Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Esquivel and His Orchestra - Infinity in Sound (1960)

Here's another find from my local Half-Price Books bargain bin. Esquivel is the epitome of space-age pop! If you listen closely to some of the songs on this album, you can imagine watching a classic sci-fi movie or even an episode of classic "Star Trek". "Harlem Nocturne" is the best example of space-age pop on this album, in my opinion (but then, it's been a favorite song of mine for many years). Unfortunately, this record is really worn and scratched up, and, despite my running it through click-removal and noise-removal several times, there's still quite a bit of noise and clicks and pops (and a couple of the songs have skips). But, I did a search for this album on other blogs and didn't come across it, so I decided to go ahead and post it (despite the bad condition) for those Esquivel fans out there who don't have this album and want it regardless of the condition. Hopefully, someone out there will post a cleaner version of it at some time. Personally, I like the "vintage" sound of some of the albums shared on these sites, so the clicks, pops, noise, and skips don't bother me that much. If you don't mind these imperfections, then you've come to the right place! Oh, and thanks to Ernie, of Ernie (Not Bert), for his tips on recording and preparing records for digital sharing!

Track listing for Esquivel - Infinity in Sound:

Side 1:
1. Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise ("Quedo")
2. Music Makers
3. My Reverie
4. Johnson Rag
5. Harlem Nocturne
6. Take the "A" Train

Side 2:
1. Macarena (La Virgen de la Macarena)
2. Autumn Leaves
3. Frenesi
4. Marie
5. Let's Dance
6. So Rare

Monday, May 21, 2007

Martin Denny - Romantica (1961)

Well, yesterday, my friend, Bradley, and I made a much needed trip to Half-Price Books to look for vinyl treasures. I came away with thirteen albums, and one was a double-album, so I got fourteen records in all! And all from the dollar bin! Plus I had a 15% off coupon - what a deal!

One of the albums I got is today's share. This album presents "the lush and exotic sounds of Martin Denny" - and lush and exotic they are! There are some great standards, as well as some Denny originals, on this record, and they are all lushly romantic. As I listened to this record, I could imagine myself being whisked away to a beautiful island paradise (Hawaii, of course - where I hope to live some day) - sigh! I never get tired of listening to Martin Denny. He is indeed one of the true masters of exotica!

Now, remember - as always, I clean up these recordings the best that I can, but due to the age and the way they were stored by their previous owners, a lot of them aren't in pristine condition. But, that just adds character to them, in my opinion! Anyway, I hope you like this one!

Track listing for Martin Denny - Romantica:

Side 1:
1. And This is My Beloved
2. Love at Sight
3. Romance
4. Aloha, I Love You
5. La Pampa y La Puna
6. My Reverie

Side 2:
1. Love, Your Magic Spell is Everywhere
2. Magic is the Moonlight
3. A Fine Romance
4. Blue Paradise
5. My Romance
6. Tenderly

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Randy Carlos and His Orchestra - Having a Ball (1958)

Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to cha cha cha and mambo! This is a great dance record! It's the kind of music we would dance to when I took ballroom dance lessons for several years in the 80s and 90s - lots of fun! Even if you don't like to dance, this is a great record to listen to if you like lively Latin music! I don't think I've ever heard any of these songs before, but I do remember that, as a little girl, I knew the rhyme that is sung in "Tin Marin". It was slightly different than what is sung, and I tried to remember it as I was recording this album, but I could only remember the first line. I'll have to ask one of my cousins if they remember it. Oh - the picture of the cover indicates that this is a mono record, but it's actually stereo. Well, go "have a ball" with this record!

Track listing for Randy Carlos - Having a Ball:

Side 1:
1. The Monkey's Guapacha
2. Pirahna - Mambo
3. Filipinita - Cha Cha Cha
4. Smoke - Mambo
5. More and More - Merengue
6. Canaima - Cha Cha Cha

Side 2:
1. Whistling Mambo
2. Tin Marin - Cha Cha Cha
3. Dancing Feet - Cha Cha Cha
4. Guitar Mambo
5. To and Fro - Merengue
6. The Kittens Cha Cha Cha

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Banjo Barons - Golden Hawaiian Hits (1963)

I've mentioned in the past how much I like Hawaiian music, and I've posted a couple of albums of Hawaiian music. But this one is certainly different because it's Hawaiian music played Dixieland style! As I listened to this I could certainly imagine watching the old "Lawrence Welk Show" - it's just the kind of music you'd hear on the show. All but one of the tracks are played as medleys, so there are a total of 37 songs that are played on this album - some are quite familiar, and some not so familiar. All in all, if you are a fan of banjo music or Hawaiian music, this one's for you.

Track listing for Banjo Barons - Golden Hawaiian Hits:

Side 1:
1. Medley 1: My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii; Pagan Love Song; Hawaiian War Chant
2. Medley 2: Hello, Aloha!-How Are You?; Adventures in Paradise; I've Found a Little Grass Skirt (For My Little Grass Shack in Hawaii)
3. Medley 3: Song of the Islands; King's Serenade; The Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai
4. Medley 4: A Song of Old Hawaii; Maori Brown Eyes; It Was in Kalua
5. Medley 5: Honolulu Punch; Hawaiian Holiday; Mele Kalikimaka
6. Medley 6: Tropic Trade Winds; Lovely Hula Hands; Aloha Oe

Side 2:
1. Medley 7: Blue Hawaii; Hawaiian Paradise; The Hawaiian Wedding Song
2. Medley 8: For You a Lei; An Old Hawaiian Custom; The Hawaiian Christmas Song
3. Medley 9: In a Little Hula Heaven; Cocoanut Grove; Pretty Red Hibiscus
4. Medley 10: Hawaii Calls; Hawaiian Hospitality; To You Sweetheart, Aloha
5. Medley 11: I Want to Learn to Speak Hawaiian; When Hilo Hattie Does the Hilo Hop; On the Beach at Waikiki
6. Medley 12: Sweet Leilani; Aloha, Kuu Ipo, Aloha; South Sea Island Magic
7. Hawaii Ponoi

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Steve Allen - Monday Nights (1960)

This album has the kind of piano music I really enjoy listening to. Plus, it has two of my favorite songs, "Laura" (from one of my favorite movies of all time) and "Misty". Another plus is that it has the theme song from another of my favorite movies, "Bell, Book and Candle", which I had no idea that Steve Allen co-wrote (the song, that is). Steve Allen was a talented song writer and musician, as well as an actor and host of several TV shows (like "The Tonight Show"!). I remember he and his wife, Jayne Meadows, doing some commercials together and guest-starring together on some TV shows. Now, besides the list of songs on this album, what really drew my attention to it was the picture (gotta love those album covers!) of Steve with this absolutely awesome Plymouth! I don't know much about cars, but, for some reason, I've always liked the old Plymouth cars (like the 1956 Plymouth Fury - wow!). There's just something about them. Anyway, Plymouth was the sponsor of Steve Allen's TV show, so that's why he's photographed with the car. But, this wasn't just any old Plymouth - this was a record-playing Plymouth! I had no idea they had those - a predecessor to our CD-playing cars of today. The liner notes mention the car:

Here's an album made, frankly, to celebrate the move of the Steve Allen Show to Monday Night!!
It was also produced, of course, with the idea of providing a package of mighty pleasant music, but that goes without saying. In any event, the twelve selections in this collection add up to a typically pleasant session with the Allen piano and orchestra and that's good news any night of the week.
As his fans know by now, Steve has the Plymouth people to thank for making the move out of the Sunday TV scramble possible, and for that all TV-lovers as well as music-lovers can certainly be thankful. But whether the listener drives a Plymouth or roller-skates to work, he'll certainly agree that this pretty package of musical evergreens satisfies those who like good music for its own sake as well as those who are always saying to Steve, "We like the comedy on your show but you don't play the piano often enough!"
So whether you're listening to these recordings while relaxing in your music room, dancing by the light of your neighborhood jukebox, or driving along in your new record-playing Plymouth, lotsaluck, as Steve says, and happy listening. We guarantee it.
I bought this record in pretty bad shape - lots of clicks and pops - and I ran it through the click removal twice, but there's still a lot of clicks and pops. In my opinion, it just adds character to the record. Maybe some of you can clean it up some more. Anyway, it's still a good listen, and I hope you enjoy it. Oh - and if you're interested in learning more about those "record-playing" cars of yesteryear, check out Highway Hi-Fi.

Track listing for Steve Allen - Monday Nights:

Side 1:
1. Laura
2. Rosetta
3. You're Driving Me Crazy
4. Notre Dame Victory March
5. Impossible - written by Steve Allen
6. Houseboat - co-written by Steve Allen

Side 2:
1. Bell, Book and Candle - co-written by Steve Allen
2. Misty
3. Blossom
4. Spring in Maine - co-written by Steve Allen
5. I Want a Girl
6. And Even Then - written by Steve Allen