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.

Nick Noble-Music For Lovers

This was from the collection of records I received from Big Al Pallister’s estate. So it is at zero cost. Why I picked this one, I do not know. Maybe to get it out of the way.

Nick Noble (born in 1926) was a Chicago born and bred singer who had some Billboard hits between 1957 and 1959.  Although he always remained popular in his hometown, he regained some national fame both in the early sixties as well as 1978.  Besides serving in the Navy towards the end of WWII, Noble was the nephew of Lou Mitchell, who opened the namesake Chicago Restaurant, in which Noble would later become an owner. He would die in 2012 at the age of 85.

Lou Mitchell’s Web Page

This record was released by Mercury’s Wing subsidiary and distributed in Canada by Quality Records.  Wing had some success in the late 50’s so that is when I am guessing this came out.  Alright album.  Kind of that old school 50’s crooner style that died with the advent of rock and roll.

For a sample, I went with “Right or Wrong”.

This album really is not my cup of tea but I do wonder if my pal Al Jr (whose father owned this record) was perhaps conceived because of it.  For that reason,  satisfactory enough.

 

Gordon McCrae- The Seasons Of Love

This was $3.  I got this for the singer, Gordon McCrae, singer and actor.  Born in East Orange, New Jersey in 1921, McCrae started on Broadway in 1942. A singer career followed as well as the big screen, which he first appeared on in 1948. After roles in such musical hits as Tea For Two, and By The Light Of The Silvery Moon, McCrae landed the biggest two roles of his career in two Rodgers and Hammerstein film adaptations, Oklahoma and Carousel.  His love interest in both was Shirley Jones.  Oddly enough, they get married in both. One marriage does not work out.  Anyway, McCrae continued with tv, radio, and performances until his death of pneumonia in 1986.

It is the R&H movies in which I became aware of McCrae.  And on that note, I find it interesting as I really liked Oklahoma as a kid.  Carousel, on the other hand, was quite lame.  First off, I am sorry your marriage to a carny did not turn out to be the bed of roses it would appear to be.  Second,  the male protagonist really does not go through any deep change other than dying.  I think he could have done more for his daughter and the fact that when he comes back to earth for redemption, he strikes her is indicative of his character.  Finally, despite having one of the most recognizable and inspirational songs from Broadway, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, I found the music overall to be quite singular in use and limited.

But time and tastes do change.  Today, I rather like Carousel.  I still think Billy Bigelow is a jerk and it could have ended a bit better, but  the story has grown on me some as well as the music aside from  the fact that the movie omits “The Highest Judge of All”.  In comparison, I now feel the portrayal of Judd in Oklahoma, is unfair and borders on class resentment.

This record came out on Capitol Records in 1959, after the success listed above.  Conducted by Van Alexander, the album contains songs mostly about seasons.  It is the slow crooning style that I guess he was known for.  Songs include “Indian Summer”, September Song”, “Autumn Leaves, ” and “I’ll Remember April.”

For a sample, I went with “I’ll Remember April” because I remember April.  It was last month.  Seems like a just paid rent for that month and here we are again.  

Decent enough record.  I mean not my cup of tea on all points but I knew what I was getting into when I bought this. 40’s/50’s style old school crooner with the moderately deep voice singing slower romantic tunes.

Dean Martin- The Door is Still Open to My Heart

DSCN2481This was a dollar.  Excellent record at any price but for a dollar, it is getting bought.

8a7802677cf96678c1f9c6b0fb5ce09bThere was no bigger star at the time that the King of Cool, himself, Dean Martin.  Born in 1917 in Steubenville, OH, Dino rose from a lowly night club singer to a master of stage and screen.  All the way through, Dean made it look easy and developed a reputation for being easy going or a casual drunk. But this was a well executed act, at least in my opinion.

250px-Dean_MartinIn writing this post, I am reminded of a Simpson’s episode, where Homer runs into to Dean in Heaven, Homer tells him that he squandered his gift. Dean responds “Squandered my gift?  I made 68 records”.  (If I could have found the clip, I would have posted it). Furthermore, Dean was a family man who according to one of his ex-wives, made it home for every meal.  Thus, his lush persona was an act, one that he did quite well.  Or at the very least, it did not slow his ouput. However, one vice, smoking, would catch up to Dean.  He would die of lung cancer related illness in 1995 at age 75.

Dean’s Web Page

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This would have been Dean’s 14th studio album if my math is right. Released in 1964, it went up to #9 on the Billboard album charts. Coincidently, three of the songs were previously done on his 1963 album Dean “Tex” Martin Rides again. The album itself features four of his better known songs; the title track, “You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves You”, “In the Misty Moonlight”, and Gale Garnett’s “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine” (Gale’s album was on this blog about two months ago). .The songs are all trademark Dean, smooth vocals crooned over well orchestrated music.DSCN2482

For a sample, I stuck with “The Middle of the Night is My Cryin’ Time” which was one of the ones culled over from the earlier album.Old-Dean-dean-martin_thumb

Satisfactory record indeed.

 

Frankie Laine- Hellbent for Leather!

DSCN1162This was 80 cents with discount.  Had a good array of western tunes on it.

Despite the cover, and the track record of songs for Western movies, this genre is but a little segment in Frankie Laine’s career.  Born in the west side of Chicago in 1913,  Laine started singing in dance clubs and would work his way up to fame.  He started out with big band/ crooner numbers.  In the 40’s, he would move to a jazzier style.  As time progressed, he would further evolve into gospel, ballads, blues, pop, and western.  This would lead to a string of hit singles in the 50’s and 60’s. Although he did not sing the original, his version of “High Noon” became a smash hit and lead to a second career of sorts singing themes to Western movies.  This would lead to such songs as “Rawhide” (where the title of this album comes from), “The 3:10 to Yuma” and “Gunfight at O.K. Corral”.  His career would slow down in the 80’s due to health but he continued to record and release albums up until his death in 2007. He was 93.1953-frankie-laine-answer-me-1353313411-view-0

Frankie’s Webpage

Back to the movie themes, when Mel Brooks was making Blazing Saddles, he put a notice out that he was looking for a Frankie Laine-type to sing the theme song.  Laine said to himself, ” I’m a Frankie Laine-type” and went to Brooks to offer his services. According to Brooks, -“‘Frankie sang his heart out… and we didn’t have the heart to tell him it was a spoof — we just said, ‘Oh, great!’ He never heard the whip cracks; we put those in later. We got so lucky with his serious interpretation of the song.” DSCN1163

This album was among the last four he did for Colombia Records, ( where he had a very lucrative contract at the time).  Released in 1961, it was arranged by a young John Williams (of Star Wars fame).  On it he re-recorded some of his biggest theme hits.  He also recorded some new standards as well.  It is a bit difficult to classify this album as it is not country.  It is kind of western but not in a traditional sense but I think that is what makes it interesting.  Also driving the album is Laine’s voice which made him stand out from the pack of popular singers at the time.

A Brief Interview with Frankie discussing Contemporary Singers

I went with “Bowie Knife” as the sample because of its driving narrative.  You can feel the life and death struggle between these two gamblers in this knife fight.

Satisfactory Record for me.