Between my trip to the US and some trips to charity shops in England, I’ve picked up quite a few records recently. I’m also still working through my stash from earlier in the year. I’m completely running out of space, and have selected about 100 to give away. I have to keep rotating or I won’t be able to sit down in my apartment!
Andre Previn: 'The Popular Previn - Plays Today's Hits' (LP; CBS; 1966)
A very nice LP with a cool cheesecake cover. There's actually a clue to the record's content on the cover - while there's a large grand piano with a reclining girl on it, Andre actually sits at a harpsichord, which sounds very cool and can be heard on several tracks.
The arrangements are by Marty Paich, and are excellent. There are a several different themes on the album. There's a strong bossa nova presence, with very tasty versions of 'One note samba', 'Corcovado', 'The Girl from Ipanema' and 'Manha de Carnaval'. 'One note samba' and 'Girl from Ipanema' highlight the harpsichord. There are three excellent jazzy originals, 'Kiss Me Stupid', 'Never you mind' and 'Goodbye Charlie'. 'Kiss me stupid' has some silly girly 60s vocals which are entertaining. 'Never you mind' is excellent - a moody piece with jazz piano, percussion and strings. 'Goodbye Charlie' starts off like a Lalo Schifrin big band piano piece, but then brings on the 60s female vocals as well.
An interesting LP. I would like to hear more of Previn's work from the late 60s.
Bernard Herrmann: 'The Four Faces of Jazz' (LP; Decca; 1973)
It's hard to find much to say about this one. Quite nicely done bits of Weill, Gershwin, and Stravinsky. Perhaps because it's not particularly 'song shaped', it kind of passed me by.
Bobby Goldsboro: 'Brand New Kind of Love' (LP; United Artists; 1973)
Fantastic title track. Less good rest of album.
Hal Hester: 'Music from Your Own Thing' (LP; RCA; 1968)
A very fun, mostly upbeat record. Late 60s pop with wordless vocals. 'Latin Rock' in the same sense as Claus Ogerman's Latin Rock album is Latin rock. This means beaty 60s discothequey style dance music with nice latin percussion.
Johnny Harris Dance Band: 'Sounds Super' (LP; Rubber Records; 1977)
Before you ask, no, it turns out that this isn't the Johnny Harris who created the amazing Movements album, and who did fantastic arrangements for people like Petula Clark and Shirley Bassey. Instead, this is a bloke from Northamptonshire in England. If that wasn't obvious from the cover, it becomes clear soon after you put the record on. While the musicians are all quite good, there's something about the intonation and general production values that make this sound more like a school band record than a professional production.
The most entertaining track is the band's take on Van McCoy's 'The Hustle', which sounds pretty interesting when arranged in the big band style. I don't envy the sax player, who must have got pretty tired after playing this one. The rest of the album is pretty run-of-the-mill. I wish there had been more interesting hybrid disco tracks, but overall the album is better than expected.
Nelson Riddle: 'Vive Legrand: Nelson Riddle Salutes Michel Legrand' (LP; Daybreak; 1973)
Hey, lots of us have felt the need to salute Michel Legrand at one time or another. I know I have. This apparently little-known album is absolutely brilliant - probably up there with his other 70s albums on MPS for me, and recorded about the same time. The first track, 'I was born in love with you' is fantastic - superb rhythms and delicate piano - just totally vibrant and colorful. These qualities sometimes take longer to be teased out in other tracks, but they pretty much always make it in the end.
As I mentioned in a previous post, It's wonderful to hear how Riddle updated his style from the big band arrangements of the 1950s to the easy listening/rock hybrid he presents here. There's very prominent bass and percussion, as well as superb piano and strings. It sits very well with contemporary work by Les Baxter, as well as British arrangers like John Schroeder and John Gregory.
Riz Ortolani: 'The Yellow Rolls Royce' (LP; MGM; 1967)
I had to buy this for fifty cents, but any record that includes two tracks called 'Military Band' probably isn't going to do much for me. There are a few vocal tracks by Katyna Ranieri. There are two versions of 'Forget Domani', both of which are quite charming, although not at all hip sounding (although the film was from 1968, it's set in the 20s); the slower tempo one is particularly nice. 'Now and then' is a nice slow ballad with guitar accompaniment. The main theme is quite nice.
Not one to go out of your way to acquire.
Compilation - Riz Ortolani/Giancarlo Chiaramello/Roy Budd: 'Dino De Laurentis Presents Original Soundtracks from The Valachi Papers/Crazy Joe/Stone Killer' (LP; Project 3; 1974)
Three excellent soundtrack extracts on a Project 3 LP from 1974. Not bad for $1! The Roy Budd was the one I was most excited about, but actually the other two are fantastic too.
Sam (the man) Taylor: 'Blue Mist' (LP; MGM; 1963)
I've always been a bit of a sucker for the droney, smokey, saxophone-led instrumental easy listening of Sam the man taylor. This one is cool too. The tracks are pretty much all standards, and the whole thing is reassuring and familiar, even when the sax is wailing.
Sonny Lester: 'How to Belly Dance for your Husband' (LP; Roulette; 1964)
The only record bought on this trip for more than $1.00! Sounds great; more to come.
The Sandpipers: 'Guantanamera' (LP; A & M; 1966)
A mint mono copy for $0.50. Strange to find a mono copy! This was reissued on CD in about 1995 and used to be everywhere. I quite like the Sandpipers, but I could probably boil them down to about 10 tracks. And I'm not sure if many of those tracks are on this record. But it's still quite enjoyable. Just very quiet!
It's kind of like a novelty LP with famous songs sung in a wimpy soft pop style in Spanish.
'Carmen' is particularly amusing, and I'm always partial to 'angelica', whoever's singing it (although obviously I'd like it to be Scott Walker).
Most of the best tracks seem to be arranged by Nick DeCaro; Mort Garson, Tommy LiPuma and Bruce Botnick are also involved.