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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Snice I Fell In Love With You - Lenny Welch

I'm In The Mood For Love
Since I Fell For You...
Lenny Welch
Orchestra Conducted by
Bert Keyes on You Can Have Her; Mama, Don't You Hit That Boy; Darlin
Chuck Sagle on It's Just Not That Easy
All other bands, orchestra conducted why Archie Bleyer
Cadence CLP 3068

From the back cover: The usual show business story tells of years and years of struggle and hardship before the big break that leads to success. In actual fact, the history of show business is full of just such stories. Very few of the big stars became successful overnight; usually they worked their way up the ladder, learning their business the hard way – slowly and surely. But in these true stories there usually is a point that could be called the big break: a lucky meeting with the right person; just happening to be in the right place at the right time; or an usually good performance that just can't be ignored.

It looks as if Lenny Welch's career has finally reached the point of the big break and after the years of struggle and hardship, Archie Bleyer, president of Cadence Records, signed Lenny to a contract in November, 1959. Lenny's first record for Cadence was You Don't Know Me, which has already been a hit on records for Eddy Arnold and Jerry Vale. Don't You Know Me was moderately successful, and it looked as if Lenny was off to a good start in the record business. Quite a few bookings (a record artist's biggest source of income) resulted, including appearances with Chubby Checker in Ottawa, Canada, a date at the Apollo Theater in New York, and a one-nigher in Dallas, where You Don't Know Me had been a pretty big hit. But the next few records were unsuccessful, and gradually the bookings become less frequent; so did the phone calls from booking agencies.

But Archie Bleyer had faith in Lenny's talent and continued to make records. (It should be said that the usual practice in the record business is to "drop" an artist when his contract runs out if he doesn't turn out to be a profitable piece of "merchandise")

There was a slight relief from the generally discouraging state of affairs for Lenny with his recording of Changa Rock in April, 1961. Although it didn't sell in the continental United States, Changa Rock became the #1 record in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Lenny became a celebrity in San Jaun in the summer of 1961 with a highly successful engagement at the Statler Hilton in San Jaun and numerous TV shows. And probably as a direct result of his success in Puerto Rico, Lenny got bookings in Caracas, Venezuela and Buenos Aires, Argentina. But except for these few bookings, he continued in the same discouraging routine of recording, then traveling without pay to promote records, meeting disc jockeys, visiting distributors and, of course, calling booking agencies. (Successful people in show business don't call agencies – the agencies call the artists' managers).

And so the trend continued – until August, 1963, when Lenny recorded Since I Fell For You. Recording engineers are usually pretty unimpressed with the artists and songs they record, but after the first take of Since I Fell For You, Capitol Studio's Frank Abbey greeted Lenny and arranger-conductor Archic Bleyer with open admiration as they walked into the control room to hear the take. And the record received the same reaction from the normally hard-headed record distributors and keenly critical disc jockeys. Since I Fell For You was a hit record, and Lenny Welch' big break had finally come.

From Billboard - December 12, 1963: Lenny follows a system used by a good number of the hit artists today. He uses the title of his current hit "Since I Fell For You" and then links up a great many hits and standards of other for a fine easy-paced set. "You Don't Know Me," "I'm In The Mood For Love" and "Are You Sincere" are some of the better tracks.

Since I Fell For You
A Taste Of Honey
Ebb Tide
You Can Have Her
I Need Someone
Mama, Don't You Hit That Boy
You Don't Know Me
Stanger In Paradise
Are You Sincere
It's Just Not That Easy
I'm In The Mood For Love

Funk City Express - Harold Betters

The Year
Funk City Express
The Trombone Sound Of Harold Betters
Arranged by Harold Betters and Don Randi
Produced by Jimmy Bowen
Art Direction: Ed Thrasher
Cover Photo: Bob Fisher
Engineer: Lee Herschberg
Reprise Records 6241

From the back cover: Harold Betters has about as much business playing trombone as Wilt Chamberlain has on a basketball court.

In other words, there is not much better around.

Betters moved out to the West Coast to record this album. Rode out on a trombone called the Funk City Express, and landed up in Hollywood. Spent close to a week locked up in a recording studio. Working days on songs, and nights on rebuilding his muscle fibre. Try out a song for an hour, seeing if it catches fire.

Most of them did.

Betters worked with an all-star assemblage of four sidemen, who usually are four leadermen: Don Randi, who worked on the arrangements as well as maintains a piano that is little short of inspired; Hal Blaine, a quick-witted and classy drummer, doing things on drums that Baby Dodds never dreamed possible; sitting over to the left a bit, the two guitarists, both switched on; to have them together in one studio is enough to make any arranger salivate in envy; their names: Al Casey and Larry Nectal.

But the big man in the center is Betters and his Funk City Express. A driving sound out of Shadyside, which is part of Pittsburgh. A Shadyside sound that's gotten bigger and then again so much more big that today it's the new sound of the trombone.

Funky. A big meaty sound, that few men can blow and make it come out still musical. Betters is pone of the few, probably their leader.

In "Funk City Express," Better has put his high-octane trombone to work on many of the big songs of this generation. Songs which before have sounded sweet as strawberries and cream now come out smellin' like chili beans. And that means plenty of life-givin' bodily juices are a-flow. Which is what separates the Betters from the boys. His ability to take an imitable song and make it inimitable. He does it again and again. "My Blue Heaven"? If that isn't a tired song, what is? Yet with Betters it comes out a kind of Delightful, The kind of Delightful which lifts up your mind and transports it.

It comes: The Funk City Express: ride it. – Stan Cornyn

Hot Tamale Man
Where Are You?
Born Free
The Glory Of Love
This Year
My Blue Heaven
That's Life
Theme To Grace
Sunshine Superman
The Masquerade Is Over
There Goes My Baby
Sweet Sue - Just You

For Dancers Also - Les Elgart

Green Satin

For Dancers Also
Les Elgart And His Orchestra
Cover Photo: Ahl Reiff
Columbia CL 1008

From the back cover: Les Elgart and his Orchestra are among the prime movers in this dandy revival and proffer in this program a dozen of their happiest inspirations. The Elgart sound is a happy combination of standard elements in dance-band orchestration (less the piano) but used with unusual imagination. There is a brightness and bounce about the orchestra's work that has made it a prime favorite for proms and for hotels alike. Coupled with its happy beat is the kind of precision and clarity that only good musicians can provide. All these elements are woven together in a book of arrangements – mostly the work of Charles Albertine – that are modern, light and full-voiced. They are also international; the Elgart records released in Europe have just as popular there as in the United States.

From Billboard - July 1, 1957: It's the second time an Elgart instrumental dance LP has been selected as Columbia's $2.98 "Buy Of The Month," and this one, like its predecessor, figures to hit the money list. Same ingredients are here – simply, swingy, sophisticated scorings of great standard tunes – eminently danceable. Cover is attractive, and most important for the younger set, the price is right.

Who Cares
How Long Has This Been Going On?
Why Do I Love You?
You Go To My Head
Green Satin
The Boy Next Door
'S Too Much
I Hear A Rhapsody
Sheer Delight
High On A Windy Hill
You Walk By

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Girl Most Likely - Jane Powell

I Don't Know What I Want
From The Soundtrack of the RKO Radio Picture
The Girl Most Likely (Technicolor)
A Universal Release
Vocal Group Specially Recorded For This Album by The Jud Conlon Singers
Capitol Records W930

Jane Powell
Cliff Roberts
Keith Andes
Kaye Ballard
Tommy Noonan
Dances and Musical Sequences Staged by Gower Champion
Music and Lyrics by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane
Music Arranged by Nelson Riddle
In Charge of Production: William Dozier
Directed by Mitchell Green
Screenplay by Devery Freeman
Produced by Stanley Rubin

From the back cover: The only song in the album not written by Martin and Blane is the title song. It is the work of Nelson Riddle, who scored the film, and lyricist Bob Russell.

We Gotta Keep Up With The Joneses brings in Jane Powell in a duet with Tommy Noonan, and the result is a bright commentary on one of our civilization's most common plights. Jane changes the mood in I Don't Know What I Want, a quiet, poignant ballad about a girl who doesn't know what she wants but wants it very much.

After a bouncy instrumental by Nelson Riddle titled the Beach Party, we hear one of the big production numbers in the picture, Travelogue and Balboa. Martin and Blane describe this Southern California town as a place where there are "two girls to every man and all wearing little more than a healthy tan." A novel on-the-water ballet highlights this number in the film.

The second side starts with a ballad, I Like The Feeling, combined with a romantic instrumental, Pink Cloud Music. Jane returns with a chorus of children in a colorful production number called Crazy Horse.

A few hours' drive south from Balboa is the Mexican borer and the town of Tijuana. Tijuana in Spanish, means Aunt Jane, and there's lots of life in the old girl yet. To say nothing of young Jane who, with the entire cast, goes there for a fiesta of song and dance – All The Colors Of The Rainbow – a ringing revolt against the gray-fennel approach to living.

The End Title music, sung by Jane Powell, rounds out this delightful album. It is a restatement of the song, I Don't Know What I Want – but now she knows

The Girl Most Likely (Main Title)
We Gotta Keep Up With The Joneses
I Don't Know What I Want
Beach Party
I Like The Feeling
Pink Cloud Music
Crazy Horse
All The Colors Of The Rainbow
End Title

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

By Special Request - Carmen McRae

By Special Request
Carmen McRae
With Mat Matthews Quintet
Decca Records DL8173

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: During the past decade there have been hundreds of singing stars on the popular music scene. Dozens of them, on being discovered and signed to record contract, have been hailed as the Greatest-Since-Somebody-or-Other. Most of them have lasted as long as the tunes they were given to perform, and in many cases neither artist nor tune stood the test of time.

A handful of singers can claim to have earned the attention and respect not only of the public but also of musicians and jazz fans, who in general tend to be very discriminating in their tastes. Among the very few who have found their way into this charmed circle is Carmen McRae.

It has taken many years for the haunting quality in Carmen's voice to make itself apparent to the American public at large, though to a few discerning listeners her ultimate success seemed to predictable many years ago. A native of Brooklyn, Carmen studied piano extensively and was originally known as an instrumentalist rather than a singer. There are many personalities in the music world who can claim to have discovered her – and now that she is comfortably settled in the top brackets, undoubtedly they will all feel completely responsible for her success. Probably the first real discoverer was Irene Wilson Kitchings, Mrs. Kitchings hailed her as a coming star and attempted to launch her professional career.

Benny Carter, the great alto saxophonist and arranger, who has so many talent discoveries to his credit, can also claim to have played a role in the McRae story. Carmen worked in Benny's band in 1944 and was also heard with Count Basie around that time. After hearing her sing in the Club Harlem in Atlantic City, Mercer, who was leading a big band at the time, offered Carmen her first job as a band vocalist. Carmen toured with Mercer's band for more than a year and even recorded on side with him (no longer obtainable). Married during those years to the noted jazz percussionist Kenny Clarke, she worked under the name of Carmen Clarke. Gaining valuable experience with the Mercer Ellington band, Carmen went out as a single after the group broke up in Chicago. For the next few years she was known mainly as an intermission pianist and singer at various night clubs, most often in New York.

Those of us who heard Carmen during the late 1940s recall her as a capable pianist who could often be found at the keyboard at Minton's Play House, the noted Harlem night spot that had earned a reputation as the birthplace of bop. Inevitably, through her marriage to Clarke and through her association with many of the great modern musicians whom she met at such spots as Minton's Carmen found herself guided in the direction of a musicianly and inventive approach to popular songs.

Though there were by now many admirers who could see in her the latent possibilities that have since matured with such startling success, Carmen found the going pretty rough for a long time. When gigs were scarce, she was sometimes forced to take a job as a clerk or typist. Then in 1953 Paulette Girard, actress-wife of Mat Matthews, became Carmen's unofficial manager, took her in hand, and landed her a session with a small record company, Convinced at long last that she could get away from the keyboard and sing standing up at a microphone, Carmen worked a number of dates successfully with the Mat Matthews Quintet.

Carmens' first truly lucky year was 1954. Voted the best new female singer of the year in the Down Beat critics' poll, Carmen was signed by Decca, began to appear at such nationally-known jazz clubs as Basin Street, and soon found herself in a position of prestige comparable with that enjoyed a decade earlier by Sarah Vaughan. In 1955 she was featured in a Carnegie Hall All-Star Jazz Concert and, climaxing a series of successes, left for Hollywood to take part in a Tony Curtis movie at Universal International.

In the performances heard here, all the qualities that have endeared Carmen to fellow-musicians and to students of modern singing can be found throughout each tune. Her tone and phrasing, which at one time seems to reflect a Vaughan influence, have progressed to complete independence and originality. As you would expect of a performer with such impeccable taste, she has chosen a number of great old tunes, mostly from the 1930s and '40s, and has used two superlative groups of musicians as a backdrop.

The Mat Matthews Quintet, heard on My One And Only Love, Yardbird Suite, Give Me The Simple Life, I'll Remember April and You Took Advantage Of Me consists of Dutch-born Mat on accordion, Herbie Mann on flute, Mundel Lowe on guitar, Wendell Marshall on bass and Kenny Clarke on drums.

There is a strange significance to Carmen's inclusion of Yardbird Suite, for this Charlie Parker composition was one of the tunes she sang during her appearance at Carnegie Hall on the evening of March, 12, 1955. Not until several days later was it discovered that at the exact moment Carmen was on stage, singing this particular number, Charlie Parker was dying of a heart attack in a Manhattan apartment. Because of her long-standing admiration for Parker's contribution to jazz, her performance of the tune thus has a deep meaning for her.

On the remaining titles, Carmen is accompanied by a fine rhythm quartet assembled by her ex-husband and good friend Kenny Clarke, Mundell and Wendell are again heard on guitar and bass. Dick Katz, the outstanding pianist who has often worked as Carmen's personal accompanist, plays on five of the tunes, while Carmen herself moves in at the keyboard for Suppertime and Billy Strayhorn, who wrote Something To Live For in 1938, plays piano on his own composition. This tune, by the way, was the first Strayhorn number ever recorded by Duke Ellington's orchestra.

During the past year Carmen McRae has established herself solidly in the popular music field with such hit performances as Whatever Lola Wants. The thousands of new friends she has made through those records will join with her original jazz-oriented fans in welcoming this superb collection of intimate renditions by one of the great new individual voices of our time. – Leonard Feather

Give Me The Simple Life
Sometimes I'm Happy
Love Is Here To Stay
Something To Live For
I Can't Get Started
Yardbird Suite
Just One Of Those Things
This Will Make You Laugh
My One And Only Love
I'll Remember April
Supper Time
You Took Advantage Of Me

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Brass On Fire - Manny Albam

Just One Of Those Things
Brass On Fire
Manny Albam
Arranged & Conducted by Manny Albam
Produced by Sonny Lester
Designed by Ruder, Finn & Fujita, Inc.
Recorded at A&R Studios, April 26,27 and 28th, 1966
Solid State / A Division Of United Artists Records, Inc.


Leader - Manny Albam
Trumpets - Danny Stiles, Johnny Frosk
Erine Royal
Joe Newman
Trombones - Wayne Andre, Bob Brookmeyer, Eddie Bert, Tony Studd
French Horns - James Buffington, Earl Chapin, Howard Howard, Al Richmond
Drums - Mel Lewis
Bass - Richard Davis
Guitar - Barry Galbraith
Bongo - Ted Sommer

Musical Coordinator - Morty Trautman

That Old Black Magic
Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe **
Lullaby Of Broadway **
My Heart Stood Still*
My Old Flame
Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart*
Strike Up The Band**
After You've Gone*
I Get A Kick Out Of You*
Just One Of Those Things**

* Ray Alonge replaces Howard Howard
** Jimmy Maxwell replaces Ernie Royal - Thad Jones replaces Joe Newman

Monday, April 8, 2019

The Liverpool Songbook - The Londonderry Strings

You Really Got Me
The Liverpool Songbook
The Londonderry Strings
Arranged and Conducted by Ernie Freeman and Rene Hall
Produced by Jimmy Hillard
Cover Photo: Peter Whorf
Art Direction: Ed Thrasher
A SER Production / Supervised by Sid Sharp
Warner Bros. Records W 1580

From Billboard - February 13, 1965: Swinging, rocking string arrangements are featured throughout this package of outstanding hit imports from England. The album should prove a winner for the vast number of discotheques. The pacing of the program is set up for just such a purpose. Good listening also.

From A Window
The House Of The Rising Sun
Someday We're Gonna Love Again
Who Can I Turn To
You Really Got Me
I'll Keep You Satisfied
Wishin' And Hopin'
A Summer Song
I Wouldn't Trade You For The World
All Cried Out

Let Me Touch You - The Bob Crewe Generation

Let Me Touch You
Let Me Touch You
The Bob Crewe Generation
Produced & Directed by Bob Crewe
Arrangements: Charles Fox & Hutch Davie
Photography: Steinbicker/Houghton
Cover Design: Dario Sacramone

From Billboard - August 1, 1970: That "Music To Watch Girls By" gang, headed by producer Bob Crewe, returns with a bright package of old favorites updated in a fresh today sound... a debut for the new CGC (Crewe) label. The arrangements by Hutch Davie and Charles Fox add new flavor and create a compelling mood with "Stella by Starlight," "Wives and Lovers," etc. Title tune a standout. Commercial LP!

Stella By Starlight
Golden Earreings
To Each His Own
Moon River
Wives And Lovers
An Angel Is Love
Let Me Touch You
Two For The Road

The Man With The Sad Face - Stanley Turrentine

The Man With The Sad Face
The Man With The Sad Face
Stanley Turrentine
Produced by Stanley Turrentine
Arranged and Conducted by David Van De Pitte
Recording Engineer: Tony May
Generation Sound Studios, New York City - August 25-28, September 27-28, 1976
Mastering: David Crawford (Masterdisk, New York City)
Art Direction: Phil Carroll
Design: Krys Kleer
Photography: Phil Bray
Fantasy Records F9519

Tenor Sax: Stanley Turrentine
Acoustic and Electric Piano: Paul Griffin
Guitars: Eric Gale, Cornell Dupree
Electric Bass: Bob Babbitt
Acoustic Bass: Buster Williams
Drums: Charles Collins
Drums on The Man With The Sad Face: Idris Muhammad
Congo Drums, Percussion: Crusher Bennett
Vibes: David Carey
Synthesizers: Richard Trifan
Background Vocals: Kenny Williams, Vivian Cherry, Lani Groves, Maeritha Stewart

Trumpets, Flugelhorns: Jan Faddis, Louis Soloff, Tommy Turrentine
Trombones: Wayne Andre, Tom Molone, Barry Rogers
Bass Trombone: Peter Phillips
French Horns: James Buffington, Bob Carlisle
Alto Sax, Flute, Bass Flute, Piccolo: George Young
Baritone Sax, English Horn, Flute, Oboe: Lou Del Garro

Violins: Gene Orloff (concert master), Aaron Rosand, Guy Lumia, Enanuel Green, Tony Posk, Harold Kohn, Joseph Malignaggi, Norman Carr, Peter Dimitriades, Raoul Poliakin, Julis Brand

Violas: Julien Barber, La Mar Alsop, Richard Maximoff, Mitsue Takayama, Theodore Israel

Cellos: Jesse Levy, Maurice Biakin, Anthony Sophos, Ted Hoyle

From Billboard - November 20, 1976: An all-time virtuoso of the tenor saxophone, Turrentine here creates another shimmering assortment of soul-crossover powerhouse songs. With his own production, the charts of David Van De Pitte, a well-chosen selection of material and an impressive assortment of big-name soloists, every element is in top form for tasteful commerciality. It's impossible to get tired of Turrentine's sax work. He truly plays the instrument with the expressiveness of a human singing voice. Best cuts "Evil Ways," "Man With A Sad Face," "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine," "Love Hangover." Dealers: Intermitted use of vocal chorus on the pop songs in this LP make it even more viable for soul as well as jazz sales.

Evil Ways
The Man With The Sad Face
You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine
I Want You
Whatever Possess'd Me
Love Hangover
Mighty High

Superb - Rita Moss

Gloomy Sunday
Rita Moss
Accompanied By Marty Paich
Arranged and Conducted by Marty Paich
Produced by Tom Mack
Engineer: Eddie Brackett
Dot Records
DLP 25839

From the back cover: Neal Hefit says: Rita Moss, the one of a kind, the Girl With The Flaxen Voice, has beguiled me since the first time I heard her sing. This unique facility of hers is a natural as breathing in and breathing out. Every time I hear her I'm captivated all over again and this album is another example why.

It only follows that her choice of the songs contained herein would be of the highest possible quality because of her impeccable taste. And what a perfect setting for that tastiness: the sensitive, imaginative arrangements of Marty Paich, whose scores match Rita's vocal interpretations nuance for nuance. Combine these elements and you have an album that is rightly named, "Superb."

Suggestion for an evening: invite some music l
overs to your home, pour the right wine, put this LP on and watch what happens. I know because I did.

He And I Alone
Forget Yesterday
He's Too Far Above Me
I Never Go There Any More
Love Is A Simple Thing
Who Will Be With You
Wait Until Dark
This Lonely Town
Wake Up Heaven
Gloomy Sunday
Visit Me