
Ballet in Three Acts With Prologue
Antal Dorati Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
Olympian Living Presence
Mercury Records MG 50066

This rare Mercury release is presented here to share the beautiful cover photo which is credited in a conflicting manner (credit on the cover and back cover.) to:

Nora Kaye, The Ballet Theatre
Photo by Redford Bascome

Cover: Margot Fonteyn, Sadler's Wells Ballet,
Photo by Baron

Bossa Nova + Soul - Marian McPartland

With You In Mind
Bossa Nova + Soul
Marian McPartland
Time Records S/4001

Marian McPartland - Piano
Ben Tucker - Bass
Dave Bailey - Drums
Ralph Dorsey - Conga Drum
Bob Crowder - Tambourine

Artist and Repertorie - Bob Shad
Original Recording Engineer - Tom Nota
Re-recording Engineer - Frank Abbey
Mastering - Hal Diepold
Liner Notes - Marian McPartland
Production Coordinator - Harry Ringler
Album Coordinator - Sandra Danesi
Typography - The Composing Rom, Inc.
Printing and Fabrications - Globe Album, Inc.
Album Design - Murray Stein
Cover Photo - Joe Weitz

Creative Latin flavored jazz set featuring excellent engineering.

From the back cover: This album is quite different from anything that I have ever recorded. One of the interesting and unusual features is the addition of the conga drums and tambourine to my regular group. We have been playing the Bossa Nova since Dave Bailey joined the trio several months ago and demonstrated this new rhythm that he and Ben Tucker had heard while on tour in Brazil earlier this year.

Bossa Nova literally means "something new" and though it is based on the samba and has the same basic "two" feeling. It is actually a variation of the standard clave rhythm which is changed to coincide with the guitar accompaniment used in most South American groups. A relaxed sensuous rhythm, it is intensified by the use of the bander or tambourine, cabassa, bass, guitar and one or more horns. We used the conga drum (although it is not part of the "authentic" Bossa Nova combination) and Ralph Dorsey played on it a rhythm similar to the one used by the South American drummers, (that is played across the tom-tom with the left hand) while Dave kept the basic samba beat going.

I decided that I must have a tambourine on the date too, after hearing Dizzy Gillespie play it one night in Birdland. At the session, we all started to smile when we heard how great it sounded. Since Bob Crowder, the tamborine player had not rehearsed with the rest of us, there was a sort of excitement as we heard the tunes with the tambourine added for the first time. We, in fact, used it to good effect on every number, some of which were not Bossa Nova but straight jazz with a Latin flavor. I also decided to experiment with the Wurlitzer electronic piano on Love For Sale, Stranger In A Dream and Coming Home Baby. After hearing the playback we were pleased with the funky sound of the little electronic piano. At times, it seemed reminiscent of a guitar, especially in the low register. Just for fun, I played some "eights" on a chorus of Love For Sale - eight bars on piano, eight on the electronic piano, on Coming Home Baby (written by Ben Tucker, who also wrote Baby You Should Know It), I used it on the introduction and ending.

My own tunes With You In Mind and Stranger In A Dream lend themselves effectively to the feeling of the Bossa Nova. Ben and I worked out a little blues with a six-eight feeling, called Tell Me. We also used the same six-eight pattern on Sweet And Lovely, Straight No Chaser features Dave and Ralph alternating twelve bar solos and Green Dolphin Street just happens to be one of my favorite tunes.

Love For Sale
With You In Mind
Stranger In A Dream
Sweet And Lovely
Coming Home Baby
Tell Me
Green Dolphin Street
Straight No Chaser
Baby You Should Know It

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mellow Guitar - George Van Eps

Tango El Bongo
Mellow Guitar
George Van Eps
Columbia Records CL 929

Occasional touches of period orchestral mood, blended with Van Eps' special guitar work is the surprise feature heard on this excellent mid-50s set.

From the back cover: Apart from the nimble fingering that Van Eps provides, one of the most interesting facets of his presentation is his guitar itself, a seven-string guitar which he designed. He is the only performer among the major instrumentalists to use such an instrument and has added the extra string, enabling him to attain the remarkable effects that are particularly noticeable in Let's Do It, 'S Wonderful and Tango El Bongo. The concept of the guitar as a complete instrument, harmonically speaking, one capable of producing lead, harmony and bass line, is basic in the soloist's approach, and produce a richer result the is customarily the case.

George Van Eps began his instrumental career on the banjo, when he was twelve; two years later he switched to the guitar and has been enlarging his versatility ever since. Among the orchestra he has played with are those of Freddy Martin, Benny Goodman and Ray Noble; as a free-lance musician in radio and on records he has played for Jo Stafford, Dick Haymes, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, George Cates and of course Paul Weston.

Along with the incomparable standard ballads he offers in this program are a pari of originals, Van Eps' now Tango El Bongo composed especially for the seven-string guitar, and Lost Canyon, written by his daughter Kay. The bongo is played by Alvin Stoller and the vibraphone by Frank Flynn. Whether musing over one of the tender melodies in the collection or giving a fleet-fingered exhibition of virtuosity, George Van Epps has worked out some splendidly intricate jazz arrangements for his instrument, delightful presentations of guitar music in an unusual view. With the added tonal spectrum of high-fidelity recording, the presence of the guitar becomes almost tangible: vibrant provocative and mellow.

From Billboard - February 16, 1957: Van Eps, playing a special seven-string guitar, of his own design makes some wonderfully satisfying sounds in a easy-going, neo-jazz vein. This is the same Van Eps who was heard in the Paul Weston "Solo Mood" album, here taking his first outing as the billed attraction. Most of the tunes are moody and melodic with the spotlight on imaginative but gimmicked stylings. The liquid, refreshing backing is a strong extra value. A nice production that can come in for jockey exposure and thence good retail action as well.

I'll Remember April
What Is This Called Love
Let's Do It
They Can't Take That Away From Me
Have You Met Miss Jones
Tango El Bongo
Dancing On The Ceiling
Lost Canyon
The Boy Next Door
I Never Know

How Sweet It Is For Lovers - Jackie Gleason

How Sweet It Is
How Sweet It Is For Lovers
Jackie Gleason
Produced By Richard Jones
Arrangements by George Williams
Recording Engineer: Robert Arnold
Cover photo/Capitol Photo-Studio/Ken Vender
Capitol Records SW 2582

From the back cover: Jackie, some three dozen strings, a galaxy of fine songs in limpid, lush, languid Gleason treatments, plus the tenor sax of Charlie Ventura and the trumpet of Pee Wee Erwin.

From Billboard - October 29, 1966: Rich strings, subtle brass and superb melodies new and old, make this one of the finest Gleason mood albums to date. Aptly titled and defined for top sales, he has cleverly programmed from the evergreen, "I Wanna Be Loved By You" to the beautiful "If He Walked Into My Life" from B'ways "Mame."

If He Walked Into My Life
Stranges In The Night
The Shadow Of Your Smile
Lara's Theme
You're Gonna Hear From Me
The Second Time Around
How Sweet It Is
I Wanna Be Loved By You
Autumn Waltz
I Will Wait For You

Monday, August 15, 2016

Havana, 3 a.m. - Perez Prado

Mosaico Cubano
Havana, 3 a.m.
Perez Prado and His Orchestra
RCA Victor LPM 1257

Terrific mid-50s Latin set that features a variety of inventive arrangements that plays through nearly as though Prado was producing a concept album.

From the back cover: It is interesting to observe that Prado's versions, of his own works as well as those of the other composers represented here, while they are so modern, so much a part of our complicated and fleeting time, are far from being over arranged as one might expect, but instead are rather simple. Perez Prado converts his feelings through the plainest mediums; and whether it is a vocal excerpt or an instrumental piece, he manages to give us the true, direct, engaging and nostalgic impression of a night in Havana...

From an article found in Billboard - February 23, 1957: Rack Field Gets Censorship Itch - Too Snappy Cover Art & Spicy Lyrics Nixed by Chains on Housewives' Beefs - Censorship is rearing its troublesome head in the record field here, particularly along the grocery chain circuit, which caters to the family trade.

"Daring" LP cover art is the primary target for the housewives' complaints, while so-called suggestive lyrics in show-tune packages also draw their share of beefs. The A&P chain here (New York), for instance withdrew RCA Victor's "Havana 3 A.M." by Perez Prado, which features an exotic rhumba dancer on the cover...

However, Martin (Joe Martin, record buyer for N. W. Moody which services A&P, Valley Fair and King Kullen grocery chains among others) stressed that censorship for the racks by no means implies a cover or tune is "dirty," but merely that it is too sophisticated or "too naked" for the chains' somewhat ultra-conservative tastes...

La Comparsa
La Faraona
B├ęsame Mucho
The Freeway Mambo
Peanut Vendor
Historia De Un Amor
Mosaico Cubano

El Debke - Naif Agby

Saffi El-Nia
El Debke
Naif Agby & His Orchestra
Music Of The Middle-East
Audio Fidelity Stereodisc AFSD 5980

From the back cover: Naif Agby is a native of the Lebanese town of Ahden, and has traveled and lived in every corner of the Middle East. A seasoned musician trained in every phase of instrumental and vocal music, he came to the United States after a long and successful career including appearances on the stages of major cities throughout the Middle East – Beirut, Bagdad, Damascus, Cairo and many others. His success in the public eye was further achieved in numerous series of theatrical and radio tours in the roles of singer and composer. Here in the United States, Agby has won notable success and a large following among scores of Arab communities and organizations as an outstanding specialist in music of the Middle East.

From Billboard - December 15, 1962: Music of the Middle East, recorded in high fidelity stereo and played with excitement by the Nalf Agby Ork, makes this an outstanding album of its genre. Abby, a native of Lebanese composed most of the music, along with Sid Frey, head of the A-F label. The rhythmic music is even more intriguing in stereo, and the cover should grab attention.

Btestahil (You Deserve It)
Mahal (Solo)
Rouh, Rouh (Go Go!)
Rakset Wadad (Amity Dance)
Saffi El-Nia (Fullfil You Vow)
Surtax (Your Portrait)
Samra Ya Jamil (Beautiful Brunette)
Mili Ya Hilwa (Swing My Beloved)
Kabbir Aklatack (Be Wise)
Raksat El-Houria (The Mermaid Dance)
Haji Teoulli (Don't Tell Me)
Mahal (Solo)