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Friday, April 5, 2019

8 Top Hits

I Want You To Be My Baby (Trudy Richards)
8 Top Hits
Waldorf Music Hall Records
Featuring Vincent Lopez and His Orchestra
Trudy Richards - Recording Star
Loren Becker, Artie Malvin and The Brigadiers Quartet
FDR Dynamic
MH 3318

One in the series of budget records created exclusively for Woolworths Department Stores.

MH 3318 featuring a different jacket design

The Musical Toy Parade

The Musical Toy Parade
Magic Talking Books
The Book Plays
Victor Herbert's March Of The Toys
The John C. Winston Company

Danger - Tony Mottola

Danger Theme
Original Music From Danger
Television's Greatest Dramatic Show!
Tony Mottola
With The Ray Charles Singers
M-G-M Records E111

10 inch - 33 RPM

From the back cover: One of the most popular and long-lived shows created thus far by the infant TV industry is Danger, the CBS series and specializing in tales of mystery, terror, and the supernatural. Boldly experimental, the program can trace much of its success to fresh, often flamboyantly "different" production devices which give it a strong usual background music which helps to hold DANGER "regulars" spellbound week after week. At the very outset of the series, the creators of DANGER felt the need of finding something new in the way of musical atmosphere. The usual orchestral background music was discarded as too heavy and too obvious. A single instrument seemed called for, but the only one capable of a wide dramatic range that suggested itself was the organ – which was ruled out immediately because of its long-term association with radio's soap-operas. The problem was solved finally by the note guitarist Tony Mottola who proved to the producers of the show that the strings, plectrum-pick, and sound box of his instrument when used with imagination and skill could produce an amazing range of effects and carry a full show completely on its own. It could not only set moods, bridge breaks in action, and accentuate specific lines of dialogue in a completely unique way. Almost as soon as he joined the staff of DANGER, Mottola started to receive fan mail of his own and requests for copies of the music which he had provided for outstanding programs in the series. As the letters stacked up higher and higher, it became evident that he had created music of more permanent value that is usually the case with background scores. Finally, he was called upon to arrange certain of the best DANGER scores in solo guitar form for publication by George Paxton Music, Inc. Since one of his many other activities is arranging and conducting for all of the recording sessions of popular MGM vocalist Johnny Desmond, it was natural that MGM RECORDS should follow suit and give him free reign to adapt this music to records. This called for the expansion of his themes and sketches into more lengthy and detailed scores. An easy transfer could have been effected by arranging "suites" for performance by solo guitar and orchestra. Mottola felt, however, that much of the impact and originality of his material would be lost in this way. He had worked closely with talented choral conductor-arranger Ray Charles or record dates and had often discussed the almost untapped potentialities of choral groups with him. The two got together with a pile of Mottola's cue-sheets from DANGER and "let themselves go". Unrestricted by lyrics, except in the single case of the chilling chant in the Sredni Vashtar Suite, Charles devised through wordless sounds alone such extraordinary effects as the calliope chorus in Carnival Time. Experienced hands at recording, Mottola and Charles also experimented with using microphones and sound equipment in startling new ways. These technical "tricks" thus make this into an album of music designed specifically for records – in fact, one of the very first such albums ever recorded. When listening, to this fascinating music, remember that all of the strange, wonderful, and often amazing sounds presented here are produced solely by the fabulous guitar of Tony Mottola and the voices of the Ray Charles Singers.

Danger Theme
Suite From Footfalls
Beguine Tampico
Suite From The Famous Gilson Legacy
August Heat
Carnival Time
Sredni Vashtar Suite

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Latin And European Cha Cha Cha - Los Cangaceiros

Oriental Cha Cha
Latin And European
Cha Cha Cha
Los Cangaceiros
King Records 2002

Dale A Beber
La Marchand De Bonheur
C'est Ca L'Amore
Espana En Cha Cha
La Plume De Ma Tante
Toi L'Andalou
Strange Tango
Tagula Cha Cha
Ronde Mexicaine
Oriental Cha Cha
Nathalie S'En Va

Erroll Garner

Lullaby Of Birdland
Erroll Garner
Columbia Records CL 535

From the back cover: None of my prior experience with recording artists – Erroll Garner included – had prepared me for what happened when Erroll came into record the session from which this album was produced.

In a business where the hoped-for standard is to complete four three-minute sides in three hours (with innumerable re-takes), and a recording director is ready to break out the champagne and caviar if he's finished half an hour ahead of schedule, Erroll smashed precedent with a performance that can be compared only to running a hundred yards in eight seconds – and with perfect form.

In other words: something that just can't happen. But this time it did. Erroll come into the studio a few minutes after his accompanists had arrived, took off his coat and had a cup of coffee, sat at the piano and noodled a bit, got up and removed his jacket, lie a cigarette, loosened his tie, and one minute past the hour announced that he was ready. We hadn't discussed repertoire specifically; I had only told him that I wanted him to record some double-length numbers for long-play and extended play release.

To give the engineers a chance to check balance, I asked Erroll to play something; anything. He played for a minute of so; the balance was fine, so when he stopped I asked Erroll through the control-room talk-back if he'd like to get started on the first number.

"Ready!" Erroll called.
"Fine," I said. "What's it going to be?"
"I don't know yet," said Erroll. "Just start that tape going".

The saucer-eyed engineers were no more startled than I, but I held back my surprise long enough to ask if Erroll would like me to signal him when he got around the six-minute mark.

"I might not remember to look," he said. "Let's just feel the time; OK?"

Wondering what Dr. Einstein might have to say about that concept, I agreed. Erroll struck a couple of chords, nodded a tempo to Ruther and Heard, threw me a wink, and pointed to the recording light. I snapped it on, and he swung into an introduction which baffled all of us; what was it going to be? By what telepathy Ruther and Heard knew, I will never understand, but they followed Erroll unerringly into the chorus of Will You Still Be Mine? – a tune which, Erroll explained six minutes and twenty seconds later, they had never played together before.

But we didn't even have to play it back to know that it was a perfect master.

That's how the session went; with complete relaxation and informality. Erroll rattled off 13 numbers, averaging over six minutes each in length, with no rehearsal and no re-takes. Even with a half-hour pause for coffee, we were finished twenty-seven minutes ahead of normal studio time – buy Erroll had recorded over eighty minutes of music instead of the usual ten or twelve, and with no re-takes or breakdowns. And every minute of his performance was not only usable, but could not have been improved upon. He asked to hear playbacks on two of the numbers, but only listened to a chorus or so of each, before he waved his hand and said "Fine." As for myself, I was happy with everything the first time 'round and repeated listening to tests since then has confirmed that first opinion was right.

The cheerful atmosphere of this historic session enveloped everyone in the control room as well as Erroll's able accompanists. Rather and Heard contributed a mobile, exciting interplay to Erroll's spontaneously chosen improvisations. The introduction had us playing a constant guessing game in the control room; sometimes even Erroll seemed about to be baffled by them, but they were only virtuoso demonstrations of the man's fabulous imagination.

As thoroughly as I thought I knew "the Garner style," with its trademarked progressions, the lagging beat, and the lush Garner chords, I found in the course of this session that Erroll was still developing and creating anew. A new Garner continues to emerge from the more familiar aspects of his playing which have become so clearly defined through the years. The young "iron man of the recording industry" appears to have unlimited technique and his musical horizons seem limitless.

And the most exciting part of it is that I know that Erroll's next session is going to be another new and rewarding experience. What will happen nobody knows. As someone remarked in the control room during the session, "How many times can you shift gears with one mind?" With Erroll's it never stops. – George Avakian

No Greater Love
Lullaby Of Birdland
Memories Of You
Will You Still Be Mine?

Monday, April 1, 2019

The Touch Of Gold - Charlie Byrd

The Touch Of Gold
Charlie Byrd Plays Today's Great Hits
Arranged and Conducted by Charles Calello
Produced by Ted Macero
Cover Photo: Richard Meek from Alpha Photos
Columbia CL 2504

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

From the back cover: In his new album, The Touch Of Gold, guitarist Charlie Byrd concentrates for the most part on hit songs, the kind of ear-catching material you find at the top of today's best-selling record lists and hear frequently played on the radio.

You might think there's nothing at all surprising about this, since many musicians are currently turning to the best in popular music for their repertoire. But those who know Byrd well will surely find it a surprise, for this is a new departure for him. And everyone – from long-standing Byrd fans to those who perhaps are encountering his guitar for the first time – will quickly realized that he has done a fascinating job, delivering a series of performances that seem likely to outlast by far the usual life span of a popular song hit.

Actually, it's characteristic of Charlie to take on a new kind of project: he has flourished in more varied setting than almost any musician you can think of. And, in defiance of cliches about Jack-of-all-trades being masters of none, and of the general belief that a man with many strings to his bow can't really hit the bull's-eye in this Age of Specialization, he has carved out a remarkably distinguished reputation in many years in which The Showboat (in Washington, D.C.) has served as his most frequent home base, he has built a following that ranges from diplomats and congressmen to awestruck jazz enthusiasts. Byrd is quite at home with the blues and with folk music, and there are also albums that demonstrate his considerable capabilities as a classical guitarist. I have heard him break it up with a Woody Herman combo, and I have been at The Showboat during a nightly phenomenon called "the quiet set," when the guitarist plays unaccompanied, and the management gets upset if anyone whispers or even orders a drink!

Charlie is probably most celebrated for having paid close attention, during a State Department-sponsored tour, to a native Brazilian rhythm, whereupon he became the first and among the foremost North American exponents of bossa nova.

Now, as Byrd turns his own particular golden touch towards some golden hits, the results are – as you'd expect – happily non-routine. These are mostly pop hits, but Charlie has selected them with careful taste and an ear for lasting musical values. There is the song of the year, the Oscar-winning Shadow Of Your Smile, with more than a shadow of Byrd bossa-nova feeling to it. There are some of the superior melodies of Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney, including the Byrd treatment of such destined-to-be-standard tunes as Yesterday and Michelle. There's the Sinatra-linked It Was A Very Good Year, and a brash paralleling of the Tijuana approach to A Taste Of Honey. In addition, Charlie plays the lovely ballad Dulcinea from one of the year's hit musical, Man Of La Mancha," and a couple of items that lend themselves felicitously to the Country music and folk-song side of his nature: the theme from that television mother lode, "Bonanza!," and a recent rousing hit, Walk Right In.

Charles Calello's expert arrangements, which make inventive use of the strings, horns, voices and back beat of contemporary scoring, provide striking contrast to the brilliantly etched sound of Charlie Byrd's unamplified guitar – clear and clean, bright and emotional and altogether distinctive.

The Touch Of Gold – that's Charlie Byrd! – Orrin Keepnews

From Billboard - July 2, 1966: Charlie Byrd add to his credentials as a guitarist. Scorning amplification, Byrd gives crisp and sensitive performances of "Shadow Of Your Smile," "Michelle" and "Taste Of Honey." Charles Calello's arrangements and the use of horns and strings adds depth. The vocal background helps sometimes, but other times is a bit distracting.

In My Room
The Shadow Of Your Smile
Norwegian Wood
It Was A Very Good Year
A Taste Of Honey
Lonely Clown
Walk Right In

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Saxy Jazz - Bill Black

Saxy Jazz
Bill Black's Combo
Hi Records HL 12002
Distributed by The London American Group

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

From the back cover: This album brings to you the sound of Bill Black

Bill Black shares with one other man the distinction of having performed on more million-selling records than any other instrumentalist. As someone once remarked, people may not have remembered the name, but they could not forget the bass.

For Bill Black's inventive, driving, yet disciplined bass playing has been heard countless times, almost everywhere modern music is played, in almost every country of the world.

With his old cohort, Guitarist Scotty Moore, Bill played on 21 Gold Records, backing Elvis Presley. They were with Elvis in those hungry days when they made 800-mile jumps in beat-up second-hand cars through the South and South-fairs. They were in on that fabulous climb to glory, playing before 30,000 in Dallas, before the glittering sophisticates in Las Vegas, on the big TV Shows of Sullivan and Allen, before shrieking crowds from Vancouver to Miami, from New York to Waikiki Beach.

"I've had my bass stomped to splinters in Kansas City, and I've had my clothes plucked off like chickens eat corn," Bill remembers. "Mostly, it was so loud we couldn't even hear ourselves when we hit a sour note."

With 21 gold records behind them, Bill and Scotty made it 22 when they teamed up behind Thomas Wayne on the Fernwood cutting of "Tragedy."

The sensational acceptance of "Smokie" led to this album, which is authentic Bill Black.

It was recorded in Hi Studio in Bill's home town, Memphis, Tenn. The studio is an old movie theater, The Royal, with the seats torn out, the engineer sitting where the screen used to be, a special echo chamber built on one side, and a fabulous sound. "Tragedy" was was recorded here also.

The personnel of this album is the same as that on the "Smokie" single, with the exception of Martin Willis, sax, who was unavailable.

Leads are Carl McVoy, piano, a stylist in his own right; Johnny Cannon on sax and Reggie Young on guitar. Jerry Arnold is on drums, and Bill, of course, on bass.

The music is what Bill calls "long time ago songs."

"Smokie," which is a Black original, is not so much a composition, he says, as "just a blues idea, and a way of playing."

Black told his men to keep it simple, play it the way they felt, and let that rolling, slow Kansas City beat make it go.

The acoustical quality of the studio fascinated them. A mike was hung in the opened door of the echo chamber, and the lead was played right into it. Cannon couldn't get enough of it, wanted to keep right on blowing into that open door, vowed he would build one like it of his own at home so he could blow in it whenever he wanted.

Bill said this session had him so bewildered he didn't know what had happened until the playback. "It's a fight, man, it's a fight, but when you hit it you know you're on it," he said. And the sound came out good.

Bill is a big, jolly man, with a temper that sometimes flares up, but mostly he's for laughs and music the way he likes it.

He lives with his wife, Evelyn, and two children, Louis, 12, and Nancy, 8, in Memphis. – Robert Johnson

Smokie - Part 2
Frankie And Johnny
Tuxedo Junction
Cyclone Bop
Dee J. Special
White Silver Sands
The Wheel
Deep Elm Blues
Before Dawn
Accentuate The Positive

Tell Me A Story - Twinkle

Tell Me A Story
Twinkle Records
A Division Of Premier Albums, Inc.

Hansel & Gretel
Jack And The Beanstalk
Three Little Pigs
Henry Penny
The House That Jack Built

The Golden Sound Of Shirley Bassey

The Golden Sound Of Shirley Bassie
Arranged and Conducted by Geoff Love
Cover Photo by Lester L. Krauss
Cover Design by Win Bruder
Director Of Engineering: Val Valentine
MGM SE 4301

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

A Foggy Day
I've Got You Under My Skin
Cry Me A River
April In Paris
I've Never Been In Love Before
The Man That Got Away
'S Wonderful
I'll Remember April
Easy To Love
No One Ever Tells You
They Can't Take That Away From Me
The Party's Over