Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra- American Salute

This week we have been showcasing records that I bought without any close inspection and upon arrival at home, discovered them to be different than their covers.  If you have been following this blog, you can imagine how excited I was to see this as I post a lot of work by both Doc Severinsen and Command Records.  Plus this was only a dollar.

And what a track list this was, “Mas Que Nada”, “Love Theme from Paris Burning”, “It’s Not Unusual”, “Walk On By” ( the Burt Bacharachsong), “Goin’ Out Of My Head” ,and “Guantanamera”.  Plus the “Singing” in the title would indicate vocals. With a vocal chorus of 12 singers, Severinsen was backed on this record by the usual cast of Command characters including Dick Hyman and Tony Mottola.  All in all, this would have been a great album. Severinsen would have to really, I mean really screw the pooch for this record not to be great.

Well, my heart sank when I pulled this out as I was quite hyped to listen to it.  What I got was An American Salute by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra.  Released in 1972 by RCA, this is collection of songs with an American feel with numbers both contemporary and traditional.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are a lot of really great songs on this record and Fiedler’s skills as the leading conductor of pop orchestras is quite evident here.  I actually had about half this album recorded as potential samples.  Songs I liked include the title track, “Deep In The Heart of Texas”, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”, “Rodeo Hoedown”, and “Chester”.  Ultimately, I went with “Alabama Jubilee” which is a more traditional Americana number along with the Jim Webb penned “Galveston” which is quite a good version.  Having some second thoughts writing this post about switching “Alabama” for “Chester” but no.  I am going with my gut.

So as good as this record is and despite my respect for Fiedler, I was just way to jazzed to hear the Severinsen album so I am still quite disappointed with this transaction.  Meh.  I know this is really unfair to Fiedler.  Anyway, I am still looking out for the Severinsen record and hopefully, this story will have a happy ending.

Arlo Guthrie- Hobo’s Lullaby

Happy whatever day this is.  By now, I am probably coming to grips with the fact that my vacation is over.  Not sure how much blog work I got during this time, although I had such a great time sitting in Vondelpark listening to songs for the blog year, I am sure I will do this again.  I bought this was the version of “City of New Orleans” which was Arlo Guthrie’s only Top 40 hit.  It was $5 and what was then, the upper bound of purchases for this site. Damn you, inflation. Damn you I say.

Recently, I saw Alice’s Restaurant on TCM and was reminded of the younger Guthrie.  Pretty good movie.  I had seen it before.  Does a good job portraying the events of the song, Arlo’s last days with Woody, and the dysfunctional relationship between Alice and Ray.  I particularly liked the scene at the Group W bench.  Anyway, as I said, I was reminded of the young Arlo and went to pull this album from my pile for selection this month.

Released in 1972, on Reprise Records, this was Guthrie’s 5th record, not counting the soundtrack to the movie above.  This features songs written by Arlo as well as ones written by his father, Bob Dylan, Hoyt Axton, and Jimmie Davis.  Also, of course, there is the Steve Goodman penned- “City of New Orleans” which was mentioned above.  There is a whole slew of guest musicians including Axton, Ry Cooder, Jim Dickinson, Jim Keltner, Spooner Oldham, Linda Ronstadt, and Clarence White. But alas, Poor Arlo.  You have fell victim to the lackadaisical attitude I gained during the build up to my vacation, which ends shortly.  So I am going to call this a good album without getting to much deeper on the subject. Which it probably deserves ( the deeper introspection that is).

For a sample, I went with the Dylan penned “When The Ship Comes In”.


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.