I Belli Di Waikiki – Sleepwalk
A nice version of the Santo and Johnny classic by a modern combo from Italy! The band seem cool.
Bobby Goldsboro – Summer (The First Time)
Esther assures me this is an AM staple, but I’d never heard it before a few weeks ago. Entertaining narrative, and a superb repetitive piano line in the accompaniment.
Joanie Sommers and Rick Nelson – Try To See It My Way
Joanie was pretty cool. Here she sings with another favorite of mine (well, I’m partial to a few of his tracks anyway), taking on ’Try to see it my way’, which was also sung by Peggy March.
Luiz Henrique – Listen to me
Another recommendation from Musical Taste, this is a jazzy late 60s pop piece that manages to be both gentle and hip sounding.
Brasilia Modern Six – Tomorrow’s Love (Morir Un Poco)
Less subtle than Luiz, but still very appealing, with a nice reverby guitar and a relentless beat. I didn’t know the song before, but it sounds like a generic late 60s soundtrack song. The instrumentation also includes piano, organ and wordless vocals.
Marvin Hamlisch – Big Splash
A very cool sounding soundtrack piece from 1968 (from The Swimmer, and also featured on a Cafe Apres-Midi compilation), this instrumental features a jazzy piano and beautiful Mancini style vibes and strings.
The Left Banke – Shadows Breaking over My Head
A Musical Taste recommendation. This cut is a revelation to me. Beautiful and haunting string arrangement, and a very catchy chord sequence. Lovely harmonies as well. The whole thing is rather serious. Stunning stuff.
Anita Kerr Singers – Are You There (With Another Girl)
I’d had my eye on this LP for a while. The whole thing is pretty brilliant and features some superb arrangements, but this is probably the standout track for me. The percussion is strong, and the vocal performances are out of this world.
Dieter Reith – Wives and Lovers
More Bacharach (where will it end?!). This is a nice Jazz trio version of a cut that I probably find more listenable as an instrumental.
Frank Barber – Theme 18
An unusual track from another album I’ had my eye on for a while, Deep Percussion. It has a slow and cinematic introduction, with sound effects and some thumping low piano notes. Then it turns into a beautifully arranged late 60s pop instrumental with wordless vocals. Some nice Moog touches add to the charm.
Tema 3 – Amazonas
I can’t really get enough of either Joao Donato or this track. Tema 3’s version is extremely cool. Their simple blend (piano, bass and drums) is very nicely put together, and the performances are excellent.
Claudia – Pois e, seu ze
I picked up a copy of this LP (Deixa eu Dizer) from a guy in France or Belgium. It’s pretty cool. This track is dramatic with lots of shouting in the background. I’ve heard a lot more of both Claudia and Evinha since I started mentioning them, and it seems to me that Claudia was more consistently interesting. I’m looking to getting hold of more Evinha material (there’s an album from 1974 available on CD that looks good); the vocals on some of the stuff I have now are a bit too tame for my taste.
Joyce – Nao muda nao
A lovely, early sounding Joyce track. This is from a Cafe Apres-Midi compilation, and wasn’t on the Essential compilation.
Bobby Hackett, Billy Butterfield, Luiz Henrique (with Mary Mayo) – Dancing in the Dark
This came from a long-deleted Verve album that was made available by Magnus. A nice mix of wordless vocals, guitar and trumpet, all in a warm late-60s bossa nova setting.
Kane Triplets – Theme From Mission Impossible
We’re now in the silly section. This is the only vocal version of this track I’ve ever heard (or heard of). Amazing stuff! I had high hopes for my Marlene Van Planck version, but it turned out to be just vocalized/wordless (although very cool!), without lyrics.
Alan Corb – Feuerball
It’s ’Thunderball’ in German!
Nichelle Nichols – Theme From Star Trek
I’m a few years behind on this one I expect. I knew this vocal version of the Star Trek theme existed, but I’d never heard it (other versions also exist that I’d like to check out, including one called ‘A star in time’ by Shaun Cassidy).
Carmen McRae and David Brubeck – Take Five
More vocals applied to a famous instrumental. This is cool, although not as cool as the Swedish version by Monica Zetterlund! (I’ll put this one in a future hitlist).
Hirut Bèqèlè – Ewnètègna Feqer
Very cool and groovy instrumental from the Ethiopiques series of African music, which seems outstanding.
Janko Nilovic – Concerto for a Star
This sounds like a generic 70s TV theme (a serious and mysterious drama perhaps).
Marc Moulin – Humpty dumpty
Nice fusiony instrumental. I knew nothing of this guy, but the track was recommended at Musical Taste, and it’s pretty nice. The sound is quite restrained and tasteful, with lots of organ, electric piano, drums and a wah-wah guitar, as well as some brass backing.
Jackie Lee – The Town I Live In
Cool dramatic 60s pop track recommendation from Musical Taste.
Billy May and the Out-Islanders (vocal Loulie Jean Norman) – The Moon of Manakoora
A nice exotic piece with great wordless vocalizing. I had been hoping for some lyrics, but I guess I can’t have everything.
The Supremes – Sleepwalk
I managed to track down a vocal version of Sleepwalk! How I celebrated! I figured one must exist, but I was surprised to find the Supremes did one. They do a nice job. The track was apparently unreleased until the mid-1980s. A few years ago an exotica list member did a nice radio show compiling vocal versions of songs that were primarily known as instrumentals. Now that we have the internet (both as a research tool and as a means of tranmitting the songs), putting together a collection of tracks like this is much easier, and more and more oddities can be found. I hope to put together such a compilation before too long. Aside from anything else, it would be cool to collect all these lyrics together!