Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Billy Strange & The Challengers

Here's a rather sedate album given the players. The Challengers: one of the leading surf bands of the 1960's, with their 1962 album Surfbeat being the biggest selling surf album of all time. Billy Strange: who started out as an early pioneer of rockabilly, and moved into session guitar work in the 60's. Strange was also a member of the "Wrecking Crew", performing for The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean, The Monkees and numerous other pop bands in the studio. He also worked as an arranger for Nancy Sinatra, was a songwriter and collaborator for Elvis, Played anonymous lead guitar for The Ventures, and released numerous solo albums in the 60's such as this one.

This 1967 album is varied, but the orchestration is dated and lacks the guitar power one would expect from so many notables. There are a few numbers that rock, but I guess this album was a little too long after the peak of surf music for it to have the same kind of feel. A lot of people describe the Challenger's as sellouts, Dominic Priore saying they became "an easy-listening version of surf music, like wallpaper." Listening to albums like this, it's hard to argue with him, but there are still some charming elements, namely Strange's guitar playing, so I'm putting it up here.

Side 1:
01 - Work Song
02 - Somewhere My Love
03 - What If It Should Rain
04 - Love Is
05 - Bitter Taste Of Love
06 - Milord

Side 2:
07 - Can I Trust You
08 - Strangers In The Night
09 - Cast Your Fate To The Wind
10 - Stranger On The Shore
11 - Pretty Flamingo
12 - Solé Solé Solé

Monday, April 16, 2007

Steve Douglas - Popeye Twist & Stomp

This record comes from Crown, one of many junk record labels of the 60's: cheaply produced music and records sold for under a buck. Besides the work of B.B. King, the highlight of Crown's catalog are two rock records made by Steve Douglas and the Rebel Rousers, Duane Eddy's backing band. This 1962 album is one of those records. The record is essentially a novelty dance record, capitalizing on the Twist and The Popeye, and also making reference to the rising surf culture of southern California.

Douglas, his sax a prominent fixture of Eddy's popular instrumentals of the late 50's, went on to become one of the premier session players in LA. Another member of the "Wrecking Crew", his sax was a prominent feature of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson productions. Along with other sax players like Plas Johnson and Jay Migliori, he was a defining element on many pop records of the 1960's.

Douglas was interviewed one last time by Dominic Priore before his death in 1992, featured in the aforementioned Dumb Angel #4 (Highly Recommended reading, BTW). Douglas talks about making the two albums for Crown (This Popeye album and another instrumental LP Doin' The Twist), and getting payed around $200 for the two of them. He also mentions embarrassment about the vocals, which he performed on this album. Crown Records typically have poor sound quality, but I don't think this came out too bad.

Side 1:
01 - They Did The Popeye
02 - If You're Ever In Doubt About Me
03 - I Never Felt Like This
04 - Surfer's Twist
05 - I Can't Believe It's True

Side 2:
06 - Twistin' Round The Mountain
07 - Popeye The Twistin' Man
08 - Mashed Potatoes
09 - Clap Your Hands
10 - Baby You Just Wait And See

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Sandals - The Endless Summer Soundtrack

Here's the original soundtrack to Bruce Brown's 1964 documentary "The Endless Summer". Though it isn't exactly the pinnacle of surf guitar, there's a lot of interesting stuff on here, particularly the use of the clavietta and the unique sound collages that were a fixture of this era. As for specific songs, the "Theme from 'The Endless Summer'" is a classic, and I can't listen to "6-Pak" without having a grin on my face. "Lonely Road" is used very effectively in the movie for scenes of travelling, and it's hard to listen to most of this music without getting images from the film. This isn't all of the music from the film, as some material was left off the LP for time, and other orchestral/exotica type music in the film wasn't performed by the Sandals at all.

I stressed the word original because there's a rerecorded version out there by The Sandals that doesn't even come close to this original LP. It's a shame that the catalog of the soundtracks to Bruce Brown's films are so shoddily available to the general public. Though all of them were released on the Pacific Jazz/World Pacific label, since that label has become defunct the music has been lost, despite it's indellable connection to these films. Bud Shank's work is only available commercially in an OOP limited edition, very expensive Mosaic box set, again making me pose the question, why must good music be kept exclusive or limited? I guess that's what blogs like this are for.

Side 1:
01 - Scrambler
02 - 6-Pak
03 - Driftin'
04 - Theme From "The Endless Summer"
05 - Good Greeves
06 - Decoy

Side 2:
07 - Out Front
08 - Wild As The Sea
09 - Trailing
10 - Jet Black
11 - Lonely Road
12 - TR-6

Thursday, April 12, 2007

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Gah! I'm sorry I let this place turn into a veritable hell hole of internet marketing. I've removed all that bullshit and I'll be posting some new stuff very soon, but with probably less regularity than last summer. Part of the reason I was away for so long was school, which has been hectic the past quarter or two, and also accessing my blogger account on my new computer, which I finally managed to the other day. Anyways, I'm finishing up with school, and I hope I can post some new stuff with a certain regularity.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Back...sort of...

Sorry about the long hiatus. It's about mid-quarter in school and I've been busy with that and life in general, and the blog just naturally took a backseat. I'll try to get back into it, try to put something up about every week or so. Something will be up by Monday...I promise.

Dead links shouldn't be a problem anymore, as I've put the cash foward for an account at Rapidshare. I didn't mind the way it was before with links active for 30 days, but there it is for ya. It might take a few days or so for all the links to get reposted, I'm aiming at the dead ones first.

And as always enjoy what's here, leave comments and discuss the albums. I'd love to hear what everyone thinks of this stuff. And I'm willing to take requests, as long as it's in the realm of what I've been posting here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Arthur Lyman - Lyman '66

Here's another great album from Arthur Lyman. I love the broad range of material on this, from some more typical exotica tracks to stuff like "Fiddler On The Roof" and the "Medley From Mary Poppins". The vibe playing from Lyman on that track in particular reminds me a lot of Lionel Hampton and his playing on those late 30's Benny Goodman tracks like "Moonglow". This album is really all over the place in terms of material but it's all "exotic" sounding thanks to the style of Lyman and his band. There are some great straight exotica tracks on here like "Dear Heart" and "The (Jungle) Cat". "Ports Of Paradise" is one of the most laid back, sleepy tracks I've ever heard, and the aptly titled "Bird Train" wakes you up and ends the album. The Train motif combined with the bird noises at the end of that remind me of the end of "Pet Sounds" in a way. Anyways, lots of great stuff on this one.

Side 1:
01 - Lemon Tree
02 - Taste Of Honey
03 - Fiddler On The Roof
04 - Dear Heart
05 - Only Yesterday
06 - Medley From Mary Poppins

Side 2:
07 - Kon Tiki
08 - The (Jungle) Cat
09 - The Boy From Laupahoehoe
10 - Waimea Cowboy
11 - Ports Of Paradise
12 - Bird Train

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Bud Shank Quartet

Here's a great album. Recorded in 1956, I'm pretty sure this is Bud Shank's first major solo release. I've posted a lot of Shank's work, and I think he's an artist that really epitomises the west coast cool jazz scene. While his more commercially styled pop/jazz work later on is good, his work here and on subsequent Pacific Jazz releases from the early 60's is the really good stuff.

Reading the liner notes on the back really makes you appreciate the LP format. While such extensive notes were more a staple of Jazz records, you'd be hard pressed to find anything like this in any genre today. And I love the cover art on this. Hip and Modern. Basically this whole album is the essense of cool. Dig it.

Bud Shank: Alto and Flute
Claude Williamson: Piano
Chuck Flores: Drums
Don Prell: Bass

Side 1:
01 - Bag Of Blues
02 - Nature Boy
03 - All This And Heaven Too
04 - Jubilation

Side 2:
05 - Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
06 - Nocture For Flute
07 - Walkin'
08 - Carioca

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Surfer's Pajama Party

Here's an interesting album. I'm pretty sure it's the only live album in the Surf Genre. While Bruce Johnston is better known as a member of the Beach Boys Post 1965, before that he was doing numerous other stuff, including his own solo career (Surfin' Round The World (1963) and producing the Beach Boys sound-alike group The Rip-Chords with fellow rich kid friend and future producer Terry Melcher. Johnston and Melcher also recorded a few tracks under the name Bruce & Terry.

The actual album was recorded at the Sigma Pi Frat House at UCLA. The audio quality isn't great, but it's raw. There's a garage/punky spirit in this record that shines under the squeaky clean early 60's exterior. This is the mono version, and the stereo version is on CD and has bonus tracks, so seek that out.

Side 1:
01 - Ramrod
02 - Last Night
03 - Surfer's Stomp
04 - What'd I Say (Something On Your Mind)

Side 2:
05 - Pajama Party
06 - Kansas City
07 - Mashin' The Popeye
08 - Gee But I'm Lonesome
09 - Green Onions

And sorry there's been no posts recently. Lot of stuff going on, and not a lot of time to go record hunting (My collection of stuff that's kosher to post is shrinking).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Pahu Tahiti!

Here's a cool exotica album for drum fans. And there are a lot of drums. Other than one song called 'Ukelele', the album is entirely made up of Tahitian Drumming, featuring a number of groups . I guess you could call this a "real" exotica album. While it may not be something I'll listen to often, it's a nice historical record and artifact of the 50's-60's fascination with exotic cultures. It's also interesting to find an album that presents island culture in a "naked" format rather than trying to add an orchestra and jazz arrangements. Both styles have their charms of course.

I've also finally posted the book for The Play Guitar With The Ventures Album. After trying to scan the book too many times, I finally just took pictures of the book and tried to make them as presentable as possible. Hopefully you guys can read everything ok.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bud Shank - Girl In Love

Sorry about the slightly frightening album cover. This is a nice pop inflected jazz album from Bud Shank, with the orchestra conducted by fellow sax player Oliver Nelson. Nelson's history is similar to Nelson Riddle, in that he started out as a jazz arranger and eventually moved his way into scoring music for television shows (Ironside, Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman to name a few). Even though the album sounds like Elevator Music at times, there are some tracks (Particularly "Solitary Man") that bounce. Released in 1966, the album is another example of L.A. Session musicians popping up everywhere. Percussionist Frank Capp at the same time was working on The Beach Boys' classic "Pet Sounds" album, and I'm sure many of Nelson's orchestra were as well.

Piano: Bob Florence
Guitar: Herb Ellis, Dennis Budimir, John Pisano
Bass: Bob West
Drums: Frank Capp
Percussion: Victor Feldman

Side 1:
01 - Lady Jane
02 - Summer Wind
03 - The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)
04 - Strangers In The Night
05 - When A Man Loves A Woman
06 - Girl In Love

Side 2:
07 - Don't Go Breaking My Heart
08 - Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime
09 - Time
10 - The Shining Sea
11 - Lara's Theme From Dr. Zhivago
12 - Solitary Man

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Arthur Lyman - Taboo

Here's a nice exotica album from Arthur Lyman. Besides Lyman's great vibe playing, it also features great piano and percussion. But it's the use of sound effects in almost every track that really amps up the atmosphere of the music. The venue where the album was recorded, the Aluminum Dome in Waikiki, also helps lend an atmospheric weight to the music. The front cover is also a great one.

Side 1:
01 - Taboo
02 - Kalua
03 - Ringo Oiwake
04 - Sea Breeze
05 - Misirlou
06 - China Clipper

Side 2:
07 - Sim Sim
08 - Katsumi Love Theme
09 - Caravan
10 - Akaka Falls
11 - Dahil Sayo
12 - Hilo March

Edit: This one's on CD and though a lot of links went dead during my hiatus, this one was pulled. So I won't be putting it up again... I will take personal requests however.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Play Guitar With The Ventures

Sorry I've been gone for so long. A week long vacation kept being extended.

I picked this record up a few weeks ago. Not only is it interesting for the isolated parts of songs, but it also encourages learning to play music by ear and feeling, which is something I strongly agree with. And how often do you hear an isolated bass part on a mid 60's recording? While the music is simple enough to learn in the first place, any fan of surf music should be interested in this. I don't have Volume 1, but this one has better songs anyways. Photos of the 12-page booklet are included in the archive.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Nelson Riddle - Route 66 Theme

Here's a nice album of TV theme songs, performed by Nelson Riddle and his Orchestra. Riddle has a wonderful style to his music, very jazzy and modern sounding. Judging by the TV shows, I'd say the album is from 1962 or '63. Riddle started as an arranger for Les Baxter and worked for Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and many others. In the 60's, besides composing themes for "Route 66" and "The Untouchables", he also did the awesome score for "Ocean's 11" and did incidental music for the Adam West "Batman" TV series.

The specific members of his orchestra are uncredited on the record, naturally, but you can guess the personnel includes many of the L.A. session musicians at the time. I think I can recognize Dennis Budimir's jazzy guitar, also heard on "Barefoot Adventure" As for some of my favorite cuts, besides the Title Track, the unexpected "Alvin Show Theme" is a showstopper.

Side 1:
01 - Route 66 Theme
02 - The Alvin Show Theme
03 - The Andy Griffith Theme
04 - Theme From "Ben Casey"
05 - My Three Sons
06 - The Untouchables

Side 2:
07 - Naked City Theme
08 - Sing Along With Mitch
09 - The Defenders Theme
10 - Theme From "Sam Benedict"
11 - Theme From "Dr. Kildare"
12 - This Could Be The Start Of Something

Edit 8/10: I'll be on brief hiatus for a week or so. I've got things in the pipeline for when I come back, so sit tight.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Astounding 12-String Guitar Of Glen Campbell

Well, with a name like that this album has to be good right? While it may not be the most intellectually challenging music I've ever listened to, it's notable for its connection to The Beach Boys (Have you guessed I'm a fan of them yet?). Released in 1964 the album is a country and folk flavored collection of mostly established folk songs with a few originals thrown in there. This was recorded just before Campbell replaced Brian Wilson on tour after Wilson suffered a nervous breakdown in late '64. Strengthening this connection are the presence of two notables. Hal Blaine on drums (Who, along with Campbell was a noted Beach Boys session musician), and Co-Producer A&R Man Nick Venet, who signed The Beach Boys to the Capitol Label, and was credited as producer on their first two albums before Wilson officially took the reins of production. Before landing his gig at Capitol, Venet worked at Bud Shank's label, World Pacific. Welcome to the vast web of connections in Los Angeles during the 60's.

There's a nice write up on the album at All Music Guide

Personnel for the album:

12-String Guitar: Glen Campbell
Bass: Carl Tandburg, Chip Douglas
Drums: Donny Cotton, Hal Blaine, Earl Palmer
Banjo: Roy Clark

Also of note, looking at the back cover, whoever owned this record previously held an interest in banjoist Roy Clark. Astute fan, or personal aquaintance? I guess we'll never know.

Note: My record of this isn't exactly in the greatest shape, but I did what I could with it.

Side 1:
01 - Lonesome Twelve
02 - Puff (The Magic Dragon)
03 - The Ballad Of Jed Clampett
04 - Blowin' In The Wind
05 - 500 Miles (Away From Home)
06 - Walkin' Down The Line

Side 2:
07 - 12-String Special
08 - Green Green
09 - Wimoweh
10 - Bull Durham
11 - La Bamba
12 - This Land Is Your Land

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Surfers - On The Rocks

While I got this mostly for the cover, which is great, this is a nice album of traditional Hawaiian music. While I prefer the more jazz-tinged stylings of the Waikiki Beachboys, there are some good songs on here, notably 'Pidgin English Hula', which has a little spoken introduction that's pretty interesting.

Side 1:
01 - Maki
02 - Leimomi
03 - Papio
04 - Ke Kali Nei Au
05 - I Got Hooked At A Hukilau
06 - Blue Hawaii
07 - Tamure Tamure

Side 2:
08 - Leahi
09 - O'Makala Pua
10 - Nane Wale
11 - Pidgin English Hula
12 - I Will Remember You
13 - Waikapu
14 - Hawaiian War Chant

Sunday, August 06, 2006

First Man On The Moon

Here's an interesting record, a commemorative 45 record of the first moon landing. I think it represents the optimism of the Space Race extremely well. You've gotta love the narration by Hugh Downs and the use of Kennedy's famous speech about going to the moon. I also love the film-score type music accompanying the dramatic moments. Notice how the picture sleeve and the MGM logo are parallel with that of 2001: A Space Odyssey, released a year earlier by MGM. The artwork is staggeringly similar to the poster art (Perhaps the same MGM artist). I also love the modernized MGM Lion logo, which is in the film as well. Enjoy.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Les Baxter - Caribbean Moonlight

This album has been posted on numerous other blogs, but I thought I'd post my crack at it. It's a classic of the exotica genre, and one of Baxter's finest. It's just really evocative, moody music that will take you places if you let it.

Side 1:
01 - Taboo
02 - Deep Night
03 - The Breeze And I
04 - Nightingale
05 - Temptation
06 - Poinciana

Side 2:
07 - Ay, Ay, Ay
08 - Adios
09 - Carnival
10 - Green Eyes
11 - Out Of This World
12 - Sway (Quien Era)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Beachboy Party

Isn't that a great cover? Released in 1963, this album sets the Waikiki Beachboys pictured above in a live party jam session. Laid back, carefree and nostalgic. The definitive Hawaiian record.

A nice little article was posted about this album in Dumb Angel #4, which draws comparisons between this album and The Beach Boys "Party!" LP, released in 1965. The similarites between the two albums, besides their name, are great, and one has to wonder if Brian Wilson was aware of this album.

Note, my record of this has a lot of scuffs and scratches on the first side, so if you're looking for archival quality audio here, get the CD. Enjoy this one!

Side 1:
01 - Okoluna Maluna
02 - I've Travelled All Over The World
03 - Lover
04 - In Spite Of All
05 - Cafe Lights
06 - Bye Bye Blues
07 - Lei Aloha

Side 2:
08 - The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise
09 - Waikiki
10 - Ahulili
11 - I Like You Because You Have Such Lovin' Ways
12 - When The Roses Bloom In Winter
13 - Ka Puka Key
14 - Hui Nalu

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Duke Kahanamoku's Favorites

Here's a tribute album to Hawaii's favorite son, The Duke. The album is from around 1961, and it seems like it's really hard to find. My dad got this and Duke Kahanamoku Presents: A Beachboy Party at an estate sale a few years ago for almost nothing. This record has what looks like a program given at a funeral tucked away in the cellophane. It could've came with the album, or it could be a memento from somebody who knew him. Either way, cool stuff. I've scanned this program and put it in the file. A Beachboy Party is available on CD, but I'm thinking of posting it anyway.

As for the music on the album, it's really good stuff! Especially the first track, about Duke. The artists featured are: Andy Cummings, Alvin Isaacs Jr., Gabby Pahinui, Charles Miller, Varoa Tiki, Louie Akau and John Lukela.

Side 1:
01 - Duke Kahanamoku
02 - Ka Makani Kaili Aloha
03 - Lei E (Slack Key)
04 - Pikaki
05 - Hame Pila
06 - Maunakea
07 - Kuulani

Side 2:
08 - Waikiki
09 - The Pidgin English Hula
10 - Meleana E & Keawaiki
11 - Hanohano Hawaii
12 - That's What The Lei Said To Me & A Flower Lei (Medley)
13 - My Little Grass Shack
14 - Wedding Song (Ke Kali Nei Au)

Bud Shank & Clare Fischer - Bossa Nova Jazz Samba

Continuing with Bud Shank, here's a very latin influenced
jazz album from 1961. A nice combination of West Coast Jazz styles with Samba music.

Bud Shank : Alto
Clare Fischer : Piano
Ralph Pena : Bass
Percussionists : Larry Bunker, Bob Neel, Milt Holland and Frank Guerrero

Side 1:
01 - Samba Da Borboleta
02 - Illusao
03 - Pensativa
04 - Joao

Side 2:
05 - Misty
06 - Que Mais?
07 - Wistful Samba
08 - Samba Guapo

Next up I've got some Hawaiian and Exotica...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bud Shank - Barefoot Adventure

This is the Soundtrack to Bruce Brown's great 1960 Surfing Film Barefoot Adventure. The soundtrack is by Bud Shank, and features:

Bud Shank : Alto & Baritone
Bob Cooper : Tenor
Carmell Jones : Trumpet
Dennis Budimir : Guitar
Gary Peacock : Bass
Shelly Manne : Drums

Side 1:
01 - Barefoot Adventure
02 - Shoeless Beach Meeting
03 - Jungle Cruise
04 - How High The Makaha

Side 2:
05 - Well 'Pon My Soul
06 - Ala Moana
07 - Bruce Is Loose
08 - Dance Of The Sea Monsters

This is a cool jazz/west coast jazz soundtrack, and it's one of my all time favorites. This is the mono record, as I don't own the stereo version. There's a stereo version available from BasicHip, and his rips are affordable and recommended.

I'll have some more Bud Shank tomorrow...


Hi, my name is Michael, and I thought I'd finally make an outlet for my ever growing record collection. On this blog, I'm going to post some albums that I hope people enjoy. I think you'll find my taste is eclectic and wide ranging, so I think I'll have something for everybody. I'm going to try not to infringe copyrights, but in the future I may bend the rules to get some good stuff out. ;)