John Schneider- Quiet Man

This was $2.40 at a discount.  I used to like getting celebrity records on this site but that was when I was unemployed and had all day to write post.  Those days have past.

John Schneider, born in Mount Kisco, NY in 1960, is best known for his portrayal of Beauregard “Bo” Duke from the Dukes of Hazard.  As a child from the 80’s, this was my favorite TV show.  Like most kids my age, I had a crush on Daisy Duke as well as hated shows when Bo and Luke’s cousins took over during contract disputes (or going on the NASCAR circuit as the show stated). Along with playing Chips, me and my pal used to play Dukes of Hazard but for some reason, I always had to be Luke (since my friend argued that his name was Jon, I was always Paunch in Chips). Back to Schneider, it should be noted that he had a re-occurring role as Superman’s adoptive father in Smallvile.

Not sure of those were simpler times or if we just turned an eye to casual racism.  Well my bet is on the latter but I do not want to turn this into a big debate.  I will say this: Sorrell Booke and James Best, who played Boss Hogg and Roscoe P Coltrane, were good friends and were allowed to ad-lib on set.  Best also taught acting classes later in his career and one of his students was a young Quentin Tarantino.  It was at Best’s classes where Tarantino met collaborators who would work on his films.

Schneider was able to parlay his popularity on Dukes to a successful music career.  He recorded ten albums (including a Christmas album with Dukes’ co-star Tom Wopat) with four Country #1 singles to his credit.  This was Schneider’s third album, released on the Scotti Brothers label in 1983.  It did not chart.

Decent album but I would have probably liked it more if I was a girl in the 80’s.  There are some decent moments.  As a whole, I really do not like much 80’s country so I am a bit biased to start with this. 

For a sample, I went with the old Johnny Burnette classic “Dreamin” which was released as a single.  It charted at #32 on the country chart.

Meh.  As stated above, do not like 80’s country and I am pretty much over the Dukes.  Not 10 anymore. I mean it sounds just as good as anything else from that decade, it is just not my proverbial cup of tea.

The Melachrino Orchestra- Music For Two People Alone

This was originally 50 cents but with discount, came out to a lean 40. Why did I get it?  Can not remember anymore.  Most likely price.  

This record, released by RCA Victor in 1954, is from the Melachrino Orchestra, led by George Melachrino.  Born in London from Greek and Italian roots, and proficient on a variety of instruments, he worked in bands before becoming an army musician in WWII.  After the war, he lead his own orchestra with records, performance, and soundtrack work. His series of  “Moods” albums became pop staples but may be better known today for their covers rather than the actual content. Melachrino died in 1965 but the string orchestra under his name continued after his death for another decade at least. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

Melachrino’s Space Age Pop Page

Anyway, this is a collection of songs for two people alone and draws from a diverse source of material including Hammerstein-Kern, Rodgers-Hart, Gershwin, Gonzalo Roig, Lew Pollack, and Hoagy Carmichael.  

It is Carmichael’s selection that I used for a sample.  Here is his composition, “Two Sleepy People”. On the whole, this record put me to sleep.  Meh.

The Charles Randolph Grean Sounde-Quentin’s Theme

This was $1.00.  I could say I got it for the Dark  Shadows‘ Theme but in all honesty, I am sure the light blue made me go ahead with the purchase.  I m a sucker for aesthetically pleasing colors.  At the time of writing this post, Real Madrid just won their 12th European Crown over Juventus.  When I had money, I used to go watch Madrid play.  Of course, given the insanely short time span of the useful life of football players, Sergio Ramos and possibly Marcelo are the only players left from when I used to go to games.  Anyway, there that is. Back to the post.

Dark Shadows was the soap opera which ran from 1966 to 1971 portraying the ups and downs of the gothic Collins family.  Kind of a radical concept for the time.  It was made into a Tim Burton movie starring Johnny Depp in 2012.  The theme music was written by Robert Corbet and actually became quite popular. 

Charles Randolph Grean, on the other hand, worked mainly behind the scenes, spending his early years as a copyist for Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw.  His career led him to become a composer, arranger, producer, and A&R director for such labels as RCA Victor.  Among others, he worked with Nat King Cole as well as Vaughn Monroe on “Ghost Riders In The Sky”. His cover of “Quentin’s Theme” from Dark Shadows in 1969 was his first and perhaps his only foray into the charts as a performer.  The single peaked at #13 on the Billboard Pop Chart as well as #3 on the Easy Listening chart.  He would die of natural causes in 2003 at the age of 90.

This album, produced by Grean, was probably meant to capitalize on the success of the single.  It features 3 songs from Dark Shadows, two songs from the Grand Canyon Suite, two other TV theme songs, and some standards.  Overall, it is ok.  I have heard better.  I guess there is nothing that really jumps out at me on this.

For a sample, I went with “Manolito” from the TV series High Chaparral.  I thought it was the best number.  I also went with “Shadows of the Night” which is a variant of “Quentin’s Theme” because I thought I should post something from Dark Shadows after writing about it.

I thought this album was meh but in all fairness, I am doing about 20 things at the same time when writing this.

Goodwin “Goody” Goodload and his Frostonia Ballroom Orchestra- Supercamp

This album was $4.00.  I am not sure who this album was being marketed for.  That is probably one of the reasons I bought it. 

The Super Camp moniker puts a strange connotation to this album.  In what is really a collection of tunes from the 20’s and 30’s, is now being marketed as camp, a term that went mainstream in 1965 (after Susan Sontag’s seminal essay “Notes On Camp”)to  describe ironic appreciation of something that would otherwise be seen as corny.   The word has been interchanged with kitsch although I am told where kitsch refers to the work, camp describes the mode of performance. Finally, it has been described by camp’s grand master John Waters as   the tragically ludicrous or the ludicrously tragic, which triggered this response.

This album, released by Tower Records in 1966 and features Goodwin “Goody” Goodload and his Frostonia Ballroom Orchestra.  It features vocals from three sources; Robert, Tuttle, and Morris (a play on the American surgeon of the last century, Robert Tuttle Morris), Gi Gi Bumstead on female vocals, and Jimmy Wasson on male vocals. I do not know who any of these people are and assume they are all just aliases.  I spent about 45 seconds on this.

I truly hated listening to this album. I felt it was stereotypical and derivative. And I have liked 20’s/30’s trad jazz albums in the past but for some reason, this one did not work for me at all.  I think it was the fact that the songs are just plain silly with such comic book titles as “Popeye the Sailor Man”, “Mickey Mouse and Minnie’s In Town”, and “Little Orphan Annie”, along with such other songs as “The Good Ship Lollipop”, “Mairzy Doats”, and “Lookie,Lookie, Lookie, Here Comes Cookie”. Anyway, that is all I have to say about this.

For a sample, I was drawn to “Leaning On  A Lampost” although “I Met You At The Bijou On Dish Night”.  Both songs were sung by the previously mentioned Jimmy Wasson.

Again, I hated this record.  Meh.

The Finlandia Male Chorus of Detroit

This was $3.  It had enough songs that have become standard covers of the 60’s.  Finland… an odd country wedged between the Scandinavian countries and Russia, sharing elements of both societies while rejecting others.  I have had the strange honor of playing hockey with a number of Finish people in Houston, more than I thought was statistically probable. From Timonen who weaved his way in and out jail in the 90’s (known for the saying “to jail I go”, to Ansi, who was the first choice for sub defense men in my Thursday league ( I was #2), along with a few other kids with strange names with a lot of vowels.

Of the great Finland migration to the USA, a good chuck of these migrants settled in Michigan, most notably the Upper Peninsula.  There was some over spill however, to some of the bigger cities and Detroit was no exception.  Given the plight and flight of the city, I believe  Finish numbers have dwindled over the years, while the Upper Peninsula still has one of the biggest Finish populations in the country.

This record, released in 1970 under the direction of Eero B. Keranen, features a choir that originated in 1923 under one John Karhu. They performed at mostly Finish function until the 30’s, where they started to branch out slightly.  Keranen became the director in 1966.  AT the time of this recording, the chorus features 50 singers and six string players.

Link to some info on Chorus

The album is a mixture of chorus songs as well as a few instrumentals from all across the board.  Songs include “Born Free”, “Never On  A Sunday”, “Somewhere My Love”, and “Hello Dolly”, along with some Finish tunes as well.  I mean, it is what one would expect.

For a sample, I went with the instrumental Russian classic, “Those Were The Days” as well as what I assume is a  Finish number, “Finlandia”.

Meh.  Maybe, I would rate this better if I paid a dollar for it.

Milton Berle- Songs My Mother Loved

This was $1.  I got it to see what Milton Berle’s contribution to music would be.  Hey, where are my manners?  Another month of 2017 and another month of Donkey Show.  Most of the year, I have been running ahead of writing these posts.  Well, I have now fell behind.  Oh, well.  I have all month to get caught up.

Milton Berle (1908-2002), known as “Mr Television”, was America’s first major TV star. Getting his start on vaudeville and radio, Berle jumped on the rising medium of television in 1948 with the Texaco Star Theater, renamed later to the Buick-Berle Show, and later, just the Milton Berle show.  

This record, from Roulette Records, came out in 1957 at the end of his show’s run.  As the title would suggest, the album is a collection of songs for his mother, Sandra Berle, who passed three years earlier.

The Hugo and Luigi, who received producer credits at the bottom were Luigi Creatore and Hugo Peretti, songwriters who were also co-owners of the label.  The duo would work with Perry Como, Sam Cooke, and Elvis Presley.

Since this record is dedicated to Berle’s mother and given the fact that my mother is probably going to read this, I am going to skip over the fact that Berle was known as one of the largest endowed performers in show bidness.

And although, he worked clean for the large majority of his acts/shows, his performances at the Friar Club were often blue and made light of his gift.  Anyway, below, is a rather comical story from SNL writer Alan Zweibel, who oddly enough, used to write the jokes for the Friar’s Club roasts.

Zweibel’s recollection of Berle

Anyway, back to general decency, this record is a collection of older tunes from the first half of the century.  I am unsure who the orchestra and chorus are but they do most of the heavy lifting.  Berle does an occasional speak over on some of the songs. It is ok, overall.  I thought I was getting more Berle content when I bought this.

For a sample, I decided to play tribute to the boys of summer and Bull Durham with “Try A Little Tenderness” because women do get woolly.

Overall, meh.  Really don’t get to much out of this.  The arrangements are pretty bland and Berle’s voice overs don’t salvage this act. I guess I should factor in what I paid for this but still, meh.

Mireille Mathieu- Fidelement Votre

When I was putting together records for this Anniversary month, I noticed I had no French female singers in the lineup.  Well , this omission could not stand so here is a frequent visitor to this blog, Mirelle Mathieu.  This record was $3.

As is the case with many French female singers who put out great swinging music in the 60’s, later output is generally less appealing and a reflection of musical tastes at that time as well as general aging. Frances Gall’s records of the 1980’s come to mind for me.   This record, released by Phillips in 1978, reflects a more adult contemporary sound for better or for worse.  I mean, one can’t make young, hip records forever.

This record is decent enough but obviously not among my favorite eras of the genre.  A decent collection of slower adult songs done in French with the inclusion of “A Blue Bayou”.

For a sample, I went with “Un peu de bleu” or “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” which was an earlier hit for Crystal Gayle.

Eh,  there are better Mathieu albums on this blog.  I have not gone meh this month so here is the first.

 

 

The Beach Boys- Beach Boys’69

My folks had this album when I was a kid.  I remember listening to it in the car quite a bit.  It was only a dollar so I bought it.  At the very least, I felt it would be an easy listen as I am pretty much familiar with it.

This album is from a live performance in  1969 in London.  By this point (as evidenced by the postcards on the cover), Brian Wilson had had his breakdown and no longer toured with the band.  I believe the line up at the time for this performance was Al Jardine, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Carl Wilson, and Dennis Wilson. Dennis, at the time, had ended his casual relationship with Charles Manson.

I don’t know how true this story is but who cares about truth these days?  This is what I heard and I find it entertaining enough so that makes it true to me.  Take that, journalism.  Anyway, according to what I heard, while Manson and a few of his girls were living at Dennis’s house, Dennis was having a party with several big wigs and influential people from the business of show.  During this party, Manson approached Dennis and gave him a bullet.  When asked what it was for, Manson replied that Dennis could keep it in his pocket and think about how lucky he was it was in his pocket and not in his children.  Well apparently, Dennis did not take to threats well and proceeded to beat the living tar out of Manson.  According to sources, he brought Manson to tears, all in front of some of the hippest people in the music industry. I mean to make a grown adult cry in front of other adults.  Apparently, Dennis did not play.

Back to this, I remember being disappointed by it as a kid.  I still feel the same now.  By this point in their career, that initial shine was missing from this effort from what I had enjoyed from their studio releases.  Maybe that missing Brian Wilson vocal made all the difference. At the time when my parents had this, I was a pretty big Beach Boy fan but probably did not understand the who Brian Wilson saga. Released in 1970, the album was actually recorded in 1968.  I believe the by the packaging I got that this is a re-release, from somewhere in the mid seventies.  I guess I should also add that the record was in pretty poor shape.

When I was listening to this, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” was playing on the Simpsons.  However, the version on this record skips too much.  I can tolerate a skip or two but not more than three.  So I went with what was my favorite song on the album when I was a kid, “Barbara Ann”.  Again, when I was a kid, I felt the studio version was way superior to this.  I still stand by that statement.

This is the first time I used an album I felt was meh on a Saturday but after two years, why not.  Meh.

Jackie Gleason Presents- Music For Lover’s Only

This was only $1.  I found it quite ironic that someone would trivialized domestic violence would put out an album for lover’s only. About 20 years ago, before I had any idea of the concept of a blog, I purchased one of Gleason’s other records.  At the time, I described it as something I would play to children if I wanted to discourage them from making music.

Always a fan but not able to read or write, Comedian Jackie Gleason enjoyed a second career in the music business in the 50’s and 60’s when he lent his name to a series of 20 or so Jazz flavored albums with romantic themes. most notably for Capitol.  He wanted to make music that would serve as wallpaper or mood music.  The instrumentation is in the back ground and the overall music is very laid back with smooth edges. Cornetist and trumpeter Bobby Hackett played on some of these as well as serving as leader on seven. He originally spoke very highly of Gleason’s musical skill as well as some of the lessons learned during these sessions.  However, later in life, when asked what Gleason contributed in the studio, Hackett replied ” he brought the checks”.

Gleason with the Ginger Man himself

Spaceage page for Gleason with some interesting background.

This was Gleason’s first record of his series.  Released in 1952, it became a best seller staying in the Billboard Top Ten for 153 weeks. I believe it was his best selling disc. It sounds as described above, a series or romantic songs played in a slow laid back fashion.  In true form the solos are in the background as the setting moods take the foreground.  What do I think? Well, the record to me comes off like a pair of safety scissors.  I find the songs on here quite boring. So after 20 years from buying my first Gleason record, my opinion is unchanged.

For a sample, I had a hard time finding something I liked on this but finally decided on ” I Only Have Eyes For You”.

I still hate these albums.  I find them too bland and given some of the other albums I have posted, that is saying something.  But what do I know?  These albums were quite successful.  People actually bought them en masse.  Well, I still don’t like them.  So meh.

Stan Kenton & Tex Ritter- ST

This was $4.00.  It had a lot of promise.  An interesting collaboration between two artists and a decent song list.

This album is a collaborative effort between alcoholic pianist, composer, and arranger, Stan Kenton (1911-1979) and country singer and actor Tex Ritter (1905-1974), who was the father of Three’s Company Star, John Ritter as well as the voice of the Disney Bear Jamboree’s Big Al.

This effort was released in 1962 for Captiol Records and features Ritter’s low country voice with Kenton’s Big Band orchestration. I had high hoped for this album but quite frankly, it does not work.  The two styles mix as well as oil and water. They do not compliment each other at all. In all honesty, it probably would have  been better served with a singer with a higher register.   Critics and fans felt the same as this album did not sell well.

There are a couple songs that I normally like such as “High Noon”, “Cool Water”, and “Red River Valley”. There are also a couple of big band standards such as “September Song” but really all of them kind of fall a bit flat.  After some thought, I went with “Cimarron”.  

Meh.  Pretty lackluster album and I had such high hopes for it.