Buddy Morrow and his Orchestra- Night Train

This gem was $1.50.  Maybe something about the cover caught my eye, or maybe it was the version of “Night Train” which despite never being able to find a version that even comes close to James Brown’s, does not discourage me from trying.  This record once belonged to one Jimmy Blarbsher, I believe.

Buddy Morrow was a tromboner whom New Haven, Conn.  Born in 1919, he gained fame with big bands led by Eddie Duchin, Artie Shaw, and Tommy Dorsey among others before leading his own band.  He also was in the Tonight Show Orchestra, although for Jack Paar or Johnny Carson, I am unsure (98% sure it was Carson but too lazy to confirm).  Known for his skill in the upper range, Morrow died in 2010.

Morrow’s Spage Age Pop Page

 

“Night Train” was Morrow’s first hit as a band leader and is probably the most third most famous performer of this song after Brown and the original performer, Jimmy Forrest.  Morrow’s blended big-band/R&B version, released in 1952, went to #27 on the charts.  This record, released on Mercury Records in 1959, seems to capitalize on the success of this single. It has a pretty good collection of songs which seem to continue to wander slightly into R&B territory without leaving the big band sound.

For a sample, I went with “One Mint Julep”.

I am in a decent mood this week so satisfactory record although it was slow at times for my tastes.

 

The Frankie Capp Percussion Group- Percussion in a Tribute to Henry Mancini

This was $2.  I like Mancini and percussion albums so this seemed like a perfect marriage of the two. Plus the Stereo in Motion Graphics are pretty cool.

Frankie Capp, born in Worcester, Mass in 1931, is a jazz drummer who played in big bands before switching to session work, playing on many rock and roll recordings.  Although not the main drummer of the group, he is associated with the group of session artists referred to as”The Wrecking Crew”.  Capp, played with such diverse folks as Chet Baker, Stan Kenton, Mike Nesmith, Sonny and Cher, and Andre Previn. He would also later form his own big band with Nat Pierce.

Capp’s Space Age Pop Page

On this record, released by Kimberly Records in 1961, features Capp and his crew, (featuring fellow Wrecking Crew member Tom Tedesco on guitar), tackling the work of Henry Mancini.  Apparently, Kimberly and Capp made a dozen or so of these records, translating hits from other band leaders into modern percussion driven interpretations . Pretty good little album.  The arrangements are interesting enough.  Good percussion on this as the title would suggest. It is driven not only by Capp’s wonderful drums but also augmented by the vibraphone of Emil Richards.

For a sample, I went with “Peter Gunn” which I felt that although the original and subsequent covers are quite played out and over rated, this arrangement brought new life to the piece.  I also went with “Session At Pete’s Pad” which by some accident of me not paying attention, features an “Inna-gadda-da-vida”-esque extended bongo solo, mainly because there was a skip and I was not paying attention while recording.

Good little record all the way around.  Satisfactory.

The Four Freshmen- Voices In Latin

This was $3.  I got it for my favorite song “Brazil” which undoubtedly will be posted here.  If you have been reading this blog and did not expect that, I worry for you.

The Four Freshmen were and still are a vocal group who had hits in the 1950s. Formed in 1948 from other vocal groups in Indiana, they were discovered by Monday’s post subject, Stan Kenton. The group put out around 30+ records.  The last original member retired in 1993, but an incarnation still exists and tours.

Current Incarnation Web Page

This album, released by Capitol Records in 1958, features original members Bob Flanigan, Ross and Don Barbour along with Ken Albers.  As the title would suggest, this is a collection of latin flavored songs.  Arranged and conducted by Kenton associate Pete Rugolo, this is a pretty decent collection of songs.  The vocals are good but the music is pretty swinging as well, at least for a vocal group.  This record also features the flute of Herbie Mann.

Lot of choices to chose from. I liked “Frenesi”,  “Tangerine”, “Granada”, and “Chelsea Bridge”.  But ultimately I went with “The Breeze and I”.  Of course as mentioned above, I am also posting “Brazil” which is one of the few vocal versions I have put up on this site.  It is interesting to note that both songs feature trombone solos from vocalist Flanigan. Flanigan would pass on in 2011.

Pretty decent album.  It kind of grew on me so satisfactory.

Julie London- Julie Is Her Name

This was $1.00 Probably the red hair against the green back drop drew me towards this purchase which was more than likely made at Sig’s Lagoon.  Ah, poor Sig’s.  I used to go there once a month but since I have to many records as it is and I usually walked away from Sig’s with 30 or so per trip, I have stopped going.  Some of the best cheap records were procured there (* they also have a great selection of regular priced records as well).  Someday I will return Sig’s, some day.

Anyway, here is this from Julie London.  London, born in Santa Rosa, CA in 1926, was a singer, turned film actress, turned tv star.  She is best known for the 32 pop/jazz records she put out mostly during the 50’s and 60’s but she did some film work of note as well as time on the small screen with a 6 year run as nurse Dixie McCall on the show Emergency!.

It should be noted that she started with her husband at the time, Bobby Troup while the show was produced by her ex-husband, Dragnet’s Jack Webb.  So much for keeping your family life away from your work life.  Anyway, London, who was a chain smoker since age 16, suffered a stroke in 1995 and passed on in 2000, at age 74.

This was London’s first record, released by Liberty records in 1955.  It went to #2 on the US charts, driven by the strength of what would become her signature song, “Cry Me A River”.  Pretty decent album of 50’s jazz type numbers.  

Barney Kessel lends his guitar to the album along with bass from Ray Leatherwood. The sparce instrumentation   makes for a good effect.  Most of the songs if not all are love ballads and are pretty slow.

For a sample, I went with the one up tempo song on the album, the b-side to “Cry”, “S’Wonderful”.

Not exactly my cup of tea, but not a bad record either.  Satisfactory.

Mantovani- Latin Rendezvous

This was $4.00.  It had a lot of songs that I like on it. 

This record, released by London Records, was pretty novel.  A competition was held to chose 12 songs with a format or title theme for Mantovani’s next album.  The winner would be flown to England for sightseeing plus viewing of the recording of the chosen songs. Pretty cool idea.

The winner of the contest was one Angeleo Ruggiero from Milford, New Jersey.   Hope he was not trying to get to the beach two weekends ago.  Anyway, Angeleo and his wife were flown to London, had dinner with Mantovani, and watched him put this album together.  I wondered at the time of this writing if Angeleo was any relation to Lefty Ruggiero of Donnie Brasco fame or the any other crime family members.

According to the entry form, Angeleo nailed this record but I find it kind of amazing that Mantovani had not recorded these songs before.  They are latin standards including such works as “Granada”, “Malaguena”, “Perfidia”, and “Siboney”.  But regardless, here they are.  A pretty good album.  It is one of his more lively efforts.  It also came out in 1963.

For a sample, I went with “Andalucia” or better known as ” The Breeze and I”.  Poor little “Perfidia”, though.  That is two albums this month that I passed on this song.

Anyway, this is a much better Mantovani album that some of them I have posted in the past.  Satisfactory.

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.

 

The Cliff Holland Trio- Bourbon Street

This gem was only a dollar.  Not only do I like small regional records.  I also like autographed ones despite this record’s autograph being on the plastic cover.  It is made out to a “Mr & Mrs Cruz” to which Cliff Holland wished them good luck.  Since this record is from Calgary, I can’t help but wonder if these are Ted’s parents and if perhaps, I am holding the missing link of the JFK assassination in my hands.  Trump conspiracies aside, I always did have an overactive imagination.

Other than what I read on the back cover, I do not know much about Cliff Holland, other than the fact that he was a member of two successful southern vocal groups:The Delta Rhythm Boys and the Four Knights. His stint in both these groups led to worldwide travel and 12 Gold Records.  What brought him to Western Canada, I do not know.  Based on the lack of any drummer credits on the record, I assumed Holland handled skin duties but this is a mere assumption and I am starting to thing this is not the case. Anyway, the Trio is rounded out by English born Larry Yarwood on piano who was also a member of the Calgary City Stompers and Lye Kosh, a Regina native who was also an employee of Gulf Oil of Canada.  Further credits go to back-up bassist Glenn Dickson as well as Larry Bechthold for rhythmic patterns on the record.  Perhaps this is where the records drums come from although it is a strange way of saying it. Please note that I am pretty sure this is not Holland in the video below but I really liked this song.

Anyway, this is a real good album.  Between Holland’s baritone voice and the jazzy/lounge instrumentation, the listener is magically transported into a smokey dark room (although due to smoking laws, that aspect is lost to future generations).  Really good performances and really good songs including such standards as “Chicago”, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, ” They Call the Wind Maria”, and “Summertime”.  

This record did skip pretty badly.  I went to my upstairs neighbor to clean it but that did not do the trick.  I had to use his turntable as well as his fancy recording device to get a good recording.  I succeeded on this front but was to lazy to splice the songs apart so here are three samples all put together.  First is the second Paint Your Wagon song on this record, the immortal “Wandrin Star”. Second is the Bob Crewe-Bob Gaudio penned “Can;t Take My Eyes Off of You” which is a great version but probably included only because I saw Jersey Boys last month.  Finally, I leave you with a Holland co-penned tune “Our Town” which is more of  a shout out to the people who worked on this record, which is dedicated to Calgary.

Really good little record despite the fact that I can not play it on my record player.  It really hit on a lot of angles for me.  Top Rated.

 

The Melachrino Orchestra- Music For Two People Alone

This was originally 50 cents but with discount, came out to a lean 40. Why did I get it?  Can not remember anymore.  Most likely price.  

This record, released by RCA Victor in 1954, is from the Melachrino Orchestra, led by George Melachrino.  Born in London from Greek and Italian roots, and proficient on a variety of instruments, he worked in bands before becoming an army musician in WWII.  After the war, he lead his own orchestra with records, performance, and soundtrack work. His series of  “Moods” albums became pop staples but may be better known today for their covers rather than the actual content. Melachrino died in 1965 but the string orchestra under his name continued after his death for another decade at least. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

Melachrino’s Space Age Pop Page

Anyway, this is a collection of songs for two people alone and draws from a diverse source of material including Hammerstein-Kern, Rodgers-Hart, Gershwin, Gonzalo Roig, Lew Pollack, and Hoagy Carmichael.  

It is Carmichael’s selection that I used for a sample.  Here is his composition, “Two Sleepy People”. On the whole, this record put me to sleep.  Meh.

Bonnie Pruden/Otto Cesana- Keep Fit/ Be Happy Vol 2

This was one dollar.  Worth the price to check out.

Bonnie Pruden, born in New York City on 1914, was a pioneer in the field of physical fitness.  She developed programs, ran fitness centers, wrote books, recorded albums, marketed fitness equipment, and even designed clothing for fitness. She was also an expert climber. In 1976, she developed a system to use pressure points to allieve pain called myotherapy, which she devoted her later years to.  She moved out to Tuscon in 1992 to open  a physical fitness /myotherapy institute and despite suffering a broken pelvis, multiple heart attacks, cancer, replacement hip surgery,stents,d by-pass surgery, Pruden kept on chugging until her death in 2011.  She was six weeks away from her 98th birthday and apparently  she was still exercising at her hospice bed just days before her passing.

Of Prudden’s accomplishments, one such feather in her cap was her creation of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.  In what was known as The Report that Shocked the President, Prudden submitted to President Eisenhower data that showed the comparative fitness levels of US children to their European counterpart.   This was  pretty big deal when I was going to school.  As a pupil, I was really good at 2/3’s of the systems requirements I could run in the top 10%.  I could also reach the top 10% pull ups.  However, push-ups and sit-ups were always my downfall.  Could never complete the required amount in time and thus could never win a Council medal.

This album, released in 1960, consists of 14 exercise routines along with a photo step guide, set to music.  The music is all original, written, arranged and conducted by Otto Cesana.  From what i could find on Cesana, he was perhaps an Italian-American conductor from the San Francisco area who despite being classically trained, showed a pension for jazz and produced work more suited for easy listening/ lounge/ hifi audiences.  I am assuming he is dead now.

That being said, the music is quote good on this album.  Real good.  If you can tune out the exercise steps, it makes for a good listen. It probably makes for a decent work out as well.  The back cover notes in all caps, “YOU WILL BE STILL THE NEXT DAY” so be fore-warned.

For samples, I went with the Pelvic Tilt exercise “Black Out”.  I also decided to go with Walk #1 and Walk #2, “Ridin’ Wild” and “Rush Hour”.  I felt “Rush Hour”, in particular was quite similar in the middle to”Twisted Nerve”  which came out 8 years later on a Bernard Herrmann soundtrack of the film of the same name. It was also used quite famously in Kill Bill Vol 1.

Anyway,  good little album for the price.  Satisfactory.

Martin Denny- Afro-Desia

Saturday means quick posts.  Also, since I have done many posts on Martin Denny, this greatly speeds today’s entry along.  This was from the bunch of records I got from my friend Micahl so it was at a cost of $0.00.  

This could have been Denny’s sixth or so album, released in 1959 on Liberty Records.  This collection as the title would suggest as well as the back cover would state, draws its inspiration from Africa.  Lot of really good songs on here that I have posted from other artists including “Baia”, “Temptation”, “Simba” and “Siboney”.

In what is the ultimate bout of laziness, a link to Ambient Exotica’s album review.

But for a sample, I decided to go in a different direction for once and post “Cubano Chant”.  I think it was the vocal chants that drew me to it. Also, the rest of the album skipped heavily and I was too lazy to clean it.

Really good album though.  Top Rated.