Dean Martin – The Dean Martin Christmas Album (1966)

frontcover1The Dean Martin Christmas Album is a 1966 studio album by Dean Martin arranged by Ernie Freeman and Bill Justis.

This was Martin’s only album of Christmas music released on Reprise Records (his only other Christmas album, A Winter Romance, having been released in 1959 on Capitol Records). It was reissued on CD by Hip-O Records in 2008, retitled A Very Cool Christmas.

Ricci James Martin, Martin’s son, wrote in a biography of his father that The Dean Martin Christmas Album was the only one of his father’s albums that was played in the Martin household, his parents seldom listening to Dean Martin’s music.

This was the fourth of five albums Martin released in 1966. Billboard magazine reported in its December 3, 1966 issue that The Dean Martin Christmas Album was on top of its “Best Bets for Christmas” chart.

The release of The Dean Martin Christmas Album in October and The Dean Martin TV Show in November 1966 were accompanied by what Billboard described as a “merchandising avalanche” by Reprise Records and their parent company Warner Music. Billboard described Martin as running the “hottest streak of his career”, and said that Reprise planned to sell $4 million of his records over the Christmas sales period. Billboard later reported that Martin had sold 850,000 albums in December 1966.

Reviewing A Very Cool Christmas, the 2008 reissue of the Dean Martin Christmas Album on, William Ruhlmann gave the album three and a half stars out of five. Ruhlmann commented that Martin was in a “typically easygoing, good-natured mood on these tracks…He sings the seasonal material with the same nonchalance he gave to pop music of the period”. (by wikipedia)


Dean Martin (vocals)
unknown orchestra

01. White Christmas (Berlin) 2.54
02. Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 2.22
03. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (Cannon/Kent/Ram) 2.28
04. Blue Christmas (Hayes/Johnson) 2.15
05. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Cahn/Styne) 1.57
06. Marshmallow World (DeRose/Sigman) 2.41
07. Silver Bells (Evans/Livingston) 2.25
08. Winter Wonderland (Bernard/Smith) 2.10
09. The Things We Did Last Summer (Cahn/Styne) 2.43
10. Silent Night (Gruber/Mohr) 2.47




Ronnie James Dio – Live in San Jose (1983)

frontcover1Ozzy may be the Prince of Darkness, but Ronnie James Dio is the Elfin King of Evil!

After reigning as the lead ghoul in TWO prototypical metal bands – Black Sabbath and Rainbow – Ronnie James struck out on his own in 1983 ‘cuz he knew he could do it better. He certainly didn’t disappoint with Holy Diver, the first album from the band that could only be known as DIO. Like fellow black magicians Ozzy Osbourne and King Diamond, Dio had a preternatural ability to surround himself with virtuoso musicians capable of bringing his Medieval fantasies to fruition. As though the molten-metal assault of his band wasn’t enough, Dio augmented his arsenal with outrageous theatrics, including (but not limited to) explosions, smoke and fire, a castle, lasers and a sword fight with a 20 foot dragon. Yes, it’s that awesome.

All the finest moments from Holy Diver are brought to life here, plus a post-Ozzy Sabbath classic, and what would no doubt have been Dio’s signature theme if he hadn’t immediately crushed it with his solo debut: Rainbow’s “Man on the Silver Mountain.” All are flawlessly executed by Ronnie James’s team of ringers, with the notable exception of a showy drum solo by Vinny Appice, which offers little more than an opportunity for the faithful minions to queue up for the toilet without missing a second of their leader’s screed.

Performance values and technical ability have been all but abolished from rock ‘n’ roll. Attempting anything even remotely approximating a Dio show could potentially get a band laughed off the stage – and that’s what makes it great. It takes guts and no small amount of talent to pull this off, and if done correctly, no one can deny its entertainment value. So, stand up and shout! This is DIO! (by


Vinny Appice (drums)
Jimmy Bain (bass)
Vivian Campbell (guitar)
Ronnie James Dio (vocals)
Claude Schnell (keyboards)


01. Stand Up And Shout (Dio/Bain) 5.59
02. Straight Through The Heart (Dio/Bain) 4.37
03. Shame On the Night (Dio/Appice/Bain/Campbell) 5.42
04. Children Of The Sea (Dio/Iommi/Butler/Ward) 6.34
05. Holy Diver (Dio) 8.33
06. Stargazer (Blackmore/Dio) 4.01
07. Heaven And Hell (Dio/Iommi/Butler/Ward) 16.00
08. Rainbow In The Dark (Dio/Appice/Bain/Campbell) 4.49
09. Man On The Silver Mountain (Blackmore/Dio) 9.08


Alternate frontcover


Eddie Hardin – Circumstantial Evidence (1982)

frontcover1Taken from the original liner notes of a reissue, published in 1998 by Angel Air Records:

In 1967, the successful R&B combo the Spencer Davis Group lost their key member Stevie Winwood who went on to form Traffic. He was replaced by the then completely unknown Eddie Hardin.

Straight out of school and only 18 years old Eddie was already showing signs of becoming a true master off mighty Hammond organ. He had a strong and bluesy voice, and he could also write good songs. A brief spell with the Mod group, The Wild Uncertainty, had produced the impressive single “Man With Money”. It seemed destined that Eddie Hardin would not only fill out the empty hole left by Winwood but also create a completely new image for Spencer Davis and his cohorts. Their first album featuring Eddie Hardin was titled “With Their New Face On”. There was also a string of brilliant and innovative singles such as ‘Mr. Second Class’ and ‘Time Seller’ which became huge hits, particularly on the Continent. Following, this, however, there were disagreements of various kinds and it wasn’t long before Eddie had left the group along with drummer Peter York.

They both embarked on a year or so of working separately as session musicians, playing in lesser known line-ups and for Eddie’s part, writing songs, before getting together again to form organ/drums duo Hardin & York – billed as “The World’s Smallest Big Band”.

Hardin & York were darlings with the press overnight. To those who refused to believe in the idea of an organ/drum duo the advice would quite simply be, “hearing is believing”. Perhaps the most incredible thing was that all this sound, though it obviously grew out of very high musicianship, was completely rid of empty flamboyance and the tendency to overstate.

Peter York was a jazz drummer, heavily into Buddy Rich. Eddie Hardin also had an affinity for jazz but furthermore had a background in classical music. Obviously, they complimented each other well.

From the outset, Hardin and York were destined to become press pets, a musicians’ act – and wildly popular on the Continent, where they scored a number of huge hits and toured large venues. During their brief but immensely successful career is a duo (1969-71), they recorded three magnificent studio albums: “Tomorrow Today”, “The World’s Smallest Big Band” and “For The World”. Since then a compact disc of live performances and unreleased demos has been released under the title, “Live in Europe”.

Both Eddie and Pete embarked on solo projects during 1971. Eddie Hardin released a solo album in 1972, “Home Is Where You Find It”, but they were soon seen working together again in the reformed Spencer Davis Group. After that lineup folded, Pete York was particularly active and successful as a studio musician. He moved to the Continent and worked several years for German television as a creative manager.


Eddie Hardin got involved with ex-Deep Purple bass player Roger Glover and his “Butterfly Ball” project. Eddie co-wrote “Love is all”, the beautiful song which went hand in hand with an equally charming cartoon and became a huge hit all over the world. At one time it was the best-selling record in Holland ever, and went recently re-released it became a huge hit in France. The song is presented here in the form of a rare demo!

Eddie also wrote and produced the first “Wizards Convention” album and worked as a producer for Iris Williams and Mike D’Abo. A number of highly successful solo albums in the New Age genre established his name in Japan during the 1980s, where he also released the “Wizards Convention 2” album in 1995 (now available in the rest of the world as SJPCD009). He currently lives in France. Still active is a composer, keyboard player and singer he has written a musical score for “The Wind In The Willows”, which was broadcast by German television in the ’80s.

This current release, recorded in 1982, is Eddie Hardin’s second solo album. Eddie chose to make an album in perhaps the most difficult of styles. Like some of Paul McCartney’s solo efforts (and there is certainly a McCartney inspiration here) this is in album with the words “recorded at home” written all over it. Luckily Eddie was more or less living in a recording studio at the time, so the sound quality is perfect. However, there’s an intense “living room” atmosphere about this record which – along with its highly demanding “less is more” attitude, its precision in playing and arranging – makes it stand out.

Paul McCartney started the ball rolling in this department and there certainly are lots of fine gems to be found hiding on his solo records. However, none of his albums are as consistent and artistically successful as Eddie Hardin’s “Circumstantial Evidence”. No wonder this is Eddie’s own favourite among all the LPs he has made! (by Claes Johansen)

A very laid-back album by one of my favourite keyboards players …

And … the wonderful frontcover was drawn by the daughter of Eddie Hardin, Emma Elizabeth Hardin at the the age of three !

Recorded at Herne Place Studios 1981/82
All bonus tracks were recorded prior to Circumstantial Evidence
Produced by Eddie Hardin, Roger Glover & John Acock


Eddie Hardin (19 February 1949 – 22 July 2015)

Bimbo Acock (saxophone)
Ray Fenwick (guitar,vocals)
Mo Foster (bass)
Roger Glover (guitar,bass,keyboards,vocals)
Kim Goody (vocals)
Eddie Hardin (keyboards,bass,vocals(
Michael O’Donnell (bass)
Mickey Lee Soule (vocals)
Rob Townsend (drums)
Pete York (drums)


01. Little Teaser (Gosling/Hardin) 3.28
02. Mine Tonight (Hardin) 3.06
03. Maybe I’m Amazed (McCartney) 4.21
04. That’s What The Lady Said (Hardin) 2.51
05. Long Tall Sally (Blackwell/Johnson/Penniman) 3.35
06. California (Hardin) 3.33
07. It Won’t Be Long (Lennon/McCartney) 3.46
08. Universal Dream (Fenwick/Hardin) 4.07
09. Maybe Baby (Fenwick) 3.53
10. Mess Of Blues (Pomus/Shuman) 3.15
11. Accidental Instrumental (Glover/Hardin) 3.03
12. Strawberry Fields Forever (Lennon/McCartney) 3.58
13. Isolated Lady (Glover/Hardin) 2.58
14. Love Is All (demo version) (Glover/Hardin) 3.06
15. Move In The Right Place (Hardin) 3.11
16. Resurrection Shuffle (Ashton) 3.21


Herne Place Studios, Sunningdale, Berkshire, England


Larry Carlton – Christmas At My House (1989)

frontcover1Okay, let´s start the christmas time:

You can ask yourself three questions: how is it that a musical gem of Christmas joy such as Larry Carlton’s magnum opus for Advent through Three Kings Sunday has been kept so underground and so un-heralded for so long? How long has it been since you have experienced a touch of peace and healing, and wonder in the presence of Christmas music? How can pop princesses and boy wonders have a featured Christmas CD or iTunes year after year, with crafted production value and all the soul of Wal-Mart? “Seasonal music” on commercial radio, streaming channels, cable, etc. provide a vapid stream of wannabe hits, ancient hits, and stuff that we’re supposed to like based on the sheer gravity of a pre-Christmas void of meaning, afraid of controversy and alienation of potential shoppers; as such, it has become background music in the house, the car, the bus, the malls. The programmers who make slight adjustments to the playlist/algorithm have attempted to create a vague connection between the act of listening and our individual experience of a divine moment. They have missed Larry Carlton. In my house, it is different. I search for music to connect my faith, family, past, and future, and my celebration of Christmas. I found this in Larry & his friends’ interpretations and explorations of classics, plus one original, featuring Larry’s articulate and expressive guitar work and Michele Pillar (his wife) on vocals in key moments on a mostly instrumental album. In this collaboration there is deep love of the birth of Jesus, and the Christmas season. This music is magic. I listen straight through, but always pause at “The Holly and the Ivy” to get lost in it entirely. Few of us can participate in the creative process that is jazz, especially jazz with friends and family, but we have this magic preserved in this CD. I’ve owned one since 1995, but loaned it to someone last year (can’t remember who), and just decided to buy another on Amazon rather than put out a broadcast e-mail which will both embarrass a friend and myself. So, whoever has my old one, Merry Christmas.. enjoy, and you’re welcome! Larry, and Christmas, is back in my house.(by Mark Meyering)


Larry Carlton (guitar, bass on 06.)
John Ferraro (drums)
Clare Fischer (keyboards)
Abraham Laboriel (bass)
Terry Trotter (keyboards)
Robbie Buchanan (keyboards on 06.)
Michael Fisher (percussion on 02. – 04., 11.)
Michele Pillar (vocals on 03., 06. + 11.)
Jeff Porcaro (drums on 03, 10. + 11.)
Kirk Whalum (saxophone on 11.)
background vocals:
Christopher Cross – David Pack – Karen Blake – Michele Pillar


01. The Christmas Song (Torme) 4.30
02. Winter Wonderland (Bernard) 5.10
03. Silent Night / It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (Gruber/Willis) 4.20
04. White Christmas (Berlin) 3.20
05. The Holly And The Ivy (Traditional) 3.10
06. Ringing The Bells Of Christmas (Foster/Labounty/Carlton/Pillar) 4.30
07. What Child Is This (Traditional) 6.20
08. The Little Drummer Boy (Onorati) 5.40
09. Joy To The World (Haweis) 1.06
10. My Favorite Things / We Three Kings Of Orient Are (Hopkins/Rodgers/Hammerstein) 9.57
11. The Christmas Song (Torme/Wells) 4.10



Sarband – Alla Turka – Oriental Obsession (1998)

frontcover1Musical director Dr. Vladimir Ivanoff, who founded
Sarband in 1986, connects cultures, people and
epochs, both as a scholar and a musician:
His programs unite musicians from widely different
cultures and musical backgrounds and mediate
between past and present, Early Music
and living traditions.

The cooperation in the ensemble is not a fashionable crossover, but conceived as a continuous dialogue
on equal terms. All the artists unrestrictedly contribute their native traditions, their personal histories and their own creativity to the programs, so that Sarband also ecomes a musical training ground for communication
and tolerance between different cultural identities.

«Sarband» means connection.
In Mid-Eastern music theory, this term signifies a link between two compositions within a musical suite.
Ensemble Sarband invites most diverse audiences as well as most diverse performers «to come together»;  it «binds» them to cultural experiences previously  perceived as alien. (by


Vladimir Ivanoff

With Mozart’s “Rondo Alla Turca” at its core, this production encompasses early instances of a fascination with things exotic, an attitude based on the equation of the exotic with the promise of great happiness. European interest in Turkish music can be traced back to as early as the sixteenth century. It was in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, however, that “Turkish” music became really popular — in the “turqueries, ” exotic-sounding passages included in many operas. The album defines the historical point in time at which popular interest in non-European music was aroused for the first time: The perception of the world was no longer limited to Europe. “Alla Turca” presents unusual European translations of “Oriental” music. In Mozart’s famous “Rondo Alla Turca” motif, the lively confusion of exotica seems sort itself out, its pieces falling into place in a “rondo” of the strange and the familiar.

“Powerful sounds from Ivanoff: Shades of baroque, Turkish dervish music and the Orient, never mind the occasional Mozart, make this a disc worth a listen. This is a car accident (of Oriental and Occidental history thrown together), and we all stare at those as we drive by.” (JAM, February 1999)


Mustafa Dógan Dikmen (flute, vocals, percussion)
Vladimir Ivanoff (percussion)
Ihsan Özer (zither, percussion)
Ahmed Kadri Rizeli (fiddle)
Silke Strauf (violoncello)
Belinda Sykes (oboe, vocals)
Axel Weidenfeld (lute, guitar)
Mehmet Cemal Yesilcay (lute)


01. Rondo Alla Turca (1) (Mozart) 2.17
02. Elci Pesrev (Cantemir) 3.31
03. Izanum (Dona) 1.11
04. Chanson Turque (Nlainville) 4.42
05. Acem Ilahi (Bobowsky/Ufki) 6.12
06. Concerto Turco/Nominato Izia Semaisi (Toderini/Traditional) 7.41
07. Rondo Alla Turca (2) (Mozart) 1.05
08. Busis Derdim (Dona)
09. Rondo Alla Turca (3) (Mozart) 1.04
10. Hüseyni Ilahi (Bobowsky/Ufki) 7.24
11. Allahoy (Isaac) 3.14
12. Perdeh (Chardin) 1.31
13. Der Deste (Traditional) 4.58
14. Psalm 6 (Bobowsky/Ufki) 5.26
15. Hasta Ghiringium (Dona) 3.05
16. Hüseyni Pesrev (Murad) 6.31
17. Rondo Alla Turca (4) (Mozart) 1.10
18. Psalm 2 (Bobowsky/Ufki) 13.30





George Gershwin – Rare Recordings 1932 – 1935 (1999)

frontcover1Widely regarded as one of the finest composers of both popular and classical music in the 20th century, George Gershwin wrote for Broadway musicals and the concert hall, creating many American standards in the process.

In a career tragically cut short in mid-stride by a brain tumor, George Gershwin (1898-1937) proved himself to be not only one of the great songwriters of his extremely rich era, but also a gifted “serious” composer who bridged the worlds of classical and popular music. The latter is all the more striking, given that, of his contemporaries, Gershwin was the most influenced by such styles as jazz and blues.

Gershwin’s first major hit, interpolated into the show Sinbad in 1919, was “Swanee,” sung by Al Jolson. Gershwin wrote both complete scores and songs for such variety shoes as George White’s Scandals (whose annual editions thus were able to introduce such songs as “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise” and “Somebody Loves Me”).

After 1924, Gershwin worked primarily with his brother Ira as his lyricist. The two scored a series of Broadway hits in the ’20s and early ’30s, starting with Lady Be Good (1924), which included the song “Fascinatin’ Rhythm.” 1924 was also the year Gershwin composed his first classical piece, “Rhapsody in Blue,” and he would continue to work in the classical field until his death.

By the ’30s, the Gershwins had turned to political topics and satire in response to the onset of the Depression, and their Of Thee I Sing became the first musical to win a Pulitzer Prize. In the mid ’30s, Gershwin ambitiously worked to meld his show music and classical leanings in the creation of the folk opera Porgy and Bess, with lyrics by Ira and Dubose Heyward. The Gershwins had moved to Hollywood and were engaged in several movie projects at the time of George Gershwin’s death. (by William Ruhlmann)


And this is a double CD album (taken from an eight CD Box) with rare recordings, radio broadcasts, interviews and commerials from the 30´s …

Enjoy this nostalgic trip in the 20´s and 3´0´s of the last century ! And don´t forget: George Gershwin was one of the most important composers of this decades. So, this is another sentimental journey in this blog.



George Gershwin (piano)
Ann Brown (vocals on CD 1/21.)
Todd Duncan (vocals on CD 1/21.)
Ruby Elzy (vocals on CD 1/20.)
Edward Matthews (vocals on CD 1/18.)
Abbie Mitchell (vocals on CD 1/17.)
George Gershwin Orchestra (on CD 2/07.)
Paul Whiteman & His Concert Orchestra (on CD 2/01.)
Victor Symphony Orchestra (on CD 2/06.)



CD 1:
01. Variations on Fascinating Rhythm/Variations on Liza 2.28
02. Second Prelude 2.33
03. Interview 1.30
04. I Got Rhythm 1.11
05. Signature 1.33
06. Of Thee I Sing (Overture) 3.33
07. The Man I Love 4.44
08. I Got Rhythm 2.47
09. Commmercial 0.59
10. Swanee/Sign Off 1.16
11. Signature 1.28
12. Mine 1.06
13. Variations on “I Got Rhythm” 8.34
14. Love Is Sweeping The Country 1.01
15. Commercial 1.28
16. Wintergreen For President/Sign Off 1.15
17. Introduction/Summertime 4.09
18. A Woman Is A Sometime Thing 2.32
19. Act I, Scene 1: Finale 1.42
20. My Man’s Gone Now 4.16
21. Bess, You Is My Woman Now 5.34

CD 2:
01. Rhapsody In Blue 9.09
02. Prelude, No. 1 1.20
03. Prelude, No. 2 2.37
04. Prelude, No. 3 1.06
05. Andante from Rhapsody in Blue 2.35
06. An American In Paris 15.54
07. Second Rhapsody (Rehearsal Performance) 14.24

Music by George Gershwin:
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin





The Firm – Royal Darkness (1986)

frontcover1The Firm were a British rock supergroup composed of singer Paul Rodgers, (Free and Bad Company), guitarist Jimmy Page (The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin,) drummer Chris Slade (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and Uriah Heep) and bass player Tony Franklin.

Both Page and Rodgers refused to play any material from their former bands and instead opted for a selection of Firm songs plus tracks from both their solo albums. The new songs were heavily infused with a soulful and more commercially accessible sound, courtesy of Franklin’s fretless bass guitar underpinning an understated song structure. Despite refusing to play old material, the last track from The Firm, “Midnight Moonlight”, was originally an unreleased Led Zeppelin song entitled “Swan Song”. This caused some critics to believe that Page had begun to run out of ideas. In subsequent press interviews, Page had indicated that the band was never meant to last more than two albums. After the band split, Page and Rodgers returned to solo work while Chris Slade joined AC/DC and Franklin teamed up with guitarist John Sykes in Blue Murder.(by wikipedia)

This is an excellent bootleg from thier last tour (excellent sound board recording). No Led Zeppelin, Free or Bad Company songs … just The Firm !


Tony Franklin (bass)
Jimmy Page (guitar)
Paul Rodgers (vocals)
Chris Slade (drums)


01. Intro 1.33
02. Fortune Hunter (Page/Rodgers) 5.08
03. Found Somebody (Someone To Love) (Page/Rodgers) 4.57
04. Make Up Or Break Up (Page/Rodgers) 5.40
05. Prelude (Page) 1.55
06. Money Can’t Buy (Rodgers) 5.02
07. Satisfaction Guaranted (Page/Rodgers) 4.30
08. Radioactive (Rodgers) 2.49
09. All The Kings Horses (Rodgers) 3.24
10. Cadillac (Page/Rodgers) 5.18
11. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling ( Mann/Weil/Spector) 4.32
12. Midnight Moonlight (Page/Rodgers) 11.15
13. Tear Down The Walls (Page/Rodgers) 5.11
14. Live In Peace (Rodgers) 5.18