Buddy Morrow and his Orchestra- Night Train

This gem was $1.50.  Maybe something about the cover caught my eye, or maybe it was the version of “Night Train” which despite never being able to find a version that even comes close to James Brown’s, does not discourage me from trying.  This record once belonged to one Jimmy Blarbsher, I believe.

Buddy Morrow was a tromboner whom New Haven, Conn.  Born in 1919, he gained fame with big bands led by Eddie Duchin, Artie Shaw, and Tommy Dorsey among others before leading his own band.  He also was in the Tonight Show Orchestra, although for Jack Paar or Johnny Carson, I am unsure (98% sure it was Carson but too lazy to confirm).  Known for his skill in the upper range, Morrow died in 2010.

Morrow’s Spage Age Pop Page

 

“Night Train” was Morrow’s first hit as a band leader and is probably the most third most famous performer of this song after Brown and the original performer, Jimmy Forrest.  Morrow’s blended big-band/R&B version, released in 1952, went to #27 on the charts.  This record, released on Mercury Records in 1959, seems to capitalize on the success of this single. It has a pretty good collection of songs which seem to continue to wander slightly into R&B territory without leaving the big band sound.

For a sample, I went with “One Mint Julep”.

I am in a decent mood this week so satisfactory record although it was slow at times for my tastes.

 

The Frankie Capp Percussion Group- Percussion in a Tribute to Henry Mancini

This was $2.  I like Mancini and percussion albums so this seemed like a perfect marriage of the two. Plus the Stereo in Motion Graphics are pretty cool.

Frankie Capp, born in Worcester, Mass in 1931, is a jazz drummer who played in big bands before switching to session work, playing on many rock and roll recordings.  Although not the main drummer of the group, he is associated with the group of session artists referred to as”The Wrecking Crew”.  Capp, played with such diverse folks as Chet Baker, Stan Kenton, Mike Nesmith, Sonny and Cher, and Andre Previn. He would also later form his own big band with Nat Pierce.

Capp’s Space Age Pop Page

On this record, released by Kimberly Records in 1961, features Capp and his crew, (featuring fellow Wrecking Crew member Tom Tedesco on guitar), tackling the work of Henry Mancini.  Apparently, Kimberly and Capp made a dozen or so of these records, translating hits from other band leaders into modern percussion driven interpretations . Pretty good little album.  The arrangements are interesting enough.  Good percussion on this as the title would suggest. It is driven not only by Capp’s wonderful drums but also augmented by the vibraphone of Emil Richards.

For a sample, I went with “Peter Gunn” which I felt that although the original and subsequent covers are quite played out and over rated, this arrangement brought new life to the piece.  I also went with “Session At Pete’s Pad” which by some accident of me not paying attention, features an “Inna-gadda-da-vida”-esque extended bongo solo, mainly because there was a skip and I was not paying attention while recording.

Good little record all the way around.  Satisfactory.

The Four Freshmen- Voices In Latin

This was $3.  I got it for my favorite song “Brazil” which undoubtedly will be posted here.  If you have been reading this blog and did not expect that, I worry for you.

The Four Freshmen were and still are a vocal group who had hits in the 1950s. Formed in 1948 from other vocal groups in Indiana, they were discovered by Monday’s post subject, Stan Kenton. The group put out around 30+ records.  The last original member retired in 1993, but an incarnation still exists and tours.

Current Incarnation Web Page

This album, released by Capitol Records in 1958, features original members Bob Flanigan, Ross and Don Barbour along with Ken Albers.  As the title would suggest, this is a collection of latin flavored songs.  Arranged and conducted by Kenton associate Pete Rugolo, this is a pretty decent collection of songs.  The vocals are good but the music is pretty swinging as well, at least for a vocal group.  This record also features the flute of Herbie Mann.

Lot of choices to chose from. I liked “Frenesi”,  “Tangerine”, “Granada”, and “Chelsea Bridge”.  But ultimately I went with “The Breeze and I”.  Of course as mentioned above, I am also posting “Brazil” which is one of the few vocal versions I have put up on this site.  It is interesting to note that both songs feature trombone solos from vocalist Flanigan. Flanigan would pass on in 2011.

Pretty decent album.  It kind of grew on me so satisfactory.

Julie London- Julie Is Her Name

This was $1.00 Probably the red hair against the green back drop drew me towards this purchase which was more than likely made at Sig’s Lagoon.  Ah, poor Sig’s.  I used to go there once a month but since I have to many records as it is and I usually walked away from Sig’s with 30 or so per trip, I have stopped going.  Some of the best cheap records were procured there (* they also have a great selection of regular priced records as well).  Someday I will return Sig’s, some day.

Anyway, here is this from Julie London.  London, born in Santa Rosa, CA in 1926, was a singer, turned film actress, turned tv star.  She is best known for the 32 pop/jazz records she put out mostly during the 50’s and 60’s but she did some film work of note as well as time on the small screen with a 6 year run as nurse Dixie McCall on the show Emergency!.

It should be noted that she started with her husband at the time, Bobby Troup while the show was produced by her ex-husband, Dragnet’s Jack Webb.  So much for keeping your family life away from your work life.  Anyway, London, who was a chain smoker since age 16, suffered a stroke in 1995 and passed on in 2000, at age 74.

This was London’s first record, released by Liberty records in 1955.  It went to #2 on the US charts, driven by the strength of what would become her signature song, “Cry Me A River”.  Pretty decent album of 50’s jazz type numbers.  

Barney Kessel lends his guitar to the album along with bass from Ray Leatherwood. The sparce instrumentation   makes for a good effect.  Most of the songs if not all are love ballads and are pretty slow.

For a sample, I went with the one up tempo song on the album, the b-side to “Cry”, “S’Wonderful”.

Not exactly my cup of tea, but not a bad record either.  Satisfactory.

Peter Nero- Plays Tribute to Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass

So very close to finishing out this month.  So close.  This was $1.00.  I liked the song list.

Peter Nero born in Brooklyn in 1934, is a Grammy winning pianist who has worked with orchestras, pop stars, television shows, and other forms of entertainment.  I am not even sure this is a proper sentence.  Anyway, he has also worked with the Philly Pops Orchestra, the largest stand alone pops orchestra in the US..  According to Wikipedia, he is transitioning to moving in to an old folks home in Florida.  Probably deserves a bit more exposition on this subject but not going to happen at this time.  Perhaps I will post another one of his records earlier in a month.

Well, this record,  released by Dynagroove in 1967, is Nero’s tribute to the A in A&R Records, Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass.  All the big hits are here:  “Spanish Flea”, ” The Lonely Bull”, “Tijuana Taxi”, and “Flamingo.  Pretty good interpretations and Nero’s skill on the ivory is impressive. Very versatile style. It is saying something that in the liner notes, Alpert commends Nero for his (with his being italicized) interpretations of Alpert’s work.

For a sample, I went with an amazing version of what I normally feel is an overrated song, the “Theme from Zorba the Greek”.  Nero’s version really takes off into a free jazz thing which weaves in and out from the traditional Greek soundtrack song.  Really good stuff.  Also, I wanted to throw in ” What Noe My Love”.

Good record.  Satisfactory. Maybe next Nero post, I will go into more depth.

Mantovani- Latin Rendezvous

This was $4.00.  It had a lot of songs that I like on it. 

This record, released by London Records, was pretty novel.  A competition was held to chose 12 songs with a format or title theme for Mantovani’s next album.  The winner would be flown to England for sightseeing plus viewing of the recording of the chosen songs. Pretty cool idea.

The winner of the contest was one Angeleo Ruggiero from Milford, New Jersey.   Hope he was not trying to get to the beach two weekends ago.  Anyway, Angeleo and his wife were flown to London, had dinner with Mantovani, and watched him put this album together.  I wondered at the time of this writing if Angeleo was any relation to Lefty Ruggiero of Donnie Brasco fame or the any other crime family members.

According to the entry form, Angeleo nailed this record but I find it kind of amazing that Mantovani had not recorded these songs before.  They are latin standards including such works as “Granada”, “Malaguena”, “Perfidia”, and “Siboney”.  But regardless, here they are.  A pretty good album.  It is one of his more lively efforts.  It also came out in 1963.

For a sample, I went with “Andalucia” or better known as ” The Breeze and I”.  Poor little “Perfidia”, though.  That is two albums this month that I passed on this song.

Anyway, this is a much better Mantovani album that some of them I have posted in the past.  Satisfactory.

Michel Legrand and his Orchestra- Strings On Fire

This gem was only $1.00.  Michel Legrand is the genius behind the music of Demy’s musical films as well as The Thomas Crown Affairs‘ theme “The Windmill’s of You Mind” which just happened to be on TV 5 mins ago while writing this.

Legrand has been on this blog before so less burden of writing on this on.  He is still alive as of the time of this writing.  Not much to say over things I have posted in the post from Legrand. Weekend is coming, so keeping this brief.

This was released by Columbia Records in 1962.  It is a good collection of standards with an emphasis on the strings.  Highlights include “Perfida”, “El Choclo”, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, and “All or Nothing At All”.  The arrangements are pretty swanky.  Good album.

For samples, I went with two songs that I normally post, “Jezebel”, and “Temptation”. But truth be told, I could have put any song on this post.  The album is just that good.

Great little album.  Top Rated.

Enoch Light and his Orchestra- At Carnegie Hall Play Irving Berlin

This was a dollar.  I jump on Command Records whenever I can find them.  This is the album this month arranged by Lew Davies. Should have done a better job vetting these I guess but at this point, it is too late.  

Irving Berlin (1888-1989) was perhaps America’s greatest song writers, having penned over 1,500 numbers as well as scoring 19 Broadway productions and 18 films. His first hit was “Alexander’s Rag Time Band”.  He also penned “God Bless America”, “White Christmas”, and The Gong Show’s Chuck Barris’ Christmas favorite, “Easter Parade”.

This album is a collection of Berlin tunes recorded in Carnegie Hall on 35/mm film (which according to a previous post, produced a high quality output).  I believe their is no audience as this sounds like s studio recording.  Anyway, this is the typical wonderfully arranged, orchestrated and recorded record one would expect from Command.  It was also released in 1962.  Not really feeling writing this week so I will keep this one brief.

For a sample, I went with “How Deep Is The Ocean”, written by Berlin during what Wikipedia says was the low point of his career in 1932.  It is one of the few of his songs to be introduced on radio rather than stage/screen.

Anyway, as always a good little record from a good label.  Satisfactory.

The Stereo Brass Choir- Stereo Dialogue for Brass

This gem was only 50 cents.  A lot of songs I like on this.  When I wrote yesterday’s post, I was somewhat unsure how this month would play out.  However, between now and then, I took a trip down memory lane and looked at some for the older posts.  Some of it was pretty painful, going back to when I could not get the pictures straight, did not know how to display links, or properly record songs.  But overall, I felt that the output nowadays is more diverse than in the past and as I have always tried to make diversity a point of this blog, this is saying something. Anyway, Happy Fourth of July.  Nothing more patriotic than a bit of brass.

Well, there is this, which bills itself as “the most enjoyable musical event in stereo history”.  It is a collection of show tunes and standards in stereo with trombones on one side and trumpets on the other. It was the brainchild of Lew Davies (1911-1968) who besides arranging for Perry Como, Lena Horne, and Lawrence Welk, also worked closely with fellow audiophile Enoch Light and Command Records.

Davies’ Space Age Pop Page

The songs, by such luminaries as Rodgers, Porter, Loesser and Lowe, and Berlin, contain back and forth sections between the competing brass sections. As the title would suggest, this showcases the “dialogue” between groups.  Good arrangements.  Nice song selection.  As this was on Columbia records and released in 1960, you know this is a serious effort.  Besides the brass, the vibes/xylophone and other percussion make for a good effect.

For a sample, I decided to go with Irving Berlin’s staple “Anything You Can Do”.  

Good album.  Satisfactory.

 

The Cliff Holland Trio- Bourbon Street

This gem was only a dollar.  Not only do I like small regional records.  I also like autographed ones despite this record’s autograph being on the plastic cover.  It is made out to a “Mr & Mrs Cruz” to which Cliff Holland wished them good luck.  Since this record is from Calgary, I can’t help but wonder if these are Ted’s parents and if perhaps, I am holding the missing link of the JFK assassination in my hands.  Trump conspiracies aside, I always did have an overactive imagination.

Other than what I read on the back cover, I do not know much about Cliff Holland, other than the fact that he was a member of two successful southern vocal groups:The Delta Rhythm Boys and the Four Knights. His stint in both these groups led to worldwide travel and 12 Gold Records.  What brought him to Western Canada, I do not know.  Based on the lack of any drummer credits on the record, I assumed Holland handled skin duties but this is a mere assumption and I am starting to thing this is not the case. Anyway, the Trio is rounded out by English born Larry Yarwood on piano who was also a member of the Calgary City Stompers and Lye Kosh, a Regina native who was also an employee of Gulf Oil of Canada.  Further credits go to back-up bassist Glenn Dickson as well as Larry Bechthold for rhythmic patterns on the record.  Perhaps this is where the records drums come from although it is a strange way of saying it. Please note that I am pretty sure this is not Holland in the video below but I really liked this song.

Anyway, this is a real good album.  Between Holland’s baritone voice and the jazzy/lounge instrumentation, the listener is magically transported into a smokey dark room (although due to smoking laws, that aspect is lost to future generations).  Really good performances and really good songs including such standards as “Chicago”, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, ” They Call the Wind Maria”, and “Summertime”.  

This record did skip pretty badly.  I went to my upstairs neighbor to clean it but that did not do the trick.  I had to use his turntable as well as his fancy recording device to get a good recording.  I succeeded on this front but was to lazy to splice the songs apart so here are three samples all put together.  First is the second Paint Your Wagon song on this record, the immortal “Wandrin Star”. Second is the Bob Crewe-Bob Gaudio penned “Can;t Take My Eyes Off of You” which is a great version but probably included only because I saw Jersey Boys last month.  Finally, I leave you with a Holland co-penned tune “Our Town” which is more of  a shout out to the people who worked on this record, which is dedicated to Calgary.

Really good little record despite the fact that I can not play it on my record player.  It really hit on a lot of angles for me.  Top Rated.