Sandy Nelson- Manhattan Spiritual

This record was all of $1.  It had a bunch of songs I liked on it.  The cover says late 60’s but sound was a bit more 70’s (in actuality, this record came out in 1969).

Sandy Nelson is a drummer from Santa Monica, CA.  Born in 1938, Nelson’s fame grew due to his impressive record of session work in the early days of rock and roll. Nelson cut his teeth recording on such early classics as “To Know Him Is To Love Him” and “Alley Oop”.  In the late 50’s/early 60’s, he would have hits of his own including “Teen Beat” and “Let There Be Drums”.  A motorcycle accident in 1963 cost Nelson his right foot and part of his leg.  However, Nelson continued to release records regularly up into the mid 70’s (including this one).  Today he is sporadically still involved in music I believe.

This record, again released in 1969, is a collection of instrumental standards accented by Nelson’s drum work.  It is ok.  Nelson is a more than competent drummer and his drums do not overpower the songs on the record. Some of the arrangements are not as I would do them, but what can you do?  A lot of songs that I like were on this including one I post all the time, “Caravan”.  On one hand , I did not like this arrangement at all.  On the other hand, though, I respect that Nelson was trying to do something different with this.

For a sample, I went with the song that led me to buy this album, “Big Nose From Winnetka”.  Also, here is the version of “Caravan” which I still have mixed feelings about.

Eh.  I could go either way with this album, but since I paid a dollar for it and I am in a relatively good mood, I will say satisfactory.

Arthur Lyman- Hawaiian Sunset

This record was $1. Lyman’s reputation in the field of exotica makes it hard to pass up his records.  Since I have posted several of his records in the past, there is not much more to say on the subject.  I chose this by design since it made for an easy post to write.

I believe this effort was Lyman’s third album under his own moniker.  Released in 1958, the songs all have a Hawaiian connotation as the title would suggest.  Good stuff.  I mean, it is consistent with Lyman’s other works.

For a sample, I went with what is one of my favorite songs, “Hawaiian War Chant”.  Written by Prince Leleiohoko in the 1860’s, the song has become sort of a jazz standard being covered by jazz bands of the 30’s and 40’s as well as its inclusion in the Tex Avery 1952 cartoon, “Magical Maestro” .  Oddly enough, the original song is not a war chant but a clandestine meeting between two lovers.

Satisfactory Record.

Monte Mills- Sings Old Favorites

Seem to be overdoing it slightly on the country early this month, but what the hey.  This looked like the small local/novelty/independent type record that this blog thrives on.  Plus it had a bunch of songs that I like, most notably “Mama Tried”.  It was only one dollar.

Much to my surprise, Monte Mills has a web page and still plays around 30 to 50 shows or so a year with the Lucky Horseshoe Band, including opening for the late Merle Haggard.  So many times, records like this are a one and done-er. Based in Central Coastal California,Mills has played for a wide variety of functions and people, including entertainers and politicians. He also has released a handful or records outside of this one.

Mills Web Page

Mills, at the time of this record (which I believe was his first) was a humble horse shoe-er by trade who sang both on the trail and in the shower. As the record as well as the web page states, singing is still a side gig to horse shoeing.  However, on one fateful day, while out on the trail for the Ranch Vistadores annual 7 day ride, held at Lake Cachuma between Santa Barbara ad Santa Ynez, Mills befriended a studio musician, one  Dusty Rhoads, encouraged Mills to come out to Hollywood and make a record.  Well, Mills took his advice and made this effort, featuring, Rhoads on bass, Harold Hensley on fiddle, Roy Lanham on guitar, the great Bud Isaacs on slide, and Art Anton on drums. Anyway, the same story is on the back of the record with more colloquialisms and venacular.

For a sample, I decided to go with “The Auctioneer”.

Satisfactory record,  I really liked this.  Good songs and great selection of tunes with numbers from Haggard, Hank Williams, and Bob Wills among others. Plus, I was really happy to see that Mills stuck with it rather than letting his talent fall to the wayside after one effort.

VA- Slop N’ Mash Vol 1.

This was $8.00.  I got it as there is just not enough Jamaican music on this page.

A few years back, well decades really, sometime in the mid 90’s, I got this four -CD set of Jamaican music, from Mango Records, titled Tougher than Tough.  Starting with the Folkes Brothers “Oh Carolina” from 1961 and ending with the same song by Shaggy, (which at the time represented the present day of Jamaican music), the compilation details the history of the genre from early ska from the 60;s, to the heavy reggae of the 70’s, to the dancehall of the 80’s/90’s.  Really good collection.  I got a whole lot of mileage out of the set.

So when I saw this record, I went ahead ant snapped it up, despite the high price. This collection predates the cd set described above a bit by presenting some seminal works from 1958 to 1962.  The genres hit on the ska and easybeat sounds which birthed the nation’s music.  A lot of decent artists on here including Owen Gray, Duke Reid, Lord Lebby, Derrick Morgan, Lauren Aitken, and Byron Lee.

For a sample, I was struck by three tunes in particular.  “Crazy Dog” by Beans, Dumplings” by Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, and “Palms of Victory” by Azie Lawrence.

Great little record.  Satisfactory.

Merle Haggard- Close Up

It is Saturday and here is that purveyor of the Bakersfield sound, Merle Haggard.  This double record set cost me either $1 or $3.  I am guessing $3 due to the fact that it is a double record. Probably got it at a Record Show at the Hilton. I guess this is a good time as any to complain about what became an occurrence this month.  That is a had albums picked out which I was kind of jazzed about only to find that the records inside were different.  One was an early Aretha Franklin record.  The other was the movie soundtrack of “The Pajama Game” featuring Doris Day, John Raitt, and Eddie Foy jr ( I know, I said I was sick of Broadway but…).  Anyway, I was quite bummed out at both instances.  I think in January, I will dedicate a week to these kind of albums.

This was a greatest hits compilation from 1969 by Capitol Records, released around the same time of some of Haggard’s biggest hits (not included in this collection) such as “Mama Tried” “Hungry Eyes”, and “Okie From Muskogee”.  Most of these songs are written by Haggard but there are other songwriters here such as Liz Anderson, Tommy Collins, Wynn Stewart, and Ernest Tubb.  Overall, it is a good collection of early Haggard showing off both his singing as well as song writing.

For a sample, I went with my old favorite, the Haggard penned “Swinging Doors” although I like Ray Price’s version better which I believe I posted on this blog.

Satisfactory

Nico Gomez and His Orchestra- Fiesta Braziliana 2

Here is another record that I bought last November when I was in Amsterdam.  It was one Euro. At the time of this writing, I am having a fierce internal debate as to whether I should go back to Amsterdam this year for vacation.  God knows I need it.  Money is tight though.  Well, I am sure by the time you read this, I will have already made up my mind as to if I am going or not.  

This record comes from one Joseph van het Groenewoud, born in Amsterdam in 1925 and resettled in Belgium in 1947.  He was active in the 1950’s thru the 1970’s, mostly in latin flavored jazz.  He recorded a slew of records under the alias Nico Gomez as well as a couple under Peter Loland.  He would pass in 1992 but his son, Raymond, became a famous Belgian musician in his own right.

This record by its title, would imply that this is Brazilian music.  I tend to disagree. The titles and the music would imply more of a Mexican sound.  Perhaps there is not much differentiation in styles when you are in Europe, but in this hemisphere, it is pretty noticeable.  But overall, it is still a good little album. 

For a sample, I went with “La Bamba” which is a Mexican standard.

Decent record.  I was hoping for something more Brazilian in nature, but the price is still right for the music. Satisfactory.

Baja Marimba Band- Fowl Play

Here is what I believe is the 6th record from A&M stablemates, the Baja Marimba Band.  It was $3.00.  It had a bunch of songs that I like on it.  Well, maybe  a bunch is stretching it.  It had some songs I like.

As the BMB have been on this site a couple of times, I have exhausted most of the information about Julius Wechtner’s compliment to his label mates the Tijuana Brass. Not much really more to say about them at this time.  I find their albums are a bit hit or miss.  This one is about half hit and half miss.  It was released in 1967. “Along Comes Mary”, originally by the Association was the highest charting single.  The title track was also released as a single but did not chart.

For a sample, I went with “Along Comes Mary”.

Eh.  Satisfactory enough,

 

Leon McAuliffe- The Dancin’est Band Around

Here is a good ole piece of classic country music that has been sorely missed around here for the last month and a half.  It cost me $4.  When I started this blog, it would have cost me $1.

Leon McAuliffe was born right here in the great old city of Houston in 1917.  He was perhaps the greatest steel guitar player of his generation, not only paving the way for the instrument during the early days of Texas Swing country, but setting an influence which would be later picked up by blues musicians.  After playing with the Light Crust Doughboys, he joined Bob Wills band in 1936 at the age of 18.  He would play with Wills up until WWII in 1942.  Besides helping Wills compose “San Antonio Rose”, McAuliffe composed “Steel Guitar Rag” which is perhaps his legacy other than Wills’ calls of “Take It Away Leon”.

Texas State Historical Page on McAuliffe

After the war, McAuliffe formed his own band and had some success.  He also dedicated a good chunk of his life to teaching music as well as business and legal matters related to the industry.  McAuliffe would pass in 1988 at the age of 71.

This record was released long after his WWII service in 1963 on none other than Capitol Records.  Real good collection of songs that I like including “I Fall To Pieces”, “Walk On By”, and “From A Jack To A King”.  No vocals but a lot of excellent steel guitar.

For a sample, I went with “I Love You Because” because I really liked the opening slide line.

Satisfactory.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet- Time Further Out

Here is some jazz from one of the American masters, Dave Brubeck and his Quartet.  This was $1.  I have gotten quite ahead of myself writing posts and all.  You may have noticed this last month when I was writing about Hurricane Harvey in Mid- October.

Well, as of the time you read this, it is Halloween, despite it not being during the time of writing.  If I can remember to get back here to update, here was my costume over the weekend. If you are unsure who it is, the answer is at the end of the post.

This record, released in 1961, is a follow up to his earlier Time Out,  from 1959 which explored the use of odd time signatures.  This earlier efforts produced what I have noted on this blog as one of the cornerstones of not only West Coast Jazz but American song writing in general, “Take Five” . I could say that this piece is our equivalent of Bach or Mozart but I digress.  His is this record by his Quartet which featured Paul Desmond on sax, Eugene Wright on bass, Joe Morello on drums, and Brubeck on piano, the same lineup as the earlier record.

Brubeck arranged the songs on the record in order of beats, starting with 3/4 time and ending with 9/8.  9 songs.  All pretty good.  Granted none as great as “Take Five” but why should this diminish from this effort?  The album still was successful, peaking at #8 on the Billboard chart.

For a sample, I was torn between “Blue Shaddow In the Night” in 9/8 time and “Far More Drums” in 5/4.  I decided to go with the latter, mainly because I like drum solos.

Satisfactory record.  For the record, I went as Jared Kushner, the President’s son in law for Halloween on Saturday.

Dick Hyman- Provocative Piano

Welcome to another month of the good ol’ Donkey Show.  After half a month of Ocktoberfest music and a full month of showtunes, I decided to go back to posting good (or at least interesting) records.  So what a better way to start than with a selection from Command Records and their Provocative series.  This was $4.00. I buy pretty much any Command record I come across at a decent price. I realize this is on the high end.  Also, although I wanted to cut down on the number of gatefold albums this month, I still choose this one to start the month rolling.  Command Records being known for their love of gatefold, perhaps I should have reconsidered.

On that note, I guess this is a good time as any to announce the administrative change to this blog. Starting this month, I am setting my upper spent limit to $8.00.  This is quite a jump from the previous $5 but I am finding that record prices have increased slightly over the last year and in order to get in decent stuff, the increase had to be made.  I have mixed feelings about it but the decision has been made and I am prepared to move on from it.  Please note though that the preference will still be on the $1 albums.

Dick Hyman, jazz pianist of renown, has been on this site before.  I would think his association with Enoch Light’s Command Records would speak for itself and put him in an upper echelon of musicians of the period.  Besides his work in jazz, Hyman did some very important work in electronic music as well as soundtrack work for movies and TV.

This year, Hyman will be named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master.  That is if it has not happened already or if the program’s budget has not been slashed yet.

Dick’s Space Age Pop Page

Anyway, this record, produced by Light, came out in 1960 and features Hyman’s piano pretty prominently.  A good mix of songs from “Canadian Sunset”, Autumn Leaves”, and “Miserlou” as well as works from Chopin and Tchaikovsky. As with most Command Records, I enjoyed it.

For a sample, I decided to play favorites and go with both “Polonaise” and Miserlou”.

 

Satisfactory.