Andre Kostelanetz And His Orchestra – Music Of Jerome Kern (1955)

FrontCover1Andre Kostelanetz (Russian: Абрам Наумович Костелянец, December 22, 1901 – January 13, 1980) was a Russian-born American popular orchestral music conductor and arranger who was one of the major exponents of popular orchestra music.Andre Kostelanetz (Russian: Абрам Наумович Костелянец, December 22, 1901 – January 13, 1980) was a Russian-born American popular orchestral music conductor and arranger who was one of the major exponents of popular orchestra music.

Biography This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (October 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Abram Naumovich Kostelyanetz was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia to a prominent Jewish family. He was a cousin of physicist Lew Kowarski. His father, Nachman Yokhelevich (Naum Ignatyevich) Kostelyanetz was active on St. Petersburg stock exchange; his maternal grandfather, Aizik Yevelevich Dymshitz, was a wealthy merchant and industrialist, engaged in timber production. Kostelanetz escaped in 1922 after the Russian Revolution.

Andre Kostelanetz

He arrived in the United States that year, and in the 1920s, conducted concerts for radio. In the 1930s, he began his own weekly show on CBS, Andre Kostelanetz Presents. Kostelanetz was known for arranging and recording light classical music pieces for mass audiences, as well as orchestral versions of songs and Broadway show tunes. He made numerous recordings over the course of his career, which had sales of over 50 million and became staples of beautiful music radio stations. For many years, he conducted the New York Philharmonic in pops concerts and recordings, in which they were billed as Andre Kostelanetz and His Orchestra.
Andre Kostelanetz may be best known to modern audiences for a series of easy listening instrumental albums on Columbia Records from the 1940s until 1980. Kostelanetz actually started making this music before there was a genre called “easy listening”. He continued until after some of his contemporaries, including Mantovani, had stopped recording.

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Outside the United States, one of his best known works was an orchestral arrangement of the tune “With a Song in my Heart”, which was the signature tune of a long-running BBC radio program, at first called Forces Favourites, then Family Favourites, and finally Two Way Family Favourites.
He commissioned many works, including Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, Jerome Kern’s Portrait of Mark Twain, William Schuman’s New England Triptych, Paul Creston’s Frontiers, Ferde Grofé’s Hudson River Suite, Virgil Thomson’s musical portraits of Fiorello La Guardia and Dorothy Thompson, Alan Hovhaness’s Floating World, and Ezra Laderman’s Magic Prison. William Walton dedicated his Capriccio burlesco to Kostelanetz, who conducted the first performance and made the first recording, both with the New York Philharmonic.
His last concert was A Night in Old Vienna with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra at that city’s War Memorial Opera House on December 31, 1979.

His first wife was actress/singer Sarah Loy; they were married from 1923 to 1937, when the marriage was dissolved. He was then married to soprano Lily Pons from 1938 to 1958, when the marriage was dissolved. They owned a home in Palm Springs, California which was built in 1955. In 1960 he married Sara Gene Orcutt; the marriage lasted several years.
His brother Boris Kostelanetz (1911–2006) was a prominent tax defense lawyer.

Kostelanetz died of pneumonia in Haiti on January 13, 1980, at the age of 78. (by wikipedia)

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And here we can hear him with many compositions by Jerome Kern:

Jerome David Kern (January 27, 1885 – November 11, 1945) was an American composer of musical theatre and popular music. One of the most important American theatre composers of the early 20th century, he wrote more than 700 songs, used in over 100 stage works, including such classics as “Ol’ Man River”, “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man”, “A Fine Romance”, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”, “All the Things You Are”, “The Way You Look Tonight”, “Long Ago (and Far Away)” and “Who?”. He collaborated with many of the leading librettists and lyricists of his era, including George Grossmith Jr., Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse, Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II, Dorothy Fields, Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin and E. Y. Harburg.

Jerome Kern

A native New Yorker, Kern created dozens of Broadway musicals and Hollywood films in a career that lasted for more than four decades. His musical innovations, such as 4/4 dance rhythms and the employment of syncopation and jazz progressions, built on, rather than rejected, earlier musical theatre tradition. He and his collaborators also employed his melodies to further the action or develop characterization to a greater extent than in the other musicals of his day, creating the model for later musicals. Although dozens of Kern’s musicals and musical films were hits, only Show Boat is now regularly revived. Songs from his other shows, however, are still frequently performed and adapted. Many of Kern’s songs have been adapted by jazz musicians to become standard tunes. (by wikipedia)

First release on 78 rpm in 1946 (four shellac records)

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Personnel:
Andre Kostelanetz And His Orchestra

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Tracklist:
01 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes 4.38

Medley 1 (4.45):
02.1. Yesterdays
02.2.  I’ve Told Ev’ry Little Star
02.3.  The Song Is You

Medley 2 (4.14):
03.1. The Night Was Made For Love
03.2.  She Didn’t Say Yes
03.3.  All The Things You Are

Medley 3 (4.25):
04.1. Look For The Silver Lining
04.2. They Didn’t Believe Me
04.3. Long Ago (And Far Away)

Medley 4 (4.47):
05.1. I Dream Too Much
05.2. The Jockey On The Carousel

Medley 5 (4.47):
06.1. Why Was I Born?
06.2. The Way You Look Tonight
06.3. Who?

Medley 6 (4.18):
07.1. Only Make Believe
07.2. Bill

Medley 7 (4.34):
08.1. Why Do I Love You?
08.2. You Are Love
08.3.Ol’ Man River

List of the musicals from which the tracks were taken from:

1: “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” and “Yesterdays” taken from “Roberta” (1933).
2: “I’ve Told Ev’ry Little Star” and “The Song Is You” from “Music In The Air” (1932)
3: “The Night Was Made For Love” and “She Didn’t Say Yes” taken from “The Cat And The Fiddle” (1931). “All The Things You Are” taken from “Very Warm For May” (1939)
4: “Look For The Silver Lining” taken from “Sally” (1920). “They Didn’t Believe Me” taken from “The Girl From Utah” (1913). “Long Ago (And Far Away)” taken from the movie “Cover Girl” directed by Charles Vidor (1944).
5: “I Dream Too Much” and “The Jockey On The Carousel” taken from the movie “I Dream Too Much” directed by John Cromwell (1935).
6: “Why Was I Born?” taken from “Sweet Adeline” (1929). “The Way You Look Tonight” taken from the movie “Swing Time” directed by George Stevens (1936). “Who?” taken from “Sunny” (1925).
7 & 8: “Only Make Believe”, “Bill”, “Why Do I Love You?”, “You Are Love” and “Ol’ Man River” taken from “Show Boat” (1927).Recorded in March-April 1946, except tracks 7 and 8 recorded in December 1945.

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Original front + backcover from 1946:

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Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – Por El Camino De Mexico (South Of The Border) (1964)

FrontCover1South of the Border is the third album by American easy listening brass band Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, originally released in 1964. The name of the group, for this album, is “Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass”.South of the Border is the third album by American easy listening brass band Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, originally released in 1964. The name of the group, for this album, is “Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass”.
Alpert’s first top ten hit, and fifth gold record, the album continued the progression of the Tijuana Brass from its mostly-Mexican sound to a more easy-listening style, with a collection of cover versions of popular songs. Included were “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face”, originally featured in the Broadway musical My Fair Lady and The Beatles’ 1963 hit “All My Loving”. It also featured an instrumental cover of its title song, “South of the Border”, which was most famously done as a vocal by Frank Sinatra.
“Hello, Dolly!” had the band singing a couple of lines of the mostly-instrumental rendition, in what might now be considered stereotyping, using mock-Mexican accents. Alpert’s distinctive singing voice was not discernible in that portion. Also, in some versions, he can be heard whispering “Número Cinco”, effecting a Mexican accent, at the start of that song’s track.

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One number, a Sol Lake tune called “The Mexican Shuffle”, was reworked for a TV ad for a brand of chewing gum, and styled “The Teaberry Shuffle”. Bert Kaempfert, author of several songs covered by the Brass, returned the favor by issuing a cover of “The Mexican Shuffle”. The number called “El Presidente”, was a reorchestration of Sol Lake’s “Winds of Barcelona”, which had appeared on Volume 2.
The cover features Alpert and perennial HATB model Sandra Moss at the Patio del Moro apartment complex in West Hollywood.

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Herb Alpert was still using an array of SoCal studio all-stars as his Tijuana Brass when South of the Border (1964) began to restore the combo’s good name after the modest Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, Vol. 2 (1963) failed to ignite a fire in listener’s ears. Alpert later commented that the Sol Lake composition “Mexican Shuffle” “opened a new door for me.” That passageway meant the loss of the Tijuana Brass’ practically forced mariachi style and the rise of Alpert’s approach in arranging familiar melodies in fresh, creative settings. Nowhere would this stylistic progression be as pronounced as in the horn-driven updates of several then-concurrent chart hits. For instance, the mod sonic wrinkle in “Girl from Ipanema” emits a darkness veiled in mystery, directly contrasting the light buoyancy of “Hello! Dolly” or the footloose feel of the Beatles’ “All My Loving.” They seamlessly fit in with Sol Lake’s “Salud, Amor y Dinero” and a cover of Julius Wechter’s playful, midtempo “Up Cherry Street” — which Wechter’s own Baja Marimba Band had just recorded for their 1964 self-titled debut.

The ballads “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” “Angelito,” and “Adios, Mi Corazon” provide contrasts with Alpert’s sensitive scores never seeming maudlin or unnecessarily over the top. If the regal “El Presidente” sounds particularly familiar, it may well be due to Alpert’s slight renovation of the “Winds of Barcelona” from the Tijuana Brass’ previous effort, the less than impressive Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, Vol. 2. It was renamed “El Presidente,” presumably to honor the then-recent memory of the slain U.S. leader John Fitzgerald Kennedy. (by Lindsay Planer)

In other word: Another pretty good album by Herb Alpert ! My copy was especially produced for the Spanisch record market …

The EP:

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Personnel:
Herb Alpert (trumpet, vovals)
Nick Ceroli (drums)
Bob Edmondson (trombone)
Tonni Kalash (trumpet)
Lou Pagani (piano)
John Pisano (guitar)
Pat Senatore (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Al Sur De La Frontera (South Of The Border) (Kennedy/Carr) 2.07
02. La Chica De Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema) (Gimbel/Jobim)de Moraes) 2.39
03. Hello, Dolly! (Herman) 1.57
04. Me Acostumbre A Ti (‘ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face (Lerner/Loewe) 2.27
05. En La Calle Del Cerezo (Up Cherry Street) (Wechter) 2.19
06. Mexican Shuffle (Lake) 2.10
07. El Presidente (Lake) 2.40
08. Todo Mi Amor (All My Loving) (Lennon/McCartney) 1.57
09. Angelito (Herrera/Ornelas) 2.23
10. Salud, Amor y Dinero (Health, Love and Money) (Lake) 2.06
11. Número Cinco (Number Five) (Coleman) 2.18
12. Adiós, Mi Corazón (Goodbye, My Heart) (Lake) 2.40

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The original US front cover:

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Rick Wakeman – Piano Vibrations (1971)

FrontCover1A real strange album !

Piano Vibrations, though promoted in its re-release as the first studio album by English progressive rock keyboardist Rick Wakeman, is not considered a Wakeman album, even by himself. His contributions were limited to performing as a session musician and he did not compose any of the tracks. The album was released in 1971 on Polydor, after Wakeman had signed on to A&M Records. The album developed from Wakeman’s time as a session musician. A&M Records had signed Wakeman on as the Strawbs’ keyboardist at the time of the release.

Piano Vibrations, when it has been reviewed, has been described as “slightly cheesy”,[2] especially in light of Wakeman’s later involvement in progressive rock, but still listenable. (by wikipedia)

This is called Piano Vibrations because it’s part of a series – the ‘Vibrations’ series, put out by a British collective called John Schroeder Productions. Schroeder is only the man who fronts up the money though.

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Rick Wakeman about this album:

“This was never meant to be a solo album and to be honest I certainly don’t count it as a solo album in any respect. True it is a piece of history, but not one I’m proud of.

I was actually booked to play piano on a session at Pye Studios in London’s Marble Arch and it was to play on some backtracks for an unknown singer who was due in later that week to put his vocals on.

John SchroederShortly afterwards I started having some success with Strawbs and the next thing we knew was that the album was being put out by PYE Records as Piano Vibrations with no vocalist and with a picture of me on the back.

I was unhappy and A&M Records, who had Strawbs and myself signed, were furious.

I received £9 for my trouble.”

Nothing more to be said.

OUCH… unbeliveable… a chance he played for YES, probably like that he learned to write songs lol… On several songs, he seems to search the notes… The last one, Classical Gas, is probably the best, and note that Steve Howe played that song in the beginning of the 90’s. It’s aviable on “Not necessarily accoustic”… and a classical guitar is well heardable on the Wakeman’s version. Was Steve Howe there? For collectors only … (by spide)

If you like to hear easy listening versions of songs from Elton John, Leon Russell or James Taylor …

Alternate front+ back cover:
AlternateFront+BackCover

Personnel:
Rick Wakeman (piano)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Take Me To The Pilot (John/Taupin) 2.56
02. Yellow Man (Newman) 2.27
03 Cast Your Fate To The Wind (Guaraldi/Werber) 2.34
04. Gloria, Gloria (Schroeder/King) 3.04
05. Your Song (John/Taupin) 3.47
06. Delta Lady (Russell) 3.24
07. A Picture Of You (Schroeder/King) 3.56
08. Home Sweet Oklahoma (Russell) 3.21
09. Fire And Rain (Taylor) 3.26
10. Classical Gas (Williams) 2.57

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CD front + back cover … no comment necessary … one of the ugliest covers I´ve ever seen

CDFront+BackCover

Mantovani And His Orchestra – Latin Rendezvous (1963)

FrontCover1Annunzio Paolo Mantovani  (15 November 1905 – 29 March 1980), known as Mantovani, was an Anglo-Italian conductor, composer and light orchestra-styled entertainer with a cascading strings musical signature. The book British Hit Singles & Albums states that he was “Britain’s most successful album act before the Beatles…the first act to sell over one million stereo albums and [have] six albums simultaneously in the US Top 30 in 1959”.

Mantovani was born in Venice, Italy, into a musical family. His father, Bismarck, served as the concertmaster of La Scala opera house’s orchestra in Milan, under the baton of Arturo Toscanini. The family moved to England in 1912, where young Annunzio studied at Trinity College of Music in London. After graduation, he formed his own orchestra, which played in and around Birmingham. He married Winifred Moss in 1934, and they had two children: Kenneth (born 12 July 1935) and Paula Irene (born 11 April 1939). By the time World War II broke out, his orchestra was one of the most popular British dance bands, both on BBC radio broadcasts and in live performances.

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He was also musical director for a large number of musicals and other plays, including Noël Coward’s Pacific 1860 (1946) and Vivian Ellis’s musical setting of J. B. Fagan’s And So to Bed (1951).[4] After the war, he concentrated on recording, and eventually gave up live performance altogether. He worked with arranger and composer Ronald “Ronnie” Binge, who developed the “cascading strings” effect (also known as the “Mantovani sound”).[5] His records were regularly used for demonstration purposes in stores selling hi-fi stereo equipment, as they were produced and arranged for stereo reproduction. He became the first person to sell a million stereophonic records. In 1952, Binge ceased to arrange for Mantovani but the distinctive sound of the orchestra remained.

Mantovani recorded for Decca until the mid-1950s, and then for London Records. He recorded in excess of 50 albums on that label, many of which were Top 40 hits. His single tracks included “The Song from Moulin Rouge”, which reached Number One in the UK Singles Chart in 1953;[2] “Cara Mia” (with him and his orchestra backing David Whitfield) in 1954; “Around the World” in 1957; and “Main Theme from Exodus (Ari’s Theme)” in 1960. In the United States, between 1955 and 1972, he released more than 40 albums with 27 reaching the “Top 40”, and 11 in the “Top Ten”. His biggest success came with the album Film Encores, which attained Number One in 1957.

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Similarly, Mantovani Plays Music From ‘Exodus’ and Other Great Themes made it to the Top Ten in 1961, with over one million albums sold.

In 1958, Mantovani and his family bought a holiday home in Bournemouth in Durley Chine Road, and then in 1961 acquired a new property in Burton Road (now part of Poole). He moved, finally, to a new home in Martello Road in Poole.

Mantovani starred in his own syndicated television series, Mantovani, which was produced in England and which aired in the United States in 1959. Thirty-nine episodes were filmed.[7] Mantovani made his last recordings in the mid-1970s.

He died at a care home in Royal Tunbridge Wells Kent. His funeral was held at the Kent and Sussex Crematorium and Cemetery on 8 April 1980.

Annunzio Paolo Mantovani (1970)

The cascading strings technique developed by Binge became Mantovani’s hallmark in such hits arranged by Binge as “Charmaine”. Binge developed this technique to replicate the echo experienced in venues such as cathedrals and he achieved this goal through arranging skill alone.

Author Joseph Lanza describes Mantovani’s string arrangements as the most “rich and mellifluous” of the emerging light music style during the early 1950s. He stated that Mantovani was a leader in the use of new studio technologies to “create sound tapestries with innumerable strings”, and that “the sustained hum of Mantovani’s reverberated violins produced a sonic vaporizer foreshadowing the synthesizer harmonics of space music.” His style survived through an ever-changing variety of musical styles prompting Variety to call him “the biggest musical phenomenon of the twentieth century”.

From 1961 to 1971 David McCallum Sr was leader of Mantovani’s orchestra. At this time, his son David McCallum Jr was at the height of his fame, prompting Mantovani to introduce his leader to audiences with the quip, “We can afford the father but not the son!”

Mantovani is referred to by name in The Kinks song “Prince of the Punks”. He also had a big influence on Brian May, Queen guitarist.

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He is also mentioned in the song “Paradise Place” by Siouxsie and the Banshees and in the song “Nainen tanssii tangoa” by the Finnish rock band CMX.

During his lifetime, Mantovani did not always get respect from his fellow musicians. When George Martin first suggested overdubbing Paul McCartney’s recording of Yesterday with strings, McCartney’s initial reaction, according to Martin, was that he didn’t want it sounding like Mantovani. Martin therefore used a more classical sound, employing a string quartet.

Much of his catalogue has reappeared on CD. There are also many compilations. A large number of CDs are available containing unauthorised recordings, billed as Mantovani or Mantovani Orchestra, for example the CD titled “The Mantovani Orchestra” released in 1997 contained a track from the 1980s Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Cats”, which would have required posthumous conducting on the part of Mantovani. There have also been CDs released under the Mantovani name of recordings made by others while Mantovani was still alive.

Following Mantovani’s death in 1980, the Mantovani Estate continues to authorise numerous concerts worldwide and recordings using original and newly commissioned arrangements. (by wikipedia)

And here is one of his countless albums … I guess he was a music maniac like James Last-

Enjoy the beautiful sound of Mantovani  & his Orchestra !

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Personnel:
Mantovani And His Orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. Malaguena (Lecuona/Banks/Hansen) 3.52
02. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps (Farres/Davis) 2.41
03. Be Mine Tonight (Lara/Skylar) 3.16
04. Cielito Linda (Santos) 1.54
05. La Paloma (Yradier) 2.47
06. Siboney (Morse/Lecuona) 3.20
07. A Garden In Granada (Baer/Vasilescu/Lewis) 3.40
08. Perfidia (Tonight) (Dominguez/Leeds) 2.59
09. Andalucia (The Breeze And I) (Stillman/Lecuona) 2.33
10. La Golondrina (Serradell) 3.51
11. Maria Elena (Barcelata/Russell) 2.44
12. España (Chabrier) 2.36

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Caterina Valente – A Date With Caterina Valente (1955)

FrontCover1Caterina Valente (born 14 January 1931, Paris, France) is an Italian singer, guitarist, dancer, and actress. She was born into an Italian artist family. Her father, Giuseppe, was a well-known accordion player; her mother, Maria, a musical clown. She had three siblings, one of whom, Silvio (as Silvio Francesco), was also active in show business.

In 1953, she made her first recordings with Kurt Edelhagen. Soon afterwards she achieved success with songs such as “Malagueña”, “The Breeze and I” (a global million-seller), and “Dreh dich nicht um” with the Werner Müller orchestra. In 1955, she was featured on The Colgate Comedy Hour with Gordon MacRae. In the mid 1960s, Valente worked with Claus Ogerman and recorded material in both Italian and English that he arranged/conducted and/or composed on the Decca  and London labels. She was a favorite of singer Perry Como making eight guest appearances on his NBC Kraft Music Hall television program from 1961 to 1966. Between 1966 and 1972 she was also a frequent guest on the Dean Martin Show.

In Germany she was a major performer of Schlager music. There she recorded Cole Porter’s I Love Paris under the German title Ganz Paris träumt von der Liebe, which sold more than 900,000 copies in 1954. Over the years, she has recorded or performed with many international stars, including Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, Perry Como, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Claus Ogerman, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Sy Oliver, Buddy Rich and Edmundo Ros.

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In 1959, she was nominated for a Grammy Award. Valente was a principal, along with Carol Burnett and Bob Newhart, on the short-lived CBS variety series The Entertainers (1964–65). A briglia sciolta, the Italian jazz CD recorded in 1989 and re-released in later years under the titles Fantastica and Platinum deluxe, was her best-selling CD worldwide. In 2001, she released a new album, Girltalk, with harpist Catherine Michel. (by wikipedia)

 

This is one of her many recordings from the 50´s and it´s a nice one … the early Valente recorded in the same year I was born … *smile* …

But this is not only “Schlager” music … sometimes it´s world music !

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Personnel:
Caterina Valente (vocals)
+
Werner Müller & His Orchestra
Monaco Ball Orchestra
Paul Durand & His Orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. Temptation (Freed/Brown) 3.22
02. If Hearts Could Talk (Wise/Auric/Twomey) 3.13
03. The Breeze And I (Andalucia) (Stillman/Lecuona) 3.24
04. Malagueña (Lecuona) 3.06
05. My Lonely Lover (Gietz/Goell) 2.47
06. Fiesta Cubana (Gietz/Goell) 2.21
07. This Must Be Wrong (Gietz/Goell) 2.37
08. The Way You Love Me (Gietz/Goell) 2.47

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The Fleetwoods – Mr. Blue (1959)

FrontCover1Although the Fleetwoods’ sound was smooth, without many of the rougher edges of doo wop groups, they were one of the few white vocal groups of the late ’50s and early ’60s to enjoy success not only on the pop charts, but also the R&B charts. Their forte was ballads — beginning with the 1959 debut single “Come Softly to Me,” they racked up a number of hits over the next three years, and nearly all of them were ballads. The Fleetwoods broke up in 1963, but their songs — particularly “Come Softly to Me” — became pop/rock classics of the pre-British Invasion era.

Gretchen Christopher, Barbara Ellis, and Gary Troxell formed the Fleetwoods while attending high school in Olympia, WA. Originally, the group consisted only of Christopher and Ellis, but the duo soon asked Troxell to accompany them on trumpet. Shortly after his arrival in the group, Troxell abandoned the trumpet and concentrated on singing once the other two members heard a portion of a song he had written. With some notable contributions from Christopher and Ellis, the group wrote “Come Softly to Me” and began performing the song at various events around Olympia, eventually gaining the attention of Bob Reisdorff, who ran the Seattle-based label Dolphin Records.
Dolphin released “Come Softly to Me” early in 1959 and the song became an instant hit, climbing to number one on the pop charts and number five on the R&B charts; it also reached the Top Ten in U.K. The Fleetwoods weren’t able to immediately produce a follow-up single as successful as their debut, but their third single, “Mr. Blue,” was a number one pop and Top Five R&B hit in the U.S. in late 1959.

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By the time of its release, Dolphin had changed its name to Dolton. For the next three years, the Fleetwoods had a string of minor pop hits. The group wasn’t able to consistently place singles in the upper regions of the charts partially because Troxell was drafted into the Navy at the height of the group’s popularity at the end of 1959. Troxell was replaced by Vic Dana, who would later have a string of his own hit singles in the early ’60s.

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The Fleetwoods’ last Top Ten single arrived in the spring of 1961, when “Tragedy” climbed the U.S. charts. The group disbanded two years later, after releasing its final single, a cover of Jesse Belvin’s “Goodnight My Love.” Over the next three decades, the Fleetwoods reunited occasionally to perform concerts and appear in oldies revues. In 1973, the group recorded an album with producer Jerry Dennon, but the resulting recordings were unsuccessful. In 1990, the Fleetwoods — featuring Christopher, Troxell, and instead of Ellis a singer named Cheryl Huggins — played a tour on the American oldies circuit after Rhino released the compact disc Collection  The Best of the Fleetwoods. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

Enjoy this sentimental journey … for romantic people only !

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Personnel:
Gretchen Christopher (vocals)
Barbara Ellis (vocals)
Gary Troxel (vocals)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Confidential (Morgan) 2.21
02. The Three Caballeros (Cortázar/Esperón/Gilbert) 2.24
03. Raindrops, Teardrops  (Troxel/Christopher/Ellis) 2.31
04. You Mean Everything to Me (Kaspar) 2.31
05. Oh Lord Let It Be  (Troxel/Christopher/Ellis) 2.08
06. Come Softly To Me (Troxel/Christopher/Ellis) 2.25
07. Serenade Of The Bells (Goodhart/Twomey) 2.29
08. Unchained Melody (North/Zaret) 2.46
09. We Belong Together (Carr/Mitchell/Weiss) 1.28
10. Come Go With Me (Quick) 2.16
11. I Care So Much (Troxel/Christopher/Ellis) 1.59
12. Mr. Blue (Blackwell) 2.26

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Chet Atkins – The Most Popular Guitar (1961)

FrontCover1Chet Atkins hit the jackpot with his 12th 12″ LP release, Chet Atkins’ Workshop, which soared into the pop Top Ten, and RCA Victor Records hopefully released his 13th one with the title The Most Popular Guitar and adorned it with a cover picture of a comely girl in a negligee. The notion here seems to have been to present Atkins not so much as a guitar instrumentalist (though his guitar playing was, as usual, front and center) as the leader of a lush studio orchestra and chorus playing easy listening favorites in the manner of Percy Faith.

The varied selections ranged from show tunes like the leadoff track, George and Ira Gershwin’s “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from Porgy and Bess, to recent pop hits like the Platters’ “My Prayer” and swing era favorites such as “East of the Sun (West of the Moon).” But no matter the source, the treatment was in middle-of-the-road ballad form, with piano and harpsichord, muted horns, swirling strings, and wordless choruses augmenting Atkins’ dreamy electric-guitar stylings.

But perhaps Chet Atkins was not destined to become the next Ray Conniff. In any case, The Most Popular Guitar, despite spending ten weeks in the Billboard LP chart, did not match the sales of Chet Atkins’ Workshop, and the guitarist was free to go his own way, making whatever style of record he wanted in the future. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Chet Atikins (guitar)
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unknown orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. It Ain’t Necessarily So (Gershwin) 2.43
02. My Dear Little Sweetheart (Smith/Weiss) 2.48
03. Stay As Sweet As You Are (Gordon/Revel) 3.38
04. Monte Carlo Melody (Atkins) 2.30
05. When Day Is Done (DeSylva/Katscher) 2.20
06. My Prayer (Boulanger/Kennedy) 2.22
07. Rock-A-Bye-Bay (Curtis/Wood) 2.40
08. Vanessa (Wayne) 3.57
09. Intermezzo (Henning/Provost) 3.04
10. Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo (Deutsch/Kaper) 2.40
11. East of the Sun (West Of The Moon) (Bowman) 2.38
12. Goin’ Home (Atkins) 2.53

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