Connie Francis – Sings Spanish & Latin American Favorites (1960)

FrontCover1Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero (born December 12, 1937), known professionally as Connie Francis, is an American pop singer, former actress, and top-charting female vocalist of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Although her chart success waned in the second half of the 1960s, Francis remained a top concert draw.

Connie Francis Sings Spanish and Latin American Favorites is a studio album of Spanish and Latin American songs recorded by American entertainer Connie Francis.

After the success of her 1959 album Connie Francis Sings Italian Favorites (which remained on the albums chart for 81 weeks and peaked at No. 4), Francis released more albums which appealed to immigrants in the United States.

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In July 1960, Francis was in Hollywood for the interior shots of her first motion picture Where the Boys Are which made it impossible for her to record the album during live sessions at EMI’s famous Abbey Road Studios in London as she had done with Connie Francis sings Italian Favorites. Hence, the playbacks to these songs were pre-recorded in London under the supervision of Francis’ British producer Norman Newell and were conducted by Geoff Love. The tapes containing these playbacks were shipped to Hollywood where Francis overdubbed her vocals.

Francis, who had studied Spanish in school, was fluent in the language which prompted her to perform the songs either entirely in Spanish or bilingual with a few lines sung in English.

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The album was originally released in October 1960 under the catalogue numbers E-3853 (mono) and SE-3853 (stereo) on MGM Records. The album consisted of 13 songs, although 15 playbacks had been produced. First pressings of the album contain the complete intended listing of all 15 tracks on the cover, though actually the songs Amor and Aquellos ojos verdes were not released in the U. S. and at that time were only available on singles and EPs in Spain and South America. (wikipedia)

Oh yes … another beautiful album by a beautiful lady … one of my favourite Easy Listening singers from the Sixties.

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Personnel:
Connie Francis (vocals)
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Geoff Love And Orchestra
The Rita Williams Singers

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Tracklist:
01. Malagueña (Lecuona) 3.06
02. Quiereme Mucho (Yours) (Gamse/Roig/Sherr) 2.53
03. Siboney (Lecuona) 2.53
04. Solamente Una Vez (You Belong To My Heart) (Lara/Gilbert) 2.46
05. Quiensera (Sway) (Gimbel/Ruiz) 1.54
06. Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps) (Davis/Farres) 2.09
07. Beso De Fuego (Kiss Of Fire) (Allan/Hill/Rojás) 2.37
08. Granada (Lara/Dodd) 3.37
09. Besame Mucho (Kiss Me) (Velazquez/Skylar) 2.45
10. Nosotros (Junco) 2.57
11. Vaya Con Dios (Pepper/Hoff/James/Russell) 3.13
12. Te Quiero Dijiste (Magic Is The Moonlight) (Pasquale/Grever) 2.29
13. Jalousie (Jealousy) (Ortega/Gade/Bloom) 2.45

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Cocteau Twins – Victorialand (1986)

FrontCover1Cocteau Twins were a Scottish band active from 1979 to 1997. They were formed in Grangemouth by Robin Guthrie (guitars, drum machine) and Will Heggie (bass), adding Elizabeth Fraser (vocals) in 1981 and replacing Heggie with multi-instrumentalist Simon Raymonde in 1983. The group earned critical praise for their ethereal, effects-laden sound and the soprano vocals of Fraser, whose lyrics often abandon recognisable language. They pioneered the 1980s alternative rock subgenre of dream pop.

The band’s early work drew influence from Siouxsie and the Banshees and Joy Division. After signing with the British record label 4AD in 1982, they released their debut album Garlands later that year. The addition of Raymonde in 1983 solidified their final lineup, which produced their biggest hit in the UK, “Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops”, peaking at No. 29 on the UK Singles Chart. In 1988, Cocteau Twins signed with Capitol Records in the United States, distributing their fifth album, Blue Bell Knoll, through a major label in the country. After the 1990 release of their most critically acclaimed album, Heaven or Las Vegas, the band left 4AD for Fontana Records, where they released their final two albums.

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After nearly 20 years together, the band disbanded in 1997 in part due to issues stemming from the disintegration of Fraser and Guthrie’s romantic relationship. In 2005, the band announced that they would reunite to headline Coachella and embark on a world tour but the reunion was cancelled a month later after Fraser refused to perform on stage with Guthrie. In a 2021 interview, Raymonde confirmed that Cocteau Twins “will never reform

Victorialand is the fourth studio album by Scottish alternative rock band Cocteau Twins, released by 4AD in 1986. Working without bassist Simon Raymonde, vocalist Elizabeth Fraser and guitarist/producer Robin Guthrie opted for a subtler sound on the album.

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Victorialand was recorded without bassist Simon Raymonde, who had been enlisted to collaborate on the second This Mortal Coil album Filigree & Shadow (1986). The duo of Guthrie and Fraser opted for a subtler sound which dispensed with most percussion and bass, instead consisting primarily of Guthrie’s “delicate guitar filigrees and lush, produced textures.” As is often the case with Fraser’s vocals, the lyrics are indecipherable.[6] For example, Fraser took a passage from a non-English language book to write the lyrics for “Whales Tails”, not knowing what the words meant.

The album title refers to the part of Antarctica known as Victoria Land, after Queen Victoria (and forming the British claim to the continent, currently dormant under international treaty). Some of the track titles were borrowed from passages on the Arctic and Antarctic in David Attenborough’s The Living Planet: A Portrait of the Earth, the accompanying book to his 1984 BBC nature documentary series The Living Planet, for example “Throughout the dark months of April and May, the birds display to one another and finally mate” on page 54.

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On its initial release in the UK, the vinyl edition was a 12″ disc which played at 45 rpm, which would be normal for an EP rather than a full album, which would normally play at 33⅓ rpm. This was due to difficulties in the mastering process in reproducing the minimal soundscapes. Some test pressings at 33⅓ rpm are known to exist.

An uncredited instrumental version of “Oomingmak” was used as a backing track for the credits at the end of the 4AD compilation video for Lonely Is an Eyesore. This instrumental version was later made available on the band’s 1991 4AD singles box set.
Reception

One critic described the album as ethereal and resembling “early Gong space-rock with much of the stuffing left out”. The Spin Alternative Record Guide called the album the Twins’ “simplest” and “most beautiful”. (wikipedia)

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With Raymonde taking a break to work on the second This Mortal Coil album, Fraser and Guthrie made up the Cocteaus for the first full-length follow-up to Treasure. Rather than trying for a full-band approach, Fraser and Guthrie instead created a much more simply beautiful effort, with a relaxed air to it. Rhythms are subtler, with bass and drum machine often totally eschewed in favor of Guthrie’s delicate guitar filigrees and lush, produced textures. Fraser is, as always, in wonderfully fine voice; her words are quite indecipherable, but the feelings are no less strong for it. “Lazy Calm” starts things perfectly, as deep, heavily-treated guitar strums combine with a heavy flange and guest saxophone from Dif Juz member Richard Thomas. Other songs sparkle with a lovely vivaciousness.

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Far from being stereotypical arty music to sit around and be gloomy to, two pieces especially shine with a gentle energy: “Fluffy Tufts,” with its many-layered ringing strings and Fraser’s overdubbed vocals; and the joyful “Little Spacey,” with a soft rhythm underlying more sheer electric loveliness. Guthrie adds heavy reverb and overdubbed lines to create the Cocteaus’ wash on such songs as “Throughout the Dark Months of April and May” and “Feet Like Fins,” the latter again featuring Thomas, this time on tablas. For all the sweet beauty of Victorialand, things end on a quietly dramatic note, but a dramatic one nonetheless. “The Thinner the Air” starts with treated piano and rather spooky guitar leads — the mysterious soloing is especially wonderful — while Fraser then sings with a slightly haunted feeling, concluding with slightly nervous wails. It’s an unexpected but effective touch for this fine record. (by Ned Raggett)

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Personnel:
Elizabeth Fraser (vocals)
Robin Guthrie (guitar)
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Richard Thomas (of Dif Juz) (saxophone, tabla)
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a drum machine

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Tracklist:
01. Lazy Calm 6.34
02. Fluffy Tufts 3.06
03. Throughout The Dark Months Of April And May 3.05
04. Whales Tails 3.20
05. Oomingmak 2.43
06. Little Spacey 3.26
07. Feet-Like Fins 3.36
08. How To Bring A Blush To The Snow 3.51
09. The Thinner The Air 3.16
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10. The Thinner The Air (Massive Attack Mix) 3.10

All songs written by Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie

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Armik – Serenata (2009)

FrontCover1New flamenco guitarist Armik (Armik Dashchi) displayed an interest in and passion for music while still a young child. When he was just seven years old, he pawned his watch for a classical guitar, which he hid and practiced on in the basement. Formal music lessons followed and Armik completed the Rudolph Solphege program in two years; at 12, he was a professional recording artist. While his early career focused mostly on jazz, Armik discovered the beauty and passion of flamenco while visiting and studying in Spain during the ’70s. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue this new direction, playing with other artists live and in the studio.

By 1994 he released his solo debut album, Rain Dancer, a critical and commercial success that he followed with 1995’s Gypsy Flame. At this point, Armik’s reputation as a performer and student of flamenco was such that expert Spanish luthier Pedro Maldonado created an instrument for him, the Rubia; Armik’s 1996 album was recorded with and named after it. Armik01The following year saw the release of Malaga, and his fifth album, Isla del Sol, appeared in 1999, followed by Rosas del Amor in the spring of 2001. Released in 2002, Lost in Paradise showed him making a sensual and elegant album that offered a different take on his traditional flamenco.

His releases have consistently reached Top Ten positions on Billboard’s charts of top-selling new age music, and during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, two tracks from Armik’s recordings were played during the floor exercises to accompany gymnast Daniela Sofronie of Romania. That year, Armik released his first album on his own Bolero imprint, Romantic Dreams. Releases such as Mar de Sueños and the compilation Desires: The Romantic Collection followed, and over the coming decade his output increased dramatically with a new album arriving nearly every year. In addition to more straightforward flamenco releases like 2005’s Cafe Romantico and 2012’s Casa de Amor, Armik issued several themed records like A Day in Brazil (2008) and Christmas Wishes (2006). A 2014 Greatest Hits collection covered various highlights from the first ten years on Bolero Records, after which, he delivered three volumes of his popular Romantic Spanish Guitar series. He then returned to his original compositions with 2017’s Enamor and 2018’s Pacifica; his 28th and 29th albums for Bolero Records. (by Heather Phares)

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Serenata captures Armik’s virtuosic guitar artistry and impeccable techniques on eleven brand new songs. He explores fresh and uncharted territories filled with passionate new melodies, rhythms and unique harmonic approaches. Armik’s sound sweep is natural, exotic and romantic as he unleashes his purest impulses and most deft inspirations on these breathtaking tracks. His works are significant and make this recording a solid, sharply focused addition to Armik’s amazing repertoire and to the increasingly popular Nuevo Flamenco genre. (Press release)

Indeed, another fine example of the uinique guitar playing by Armik.

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Personnel:
Armik Dashchi (guitar)
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a small bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Serenata 4.47
02. Cafe Siena 4.31
03. Rain 5.01
04,. Piazza San Marco 4.51
05. Sangria 4.50
06. Barceloneta Beach 4.40
07. 4 Nights In Venice 4.43
08. San Juan 4.37
09. Via Veneto 4:41
10. Moon Over Malaga 4.41
11. Speechless 3.49

Music composed by Armik Dashchi

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