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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Colors Of Love - Hugo Montenegro

Colours Of Love
Hugo Montenegro
Arranged and Conducted by Hugo Montenegro
Produced by Jack Pleis
Cover Design: Rick Drobner, Gavin & Dom Studios
RCA Victor LSP-4273

Don't get me wrong, I love and respect Montenegro's work. He was an inventive, top-notch arranger, but he went a bit crazy when on this set when he decided to do up covers of 60s pop tunes in a light pop or easy listening style. To say the least, doing something like this was a difficult sell in the early 1970s market. Furthermore, he went beyond his safe zone, which would have been arranging purely instrumental covers, to add male/female chorus into the mix.

Never-the-less and just because... this is a great set because it is so out there.

Here Comes The Sun
Didn't We
Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head
When It Was Done
Holly Holly
Just Like A Woman
Good Morning Starshine
Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

Cugat In Spain - Xavier Cugat

Cugat In Spain
Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra
RCA Victor LSP-1894

From Billboard - April 13, 1959: Cugie provides happy, rhythmic instrumental treatments of Spanish tunes – ranging from pasodobles to gypsy and classical items – but all styled with a cha cha beat. Effective stereo sound, and fine terp wax.

El Beso
El Relicario (Dance No. 5 from "The Spanish Dances" by Granados)
Ritual Fire Dance
El Gato Montes
La Violetera (There Is Danger)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Holiday For Strings - David Rose

Holiday For Strings
The Exciting Music Of David Rose And His Orchestra
Cover Photography by Richard Meer
MGM Records E3215

One of several MGM releases of this Rose collection.

Holiday For Strings
Deserted City
Sweet Sue – Just You
Four-Twenty A.M.
Manhattan Square Dance
Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
Fiesta In Seville
Hora Staccato
La Ronde (Merry-Go-Round)

L.O.V.E. - Paul Mauriat

Get Back
Paul Mauriat And His Orchestra
Philips PHS 600-320

From Billboard - September 6, 1969: Paul Mauriat continues to ride high on the best-selling LP charts with his competing renditions of current pop hits, and this newest outing will keep him there. His lush stringed orchestrations of "Get Back," "The Windmills Of Your Mind," "Isadora" and "Oh Happy Day" are a boon to middle of the road programmers, and sales are sure to follow closely behind.

Oh Happy Day
Get Back
You, Love, And Me (Toi L'Amour Et Moi)
Silver Fingertips
Windmills Of Your Mind
Serenade To Summertime
Un Jour Enfant (Through The Eyes Of A Child)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

James Bond Thrillers! Goldfinger - Zero Zero Seven

Pussy Galore Meets Bond
James Bond Thrillers
The Pulsating Big Band Sounds Of Zero Zero Seven
Recording Director: D. L. Miller
Cover Design: Chic Laganella
Somerset SF-23200
D. L. Miller deserves credit for his effort to deliver a "Mancini-styled" big band "secret agent/spy set to compete with similar music produced by RCA and Mercury. However, compared to work produced by the major labels, this project features, at times, clumsy or at least quirky arranging which the studio band tries to play well even though it sounds like all of the musicians have not had the time to practice the numbers. The engineers also struggle to produce decent sound. None-the-less, and perhaps due to the budget production value, Miller created a decent space age collectible.

Goldfinger Theme
From Russia With Love
Blues For Dr. No
Pussy Galore Meets Bond
James Bond Theme
"M" Joins The Hunt
A Gilded Corpse
Warm And Deadly
Death Of Goldfinger

Dance Part - Music For The Entire Family

Dance Party
Entertainment For All Ages
Music For The Entire Family
Hit Songs For Every Popular Dance Style
30 Dance Hits
Somerset (Manufactured by Alshire International) SF 314

The most budget album ever? Maybe not. Somerset manufactured and advertised (on the back cover of this jacket) an entire collection (12) of these "3 record sets" including a set titled Polka Extravaganza. The dark cover on that set features only typography for art. I can only imagine the sonic thrills contained on those discs.

None of these sets seems appealing on any level. The music featured on this set of discs is so poorly thought out, so cheap... that Somerset not only recycled their lowest-end orchestral "dance" tracks, for one disc (the "dance party" disc), they also included an entire Ken Griffin (organist) "tribute" disc on which Griffin is not featured, but only covered by Ashley Tappen. The remaining disc is titled "Party Sing-Along" which features male chorus doing up the most boring tunes in the most banal fashion. Of course, Somerset was too cheap include a lyric sheet, so good luck with your "sing along".

However, what makes this package so much fun, so CHEAP... is that, when I picked the album up in the store, I noticed that the seams had come unglued. I then noticed, that something was printed on the inside of the jacket. Someone at Somerset, probably through a printer rep, decided to save money by recycling a pile of A&M label Cat Stevens Foreigner jackets. Apparently there was over-run or a problem with that job. Somerset's printer took these cast-off jackets and printed a thinly inked black bar across the art to obscure the original and then printed Somerset's art on the back, the matte side of the stock, which is why the jacket doesn't feature any gloss. Now that's BUDGET!

I decided to extend the "cheap-out" and not post a sample track because even the track titled Hawaiian War Chant (a tune that is hard to ruin) was, in fact, ruined by a cheap arrangement.

So budget...

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