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.

Original Cast Recording- Little Mary Sunshine

All most done this month.  So close.  Keep focused.  Let’s get this done.  This record was $3.20.  Not sure why I bought it other than I wanted to check out a musical I was not familiar with.  Maybe the Mounties in the gatefold influenced me as well.

Little Mary Sunshine, with book, music, and lyrics by Rick Besoyan (1924-1970), was a throw back to the old timey operettas of earlier times.  Besoyan, himself, cut his teeth in performances of Gilbert and Sullivan.  The production itself, which opened in 1959, was an off-Broadway affair and is perhaps among one of the most successful, running for 1,143 shows. A West End production followed in 1962.  Today, this piece remains popular by small time/ amatuer groups.

The original production was directed and choreographed by Ray Harrison.  Eileen Brennan stared in the title role with William Graham as Captain Warington and John McMartin as Corporal Jester.  The stage production consisted of two pianos but an orchestra was added to this cast recording.

Set in the Colorado Rockies, the play involves Native Americans and Little Mary Sunshine in a land dispute with the Gubermint led by the Mounties (the play calls them Forrest Rangers which is more American but come on man, look at them.  they are clearly  Mounties). Trouble, conflict, hilarity, and love then ensue. 

The musical numbers hark back to those earlier romantic operettas and are very tongue in cheek as I am told.  Besoyan was highly influenced by the duets of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald as well as lyrical waltzes, and counterpoint medleys. All of which are here on this album, recorded and released in 1960.

For a sample, I went with what Wikipedia seemed to highlight, “Playing Croquet” which unfortunately has become annoying stuck in my head. So listen at your own risk.  I also like “Mata Hari” as well.

Descent album.  Satisfactory.

Herschel Bernardi- Sings Fiddler On The Roof

This was one dollar.  October is Donkey Show salute to the musicals of old Broadway.  If you look at the last century of musical theater, hand down without comparison, America has produced the most important works of the genre, and this one, Fiddler On The Roof, is one of the best.

Opening on Broadway in 1964, it surpassed 3,000 shows to become at the time, the longest running show until being surpassed by Grease.  Today it still ranks #16. The show was based on Sholem Aleichem’s stories of Tevye and his daughters, with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and book by Joseph Stein. The 1964 production would be nominated for 10 Tony’s, winning 9.

Many of the songs have become musical standards including “Tradition”, “If I Were A Rich Man”, “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”, “The Sabbath Prayer”, “To Life” , and “Sunrise, Sunset”.  Furthermore, the songs have been covered by a diverse array of artists including these two which have been featured on the blog and have become among my favorites.

Fiddler Post 1

Fiddler Post 2

The original role of Tevye went to Zero Mostel.  However, sometime in 1965, Mostel split and Herchel Bernardi assumed the role.  Other notable actors have been Mostel’s understudy Paul Lipson, Theodore Bikel, and Topol. all of which whom clocked 2,000 or more performances as the character.  Topol would later star in the 1971 film version.

This recording , from 1966 perhaps, is a collection of 10 songs, 8 from the what was the current production as well as two from the original production.  For a sample, I went with one of these two numbers, “When Messiah Comes”.

Satisfactory

Dolly Parton- 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs

Whew! Glad to have this month and Oktoberfest over.  This was $3.50. My folks had it when I was a kid so I recognized the cover.

This album was released in 1980 and coincided with the release of the movie, 9 to 5, starring Dolly Parton along with Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dabney Coleman.  The underlying theme of this album was working and the album marked a return to a pop-country sound after a few more polished efforts.  The album went to #1 on the country charts and spawned three hit singles including the title track which was also nominated for an Academy Award for best song (it would lose to “Fame”).

Pretty good album but I am done writing for this month so here is Merle Travis’ classic “Dark As A Dungeon”.

Good album.  Satisfactory.  See you next month.

Heeresmusikkorps 5 Der Bundeswehr- Deutsche Heeresmarsche Aus Der Pruessischen Armeemarschsammlung Folge 3

This $2 album is the last in the series of German records I have been posting for Oktoberfest which concludes this year on Oct 3 which by my calculations is today.  What seemed to be a fun exercise in German music has lead to me greatly tiring of this and ready to move on to new things. Also, at the time of this writing, it is the Saturday after the landing of Hurricane Harvey which as you know by now, did not do much to the City of Houston other than a flash flood warning in a whole lot of counties(ED Note.  The Carnage flooding was yet to come).  You are probably asking as well if I bought every single marching band album during my Memorial Day trip to the Half Price Books on Veteran’s Memorial.  No.  I would say I bought around 1/8 of them.

The title of this album translates into “German Marches from the Prussian Collection”.  According to the back of this record, the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III, in 1817 oversaw to historic actions.  First, he unified the Prussian Protestant churches.  This was the first time such a unification took place in a German State.  Second, and important to this narrative, he ordered a collection begin of predominately German military marches.  The list initially included 36 slow marches and 36 quick marches but quickly grew not only in size but in scope.

At the last time of publication, 1913, the collection included 100 slow marches, 243 quick marches, and 138 Calvary marches (all Prussian).  The collection also included 35 Russian, 22 Austrian, 11 Italian, 4 French, 2 Swedish, and 1 dutch marches.

So this album is a collection of German marches as collected by the Royal Prussian Army. This was released in 1976.  The liner notes point out that these marches are both totally original at times as well as derivative of popular operas of the time.  Other than that, this is the third marching band album I have had to both listen to and write about so I am kind of at a loss in both categories.

For a sample, I went with the majestic “Festmarsch II 1871, Jan 18” which I believed celebrated the formation of the second German Empire between Kaiser Wilhem I and Otto Von Bismark.

This should come as no surprise if you have been reading the other posts but meh.  Could have used a lower price for these as well as the other albums.  Hope your Oktoberfest was fun and entertaining.

Werner Muller and his Orchestra- Germany

This was $2 and purchased with the slew of other German records in accordance with the upcoming Oktoberfest celebrations.  Well maybe not so upcoming now, but at the time of writing and purchasing, yes.

This is a very interesting album brought to you by those fine folks at London Records.  Mixed in recorded in phase 4 stereo, this album is a smorgasbord (yes I know this is a Swedish term) of German music.  from Wagner to Weill, from marches and polkas to schlager and night club ballads, this record has a piece of everything.  The exact kind of thing this blog encourages.  Conducted by Berlin born, Werner Muller (1920-1998), this was released in 1965.

Muller’s Space Age Pop page

For a sample, I was drawn to Wagner’s “Ride of The Valkyries”, partly due to the fact that I mentioned it in an earlier post this week, but mainly in tribute to Bugs Bunny as well as that beacon of tolerance, Elmer Fudd.

Good album.  Satisfactory.

Bert Kaempfert- The Best of Bert Kaempfert

This double record set was $5.  I bought this some time ago , maybe even two Labor Days ago so I might have got 20% off .  So here I am, writing posts for September  at the same time as I am recording songs for  October, all the while it is in reality August and I am awaiting Harvey which by the time you have read this, will have already passed.  Perhaps I should add these current events to more timely posts.  Well, this is in retrospect, I guess.  The benefits to me of being ahead of posts as opposed to writing these day to day outweigh keeping these timely.

So with Oktoberfest currently going on and after a few days of more conventional German music, here is a regular fixture to this blog, Bert Kaempfert with a greatest hits compilation.  Not much to say about this.  Two albums of some of his more popular compositions as well as arrangements.  Not only it is impressive just how many great songs Kaempfert had a hand in composing.  The cover songs  on this show just how gifted an arranger he was.

For samples, I went with” The World We Knew (Over and Over)”.  Why not Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” as I always seem to post this one?  Well, I already posted it last month.

Satisfactory

Heino- Wir Lieben die Sturme

This was $2.  Look at that face with the glasses.  How could one resist?  I think this was the record the drove me to commit to half a month of German content for Oktoberfest. Which is the last thing on my mind right now as at the time of this writing, we are nervously awaiting Tropical Storm/Hurricane Harvey, who right now looks like he will ruin my weekend.   But hey, that was then.  This is now.  (Ed Note- Sorry to be flippant about an event that ended up to be really hard on a lot of people in town, but I leave this unchanged to reflect the true mood I had going in to the storm).

Heino, born in Dusseldorf in 1938, is a singer of popular German music or schlager as it is known.  You may have seen this word on my blog before.  If not, you will see it again this month fo’ so’. Anyway, exophthalmos gave Heino his trademark glasses.  His baritone voice gave him his success which translated into over 50 million records sold.  He is still active and lives in what has to be one the coolest town names in Germany, Bad Munstereifel.

In 2013, he made news by releasing an cover album of rock, rap, house, and other modern music.  This lead to disgust from some of the bands he covered.  I imagine this is the equivalent of Pat Boone singing heavy metal (which he has done).  Anyway, a slew of bands criticized the move but I am not sure if is because of the music or if it because the singer quoted a line from a Hitler Youth rally out of context around the same time (that part of the world still really cares about that sort of thing).  The sources I read on the matter are a bit inconclusive.

Either way, the album was a hit, and Heino still continues to be the king of schlager. But please note that the band in the first video is not Rammstein. And whatever thoughts the band might have had about him at the time, it was not enough to stop Heino from joining them on stage.

Really good article from Spiegal regarding this album and German’s secret love of schlager.

Anyway, here is this, which Google translates into “We Love The Storm?”, is a compilation album, I believe, which may have originally been released in 1969. With 13 songs, it is a compilation of Heino’s first two albums.  Pretty decent stuff. I mean, it is the schlager that I have been talking about.

For a sample, I went with “Wilde Gesellen” which translated to Wild Friends and sounds something like out a western. I also went with “Schwer Mit Den Schatzen Des Orients Beladen” which Google translates into Heavy Loading With delights of the Orient. Well, I am sure the translation is off but you get the gist of it.

Good little album.  Satisfactory.

Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group- Live

This was $2.80 and purchased to inject a bit of rock into the blog which I like to do on Saturdays.  I saw Jeff Beck live at Sam Houston Coliseum.  He was a split bill with Stevie Ray Vaughn,  The year was 1989.  I was still in high school and was 15.  Terry Bozzio played drums.  Tony Hymas was on keys.  I remember being pretty stoked about “Freeway Jam”.  That is about all I remember.

Set List to said show

Interview with Beck and Vaughn and crew

Well, there is this live album, with a similar set up with the Jan Hammer Group.  Hammer best known for his work with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and the Miami Vice theme. Recorded somewhere on tout in 1976 (sources say the Astor Theater in Reading, PA on August 31) and released in 1977, this record features 7 songs which highlight Beck’s guitar skills as well as the interplay with the group.

For a sample, I went with “Full Moon Boogie”, solely because it had vocals, provided by drummer Tony Smith.  Just to round out the personnel, Fernando Saunders plays bass and Steve Kindler plays violin.

Good little album.  Satisfactory.

Trio Del Norte & Trio Los Aquilluchos- Saludos Amigos

This little gem was a dollar.  I tried rolling the dice on this to see what kind of latin music I would be getting myself into.

I do not know much about this record other than what is on the sleeve. The title translates into “Greetings, Friend”.  Released on the Sutton label, a budget label who sold in supermarkets rather than record stores, this is a collection of latin music, mostly bolero and ranchera style.  My guess is that this came out sometime in the sixties.  I suppose if I was a bit more up to snuff on my latin cultures, I might be able to pinpoint where this music came from but not today, I am afraid. My money is Mexico.

For a sample, I went with “Vieja Celosa”.  It is a ranchera and reminds me of the music they play when Liberty Valance gets shot in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance although not shown below.

As far as this record goes, I got a lot of milage out of it.  I liked it.  Satisfactory.