Stan Kenton- In Hi Fi

Welcome to another month of Donkey Show, which already has surpassed 2016 in terms of viewership.  When I was picking out records, I put an emphasis on ones that I have previously listened to, thus lessening my listening burden for the month.  At first I was really jazzed about this month.  After choosing the songs, I am slightly less so.  I could have diversified it a bit more.  Two brass band albums in one month is crazy.  Anyway, here is an interesting month of albums starting with this one I got for $3 which I bought for no better reason that the two tone cover.

Stan Kenton, born in Wichita, Kansas in 1911, was a pianist and band leader of in the same class as Herman, Basie and Ellington. He had several big band hits in the 1940’s.  However, to keep with trends of the time as well as to stay economically viable, Kenton paired down his band to an ensemble of 19.  This band’s swinging sound was cemented with the addition of drummer Mel Lewis in 1954.  This new incarnation had success up until the 60’s where Rock and Roll all but decimated this style of music.  Kenton, did remain active and still had a good deal of success in this period although he was somewhat curtailed by two accidental falls towards the end of his life.  Kenton died from complications from a stroke in 1979 at age 67.’

Released and recorded in 1956, this album takes some of Stan Kenton’s more popular big band songs from the 1940’s and translates with this smaller jazz ensemble.  Along with the help, from arranger Peter Rugolo, Kenton’s band tears thru these 13 tracks with a swinging horn section.  There are no strings on this record listed, nor can I remember them.  Overall, it is a pretty good little record. I think I picked about six songs of it as candidates for samples. According to some reviews, this was one of Kenton’s more popular albums as well as a good seller. 

For a sample, I was really drawn “The Concerto To End All Concertos”, being a fan of hyperbole and all .  However, upon listening, I did not feel that all concertos were on the verge of ending, as the title would suggest.  But for sake of this article here it is, along with a favorite of mine, “The Peanut Vendor”.

 

Good little album.  Satisfactory.

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.

Doug Kershaw- Alive & Picking

This gem of an album was only $1.00.  This is Doug Kershaw and his band, live at Great South East Music Hall in Atlanta, GA.

All the big hits are here including songs he did with his brother Rusty: “Diggy Liggy Lo”, “Cajun Joe”, “Louisiana Man”. “The Cajun Stripper”, and “Natural Man” among others.  Real high energy on this and a good live vibe as well as good translation of recorded material.  Can you tell I am trying to finish up this month?  If not, you will by tomorrow.

For a sample, I went with the Johnny Horton classic, ” The Battle of New Orleans”.

Great little record.  Satisfactory.

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.

Petula Clark- Color My World/ Who Am I

Perhaps you have noticed that the quality or length of my posts goes down the closer to the end of the month. Well, if I am getting smart ( and I think I am), I should start using artists who appear frequently on this blog towards the end. And so there is this, which I bought for 80 cents.  

This was Petula Clark’s 6th US record, released in 1967 (with a similar record released in the UK).  The two title tracks were singles in the US the year prior. The album contains songs from various artists including Roger Miller and Paul McCatrney as well as collaboration between Clark and others.  

One such collaboration was this track, “Las Vegas” which I felt was really swinging.  That it kind of belonged in the movie Casino.  I really liked this track for many reason, one of which that this is an English woman belting out a song about the bright lights and dark underbelly of Vegas.

Other than that, this was a pretty good album of songs.  Satisfactory.

The Kingston Trio-Goin’ Places

This was a dollar.  I am not sure why I bought this since it does not have a whole lot of songs I knew, except the two Woody Guthrie ones.  That might be the reason I bought it.

This was the Kingston Trio’s tenth record and last one with Dave Guard. After recording this album, the trio went on their first foreign tour.  Upon their return, Guard, upset about royalties as well as wanting to expand as an artist, left the group.  He would be replaced by John Stewart.

 

Anyway, this album, released in 1961,  went to #3 on the Billboard charts.  It is a pretty good collection of lesser known folk tunes that run the gambit of styles, from spanish, to pop to bluegrass to americana.  Truth be told, I selected about 6 songs from this record for a sample.  Anyway, really good album.  It should be noted that the trio put their long time bassist on the cover Buck “David” Wheat.

For a sample, I thought about it quite a bit and went with two, the gospel flavored “You Don’t Knock” and the folk “Razors In The Air”, mainly because Wikipedia made a deal about Dave Guard’s banjo on it.

Good album.  Satisfactory.

Timi Yuro-The Best Of

I got this for a dollar back in 2015, way way back.  Not sure why I got it.  Probably because it was a cheap, a Best of, and maybe because the name was curious to me.  I thought she was perhaps Asian-American.

Well, that would be wrong, Timi Yuro is Italian-American who would be influential for a period in the US, UK, and the Netherlands.. Born in Chicago in 1940, she moved with her family to Los Angeles where she sang in their restaurant and later night clubs. This brought her to Liberty Records and her first and biggest hit, “Hurt” in 1959.  She was one of the first Blue-Eyed soul singers and was quite influential in the UK Northern Soul scene (not that it is the same thing, but Morrisey is a fan).

Others hits followed but by the late 60’s, her career slowed down and after her marriage in 1969. she quit the business all together, save a brief comeback in the Netherlands.  She would die from throat cancer in 2004.

This is a collection of those hit singles.  released in 1963.  Pretty good stuff.  Kind of a mix between Motown and a female version of Frankie Valli.

For a sample, I went with “If I Never Get To Love You” although “I Ain’t Going To Cry No More” got serious consideration.

Good album. Satisfactory

Isaac Hayes- The Isaac Hayes Movement

Happy Saturday.  This gem was only $1.

This was Isaac Hayes’ third album, released in 1970, fresh off the heels of the massive success of Hot Buttered Soul.  I did not want to write about HBS but since I already have a copy and find it very unlikely that I would find one for under $5, I might as well note it here that after dismal sales of his first album, Hayes was prepared to go back behind the scenes, writing and producing.  The label’s executive, Al Bell, had different plans.

As Stax had lost its entire back catalog following a split with Atlantic, Bell was tasked with building the catalog back up and pressed Hayes to make another record.  Hayes insisted on creative control. which he received, and as a result, a massive and heavily influential record was born.

This was the follow up album, which was also a hit, reaching #1 on the Soul charts.  The album features only four songs , heavily arranged and orchestrated with the signature sound Hayes crafted on the previous album.

For a sample, I went with “Something” despite being 12 minutes in length.  It should be noted that “Something” is the most covered Beatles’ song after “Yesterday”.

Great album. Top Rated.

Al Dean- Mr Cotton Eyed Joe Plays For Urban Cowboys

If you would think about what are my most popular posts, they are not the big names or the popular records.  In contrast, they are the local and regional artists. The smaller a footprint one has on the web, the more hits my blog gets.  So among the top 5 posts was an album I had posted from this artist, Mr Cotton Eyed Joe himself, Al Dean. This was $4, by the way.

My earlier post on Dean.

I was saddened to hear that Dean had passed away from cancer in October of 2016 at the age of 85.  It was happy to hear though, that he was posthumously(just last month) inducted into the South Texas Music Hall of Fame.  There is an excellent story about Dean and this event from this blog below.

Blog post about Mr Cotton Eyed Joe

Yet another blog post.

As Dean’s bands have been family affairs, at times including his brothers, this album features his sons, and his wife Maxine.  This record , released by Kik-R Records from Houston, was obviously a marketing attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the movie, Urban Cowboy.  It is also my belief (which the blog above somewhat confirms), that Dean is responsible for the version of the song that most of us who grew up in this state remember. This is no small accomplishment and I can state without any sign of hyperbole, that this puts him in a signifcant place among Texas musicians.     They don’t play it anymore, but it was common place at sporting events, along with the crowd hollering “Bull Shit”.

Pretty good record.  All instrumentals though. If I knew this, I would have posted a few of the singing songs he did on the first record I posted, (Hell, if I knew he past, I would have posted “Roughneck Paycheck”, which was one of my favorites.  Anyway, this is a collection of popular country instrumentals.  I will have to note, however, that the hole on my copy is off center and as a result, the record’s sound is a tad off.  Other than that, great little album.

 

For a sample, I went with “Release Me”. I did not go with the namesake song (which is among one of my favorites) as I posted it from the last album.

Good little album. Satisfactory.  My respects to Mr Dean and his family.

 

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.