Baja Marimba Band- Heads Up

Well, finishing this anniversary month with this effort.  I am sure Herb Alpert would have been a more fitting choice, but as I do not have anymore of his albums, here is the next best thing.  This was $1.  I got it for “Georgy Girl”.

I didn’t realize it until I wrote this post, but this month’s selections are rather vibe heavy.  Well, no turning back at this point.  Released in 1967, this would have been the band’s fifth album.  It is a decent collection of songs. led by marimba-ist Julius Wechter. A decent enough track list although it has one of the more tepid versions of “Temptation” on it.

For a sample, I went with the song I liked the most, “The Cry of the Wild Goose” although it sounds very derivative of “Ghost Riders in the Sky” which was presented on an earlier post from this band. I also decided to go with “Georgy Girl” as well since it was the reason I bought this record.

Satisfactory record.  Thank you for joining me this month for what has been this blog’s second anniversary.

Webb Pierce- I’ve Got A New Heartache

Well, you had to know this was coming.  I could not have an anniversary celebration without this frequent guest, my favorite of the country singers, Webb Pierce.  This was $3.20.

This record, released in 1963, was Pierce’s 12th or so.   A lot of good country standards on here including works written by Don Gibson, Mel Tillis, and Hank Cochran.  This album is pure Webb, for whom after 5 or 6 posts, have little more to write about.  At the very least, this makes for a short post.

For a sample, I wanted to go with one of my favorites “Walk On By”.  I also decide to go with “What Good Will It Do”.

Short post today indeed.  Satisfactory. I think this took three minutes tops.  Must be among one of my quickest posts.

Judy Collins- In My Life

With April coming to a close, we are still keeping a spotlight on thise artists who frequently pop up on this site.  Judy Collins fits this bill perfectly.  I got this not only for the artist, but for the high number of songs on this album which are among my favorites; “Pirate Jenny”, “Liverpool Lullaby” and “In My Life”.  This was only 80 cents with discount.

This was Collins’ sixth album (her fifth studio effort) and marked a transition from folk to more of a pop vein.  Released in 1966, the album also featured more orchestration compared to the more simpler folk style of previous releases.  There are a lot of great song writers on this album including Dylan, Farina, Brecht-Weill, Newman, Cohen, Donovan, and Lennon- McCartney.  As stated above, the song selection as well as the interpretation of these tunes makes this album something special, although quite truthfully, I prefer to folk sound of the earlier efforts. But back to this, it is a completely diverse selection of works which I feel does quite well for itself.

For a sample, I had many choices to chose from but for some reason, decided to go with a song I had not heard until I bought this record.  From the 1963 play/ musical The Persecution and Assassination of Jean Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade, of Marat/Sade for short, here is a collection of 4 songs from the effort. The play, which features music in a Brecht manner, takes place in the days after the French Revolution and is a play with in a play with the Marquis de Sade directing inmates from an insane asylum as the title would suggest. Apparently, Sade used to really do this.

It premiered in 1964 in West Germany and soon found its way to London and Broadway.  It would win a Tony for best play in 1966. A film version was released in 1967 staring Patrick Magee in the lead role of Sade, a role he performed in the London production. Anyway, it is an ambitious work for Collins to tack on this album and I think she does it quote well.

Excellent album. Top Rating.

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.

 

 

Paul Clayton- Whaling and Sailing Songs From The Days Of Moby Dick

I could say it was the whaling genre that got me to buy this album, or the allusion to Moby Dick, or the inclusion of “Greenland Whale Fisheries” that made me buy this album.  But honestly, it was the yellow and blue cover that caught my eye and made me buy this.  It was $3.00, perhaps $2.40 if I got it on discount.  I can not remember exactly.

But for what ever reason, I bought this and fell in love with it as soon as I heard it.  “The Mermaid Song”, in particular, caught my ear and after two days, I threw it in to my guitar repertoire.  Anyway, this album, released by Tradition Recordings in 1956, takes some of the more popular whaling songs, most known and referenced by Melville and displays them in this collection.

It is kind of odd when you sit down and think of it, but singing was an integral part of a seaman’s life back in the day.  There were all types of songs for all types of jobs, varying in length to reflect the various jobs.  These songs also varied in mood and emotion.  A sailor who could sing well could stand to gain great respect from his captain and crew.

Paul Clayton,  born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1931, was a folk singer who gained popularity during the folk revival of the 60’s as well as the Greenwich Village Scene.  Although he collected tunes from various places including the Appalachians, his New England upbringing lent himself to become a purveyor of whaling and sailing songs.  He became friendly and even a mentor to a young Bob Dylan.  However, when Clayton’s publishing company found that Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice Its Allright” sounded too much like one of Clayton’s own compositions, the two companies met in court.  It was found that Clayton’s song came from an earlier song which was in the public domain, so the lawsuit was settled out of court.  The two artists remained friends after this up until 1967, when beset with personal problems, Clayton took his own life with an electric heater in a bathtub.  He was only 36.

This record is an excellent collection of sea shantys, done in a bare bones fashion with little instrumentation save a guitar.  The record has a summary of the song on the back cover as well as a little history and why and where the song was sung.  All together, really great songs.

For samples, I went with a couple of songs. First off, one of the oldest shanties, “The Maid Of Amsterdam” tells the story of a sailor who meets a fair maid who pinches his money.  The second song, “The Mermaid” (Child 289) was one of Melville’s favorites and quoted in his novel White Jacket.  As mermaids were known as harbingers of doom, this song tells the story of such an encounter.

“Greenland Whale Fisheries”, which was one of the reasons I bought this album, is presented here as well.  I have noted with this song as did the liner note writer that there are two variants of this song.  In some versions, the captain, although pained by the losing of the whale, grieves more for the loss of his crew.  In versions such as the Pogues’, the two are switched which is perhaps more realistic. The Dubliners have actually gone both ways with this, which begs the question; was human life more or less valued back then as compared to now?  Well, just like today, it probably depends whose life? Anyway, which version does Clayton choose?  You will have to listen for yourself.

Finally, here is a number dating back from days after the death of Napoleon, “Boney Was A Warrior”.  This short drag song was used for sweating up the halyards at the end of a long pull.

Anyway, real good album.  Satisfactory.

 

Various- Stay, O Guests From Afar

Records like this are why I started the blog.  I picked this up with an earlier Chinese 10″ at the Half Price Books in Sugar Land.  Both records were $4.  For the most part, I wrote most of this month’s posts during the first week of April.  Which on one hand has been great for me as I have been able to sit back at nights and relax.  On the other hand, it has been less easy for me to comment on current events in an interesting manner as these posts have already been churned out.  Do I correct this in May?  Or do I continue to get ahead of the game?  I guess only time will tell.

When I posted the earlier record, I wrote a bit about the China Record Company, the state run business which out out this record. Not much more to say about the label.  From my guess, this record came out around 1977 or so.

Link to Earlier Post

Anyway, here is this, a collection of Chinese folk songs featuring solos and choruses in both male and female variety.  I am not sure if these songs focus on a specific area of China or not and quite frankly, I am too lazy to look into it any further.

A lot of good songs on this album but I kind of prefer the other one to this effort.  I can’t exactly put my finger on it.  Anyway, for samples, I was stuck bewteen “Pai Girls Love To Sing”, “Picking Flowers”, “The Wusuli Boatmen’s Song”, and the somewhat dirty sounding “My Home is in Shiagatse”.  Well, as it comes down to this being the last post I am writing for the month of April, here they all are.  Extreme laziness on my part but what can you do?

I got a bit more mileage out of the other Chinese album bu this is decent enough record.  Satisfactory.

Terry Snyder and The All Stars- Persuasive Percussion Vol 2

This was $2.40.  Since it is a Command record, plus it has a version of my favorite song, “Brazil”, buying it was a no-brainer.  In fact, as with other Command records, I bought this twice.  I am unsure how much I paid for the second copy.

About a couple weeks ago, I saw Pink Martini play at Jones Hall.  In all honesty, when I bought the ticket, I thought I was going to see the French Pink Turtle, who play pop tunes in a hot/swing jazz style.  After discovering my mistake, I read enough good things to go ahead and see Pink Martini.  And they were pretty good.  If I had to describe them, I would say they were a lot like seeing this blog  live.  Interestingly arranged tunes from a diverse source, with styles and languages from around the world.  They were backed by the Houston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Steven Reineke.  They had a great version of Dvorak’s Moon aria, from Rusalka. It was a really great show.  Anyway, they also closed the set with a great version of “Brazil” which brings us here.

Of all the songs I frequently post on this blog, “Brazil” written by Ary Barroso in 1939, takes the title as the most posted. I am not 100% sure why this watercolor ode to the country where I should disclose I was born and spent the first year of my life hits home to me.  Perhaps it is the beat and the rhythm, or the wonderful melody lines.  I am not going to go much deeper in the subject other than my favorite version is that done by Esquivel.

This is the second series of Persuasive Percussion.  The first volume sold well and proved to be popular for the label.  Drummer Terry Snyder served as the band leader on this effort and for his part assembled three groups of Command musicians for this record.  The first group featured a large orchestra along with additional drummers Wille Rodriguez and Artie Marotti.  The second group keeps the three drummers with a simple saxophone, trumpet, and trombone, plus a rhythm section.  The third group adds Doug Allen to the drum circle along with an expanded rhythm section.  Standard Command performers include Doc Severinsen, Tommy Matola, Urbie Green, and Dick Hyman.  The effort was produced by none other than Enoch Light.

Link to Terry Synder’s Spaceagepop page

This album is a pretty good collection of tunes and does put a highlight on the percussion end which some percussion albums oddly fail to do. A lot of good moments here.  For a sample, I decided to go with ” In A Persian Market” which features Severinsen’s trumpet. I also went with the centerpiece of today’s blog, “Brazil”.  Pretty decent version.  I have yet to hear a real awful version of this song but as soon as I can post one, I will.

Good record, Satisfactory

Steeleye Span- All Around My Hat

I sort of cheated with this album.  I asked the clerk to take a dollar off this and apply it to one of the dollar albums I was getting the same day.  After explaining how I needed to buy this record for under $5, he agreed to help.  This was therefore, $5.

I have posted about  4 or 5 Steeleye Span records to this site.  They are among one of my favorite groups.  There 1970’s electric take on traditional English folk music still makes them unique today.

This album represents the high water mark for the band, at least commercially.  Released in 1975, it was their eighth and highest charting album in the UK.  It was also the first album to chart in the US.  The title track with the B-side “Black Jack Davy” became a #5 single in England.

The album features a weird peek-hole insert, used to give some normality to the portraits on the cover.The decide is known as Anamorphic projection.  I thought it was pretty stupid the first time I looked at it but after a few stares, I have backed off that statement some.

Anyway, this is the pure rock-folk music that the band was known for.  Real good album.  For a sample, I went with the second single from the album, “All The Hard Times of Old England”. It dates from around the Napoleonic Wars.  A Newfoundland variant, “Hard, Hard Times” has also existed since the Great Depression era. Either way, Steeleye Span’s version hit home with 1970’s England.

Top Rated Record

Lionel Hampton- Lionel Plays Drums, Vibes, Piano

This $3.  I like Lionel Hampton a lot as well as any album that has smooth vibes.  This record, BTW, is French.

Hampton, born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1908, started his life as a drummer playing around Chicago before moving out to the West Coast around 1928.  While playing drums for Les Hite in California, Hampton started picking up the vibraphone.  When Hite’s band was picked to back up Louis Armstrong, Armstrong turned to Hampton to provide the vibes on two numbers.  Thus, Hampton’s career on the instrument was born.  After work with Benny Goodman, Hampton led his own band.  His output would slow as he aged.  Hampton would die in 2002, buried adjacent to Duke Ellington and Miles Davis.

This record was released in 1958 and is around his 22nd record, give or take.  Pretty good little record here.  As the title would suggest, it features his work on drums and piano, but most importantly, the vibraphone.  Again, this album is swinging.  I wanted to use almost every song as a sample.

So far samples, I decided to go all out.  For a sample on Hampton’s vibe work, I submit Cole Porter’s “Just One Of Those Things”.  His drum work is in full effect on “Tracking Problems”.  “Blues For Stephen” showcases the piano.  Finally, what I imagine is Hampton’s vocals can be heard on “And The Angels Sing”. I realize this is four songs and a bit lazy on my part but again, this is a real good album.

Top Rated.

Walt Disney Presents- Peter and The Wolf/ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

I got this for the Peter and the Wolf side.  The other side, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, conducted by Leopold Stokowski will go unmentioned for the most part during this blog.  This was $1.

Peter and The Wolf was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid and one of my favorite pieces of music. Sergei Prokofiev wrote the work in 1936 after being commissioned by the Central Children’s Theater in Moscow to write a symphony for kids.  The point of the work was to a)introduce kids to musical instruments and b) illustrate the virtues of vigilance, bravery, and resourcefulness.  Each character is given its own instrument and theme.  The work proved to be quite popular and has been adapted many time, most notably perhaps, the 1946 Walt Disney cartoon this album is taken from.

Narrated by Sterling Holloway, this is a pretty straight adaptation of the work with some slight differences.  The character’s all have names except for the wolf.  That is kind of messed up.  Maybe if he had a name, he wouldn’t be so vicious.  In the Disney version, the Duck turns out to be alive at the end. For a sample. I went with the last part of the work. It features a lot of the character themes as well as the hunter’s music (which is among my favorite) and a triumphant end theme for Peter.

Satisfactory.