Mel Torme- A Time For US

Already so over this month but we are so close to being finished.  Here we are with the Velvet Fog.  This record was $2.  This is the second album I posted this month in which I bought because it had a Beatles song on it, namely “She’s Leaving Home”.  But since this is underwhelming Beatles track, this is the second time this month I have passed on this song as a sample.  Normally, I will post any Beatles’ cover. 

Well, here we have this from the late Mel Torme. Released in 1969, the title track is the theme from Romeo and Juliet.  Decent enough record.  Pretty good song selection on it  Man, am I lazy today.  I am going to limit this to this paragraph.

For samples, I went with “Games People Play'” which has a great opening bass line as well as “Happy Together”.

Satisfactory.

Martin Denny- 20 Golden Hawaiian Hits

Doubling down on the Hawaiian this month with a record from the guy who was mentor to the earlier posted effort (Arthur Lyman), Martin Denny.  This was $2.

This record from Liberty in 1964 is not the stuff out of Denny’s prime (the late 50’s), but it is not bad either.  If I can remember right, there are none of the sound effects heard so prominently on his earlier albums (also missing is the female on the cover), but other than that, this is the classic Denny sound, applied to a series of songs (20 to be exact) related to Hawaii.  I probably mentioned this already but Denny would die in Honolulu in 2005.  His ashes were scattered at sea.

Decent album.  I liked a lot of songs and had quite a few slated as samples, but as always I go back to my favorites which are “Hawaiian War Chant” and “The Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai”.  I already provided some background this month on “War Chant”.  “The Cockeyed Mayor”, on the other hand, dates back to the 1930’s I believe and celebrates the town’s custom of having honorary mayors.  I could recount the story here but I am lazy and will direct you to the link below.

News article on the mayor of Kaunakakai

Good record.  Satisfactory.

Webb Pierce/T. Texas Tyler/ Patsy Cline- Three of a Kind

This little gem of country music was only $1.  I got it for the Webb Pierce songs since he is my favorite country singer.  That inclusion of Patsy Cline did not hurt either.

This was from the record label I love to hate Pickwick.  In what they call ” a dramatic new concept in entertainment”, putting three people on one record, may be hyperbole, but it makes since for a serial repackager of music like Pickwick.  At the time of this record, they had put out ten of these series records including big bands, folk singers, Hawaiian music, blues, and polkas.  I believe this as well as most of the series, came out in 1964.

Well this was the country version featuring previously recorded tunes by three prominent performers, Webb Pierce, T. Texas Tyler, and Patsy Cline.  The songs (at least Pierce’s ) sound like the come from the 40’s or early 50’s.  Cline’s numbers are a bit later, being the late 50’s.  Pretty good stuff.  Each performer has three songs a piece.

For a sample, surprisingly I did not use one from Pierce.  No reason.  I also did not go with Tyler either, who despite the name, came from Mena, Ar-kansas and has no real ties to the state that is in his moniker.  Nope, I went with good old Patsy Cline.  As a side note, I knew a guy who once locked himself in a room and watched the Pasty Cline move, Sweet Dreams staring Jessica Lange repeatedly for an expanded period of time while getting drunk to mourn the death of his girlfriend.  I guess every body grieves in their own little way. But back to this, here is Patsy Cline with a song off her 1957 debut album and not a Ramones cover, “I Don’t Wanna”.

Most of the time, I am quick to poop on a Pickwick product, but I will look at this one a bit more favorably and call it satisfactory.

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.

 

The Byrds- Mr Tambourine Man

Here comes Saturday which means quick post.  This was $5.  I got it at the first Hilton record show I went to.  Due to too huge a backlog, I do not go to record shows anymore.  So sad.  Anyway, I was on a Byrds kick when I got this. What I week it has been for spell check.

This was the seminal California band, the Byrds’ first album, based on the strength of the single, their rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Mr Tambourine Man”.  Featuring original members Mike and Gene Clark, David Crosby, Chris Hilman, and Jim McGuinn, It was released in 1965 and was the first real US challenge to the British Invasion at the time.

Good little album.  It features other Dylan songs “Spanish Harlem Incident”, “Chimes of Freedom”,  and “All I Really Want To Do”.  It also features folk classic “Bells of Rhymney” which incidentally, McGuinn performed earlier on Judy Collins album (featured on this blog).

Anyway, I went with Gene Clark’s “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better”, which was covered on Tom Petty’s first solo album.  Petty was greatly influenced by the Byrds and I believe that is the reason he played a Rickenbacker,  McGuinn, himself was influenced by seeing George Harrison play on in A Hard Day’s Night.

Anyway, great little album.  Top Rated.

Jerry Lee Lewis-Rockin’ Rhythm & Blues

Woo hoo!! Saturday.  Let’s fly thru this.  This was $2.  Too many good songs to pass up.  Also after 2-1/2 years of doing this blog, I still hate typing the word rhythm.  I mis-spell it every time. Anyway, you can not go wrong with ending the week with Jerry Lee Lewis.

This record, released by Sun in 1969 was a repackaging of songs recorded earlier with Sam Phillips.  At the time, The Killer was going thru his county period (which I felt was even better than his rock and roll days). He was very hot during this period and the new owner of Sun, Shelby Singleton, wanted to capitalize on this so they put out a series of compilation records like this.

A lot of good rock and roll/ rockabilly songs on here. Most of these songs weer made famous by others including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Ray Charles.  Also, I kind of do take offense for taking songwriting credits for “C.C. Rider”.  But other than that, every song is pretty much a classic.  So I went with “Little Queenie”.

Top Rated Record.

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.

The Monkees- Headquarters

This was $2.  I liked the Monkees when I was young.  Still do to an extent. Why you may ask.  I may have answered that question on this site before but for the sake of this post, I will answer it again.  Because on the TV show, they always stuck together.  Mostly through the bad times.  And on the show, they were always one step away from making it.  Despite always falling just one step short, they stuck together.

This was a huge album for the band.  After fighting hard to write and perform their own music, the Monkees got their break with this album.  It is kind of funny how it played out.  Mike and Peter wanted to be musicians.  Mickey wanted to be a director.  All Davy wanted to do was make money and as shown in the made for TV movie about the band, he appeared frustrated with his bandmates’ ambitions.

But here this is, the Monkee’s third album, with music performed by the members, rather than the session musicians used on the previous two records (the main exception was Chip Douglas for provided bass among other things).  The Monkees also contributed a good chunk of song writing to this album although others such as Boyce and Hart are present as well.

It is Mike Nesmith’s influence that gives the album a country-folk-rock sound, but one particular exception is Mickey Dolenz’s “Randy Scouse Git”, which is a British slang that is quite unpleasant.

This was meant to be the Monkees’ crown achievement and they were rewarded with a #1 record spot upon its release in May of 1967.  However, as fate would have it, Sgt Peppers was released the following week, changing music as it was known at the time, knocking Headquarters to an eleven week run at the #2 spot,overshadowing the accomplishments of the made for TV band. IN a way, it was very fitting and followed the TV show’s plot lines; the band fought so hard to make this great little album, just to fall a tad short in the end to one of the most important albums of the 60’s.

Anyway, here this is.  For a sample, I was torn in several directions but ultimately went with the Nesmith penned/sung country flavored “You Just May Be The One”.

Great album.  Top rated.

The Stereo Brass Choir- Stereo Dialogue for Brass

This gem was only 50 cents.  A lot of songs I like on this.  When I wrote yesterday’s post, I was somewhat unsure how this month would play out.  However, between now and then, I took a trip down memory lane and looked at some for the older posts.  Some of it was pretty painful, going back to when I could not get the pictures straight, did not know how to display links, or properly record songs.  But overall, I felt that the output nowadays is more diverse than in the past and as I have always tried to make diversity a point of this blog, this is saying something. Anyway, Happy Fourth of July.  Nothing more patriotic than a bit of brass.

Well, there is this, which bills itself as “the most enjoyable musical event in stereo history”.  It is a collection of show tunes and standards in stereo with trombones on one side and trumpets on the other. It was the brainchild of Lew Davies (1911-1968) who besides arranging for Perry Como, Lena Horne, and Lawrence Welk, also worked closely with fellow audiophile Enoch Light and Command Records.

Davies’ Space Age Pop Page

The songs, by such luminaries as Rodgers, Porter, Loesser and Lowe, and Berlin, contain back and forth sections between the competing brass sections. As the title would suggest, this showcases the “dialogue” between groups.  Good arrangements.  Nice song selection.  As this was on Columbia records and released in 1960, you know this is a serious effort.  Besides the brass, the vibes/xylophone and other percussion make for a good effect.

For a sample, I decided to go with Irving Berlin’s staple “Anything You Can Do”.  

Good album.  Satisfactory.

 

Easy Pickin’- The Winning Combination- Xerox

This was $4 but looked interesting enough as I like to buy and review product or promo records.

The Easy Pickin’s group, I believe were from Stamford,which oddly enough was Xerox’s headquarters until 2007.  The group consisted of Barbara Allen on vocals, her husband Bill on guitar, mother of three Linda Shackleford on bass, Joe Knowlton on banjo, and Dave Raucsher on the mandolin, violin, and just about every other instrument.  According to the one piece of information I bothered looking at, the band had been around some twenty years or so, recording a live album at the Country Tavern Restaurant, where they gigged regularly.  It is said that they had a interesting repertoire between bluegrass standards as well as contemporary country hits.  The record does reflect this.

This record is a promotional record but for whom, I am unsure.  The records welcomes the holder as a proud member of the ISG team.  It also mentions FSM members which I assume is the Full Service Maintenance group.  The record encourages members to ” share points for service achievements focusing on machine reliability and response time”.  These points, in turn, can be translated “into merchandise gifts for you… and your family”.  So I am deducting that theses were given to Xerox service people who achieved departmental goals.  And this was back in the day when people were decently paid.

I am guessing this came out sometime in the seventies.  Pretty good mix of tunes. including “Luckenback Texas”, “Heaven is Just a Sin Away”, “Tennessee Stud”, and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”.  Decent album.  Nothing that will make you radically re-look the way for see bluegrass, but not bad either.For a sample, I went with the theme song/jingle of the record, “The Winning Combination”. Decent record, overall, although I am sure I would have liked a monetary bonus more if I worked at Xerox.  Anyway, Satisfactory record.