Clint Eastwood – Cowboy Favorites (1963)

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Long before Clint Eastwood achieved iconic status as a superstar film actor and Oscar-winning director, he enjoyed (though reportedly not much) his own teen idol tenure portraying lovable dimwit Rowdy Yates on the popular TV Western Rawhide. Like all TV idols worth their salt, Eastwood had his fling in the recording studio. 1963’s “Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites” leans decidedly toward the W branch of C&W and offers a fascinating opportunity to eavesdrop as Dirty Harry drifts along with the tumbling tumbleweeds. (by Dennis Garvey)

With the rusty door-hinge of a voice he possesses today, it’s hard to imagine a time when Clint Eastwood could have been groomed as a singing star, but in the early ‘60s, when he came to fame as the rebellious Rowdy in the hit Western TV series Rawhide, it wasn’t such a crazy idea. In 1963, playing off the popularity of the show, Cameo-Parkway released an album featuring Eastwood’s versions of classic cowboy-style tunes. While Eastwood is admittedly not an exceptional vocalist, he’s not at all bad; this is by no means some Golden Throats-style celebrity train wreck. At the time, there were plenty of equally photogenic young men with no greater vocal ability than Eastwood being promoted as country singers, many with less of an actual musical background than the jazz-schooled actor. Eastwood’s soft, somewhat laconic croon might not possess the commanding quality that was de rigueur for the era’s country stars, but he never strays off-key, and his style is a kind of cross between legendary cowboy singer Roy Rogers and Dean Martin.

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Most of the tunes he tackles here were already well-known in hit versions by other artists — the Sons of the Pioneers’ “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” Bob Wills’ “San Antonio Rose,” Gene Autry’s “Mexicali Rose,” etc. The loping rhythms, lonesome harmonica, lazy guitar licks, and male backing-vocal choruses are all in keeping with the production conventions of the day for cowboy artists. A couple of non-LP singles sweeten the pot, including the written-to-order “Rowdy,” intended as a sort of theme song for Eastwood’s Rawhide character. While Cowboy Favorites didn’t make Eastwood a C&W star, it wasn’t his country music swan song — years later he would record with Merle Haggard and sing in the films Paint Your Wagon and Honky Tonk Man. (by James Allen)

As far as Clint Eastwood’s career as a Country crooner is concerned, the actor has released a couple of singles—one with Merle Haggard and another with TJ Sheppard—and starred as a failed Depression-era troubadour in 1982’s Honkytonk Man.

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Clint has never done all that well in the vocal department. Back in 1963, when he recorded Cowboy Favorites, Eastwood was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I doubt it was his idea to cut the album—popular actors were frequently called upon to drop some vinyl into the market, to attract viewers to their series, pander to their public and make a little cash.

Since Clint had almost no range as a singer, his producer on that album seemed to bury the poor guy’s voice in harmonica, steel guitar and vocal backup. This album is more of a curiosity than an embarrassment; no one is ever likely to confuse it with the great gunfighter ballads sung by Marty Robbins or with Eddy Arnold’s Country-pop confections. (Henry Cabot Beck)

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Personnel:
Clint Eastwood (vocals)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Bouquet Of Roses (Hilliard/Nelson) 2.42
02. Along The Sante Fe Trail (Dubin/Coolidge/Gross) 2.49
03. The Last Round Up (Hill) 2.54
04. Sierra Nevada (Hannah) 2.53
05. Mexicali Rose (Stone/Tenney) 3.00
06. Searching For Somewhere (Harlington/Bramlett) 2.56
07. I’ll Love You More (Ingles) 2.30
08. Tumbling Tumbleweeds (Nolan) 2.50
09. Twilight On The Trail (Alter/Mitchell) 2.56
10. San Antonio Rose (Wills) 2.29
11. Don’t Fence Me In (Porter) 2.38
12. Are You Satisfied (Escamella/Wooley) 2.21

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Duke Ellington – My People (1963)

FrontCover1.JPGMy People is an album by American pianist, composer and bandleader Duke Ellington written and recorded in 1963 for a stage show and originally released on Bob Thiele’s short-lived Contact label befor being reissed on the Flying Dutchman label and later released on CD on the Red Baron label. The album features recordings of compositions by Ellington for a stage show presented in Chicago as part of the Century of Negro Progress Exposition in 1963. (by wikipedia)

In a discography as large as Duke Ellington’s, it’s inevitable some records would fall by the wayside, and My People is one of them. Strangely, it is not a simple one-off session that was forgotten by the public at large. My People was a long-form work designed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, commissioned by the Century of Negro Progress Exposition, which ran the theatrical piece at McCormick Place in Chicago between August 16 and September 2, 1963. Not a small feat by any means, but the accompanying record got lost in time due to its weird release on Contact, a one-off indie run in secret by Bob Thiele, who had to keep its existence hidden from his employers at ABC-Paramount, where he was currently the head of Impulse! Records.

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The focus of My People is on the drama that could be heard on-stage, so there are narrations — Duke himself testifies at the opening of “My People” — and an omnipresent vocal cast led by Joya Sherrill, a singer who received a “featuring” billing on the album cover. There’s a certain majesty to the spectacle of this extravagant work and there’s also heart here, one that is inextricably tied to the Civil Rights Movement of the ’60s. And yet, as a record, My People feels stagey and stuffy, with the emphasis falling on the florid vocal arrangements instead of the confident swing of the ensemble. A large work existing at the intersection of swing, blues, jazz, theater, and social activism is something to celebrate, but My People is a snapshot of a specific era and is most interesting as a representation of its time, not as an individual work. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

And because this was an is a so important album, I add a long article about the story of this music.

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Personnel:
Juan Amalbert (percussion)
Harold Ashby (saxophone, clarinet)
Louis Bellson (drums)
Joe Benjamin (bass)
Bill Berry (trumpet)
Pete Clark (saxophone, clarinet)
Chuck Connors (trombone)
Duke Ellington (piano, narrator)
Bob Freedman (saxophone)
Lil Greenwood (vocals on 06.
Jimmy Grissom (vocals on 06.
Ziggy Harrell (trumpet)
Jimmy McPhail (vocals on 01., 02., 03.
Ray Nance (cornet)
Rudy Powell (saxophone)
Russell Procope  (saxophone, clarinet)
John Sanders (trombone)
Joya Sherrill (vocals on 05. + 08.)
Billy Strayhorn (piano)
Nat Woodard (trumpet)
Booty Wood (trombone)
Britt Woodman (trombone)
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Irving Bunton Singers (choir on 02., 07, + 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. Ain’t But the One/Will You Be There?/99%” 5.19
02. Come Sunday/David Danced Before the Lord 6.11
03. My Mother, My Father (Heritage) 2.54
04. Montage 6.57
05. My People/The Blues 8.49
06. Workin’ Blues/My Man Sends Me/Jail Blues/Lovin’ Lover 5.58
07. King Fit The Battle Of Alabam’ 3.29
08. What Color Is Virtue? 2.50

All compositions by Duke Ellington

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Various Artists – Blues In The Night (ca. 1963)

FrontCover1.JPGMusic Minus One, founded in 1950 by Irv Kratka, was a New York-based company that produces, for educational purposes, sheet music that comes with records/CDs/downloads of recordings without the soloist’s part (e.g. a piano concerto without piano) to play along with. There is sometimes also a second version at a reduced tempo or with the solo part included. Many of the recordings utilized well-known and acclaimed musicians for the accompaniments.

In 2016, at the age of 90, Kratka sold the company to Hal Leonard Corp. (by disc.org)

Music Minus One was founded in 1950 and their sing-along and play-along records quickly became an industry standard. For the first time, even hobbyist players could solo with a professional orchestra thanks to the high-quality recordings that accompanied each book. Over the years the library has grown to nearly 900 titles. The Music Minus One recordings feature world-class musicians and orchestras from the United States, Vienna, and elsewhere in Europe. Most recordings allow the player to listen to the full recording featuring a soloist, then pan the recording to remove the soloist so they could step in and play the lead. (musicdispatch.com)

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And here´s a pretty good jazz album by Music Minus One featuring Joe Wilder:

Joseph Benjamin Wilder (February 22, 1922 – May 9, 2014) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. His Grandchildren are Bleu Roberson, Lilly Townsend and Grey’cia Roberson(Last named after his middle name)

Wilder was awarded the Temple University Jazz Master’s Hall of Fame Award in 2006. The National Endowment for the Arts honored him with its highest honor in jazz, the NEA Jazz Masters Award for 2008.

Wilder was born into a musical family led by his father Curtis, a bassist and bandleader in Philadelphia. Wilder’s first performances took place on the radio program “Parisian Tailor’s Colored Kiddies of the Air”. He and the other young musicians were backed up by such illustrious bands as Duke Ellington’s and Louis Armstrong’s that were also then playing at the Lincoln Theater. Wilder studied at the Mastbaum School of Music in Philadelphia, but turned to jazz when he felt that there was little future for an African-American classical musician. At the age of 19, Wilder joined his first touring big band, Les Hite’s band.

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Wilder was one of the first thousand African Americans to serve in the Marines during World War II. He worked first in Special Weapons and eventually became Assistant Bandmaster at the headquarters’ band. Following the war during the 1940s and early 1950s, he played in the orchestras of Jimmie Lunceford, Herbie Fields, Sam Donahue, Lucky Millinder, Noble Sissle, Dizzy Gillespie, and finally with the Count Basie Orchestra. From 1957 to 1974, Wilder did studio work for ABC-TV, New York City, and in the pit orchestras for Broadway musicals, while building his reputation as a soloist with his albums for Savoy (1956) and Columbia (1959). His Jazz from Peter Gunn (1959), features ten songs from Henry Mancini (“Peter Gunn”) television score in melodic and swinging fashion with a quartet. He was also a regular sideman with such musicians as NEA Jazz Masters Hank Jones, Gil Evans, and Benny Goodman. He became a favorite with vocalists and played for Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Johnny Mathis, Harry Belafonte, Eileen Farrell, Tony Bennett, and many others. Wilder earned a bachelor of music degree in 1953, studying classical trumpet at the Manhattan School of Music with Joseph Alessi, where he was also principal trumpet with the school’s symphony orchestra under conductor Jonel Perlea. In the 1960s, he performed on several occasions with the New York Philharmonic under Andre Kostelanetz and Pierre Boulez and played lead for the Symphony Of The New World from 1965 to 1971.

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He appeared on The Cosby Show episode “Play It Again, Russell” (1986),[5] and played the trumpet in the Malcolm X Orchestra in Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” (1992).[6] Since 1991 he returned as a leader and recorded three albums for Evening Star. He died on May 9, 2014, in New York City, of congestive heart failure. (by wikipedia)

Another fine musician on this album is Hank Jones.

American jazz pianist, bandleader and composer, born 31 July 1918 in Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA and died 16 May 2010 in Manhattan, New York, USA. He recorded over sixty albums under his own name, and countless others as a sideman. He was part of an in-demand rhythm section in New York City for years which was hired for hundreds (if not thousands) of diverse gigs, which included Milt Hinton, Barry Galbraith and Osie Johnson.

Hank JonesHe received the NEA Jazz Masters Award and was also honored with the ASCAP Jazz Living Legend Award and the National Medal of Arts.
His brothers were trumpeter Thad Jones and drummer Elvin Jones. (by wikipedia)

Listen and enjoy this rare album and you can play along, if you can and want !

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Personnel:
George Duvivier (bass)
Sonny Igoe (drums)
Hank Jones (piano)
Mundell Lowe (guitar)
Joe Wilder (trumpet)
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Dave Bailey (drums on 04. + 08.)
Jimmy Crawford (drums on 01. + 05.)
John Mehegan (piano on 04. + 08.)
Ed Safranski (bass on 04. + 08.)
Chuck Wayne (guitar on 02., 04, 05. + 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. Birth Of The Blues 3.27
02. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams 5.59
03. About A Quarter To Nine 3.01
04. Can’t We Be Friends? 5.51
05. Sweet Georgia Brown 3.13
06. Brother Can You Spare A Dime? 4.45
07. The Blues In The Night 6.41
08. Louisiana Hayride 3.03

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Bent Fabric – Bla Time med Bent Fabric (1963)

FrontCover1.JPGBent Fabricius-Bjerre (born 7 December 1924), better known internationally as Bent Fabric, is a Danish pianist and composer.

Bent Fabricius-Bjerre was born in Frederiksberg, Denmark. He started a jazz ensemble after World War II and founded a label, Metronome Records, in 1950. However, he is best known for his 1961 instrumental “Omkring et flygel” (literally, “Around a Piano”) which became a hit in Denmark. The song was re-released worldwide under the name “Alley Cat” on Atco Records the following year, and went to #1 in Australia and #49 in Germany. The tune also became a hit in the United States; the song hit #2 on the AC chart and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the LP of the same name hit #13 on the Billboard 200. “Alley Cat” also won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The follow-up single, “Chicken Feed”, hit #63 in the U.S.

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Fabricius-Bjerre had done extensive work in film scores prior to the success of his singles, and continued to work in film for decades after. In 2003, Fabricius-Bjerre returned to the charts, this time in his native Denmark. He released the album Jukebox as Bent Fabric, where he worked with critically acclaimed Danish musicians. The singles “Jukebox” hit #3 in Denmark and “Shake” hit #10 that year. In 2006, a remix of “Jukebox” was released, and the title track became a dance music hit, peaking at #7 on the US Dance/Club Play charts. The album was also re-released in the United States, this time Bent Fabric02.jpgfeaturing a remix of his famous instrumental song “Alley Cat”, among others.

In 2005 he released the compilation album, Kan du kende melodien (literally Do you recognize the melody) featuring some of his most famous and recognized film and TV scores.

On 6 December 2009, the day before his 85th birthday, Fabricius-Bjerre played host to a gala-performance of a theatrical concert featuring 24 of his songs. It was performed at the Royal Danish Theatre by a cast of 12 performers, all of whom graduated from the Danish Academy for Musical Theatre. It was developed under The Danish New Works Development Center, Uterus, and directed and choreographed by Tim Zimmermann. Martin Konge was MD. (by wikipedia)

Although pianist Bent Fabric (born Bent Fabricius-Bjerre) formed his own jazz combo after WWII and his own label (Metronome) in 1950, it wasn’t until 1961, when Fabric’s Alley Cat single hit his native Denmark’s airwaves, that he really became known in the music world. The song proved infectious, and was released worldwide in 1962, even garnering an American Grammy Award for Best Rock & Roll Record. Though Atlantic issued some more of his work in the years that followed, Fabric never had another hit like “Alley Cat.” In 2006, however, the Dane received a bit of attention again after Jukebox, a remixed album of some of his work, was released. (by Marisa Brown)

And here´s one of his earlier albums ….the perfect music including some fine “knack bass” sounds (like Ladi Geissler) … for you and your lady sitting in a small bar … drinking whisky or another dring … a cocktail, or a gin ….

Close your eyes and drift away…

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Personnel:
Kay Boker (drums)
Fritz von Bülow (guitar)
Bent Fabric (piano)
Poul Gregersen (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Blå Time (Fabricius-Bjerre) 2.31
02. In einer kleinen Konditorei (Raymond) 2.04
03. Tre Piger I Paris (Fabricius-Bjerre) 2.44
04. Sweet Georgia Brown (Bernie/Pinkard/asey) 2.04
05. I’m Confessin’ (Reynolds) 2.09
06. Stumbling (Confrey) 2.11
07. Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup (Sasenko) 2.33
08. Liza (Gershwin) 2.01
09. As Time Goes By (Hupfeld) 2.35
10. Banjo Benny (Schulz-Reichel) 2.25
11. In A Little Spanish Town (Wayne) 2.12
12. Nagasaki (Warren) 2.13

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Jesse Fuller – San Francisco Bay Blues (1963)

FrontCover1.jpgBorn in Jonesboro, Georgia in 1896, Jesse Fuller spent most of his childhood growing up in the countryside outside Atlanta under what you could call less than ideal circumstances in a foster home. Fuller spent the next sixty years working a handful of odd jobs, working on the fields and in the farms, on the railroads and in the factories, and out in the street. His resume even included a stint in the circus and an appearance as an extra in the film The Thief of Bagdad. In the years just before World War II, Fuller found himself living in Oakland, CA and working for the railroad. As work became increasingly difficult to find after the end of the war Fuller began to consider, already well into his 50’s, the possibility of a career in music. This should have been an obvious choice for Fuller, as he had already developed a wide ranging repertoire of songs on the guitar as a boy. After failing to put together a dependable band, Fuller decided he’d simply have to become a one-man band.

San Francisco Bay Blues, Fuller’s first album, was released by the label Good Time Jazz in 1963 and features Fuller performing mostly originals, singing and playing guitar while accompanying himself on a variety of instruments, including harmonica, kazoo, high-hat, and the fotdella–a musical instrument of Fuller’s own creation that is essentially an upright bass with six strings that are plucked by a row of foot pedals. Every track is all Fuller and completely live with no overdubs of any kind.

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The record kicks off with the title track, “San Francisco Bay Blues,” a completely classic song in every way. One of the quirkiest blues songs ever laid to wax, this tune has a good-time jug band vibe that leaves the listener feelin’ good and waiting for more. Side 2 kicks off with Fuller showcasing his bluesy bottleneck guitar style on “John Henry”, his own re-telling of the classic railroad tale of man vs. machine. “Stealin’ Back To My Old Time Used To Be” is an upbeat rag that features Fuller accompanying himself on acoustic 12 string guitar and harmonica, channeling a country blues sound straight from the Piedmont Georgia pines and backwoods farms of his youth. Fuller wraps it all up with “Brownskin Girl (I’ve Got My Eye On You),” a rollicking country-blues pop tune that sounds, like much of the album, too big to have been performed by just one man.

Fuller’s debut is notable not only for the top-notch singing and songwriting, as well as Fuller’s unique one-man band approach that he had perfected to a tee, but for being such a vivid portrait of, essentially, an old time street performer. Good Time Jazz Records had the foresight to capture Fuller in his prime, playing the songs the way he had intended, instead of forcing him to record with a band backing him, as was becoming more and more common with many of the blues records of the era that were streaming out of studios like Chess in Chicago.

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Good Time Jazz made the equally smart decision to send Fuller to a quality recording studio, and San Francisco Bay Blues greatly benefits from a wonderful quality of sound, where every instrument can be heard with a surprising clarity– putting the album, in terms of listenability, heads and shoulders above piles of excellent but muddy sounding blues records. The Grateful Dead, Dylan, Clapton, and others have covered his songs and the influence of Fuller and his bold one-man band sound can be heard in groups like Jim Kweskin and his motley crue of jug fanatics and the legions of kazoo blowing washboard wailers that had began popping up around America in the years just before and following the release of this lp. With a sound equally rooted in the Georgia country blues of Blind Willie McTell, the ragtime rompers of Gary Davis, and the old-timey jug sound of groups like The Memphis Jug Band, Fuller’s San Francisco Bay Blues serves as a bridge between the acoustic blues of the late 20s/early 30s and the acoustic blues and jug sounds of the mid-century urban folk music revival that brought hordes of bohemian beatniks into coffee shops from coast to coast–San Francisco Bay Blues brought the blues into a new era and onto the West Coast.

Simply put, San Francisco Bay Blues serves up a heapin’ helpin’ of upbeat, feel-good blues tunes, reminding you that, dark as the days may get, as long as you’re alive you’ve got a reason to dance. Better get ready!

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Personnel:
Jesse Fuller (guitar, kazoo, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. San Francisco Bay Blues (Fuller) 3.06
02. Jesse’s New Midnight Special (Traditional) 2.47
03. Morning Blues (Fuller) 3.51
04. Little Black Train (Fuller) 2.22
05. Midnight Cold (Fuller) 3.11
06. Whoa Mule (Traditional) 2.23
07. John Henry (Traditional) 4.52
08. I Got A Mind To Ramble (Fuller) 2.45
09. Crazy About A Woman (Fuller) 3.09
10. Where Could I Go But To The Lord (Coots) 1.58
11. Stealin’ Back To My Old Time Used To Be (Traditional) 2.47
12. Brownskin Girl (Fuller) 3.37

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Jesse Fuller (March 12, 1896 – January 29, 1976)

John Barry – From Russia With Love (OST)(1963)

LPFrontCover1From Russia with Love is a 1963 British spy film and the second in the James Bond film series produced by Eon Productions, as well as Sean Connery’s second role as MI6 agent James Bond. It was directed by Terence Young, produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and written by Richard Maibaum and Johanna Harwood, based on Ian Fleming’s similarly named 1957 novel. In the film, Bond is sent to assist in the defection of Soviet consulate clerk Tatiana Romanova in Turkey, where SPECTRE plans to avenge Bond’s killing of Dr. No.

Following the success of Dr. No, United Artists greenlit a sequel and doubled the budget available for the producers. In addition to filming on location in Turkey, the action scenes were shot at Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, and in Scotland. Production ran over budget and schedule, and was rushed to finish by its scheduled October 1963 release date.

From Russia with Love was a critical and commercial success. It took in more than $78 million in worldwide box-office receipts, far more than its $2 million budget and more than its predecessor Dr. No, thereby becoming a blockbuster in 1960s cinema.

This film also marked the debut of Desmond Llewelyn as Q, a role he would play for 36 years until The World Is Not Enough in 1999.

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Seeking to exact revenge on James Bond (007) for killing its agent Dr. No and destroying the organisation’s assets in the Caribbean, the international criminal organisation SPECTRE begins training agents to kill Bond. Their star pupil is Donald “Red” Grant, an Irish assassin who proves his mettle by killing a Bond impostor in 1 minute and 52 seconds on a training course with a garrote wire concealed in his wristwatch.

Meanwhile, the organisation’s chief planner, a Czech chess grandmaster named Kronsteen (Number 5), devises a plan to play British and Soviet intelligence against each other to procure a Lektor cryptographic device from the Soviets. SPECTRE’s chief executive, Number 1, puts Rosa Klebb (Number 3), a former colonel of SMERSH (the counter-intelligence branch of Soviet Intelligence) who has defected to SPECTRE in the West, in charge of the mission as chief of operations. Klebb chooses Grant to protect Bond until he acquires the Lektor and then to eliminate 007 and steal the cipher machine for SPECTRE. As part of the scheme, Klebb recruits the beautiful Tatiana Romanova, a cipher clerk at the Soviet consulate in Istanbul, who believes the ex-colonel is still working for SMERSH.

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In London, M informs Bond that Romanova has contacted their “Station ‘T'” in Turkey, claiming to have fallen in love with Bond from his file photo. She offers to defect to the West, and will bring a top-secret Lektor with her to sweeten the deal, but only on the condition that Bond handle her case, personally. Prior to his departure, Bond is supplied by Q with an attaché case containing a concealed throwing knife, gold sovereigns, a special tear gas booby trap connected to the lock mechanism, and ammunition for an included ArmaLite AR-7 folding sniper rifle with an infrared night scope.

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After travelling to Istanbul, Bond heads into the city to meet with station head Ali Kerim Bey, tailed by Bulgarian secret agents working for the Russians. They are in turn tailed by Grant, who kills one of them after Bond is taken back to his hotel, stealing their car and dumping it outside the Soviet Consulate to provoke hostilities between British and Soviet Intelligence. In response, the Soviets bomb Kerim’s office with a limpet mine; Kerim, however, is away from his desk for a tryst with his mistress. Bond and he then investigate the attack by spying on a Soviet consulate meeting through a periscope installed in the underground aqueducts beneath Istanbul. Thus, they learn that the Soviet agent Krilencu is responsible for the bombing. Kerim Bey declares it unwise to stay in the city under such circumstances and takes Bond to a rural gypsy settlement. However, Krilencu learns of this and promptly attacks a gypsy feast, where Bond and Kerim are honoured guests, with a band of hired Bulgarian fighters. Much to Bond’s confusion, he is saved from an enemy fighter during the attack by a distant sniper shot from Grant. The following night, Bond and Kerim Bey track Krilencu to his hideout, where Kerim Bey kills him with Bond’s rifle.

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Upon returning to his hotel suite that night, Bond finds Romanova waiting for him in his bed and has sex with her; neither is aware that SPECTRE is filming them. The next day, Romanova heads off for a prearranged rendezvous at Hagia Sophia to drop off the floor plans for the consulate, with Grant ensuring Bond receives the plans by killing the other Bulgarian tail who attempts to intercept the drop. Using the plans, Bond and Kerim Bey successfully steal the Lektor, and together with Romanova, escape with the device onto the Orient Express. On the train, Kerim Bey quickly notices a Soviet security officer named Benz tailing them, prompting him and Bond to subdue him. When Bond leaves Benz and Kerim Bey alone together, Grant kills them and makes it appear as though they killed each other, preventing Bond from leaving the train with Romanova to rendezvous with one of Kerim’s men.

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At the railway station in Belgrade, Bond passes on word of Kerim Bey’s death to one of his sons, and asks for an agent from Station Y to meet him at Zagreb. However, when the train arrives at the station, Grant intercepts Nash, sent from Station Y, killing the agent before posing as him. After drugging Romanova at dinner, Grant overpowers Bond before taunting him about SPECTRE’s involvement in the theft. After disclosing that Romanova was unaware of what was truly going on, believing she was working for Russia, Grant reveals to Bond his plans to leave behind the film SPECTRE took of him and Romanova at the hotel, along with a forged blackmail letter, to make it appear that their deaths were the result of a murder-suicide, to scandalise the British intelligence community. Bond quickly convinces him to accept a bribe of gold sovereigns in exchange for a final cigarette, tricking Grant into setting off the booby trap in his attaché case. This distracts Grant enough for Bond to attack him in a brutal brawl. In the ensuing fight, Bond narrowly gains the upper hand, stabbing Grant with the case’s concealed knife before strangling him with his own garrotte. Bond then drags the barely conscious Romanova from the train, which has been stopped by a SPECTRE accomplice, where he hijacks Grant’s getaway truck and flees the scene with Romanova.

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Upon hearing the news of Grant’s death, Number 1 calls Klebb and Kronsteen onto the carpet to explain what went wrong and remind them that SPECTRE does not tolerate failure. Kronsteen is executed by the henchman Morzeny with a kick from the poison-tipped switchblade in his shoe. Klebb, however, is given one last chance to make good on the mission and acquire the Lektor (which has already been promised to the Russians in a sell-back scheme).

The next morning, Bond’s stolen truck is intercepted along its escape route by a SPECTRE helicopter, but 007 destroys the attacking aircraft by shooting its co-pilot with his sniper rifle, causing the man to drop a live hand grenade in the cockpit. Thus, Bond and Romanova make it to Grant’s escape boat on the Dalmatian coast and steal that, too, only to be pursued by Morzeny, who leads a squadron of SPECTRE powerboats. Bond, however, escapes by dumping his own powerboat’s fuel drums overboard and detonating them with a Very flare to engulf all the chase boats in a sea of flames.

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Eventually, Romanova and he reach a hotel in Venice, where they believe themselves to be safe. Klebb, however, disguised as a maid, makes one final attempt on Bond and the Lektor. Klebb tries to kick him with a poisoned switchblade shoe, but Romanova shoots her with her own dropped gun. With the mission accomplished, Bond and Romanova leave Venice on a romantic boat ride, in which course Bond throws Grant’s blackmail film into the canal.

From Russia with Love is the soundtrack for the second James Bond film of the same name. This is the first series film with John Barry as the primary soundtrack composer.

John Barry, arranger of Monty Norman’s “James Bond Theme” for Dr. No, would be the dominant Bond series composer for most of its history and the inspiration for fellow series composer, David Arnold (who uses cues from this soundtrack in his own for Tomorrow Never Dies). The theme song was composed by Lionel Bart of Oliver! fame and sung by Matt Monro.

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Following the decision of the producers not to use Monty Norman, though keeping his “James Bond Theme”, Harry Saltzman decided on using the then popular Lionel Bart of Oliver! fame. Bart was unable to read or write music, but he offered to compose the music and lyrics for a title song to the film.

The producers chose John Barry to score the film. Barry had not only arranged and conducted the “James Bond Theme” from the previous film, but had already scored some films such as Beat Girl and Never Let Go. Barry’s group also charted at No. 13 in the November 1962 UK charts with a different arrangement of the Bond theme from that heard in the film.

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The title song was sung by Matt Monro. Monro’s vocal version is played during the film (as source music on a radio) and properly over the film’s end titles. The title credit music is a lively instrumental version of the tune preceded by a brief Barry-composed “James Bond is Back” then segueing into the “James Bond Theme”. On the original film soundtrack, Alan Haven played a jazzy organ over the theme but this version was not released on the soundtrack album. The tune also appears in a soft string arrangement as a theme for Tania. In Germany, the original release featured an end title track cover version called Die Wolga ist Weit sung by Ruthe Berlé.

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Originally planning to use local Turkish music as Norman had used Jamaican music on Dr No, Barry accompanied the film crew to Istanbul, however he found nothing suitable for the film.

Recalling his visit to Istanbul, John Barry said, “It was like no place I’d ever been in my life. [The Trip] was supposedly to seep up the music, so Noel Rogers and I used to go ’round to these nightclubs and listen to all this stuff. We had the strangest week, and really came away with nothing, except a lot of ridiculous stories. We went back, talked to Lionel, and then he wrote ‘From Russia with Love.”

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The soundtrack’s original recordings are thought to be lost and did not appear when the Bond soundtrack albums were issued in remastered form on CD. The album is different from the film with the album’s recording of the main titles sounding slower and not featuring the organ played by Alan Haven. Several tracks on the album do not appear in the completed film. The album was the last of the Bond soundtrack albums to feature more than the usual six tracks per record side.

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The soundtrack album reached No. 28 on the Variety charts in March 1964 with the title song becoming Unart Music’s most recorded song. Other cover versions of the “James Bond Theme” were also released to coincide with the film. Barry also released different cover versions of the title song and “007” on his Ember records for the pop charts. The Roland Shaw Orchestra performed cover versions of most of the music of Barry’s soundtrack on several albums. (by wikipedia)

The cover images include Sean Connery as James Bond, and Daniela Bianchi.

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Personnel:
Unknown orchestra conducted by John Barry
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Matt Monro (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. James Bond Is Back – From Russia With Love – James Bond Theme (Bart/Norman) 2.26
02. Tania Meets Klebb (Barry) 1.31
03. Meeting In St. Sophia (Barry) 1.09
04. The Golden Horn (Barry) 2.25
05. Girl Trouble (Barry) 2.27
06. Bond Meets Tania (Bart) 1.20
07. 007 (Barry) 2.47
08. Gypsy Camp (Barry) 1.17
09. Death Of Grant (Barry)
10. From Russia With Love (Bart) 2.35
11. Spectre Island (Barry) 1.19
12. Guitar Lament (Barry) 1.12
13. Man Overboard – Smersh In Action (Barry) 2.19
14. James Bond With Bongos (Norman) 2.33
15. Stalking (Barry) 2.05
16. Leila Dances (Barry) 1.57
17. Death Of Kerim (Bart/Barry) 2.31
18. 007 Takes The Lektor (Barry) 3.03
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19. Die Wolga ist weit (German version of “From Russia With Love” (Bart/Hertha) 2.27

 

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Willie Nelson – Here’s Willie Nelson (1963)

FrontCover1Here’s Willie Nelson is the second studio album by country singer Willie Nelson.

After working as a disc jockey in Texas and Oregon, Nelson moved to Nashville in 1960 in hopes of making a living as a songwriter and recording artist. He found work writing compositions for Pamper Music and scored his first hit when Faron Young recorded “Hello Walls.” More hits followed, including Patsy Cline’s classic rendition of “Crazy,” but Nelson, who played bass on tour with Ray Price during this period, wanted to be a recording artist in his own right, and recorded his debut album, …And Then I Wrote for Liberty in 1962. He scored a Top 10 hit with “Touch Me,” but the LP was not a huge seller. Against his better judgement, Nelson would allow his songs to be heavily augmented when he returned to the studio, later admitting, “I didn’t argue. In those days, big productions like Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ were huge hits. So if it worked for Johnny, maybe it’d work for me. I went along with the program.”

After failing to deliver a hit for Liberty, Joe Allison, who produced Nelson’s debut, was replaced by Tommy Allsup, who would go on to produce twenty-six sides on the singer between December 1962 and November 1963. Some of those tracks found their way onto his second album, on which Nelson’s voice was complemented by a pronounced country and swing sound, although the tracks arranged by Ernie Freeman blatantly pushed him in a pop or jazz direction. Unlike his debut, Here’s Willie Nelson contains more cover songs, including two made famous by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, “Roly Poly” and “Right or Wrong.” Wills, one of Nelson’s idols, would also write the liner notes for the LP.

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Nelson worked out several songs on his second album while touring with his wife Shirley Collie and steel guitarist Jimmy Day while playing shows as the trio The Offenders.  Nelson later expressed dissatisfaction with the recorded version of “Home Motel,” a song he described as “another study in despair,” and it was typical of the frustration that he would feel regarding the tepid sound of his albums in the decade ahead:

It was a thrill to play the song live. Jimmy Day had his steel guitar weeping just enough, and Shirley added just a touch of harmony, and I got to sing my blues the way the blues should be sung: no frills. Yet when I brought the song into the Liberty studios, the producers felt compelled to put on the frills. “Aren’t you worried you’re burying the soul of the song?” I asked. “More worried about the song not selling,” was the usual answer.

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In his 2015 memoir, Willie admitted that “Half a Man” was “one of my stranger songs. It’s about a guy who considers what it would be like, in the name of lost love, to start losing body parts…This wasn’t exactly a song that made you want to dance.” The song was released as a single but only made it to number 25, with Allsup recalling, “Half the country stations wouldn’t play ‘Half a Man’ because they thought it was morbid.” Years later Nelson would record the song as two different duets with Merle Haggard and George Jones. (by  wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Willie Nelson (guitar, vocals)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians (arranged by Ernie Freeman &  Jimmy Day)

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Tracklist:
01. Roly Poly (Rose) 1.52
02. Half A Man (Nelson) 2.27
03. Lonely Little Mansion (Nelson) 2.26
04. The Last Letter (Griffin) 2.58
05. Second Fiddle (Miller) 2.24
06. Take My Word (Nelson) 1.50
07. Right Or Wrong (Gillespie/Sizemore/Biese) 2:10
08. Feed It A Memory (Cochran/Tubb) 2.35
09. Let Me Talk To You (Dill/Davis) 2.21
10. Way You See Me (Nelson) 2.58
11. Things I Might Have Been (Robert Sherman/Richard M. Sherman) 2.21
12. Home Motel (Nelson) 2.26

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