Rocco Granata- Z’n Gouden Hits

All this week, we will be showcasing records I bought during my last vacation to Amsterdam, which now seems like a decade ago.  We are starting with this one that I bought for a dollar.  I got all my records in one swoop at a stall at the Waterlooplein Swap Meet

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So I went to Amsterdam, last year, one year ahead of schedule as I normally go every to years.  I also normally go during Thanksgiving but this year I went during December, mainly to see the Festival of Lights.  Weather was pretty bad  It snowed three days, and rained two, basically leaving a lot of slush on the ground.  The long underwear my aunt gave me last year for Christmas made all the difference in the world.  Also, I did not realize it at the time, but it was wonderful to get away from the US news cycle for a week.  I strongly recommend to anyone here to go abroad for this reason alone. But all in all, it was a good vacation.  Did a lot of the things I normally do; go to the zoo, hang out at Vondelpark and Oosterpark, the bars, and what not.

It is very odd but I seem to take the same pictures every trip so if you go back to the posts from December 2016, the pictures are basically the same. It has been about 12 years since I first went and I did a bit of reflecting on the subject.

There are a handful of people who have been working at the same bars during this period.  Most everyone who was working last year were still at the same bars as well.  The guy of Dam Square however, how shakes his change box to music from a wind up box was not there this year.  He had been there every year prior.  I did a few new things this trip which I will document in this week’s posts.  I stayed back at the Grand Kranspoly Hotel, as I did last year.  Overall, good time.

So there is this record that I bought by one Rocco Granata. Born in Figline Vegliaturo, in Southern Italy in 1938, Granata’s family immigrated to Belgium when he was ten. Choosing a career in music over coal mining, he played accordion and toured Belgium with his band.

Rocco’s Webpage

His 1959 B side single, “Marina” became a smash hit in Belgium, Germany, and other parts of the world , including the US.  Granata was able to parlay the single’s success into a pretty good career and world wide success.  A movie , titled Marina, was made in 2013 detailing his early life, showing the many struggles he and his family went thru before he was famous, ending with his appearance at Carnegie Hall (although it is noted they made his father a lot more strict in the movie for dramatic effect or so I am told).

This is a greatest hits album from Negram Records, released in the Netherlands in 1971.  The same copy with a different cover was released that same year in Belgium.  Real typical Italian type crooning or schlager if you will.  This seems to be a mix of various languages on here and that would be reflective of his international appeal.  With the exception of a few tracks (most notably “Marina”, not as much accordion on here as I would have thought at least in a dominant sense, but  then again, subtlety is a lost art. Overall pretty good album.

For a sample, I went with “Te quiero”.  which is Spanish for I Love You.

Pretty decent album and I got into the whole growing up with adversity backstory so satisfactory.

Tony Mottola- Roman Guitar

Hey it is Friday (As of the writing of this post, it is really Sunday and I am banging out this week’s posts).  But here we are with another one of my favorite record labels, Command.  This was a dollar. I got it for the song I am going to post.

Here is a collection of songs produced by Enoch Light and led by Command’s number one guitarist, Tony Mottola (not to be confused with record exec and Mariah Carey’s ex Tommy Mottola ).  Born in Kearny, New Jersey in 1918, Mottola was a well respected sessions guitarist, working with Frank Sinatra and Perry Como among others.  His work included thousands of albums as a session player as well as 50 records of his own as well as some time with Doc Severinsen’s band on the Tonight Show. His technically mastery primed him for a position with Command Records. Mottola would die in 2004 after suffering a stroke.

This may have been his second album for Command under his own name.  Released in 1960, it is a collection of Italian songs that take advantage of Mottola’s Italian heritage as well as his signature guitar sound.  I ran into the same problems as I did with the Wildcat album this week, whereas the sound on one channel was not coming in as strong.  This leads me to believe there is something wrong with my recording setup.  Otherwise, it is a fine album of instrumentals.

For a sample, I am going to use the one I always use, “Anna.” It is one of my favorite songs.  You can see the original in the link below.

Link to earlier post about “Anna”.

Anyway, ok album.  Satisfactory