Command All Stars- Persuasive Percussion Vol 3

Here’s another week with this record, which is a bit too expensive for my blood at $6.  Records everywhere are getting too expensive.  I would say in the last year, used record prices have jumped up between $1 and $2.  Which I guess in the short term is a good thing as it keeps me from coming back from the store with 30 records for $30.  Also, the Half Price Books in Sugar Land slashed their international section dramatically.  Boo.  Anyway, I got this album for the song I am going to post as well as the fact that I have posted Vol 2 prior and the overall high quality of Command recordings.

This record, originally released in 1960 and re-released by Pickwick in 1978, culminates prior Command recordings with an emphasis on percussion.  I am not sure which musicians contributed to this, but the result is pretty much on par with other Command efforts (Discogs list credits here).  As always, credit must also be given to Command’s man in command, Enoch Light.

I got this specifically for the version of “Hawaiian War Chant” which is among one of my favorites.  I also decided to post another fave, “Perdido”.

Good album.  Satisfactory.

Nestor y Jorge y su conjunto- Festival de Colombia

This album was $2 .  I got it for my continual search for Colombian music.  At this point, I have not written a post in a good month and a half.  I like getting ahead of myself but find that it is almost impossible to keep the website current, since I am still reflecting on things going on in November.

As discussed somewhere in this blog, I went to Bogota, Colombia back around 2011 or so, maybe 2010.  I went for an oil show, which was beyond awesome.  During this time, I was exposed to several forms of local music at the exhibitors booths.  There were various bands, similar to what is on this record with horns, harps, and guitars.  There was also a few exotic dancers, a gymnast who came down from the ceiling, a Argentinian couple doing the tango, and for one brief moment, a Brazilian samba group took over the show. 

There was a lot of harp and a lot of saxophone as well in a weird Colombian style. There was the rolling whiskey cart. There was some Colombian rapper in a pink hat as well as a bunch of oil executives doing the limbo and conga lines. On top of this, there were local street artists as well.

Anyway, these pictures are from that show, back in the day when I had a crappy camera or perhaps a crappy camera phone.  Either way, after looking at these pictures, I was taken aback at just how much music/culture I was exposed to during this Oil Show.  This is also on top of the graffiti and radio music I documented in an earlier post.

Anyway, here is this, 12 songs written by Colombian composer Leonor de Valencia, from Ibague, the musical capital of Colombia.  These songs are performed by Nestor and Jorge, whom even less is known.  Not really feeling out research today.  Not sure when this came out, but here we are with a good collection of local songs from the coffee belt of Colombia.

For a sample, I went with “Sanjuanero” and “Cafe suave de Colombia” as I have been struggling to make up my mind these last two weeks (or next two weeks- I guess it is a question between my writing these and you reading these).

Satisfactory record.

Guadalajara Brass- Around The World

This was $1.  The track list was impressive.  The cover suggested a cheap Tijuana Brass knock off, which was popular during the latin explosion of the sixties.

Well, that more or less is what this is.  I could not find much info on the “band” itself but one source suggested that this might have been a legitimate band and not some consortment of studio musicians thrown together by Coronet/Premier Records.

In doing research, I came across a posting of this record from a fellow music blogger, Unearthed In The Atomic Attic.  His review is less than positive some of their previous work stating it was “so bad and not bad good”.   I am going to be honest, this is not a great album.  But in that line of honesty, you kind of had to know what this was going to sound like before purchase and that is exactly what I said above, a cheap Tijuana Brass knock off.

Link to Unearthed in The Atomic Age

That being said, I am sure this came out sometime in the late 60’s.  Other than that, I do not know much else about the subject.  A lot of common instrumentals at the time, including “Moon River”, “Midnight in Moscow”, and what was one of the MORE popular tunes of the era (and keeping the alliteration up), “Mondo Cane” or “More”, which is what I used as a sample. For the record, this song has less of the brass on it and is more string driven.

Eh, meh.  I know.  I kind of knew what this would sound like and it was dirt cheap but I was hoping for more and not just the song.


VA- Slop N’ Mash Vol 1.

This was $8.00.  I got it as there is just not enough Jamaican music on this page.

A few years back, well decades really, sometime in the mid 90’s, I got this four -CD set of Jamaican music, from Mango Records, titled Tougher than Tough.  Starting with the Folkes Brothers “Oh Carolina” from 1961 and ending with the same song by Shaggy, (which at the time represented the present day of Jamaican music), the compilation details the history of the genre from early ska from the 60;s, to the heavy reggae of the 70’s, to the dancehall of the 80’s/90’s.  Really good collection.  I got a whole lot of mileage out of the set.

So when I saw this record, I went ahead ant snapped it up, despite the high price. This collection predates the cd set described above a bit by presenting some seminal works from 1958 to 1962.  The genres hit on the ska and easybeat sounds which birthed the nation’s music.  A lot of decent artists on here including Owen Gray, Duke Reid, Lord Lebby, Derrick Morgan, Lauren Aitken, and Byron Lee.

For a sample, I was struck by three tunes in particular.  “Crazy Dog” by Beans, Dumplings” by Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, and “Palms of Victory” by Azie Lawrence.

Great little record.  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”.


Ray Charles- Modern Sounds In Country and Western Music

I like having big records on Saturdays and perhaps there has been none bigger than this.  Plus I paid just a dollar for it.  I might as well have stolen in it.  I thought at this price, it would be in pretty rough shape but it actually plays pretty well.  

This was a monumental album for Ray Charles. It was his 18th album and his fifth for ABC-Paramount.  With four charting singles, it brought Charles more fame from mainstream artists.  Those close to Charles did not see the wisdom of putting out an album of country standards, but Charles masterfully translated country and western tunes into R&B flavored arrangements.    

As common place today as taking the country genre and adapting it to big band arrangements, this was a radical idea both musically and socially in the early 1960’s.  Most thought the record would flop but Charles saw the similarities between the two styles and crossed them over in a way that paid its respects to both camps.

Released in 1962, the album was a critical and commercial hit. Most critics consider this Charles’ best album.  The record spent 14 weeks at #1 on the Pop Charts.  “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, in turn , became a #1 single as well.

For a sample, I could have gone with any song but decided to go with Hank William’s “Hey Good Lookin”. Top Rated Record.

Enoch Light- Command Performances

Starting another week of the Two-Year Anniversary month for this blog with artists who are frequently spotlighted on this site.  Enoch Light is one such artists. Due to the high quality standards and imaginative arrangements of Light, I always buy a Command Record when I see one for sale.  That would probably explain why I have two copies of this album. This copy was $1.00.  The other was $1.20.

This album is a collection of songs from previous efforts from the first five years of the Command label.  I guess that is why I thought I had heard some of these songs before when I read the song titles. With selections personally chosen by Mr Light himself, this record features a collection of showtunes and standards, arranged specifically for stereo performance.

Anyway, this album, from 1964, has everything you would expect.  Good sound quality and excellent arrangements that sonic-ally push boundaries.I liked a good bunch of these songs, but I finally settled on “Rio Junction”, a bossa-nova which was written by Light and his associate, Lew Davis.  It is an excellent piece.

Satisfactory record.

Alexandrov Ensemble- Song and Dance of the Soviet Army

The Alexandrov Ensemble, previously known as the Red Army Ensemble/Choir, has been one of my favorites to post since I started this blog.  This album was $1.00.  It should be noted that it was originally bought at the State-owned Russian store Beriozka which sold goods for hard currency, which was illegal for most Soviet citizens to carry.  Go figure.  Anyway, the album is mostly in Russian and the record does not fit in the cover.

It was a great tragedy both for Russia and the world of music last December, when a plane carrying 64 members of the Ensemble crashed on route to Syria to entertain troops.  No auditions were held in January and by February 18, a new Ensemble was able to perform for Defender of The Fatherland Day.  With a series of concerts scheduled for Russia and Europe, this marks a new chapter for the storied Ensemble.

The chapter of this record, however, goes back a ways.  The band on this record was led by Boris Alexandrov, who took over as director after the death of his father in 1946.  Boris’s father, Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov, was the first director as well as the Ensemble’s name sake.  However, under Boris, the the group’s prominence spread outside of Russia.  He was known for his strict discipline and a result, the Ensemble became a highly disciplined unit.  Under Boris’ direction, the group played the historic 1948 Berlin Peace Concert as well as a series of events with Finland’s The Leningrad Cowboys.  Boris retired in 1994 and died the same year.

I do not know much about this record as it is mostly in Russian.  It has 1976 and 1978 on it so I imagine it came out around then, although one would think it was from the 1950’s due to the artwork .  It is a good album.  I like it.  A bunch of Russian tunes.  There were none that I could recognize and they sounded less folksy than other Ensemble records I own.  Plus there was none of that bird call sound that I like.  But despite these things, it is still a good record.  If anyone knows Russian and can tell me anything about this record, plus note I have a comment section.

As I do not know any of the names of the songs, here this is as a sample.  Enjoy.

Satisfactory Record.



Al Hirt- The Horn Meets The Hornet

This was $1.  Too cheap for this record.  No way I am passing up this for $1.  As I have posted Al Hirt’s work several times on this blog as well as professed my love for the lead song on this album, it makes for a fitting choice for this month.  One of the benefits of plugging this month with musicians who I have already featured, it cuts down on the writing time for me. And in case you have not heard, we are celebrating this blogs two year anniversary this month.

This record, released by Dynagroove in both mono and stereo (this is the mono version), this record centers around TV themes, most notably the one he did for the Green Hornet.  Also as previously mentioned and linked in this blog, this song was aptly used in Kill Bill Vol 1.

Released in 1966, this album features themes not only from Hornet, but also from Batman, The Monkees, Run For Your Life, and Get Smart among others.  I was a little let down with Batman and The Monkees’ themes as I had high hopes for them.  However, I was greatly impressed with the other songs on the album.  Overall, this record features Hirt’s trademark horn sounds and is very expressive.  I like it.

For a sample, I went with “The Hornet’s Nest” as well as the theme from “Run Buddy Run”. The original theme was performed by jazz great Jack Sheldon.

Good album.  Satisfactory.