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Monday, October 20, 2014

Bossa Now! - Joe Harnell

Bossa Now!
Joe Harnell
Produced By Mike Berniker
Arranged And Conducted By Joe Harnell
A Total Sound Experience
Columbia CS 9499

Bossa Wow! A terrific space age Latin project that grabs you from the first track and won't let go. Lush, groovy, driving sound featuring Harnell's sparkling arrangements and keyboard work.

From the back cover: Bossa Now! is just that! The exciting difference is the "bossa" sound of today. Take, for instance, the unusual instruments Joe has brought together for this album and the way he uses them. There's the sitar, the indian stringed instrument. Until now, the sitar has been limited to background accompaniment in "rock" sessions. Recognizing the instrument's potential, Joe has brought the sitar front and center, giving it a beautiful melodic line and making it an integral part of the orchestra. You'll hear the haunting sound of the sitar featured in Serenata.

The bellzukie is another sound maker that has the freshness and vitality of today. With a musical range from the whine of a Honda to the mellowness of a cello, the amplified bellzukie come into its own in Blame It On The Bossa Nova. Credit for the Blame goes to Joe and his free-wheeling arrangement that pits the bellzukie against a brace of individually tuned bongos. Add to this the magnificent string section that has become a Harnell trademark and the exciting woodwind virtuosity of Phil Bodner and you have a great example of Harnell's gift for arranging and orchestrating an old standard into something new and exciting.

Just to make sure that Bossa Nova remember its heritage, several Brazilian instruments play a key part in the session. The cabaso is a beaded shaker that gives the group a subtle, insinuating snap. And there's the cuica, the metal drum that opens Un Poco Rio.

I also hear Vincent Bell's "water drop" guitar effect on one track.

Un Poco Rio
So Soon
So Nice
Music To Watch Girls By
A Man And A Woman
Blame It On The Bossa Nova
Bermuda Concerto
Spanish Flea

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Today Is Tomorrow! - The Four Freshmen

Lady Madonna
Today Is Tomorrow!
The Four Freshmen
Liberty LST-7563

Producer: Jack Tracy
Arranger: Dick Reynolds
Engineer: Lanky Linstrot
Art Direction: Woody Woodward
Fashion Designs And Cover Models courtesy Of Rudi Gerneich
Cover Photography: Ivan Nagy

From the back cover: Trends come and go, and we have seen a bunch of them. Usually trends don't especially affect us – Elvis, Folk or Calypso – it doesn't matter. We do what we do. Recently though, this spinning, unpredictable music business is pointing our direction – have you noticed? Group singing is more stylish than ever before. Nothing could be more "mod" than to sing four notes in chords. We're not kicking though – we like being stylish. If we were the only ones heading in this direction, we might get to thinking we're on the wrong track. These new groups are helping keep the music business tuned to The Four Freshmen sound – helping keep us "in style."

From Billboard - June 15, 1968: The pleasant close harmonies of the Freshmen have been entertaining audiences since the early days of Presley, and with contemporary material, the soft sounds still works...

Day Dream
My Girl
Will You Love Me Tomorrow
Walk On By
You've Got To Be Loved
Lady Madonna
Soul Coaxing
Come Fly With Me
When School Is Out This Year
Here's To You

20th All-Senior Honor Band

Black Magic Woman
20th All-Senior Honor Band
East Texas State University
November 23, 1974

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Goin' Crazy With The Blues - Claire Austin

On Revival Day
Goin' Crazy With The Blues
Claire Austin
Gene Mayl's Dixieland Rhythm Kings
Jazzology J-52

From the back cover: It was with great anticipation that I spent the entire week, well truly even longer from the time arrangements were complete, to the arrival Friday evening March 7th of Gene Mayl and his Dixieland Rhythm Kings. My excitement was fever high, for my concern was for one member of the aggregation which was expected in town that night. I knew Gene well and we have spent many happy hours together over the years and I knew most of the other members of his current touring band including Ernie Carson who makes his home right here in Atlanta. No it was different this time and the reason was that Claire Austin was coming with them. I was at long last going to meet Claire Austin… to my surprise, she, after many years of absence from the musical scene, had moved from the west coast to just outside of Cincinnati…

…It is a shame that Claire Austin has made so few recordings over the many years that she has been singing. Actually she was a professional singer in Oregon back when she was just a teenage. Her first session was those famous four sides with Turk and then the 10" lp with Ory, Ewell, Garland and Hall. Since those sessions back in the 40's she has only recorded two other albums with the Great Excelsior Jazz Band from Oregon which could have been a great session if it were not for poor engineering and a bad balance on the part of the studio. Claire is really excited about this album session as I am too. – George H. Buck, Jr.

Goin' Crazy With The Blues
Squeeze Me
On Revival Day
World's Jazz Crazy, Lawdy, So Am I
Exactly Like You
That Da Da Strain
New Orleans Hop Skop Blues
Atlanta Blues
Alabama Jubilee
Some Of These Days
Just A Little While To Stay Here

Friday, October 10, 2014

Music For Playboys To Play By - The Hollywood Playboys Orchestra

Music For Playboys To Play By
The Hollywood Playboys Orchestra
Directed by Mahlon Merrick and featuring Russ Taylor
The Sportsmen Quartet
Urania UR 9012

Available through several online vendors so I won't be posting a sample.

From the back cover: The Hollywood Playboys Orchestra is the new name chosen by members of the Jack Benny Radio and TV orchestra. This group of musicians have been playing Jack's show for the past twenty years with very few changes in personnel. Mahlon Merrick, the director, has been with Mr. Benny for twenty-two years. Many of the members of this organization have been featured on Jack's show. Among these are Frank Remley, the left-handed guitar player, Sammy Weise, drummer, Charlie Bagby, pianist, and Lawrence Kurkdjie, violinist, This is the first of a projected series of albums to be issued by this group. This album was recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, Calif. in August 1957.

Enjoy this one for the terrific cover. The last track on the B side, Zulu Wumu, plays with a jazzy driving beat. You will not hear this fresh period exotic sound in any of the other tracks. The rest of the album seems hastily assembled and the remaining songs lack in their support of the "Playboy" theme.

Anyone For Venice
Music For Playboys To Play By
Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered
I Don't Know Why
Top Hat, White Tie And Tails
The Night Is Young
Morning After
Lady Of The Evening
Sweet And Lovely
Zulu Wuwu

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Carnival In Percussion - The Paul Smith Ensemble

The Sword, The Rose And The Cape
Carnival In Percussion
The Paul Smith Ensemble
Verve Records V4051

Paul Smith: piano
Joe Gibbons and Tony Rizzi: guitar
Rollie Bundock: bass
Milt Holland: congas
Chico Guerrero: timbales
Irv Cottler: drums

From the cover notes: Paul Smith… an imaginative and gifted keyboard man who wandered away from home in his youth as a ward of the daring and stimulating arranger-orchestra leader, Johnny Richards. Piano, organ, celeste, harpsichord, and that little wonder of the chimes family, the keyboard glockenspiel – Paul has imposed his musicianship on each and the result have won him wide recognition as a radio, television and recording artist.

Inventive, light, fun and jazzy space age pop arrangements.

Theme From Carnival!
The World Go 'Round
Magic, Magic
She's My Love
Yes, My Heart
The Sword, The Rose And The Cape
Direct From Vienna
Very Nice

Latin Favorites - Plymouth Latin Orchestra

Rhumba Rhapsody
Latin Favorites
Plymouth Latin Orchestra
Plymouth P12-77

The total budget Plymouth label assembles on this release yet another bargain basement package with only enough material to fill one and a half sides. None-the-less, the cover illustration is creative and the set for a Plymouth effort features a few decent tracks.

Beso Ardiente
La Cumparsita
Rhumba Rhapsody
Cielito Lindo
Blue Rhumba
Dim Light
Mi Passion
Good-Bye Fellows
Rhumba Serenade

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Guitar Man - Living Guitars

Mission Impossible
Guitar Man
The Living Strings Play The Top Popular Tunes
Produced by Ethel Gabriel
RCA Camden CAS-2245

Enjoy lounge covers of many of your favorite "top popular tunes" going as far back as Caravan. And what's the deal with this bizarre cover art?

Guitar Man
Love Is Blue
To Each His Own
Mission Impossible
Guitar Woman
Just As Much As Ever
I'm Coming Home
Am I That Easy To Forget
Walk Away

Duck Wars

I Write The Songs
Duck Wars
Irwin The Dynamic Duck And The Wibble Wabble Singers And Orchestra
Big Hits Dance Party
Peter Pan 8206

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Dance, Dance, Dance, Yowsah, Yowsah
How Deep Is Your Love
Stayin' Alive
Love Is Thicker Than Water
We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You
I Write The Songs
Jack & Jill
Wonderful World
The Name Of The Game

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Nonstop Discotheque Party Dance

It Only Takes A Minute
Nonstop Discotheque Party Dance
Gillette Madison Company
GSLP 3530

According to the back cover… you should be able to do the "robot" to It Only Takes A Minute.

The Hustle
Let's Do The Latin Hustle
7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Blow Your Whistle
Lady Marmalade
It Only Takes A Minute
Do It 'Til You're Satisfied
Bad Luck
Get Down Tonight
Shining Star