Deutschmeister Drums and Brasses

DSCN1008This album was $2.00. I have been trying to figure out why I bought it and all I can come up with is the onset of a mental disease. The uniforms reminded me of the guards in Cloud City in Empire Strikes Back. It may have also been “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” on the track list as well.

I had to use a web translator to research. Besides the oddness of reading about dead people in present tense, it can be a struggle to get the accurate information in broken English summaries. Regardless, the Hoch Und Deutschmeister band seems to be a regimental unit from Austria that might have been formed in 1695 or 1741, depending how you translate it. Most sources state that the band’s instruments are custom made to produce a semitone higher than standard instrumentation, thus allowing it to be heard over great distances. According to thier website, they were still active in 2014 . Besides performing concerts here and there, they also provide musical accompaniment during the changing of the guard weekly in Vienna. Of what I could understand of the bandleaders, Julius Herrmann, the leader on this album, seems to be the most dominate conductor in the band’s history. He joined in 1910 at the age of 20. In 1918, he became the leader. In 1938, during the Annexation of Austria by Germany, all bands were placed under the direction of the Third Reich and as a result, the HOD disbanded. However, Herrmann set about reforming the band in 1945. He continued to lead until his death in 1977.

Translated History

So this album led me to ask the question, how would I be able to distinguish great band music from good or mediocre? I attempted to answer this question but seven minutes into it, I gave up. So this is my summary: Ken Alford is great; John Phillips Soussa is the best; the playing on this album is good. I feel I can go to my grave in peace with this rudimentary, even if not completely accurate understanding of marching band music. In regards to the album, it delivers what it promises: marching band music. It is not terrible. I am guessing it is quite good but it does not radically change my views on the genre. The more I listen to this, the more unsure of I am of what I was looking for with this purchase.DSCN1010

This was a tough one to pick but I went with the “Deutschmeister March“, which may or may not be written specifically for the band. Listen at your own risk.

Meh. I hope I never listen to this again.

Sammi Smith- The Best Of

DSCN1006This was $3.00. The cover as well as the fact that I have been drawn to female country singers as of late sparked this purchase.

Sammi Smith was one of the few female country singers associated with the outlaw country movement of the 1970’s. Dropping out of school at 11, getting married at 15, and moving to Nashville after her divorce at 24, Johnny Cash discovered her and brought her to Columbia Records. After a minor hit or two and switching labels, she scored a #1 hit on the US country chart with Kris Kristofferson’s “Help me Make it Through the Night”. Kris had offered it to Dottie West, who turned it down due to its suggestiveness. She would later list this as her biggest musical regret. Back to Sammi, she would move to Dallas and become close pals with fellow Outlaw singers Willie and Waylon. She had a string of good albums in the 70’s but started to decline in the 1980’s. A heavy smoker, she died in 2005. According to the liner notes of this album, her favorite food was soft tacos with Ortega Green Chili Sauce.

This album, released in 1972 (pretty early in her career), takes the best stuff off her first three records for Mega. As noted , “Help Me Make it…” was her signature tune. At the time, both Sammi and this song in particular had to overcome covert overtones of sex and suggestion to get airplay. As one can see below, she did not have the talents of Dolly Parton, so I guess she had to compensate somewhere (and yes, I believe that is a Pearl Beer Beltbuckle).Sammi+Smith+sammi

Sammi did however, have a beautiful, twangy- smokey voice which is showcased here. The pace of the songs kind of lose me as I prefer some up tempo songs in a mix. Seriously, would it kill her to do a slightly upbeat song? But other than that the girl had talent and was one of the few women among the predominately male outlaw bunch. I really liked “Girl in New Orleans” and “Saunders’ Ferry Lane”.DSCN1007

I chose her signature tune as the sample mostly as a time capsule. Given today’s standards, this song is pretty tame. That was the world we lived in back then. Who is worse, society for lowering standards or the moral gatekeepers who saw there was money in dropping morals? And who I am to judge anyway? Two paragraphs ago, I made a breast joke (comparing Sammi to Dolly). This is getting to deep already. Enjoy the sample already.

This started in Meh territory but after listening for the last few weeks, it has clawed into satisfactory levels.

The Bob Crewe Generation- Music to Watch Girls By

DSCN0999This was in the $1 pile. I bought it for the title track as well as few others. It was formerly owned by one Al Lake who lost the sleeve along the way. The album is also out of print I believe.

Bob Crewe, I learned after the fact, was a heavyweight in the world of songwriting and producing. He co-wrote and produced most of the hit songs for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons including “Walk Like a Man” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. Although I am told his character’s portrayal in Jersey Boys is exaggerated, it explains why an album titled Music to Watch Girls By has fifteen young men on the cover. Really, do you expect me to believe there were 15 clean cut, all white session musicians in the US in 1967? Regardless, he continued to write songs and produce records. “Can’t Take my Eyes off You’ and “Lady Marmalade” probably are his biggest accomplishments on that front. He died on Sept 11, 2014.DSCN1000

I believe this to be Crewe’s first record done under his name with the label, Dynovoice, which he founded in 1965. On it he picks an interesting choice of material to cover including musical numbers from movies, to songs he co-wrote, to music written and performed earlier on his label. I did not know this when I bought it, but this was the first real recorded version of the Title track. It was taken from a Diet Pepsi commercial. It went to #15 on the pop chart and was later covered by many including Al Hirt and a vocal version by Andy Williams. Also, in a gesture akin to Russian Peasant Theater, it has become the obligatory background music in movies and TV when they want to infer that someone is a ladies man. In regards to the rest of the songs, they showcase Crewe’s direction and arrangement skills by combining a rich mix of instrumentation as well as a variety of tempos. Most of the songs have prominent guitar parts as well. I think because of this in particular, I enjoyed this record.tumblr_mdqmv3psxZ1qiqzu8o1_500

Normally, I do not like using the hit song as an example, but I was stuck between either “Anna” or “Let’s Hang On” and could not break that tie. Plus, as a service to anyone who plans to throw a 60’s style swinger event in the near future, I present the title track.

This is a satisfactory record for me. I will play it again.

Doc Severinsen’s Closet

DSCN0991I bought this for $1 to appeal to my one friend who likes King Crimson and still has not checked out this blog yet. What are you waiting for? It’s not F@#&ing Shakespeare.**

This album came out in 1970, two years after the last Doc album I posted. It is a marked departure from the straight forward big band jazz of the prior, in part for its inclusion of rock music. The tracks are all pretty good. The second side is particularly strong with Bartok inspired “’Footprints of the Giant” and the funky vocal driven “Power to the People” and the Abbey Road medley. I hate to mention how good it is and not sample it but it ends with a tribute to “I Want You (She’s so Heavy) before going into the famous last words of “The End”.DSCN0992

The sample I chose is Doc’s cover of King Crimson’s “In the Court of the Crimson King”. Like I said before, I did this to appeal to my prog rock friends. I am a sucker for pandering. I also think it is a good cover as the horns seem to compliment the song. Not to rub salt on the wounds, but the Abbey Road medley is better. But pander I must, so by the Grace of God, I pander on.

Satisfactory purchase. There you go bud. Three paragraphs to breeze thru and a good interpretation of King Crimson. So check out my audio-blog already!!

**Note. Between the time I wrote this and the time I posted it, said friend did in fact check out the blog.

Webb Pierce- Golden Favorites

DSCN1001I was on a country kick when I was record shopping this day and this was in the $1. I also really like Webb Pierce. People either love or hate his voice.

A true country legend with a unique voice from West Monroe, Louisiana, he had his own radio show at the age of 15. After WWII, he worked at a local Sears in Shreveport while honing his craft, and performing locally. Nashville would take notice and yada, yada, yada, Webb was a country star. He would later take Hank William’s place as the most popular singer in country music after Sr’s death. Webb would also replace Hank on the Grand Ole Opry when Hank was fired. Ironically, Webb would become a heavy drinker himself along the way in his career. The Opry posed a dilemma for Webb as he was already a star when we was asked to join. Meeting the mandatory minimum of performances would take away from other appearances and thus constitute a pay cut. Because of this, he quit Opry , burning bridges and delaying his admittance into the Country Hall of Fame. Webb was finally admitted in 2001, ten years after his death.

Of all the old legends, Webb strikes me as the guy you would want to have a drink with the most, and that is a heavy playing field to choose from. He seemed like he had a real Good Ol’ Boy Quality. I guess most successful self promoters have a bit of huckster in them, but it is that likability that keeps them from full on Eddie Haskell status. While other country musicians were struggling against rock and roll in the late 50’s , Webb maintained popularity mainly thru his relationships with DJ’s across the US. He was known for his excesses, including fancy clothes and a guitar shaped pool in his Nashville home. He also set up shop by charging tourists tickets to see his pool. A lawsuit by his neighbors, including Ray Stevens, forced him to stop this practice. A replica pool was then built on Music Row. While writing this, I seem to recall seeing the guitar shaped pool when I was a kid during a trip to Nashville. However, fuzzy memories can be misleading. I mean, did I go to Niagara Falls as a kid, or did I just watch Superman II? Regardless, I did go to the Country Music Hall of Fame because I still have the souvenir pocket knife. See, consumerism is good for something.

Webb Pierce and his Swimming Pool Nashville
Webb Pierce and his Swimming Pool Nashville

This album is a collection of Webb’s favorites according to back cover, but I imagine it is more of an obligation to Decca Records. It is hard to swallow a collection of great Webb songs without “There Stands the Glass” but the songs selected showcase his unique voice which separates him from his peers. And as it was released in 1961, it has a good mix of songs, including the Everly Brothers “Bye, Bye Love”.DSCN1002

I chose “Shanghied” for mainly for its Asian strings which borderline on being cheesy. Screw that. After listening to this for two weeks, it is cheesy but I still like it. The songs are all pretty good on here and there is nothing that really stands out over the others.

Satisfactory Purchase because I like Webb Pierce.

Rev James Cleveland and the Charles Fold Singers- Vol III


DSCN0993When I saw this in the $1 dollar bin, I nearly wet myself. The Rev. James Cleveland is the King of Gospel Music and the track listing looked awesome. You can imagine then the great disappointment when I got home and pulled out the record to find that it was different. What I actually got was Rev Cleveland and the Charles Fold Singers. Serves me right for not checking this is the store. What are you going to do? I mean I paid a dollar for it and the Metro costs $1.25. I don’t want to be the asshole who tries to return a dollar record.

Besides boasting great songs, the tracks on the album cover were short. In contrast, the album I got are long. And I would say the album focuses more on the Charles Fold Singers than the Reverend. He pokes his voice out on this from time to time but it is mostly the choir doing the majority of the work. From what I can tell, this record was released in 1978 whereas the one I wanted was closer to his prime in the 50’s/ 60’s. Despite two upbeat numbers, the majority of the tracks are slow movers. I feel the original album would have a better mix of tempos. I have listened to a few tracks from what I thought I was getting on You Tube which only confirm these beliefs

Anyway, disappointment aside, I got to walk away with something, so here is “God’s Not Dead” which along with “Tell it to Jesus” is one of the two most up-tempo songs on the album . It should be noted that the Reverend is not prominent on this cut.DSCN0994

I hate to give this a low rating, but again, it was heartbreaking for me to pull this out of the jacket. What I got was not representative of his early great works. I will be on the lookout for the original album and hope to post this someday.

David Rose- More!More!More!


This was $3.00. I got it for the title and the album cover. Music of the Stripper… and other fun songs for the family . Because what says family fun like sitting down and listening to stripper music? Sitting around with brother and sister in an age before poles and Def Leppard.

David Rose was a composer, arranger, and bandleader from Chicago who moved to Hollywood after cutting his teeth in the Chicago radio scene. Once in Cali, he formed an orchestra and went on to work in radio, and TV. He won 5 Emmys for his work and he had at least three hit singles as well. On a personal note, he was Judy Garland’s first husband for all of three years. He died in 1990 at age 80. His daughter runs his publishing company, which licenses his songs.

Among his best known work is “Holiday for Strings” and “The Stripper”. Originally a B-side, this would go on be a number #1 song and the #5 tune of 1962. Furthermore, it has been used in countless movies, TV shows, and other media, including this famous scene from Slap Shot.

What to say about this album? You know, delivering what you promise goes along way with me and this record does that. Upon the first few listens, the songs all kind of sound the same. Most of them have what I take to be the staples of Old- Timey Stripper Music: dirty trombones, liberal use of ride cymbals, a pulsating beat, and accents to shake what was then known as cans to. After a few spins, the songs seemed to differentiate a bit more and I was able to appreciate some of the subtleties. “The Lullaby of Birdland” is an excellent cover. The horn on “Some of these Days” really wails. I was impressed with the inclusion of the theme to “Walk on the Wild Side”, the Lawrence Harvey/ Barbara Stanwyck movie. There is also a David Rose original “The Runway” which rehashes the inspiration for this album. Note that “The Stripper” is not on this album. The instrumentation is really good across the board. Again, it does what it set out to do.


Choosing a song was hard but I went with “Blues in the Night” mainly for its influence on cartoons which is what really got me in to music in the first place. That and the Muppets. Oh What the Hell. I will throw in “Sunset Strip” for this week’s double take.

I will say this is a satisfactory record now, but it is only a few spins away from going to into meh territory.

Sandie Shaw-ST

DSCN1019This was in the $1.00 bin. I bought it on Record Store Day because I like 1960’s pop with female vocals. I knew I knew the name from somewhere but it took some research to fully flush out where. The record was formerly owned by one Debbie Vassallo who must have played the hell out of this since the sleeve is torn up.

Normally, I write these out two weeks in advance of uploading and by the time you read this, I am thoroughly sick of the album and the song posted. However, I am totally in love with this record and Sandie Shaw. As I bought this on Record Day (two days ago), I moved it up the chain

Sandie Shaw was the British “Barefoot Pop Princess of the 1960’s”. She had a string of hit singles in the UK in the 1960’s coupled with numerous TV appearances. Furthermore, she won the 1967 Eurovison Song of the year (which I believe she thought was clown shoes). She also released her version of “ Your Time is Going to Come”, in 1969, making her the first artist to cover Led Zeppelin. Due to waning sales, as well as other interests including kids and acting, she released songs intermittently after the 60’s. However, she did return to music from time to time including working with younger artists in the 1980’s. In one such example, after reading a letter from two of her fans, Morrissey and Johnny Marr, she recorded a few Smith’s tunes and in 1984 , released her version of “Hand in Glove”, which charted at #27 . Furthermore, the Smiths accompanied Sandie by lip synching with her on UK shows such as Top of the Pops. Note that in tribute, the Smiths are barefoot.

I love that video clip. That is why this jumped ahead so rapidly in my posting schedule. From here more intermittent work recording, including many tribute and compilation albums, as well as becoming a licensed psychotherapist and opening a center in 1997. She retired from music in 2013. This bio may have omissions and may appear somewhat glib but I imagine if I grew up in the UK, I would have a different take on this.

Although she was primarily known thru singles, this was her first and highest charting album. Released in 1965, it would go to #3 in the UK. Two songs, “Always Something There to Remind Me” and “Girl Don’t Come” were hit singles before the album’s release. Furthermore, most of the songs were made famous by others including “ Everybody Loves a Lover” (Doris Day), “Downtown” (Petula Clark), “It’s in his Kiss”, “You Won’t Forget Me”,” Lemon Tree”, and “ I Need Your Loving”. The album is rounded out by songs written by Chris Andrews, who was Sandi’s main songwriter.   There are a lot of real soulful points in this album as well as good pop sensibilities. Sandi has a beautiful voice and the back up vocals are great as well. The music and instrumentation also represents the swinging sixties.   So good song selection coupled with good performances make this album for me.DSCN1020

After listening a few times, I chose “ I Need Your Loving” as a sample. There are a lot of good songs on this album. I guess there is something perverse about hearing a 18 year old white British girl dish out an American R&B staple.

This record gets my Top Rating. I will keep playing it for a while and it was only a dollar.

Marcello Giombini- Sabata

Oro_sangriento_Sabata-941161010-largeI bought this last summer off Ebay for $5 not including shipping. To paraphrase Ricky Bobby, it won an Grammy for most awesome song ever. Seriously, it is my favorite Spaghetti Western theme, even though I am leaning a bit closer to Keoma after seeing it.DSCN0989 It is Saturday. Enjoy.


The Young Rascals-Collections

DSCN0985In the $1 bin, I got this because I liked The Mummies cover of “Come on Up”. I have to figure if the Mummies cover you, you got to be good. This record formerly belonged to one Collene Broussard of Lake Jackson according to the homemade label on the record

The Rascals (Young Rascals on this album) were instrumental in the field of Blue Eyed Soul. They had nine #1 hits including “Good Lovin”. They were from Jersey so it makes sense that Little Steven inducted them into the rock hall of fame. Apparently, they put on a real elaborate show during live performances.

This was their second album, which was a departure from the garage rock of the first to a more soul based style. Furthermore, this album was the first to showcase the band’s songwriting. I lean more towards the garage, and as a result, was disappointed with the soul stylings of “Come on Up”. However, this is a good album. The band’s originals have rocking moments and some slower soul. “Lonely Too Long”, the hit single from this record, sounds like it could have easily come out of Motown, which is an accomplishment. The covers are done well. On that point, I have yet to hear a bad version of “Land of 1000 Dances”. Truth be told, I would probably prefer the first album, but after a few spins, it grew on me a bit.DSCN0986


There are more than a few good songs on this album, but I chose “More” . I am not sure why. I liked the break after the choruses yesterday. I do not know why I feel slightly different about it today.

Meh. Sorry. I listened to it three times and got out of it what I could. Really good stuff but I am done with it. Worth the dollar I paid. Will defiantly check out the first album