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Friday, April 22, 2016

Percussion Playful And Pretty - Bob Rosengarden & Phil Kraus

Speak Low
Playful And Pretty
Bob Rosengarden and Phil Kraus with Their Orchestra
Produced by Herman-Diaz
Recording Engineer - Bob Simpson
RCA Victory Club Record - Selected by The Readers Digest Guide
*This is another in our series of RCA Victor recordings specially made for Club members and is offered at a bargain price when you make a regular Club purchase

This set is a "playful" tribute to the sound of the mid-60s. If you like tracks from such TV shows as Man From Uncle, Gilligan's Island and Bewitched, or like the "ping-pong/percussion" sound Command was producing in the early 60s, you will likely enjoy this album. The sample I selected to feature is one of the more laid back tracks from the set.

From the back cover:

Spruced-up Mood Music

Remember when you pulled down all the pots and pans in your mother's kitchen and made an "orchestra" out of them? Some kids never grow out of it. They become percussionists.

One thing is sure about percussion: you're bound to get a bang out of it. But don't think percussion is nothing but a noise test. This album proves the contrary. It shows that in the hands of top-rank musicians, percussive instruments have a special kind of melodic charm and subtlety, sweetness and spice. Favorite old ballads emerge with new tonal gloss - a kind of spruced-up mood music. And rhythm numbers glint with tonal laughter - the sheer fun of clinking, clopping, tingling and tapping.

Bob Rosengarden, one of America's leading percussionists, along with equally ingenious Phil Kraus, pulled together for this session perhaps the most varied and sophisticated array of percussion instruments ever assembled before a mike. If you think percussion is just drums, then listen to the vibraharp, the xylophone, marimba, bell-tree, tom-tom, maracas, gourds, scratchers, chimes, cow-bells and temple bells.

"We even rounded up a whole set of Chinese wood blocks - some 30 or 40 of them," says Bob. "Old ones, from mainland China! You just can't get those any more. And for the last number - Goofus - we've really got something rare: a buzzimba!"

A buzzimba, it turns out, is a Rube Goldberg-ish contraption made up of wooden resonators that buzz daintily like a choir of horseflies when struck with a mallet. "You might call it a kind of percussive kazoo," Bob suggested.

The rest of the orchestra (clarinets, flutes, saxes, trumpet, trombone, bass, guitar, and piano) is made up of fairly conventional instruments. Except one. Arranger Sid Cooper had found a calliope - one of those outboard organs they used to play on the old Mississippi showboats. He just had to work that in, somehow, and trundled it into the studio on a serving cart. No steamboat boiler was handy, so a small air compressor was used instead to blow the pipes.Soon the music was clopping along, softly and tenderly like a brook with syncopated rocks in its bed. Or suddenly it sounded as if the building were under attack from a flock or rapid-action woodpeckers. For Bob and his crew, all the banging, tickling and tapping on their strange instruments was audibly a labor of love. It's also a fine stint of sheer musicianship.

– Francis Traun

For Want Of A Star
Mr. Ghost Goes To Town
Johnny One Note
All Through The Night
Satan Takes A Holiday
Sophisticated Swing
The Comedians
Speak Low
The Continental

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Billy May Plays For Fancy Dancin'

Billy May Plays For Fancy Danin'
Capitol Records T771

Quality fancy dancing big big swing set set packaged inside a good humor Bill May jacket.

It Happened In Monterey
Say It Isn't So
Star Eyes
So Rare
Be Honest With Me
I'll Never Say "Never Again" Again
She Reminds Me Of You
Song Of The Wanderer
Bye Bye Blackbird
You Turned The Tables On Me

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cocktail Time - Herman Chittison Trio

Molly Malone
Get Happy
Cocktail Time
Herman Chittison Trio
Soft Winds
Royale 1824

Nice budget 10 inch LP set that appears to share disc space between two artists, Chittison and a vocal group called Soft Winds (there are only 2 vocal numbers on the disc).

Sound is degraded not only to repeated play/wear, but also to the budget way Royale engineered and pressed their discs.

Poor Butterfly
To A Wild Rose
Where Or When
Valse Triste
Molly Malone
Chop Sticks
When You're Smiling
Get Happy

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Art Of Belly Dancing

Bust Exercise
The Art Of Belly Dancing
With Music And Oral Instruction
Gateway Records GSLP 3627

Shoulder Movement
Arm And Hand Movement
Was it Movement
Hip Thrust
Hip Vibration
Bust Exercise
Head Glide
Belly And Snake Movement
Free Style

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Songs Of Vice And Virtue - Julie Meredith

Songs Of Vice And Virtue
Julie Meredith
Imperial LP 12052

Meredith apparently made only two albums, both in 1960 on Imperial. In addition to this set she worked with Rod McKuen and Tak Shindo on a project titled The Yellow Unicorn.

There is not much information to be found on Meredith, including from the back cover of this project.

From the back cover: Because this album is a most unusual undertaking by a most unusual young lady, dealing with a most unusual subject, it may well become a best-seller in today's unusual record market. The live, in-concert performance of Julie Meredith here deals with folk songs and humor – and records by folk singers and humorists are the ones most sought after by discriminating buyers.

Few singers are better able to carry off in a proper vein than the Hati-born, Hollywood raised girl who tried opera and chorale work before discovering that writing and performing folk songs are her true love

Come All Ye Fair
Vaine Ladye Gaye
The Cuckoo
Monday Morning
The Lady And The Unicorn
The Ruined Maid
The Bold Robber

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Twist By The Candymen

Space Twist
The Twist By The Candymen
Diplomat FM 100

Space and earthbound twisting sound pretty much the same on this budget set. Saxophone and organ passages help beef up the sound on some tracks.

Doin' The Twist
Stand Around, Move Around
Goin' Steady
Come Twist With Me
Space Twist
Spearmint Twist
New York City Twist
I Really Love The Twist
Twistin' Out Of Space
Honey Twist

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Concert In Jazz - Earle Spencer

Spencerian Theory
Concert In Jazz
Earle Spencer And His Orchestra
Tops L1532

From Wiki: When (Stan) Kenton was in his Artistry in Rhythm phase, Earle Spencer was running a roadshow version of the same thing. The evidence is on Concert in Jazz, Tops 1532, dimmed by relatively inadequate recording.

There seems to be some discrepancy between the wiki entry, i.e, the Tops release date and when Spencer dropped out of the music scene in "1946".

Wiki: In 1946, Spencer formed his band in Los Angeles after being discharged from the U.S. Navy. Its compositions were progressively styled in the spirit of Stan Kenton, Johnny Richards, and Boyd Raeburn. High-note trumpeter Al Killian, trombonist Tommy Pederson, tenorman Lucky Thompson, trumpeter Buddy Childers and altoist Art Pepper, were among the notable members. Spencer apparently dropped out of music altogether by the end of 1949 – when he was still just 23 – and nothing much has been heard from him since.

Seems like this Tops release (a correct 1957 date) is a decade old republished collection of Spencer's work.

Bolero In Boogie
Soft And Warm
Production On Melody
Oh, You Beautiful Doll
Rhapsody In Boogie
Spencerian Theory
Five Guitar In Flight
E. S. Boogie
Piano Interlude
Concerto For Guitar

Monday, April 11, 2016

Quiet Time - Harrell C. Lucky

Rainbows by H.C. Lucky
Quiet Time
Music For Resting, Relaxing Or Enjoyable Listening
Harrell C. Lucky, D.M.A.
Custom Pressed in USA
Melody House - Oklahoma, City

This budget orchestral mood "concept" album features a nice original tune by the arranger/producer. Good set pacing and arrangements help sell the "relaxing" concept.

Toy land
Evening Fair
Prelude In C
Prelude In B Minor
All Through The Night
Moonlight Sonata
Prelude In E Minor
After A Dream
Toy land

Friday, April 8, 2016

Double Explosure - George Romanis

Double Explosure
The "Sound In Motion" of George Romanis And His Orchestra
Decca Records DL 4170
Recorded Decca Pythian Temple, Feb. 27, 1961; March 20, 1961; April 11, 1961

From the back cover: Personnel: Percussion: Mousie Alexander and Bunny Shawker. Vibes: Eddie Costa. String Bass: George Duvivier. Electric Guitar: Barry Galbraith. Rhythm Guitar: Chuck Wayne. Trumpets: Ernie Royal, John Bello, Doc Serinsen, Clark Terry, Nick Travis, Jimmy Maxwell, Jimmy Nottingham. Trombones: Urbie Green, John Messner, Jr., Wayne Andre, Frank Rehaa. Bass Trombone: Paul Faulise. Piccolo & Flute: Tome Newsom. Tuba: Don Butterfield.

Selections can be had from at least one online vendor so I will not be posting a sample.

George Romanis is better known for writing a fist full of television scores including Hawaii Five-O.

From Billboard - November 27, 1961: Arranger George Romanis is back again with another first-class big band outing. The band is a punching, vital and swinging organization composed of top-flight East Coast jazz players. The arrangements, however, are bound to please almost anyone who delights in the big band sound. Stereo separation is good and the humor-filled Romanis approach to standard material is very much in evidence.

There are a few bio hints from the back cover such as Romanis started playing string bass at age 13 and served in the Air Force.

My Funny Valention
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
Any Ol' Time
Mean To Me
I Can't Get Started
Penthouse Serenade
That Old Feeling
I'll Never Smile Again
When I Fall In Love
Lover Man
Out Of Nowhere
Blue Night

Percussive Latino Cha Cha Cha - Rene Hernandez

Clap Your Hands Cha Cha
Percussive Latino Cha Cha Cha
Doctored For Super-Stereo Series
Rene Hernandez Orchestra
Production, Artist & Repertoire: Sidney Frey (President, Audio Fidelity Records)
Recording Engineer: Ray Hall
Re-recording Engineer: William Hamilton
Cover Art: Irving Stone
Audio Fidelity DFS 7003

Beefy gatefold package created to help market Audio Fidelity's stereo engineering. From the back cover: Audio Fidelity Records produced and released the world's first Stereophonic High Fidelity record (Sterodisc) in November, 1957.

Practically hidden is the artist credit which appears on the disc label as Rene Hernandez Orchestra and on the back cover with other credits as Musical Arrangements: Rene Hernandez.

By 1960 Audio Fidelity was in competition with Command who produced excellent stereo projects in the same vein with similar sound. Command also pioneered this type of gatefold jacket design which proved to be popular and much copied.

The set is peppy, well crafted Latin, a strong entry for it's time.

A2 El Bodeguero
A3 Cero Codazos
A4 Patricia
A5 Mambo Inn
A6 Cha Cha Rene
Clap Your Hands Cha Cha
Cha Cha Castanetas
Oyeme Mama
Mi Musica Es Para Ti
Corazon De Melon