Billy Vaughn and his Orchestra- Blue Hawaii

This puppy was a buck.  Got it for the songs, most of which I like.  What is going on this week, other than zipping thru posts?  Well, nothing as much to make note of but still too much to dedicate too much time to writing this.

On that note, Billy Vaughn has always been hit or miss with me.  Well this album from Dot Records, released in 1959, is pretty much a miss.  I found the arrangements to be a tad slow and boring and not really in the whole tropical vein.  Of course, exotica was never really Vaughn’s bag and perhaps this is not fair, but what do you expect me to do about it today?

Well, for a sample, I went with one of my faves, “Hawaiian War Chant”.

Meh. Sorry Billy.  I’ll get you the next time around.

 

Three Degrees- ST

This little gem was $4.  I got it to diversify the blog which is much needed given where the second half of September is heading.  What is this you say?  Well, stay tuned to find out.

Formed in Philadelphia, and rising up with the Philadelphia Sound of the 1970’s, The Three Degrees started their career in 1963..  This is the second studio album and the first on Philadelphia International Records, the label of Gamble and Huff (and Thom Bell).  Released in 1973, this features the group with the lineup that brought them their biggest hits.  This lineup, which formed from 1967- 1976, featured original member Fayette Pinkney along with Valerie Holiday, and Shelia Ferguson.  Consequently, a version led by Holiday still performs today.

Link to The Three Degrees’ Web Site

Anyway, back to the record, it was among one of their most successful and spawned four singles; “Dirty Ol’ Man”, “I Didn’t Know”, “Year of Decision” and ” When Will I See You Again”, which went to #2 in the US and #1 in the UK.

For a sample, I decided to go with “Can’t You See What You Are Doing To Me”.

Pretty good album.  Satisfactory.

 

Jo Stafford- Sings American Folk Songs

This was all of $1.  When I bought it, there was some tie in or something notable about the record, but whatever that was escapes me now.  It does have a bunch of good folk tunes on it.  Today, as I write this, the Great 2017 eclipse happened, which by now must seem like a distant memory to most.

Truly a historical day in Houston if one likes looking a clouds.

Well anyway, here is this by singer Jo Stafford (1917-2008).  Born in what is not a dirty word, Coalinga, California, Stafford was a singer who started in a group with her sisters before joining the Pied Pipers and then parlaying this into singing with Tommy Dorsey. She went solo in 1944 and her biggest hit was 1952’s “You Belong To Me”.  She retired in the mid-60’s with a few pop ups here and there until her death of heart failure at age 90.

During her solo career, many of Stafford’s works were backed by the Paul Weston Orchestra. Stafford and Weston would marry in 1952 and remain in union until Weston’s death in 1996.  The two did perform in a comedy routine, at first for friends and then for a bigger audience.  As two incompetent lounge performers Johnny and Darlene Edwards, the duo released five records.

This record was a 1962 re-release of an earlier record by Stafford.  The original released came out tin 1948, making it one of her earlier solo recordings.  Two years later a second version came out adding two songs.  Then in 1962, this came out with an additional 4, bringing the total to 12. With these songs conducted and arranged by her hubby, Weston, it should be noted that although these are conventional songs, none of these are conventional arrangements.  And I think that is what gives the album its charm.  Consequently, Judy Collins lists this album as highly influential in terms of her getting into folk music.

Lot of good choices on this album.  I really liked “Cripple Creek”, “Single Girl” ,and my perennial favorite, “Poor Wayfaring Stranger”.  However, I decided to go with “Sourwood Mountain”.

Good record.  Satisfactory.

The Ventures- The Colorful Venture

If my calculations are correct, this is post #800.  Here is a record from a group I put on this blog so much that I am running out of new pictures to accompany this.  This was $2 and bought at the Half Price on Veteran’s Memorial, which decided to raise its discount records from $1 to $2.50.  I got it last Memorial Day a couple months ago when HPB had its 20% sale.

This record was The Ventures 4th studio album, released in 1961.  It was the 3rd album they released that year.  It was somewhat successful compared to other releases around that period.  That is purely from a commercial perspective.  Music-wise, this is a fine album that plays on songs with colors in the title.  This album really has that classic Ventures sound.

For a sample, here is “Blue Moon”. Excellent album.  Satisfactory.

Sir Malcolm Sargent and the Pro Arte Orchestra- Gilbert & Sullivan- The Mikado, HMS Pinafore, and Patter Songs

This fine old collection was $5.  I bought it way, way right before I started writing this blog.  Yet, I still remember the cashier remarking how it reminded him of Raiders of The Lost Ark and the Indiana Jones franchise, as the minor character of Sallah, played by John Rhys- Davies, is fond of singing Gilbert & Sullivan numbers.  I found it a bit odd not only that the young tattooed clerk could connect this but could connect lines to HMS Pinafore.

On that note, a month back (or longer depending on when you read this), I attended The Houston Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of The Gondoliers.  I felt the production was quite good and very entertaining but as I went to the Sunday matinee, I was quite concerned that the audience was mostly over 85 and thought that perhaps appreciation for G&S was dying.  A friend of mine pointed out that Sunday matinees are mostly older crowds and the G&S are not going anywhere.

So then there is this record conducted by esteemed British conductor, Sir Malcolm Sargent (1895-1967) who participated in his first G&S production at age 10.  He conducts the Pro Arte Orchestra with assorted soloists and the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus.  I am not sure when this came out other than after Sargent’s passing but it seems to be a collection earlier recorded works, most notably two of G&S’s most famous works, The Mikado and HMS Pinafore.

So to start off with samples, from the Mikado, I went with my favorite song from this piece (which is never on any of the albums I buy), “The Sun Whose Rays…”.  It is sung my Elise Morrison.  From the HMS Pinafore, I went with “I Am The Monarch Of The Sea…. When I Was A Lad”, sung by George Baker.

In terms of the patter songs, I wanted to use a number from “The Gondoliers” to tie it in to  the story above but I felt the album should have put different numbers.  There are a couple good patter songs that involve the Gondoliers and their wives which I felt could have been used on this.  Oh well, In their place, here is “In Enterprise Of Martial Kind”, sung by Geraint Evans with the chorus.

I really wanted to post “My Eyes Are Fully Open” from Ruddigore, but I felt this version was to tepid and slow.  And for the most part, that is my criticism of this collection.  The patter songs as well as G&S’s catalog really works when done in rapid fire.  All the songs really could have used a but more speed.  So meh.  Sorry.

Henry Mancini/ Doc Severinsen- Brass on Ivory

Here is a record from two artists who I frequently post for $1.

This collaboration from composer Henry Mancini and trumpeter Doc Severinsen was released by RCA in 1972.  Mancini handles the arrangement and piano duties while Severinsen takes up the fluegel horn.  Despite the high credentials of both artists, I found this album to be too slow and too ballad heavy.  One fast tempo-ed song would not have killed anyone.  Oh, well.  We are left then with what it is, two musical geniuses locked in a slow collection of ballads.

For a sample, I went with the theme to “Brian’s Song”, the 1971 made for tv movie we had to watch in jr high school that showed how two people can overcome race relations if they are highly paid athletes.  The movie chronicled the story of Chicago Bear tea mates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, who were adversaries and then friends with Sayers sticking by his pal until his untimely death from a tollbooth shooting.* Also, this song was written by another frequent guest, the Frenchman Michel Legrand

I can take pride since I have spoken so well of both artist in the past, in giving this record a poor review.  Meh.  Could have used a few more upbeat tunes.

*I would think that this is obvious satire since Picollo died of cancer at age 26 while the actor who played him in the movie, James Caan, was famously shot as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather, but for the sake of anyone who can not take a joke, here is this disclaimer.

Sergio Mendes & Brazil ’66- Herb Alpert Presents…….

This was only a dollar.  Probably got a discount on it, bringing it down to 80 cents.  For shame.  Such a great little album.  You may have noticed that I have been starting the month with artists who have frequently graced this blog.  This is not by accident.

This was the first album from keyboardist Sergio Mendes and his ensemble, Brazil ’66.  Released in 1966, it featured smash hit “Mas Que Nada” which in all probability was the first Portuguese song to hit it big in America.  Good little album with a bunch of real good tunes including “Going Out Of My Head” and the Beatles “Day Tripper” which I believe I posted on an earlier blog entry.

I was really surprised how big a sound Mendes got from such a small ensemble which also featured Lani Hall on vocals, Bibi Vogel on backup vocals, Bob Mathews on bass, Jose Soares on percussion, and Joao Palma on drums.

I could have gone many directions with this but decided to go with “O Pato”.

Great little album.  Satisfactory.

Pete Fountain- I Love Paris

Here is a record for $1.00 that had a bunch of songs that I regularly post on this page.

From Pete Fountain, that purveyor of Dixie Land Jazz, a record of French songs, proper.  Recorded for Coral Records and released in 1962, this one contains all the big French standards, ” Autumn Leaves”, “La Vie En Rose”, “April In Paris”, “C’est So Bon” , and the title track.  Pretty good stuff.

Fountain is backed up by Jack Sperling on drums, Stanley Wrightman on piano, Morty Cobb on bass, and Godfrey Hirsch on the occasional vibe.  Fountain is also backed by horns and strings conducted and arranged by Charles Bud Dant.

For a sample, I was really hard not to post any of the songs above as they seem to make their way on this blog more times than not.  Well, I was really drawn towards “Frere Jazz”, a Dixie Land interpretation of the kids song, “Frere Jacques”.

Anyway, in spite of keeping this post short today, this is a great little album. Satisfactory.

Kenny Rogers and The First Edition- Rollin’

Starting another month of Donkey Show with this record I got for $2.40.  A lot of good songs on this.  So we are into September. Plus it is Labor Day, so when you read this, I am at home doing nothing (or perhaps getting even further ahead in writing this blog).  That is if we still have a country when this post comes out.  Let’s see how this month plays out. I am good and ahead of the game as far as post writing goes.  However, still erring on the side of brevity so if you have any questions, I would suggest Google.

This record is from The First Edition, a band formed in 1967 from members of The New Christy Minstrels who wanted more freedom from a constricting repertoire .  Led by Kenny Rogers, who played bass and vocals, and Terry Williams, guitar and vocals, as well as Mary Arnold on vocals and occasional actor Micky Jones on drums, the band had some decent hits including “I Just Dropped In” and ” Ruby” blending the worlds of psychedelic pop and country together.    I did not realize this but when the band disbanded in 1976, there was some doubt as to if Rogers could maintain a solo career.

Well, during the height of their fame, they had their own TV Show, Rollin, produced by CTV in Canada.  As a counterweight to the Sonny and Cher Show with decidedly more rocking acts, the show began to paint the band as TV personalities rather than musicians, to the ire of certain band members.  Anyway, it ran from 1971 to 1973 with generally good ratings.

This album, released in 1973, features songs from the show as perfromed by the group.  There are songs that feature individual vocal performances by Rogers, Williams, Arnold, and guirist Jim Hassell, as well as an instrumental rocking piece on keyboards by Gene Lorenzo, Bach’s “Joy (Jeso, Joy Of Man’s Desiring), an arrangement that had been a hit for Apollo 100.  Pretty decent stuff.  A whole lot of Beatles’ content.

Well, from this record, here is the band with “Get Back”.  Also, might as well give Kenny some spotlight with “The Long And Winding Road”.

Probably could have done with some original content, but this perhaps defeats the purpose of this record, which is satisfactory.

Hank Snow- The Southern Cannonball

This was $4.  It is Saturday.  Yay!! Also last post of the month although I seem to think I missed a week somewhere.  A quick check of the schedule tells me this can not be.

Wrapping up another month of the show with Mr Hank Snow. I am running out of new pictures of him to post. This record was released in 1961.  It was a RCA/Camden compilation effort.  It is ok.  I felt a lot of the songs were derivative from other works (“I’m Moving In”, “Boogie Woogie Flying Cloud” for example).  The biggest hit from this was “Let Me Go Lover” which went to #1 in 1954.

For a sample, I was drawn to “When Mexican Joe Met Jolie Blon”.  I also really liked “Trouble, Trouble, Trouble”.  It is a kind of talking blues number kind of like Woody Guthrie’s style.  I have never heard Snow perform a number like this.

Criticism aside, of course I am goint to like one of Snow’s records.  Satisfactory.  See, I learned something from last month.  Put the easy posts at the end of the month.