Sunday, January 31, 2010

Edmundo Ros - Rhythms of the South (1957)

Wow! What a great album this is! But then again, I have yet to be disappointed in an album by Edmundo Ros and his orchestra. And what a great cover, too - suitable for framing! I bought this at my favorite store, Half-Price Books, and I am grateful to Ed Basden, the former owner of this record (his name is on the back cover), for unloading it at HPB so that I could enjoy it. I'm quite familiar with all the songs on this album, and if you've listened to any latin dance music from back in the day, then these will all be familiar to you, too. There's a variety of dances and the back cover lists the appropriate dance with each song - and I've included that in parentheses by each song. Even if you don't know the particular dance steps, just get up and do your own little dance to the songs. You'll have lots of fun and get a good workout, too! As the saying goes, "Dance as if no one is watching!"

Track listing for Edmundo Ros - Rhythms of the South:

Side 1:
1. Spanish Gypsy Dance (Pasodoble)
2. The Blue Danube (Valse Creole)
3. Barcarolle (Baiao)
4. La Maxixe (Marcha)
5. Capullito de Aleli (Son Rumba)
6. Siboney (Mambo)

Side 2:
1. Isle of Capri (Cha-Cha-Cha) - has a small skip
2. Colonel Bogey (Merengue)
3. Elizabeth (Samba)
4. Caminito (Tango) - has a small skip
5. Marta (Bolero)
6. Cachita (Guaracha)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sam Makia and the Makapuu Beach Boys - Hawaii: The Fabulous Fiftieth State (1959)

As we get ready for another cold spell to hit Dallas in a day or so, my mind drifts away to Hawaii, where I hope to live one day. Sigh. So, I took this album off the wall (I have it framed) of my Hawaii room (the guest room in my house) and decided to share it with you. This is another rescue from the HPB bargain bin, and I immediately fell in love with the cover! I have three Hawaiian music albums hanging on the wall in that room, and I change out the other two, but this one stays because I just love the statue of King Kamehameha. I've only been to Hawaii once - in 1997, when I participated in the Honolulu Marathon - and I did get to see the statue "in person" during one of my sight-seeing tours. Just that one visit to Hawaii was enough to know that I want to live there. One day... So, join me right now and go on a little trip to Hawaii.

Track listing for Sam Makia and the Makapuu Beach Boys - Hawaii: The Fiftieth State:

Side 1:
1. Sweet Leilani
2. The Hawaiian Wedding Song (Ke Kali Nei Au)
3. Maui Chimes-Hilo March
4. Blue Hawaii
5. Waipio
6. King Kamehameha (The Conqueror of the Islands)
7. To You Sweetheart, Aloha

Side 2:
1. Across the Sea; Mai Poina Oe I'au
2. Hawaiian War Chant; Hana Lei
3. Kuu Ipo Ika Hee Pue One
4. Lovely Hula Hands; Anapau
5. Kaimana Hila-Kalena Kai
6. Aloha Oe

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Peggy Lee - Latin ala Lee! (1960)

Sorry I didn't get around to posting last Wednesday. I try to post on Sundays and Wednesdays, but I've been swamped at work and doing overtime, so I just ran out of time.

But today I have some Peggy Lee for you! What can I say about Peggy Lee? She was absolutely WONDERFUL! I bought this album during my ballroom dancing days and immediately loved it! All the songs are familiar because they are "Broadway hits styled with an Afro-Cuban beat". The back of the album says it best, "Here's Manhattan with a twist of Latin as Peggy Lee swings through hit songs from the Great White Way, accompanied by authentic Afro-Cuban rhythms." It's hard to pick a favorite from this album, but if I had to pick just one then I pick "Heart."

Track listing for Peggy Lee - Latin ala Lee! (link has been deleted - go buy CD on Amazon):

Side 1:
1. Heart ("Damn Yankees")
2. On the Street Where You Live ("My Fair Lady")
3. Till There Was You ("The Music Man")
4. I Am in Love ("Can-Can")
5. Hey There ("The Pajama Game")
6. I Could Have Danced All Night ("My Fair Lady")

Side 2:
1. The Surrey With the Fringe On Top ("Oklahoma!")
2. The Party's Over ("Bells Are Ringing")
3. Dance Only With Me ("Say Darling")
4. Wish You Were Here ("Wish You Were Here")
5. C'est Magnifique ("Can-Can")
6. I Enjoy Being a Girl ("Flower Drum Song")

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jackie Gleason - Lonesome Echo (1955)

This is probably one of the more famous album covers since it was by Salvador Dali. This was the first Jackie Gleason album that I bought and it was because of the Dali cover. Now, I really don't know much about art and famous painters, but I knew enough that Dali was famous, and I had seen that one painting with the weird clocks. So I bought this album for the sole purpose of framing it and hanging it on my wall. What a pleasant surprise it was when I actually listened to it! So, I ended up buying several more of Jackie Gleason's albums, two of which I've already shared. I just find listening to these albums so relaxing and soothing. They're great to play while reading a book, doing some paperwork, or as background music while having a nice dinner with guests or that special someone. So, kick back and treat yourself to some relaxing music.

Track listing for Jackie Gleason - Lonesome Echo:

Side 1:
1. There Must Be a Way
2. I Don't Know Why (I Just Do)
3. Deep Purple
4. Mad About the Boy
5. Someday I'll Find You
6. Come Rain or Come Shine
7. The Thrill is Gone
8. I Wished On the Moon

Side 2:
1. How Deep is the Ocean
2. Remember
3. Speak Low
4. I Still Get a Thrill
5. Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup
6. I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
7. A Garden in the Rain
8. Dancing On the Ceiling

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Percy Faith Strings - Bouquet (1959)

As I've mentioned before, I inherited my mother's records after she passed away in 1993, and I credit her for instilling the love of music in me. This particular record is one that really brings back a flood of memories. As I listen to it, I can see my mother sitting at the dining room table working on lesson plans (she was a teacher) on a Saturday afternoon while playing this album on her console stereo. Or, I can see her on a summer day sitting on a short stool, barefoot and wearing her "pedal pushers" (who remembers those?) while she cleaned her records with some red liquid. (I've never seen that red liquid since my childhood, so if anybody knows what it is, please tell me.) Percy Faith was one of her absolute favorites and "Bouquet" is probably one of the first albums I remember ever being played at our house. And after all these years, it still holds up. The lush strings, the beautiful melodies... but most of all, the vivid memory of my mother humming along and wearing those pedal pushers.

Track listing for The Percy Faith Strings - Bouquet:

Side 1:
1. Bouquet
2. Tenderly
3. Laura
4. The Song from Moulin Rouge
5. Beyond the Sea
6. Autumn Leaves

Side 2:
1. Speak Low
2. Solitude
3. Deep Purple
4. Intermezzo
5. Ebb Tide
6. Fascination

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ray Conniff - Dance the Bop! (1957)

This is an album I bought a number of years ago at HPB, and it was the cover that caught my eye. I'm a major cat lover so I couldn't resist this album when I saw the Siamese cat on the cover. Of course, the fact that this is an album by Ray Conniff is a major plus, too! I don't know how to dance the bop and, unfortunately, the instruction booklet was not in the album when I bought it used. I hope the previous owner put the booklet to good use and learned to excel at the bop. A curious bit of trivia I found out is that Ray Conniff did not want to record this album. His record company came to him and told him of this "new" teenage dance rage and to come up with some songs and record them. For those of you who were teenagers in 1957, was the bop really the teenage rage? Just wondering.

Track listing for Ray Conniff - Dance the Bop!:

Side 1:
1. Walkin' the Bop
2. The Drop
3. Just Boppin'
4. Doin' the Twister
5. The Flea Hop
6. Cross Over

Side 2:
1. Walkin' the Bop Again
2. Swingin' the Bop
3. Hand Around
4. Play a Guitar Solo
5. The Spinner
6. Honky-Tonk Rock-Around

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Brothers Four - Song Book (1961)

I hope you like folk music and great harmonies, because that's what this album is about. It is great! I first heard the Brothers Four on my local AM radio station, KAAM, and they soon became a favorite. As a kid, I never really listened to folk music since my mother never played it. I think she thought it was the kind of music that "those long-haired hippies" listened to (remember, my mother was from the big-band and crooners era). And even as I grew older, I didn't listen to it because I was more into the rock and disco of the 70s and the punk and new wave of the 80s (yes, I was a punker - who knew?). So it wasn't until I started listening to KAAM that I really became exposed to folk music and found that I liked it. So when I came across this album in the HPB bargain bin, I had to buy it. It's really a cool album because the inside has a song book! It has the lyrics for each song plus easy-to-play guitar chords, which I plan to learn if I ever find time to practice my guitar again! And even more cool - the inside is autographed by the Brothers Four!!! This album used to belong to a guy named Dave, so it says "To Dave" right above their signatures. Pretty cool, huh?

Track listing for The Brothers Four - Song Book:

Side 1:
1. Rock Island Line
2. Goodnight, Irene
3. The Tavern Song
4. Lady Greensleeves
5. The Drillers' Song
6. Nobody Knows

Side 2:
1. Viva La Compagnie
2. Ole Smokey
3. Tarrytown
4. Come for to Carry Me Home
5. Summer Days Alone
6. Frogg No. 2

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Ernesto Aquino - Latin Goes Percussive Cha Cha Cha's (1960)

Happy New Year! I wish you all a year full of good health, prosperity, love, peace, and happiness!

Here's an album that I bought when I was doing the ballroom dance thing. It seemed that I was always dancing the cha cha so I bought every cha cha album that caught my eye. This one caught my eye because of the album art - simple yet colorful and worthy of hanging on my wall. Besides cha cha's, you will also find some merengues on this album. If you've never danced either and would like to learn, I recommend signing up for a ballroom dance class at your local community college. They're relatively inexpensive (versus at a dance studio) so if you end up not liking it, you're not out a lot of money. But ballroom dancing is a lot of fun and a great way to get in shape - it beats going to the gym and sweating it out on the treadmill! So, turn up the volume and "dance as if no one is watching!"

Track listing for Ernesto Aquino - Latin Goes Percussive Cha Cha Cha's:

Side 1:
1. Take My Hand Cha Cha
2. Simon Says Cha Cha
3. Merengue Moderne
4. Festival Merengue
5. Siamese Cha Cha

Side 2:
1. Manhattan Merengue
2. Iberic Cha Cha
3. Cuba Calls
4. Havana Cha Cha
5. Latin Lover