Tom Jones – This Is Tom Jones

DSCN4855 (797x800)This was 80 cents.  I got it for the song I am using for a sample.  1000509261001_1956487760001_Bio-Biography-Tom-Jones-LF

This was Tom Jones’ 12th or 13th album depending on how you count.  Released in 1969, it would go to #2 in the UK and #4 in the US.  It has two country tunes that were later compiled on the Jones album I posted earlier; “Wichita Lineman” and “Little Green Apples”.  It also contains such pop standards as “Fly Me To The Moon” and “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay”. Other than that, it is what you would expect from a Tom Jones album and part of his late 60’s successful run of records.DSCN4856 (800x792)

For a sample, I went with the Beatles’ classic “Hey Jude” but if I may point out one criticism which is not directed solely at Jones but at most people who cover this song.  The ending of the original, in which Paul McCartney loses his shit makes this song.  Unfortunately, most covers cut the ending short and also do not cut lose like Sir Paul. So I feel that I have yet to hear a definitive cover version of this song .Tom-Jones-the-Rapper--30502

Satisfactory record.

Melanie – Leftover Wine

DSCN4853 (800x794) (2)This was a dollar I believe.  I got it because I like the artist.

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Melanie Safka, known professionally as Melanie, is a American born singer-songwriter from Queens.  Bursting on to the scene in 1968, she was barely known outside of Greenwich Village ( and the Netherlands where she had a hit with “Beautiful People”) until she played Woodstock.  The phenomenon of raising lighters (now cell phones) perhaps started during her set and influenced her to write “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)”, which would become her first US Top Ten hit.  She also had success with “Brand New Key (The Roller Skate Song)” which was later used in Boogie Nights.  Melanie still plays live today.

Melanie’s Web Page

This album was her fourth, recorded live from Carnegie Hall in 1970 and released the same year.  Whereas her studio efforts were complex arrangements, this album was Melanie bare boned. The result is a beautiful and engaging live album.  It is stark, raw, and emotional (see, I can use adjectives other than good).  The album finishes off with a studio track, “Peace Will Come”.photo1

The album states on the cover, “Recorded Live At Margie’s Birthday”.  This is in reference to music journalist Margie English.  There is a version of “Happy Birthday” on this album as well.DSCN4854 (800x795) (2)

For a sample, I went with “Uptown and Down” which is about her native New York, played live in New York.  I was kind of leaning more towards “Leftover Wine” but it had a skip in it and I was too lazy to fix it.  “Uptown and Down”, however, is still a moving number.melanie-copy1

Satisfactory Record.

Cowboys International- The Original Sin

DSCN4857 (799x800)This was $3.00.  I got it at Sig’s Lagoon.  They had a $3.00 bin at one time.  I believe this was back in October.  I have not been back lately as the simple fact is that I have too many records right now.  Which is a shame because they usually have a better selection of cheap finds.  I think I got this because I saw Terry Chimes and Keith Levene on the back cover.  I may have also Googled it in the store as well before purchase.cowboysintnl

Cowboys International was a UK group formed in 1979 and disbanded in 1980.  Led by singer and songwriter, Ken Lockie, the group had a New Wave/ Synth Pop sound.  According to the Internet, they were a influential supergroup, composed of musicians from previous punk outfits, who had a huge impact on the New Romantic movement of the early 80’s.  Terry Chimes was a drummer twice in the Clash.  Keith Levene had played guitar pre-Clash with Mick Jones and was also working with P.I.L. at the time of this recording.  He lends his guitar to one track on this album.  The band released one album and several singles before calling it a day with members going on to other New Wave ventures.

This album was released in 1979.  When I first listened to it, I felt it was very derivative of music form the early 80’s.  SO you have to keep in mind that this predated all of that.  The album itself got pretty good reviews when it came out but somehow fell in to obscurity over the years.  It has crisp beats, clanging guitars, non-adjective synthesizers, and Bowie-esque vocals.  Overall, it is a decent album.  DSCN4858 (800x786)

For a sample, I went with the deadpan “Here Comes A Saturday”.MI0001334339

Satisfactory Record.

 

R J Benninghoff – An Evening With Chopin

DSCN4862 (800x797)This record had been staring at me for some time during multiple visits to Half Price. This was one dollar. If show tunes were one sub theme this month, modern interpretation of classical music was the other.  I think the Captain America looking cartoon on the record caught my attention when I saw this record.  The other characters on the cover are Chopin with George Sand, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Heinrich Heine, Lord Byron, and Novalis.  George Sand was the pseudonym of Amantine Lucile Dupin.  She had numerous affairs with artists including Chopin and was not a 19th century transvestite as I originally thought.A-963801-1312054971.jpeg

I was unable to find out much of anything of pianist, writer, and arranger R.J. Benninghoff.  From what I can tell, he is from Indiana.  I believe he worked in Nashville as a song writer and a session man  According to one source, he liked to use the word groovy, he worked on Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women”, and he was a handsome young man. Sometime in the late 60’s he became the leader of the house band for Minaret Records (most of his band mates also played on this album).  I believe during this period, he was in Valparaiso, Florida. He also put out a few more other classical/rock hybrid albums.  Sometime in the 70’s, Minaret Records started to fade and Benninghoff returned to Indiana.  I believe he is still alive.

This record, released in 1976, is a collection of tunes written by Benninghoff, augmented with pieces of Chopin.  The pieces are all tied together and grouped in sets.  It is a real ambitious project.  When I first heard this album, I thought it was really great. The second time I listened to it, I thought it was pretty good.  Kind of the opposite effect of the New York Rock and Roll Ensemble record I posted, but I still feel that this is an excellent record.  No matter my opinion, this was a pretty bold concept which was pulled off in a good manner.  The Chopin pieces really tie the songs together. My favorite numbers include the “Magic Land” set, “Show Don’t Know”, “Here Comes The Night”, and the song I picked for a sample. Besides piano, rocksichord, and organ, Benninghoff also arranged and produced this.  I do not know for sure who sang, but I am assuming this was Benninghoff as well.

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For a sample, I went with a set that includes ” Waltz-Op 64 #2, Part 1 / In-Stra-Mental / Waltz-Op 64 #2, Part 2 / The Love Of Women / Waltz – Op 64 #2, Part 3″. Both original pieces are quite good and they mesh with the Chopin tunes.

I think this is Benninghoff
I think this is Benninghoff

I do really like this record. Top Rated.

 

Jack Jones- Curtain Time


DSCN4835 (800x789) (2)This was $1.00.  I like Jack Jones.  Also, since I was going with a sub theme this month of show tunes, I felt this was a good album to round it out.  MI0001412566

Jack Jones, born in Hollywood in 1938 to actor parents, was a straight pop/ standards singer who won two Grammy’s.  Known as a singer’s singer, his career choice became clear when a high school friend, Nancy, got her father, Frank, to sing at a school auditorium (that is Sinatra if you can’t read between the lines). He got his break in 1959 when he put out a record for Capitol Records.  From there, he was signed by Kapp, while he was still working his day job as a gas station attendant.  According to his web page bio, he was cleaning a customer’s window when he heard one of his songs on the radio.

He put out almost twenty records for Kapp, most of which standards with some forays into pop, country and big band swing. He would later put a slew of albums out for RCA and then MGM.  He also made numerous appearances on TV, stage, and film.  Most notably, he sung the theme to TV’s Love Boat. He also made several appearances.

As of late, Jones has been recording sporadically,  performing musical theater on stage, and performs concerts, most notably in Las Vegas where he is still popular.  He also starred as a singer in the movie American Hustle.

Jack Jones Web Page

This album was his 22nd album I believe.  It is nothing but show tunes.  It features work from Rodgers, Hart, Hammerstein, Gershwin, Porter, and Loesser among others.  It is a pretty good collection.  Jones has a smooth Las Vegas style delivery.  Highlights include “Luck Be A Lady”, “A Lot Of Living To Do”, “People Will Say We’re In Love”, and “People”.DSCN4836 (800x784)

For a sample, I went with the Cole Porter tune, “I Love Paris”.jjones_lg

Satisfactory.

Ian Whitcomb- Mod, Mod Music Hall

DSCN4839 (800x763)This was $3.00 or was it $2.40?  I can’t remember when I got it.  If I were a gambling man, I would assume I got it during the Memorial Day Sale of ’15.  In retrospect, I should have done a better job of documenting records when I bought them.ian-whitcomb-2

Ian Whitcomb, a pianist from Surrey, had a US hit in 1965 with “You Turn Me On”.  Riding the British Invasion, it led to opening for the Beach Boys, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.

He followed up that success with this album,  a collection of tunes from the American rag time and the British music hall eras.  That was a bit of a calculated gamble  but it did bring some success with the single “Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday On A Saturday Night”. It featured the ukulele, an instrument he helped popularize before Tiny Tim. I find it an odd career choice, but that was where Whitcomb’s passion lies. He was never a fan of rock and roll.  Also, he was never really big in the UK.

He released several other albums.  Well, more like over twenty.  From what I can make out, he is a leading expert on Tin Pan Alley rag time. He wrote numerous books, both novels and music history ( he has a degree in History from Trinity College in Dublin). He scored the music for the movie Bugs Bunny: Superstar which was narrated by Orson Wells ( I believe I saw this in the theater as a kid). He also is produced Mae West’s version of “Great Balls of Fire” and released an album of music played on the Titanic, for which he won a Grammy (for packaging).  He currently resides in Southern California, hosts both television and radio, and still plays performances.

Web page for Ian

Ian w Uke

This album, released in 1966, is, if you did not read above, a collection of songs from American rag time and British music hall.  Both styles played out about the same time and are very similar with the difference being perhaps that music hall was more raunchy, by 1900 British standards.   Anyway, this album showcases Whitcomb’s talent and appreciation of these styles.  Some critics have labeled this album corny.  That is not particularly untrue.  However, it is a good easy collection of period music with songs ranging from common to obscure.DSCN4840 (800x777)

For a sample, I went with “The Awful Tale Of Maggie May”.  This was a street song from Liverpool about a harlot who steals from her johns.  A verse and half a chorus can be heard on the Beatles’ Let It Be.  This was a nod to the Quarrymen  (pre-Beatles) who used to perform this number. In contrast, Rod Stewart’s version is pretty far removed from the source.

Eh.  I could go both ways on this album, I will give this satisfactory.  I mean, it is corny, but you know what you getting into when you buy it so I am not going to harp any further.

 

The Supremes- Sing Rodgers & Hart

DSCN4847 (800x783)This was $3.00.  I should have scheduled this week better as I have two show tune albums back to back.  I kind of went heavy on the Broadway albums this month.  I do not know why.  The tendency is to keep going with a theme when I am picking out records for the month.rodgers-hart-portrait-1

Although Richard Rodgers is best known for his work with Oscar Hammerstein, his initial work with lyricist Lorenz Hart is still pretty prolific.  The duo, who met in 1919 at Colombia University, penned over 500 songs and 28 musicals. Many of their songs have become standards.74275088

Whereas Hammerstein’s lyrics were optimistic, warm (sometime on the edge of corniness), and had a broader appeal, Hart’s work was more sophisticated , clever, and more of a New York slant.  Pal Joey was the duo’s crown achievement.  Hart suffered from both depression and alcoholism (because nothing fixes the blues like a depressant) which led to the duo’s split in 1943.  Hart died of pneumonia shortly there after at the age of 48.  Among their other achievements was their work on the 1937 play, I’d Rather Be Right, which starred the King of Broadway, George M Cohen as FDR.  James Cagney showcased it in the Cohen biopic (which is mostly fabrication), Yankee Doodle Dandy.  According to somewhere, Cohan had requested Cagney for the role.

This record, released by Motown in 1967, showcases the strength of Rodgers and Hart’s catalog.  With liner notes by Gene Kelly, this album includes a lot of the bigger numbers including “The Lady is a Tramp”, “Lover”, “Mountain Greenery”, “My Heart Stood Still”, “Falling in Love with Love”, and “Blue Moon”.  DSCN4848 (800x780)

The previous owner of this record did not care for this record much as the word “Stinks!” is written on the back.  Several titles are also scratched out.  I think this is unfair as I think that it is an excellent record.  The previous owner singled out “Lover”, “My Romance”, “My Heart Stood Still”, and “Falling in Love with Love” as the highlights.  supremes-the-51c6f2ab741a7

For a sample, I went with one of the scratched out numbers “This Can’t Be Love” from the Boys From Syracuse.

Satisfactory record.

VA- They Stopped The Show

DSCN4833 (800x784)This beauty was 80 cents.  It had a lot of the show tunes I like.  It had decent performers as well.  Some of you may ask why show tunes?  I do not know.  That was the pop music at the time.  Also, I am kind of amazed that this was the stage that the world’s top actors/ actresses shined on before being overtaken by film. Plus, they had to be versatile with not only acting but singing and dancing as well.  They also had to do it night after night instead of a one time film performance.x2010.11.941

This record, released in on Decca Records, is a collection of popular Broadway tunes, sung by (according to the record) the original cast.  All the big names of the period are here.  There are three Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes.  Also included are Cole Porter, Frank Loesser, Kurt Weill, and E.Y. Harburg.  DSCN4834 (800x775)

The performers are also well represented here with John Raitt, Betty Garrett, Mary Martin, Ray Bolger, Gertrude Lawrence, Walter Huston, and Dooley Wilson (from Casablanca fame). Overall it is a fine record.P-Broadway_Zoom

For sample runner up, I was really impressed by John Raitt (Bonnie’s father) and his version of the “Soliloquy” from R&H’s Carousel.  I thought it was a fine version from the original Billy Bigalow.  I decided not to post it as a sample, though as I come across cast albums for this on a semi-frequent basis.

For a sample, I decided to go with “Swing” from Wonderful Town (music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green).  It opened in 1953 and ran for 559 performances with several revivals.314996_orig

The musical tells the story of two sisters from Ohio who try to make it as a writer and actress in Greenwich Village New York.  The sisters in the original production were played by Edie Adams and Rosalind Russell. This would mark Russell’s return to Broadway as well as lead to her film role Auntie Mame.

I am embarrassed to admit but I used to think Russell was a poor man’s Ethel Merman.  However, I have come around and really appreciate Russell for the great performer that she was.  Here she is performing the number “Swing”.

Top Rated Record for me.

VA- Diamonds By The Dozen

DSCN4849 (800x786)This was 80 cents.  It had a listing of heavy weights on it.  I am feeling rather uninspired today as I write this.  So this should make for a quick post.NIW-GEMSTONES-TREASURES-WALLPAPER_1024x1024

This is a collection of highly polished tunes, released by RCA Victor in 1963.  The luminaries on this album include Peter Nero, Chet Atkins, Henry Mancini, Floyd Cramer, Ames Brothers, and Rosemary Clooney among others.  All of which fine musicians but none the less no strangers to the record resale market.  The songs are all very fine and if I were to give a criticism of this album, I would say there are no real rough edges for me to hang on.  Other than that, it is a good collection.DSCN4850 (800x794)

For a sample, I decided to go with a piece from Armando Trovajoli (1917-2013), the Italian composer and pianist who wrote for many soundtracks for Italian films.  His early work includes writing “El Negro Zumbon” for the movie Anna.  Here is the season appropriate “Summertime”.  I realize this is the second time I posted this song in a week but that is what happens with a Gershwin classic.

Link to earlier post with “El Negro Zumbon” video 

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Meh.  It is a good album and all but I am just not feeling it today.

The Buggs- The Beetle Beat

DSCN4837 (800x795)This was a dollar.  It was previously owned by one Janet Hudson.  Maybe is Jane spent less money on material used to mark her records, she could have afforded an actual Beatle album.  beatlemania

I am pretty sure this is a budget album put out to capitalize on either Beatlemania or on stupid record buyers who cannot differentiate between this and the Beatles. Or perhaps both.  Released in 1964, this album was not recorded in England as the record boldly states.  It was recorded in New Jersey which I think is poetic justice.  The band, the Buggs, consisted of members of Coronation V (including Gary Wright on organ of “Dream Weaver” fame).  While recording, they assumed they would be doing so under their own name.  However, after the record came out, they found the album was released under false pretenses, under a different name, and with models on the cover rather than the band.  They also found out that they were to receive no royalties.  Needless to say they were not happy.  This was their only album, which was repacked and re-released two years later.beatlemania5

Oddly enough, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo lists this as his first record purchase.  At the time, he thought it was a Beatle album.  He was so disgusted at one track that it influenced the Devo song “U Got Me Bugged”.

The album itself is a mix of two Beatle covers (“I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You”), songs that sound a lot like Beatles songs, songs that sound like other British Invasion songs, and some that sound maybe original.  It is really super annoying that the song titles do not match the lyrics. Also, Janet Hudson played this album pretty heavily because it it pretty worn.  She also thought the band members on the back were “squirrely”.DSCN4838 (800x798)

For a sample, I decided to go with “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “Liverpool Drag”(Why Won’t You Leave That Man?).  Oddly enough the latter is a rip off of the former as they sound very simular.

Meh.  Meh. Meh.