Los Norte Americanos- Galveston, I Saw The Light, and Other Hits In The Tijuana Sound

I paid $4 for this?  God knows why?  I remember I had a good reason why when I bought it but for some reason, it escapes me now.  Egads, $4 I paid for this steamer.

I guess I should take a second to point out that I am okay and have weathered the floods in Houston associated with Hurricane Harvey.  As I am on the 20th floor, I was really never concerned.

I was the only one able to make it to the office today (after some re-routing) and it looks like we only took minimal water and will only need to replace some carpet ( we elevated all our inventory off the ground prior to the storm and used my idea to use folding tables to do so).  And it looks like I will get a paycheck this Friday.  Plus gasoline was not too terribly gauge-y yet.

But I must acknowledge that I am one of the lucky ones and this storm did cause a lot of devastation.  I did spent a lot of my time holed up working on this blog so when you read about me preparing for Harvey in October, that is why.

The record states this is by Los Norte Americanos but in all reality, this was probably done by one of the many sessions bands for Somerset/ Allshire Records, more than likely outside of the US.  Made, no doubt very hastily in a bid to compete with the Latin explosion of the time, coming mainly for A&M Records (Herb Alpert, Sergio Mendez, etc), I believe this came out around 1969.

The first time I listened to this, there was something I liked about it.  Well what ever that was, it has escaped me the second time around.  I found this record to be pretty insipid and generally uninspiring.

But we do need a sample, so I went with the song I liked best, the Jim Webb penned anti-war song which Glen Campbell made into a hit (downplaying most of Webb’s sentiment), “Galveston”.

Meh. Got taken to the cleaners with this record.

Cockspur Five Star Steel Orchestra- ST

This was $1.20 with discount.  My love of steel drum bands as well as the song “Brazil” have been well documented on this site.  So two selections with “Brazil” on it this month.  Really letting standards slip.

This release from Barbados’ the Cockspur Five Star Orchestra is from 1985.  The band, which was originally known as the Brutus Marcato Steel Band, was formed in 1974 by one Lola Husbands.  The band came together to provide entertainment in local hotels.  Some where along the way, the band lost Marcato and gained a sponsorship from Cockspar Rum and yada, yada, yada, we have this.  (Please note this is the first use of yada,yada,yada, on this blog). Not much else is known about this group other than they released at least two more records and a greatest hits.

Decent enough album.  A bit tepid in places.  it is also one of the better produced steel records but that really is not too strange considering it was recorded in the 1980’s.  A good collection of tropical tunes and instrumental standards. The band is lead by King Ricky Benn on tenor pan with Mouser Benn (also on Tenor Pan), musical arranger Tom Felicien (Guitar Pans), Mark Shorey (Double Seconds), Keith Gollop ( Bass Pans), and Yamaha Griffith (Drums and Percussion).

For a sample, I went with “Stinging Bees” and of course, “Brazil”.

I go back and forth on this but I am in a generally good mood today so I will say satisfactory.



VA-Fonzie Favorites

Ayyyy… Don’t sit on it.  I am not sure when I bought this but one day, while goign thru records in my pile, I noticed this.  $4 I paid for it.

Yes Arthur Fonzarelli, better known as the Fonz, was a minor character on the sitcom Happy Days before exploding into a national sensation and a main protagonist.  Played by Henry Winkler, who in real life was the complete opposite of his TV persona, Fonzie was the 1970’s adaption of 1950’s cool.  He was definitely one of my favorites as a kid and much to my parent’s chagrin, probably led to the ongoing friction I have with authority figures (which is quite funny given that it was a family TV show).

Here is a fun fact that I learned while writing this post.  Originally, the role of Fonzie was supposed to go to Ex-Monkee Micky Dolenz, based on the strength of a similar one time part he played on the TV show Adam 12. However, as Dolenz was 6 foot, producers wanted the character to be at the same level as other characters, and so the 5-6 Winkler was cast.  Poor Mickey.

So here is an album put out to capitalize on the Fonz’s popularity.  It consists of mostly 50’s songs, the Happy Days’ theme song, and three novelty songs.  The back of the album has a fold out easel so the cover can be used a picture. The 50’s songs are pretty good an run a good range from The Everly Brothers to The Coasters, to Little Anthony and the Imperials to the original theme song “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets. There is also an impressions track with expressed instruction for you to learn all of Fonzie’s favorite phrases.  This cam out in 1976 at a manufacturer’s suggested list price of $5.99 as advertised on TV and radio.

Of course for posting purposes, I am going to go with two of the novelty tunes.  First off, in what is quite strange, we have “The Fonzarelli Slide” which features the Fonz making an appearance at James Buchanan High with the Sweathogs from another 70’s hit, Welcome Back Kotter.  Although for the record, the impression of Horshack at times sounds more like Jerry Lewis.  Anyway, here it is as a strange time capsule of 70’s television.  It is credited to Frank Lyndon who I am guessing did all three Fonz impressions on this album.

Also, I went with a slightly more saner and straighter novelty number, ” The Fonz Song” by the Heyettes? .  Also to put something on that was not a joke, here is Lee Dorsey and “Ya Ya”.

The 1950’s hits are actually pretty good and I found the novelty songs entertaining.  Satisfactory.

Miguel Asins Arbo- Marchas Militares

Bucking convention and posting two marching band records this month, this was $2.  I bought it to tie in to a story I have about Colombian music which I shall relate below and which will prove to be a bit meaningless as the post progresses.

So there I was in Bogota, Colombia in 2011 or so, around Thanksgiving.  I was there for a Oil Show (which was pretty wild and a story unto itself), working for a Chinese company.  So every day, I would get picked up from my hotel and driven to the convention center with a car load of Chinese through graffiti- covered streets.  It was on once such morning that I heard a song on the radio which I struck me in immediate awe.  It was an orchestral piece with horns and akin to something I would relate to the Soviet Union or some other leftist/nationalist composer (aka minor tones and a rousing theme driven by the said horns).

I was immediately struck by two simultaneous thoughts.  First, this was the most beautiful piece of music I had ever heard.  Second, I knew that in all probability, this would be the last time I heard it as the driver did not speak English.  So given this, I simply listened to this piece, knowing that as soon as it was over, it would be gone forever.  And after it was over, a slight sense of depression fell which in all honesty, probably ended with the car trip.

Well, because I do not read these things before I buy them or write posts, this record was by Columbia Records and indeed not from Colombia.  Perhaps the Made in Spain label should have tipped me off. Well, I already wrote the story above and do not feel like deleting it so given this completely unrelated story , we have this record of military marches from Spain. This album is not close to song I had described, nor does it differ much from other marches. It  sounds like any other military song from Europe or North America.  There is not too much different in march composition in the West\ Civilization.  Anyway, this came out in 1975.   It is conducted by Miguel Asins Arbo, born in Barcelona in 1916 and died in Valencia in 1996.  He served as bandleader form military regiments in Valencia and Madrid as well as a chair of accompaniment at the Royal Madrid Conservatory. The marching band, I believe is from the 1a Region Militar.

For a sample, I went with “Soldadito Espanol De La Orgia Dorada” which Google translates into “Little Spanish Solider of the Golden Orgy”.  I do not quite think the last part is correct but I do indeed find it humorous.

Meh.  I guess I pinned too much hope on this album. Plus I tied it in to a completely if not unrelated, than only marginally related story which I am to tired to back out of.

Iron Butterfly- Ball

This was $3.  I got it at the SW-Hilton record show some time back.  Probably had a Saturday post in mind for it when I bought it.

This was Iron Butterfly’s third album, released in 1969 hot on the heels of their Inna Gadda Da Vida success. It went Gold and spawned to minor singles. This would be the last studio album from what was considered their classic lineup.

Not feeling typing anything more and will probably go out to buy a new mouse tomorrow.  I know what you are saying, you don’t type with a mouse but trust me, a lagging  mouse makes putting these posts together almost miserable.

Well, no need to feel any more misery with this post.  Here as a sample is “Real Fright” which combines a snappy drum, a poppy bass line, a snarling guitar and the intricate keyboards the band is known for.

If you want to know more about the album or the band, I would suggest your search either.  Critics called it an ambitious album.  Obviously, when you follow your biggest hit, there is going to be some critical response.  That being said, I think it is quite good myself. Satisfactory.

Bourbon Street All-Star Dixielanders- Jam Session on Bourbon street

This was $1.  Probably got it because it was cheap.  It is hard to state with a degree of accuracy why I purchased something two years ago.  Going to need to buy a new mouse if I am ever to return to a semi lengthy post. Anyway, here is this, from a group calling themselves the Bourbon Street All-Star Dixielanders.  This is apparently the third volume in the Dixieland Festival series with at least a fourth volume following it.

Here is this record on the Vik label.  Recorded at the Parisian Room in New Orleans on June 12 1956, this record features some dixieland jazz standard performed by a who’s who of dixie land jazz at the time.


The lineup, in order of solos are group leader George Girard on trumpet, Harry Shields on clarinet, Jack Delaney on trombone, Lester Bouchon on tenor sax, Tony Almerico on 2nd trumpet, Pete Fountain on 2nd clarinet, and Santo Pecora on 2nd trombone.  Roy Zimmerman handled the piano.  Phil Darois handled the bass.  Frank Federico took guitar duties which are scant on this record.  Finally, the drums are covered by Roger Johnston and Paul Edwards.  The announcer at the Parisian Room, Pinky Vidacovich handled MC duties.

Other than that, what more can I say?  I am simply putting a paragraph here for some symmetry.

Here for a sample is “With You Anywhere You Are”.

Decent record, especially for the price.  I mean, it sounds like you would expect.  Satisfactory

The O-Jays- The Year 2000

This was one dollar.  I got it because the title reminded me of the Conan bit he used to do on his late show.

This O-Jays’ album, from 1980, came out near the end of the arc of their career.  That being said, there are some decent tracks on here that are consistent with other R&B acts of the period.  (Note-for a bio of the group, look at an earlier post or use Google). With the duo of Gamble and Huff handling production as well as a good chunk of the song writing, I think this album is good enough.

For a sample, I was going to go with “You’re The Girl Of My Dreams” but the title track did really grow on me and was kind of reminiscent of the Conan bit.

Decent album. Satisfactory given the price.


Mirella Freni- Airias

This was $1.  Two opera albums in one month.  I got this recently but unsure what drove the purchase other than price. Probably the inclusion of the piece from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro which I saw at the HGO if not this season, then last season .  Pretty good production that was.  Set in a 1970’s villa in the country side.

Mirella Freni, born in Modena, Italy in 1935, is a operatic soprano who made her debut in 1955 in Carmen.  She has performed various works of Verdi, Puccini, and Mozart as well as performed on the biggest stages including the Royal Opera House and the Met.  She also starred in the 1975 film version of Madame Butterfly.  She is still alive today but ended her career in 2005.

This is a collection of some of the arias from some of the famous works: Puccini’s Tosca, Verdi’s La Traviata, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro among others.  .  This is technically, quite good.  Freni is a wonderful singer and deserves more of a write up than this but some where along the way this week, I lost my appetite for writing this post, no slant against the artist.  This one is on me.  Also does not help that my mouse is on the fritz.

So I went with the aria from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, “Un Bel di Vedremo” as this seems to be the big work she seems to be associated with. For today’s output, I am going top let the music speak for itself.

Technically difficulties and poor attitude aside, this is a pretty good little album. Satisfactory,

Baptista Siqueira- Nordeste/ Jandaia

This was $2 with discount.  I got it for some flavor of Northern Brazil which musicaly is quite different from the parts I have been to.  Why two foreign classical records in the same month you may ask? I am not sure myself.

The Northeast Region of Brazil, affectionately known as Nordeste was the first to be discovered and inhabited by Portuguese colonists.  Known for its hot weather and rich culture and folklore, it also has some of the prettiest natural sights as well as some of the hottest weather in the country.  The region makes up 18% of the coutnry, 28 % of the population and 13% of the GDP.

The composer of these pieces, Baptista Siqueira (1906-1992), was a musicologist and composer that source lists from Paraiba in Nordesste  His father, who had the same name, was a conductor as well. He studied music in Rio de Janerio, wrote books on music, and composed at least three operas, three symphonies, three symphonic poems (which I believe this is one), and a ballet among other works. according to one badly translated source, it is generally noted that the son had a better  life than the father. He also had a brother who was a composer and musicologist.

A link where I got information about this and Siqueira

This is a collection I am guessing of two pieces.  The first piece “Nordeste”, a symphony for the solo piano,in three movements, which I am guessing is a musical tribute to the fore mentioned region and is probably technically more of a concerto.  The second side features a symphonic poem, “Jandaia”, which is a municipality on the state of Golas which is in the center west region of the country. The piano, at least on the first side, is provided by Murillo Santos.  Henrique Morellenbaum acts as the regent.  I am not sure what the role of the regent is but as I am too lazy to take this up any further, I am leaving it at that.  The Orquestra Sinfonica Do Rio de Janerio provides the rest of the instrumentation. Other than this is a Brazilian record from Rio, I am unsure of anything else about it.

Truth be told, I was really taken by both compositions so I included the introduction and first movement of “Nordeste” as well as “Jandaia”.  Both seem to paint a rather lush picture of climate, topography, and geography which I would imagine the region to contain, whether accurate or not.

Anyway, decent little pickup.  Satisfactory.

Ambrose Thibodeaux-More Authentic Acadian French Music

Ok.  I messed up the math on this.  I thought it was $5 with discount but in reality it turns out it was $5.60.  My bad.  Probably should re-adjust the threshold for inflation.

Acadian music is the basis of Cajun music which has been blended with creole to form zydeco.  This style was rooted from the ballads of the French Canadians who settled to North America from France in the 17th and 18th centuries and were forcefully migrated from Eastern Canada to Louisiana during the Great Expulsion of 1755-1764.  I could fill this post up about the rich history of all this or touch on the fact that my late grandma had Acadian roots but it is Monday and am just not in the mood today to take this any further.  Google it if you want to learn more.  For the sake of this record I will over simplify: Acadian music = Cajun music. 

Ambrose Thibodeaux, born in 1903, learned to play accordion at age 15 and was playing dances by 17.  After putting it aside from the married/farmer life, he picked it back up in the 60’s during what was a revival of French Cajun music.  During this time, he played festivals, appeared on radio and tv, won awards, and even traveled to France.  The most notable appearance, according to what scant information I could pull up, was his work on the Revon Reed Radio show out of Eunice, LA.  He performed on Saturday mornings for the good part of five years.  Thibodeaux past away in 1995 .  I am not sure when but he did get inducted into the Cajun Music Hall of Fame (again in Eunice).  His bio on this site is where I pulled most of this info from.

Link to Cajun Music Hall Of Fame

This album, released by La Louisianne Records, in 1966?, features traditional Cajun French songs as well as original compositions by Thibodeux.  Pretty good music and very authentic and representative of the genre.  Thibodeux’s accordion is backed up by the violin of Leon Doucet, the guitar of Nelson Bergeron, the bass of Jack LeBlanc, the occasional vocals of Gervis Quibodeaux, and the triangle of Elmer Thibodeaux.  Not sure if that is a relation of not.

There were a bunch of songs I liked, but in the end, I went with “Two-Step De Musician” simply because it had vocals.

Good little record.  Satisfactory. I probably did want to add more to the post but the time constraints of pulling together next months records and working on two musical acts while pulling down a nine to five have led to this brevity.