Willie Nelson – … And Then I Wrote (1962)

WillieNelsonFrontCover1.jpg…And Then I Wrote is the debut studio album by country singer Willie Nelson, recorded during August and September 1962 and released through Liberty Records.

Despite Nelson’s fruitless efforts to succeed with his recording releases with D Records, and after trying with other labels as a singer, he sold several of his original written songs to other artists. After his composition “Family Bible” became a hit for Claude Gray in 1960, he moved to Nashville, where he was signed by Pamper Music as a songwriter. Several of his songs became hits for other artists, including Faron Young (“Hello Walls”); Ray Price (“Night Life”) and Patsy Cline (“Crazy”).

Fueled by the success of his songwriting, he was signed by Liberty Records. During August, Nelson started recording his first album, produced by Joe Allison. The single releases of the album “Touch Me” and “The Part Where I Cry” were recorded on that day in Nashville, Tennessee, while it was completed during September in the recording facilities of the label in Los Angeles, California. The single “Touch Me” became Nelson’s second top ten, reaching number 7 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles.

In 1958, Nelson released under a contract with Pappy Daily of D Records two records, “Man With the Blues”/”The Storm Has Just Begun” and “What a Way to Live”/”Misery Mansion”. While working for D Records and singing in nightclubs, Nelson was hired by guitar instructor Paul Buskirk to teach in his school. He sold to Buskirk his original songs “Family Bible” for US$50, and “Night Life” for US$150. “Family Bible” turned into a hit for Claude Gray in 1960.

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Nelson moved to Nashville in 1960, but no label signed him. Most of his demos were rejected. Nelson was later signed as a songwriter to Pamper Music with the help of Hank Cochran, who worked for the publishing company owned by Ray Price and Hal Smith. Faron Young recorded Nelson’s “Hello Walls”, and after Ray Price recorded Nelson’s “Night Life”, and his previous bassist Johnny Paycheck quit, Nelson joined Price’s touring band as a bass player. While playing with Price and the Cherokee Cowboys, other of his original songs became hits for other artists, including “Funny How Time Slips Away” (Billy Walker), “Pretty Paper” (Roy Orbison), and, most famously, “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. Nelson signed with Liberty Records and was recording by August 1961 at Quonset Hut Studio. As Nelson later recalled, Cochran was instrumental in getting him signed: “Hank had convinced Liberty’s A&R man for country music, Joe Allison, that I was the next big thing…Allison knew that there wasn’t any way I was gonna change my singing style – and that was fine by him. He understood me. He just wanted me to sing my own songs in my own way.”

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In his 2015 autobiography, Nelson insists that he composed “Crazy”, “Night Life”, “Funny How Time Slips Away”, “Mr. Record Man”, “I Gotta Get Drunk” and “The Party’s Over” in one songwriting jag while living in Houston before finally moving to Nashville: “Within an astounding short period of time – a week or two – I’d written a suite of songs that reflected my real-life situation. I knew these songs were damn good, but at the same time, I didn’t know what to do with them.” Nelson unconsciously borrowed the first few notes of “Crazy” from the Floyd Tillman song “I Gotta Have My Baby Back.”[10] “Hello Walls” was written after Nelson had been hired by Pamper Music. Initially collaborating with Hank Cochran, he was nervous at first, realising “this was creativity on demand,” and later recalling:

First few days found me a little uneasy. I had my guitar, a pencil, and a blank notebook. Hank might throw out an idea, hoping it might spark something in me. When that didn’t work, he might tell me a joke, or I might tell him one, hoping that joking would lead to some kind of song. It didn’t…And one afternoon, after we had just sat around throwing the bull, he said, “I’m going to the office to make a few calls. You work on something by yourself.

WillieNelson01By the time Cochran had returned from his phone call Nelson had written “Hello Walls” and sang it for him. “It’s worth a fuckin’ fortune,” Cochran responded, adding, “Willie, my friend, you just wrote a hit.”

The recording sessions for his first album release, …And Then I Wrote, began in the Nashville studios of Liberty Records. Nelson recorded on August 22–23, starting during the night and lasting until the morning of the following day. Dissatisfied with the results, Allison moved the sessions to the studios of the label in Los Angeles, California, where Nelson was joined by three other stellar guitarists – session leader Billy Strange, Roy Nichols from the Maddox Brothers, and Johnny Western, who had worked with Johnny Cash. During two sessions in September 11–12, Nelson recorded “Crazy”, “Darkness on the Face of the Earth”, “Three Days”, “Funny How Times Slips Away”, “Mr. Record Man” and “Hello Walls”. B.J. Baker led the vocal chorus that attempted to back Nelson, but the singer’s idiosyncratic style gave them problems, as recounted by Nelson biographer Joe Nick Patoski: “The singers got lost trying to follow Willie’s lead vocals until Joe Allsion put up some baffles between Willie and the singers so they couldn’t hear one another. To stay on the beat, the singers followed Johnny Western’s direction.” The liner notes of the album were written by local DJ Charlie Williams, by request of Allison. The albums biggest hit was “Touch Me,” a sad blues done in a slow drag with the rough edges smoothed out by harmony singers and a cool instrumental arrangement that reached the Top 10 and earned Nelson a place on jukeboxes throughput the United States.

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It was during the recording of “Mr. Record Man” that Nelson met his second wife Shirley Collie, with whom he would soon record the duet “Willingly,” a Cochran composition.

The record was released on September 1962. “Touch Me” was released as a single, becoming Nelson’s second top ten single, reaching No. 7 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart. Billboard wrote a review about the single, describing it as an “interesting country-styled tune” with “good” lyrics.  (by wikipedia)

Willie Nelson, with an innocent earnestness & remarkable sincerity unbecoming of Nashville’s production line business model is more in line with the work of Roy Orbison in Nashville (minus the Spector influences) at the same time this was recorded and should be approached as a singer-songwriter record written for the classic late 1950’s Nashville sound (Several of these songs were written in a two week window in Houston, just before he moved to Tennessee). Before Nelson was a singer, he was a remarkable songwriter pitching his songs to Patsy Cline and the likes. His humility and genuine WillieNelson03earnestness made him a popular man among musically inclined talents and producers like Joe Allison, and this August/September 1962 recording of his classic songs penned for others over the previous handful of years along with a couple new songs like Touch Me, intended to find a mass audience (It shot up the country charts to #7).

Allison saw Nelson’s talent outweighed his limitations as a vocalist, especially after having observed the folk movement going on in New York’s Greenwich Village and thought Nelson’s genuine ability to come off earnest, sincere and straight-forward with no nonsense would appeal to a new country audience seeking something closer to the lyrical inventiveness of Hank Williams. This is a wonderful listen, a truly remarkable cache of songs that while formulaic in their instrumentation and chord structure, are brilliant pieces of the human spirit and capture the range of emotions with a new sincerity Nashville wasn’t used to since the late 1950’s. All killer, no filler, a wonderful excursion into the pre-fame, salad and bread days when Willie was trying to make a name for himself behind the scenes. (Johnny Nebraska)

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Personnel:
Willie Nelson – guitar, vocals
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians (including Billy Strange, Roy Nichols and Johnny Western)

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Tracklist:
01. Touch Me (Nelson) 2.13
02. Wake Me When It’s Over (Nelson) 2.50
03. Hello Walls (Nelson) 2,25
04. Funny How Time Slips Away (Nelson) 3.04
05. Crazy (Nelson) 2.52
06. The Part Where I Cry (Nelson) 2.20
07. Mr. Record Man (Nelson) 2.47
08. Three Days (Nelson) 3.00
09. One Step Beyond (Nelson) 2.27
10. Undo The Right (Cochran/Nelson) 2.34
11. Darkness On The Face Of The Earth (Nelson) 2.33
12. Where My House Lives (Nelson) 2.21

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What a long career … 

Henry Mancini – Combo! (1962)

FrontCover1.jpgHenry Mancini was a significant writer for films who used the flavor of jazz in some of his movie scores. Mancini gathered an impressive cast of top players consisting of trumpeter Pete Candoli, trombonist Dick Nash, Ted Nash on alto and flute, Art Pepper (sticking exclusively to clarinet), baritonist Ronnie Lang, pianist Johnny Williams (doubling on harpsichord), guitarist Bob Bain, bassist Rolly Bundock, drummer Shelly Manne, Ramon Rivera on conga, and Larry Bunker on vibes and marimba. Some of the dozen selections are relatively straight-ahead, while a few (particularly “A Powdered Wig” and “Scandinavian Shuffle”) are a bit corny, especially in their use of harpsichord and marimba. There are a few strong moments (particularly from Candoli and Pepper) on such numbers as “Moanin’,” “Sidewalks of Cuba,” “Castle Rock,” and “Everybody Blow,” but the end results are not too essential. Overall, this is a compromise between creative jazz and tightly controlled music meant for a larger audience. A historical curiosity. (by Scott Yanow)

This is West Coast jazz at its best. A lot of top players are on board, and Mancini’s charts can’t be beat. Like a lot of the great music of the 1960s, they could do the job in three minutes or less, too. (Fran Coombs)

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Personnel:
Bob Bain (guitar, bass)
Rolly Bundock (bass)
Larry Bunker (vibraphone, marimba)
Pete Candoli (trumpet)
Ronny Lang (saxophone, flute)
Shelly Manne (drums)
Ted Nash (saxophone, flute)
Art Pepper (clarinet)
Ramon Rivera (percussion)
Johnny Williams (piano, harpsichord)

Arranged and conducted by Henry Mancini

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Tracklist:
01. Moanin’ (Timmons) 2.53
02. Sidewalks Of Cuba (Oakland/Parish/Mills) 3.22
03. Dream Of You (Oliver/Lunceford/Moran) 2.57
04. Swing Lightly (Mancini) 4.20
05. Castle Rock (Drake/Shirl/Sears) 2.35
06. A Powdered Wig (Mancini) 2.39
07. Playboy’s Theme (Coleman) 3.00
08. Tequila (Rio) 2.40
09. Far East Blues (Mancini) 3.30
10. Charleston Alley (Wright/Kirkland) 3.14
11. Scandinavian Shuffle (Asmussen) 2.40
12. Everybody Blow! (Mancini) 3.23

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Combo

Broadway Musicals Society – Oklahoma (Rodgers & Hammerstein) (1962)

FrontCover1.JPGOklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs’ 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in farm country outside the town of Claremore, Oklahoma Territory, in 1906, it tells the story of farm girl Laurey Williams and her courtship by two rival suitors, cowboy Curly McLain and the sinister and frightening farmhand Jud Fry. A secondary romance concerns cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie.

The original Broadway production opened on March 31, 1943. It was a box-office smash and ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances, later enjoying award-winning revivals, national tours, foreign productions and an Academy Award-winning 1955 film adaptation. It has long been a popular choice for school and community productions. Rodgers and Hammerstein won a special Pulitzer Prize for Oklahoma! in 1944.

This musical, building on the innovations of the earlier Show Boat, epitomized the development of the “book musical”, a musical play where the songs and dances are fully integrated into a well-made story with serious dramatic goals that are able to evoke genuine emotions other than laughter. In addition, Oklahoma! features musical themes, or motifs, that recur throughout the work to connect the music and story. A fifteen-minute “dream ballet” reflects Laurey’s struggle with her feelings about two men, Curly and Jud.

Act I
OriginalPoster1943In Oklahoma territory in 1906, cowboy Curly McLain looks forward to the beautiful day ahead as he wanders into farm girl Laurey Williams’s yard (“Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'”). He and Laurey tease each other, while her Aunt Eller looks on. There will be a box social dance that night, which includes an auction of lunch baskets prepared by the local women to raise funds for a schoolhouse. The man who wins each basket will eat the lunch with the lady who prepared it. Curly asks Laurey to go with him, but she refuses, feeling that he has waited too long. He attempts to persuade her by telling her that he will take her in the finest carriage money can buy (“The Surrey with the Fringe on Top”), but she teases him about it until he says he made it up to get back at her. She flounces off, not realizing that he really has rented such a rig.

The lonely, disturbed farm hand Jud Fry has become obsessed with Laurey and asks her to the dance. She accepts to spite Curly, although she is afraid of Jud. Meanwhile, cowboy Will Parker returns bedazzled and souvenir-laden from a trip to modern Kansas City (“Kansas City”). He won $50 at the fair, which, according to his girlfriend Ado Annie’s father, Andrew Carnes, is the money he needs to marry Ado Annie. Unfortunately, he spent all the money on gifts for her. Will also purchased a “Little Wonder” (a metal tube used for looking at pictures, but with a hidden blade inside) for Ado Annie’s father, unaware of its deadly secret. Later, Ado Annie confesses to Laurey that while Will has been away, she has been spending a lot of time with Ali Hakim, a Persian peddler. Laurey tells her she’ll have to choose between them, but Ado Annie insists she loves them both (“I Cain’t Say No”). Laurey and her friends prepare for the social, while Gertie Cummings flirts with Curly (her obnoxious laugh floating in to taunt Laurey). Laurey tells her friends that she doesn’t really care about Curly (“Many a New Day”).

Andrew Carnes discovers Annie with Ali Hakim. After questioning Ado Annie about their relationship, he forces Hakim at gunpoint to agree to marry her. Hakim and the other men lament the unfairness of the situation (“It’s a Scandal! It’s a Outrage!”). Curly discovers that Laurey is going to the box social with Jud and tries to convince her to go with him instead. Afraid to tell Jud she won’t go with him, Laurey tries to convince Curly (and herself) that she does not love him (“People Will Say We’re in Love”). Hurt by her refusal, Curly goes to the smokehouse where Jud lives to talk with him. Curly suggests that since Jud does not feel appreciated, he could hang himself, and everyone would realize how much they care about him (“Pore Jud Is Daid”). Their talk turns into an ominous confrontation about Laurey. After Curly leaves, Jud’s resolve to win Laurey becomes even stronger, and he vows to make her his bride (“Lonely Room”).

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Confused by her feelings for Curly and her fear of Jud, Laurey purchases a “magic potion” (referred to as smelling salts, but actually laudanum) from Ali Hakim, which the unscrupulous peddler guarantees will reveal her true love. She muses on leaving her dreams of love behind and joining the man she loves (“Out of My Dreams”), then falls asleep under the influence of the opiate (“Dream Sequence”). In an extended dream ballet sequence, Laurey first dreams of what marriage to Curly would be like. Her dream takes a nightmarish turn when Jud appears and kills Curly. She cannot escape him, confused by her desires. The dream makes her realize that Curly is the right man for her, but it is too late to change her mind about going to the dance with Jud; he has come for her, and they leave for the box social.

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Act II
At the social, during an upbeat square dance (“The Farmer and the Cowman”), the rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys over fences and water rights has led to fighting, which Aunt Eller ends by firing a gun to silence everyone.[16] Laurey is upset when she sees Curly at the dance with Gertie. In an effort to rid himself of Ado Annie, Ali Hakim buys Will’s souvenirs from Kansas City for $50. Jud also contributes to this by purchasing Will’s Little Wonder, knowing of the blade concealed within it. The auction starts and Will bids $50 on Ado Annie’s basket, not realizing that without the $50, he would no longer have the money her father insisted he needs to “purchase” marriage with her. Desperate to be rid of Ado Annie, the peddler bids $51 to get the basket so that Will can approach Andrew Carnes with the $50 and claim Ado Annie as his bride. The auction becomes much more serious when Laurey’s basket comes up for auction. Jud has saved all his money so he can win Laurey’s basket. Various men bid, trying to protect Laurey, but Jud outbids them all. Curly and Jud engage in a ferocious bidding war, and Curly sells his saddle, his horse, and even his gun to raise money. Curly outbids Jud and wins the basket. Jud discreetly tries to kill Curly with the Little Wonder, but his plan is foiled when Aunt Eller (knowing what is happening) loudly asks Curly for a dance. Later that night, Will and Annie work out their differences, as she reluctantly agrees not to flirt with other men (“All Er Nuthin'”).

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Jud confronts Laurey about his feelings for her. When she admits that she does not return them, he threatens her. She then fires him as her farm hand, screaming at him to get off her property. Jud furiously threatens Laurey before he departs; Laurey bursts into tears and calls for Curly. She tells him that she has fired Jud and is frightened by what Jud might do now. Curly, seeing that she has turned to him for guidance and safety, reassures her and proposes to her, and she accepts (“People Will Say We’re In Love (Reprise)”). He then realizes that he must now become a farmer. Afterwards, Ali Hakim decides to leave the territory and bids Ado Annie goodbye after telling her Will is the man she should marry.

Three weeks later, Laurey and Curly are married and everyone rejoices in celebration of the territory’s impending statehood (“Oklahoma”). During the celebration, Ali Hakim returns with his new wife, Gertie, whom he unwillingly married after being threatened by her father with a shotgun. A drunken Jud reappears, harasses Laurey by kissing her and punches Curly, and they begin a fist fight. Jud attacks Curly with a knife and Curly dodges, causing Jud to fall on his own knife. Jud soon dies. The wedding guests hold a makeshift trial for Curly, at Aunt Eller’s urging, as the couple is due to leave for their honeymoon. The judge, Andrew Carnes, declares the verdict: “not guilty!” Curly and Laurey depart on their honeymoon in the surrey with the fringe on top (“Finale Ultimo”). (by wikipeda)

Here´s an album, recorded in the early Sixties for the Musical Masterpiece Society (Musical Masterpiece Society was a daughter of Concert Hall. Just as Concert Hall, Musical Masterpiece Society worked with a subscription for post-order, but with Musical Masterpiece Society one didn’t need to purchase a fixed amount of discs.

Originally the label by the Josefowitz brothers was called Musical Masterworks Society, but because the word “Masterwork” was already used since the 1930’s by Columbia, the name needed to be changed to “Musical Masterpiece Society”.)

This album was produced for the German record market, so all the liner notes are in German.

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Personnel:
Broadway Musicals Society conducted by Frank Y. Bennett

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Tracklist:
01. Overture 3.30
02. Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’ 2.27
03. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top 2.58
04. Kansas City 2,31
05. I Cain’t Say No 2.55
06. Many A New Day 2.50
07. It’s A Scandal, It’s An Outrage 2.09
08. People Will Say We’re In Love 2.38
09. Pore Jud Is Daid 3.53
10. Out Of My Dreams 2.19
11. The Farmer And The Cowman – Farmer Dance 5.46
12. All Er Nothin’ 3.04
13. Oklahoma 1.50

Music: Richard Rodgers
Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II

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Chet Atkins – Down Home (1962)

FrontCover1Down Home is a recording by American guitarist Chet Atkins.Down Home is a recording by American guitarist Chet Atkins.
After releasing the smooth pop and easy listening albums Chet Atkins’ Workshop and The Most Popular Guitar, Chet returned to his roots with Down Home. The album peaked at No. 31 and returned Atkins to the Top 40. It includes two of Chet’s signature tunes, “Windy and Warm” and “Trambone”. (by wikipedia)

After the commercial success of Chet Atkins’ 12th 12″ LP, Chet Atkins’ Workshop, which peaked in the pop Top Ten in 1961, RCA Victor Records decided to turn the country guitarist into an easy listening bandleader à la Ray Conniff on his next release, The Most Popular Guitar. But that LP didn’t come close to the sales of its predecessor, and after a holiday collection (Christmas With Chet Atkins) at the end of the year, RCA opted to let Atkins do what he wanted again. Hence, his 15th long-player, Down Home. The contrast from his previous secular release couldn’t have been more dramatic. The scantily clad lass with the come-hither smile on the cover of The Most Popular Guitar was replaced by a front-porch-swing shot of Atkins himself, guitar in hand, a vintage car in the background, and a faithful dog at his feet.

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And the strings that dominated The Most Popular Guitar were replaced by Atkins’ free-picking studio regulars, supporting him on a varied collection that never strayed far in the arrangements from an old-time country feeling, even when a saxophone intruded here and there. “Salty Dog Rag,” the leadoff track, was not the kind of material you’d have heard on The Most Popular Guitar, but it was no doubt closer to Atkins’ taste. The rest of the album, while mixing in a current movie theme (“Never on Sunday”) and a swing era classic (“Tuxedo Junction”), kept doubling back to country styles. And — what do you know? — Down Home outpolled The Most Popular Guitar by 88 places in the Billboard LP charts, returning him to the Top 40, which seemed to indicate that when you let Atkins do what he liked, his fans probably would like it too. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Chet Atkins (guitar)
Floyd Cramer (piano)
Charlie McCoy (harmonica)
Morris Palmer (drums)
Boots Randolph (saxophone)
Velma Smith (guitar)
Henry Strzelecki (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Salty Dog Rag (Crows/Gordy) 2.11
02. I Am A Pilgrim (Travis) 3.07
03. Trambone (Atkins) 2.21
04. Steel Guitar Rag (McAuliffe) 2.04
05. Little Feet (Atkins) 2.32
06. Blue Steel Blues (Daffan) 2.21
07. Windy And Warm (Loudermilk) – 2:26
08. I Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow (Atkins/Louvin) 2.37
09. Never On Sunday” (Manos Hadjidakis, Billy Towne) – 3:01    “The Girl Friend of the Whirling Dervish” (Al Dubin, Johnny Mercer, Harry Warren) – 2:15    “Give the World a Smile” (Otis Deaton, Marshall Yandell) – 2:04    “Tuxedo Junction” (Buddy Feyne, Erskine Hawkins) – 2:07

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Etta Jones – Hollar! (1963)

FrontCover1Hollar! is an album by jazz vocalist Etta Jones which was recorded at three separate sessions between 1960 and 1962 and released on the Prestige label in 1963.

Etta Jones had the spark that made each of her vocals special, though she was never acknowledged properly during a long career. Following her hit “Don’t Go to Strangers,” she continued to record first-rate songs. Many of her albums were unjustly out of print for decades, though Hollar! was finally reissued by Fantasy as part of their Original Jazz Classics series in 2001. Jones is backed by three separate groups on this release. Guitarist Wally Richardson provides the driving rhythm to back her swinging take of “And the Angels Sing,” while vibraphonist Lem Winchester and pianist Richard Wyands support Jones in her emotional rendition of “I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good).” Jones would eventually return to the brisk bop gem “Reverse the Charges” decades after this recording, but this early version is preferable, with a nice interlude by pianist Jimmy Neely. There’s a bit of friendly conversation in the studio as Jones gets underway with another swinger, “Our Love Is Here to Stay,” adding a boisterous tenor sax solo by Oliver Nelson. This is easily one of Etta Jones’ best recordings. (by Ken Dryden)

Recorded at Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, on September 16, 1960 (tracks 2, 4, 5 & 7), March 30, 1961 (tracks 1, 3, 6, 8 & 9) and November 28, 1962 (track 10).

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Personnel:
Etta Jones (vocalsunca
Rudy Lawless (drums)
Michael Mulia (bass)
Jimmy Neeley (piano)
Wally Richardson (guitar)
Richard Wyands (piano on 02., 04. 05. + 07.)
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Kenny Burrell (guitar on 10.)
Sam Bruno (guitar on 10.)
George Duvivier (bass on 02., 04., 05. + 07.)
Bobby Donaldson (drums on 10.)
Roy Haynes (drums on 02., 04., 05.+ 07.)
Oliver Nelson (saxophone on 05. + 05.)
Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar on 10.)
Jerome Richardson (saxophone on 10.)
Lem Winchester (vibraphone on 02., 04., 05. + 07,)

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Tracklist:
01. And The Angels Sing (Elman/Mercer) -2.37
02. I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) (Ellington/Webster) 4.11
03. Give Me the Simple Life (Bloom/Ruby) 2.54
04. The More I See You (Gordon/Warren) 4.13
05. Love Is Here To Stay (G.Gershwin(I.Gershwin) 3.49
06. Reverse The Charges (Webster/Williams) 2.59
07. They Can’t Take That Away From Me (G.Gershwin(I.Gershwin) 2.52
08. Answer Me, My Love (Rauch/Sigman/Winkler) 3.20
09. Looking Back (Benton/Otis) 3.44
10. Nature Boy (eden ahbez) – 2:55

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Beach Boys – Surfin´Safari (1962)

FrontCover1Surfin’ Safari is the debut album by American rock band the Beach Boys, released on October 1, 1962 on Capitol Records. The official production credit went to Nick Venet, though it was Brian Wilson with his father Murry who contributed substantially to the album’s production; Brian also wrote or co-wrote nine of its 12 tracks. The album peaked at No. 32 in its 37-week run on the US charts.

The album was preceded by two singles: “Surfin'” and “Surfin’ Safari”, which charted at Nos. 75 and 14, respectively. The success of “Surfin’ Safari” helped secure a full album for the group while an additional single, “Ten Little Indians”, was issued, charting at No. 49.

The group is mainly comprised of people from Hawthorne, California, named Wilson … there’s Brian, Dennis, Carl, and their Dad, Murry Wilson, a long-time songwriter who acts as manager for the outfit. Then there’s the boys’ talented cousin, Mike Love … who sings both the lead tenor and deep bass parts in their unusual vocal arrangements. … [and] young David Marks, a neighbor of the Wilsons who plays a driving rhythm guitar. Brian, the oldest of the Wilson boys, is the group’s leader and vocal arranger. Carl is the very accomplished lead guitarist, while brother Dennis sings and plays the drums. None of them, incidentally, had any formal training, but they all grew up in an atmosphere where music was a regular part of their lives. (excerpt taken from the album’s original liner notes)

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In the autumn of 1961, cousins Brian Wilson and Mike Love composed a song on surfing, titled “Surfin'” at the behest of Brian’s younger sibling, Dennis Wilson. They quickly formed a band, bringing in the youngest Wilson brother Carl on lead guitar and Brian’s high school friend Al Jardine on rhythm guitar. Brian took up bass, Dennis the drums and Mike would be the frontman, while they all would harmonize vocals arranged by Brian. Released that December, produced by Hite Morgan, and backed by “Luau”, “Surfin'” made No. 75 in the US Top 100 in early 1962.

Father Murry Wilson became the band’s manager. He submitted a professionally recorded demo tape to Capitol Records that spring. The Beach Boys were signed and “Surfin’ Safari” b/w “409” (from the April 1962 demo tape) was released as a single that June. Al Jardine left the band after the recording of the song “Surfin'” but before the demo session and album session, replaced by Wilson-family friend David Marks— Jardine would rejoin to form a six-member band in the fall of 1963, appearing on the third studio album. With both “Surfin’ Safari” and “409” becoming hits (the former reaching US No. 14), Capitol Records approved a full album. Brian Wilson, who regularly collaborated with Mike Love and Gary Usher, contributed the songs that made up the bulk of the LP.

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The second single, “Ten Little Indians”, was less successful, reaching only No. 49, with Brian feeling that “Chug-A-Lug” would have made a better follow-up. Though Mike and Brian are the most prominent singers, Dennis makes his first vocal appearance on “Little Girl (You’re My Miss America)” (shown as “Little Miss America” on the album cover). (by wikipedia

The Beach Boys’ debut album, recorded in an era in which little was expected of rock groups in the way of strong LP-length statements, is mostly thin and awkward in both the songwriting and production departments. The title track, their first true smash, is great, as is its flip side (“409”), which was not only a hit in its own right, but was the first vocal hot rod classic. “Surfin’,” their debut single (and small national hit), is also good, and one of the few Beach Boys tracks that could be said to have a garage-like quality. Unfortunately, most of the other cuts (most of which are group originals) are substandard ditties, as Brian Wilson had a way to go before honing his compositional genius. It does, however, afford a glimpse of the group as they sounded when they were a true band in the studio, before most of their parts were played by session musicians. Two of the better cuts, “The Shift” and the instrumental “Moon Dawg,” have a grittier-than-usual surf rock base that would flower on 1963 hits like “Surfin’ U.S.A.”  (by Richie Unterberger )

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Personnel:
Mike Love (vocals)
David Marks (guitar, vocals)
Brian Wilson (bass vocals, organ; snare drum on 07.)
Carl Wilson (guitar, vocals, drums on 11.)
Dennis Wilson (drums, background vocals)
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Al Jardine (bass, background vocals on 07.) 
Nick Venet (guitar, background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Surfin’ Safari (B.Wilson/Love) 2.08
02. County Fair (B.Wilson/Usher) 2.17
03. Ten Little Indians (Wilson/Usher) 1.29
04. Chug-A-Lug (Wilson/Usher/Love) 2.02
05. Little Girl (You’re My Miss America) (Alpert/Catalano) 2.07
06. 409 (Wilson/Usher) 2.02
07. Surfin’ (Wilson/Love) 2.13
08. Heads You Win–Tails I Lose (Wilson/Usher/Love) 2:17
09. Summertime Blues (Cochran/Capehart) 2.11
10. Cuckoo Clock (Wilson/Usher) 2.12
11. Moon Dawg (Weaver) 2.03
12. The Shift (Wilson/Love) 1.55LabelB1*
**

Various Artists – Beat, Beat, Beat! Volume One – The Mersey Sound & Other Mop Top Rarities 1962 – 1963 (2001)

FrontCover1Castle Music deserves some kind of an award for their Beat, Beat, Beat series — and even more honor because it’s unique; no other label, including EMI and English Decca, would have the courage or ambition to go up through three years of the British beat and British Invasion booms, single by single, and B-sides, focused on a single label. There are about 150 minutes of eminently enjoyable, delightfully danceable British Invasion-style music on this two-CD set, filling it to overflowing, and don’t let the fact that most listeners have only heard of maybe three of the three dozen acts featured put you off. Usually, with a compilation like this, covering the complete generic output of a particular label — in this case, England’s Pye Records — for a specific period, there are lots of apologies to be made and explanations to be given about why various tracks should be tolerated. Not so here — every track on this set has value precisely as what it was in 1962-1963: eminently listenable, usually exciting and diverting rock & roll. For starters, any Dave Clark Five fans worthy of the name are probably going to have to own this set because of the two early tracks by the group, “That’s What I Said” and “I Knew It All the Time,” which open these two CDs — they’re about as good as anything else the band ever recorded, and very catchy.

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A pair of early dance cuts by the Roulettes at the outset of their career are no less compelling. Erky Grant & the Earwigs may have been a less-compelling talent, but even they had a rhythm section that could pound out a solid dance beat, and generated one solidly memorable song in “I’m a Hog for You Baby.” Nelson Keene, Bobby Shafto, and Dickie Pride, all late-’50s popsters, didn’t do a bad beat-style single in “The Kissing Had to Stop,” masquerading as the Guv’ners. Much more interesting is the harmony-based trio the Kestrels and their cover of “There’s a Place,” which attempts (successfully) to lay a more ornate and soulful vocal take on the early Lennon/McCartney original. In this company, the Searchers sound like world-class talents, but they’re not that far above, say, Danny Stormthe Viscounts (featuring future songwriter/manager Gordon Mills), who tried for a Merseybeat/harmony approach on “It’s You” and “I’ll Never Get Over You.” Johnny Sandon & the Remo Four show why both singer and band were able to endure as potential breakout talents for years on the enjoyably frantic “Lies” and the ballad “On the Horizon.” Those who are curious about the Undertakers, a top soul outfit from Liverpool who somehow never made it despite enjoying the publicly stated fandom of the Beatles, can start here, and folkish, harmony-based the Overlanders are similarly well represented. Future Graham Nash collaborator and Threshold Records artist Gregory Phillips is also here, doing the Billy J. Kramer-style “Angie,” and the disc ends with the Brian Epstein client Tommy Quickly and reliable Pye mainstays Joe Brown & the Bruvvers. Enjoyable as the first disc is, disc two is even better, showing off the label’s slightly more sophisticated later-1963 vintage efforts at emulating the Mersey sound as it became established, with serious and more compelling talents, including the Puppets (produced by Joe Meek), the Chants (superb singers who not only were based in Liverpool, but were black as well), and the Migil 4 (soon to become the Migil 5, a top bluebeat outfit).

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There are several examples of good early versions of songs that would later manifest themselves as hits in the hands of other bands, including Johnny Sandon & the Remo Four’s recording of “Magic Potion,” the Sundowners’ interpretation (complete with electric guitar) of “House of the Rising Sun,” and Pat Harris & the Blackjacks’ “Hippy Hippy Shake,” done in a high-energy Brenda Lee style. The sound is excellent throughout, giving good, solid, even pumped-up play to the bass and rhythm sections that will tell you why many of these groups came off so well when they played live. (by Bruce Eder)

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Oh boys and girls … what a great, sentimental trip in the very earlydays of British Beat …

And I will dedicate this entry to all these unknown heroes of teh times of Merseybeat:

The Roulettes – Buddy Britten & The Regents – Carter-Lewis – Joe Brown – Erkey Grant & The Eerwigs – The Guv’ners – The Kestrels – The Viscounts – Johnny Sandon & The Remo Four – The Hi-Fi’s – The Undertakers – The Overlanders – Gregory Phillips – The Bruvvers – The Puppets – The Chants – Nicky James – The Sundowners – Danny Storm & The Strollers – Pat Harris & The Blackjacks – The Migil 4 – Jeannie & The Big Guys – Dickie Rock & Miami Showband

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Tracklist:

CD 1:

Dave Clark Five feat. Mike Smith:
01. That’s What I Said (Clark/Ryan) 2.19
02. I Knew It All The Time (Murray) 2.25

The Roulettes:
03. Hully Gully Slip ‘N’ Slide (Vandyke) 2.09
04. La Bamba (Traditional) 2.31

Buddy Britten & The Regents:
05. My Pride, My Joy (Britten) 1.54

Carter-Lewis:
06. Here’s Hopin’ (Reed/Stephens) 1.59

Joe Brown:
07. What’s The Name Of The Game (Westlake/Subotsky) 2.34

Erkey Grant & The Eerwigs:
08. I Can’t Get Enough Of You (Mills)  2:22
09. I’m A Hog For You Baby (Leiber/Stoller) 2.08

The Guv’ners:
10. Lat’s Make A Habit Of This (Reed/Murray) 2.02
11. The Kissing Had To Stop (Howard/John) 2.00

The Kestrels:
12. There’s A Place (Lennon/McCartney) 2.16

The Searchers:
13. Sweets For My Sweet (Pomus/Shuman) 2.28
14. It’s All Been A Dream (Crummy) 1.50

The Viscounts:
15. It’s You (Mills/Paul/Wells) 2.11
16. I’ll Never Get Over You (Mills) 1.55

Johnny Sandon & The Remo Four:
17. Lies (Manley) 2.08
18. On The Horizon (Leiber/Stoller) 2:23

The Hi-Fi’s:
19, Take Me Or Leave Me (Bennett/Higgins) 2.01
20. I’m Struck (Bennett/Higgins) 2:51

The Undertakers:
21. (Do The) Mashed Potatoes (Rozier) 2.14
22. Everybody Loves A Lover (AdlerAllen) 2.17

The Overlanders:
23. Summer Skies & Golden Sands (Mason/Friswell/Bartholomew) 2.32
24. Call Of The Wild (Mason/Friswell/Bartholomew) 3.07

Gregory Phillips:
25. Angie (Springfield/Slater) 2.00
26. Please Believe Me (Beveridge/Oakman) 1.52

Tommy Quickly:
27. Tip Of My Tongue (Lennon/McCartney) 2.09
28. Heaven Only Knows (Rapaport/Murray) 2.21

Joe Brown & The Bruvvers;
29. Sally Ann (Klein) 1.57
30. There’s Only One Of You (Klein/Brown) 2:35

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CD 2:

The Puppets:
01. Everybody’s Talking (Cap) 2.01
02. Poison Ivy (Leiber/Stoller) 2.09

The Chants:
03. I Don’t Care (Amoo) 1.57
04. Come Go With Me (Quick) 2.32

Johnny Sandon & Remo Four:
05. Yes (Leiber/Stoller) 2.35
06. Magic Potion (Bacharach/David) 2.19

Nicky James:
07. My Colour Is Blue (James) 2.18

The Undertakers:
08. What About Us (Leiber/Stoller) 2.40
09. Money (That’s What I Want) (Bradfod/Gordy) 2.53

The Sundowners:
10. Baby, Baby (Takes) 2.12
11. House Of The Rising Sun (Traditional) 2:54

Danny Storm & The Strollers:
12. Say You Do (Storm/Pritchard) 2.10
13. Let The Sun Shine In (Barberis/Weinstein/Randazzo) 2.27

Pat Harris & The Blackjacks:
14. Hippy, Hippy Shake (Romero) 2.25
15. You Gotta See Your Mama Ev’ry Night (Rose/Conrad) 2.10

The Overlanders:
16. Movin’  (Mason/Friswell/Bartholomew) 2.31
17. Rainbow (Mason/Friswell/Bartholomew) 2.30

The Migil 4;
18. Maybe (Flynn/Madden) 2.24
19. Can’t I ? (Lovett) 2.29

The Searchers:
20. Sugar & Spice (Nightingale) 2.16
21. Saints & Searchers (Traditional) 3.18

Jeannie & The Big Guys:
22. Don’t Lie To Me (Dawson/Ford/Hiller) 2.19
23. Boys (Farrell) 2.06

Tommy Quickly & Remo Four:
24. Kiss Me Now (Martin) 1.55
25. No Other Love (Could Ever Be The Same) (Leonard) 2.00

The Chants:
26. I Could Write A Book (Rodgers/Hart) 2.02
27. A Thousand Stars (Pearson) 1.56

Dickie Rock & Miami Showband:
28. Boys (Farrell) 2.40

The Searchers:
29. Needles & Pins (Nitzsche/Bone) 2.14
30. Saturday Night Out (Anthony/Richards) 1.47

CD2A

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**

Ca. 1963 excerpt from Mersey documentary on the music scene, featuring The Undertakers (Jackie Lomax, Chris Huston, Geoff Nugent, Brian Jones, Bugs Pemberton) at the Iron Door Club in Liverpool.