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


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.

Caterina Valente- Greatest Hits

DSCN3700This was 80 cents. I liked most of the songs on the album so I figured I would give it a try.valentCaterina Valente is a Italian singer/entertainer who was born in Paris, France in 1931.  Born into a family of entertainers, she became a popular singer of Schlager tunes (look it up for yourself).  She would become an International star with records, television appearances. and even movie spots.  She would also star in a short lived variety show on CBS with Carol Burnett and Bob Newhart.  She is still alive as of this writing.dean-caterina-valente-kingofcoolCaterina’s Translated Webpage


This album is a greatest hits collection from her work with Werner Muller and his Orchestra.  Right off, this album has a lot of entertainment value.  The songs are well arranged and orchestrated. It has that pizazz that was missing from yesterday’s album.  The vocals are fabulous as well. She sings in a great range as well as in a couple different languages on these.  This makes for a very good collection.  My highlights include “Malaguena”, “La Paloma”, “The Peanut Vendor”, “La Golondrina”, and the two songs that I selected as samples.DSCN3701

Those samples are “The Breeze and I” and ‘More”.2514476402

Satisfactory record.



Webb Pierce- Golden Favorites

DSCN1001I was on a country kick when I was record shopping this day and this was in the $1. I also really like Webb Pierce. People either love or hate his voice.

A true country legend with a unique voice from West Monroe, Louisiana, he had his own radio show at the age of 15. After WWII, he worked at a local Sears in Shreveport while honing his craft, and performing locally. Nashville would take notice and yada, yada, yada, Webb was a country star. He would later take Hank William’s place as the most popular singer in country music after Sr’s death. Webb would also replace Hank on the Grand Ole Opry when Hank was fired. Ironically, Webb would become a heavy drinker himself along the way in his career. The Opry posed a dilemma for Webb as he was already a star when we was asked to join. Meeting the mandatory minimum of performances would take away from other appearances and thus constitute a pay cut. Because of this, he quit Opry , burning bridges and delaying his admittance into the Country Hall of Fame. Webb was finally admitted in 2001, ten years after his death.

Of all the old legends, Webb strikes me as the guy you would want to have a drink with the most, and that is a heavy playing field to choose from. He seemed like he had a real Good Ol’ Boy Quality. I guess most successful self promoters have a bit of huckster in them, but it is that likability that keeps them from full on Eddie Haskell status. While other country musicians were struggling against rock and roll in the late 50’s , Webb maintained popularity mainly thru his relationships with DJ’s across the US. He was known for his excesses, including fancy clothes and a guitar shaped pool in his Nashville home. He also set up shop by charging tourists tickets to see his pool. A lawsuit by his neighbors, including Ray Stevens, forced him to stop this practice. A replica pool was then built on Music Row. While writing this, I seem to recall seeing the guitar shaped pool when I was a kid during a trip to Nashville. However, fuzzy memories can be misleading. I mean, did I go to Niagara Falls as a kid, or did I just watch Superman II? Regardless, I did go to the Country Music Hall of Fame because I still have the souvenir pocket knife. See, consumerism is good for something.

Webb Pierce and his Swimming Pool Nashville
Webb Pierce and his Swimming Pool Nashville

This album is a collection of Webb’s favorites according to back cover, but I imagine it is more of an obligation to Decca Records. It is hard to swallow a collection of great Webb songs without “There Stands the Glass” but the songs selected showcase his unique voice which separates him from his peers. And as it was released in 1961, it has a good mix of songs, including the Everly Brothers “Bye, Bye Love”.DSCN1002

I chose “Shanghied” for mainly for its Asian strings which borderline on being cheesy. Screw that. After listening to this for two weeks, it is cheesy but I still like it. The songs are all pretty good on here and there is nothing that really stands out over the others.

Satisfactory Purchase because I like Webb Pierce.