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 Gordon Highlanders- The Very Best of Sousa

This was $2, only 99 cents less than its original extra special selling price at Sam Goody.  As much as I love listening to marching band albums (sarcasm), I bought this so I could post the three witty insights below (well, I think they are witty anyway).

No one signifies marching band mus, not just universally but here in America like John Phillip Sousa (1854-1932).  As the leader of the US Marine band as well as his own band, “The March King” composed some of the best known marches in history.

At the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, there is a section in the American instrument exhibit for both Sousa and marching bands.  On display, they have a sousaphone, a light weight tuba designed by Sousa to make it easier to march or stand with than a regular concert tuba.  From that time on, I cannot get the image out of my head of Sousa and his counterparts, staying up late at night in a creative frenzy, perhaps driven by the cocaine infused Coca-Cola they had at the time, just riffing out ideas for new instruments.  I wish I could see some of the rejected ideas.

Somehow, the story reminds me of a Mr Show skit of “The Battle of the Megaphone Crooners”.  Mr Show also combined marching band music with Amadeus for this bit as well.

Sousa’s most famous work perhaps is “Stars and Stripes Forever” (hopefully not forever).  But his second famous piece of work you may ask?  I would say “The Gladiator March”.  Unfamiliar with this you say? You probably would recognize it when you heard it as it was the theme of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Why did they go with this song? For the simple reason that it was in the public domain.

Anyway, here is this collection of songs from his marches to his operettas, performed by the Gordon Highlanders under the direction of Douglas Ford.  I believe this was a British army regiment that got Incorporated into the Queen’s Own Highlanders in 1994, to form one group simply named the Highlanders.  Or maybe they are totally unrelated.  Who knows?

For a sample, I went with “Invincible Eagle”.

As far as the record goes, it all really started to sound the same after the third song so meh.


The Ventures – Hawaii Five-0

This was a bit pricey at $4 but had a bunch of songs I liked on it.

Released in 1969, this album went Gold on the strength of the title track, which was also the theme song from the show of the same name.

Other than that song, the album is pretty decent but is typical of late Ventures’ material which mostly consists of instrumental versions of pop tunes.  Which can be hit or miss at times.  I would say this album mostly hits but only because I want to get out of here.

I really liked the medley of Traces VI songs, but ultimately went with The Box Tops’ ” The Letter” which I felt was the strongest on the album.

Satisfactory record and I am done for the month. Woo-Hoo.

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.

Yvette Horner- Les Plus Grandes Valses Musettes D’Yvette Horner

This is another record I bought at the swap meet in Amsterdam when I went last November.  It was one euro.  When I posted the other dutch albums I bought back in January, I had a spot conversion but I am too lazy to go back to see what it was. If I knew the subject was red headed, I might not have elected to go with back to back red hairs, two days in a row.  Oh well, this has been typed so here we go. 

Yvette Horner, is a French accordionist/ pianist which meant I had to translate French Wikipedia for this info.  Born in Tarbes in 1922, she won the Accordion World Cup in 1948, becoming the first female to do so.  

According to this translation, she has played over 2,000 concerts, as well as released over 150 records with cumulative sales of 30 million. She has collaborated with musicians from the world of jazz, country, and electronica among others.

From what I can tell, she is of no relation to the German instrument manufacturer, Horner, of whose accordion she has in the cover photo.  From what I can tell, she currently lives in a retirement home in Paris.

This record, which was a dutch release, on EMI.  This might have come out in 1986 or perhaps may have been a re-release of an older record.  I am not sure and did not want to spend more than 4 minutes to find out.  What I do know is this is a pretty decent collection of polka flavored accordion in a Parisian style.  The title translates to the grandest waltzes and that is what this is.  Pretty good stuff accordion-wise, Horner did have a pretty tremendous talent.  

That reminds me.  I probably picked this album to reminisce of how I used to play accordion and how I do not do that anymore.  When I did though, I did have the idea to do “Popcorn” on the instrument.  Well, apparently Horner beat me to that.

Well,  there is not much to add to that.  So here is the sample, “Gigolette”.

Good album. Satisfactory.

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.

Afternoon in Amsterdam

This was one dollar.  I have been holding on to it for some time meaning to tie it in to Amsterdam. A couple months back, flights were $500 or so.  When I looked last month, they were $1,300 but I need to make sure I have the right dates.  Really want to go in December for the Lights on the Canals Festival, but it is not the most fiscally prudent thing to do at this time.

But when I do go, I occasionally see these large organ type machines this album is showcasing, usually on the street mentioned on this album, on Kalverstraat just south of Dam Square.  Big, colorful, and with many moving parts, these things called Gavioli Draaiorgel Jupiter on this record, have been pretty noticeable while I was there.  Yet I do not have a picture of one.  Funny that.

Well, I now have a record of it from Capitol Record’s International series.  Released in 1956, this is record is a collection of tunes grouped by categories. There are songs of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Tangos, waltzes, marches, and Dutch South African songs among others.  It is an ok little album that sounds just like you would imagine.

For a sample, I decided to go with a trio of songs about Dutch towns, “Just Give Me Amsterdam”, “My Own Rotterdam”, and “There is Only One Den Haag”.

Decent album.  Satisfactory.  I mean if you bought it thinking it would sound any different, shame on you.  As far as going there this year, we shall see. I have always said where there is a will, there is a way.

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.