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Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Whistler And His Dog - Jack Zimmermann

Solfeggio
The Whistler And His Dog
Jack Zimmermann
Golden Crest Records CR 3002
Recorded October 6, 1956

Interesting package featuring a fun photo of Zimmerman and, apparently, his dog on the jacket cover. The Whistler And His Dog is the title track, enough of a reason to justify using the image on the cover, but the notes go no further to elaborate on the story. Often "whistler" LPs can sound "one-dimensional" unless you are super into whistling, however, this set is saved by a collection of arrangements that are, for the most part, nicely flavored with a Space Age swing or pop treatments.

From the back cover: The Whistler is Jack Zimmermann who has been playing professionally in bands literally since the age of 12. Now 37, Jack has played Banjo, Guitar and Bass in bands from coast to coast. He interrupted his music to fight a war and returned to it to play in various combinations in Hollywood, Las Vegas, New York and other spots. He has been heard with Enric Madriguera, Charlie Spivak, Buddy Rogers, Art Mooney and others.

Jack first whistled on George Skinner's show on C.B.S. When Archie Bleyer sought a whistler, he also selected Jack and from there on Jack whistled with himself to create duets and even four part harmony.

Listen with very special care to the artist's performance of Solfeggio. This music, composed by the eminent Harpist Robert Maxwell, seems almost to have been written for whistling.

The Whistler And His Dog
Sweet Leilani
Pick Yourself Up
Silver Moon
By The Waters Of The Minnetonka
Mighty Lak A Rose
Solfeggio
Rio Rita
By Heck
Tumbling Tumbleweed
Blue Moon
Clarinet
Polka

Friday, September 23, 2016

Perfect Percussion - The 44 Instruments Of Roy Harte & Milt Holland

Not Since Ninevah
Perfect Percussion
The 44 Instruments Of Roy Harte & Milt Holland
Percussion & Special Effects
A Richard Bock Production
World-Pacific Records
STEREO 1405
1961

Buddy Montgomery: Vibes
Monk Montgomery: Electric Bass
Richie Crabtree: Piano
Benny Barth: Drums
Wes Montgomery: Guitar

Audio Engineering by Richard Bock
Cover Design & Photo by Woody Woodward

Sweet jazz flavored heavy percussion Space Age set that may have been better positioned to create commercial impact while competing for market share against similar products geared toward folks buying "exotic" music in 1959 rather than 1961 when a more "light pop" sound was beginning to emerge on the scene. None-the-less this set is terrific sonic ear candy for any age.

From Billboard - May 22, 1961: Those who love percussion have a rare package here. In addition to the usual rhythm section, 44 percussive instruments and special effects are used, including Chinese cymbal, Cuban cowbell, Mexican chocola, bird whistles, African talking drums and many others. These are played by Harte and Holland. Well recorded. In addition to being good stock for dealers, this package should prove of considerable interest to deejays.

The Kick
Enchantment
Dance Of The Siamese Children
That Old Devil Moon
Not Since Ninevah
Misty
Moony
Getting To Know You

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Billy Storm

Billy Storm
Produced by Camarata
Buena Vista BV-3315
1963

This set is currently provided by the rights holder on YouTube, so I will not be posting a sample.

Check out Lonely People Do Foolish Things which is perhaps the most dynamic track on the set. The notes suggest that the producer worked to present Storm's talents in a creative way, particularly on the extended side one track which, I assume, was an impressive one take affair. None-the-less, I'm not sure the producer had a clear vision of how best to arrange music to frame Storm's sweet and smooth sounding vocal range or to produce the concept set which Storm's talent deserved. I can't guess why Vista produced this one color cover design which looks a bit budget.

Below are a few bits of missing biographical information to add to the online sum of information found on Storm. It appears that once Storm (William Spicer or Billy Fortune) disappeared from the music scene around 1969 that something may have happened as he completely disappears from the online history timeline.

From the back cover: Billy was born in Dayton, Ohio but moved to Los Angeles where he attended Los Angeles High School. He joined the A Cappella Choir; and then went on to Los Angeles City College as a major and continued singing as soloist in church choirs.

Billy Storm's first contact with the Disney organization was his recording of the song Puppy Love Is Here To Stay on the soundtrack of Disney Academy Award Nominee short subject A Symposium On Popular Music. Disney recording executives were so impressed with his range and versatility that they immediately signed him to do three guest appearances on Vista's unusual Teen Street album which features the talents of Annette. The Style Sisters and Gary Shortfall in an album narrated by Maurice Chevalier and Hayley Mills.

In this new album (BV-3314) Billy Storm's voice in several of the selections, such as Lonely People Do Foolish Things and Body And Soul is set against a large Camarata orchestra and chorus. In other selections such as God Bless The Child, Billy performs with very little accompaniment, almost in A Cappella style.

One of the unusual features of this album is one entire side devoted to Billy's varied renditions of Lover Come Back To Me. Few singers in the spotlight today could successfully carry off a tour de force such as this. The different styles in which Billy sings, accompanied by his favorite jazz group, sustain interest even though all are variations of one standard tune. This continuous band side is an expression of one of the theories of Tutti Camarata, artist and repertoire director of Buena Vista, that in the pop field the long-playing record is really just now coming in to its own.


Lover Come Back To Me
Body And Soul
Walk On The Wild Side
God Bless The Child
Cee Cee Rider
Lonely People Do Foolish Things

Sunny - Sunny Gale

Sunny
Sunny Gale
Warwick Records W 2018
1961

Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample.

A note found on discogs.com: Looks like an inofficial European reissue of a 1950s record with added tracks.

From the back cover: Sunny was born in Clayton, New Jersey, but grew up in Philadelphia. Vocal talents revealed themselves with inherent naturalness at an early age and she placed in several children's radio shows, occasionally appearing on the same programs as a gifted lad named Eddie Fisher who lived in a house just down the block from her home. By the time she had reached her fourteenth birthday, she was performing professionally at block parties, weddings, banquets and such throughout the Philly area.

Two years later, she placed in the finals of the Miss Philadelphia Beauty Contest, an award which preferred her the opportunity to enter the Miss America sweeps. However, the local Philadelphia prize brought with it several local night club offers – and Sunny never quite got time to hie her way to the boardwalk at Atlantic City for the big competition. Five years of grueling – but worthwhile – apprenticeship on the Philly nitery circuit followed, with the Gale song Stylings taking on polish and gleam. Then, one engagement, along came Hal McIntyre. Hearing Sunny and liking the hearing, he signed her on the spot as featured vocalist with his band. And, with the McIntyre crew, Sunny acquired her last bit of experience know-how as secure and mesmerizing performer.

When Sunny felt herself ready to try her wings on a truly solo flight, she hied herself to New York, secured herself a recording contract, and immediately recorded the original version of the big hit: Wheel Of Fortune. The rest is well-known entertainment business history. In the wax field, hit after hit has followed. On the bistro circuit, she has played such elite locations as the Flamingo and the Thunderbird Hotels in Las Vegas, the Latin Quarter and Blinstrub's in Boston, the Latin Casion in her native Philadelphia, the Baker Hotel in Dallas, the Riverside Hotel in Reno, the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach (and so on and on). In video, she's been the honored and frequent guest of shows like Ed Sullivan, Perry Como and Arthur Murray. And, there's something of an international dimension to her public appearance background – she has performed for both American Armed Forces and local civilian audiences in the British Isles, France, Germany, Australia, Algiers, Morocco and several other portions of Africa.

The present album is Sunny's first under her new association with Warwick Records.


Old Rocking Chair
He Loves And She Loves
Did You Ever See A Dream Walking?
Sunny
It Might As Well Be Spring
Blacksmith Blues
Near You
To Ev'ry Girl, To Ev'ry Boy
Everybody Loves My Baby
The Very Thought Of You
Teardrops On My Pillow
Dance With A Dolly

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tabu - Ralph Font

Brazilian Willy-Willy
Tabu
Ralph Font And His Orchestra
Westminster WP 6077
1958

From the back cover: In Africa such dances (samba, rhumba, mambo) had been a part of religious rituals; in the Americas they have played an important role in those macabre ceremonies and incantations called voodoo – a mixture of religion, black magic, and sorcery in which simple natives, impelled by religious fanaticism and superstitious fears, seek to placate or to frighten off evil spirits with dancing, chanting, howling, and other more bloodthirsty rites. Many features of voodoo seem revolting or amusing to more civilized peoples, but the rhythmic power of the dancing exerts an irresistible attraction on even the most sophisticated. Thus these savage dances, toned down to fit our more moderate conception of ballroom dancing, turn up as the mambo, the cha-cha, or the merengue.

The above paragraph sums up the project from the dramatic sensual cover photo by Lester Krauss, to the notes that promise "chanting and howling". However, the notes continue on to reveal that someone at Westminster decided that they had to tone down the set to a "more moderate conception". Never mind the disconnect between marketing department's approach and what Font actually recorded, this is still a vibrant and competitive 1958 Latin set that features Font's sharp, bright piano work.

Also from the back cover: Ralph Font began his musical studies in Puerto Rico and completed them at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. He played in several name bands until he felt that he had enough experience to form a band of his own and then, a little over seven years ago, formed his present group. He appears regularly on Ed Sullivan's TV Show, and he has had a great success with his own Fiesta Americana Show, which is shown every Friday night over the Dumont Television Network. Variety writes the following about Ralph Font: "The Font Band is a smooth dance combo that is always easy to follow. Their's is a sapient mixture of melody that makes a turn over the floor very relaxing." Walter Winchell, describing The Font Orchestra, wrote: "One of the best Latin outfits in town."

Bodequero
Brazilian Willy-Willy
Chicharron
Compadre Pedro Juan
Peanut Vendor
Tabu
Noche De Ronda
Cosita Linda
La Comparsa
Piano Merengue
B├ęsame Mucho
El Botellero

Monday, September 19, 2016

Satin Affair - The George Shearing Quintet

Bolero #3
Satin Affair
The George Shearing Quintet
Arranged by George Shearing with Billy May
Conducted by Billy May
Produced by Dave Cavanaugh and Tom Morgan
Piano by Baldwin
Cover/Gown by Iris Petri
Capitol Records
ST 1628
1961

From Billboard - October 9, 1961: Here's the familiar Shearing Quintet sound, with tasteful but sparing touches of strings woven in. Billy May worked with Shearing on this scorings and a classy job they did on such tunes as "Early Autumn," "My Romance," "The Party's Over," etc. The set also boasts a most appealing cover. Good wax for late night romances and the jocks who serve that clique.

Early Autumn
You Were Never Lovelier
Star Dust
Baubles, Bangles And Beads
It's Not You
The Party's Over
Midnight Sun
Here's What I'm Here For
I Like To Recognize The Tune
My Own
My Romance
Bolero #3

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Hits Of Kay Starr

Fool, Fool, Fool
The Hits Of Kay Starr
Capitol Records
T415
1954

From Billboard - June 5, 1954: Some of the top hits turned out over the past three years by thrush Kay Starr are contained in this new set. What more could any Kay Starr fan wants? The cover is attractive, too.

Wheel Of Fortune
Comes A-Long A-Love
Three Letters
Bone part's Retreat
Fortune In Dreams
The Man Upstairs
I Waited A Little Too Long
Kay's Lament
Half A Photograph
Fool, Fool, Fool
Alex-Vous-En, Go Away
If You Love Me

Ti Voglio Bene ...I Love You - Joni James

Arrivederci Roma
Ti Voglio Bene
...I Love You
Joni James
MGM E3939

MGM pushed this album in 1958 as part of a promotion named "June For Joni" during which a collection ("...one of a dozen") James albums could be purchased for $1.98 with the purchase of one at the regular $3.98 tag.

From the back cover: I dedicate this album to my father, Angelo Babbo, who died when I was just a little girl and whose love of beauty and music was born in me.

Santa Lucia
I Have But One Heart
Non Dimenticar
Torna A Sorriento
You're Breaking My Heart
Anema E Core
O Sole Mio
Dicitencello Vuie
Chitarra Romana
Luna Rossa
Per Un Bacio D'amor
Arrivederci Roma

Strolling In Lahaina With George Paoa

Lahaina Blues
Strolling In Lahaina With George Paoa
Arranged And Produced by J. K. Spencer
July 1977
Pua Kea Records PKRS 2001

From the back cover: This album is dedicated to my youngest daughter, Helen Kahanu Paoa, for which the song Honokawai Baby was written. Maui has been very kind to me and my family and also the many visitors and friends from all over the world. It was a pleasure for me and Pua to do this album arranged especially by my dearest friend, John K. Spencer, who got me my first job as a singer at the famous Niumalu Hotel in 1952. A special aloha to Herb Ono and staff of Sounds of Hawaii. – George Pace

According to Paoa's 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin obituary he played with Martin Denny.

Lahaina Blues
Hanalei Moon
Going To Maui Tomorrow
Kanaka Wai Wai
He Punahele No Oe
Hawaiian Lullaby
Morning Dew
Wake
Honokawai Baby
Hawaiian Wedding Song
Moho Mohi
Maui Waltz

Rubber Duckie & Other Pet Songs

I Love Little Pussy
Rubber Duckie & Other Pet Songs
The Kid Stuff Repertory Company
Kid Stuff Records KS 039

Rubber Duckie
Dog & Cat
Johnny Had A Little Dog
Pussy Cat
Where Has My Little Dog Gone
Goose Goosey Gander
I Love Little Pussy
All The Pretty Little Horses