The Ray Charles Singers – Summertime (1957)

FrontCover1In June 1954, the Ray Charles Singers, a name bestowed on them by Perry Como, began recording a series of albums. Due to advances in recording technology, they were able to create a softer sound than had been heard before and this was the birth of what has been called “easy listening”. Record producer Jack Hansen used some of the singers to provide backing vocals for Buddy Holly’s last songs, which Holly had composed and recorded shortly before his death in February 1959. The singers’ close harmonies behind Holly’s lead vocals simulated the sound of Holly’s hit records with the Crickets. Six songs resulted from the Hansen sessions, led by the 45-rpm single “Peggy Sue Got Married”/”Crying, Waiting, Hoping”.

On a cruise in 1964, Charles heard a Mexican song called “Cuando Calienta el Sol”. He liked it, recorded it, under the English title “Love Me with All Your Heart”, and his recording became a hit, riding to #3 on Billboard Magazine, #2 on Cashbox Magazine. This was followed by “Al Di La”, also a very popular recording. The Ray Charles Singers were not one group of vocalists. They were different combinations of singers on records, tours and TV shows. What made them the Ray Charles Singers was the conducting and arranging of Ray Charles. He generally recorded with 20 singers (12 men and 8 women) and these vocalists appeared on Perry Como’s television show. The Ray Charles Singers also were the voices behind many commercial jingles.

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Charles decided to produce a “live” performing group to send on the road with Perry Como. The group of 12 singers opened in Las Vegas at the International Hotel and also opened the show for Como at Harrah’s in South Lake Tahoe.

Charles wrote the music and lyrics for an album produced by the Continental Insurance Company for the New York World’s Fair in 1964, titled Cinema ’76. It was a companion piece to a 30-minute show about unsung heroes of the American Revolution.

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed the Ray Charles singers among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. (by wikipedia)

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And here is one of their nice Easy Listening album, it was their 7th album by The Ray Charles Singers and it´s of course a “summer” album … Ih weish all readers of this blog a very good summertime !

And don´t forget:

Although they were led by a man named Ray Charles, this group had no connection whatsoever to Ray Charles the famous soul singer, and certainly no connection whatsoever to soul music. The coincidence of two such different artists sharing the same name led the Ray Charles of the Ray Charles Singers, in fact, to bill himself as “The Other Ray Charles” when he was given a TV credit. (by allmusic)

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Personnel:
The Ray Charles Singers:
Audrey Marsh – Charles Magruder – Ray Charles – Rose Marie Jun
+
a bunch of unknown studio musicians

The Ray Charles Singers03

 

Tracklist:
01. Summertime (Gershwin/Heyward) 2.54
02. Mountain Greenery (Rodgers/Hart) 2.34
03. Summer Night (Warren/Dubin) 3.03
04. Breezin’ Along With The Breeze (Simons/Whiting/Gillespie) 2.34
05. Lazy Afternoon (Moross/Latouche) 2.56
06. In The Good Old Summertime (Evans/Shields) 2.45
07. Cruisin’ Down The River (Tollerton/Beadell) 3.11
08. Lullaby Of The Leaves (Petkere/Young) 3.02
09. Swingin’ In A Hammock (O`Flynn/Wendling/Seymour) 2.57
10. Picnic (Allen/Dunning) 2.44
11. Me And Marie (Porter) 2.20
12. Lazy River (Carmichael/Arodin) 2.50

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Alan Hawkshaw – Girl In A Sports Car – The Essential Lounge Music Collection (1997)

FrontCover1William Alan Hawkshaw (born 27 March 1937) is a British composer and performer, particularly of themes for movies and television programmes. Hawkshaw worked extensively for the KPM production music company in the 1960s and 1970s, composing and recording many stock tracks that have been used extensively in film and TV. In 2016, he was awarded a doctorate, officially giving him the title of Doctor for his contributions to the music industry.[citation needed]

As such, he is the composer of a number of familiar theme tunes including Channel 4 News, Grange Hill and Countdown. In addition, he is an arranger and pianist, and in the United States with the studio group Love De-Luxe scored a number 1 single on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart with “Here Comes That Sound Again” in 1979.

He is the father of singer-songwriter Kirsty Hawkshaw, who was a member of the dance music group Opus III from 1991 to 1995, and has also worked with artists such as Tiësto, Delerium, BT, Seba, and Paradox.

Born in Leeds, Hawkshaw worked as a printer for several years before becoming a professional musician, first joining the pop group The Crescendos. In the early 1960s, he was a member of rock and roll group Emile Ford and the Checkmates. He also formed the Mohawks band and Rumplestiltskin with some session musicians. At that time, Hawkshaw was an exponent of the Hammond organ, heard in the Mohawks’ music, and also on the UK recording of the musical Hair. In 1965 Hawkshaw played piano on The Hollies group composed album track; “Put Yourself in My Place” included on the EMI/Parlophone album; Hollies (1965) being featured on a piano solo during the song.

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Hawkshaw was also featured playing with David Bowie on the Bowie at the Beeb album, in a performance recorded for the “John Peel in Top Gear” show on 13 May 1968, in which he played a solo on “In The Heat of the Morning”.

In 1969, Hank Marvin recruited Hawkshaw into The Shadows to tour Japan in which one concert was recorded and subsequently released in Japan, The Shadows Live in Japan (1969), taking a featured lead on piano on “Theme from Exodus”. In 1970, Hawkshaw recorded one more studio album with The Shadows, Shades of Rock before leaving this band.[citation needed] He also did appear as keyboardist on The Shadows’ spin-off vocal group Marvin, Welch, & Farrar’s self-titled debut and follow-up Second Opinion albums both released on EMI’s reactivated Regal Zonophone label in 1971.

In the 1970s, he played in The Shadows; he worked for Olivia Newton-John, Jane Birkin, and Serge Gainsbourg (including on “L’homme à tête de chou”) as a musical director, arranger and pianist and was a keyboard player for Cliff Richard, for whom he also co-wrote (with Douggie Wright) “The Days of Love”, one of six shortlisted songs which Richard performed in A Song for Europe that year. He also played keyboards on Donna Summer’s 1977 double album Once Upon A Time. One of his best-known compositions is “Blarney’s Stoned” (originally recorded for KPM in 1969 under the title “Studio 69”) which was used as the theme tune for Dave Allen’s television shows The Dave Allen Show and Dave Allen at Large. In 1975, he wrote the theme tune to the BBC’s On the Move educational programme, which featured Bob Hoskins as an illiterate lorry driver. The song was sung by The Dooleys. In 1977, he composed “New Earth Parts 1 & 2” for Hank Marvin’s Guitar Syndicate LP project. This was subsequently sampled over 30 years later by Jay-Z for his song “Pray”.

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Hawkshaw also performed the music The Night Rider (the theme for Cadbury’s Milk Tray adverts). He also composed “Best Endeavours”, which has been the theme for Channel 4 News since 1982, and was used for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s The National news and current affairs programme from 1984 to 1987. His tune “Chicken Man” was used as the theme for Grange Hill from its start in 1978 until 1989, and revived for the final series of Grange Hill in 2008. Another recording of Chicken Man was used contemporaneously with the original Grange Hill version for the ITV quiz show Give Us A Clue. The Countdown “Chimes” jingle used on Channel 4’s Countdown game show was also composed by Hawkshaw. He composed all the music for the Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World series, and the theme “Technicolour”, which was used for the BBC Midlands Today programme from 1984 to 1988, following which was replaced with a remix of this tune from 1989 to 1991.

In the United States, he also scored a number 1 single on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart with “Here Comes That Sound Again”, as part of Love De-Luxe With Hawkshaw’s Discophonia in 1979.

Also in 1979, he released a disco album under the moniker “Bizarre” which was essentially a solo project with the help of executive producer Barry Mason. It was released in the UK on Polydor Records (cat. no. 2383 553) in 1979 – tracks: Get Up/Don’t Move/Hot Hollywood Nights/You Make My Life So Beautiful/Let Me Fill Your World With Love/Take The Money And Run. he also once more appeared with The Shadows guesting on their 1979 UK chart-topping album String of Hits playing piano on a cover of Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.

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Hawkshaw is credited with the co-composition (with B. Henry) of “I Feel So Good”, a 1966 release by Manchester’s Playboys (Fontana TF745).

The Alan Hawkshaw Foundation in conjunction with the Performing Rights Society has since 2003 supported young underprivileged music students and Media composers to gain degrees and scholarships at both the Leeds College of Music and the National Film and Television School.

In July 2016, Hawkshaw was awarded a doctorate for his contributions to the music industry, adding the title of Doctor to his name.[citation needed]
Personal life
After a brief early marriage, Hawkshaw married German-born Christiane Bieberbach in 1968; they have two children; singer, composer and musician Kirsty (b.1969), and Sheldon (b.1971) (by wikipedia)

29/10/2008: at the Gold Badge Awards 2008, The Park Lane Hotel, London.

And here´s a nice compolation with many of his early compositions;

This retrospective album is entirely devoted to the wearly worj of Alan Hawkshaw and it represents only one of the variety of styles for which he is known. For example, nothing could be a diverse as the piece “!Girls In A Sports Car”and say “The Champ” from the group Mohawks in which Hawkshaw played organ and is known as “Morris Hawk”.

The original names of these instrumental appear in bold but new titels have been assigned to each and are indicated in brackets. They were originally published as libary pieces and thesetendto adopt the nmes of the particular programme for which they are used. (taken from the original liner notes.)

Enjoy this more or less happy sounds of Alan Hawkshaw !

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Personnel:
Alan Hawkshaw (keyboards)
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many, many unknown studio musicians

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Girl In A Sports Car (Clarissa) (Hawkshaw) 2.44
02. Scooter Girl (Tanta) (Hawkshaw) 2.42
03. Sunflower (Sunbird) (Hawkshaw) 2.24
04. Warm Hearts (Love On A Summer’s Day) (Hawkshaw) 2.30
05. Bluebird (Hummingbird) (Hawkshaw) 2.17
06. Midnight Rhapsody (Melody At Midnight) (Hawkshaw) 3.08
07. Happy Rainbow (Colours In the Rain) (Hawkshaw) 2.30
08. Amour (Love In Paris) (Hawkshaw) 2.15
09. Blue Note (Deep Blue) (Hawkshaw) 4.26
10. Grange Hill (Back To School) (Hawkshaw) 2.07
11. Brush Off (Cold Shoulder) (Hawkshaw) 2.14
12. Playmate (Great Pals) (Hawkshaw) 2.03
13. Flapjack (Dessert Storm) (Hawkshaw) 1.58
14. Knock About (Hang About) (Hawkshaw) 2.05
15. Lazy Evening Blues (Lay-Back Blues) (Hawkshaw) 4.41
16. Cruising (Cruise Around) (Hawkshaw) 4.27
17. A Man Alone (In Solitude) (Hawkshaw) 4.21
18. Sky Train (The Shuttle) (Hawkshaw) 2.36
19. Man Of Means (In the Money) (Hawkshaw) 3.14
20. Love At First Sight (Dumbstruck) (Hawkshaw) 2.36
21. Beauty Spot (The Mole) (Hawkshaw/Parker) 1.58
22. Moody (Dreamy) (Hawkshaw) 3.18
23. Sheer Elegance (Suave & Sophisticated) (Hawkshaw) 3.37
24. Blue Haze (Smokey) (Hawkshaw/Parker) 3.28
25. Piccadilly Night Ride (On Oxford Street) (Hawkshaw/Mansfield) 1.50
26. Beat Boutique (Mary Quant) (Hawkshaw/Mansfield) 1.52
27. Dave Allen At Large (Irish Gnome) (Hawkshaw) 1.51
28. Destination Venus (Jupiter Bound) (Hawkshaw) 2.41

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Acker Bilk – Great Themes From Great European (Foreign) Films (1964)

UKFrontCover1Bernard Stanley Bilk, MBE (28 January 1929 – 2 November 2014), known professionally as Acker Bilk, was an English clarinettist and vocalist known for his breathy, vibrato-rich, lower-register style, and distinctive appearance – of goatee, bowler hat and striped waistcoat.

Bilk’s 1962 instrumental tune “Stranger on the Shore” became the UK’s biggest selling single of 1962: it was in the UK charts for more than 50 weeks, peaking at number two, and was the first No. 1 single in the United States by a British artist in the era of the modern Billboard Hot 100 pop chart.

Bilk was born in Pensford, Somerset, in 1929. He earned the nickname “Acker” from the Somerset slang for “friend” or “mate”. His parents tried to teach him the piano but, as a boy, Bilk found it restricted his love of outdoor activities, including football. He lost two front teeth in a school fight and half a finger in a sledging accident, both of which he said affected his eventual clarinet style.

Acker Bilk02On leaving school Bilk joined the workforce of W.D. & H.O. Wills’s cigarette factory in Bristol; he stayed there for three years, putting tobacco in the cooling room and then pushing tobacco through a blower. He then undertook three years of National Service with the Royal Engineers in the Suez Canal Zone. He learned the clarinet there after his sapper friend, John A. Britten, gave him one bought at a bazaar and for which Britten had no use. The clarinet had no reed, so Britten fashioned a makeshift one for the instrument from scrap wood. Bilk later borrowed a better instrument from the army and kept it after demobilisation. After National Service, Bilk joined his uncle’s blacksmith business and qualified in the trade.

Bilk played with friends on the Bristol jazz circuit and in 1951 moved to London to play with Ken Colyer’s band. Bilk disliked London, so returned west and formed his own band in Pensford called the Chew Valley Jazzmen, which was renamed the Bristol Paramount Jazz Band when they moved to London in 1951. Their agent then booked them for a six-week gig in Düsseldorf, Germany, playing in a beer bar seven hours a night, seven nights a week. During this time, Bilk and the band developed their distinctive style and appearance, complete with striped-waistcoats and bowler hats.

Acker Bilk03After returning from Germany, Bilk became based in Plaistow, London, and his band played in London jazz clubs. It was from here that Bilk became part of the boom in trad jazz in the United Kingdom in the late 1950s. In 1960, their single “Summer Set” (a pun on their home county), co-written by Bilk and pianist Dave Collett, reached number five on the UK Singles Chart, and began a run of 11 chart hit singles. In 1961 “Acker Bilk and His Paramount Jazz Band” appeared at the Royal Variety Performance.

Bilk was not an internationally known musician until 1962, when the experimental use of a string ensemble on one of his albums and the inclusion of a composition of his own as its keynote piece won him an audience outside the UK. He had composed a melody, entitled “Jenny” after his daughter, but was asked to change the title to “Stranger on the Shore” for use in a British television series of the same name. He went on to record it as the title track of a new album in which his deep and quavering clarinet was backed by the Leon Young String Chorale.

The Leon Young String Chorale

The single was not only a big hit in the United Kingdom, where it stayed on the charts for 55 weeks, helped by Bilk being the subject of the TV show This Is Your Life, but also topped the American charts. As a result, Bilk was the second British artist to have a single in the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. (Vera Lynn was the first, with “Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart” in 1952.) “Stranger on the Shore” sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. At the height of his career, Bilk’s public relations workers were known as the “Bilk Marketing Board”, a pun on the Milk Marketing Board.

At the height of his international fame in 1962, he appeared in two theatrical motion pictures. It’s Trad, Dad! (released in the United States by Columbia Pictures as Ring-a-Ding Rhythm) was a Richard Lester musical combining dixieland and rock-and-roll specialties; “Mr. Acker Bilk” and his band were the best represented, with three songs and a speaking role for Bilk. The second picture, Band of Thieves, was a comedy starring “Mr. Acker Bilk” and his group as musicians in prison.

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Bilk recorded a series of albums in Britain that were also released successfully in the United States (on the Atlantic Records subsidiary Atco), including a collaboration, Together, with the Danish jazz pianist and composer Bent Fabric (“The Alley Cat”). Bilk’s success tapered off when British rock and roll made its big international impact beginning in 1964 and he shifted direction to the cabaret circuit. (by wikipedia)

Alternate frontcovers:

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Another nice album from this period is this album (In UK: “Great Themes From Great European Films”in US : “Great Themes From Great Foreign Films “) .. A sweet and gentle mixture of soundtrack tunes …

And Mr. Acker Bilk … celebrates this music with his very unique way he plays he clarinet … what a beautiful sound …

Listen and enjoy …  and yes, heré´s another sentimental journey …

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Personnel:
Acker Bilk (clarinet)
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his ensemble

US front+backcover:
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Tracklist:
01. The Good Life – ‘The Seven Capital Sins’ (Reardon/Distel) 2.27
02. More – ‘Mondo Cane’ (Oliviero/Newell/Ortolani) 2.32
03. La Ronde (Straus) 2.38
04.Non Dimenticar – ‘Anna’ (Redi) 2.45
05.Canto D’Amore – ‘Divorce Italian Style’ (Rossi/Rustichelli) 2.40
06. Theme from Billy Liar (Hart/Bennett) 2.23
07. Warsaw Concerto – ‘Dangerous Moonlight’ (Addinsell) 2.40
08. Firestar – ‘To Bed Ot Not To Bed’ (Piccioni) 2.45
09. La Strada (Rota) 2.43
10. From Russia With Love (Bart) 2.51
11. Autumn In Rome – ‘Indiscretion Of An American Wife’ (Cicognini/Weston/Cahn) 2.27
12. Never On A Sunday (Hadjidakis) 2.42

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More from Mr. Acker Bilk:
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Johnny Rivers – Rewind (1967)

FrontCover1Rewind is the third studio album by the American musician Johnny Rivers, released in 1967 by Imperial Records. The album includes cover versions of “Baby, I Need Your Lovin'” and “The Tracks of My Tears”. Produced by Lou Adler with arrangements by Jimmy Webb, who wrote eight of the songs, the album peaked at #14 on the Billboard albums chart.

With a big, clean production, and quality L.A. session musicians, Rewind is a great collection of blue-eyed soul and rock. The album’s two Motown covers, “Baby I Need Your Loving” and “Tracks of My Tears,” are more similar to tributes than attempts to outshine the originals. Rivers sounds like a well-adjusted Southern hipster on tracks like “The Eleventh Song,” which makes him sound like a cooler version of Sonny Bono. “Rosecrans Boulevard” showcases superb vocal harmonies and horn playing. The most interesting track would have to be “Sidewalk Song/27th Street,” which is pretty mediocre as a song, but are the bizarre sound clips possibly attacking commercialism? No one really knows. Produced by Lou Adler, arranged by Jimmy Webb, featuring Joe Osborne on bass, Larry Knechtel on piano, and Hal Blaine on drums, this record is a solid, tight recording, with excellent production and inventive arrangements provided by Webb. (by Zach Curd)

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Personnel:
Hal Blaine (drums)
Mike Deasy Jr. (vocals)
Mike Deasy Sr. (guitar)
Larry Knechtel (piano)
Joe Osborn (bass)
Johnny Rivers (vocals guitar)
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unknown orchestra + choir

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. The Tracks Of My Tears (Moore/Robinson/Tarplin) 2.57
02. Carpet Man (Webb) 3.06
03. Tunesmith (Webb) 3.14
04. Sidewalk Song (27th Street) (Webb) 2.28
05. It’ll Never Happen Again (Hardin) 3.30
06. Do What You Gotta’ Do (Webb) 2.26
07. Baby I Need Your Lovin’ (L.Dozier/Holland/E.Holland) 3.12
08. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her (Simon) 2.50
09. Rosecrans Boulevard (Webb) 2.35
10. The Eleventh Song (Webb) 2.28
11. Sweet Smiling Children (Webb) 2.15

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Connie Francis – Who´s Sorry Now (1958)

LPFrontCover1.jpgWho’s Sorry Now? is the first studio album recorded by U. S. Entertainer Connie Francis.

By 1957, none of Connie Francis’ first nine solo singles had charted. Her duet single with Marvin Rainwater, “The Majesty Of Love”, b/w “You, my Darlin’ You” had only been a minor hit, peaking at # 93 (though it sold over one million copies). As a result of these failures, the managers at MGM Records had decided not to renew her contract after the last scheduled single release.

During what was supposed to be her last recording session for MGM Records in October 1957, Francis recorded a cover version of the song “Who’s Sorry Now?”. For quite some time, Francis’ father, George Franconero, Sr., had wanted his daughter to record this song with a contemporary arrangement, but the discussion had become heated and Francis had refused to record it, considering the song old fashioned and corny. Her father persisted and Francis agreed.

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As her father had predicted, “Who’s Sorry Now?”, released as MGM Records Single K 12588, became a huge hit. With this success, MGM Records renewed the contract with Francis. The recording sessions for a new album, which would include the breakthrough hit, began in March 1958 and were completed in April 1958.

The album’s formula is clearly inspired by the arrangement of its title song: Choose Standards from the time between the 1910s and 1940s, but present them in a contemporary arrangement. To give the album some diversity in music styles, there were two exceptions: “My Melancholy Baby” and “How Deep is the Ocean,” which featured grand orchestra arrangements. When the album was released in May 1958, it failed to chart. The album was re-packaged with a new cover design and re-released in March 1962. (by wikipedia)

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The music for the brilliant song Who’s Sorry Now? was written by Ted Snyder with lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, and published in 1923. Snyder (1881-1965) gave Irving Berlin his start in the music business by hiring him in 1909 as a song plugger for his publishing company, as I wrote here. Kalmar (1884-1947) ran away from his home in New York at the age of ten and worked in a travelling tent show as a magician. He performed in vaudeville mainly as a comedian and began writing material for his own and other performers. He did not have much success until he met Ruby and they began working together. Ruby (1895-1959), also from New York, failed at his early ambition to become a professional baseball player. He then toured the vaudeville circuit as a pianist. Kalmar and Ruby were a successful songwriting team for nearly three decades.

Singles

Who’s Sorry Now? was featured in the 1946 Marx Brothers film A Night in Casablanca, but was best known as a hit for Connie Francis. She had released nine records which all flopped when she went into the studio in October 1957 for the last session in her ten-record contract with MGM. Her father wanted her to record Who’s Sorry Now? but she didn’t like the song, and deliberately took so long at the session with other numbers that there was almost no time left. She recorded Who’s Sorry Now? with just a few seconds to spare on the tape. In April 1958, it reached No 4 in the US and No 1 in Britain. (am-records.com)

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Personnel:
Connie Francis (vocals)
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Joe Lipman Orchstra

OrigianlFrontCover.jpgAlternate frontcover

Tracklist:
01. Who’s Sorry Now (Snyder/Kalmar/Ruby) 2.20
02. I’m Nobody’s Baby (Davis/Ager/Santly) 2.24
03. It’s The Talk Of The Town (Livingston/Neiburg/Symes) 2.55
04. I Miss You So (Henderson/Robin/Scott) 2.35
05. I Cried For You (Arnheim/Freed/Lyman) 2.59
06. Heartaches (Hoffman/Klenner) 2.34
07. I’m Beginning To See The Light (Ellington/Hodges/James/George) 2.41
08. My Melancholy Baby (Burnett/Norton) 3.54
09. You Always Hurt The One You Love (Fisher/Roberts) 2.26
10. How Deep Is The Ocean (Berlin) 2.25
11. If I Had You (King/Shapiro) 2.48
12. I’ll Get By (Ahlert/Turk) 2.48
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13. Too Young (Dee/Lippman) 2.56
14. That´s My Desire (Kressa/Loveday) 3.22
15. April Love (Webster/Fain) 3.57

(taken from the Connie Francis album “One For The Boys” (1959)

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Raymond Lefevre – Soul Symphonies 1 (1971)

FrontCover1.jpgRaymond Lefèvre (November 20, 1929 – June 27, 2008) was a French easy listening orchestra leader, arranger and composer.

Born on November 20, 1929 in Calais, France, Raymond Lefèvre is best known for his interpretation of the 1968 theme “Soul Coaxing (Ame Caline)” (composed by Michel Polnareff), which became an international hit. He also wrote soundtracks for movies with Louis de Funès such as La Soupe Aux Choux (1981) or the legendary series Le Gendarme de Saint Tropez. During the late 1950s and early 1960s he accompanied Dalida on most of her recordings (Bambino, Por Favor, Tu peux tout faire de moi, Quand on n’a que l’amour), amongst many others. He started his musical career in 1956 on the Barclay Records label. His recordings were released in the United States on the Kapp and Four Corners record labels until 1969.

He was accepted at the Paris Conservatory when 17 years old. During the early 1950s he played the piano for the Franck Pourcel orchestra. In 1953 he played the piano at the Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. He started his musical career in 1956 on the Barclay label and recorded his debut album that year.

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He worked on the French television programmes Musicorama (1950s) and Palmarés des Chansons (1965, 1966, 1967) accompanying such famous artists as Dalida, Claude François, Richard Anthony, with his own orchestra.

His recording of “The Day the Rains Came” was a best seller in the United States in 1958. The song “Ame câline” (Soul Coaxing) became an international hit in 1968 and “La La La (He Gives Me Love)” was a minor hit in 1968 in Canada and the United States. In 1969 his recording of “La Reine de Saba” (Queen of Sheba) became a big hit in Japan. From 1972 until the early 2000s (decade), he undertook several successful tours of Japan.

He worked on the soundtracks of many Louis de Funès movies.

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Lefèvre conducted entries four times at the Eurovision Song Contest, three times for Monaco (in 1961, 1962, and 1963) and once for Luxembourg (in 1970).

Raymond Lefèvre died on June 27, 2008 at the age of 78. (by wikipedia)

And here´s his first album of the very sucessful “Soul Symphonies” … I guess the best way to play Classic tunes in a very uniques Easy Listening was ..

Enjoy, dream (like me) or whatever !

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Personnel:
Raymond Lefevre Orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. Allegro De La 40ème Symphonie De Mozart (Mozart) 3.05
02. Largo De Dvorak De La Symphonie Du Nouveau Monde (Dvorak) 3.03
03. Aria De Jean-Sebastien Bach (Bach) 2.45
04. Largo De Haendel (Händel) 2.31
05. Aranjuez (D’Après L’Adagio 2ème Mouvement Du Concerto D’Aranjuez De Joaquin Rodrigo-Vidre) (Rodrigo-Vidre) 4.43
06. 5ème Symphonie De Beethoven (Beethoven) 2.53
07. Prelude En Do De Jean-Sebastien Bach (Bach) 2.53
08. Adagio De La Sonate Pathetique De Beethoven (Beethoven) 3.07
09. Modinha (Préludio Tiré Des Bachianas Brasileiras № 1 De Villa-Lobos) (Villa-Lobos) 3.41
10. Adagio Cardinal (Vacquez) 2.40
11. Andante Maggiore Du Concerto Pour 2 Mandolines De Vivaldi (Vivaldi) 3.33
12. Le Canon De Pachelbel (Pachelbel) 3.29
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13. Concierto en do menor para oboe – 2º mov, Adagio (Marcello) 2.40
14. Concierto para una voz (Saint-Preux) 3.31

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Raymond Lefèvre (November 20, 1929 – June 27, 2008)

T-Bones – Sippin’ ‘N Chippin’ (1966)

FrontCover1.jpgA real strange band and a real strange album:

The T-Bones were a Liberty Records recording group from 1963 – 1966. The studio recordings of all of their albums but the last were done by American session musicians, The Wrecking Crew.

They should not be confused with Gary Farr’s British mid-1960s band of the same name. In Britain, the name “U.S. T-Bones” was used for the Liberty Records group.

When the T-Bones had a hit in 1966 with the single No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In), Liberty Records quickly recorded an album of the same name using session musicians from The Wrecking Crew, but those musicians weren’t willing to go on tour to promote the album. They were making too much money doing sessions in Los Angeles. So Liberty created a different “public” T-Bones group to appear on record covers, TV, and in concert. The “public” T-Bones were Judd Hamilton, Dan Hamilton, Joe Frank Carollo, Tommy Reynolds, and Gene Pello. None of them played on the hit record, nor did they play on the next album, “Sippin’ and Chippin.” However the “public” T-Bones did record the T-Bones’ final album, “Everyone’s Gone To The Moon (And Other Trips).” Dan Hamilton, Carollo, and Reynolds would later form the 1970s soft rock trio Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds.

“No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)”, was based on the melody from a commercial for Alka-Seltzer. The tune reached #3, and its follow-up, “Sippin N Chippin”, peaked at #62; the accompanying album hit #75 on the Billboard 200. (by wikipedia)

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And here´s one of these crazy albums …

Call it Lounge music or Easy Listening … and you have the chance to hear “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” in a very smoothy way ..

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Personnel:

Members of the Wrecking Crew employed for a session at Gold Star Studios in the 1960s. Seated left to right: Don Randi, Al De Lory, Carol Kaye, Bill Pitman, Tommy Tedesco, Irving Rubins, Roy Caton, Jay Migliori, Hal Blaine, Steve Douglas, and Ray Pohlman:

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Tracklist:
01. Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog (Tanega) 1.58
02. Tippy Toeing (Harden) 2.03
03. Time Won’t Let Me (Kelley/King) 2.21
04. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (Jagger/Richards) 2.16
05. Forty Five (Colt 45 Theme) (Claman/Toth) 2.00
06. Sippin’ ‘n Chippin’ (Burland) 1.59
07. The Phoenix Love Theme (Senzza Fine) (From Film “The Flight Of The Phoenix”) (Wilder/Paoli) 2.16
08. What Now My Love (Et Maintenant) (Sigman/Delanoë/Bécaud) 2.09
09. Sure Gonna’ Miss Her (Russell) 2.27
10. Cinnamint Shuffle (Mexican Shuffle) (Lake) 2.02
11. Pretty Face (Cimbalo/Cashman) 2.33
12. Spanish Flea (Wechter) 2.33

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The public T-Bones:

Danny Hamilton, Joe Frank Carollo, Judd Hamilton, Tommy Reynolds:

(The public) T-Bones

Carl Stevens – ”Skin” and Bones (1958)

FrontCover1.jpgCarl Stevens was the alias of Charles H. “Chuck” Sagle:

Chuck was born July 28, 1927 in Aurora, Illinois. He showed an early aptitude for music, excelling at keyboard and trumpet in high school. He entered the University of Illinois at age 16, where he joined Phi Delta Theta fraternity, and became director of its chorale. His college career was interrupted in 1944 by World War II. He toured the Pacific with the Navy as a musical arranger, trumpet player, and bandleader. When the war ended, he returned to the University of Illinois, where he completed studies in music and advertising, and graduated in 1950.

Chuck joined the Artists & Repertoire (A&R) department of Mercury Records, first in Chicago, and later in New York City, where he produced Joni James and the Del Vikings. As musical director of the New York publishing firm Aldon Music, he worked with songwriters Carole King and Neil Sedaka. As an arranger and conductor, he appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Tonight Show.” He later held an A&R position at Epic Records in New York. He was associated with acts including the Hi-Los, The Crew Cuts, The Platters, Bobby Darin, Gene Pitney, and the Lennon Sisters.

CarlStevensIn the 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles to serve as musical director for Reprise Records, where he produced and arranged for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ethel Merman, and Sammy Davis, Jr. His greatest musical passion was always Big Band music, exemplified in his best-known instrumental album, “Splendor in the Brass.”

Chuck developed a love for Nashville when he visited in the 1960s to record with the area’s great musicians. After moving to the city in 1972, he arranged for ABC-Dot, Sugartree Records, Starday-King Records, the Jack Daniels Silver Cornet Band, and the Establishment Orchestra. Chuck developed a second career in the late 1970s when he returned to college to study computer programming. He worked in this capacity for ten years, retiring at age 67. He became a father again at age 68, retiring to stay home with his son, Jacob.

Chuck pursued many interests with diligence and intensity. He loved photography and read voraciously, especially biography, history, and science fiction. He enjoyed bridge and Scrabble. He taught a class on Jewish music at West End Synagogue, and composed a musical for the synagogue choir. In 2008, at age 81, he arranged and conducted a concert in celebration of his son Jacob’s bar mitzvah at Sherith Israel Congregation.

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Charles H. “Chuck” Sagle died peacefully April 13, 2015 from complications following a stroke.

Chuck is survived by his wife and love of his life, Sarah Stein. He is also survived by his sons, Jacob Sagle of Nashville and Christopher (Clara) Sagle of Los Angeles, and two grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Herbert and Helen Sagle, and a younger brother, James. (

This is his first pretty good solo album.

And here´s a review from Billboard, December, 15, 1958:

Review

If you like this Easy Listening sound with a great touch of Jazz … you should listen !

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Personnel:
Benny Baileys (saxophone)
Bobby Christian (percussion)
Paul Crumbaugh (trombone)
Bob Dale (trombone)
Howard Davis (saxophone)
Phil Durant (percussion)
Pete Eagle (harp)
John Frigo (bass)
Norm Jeffries (percussion)
Barrett O’Hara (trombone)
Dick Marx (piano)
Sam Porfirio (accordion)
Frank D’Rone (guitar)
Marty Rubenstein (piano)
Frank Rullo (percussion)
Tommy Shepherd (trombone)
Mike Simpson (saxophone)
Carl “Chuck” Stevens (trumpet)
Cy Touff (trombone)

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Alternate frontcovers (slightly different)

Tracklist:
01. Love For Sale (Porter) 3.18
02. Walkin’ Shoes (Mulligan) 1.57
03. How Long Has This Been Going On (Gershwin) 3.07
04. Long Ago And Far Away (Robin/Rainger) 1.53
05. Fascinating Rhythm (Gershwin) 2.53′
06. The Moon Was Yellow (And The Night Was Young) (Leslie/Ahlert) 2.13
07. It Had To Be You (Khn/Jones) 2.20
08. Winter Dreams (Palmer/Raye) 2.24
09. Soon (Gershwin) 2.21
10. Imagination (Burke/Van Heusen) 2.18
11. All Of You (Porter) 2.31

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Herb Alpert – Tijuana Christmas Album (1968)

FrontCover1.jpgChristmas Album is a late-1968 album by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. It was the group’s eleventh release. The LP edition of the album was issued twice. The original edition had the cover photography filling the front and back sides of the album jacket. For the reissue, the photos were reduced to half size and placed in the center of a white background. Although the Brass’ albums were out of print for a good many years, the Christmas Album was released on CD in the 1980s (with the CD release sporting the altered cover artwork), with annual reappearances in record stores at Christmastime. The album was re-released again on CD by the Shout!Factory label in 2006 as were many of the other Tijuana Brass albums. The Shout!Factory release restored the original artwork to the front cover and featured the original back cover on the included CD booklet. Another CD re-release occurred on October 23, 2015 (Herb Alpert Presents label, remastered), this time restoring the original artwork to the front and back.

The album contains a mixture of popular Christmas-season music, mostly American secular standards. Exceptions include the Bach piece “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” and a traditional Hispanic number, “Las Mañanitas.” The latter song’s arrangement, provided by marimbist Julius Wechter, is near identical to one used by Wechter’s Baja Marimba Band several years earlier, on their 1965 album For Animals Only. The songs’s title literally means “The Little Mornings;” the song is traditionally sung on the morning of one’s birthday celebration, or the day of a religious figure such as a saint (or, in this case, Jesus).

The cover features the image of Alpert, who is Jewish, dressed as Santa Claus while playing his trumpet. (by wikipedia)

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I trace my eclectic Christmas music tastes to my childhood. My parents had some Christmas albums they’d pull out every year. As a result, these albums, by artists I haven’t heard of anywhere else, are so ingrained in me that the first few notes immediately make me think of Christmas past. This is one of those albums.

Originally released in 1968, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass’s holiday offering was a hit, reaching the #1 spot three Christmases in a row. It’s been out of print for many years except for a brief issue on CD until this year, when it was released as part of the Herb Alpert Signature Series. It’s been fully restored and includes a booklet talking about the release.

So what about the music? This is a mostly instrumental recording featuring Herb on the trumpet and the drums, guitars, and maracas of the band as well. This makes for unique arrangements of the classic songs. I guarantee you have nothing like this in your collection.

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I say mostly instrumental because a choir is involved. Mostly, they hum the melody for a few measures and then let the band take over, sometimes coming in later to highlight the melody again. In addition, Herb sings on two songs. His version of “The Christmas Song” isn’t going to top anyone lists of favorite versions, but is good. I’ve only heard “The Bell that Couldn’t Jingle” here, but this time Herb’s vocals are better suited to the song. It’s a fun little number about Santa and Jack Frost helping a Bell find his jingle again.

And fun best describes the arrangements on this disc. The choir opens with a few a cappella measures of “Winter Wonderland,” then the band takes over with a samba arrangement that will be sure to have you dancing. The samba rhythm applies to “Jingle Bells” as well. “My Favorite Things” is probably the most original song here (and also a huge hit at the time of original release). It features several breaks and changes in tempo. You have to listen closely sometimes to follow the melody of all of these songs, but the music is so much fun to listen to, you’ll be tapping your toes or dancing along before you know it.

The samba rhythm is still going strong for “Sleigh Ride,” but they slow things down and switch to more jazz inspired arrangements for the final three songs. “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” is especially unique because the choir hums the melody throughout to the accompaniment of the band.

This album is not for everyone, but if you like something different to break up the monotony that can set in come December 20th, this is a CD to check out. I am so glad it is back in print so I can once again enjoy it for many Christmases to come. (by Mark Baker)

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Personnel:
Herb Alpert (trumpet, vocals)
Nick Ceroli (drums, percussion)
Bob Edmondson (trombone)
Tonni Kalash (trumpet)
Lou Pagani (keyboards)
John Pisano (guitars/mandolin)
Pat Senatore (bass)
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Julius Wechter (percussion)
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unknown choir

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Tracklist:

01. Winter Wonderland (Smith/Bernard) 3.07
02. Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 3.13
03. My Favorite Things (Rodgers/Hammerstein) 3.08
04. The Christmas Song (Tormé/Wells) 3.43
05. Las Mañanitas (Traditional) 3.01
06. Sleigh Ride (Anderson) 4.04
07. The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle (Bacharach/Kusik) 2.59
08. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (Cahn/Styne) 3.49
09. Jingle Bell Rock (Beale/Boothe) 1.54
10. Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring (Bach) 3.26

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Don Swan & His Orchestra – Latino (1959)

FrontCover1.jpgMore on the kitschy easy listening side than the smooth, cool Latin recordings of Cal Tjader, Don Swan was nonetheless one of the better white musicians to make inroads into Latin jazz during the ’50s. Swan was born Wilbur Clyde Schwandt in Manitowoc, WI, on June 28, 1904; he studied composition at the University of Chicago and became an arranger for various big bands, even working with comedian Bob Hope’s touring show. In 1940, he was hired as an arranger for Xavier Cugat’s orchestra, a post he would hold off and on for the next 20 years. Swan’s resulting experience and familiarity with Latin music helped put his services in great demand — not only as an arranger, but also as a composer, for both white big bands (Skinnay Ennis, Freddy Martin) and Latin dance orchestras (Perez Prado, Desi Arnaz). Swan signed to Liberty Records as a recording artist circa 1956-1957, and recorded a string of five Latin lounge LPs, beginning with Mucho Cha Ca Cha. Subsequent LPs like All This and Cha Cha Too, Hot Cha Cha, and two volumes of Latino! DonSwan01found Swan heading up all-star groups of West Coast session men, walking the line between Latin jazz and exotic gimmickry. The success of his albums allowed Swan to form a touring group, and he played extensively in New York and Las Vegas. Swan retired from music in the mid-’60s, and eventually moved to Miami, where he died on July 23, 1998, at the ripe old age of 94. (by Steve Huey)

Latino is no closer to serious Latin than Don Swan’s previous three albums, but there is a new maturity and confidence here. Even though “Razz-Berry Mambo” may be lacking in maturity, and “Linda Mujer” begins with a rock beat, overall the group of star West Coast jazz men is sounding more like a touring orchestra than a studio contrivance. The whistling and harp seem to be gone in favor of more post-“Cherry Pink” trumpet theatrics. Latino also raises the bar slightly in its lurid jacket art. (A thumbnail can be seen, and “El Cumbanchero” heard, on the Liberty sampler, Stereo: the Visual Sound LST-100). The model, conga drum, and soft focus are still there, but the fishnet stockings and all else are gone. Even stripped down to the essentials, Latino still reeks of Hollywood cheese. (by Tony Wilds)

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Personnel:
Don Swan & His Orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. El Cumbanchero 2.04
02. Chatita 3.01
03. La Paloma 2.11
04. Miami Beach Rumba 2.21
05. Once Ocheta y Uno 1.46
06. Razz-Berry Mambo 2.16
07. Linda Mujer 1.55
08. Betita 3.20
09. Hokey Joe 2.18
10. Gracias 2.22
11. A San Antonio Me Voy 2.04
12. Cha Cha in Alaska 2.39

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