Tito Puente – Mucho Puente (1957) (1986 Venezuela)

Tito Puente – Mucho Puente
Vinyl transfer in 24-bit/192 kHz || Latin, Salsa
1957 RCA Victor || This pressing 1986 Venezuela RCA 102-02019 || Mono

An interesting late 50’s record from Tito Puente, this may not be the best record to inaugurate what (I hope) will be a small series of posts I will do here to commemorate centenary of  the great timbalero, bandleader, and icon of Latin music. Lemme tell you why: Continue reading

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – Christmas Album (1968) [2015 24bit 88.1 khz]

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
Christmas Album
1968 Original Release, A&M Records
2015 this 24-bit 88.1 khz Reissue

This week, I’ve been enjoying the unexpected and excellent Christmas album by Los Lobos. But since that album is brand new, you will just have to get your own copy or stream it somewhere.  Instead, I bring you this pleasant bit of fun by Herb Alpert that, while not exactly crackling with creativity, is still a break from whatever overplayed piped-in Christmas music shoppers have been subjected to this year.  There is a truly groovy, slowed-down rendition of “Let It Snow”, followed by a “Jingle Bell Rock” that ends with a bit of striptease burlesque.

Shorty Rogers did lovely vocal arrangements on a few tunes, and  marimba and vibes are provided by Julius Wechter (Martin Denny, Baja Marimba Band).  In the long tradition of Jews who celebrate Christmas (going all the way back to that first guy), Alpert and his business partner Jerry Moss have done quite a bit over the years to propagate halfway interesting holiday music.  They had a hand in the ‘Very Special Christmas’ series of albums, the ones with the variation of the Keith Haring painting on every cover, which raised money for the Special Olympics.  One of those albums even featured a tune by Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.  Some of Alpert’s 1968’s “Christmas Album” was probably piped into airplanes and hospitals back when people smoked cigarettes freely in those places and “ugly sweaters” were not ironic.  Enjoy it with some eggnog or spiced cider (but please, no smoking).

Winter Wonderland 3:05
Jingle Bells 3:03
My Favorite Things 3:00
The Christmas Song 4:25
Las Mananitas 2:56
Sleigh Ride 3:54
The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle 2:53
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow 3:40
Jingle Bell Rock 1:50
Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring 3:24

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Walter Wanderley Trio – Chegança (1966) (1971 reissue)

The Walter Wanderley Trio – Cheganca
Original release 1966 on Verve
1971 Reissue MGM Records
Series: MGM Latino Series – 10,010 MGS 610

Like many musicians looking for reprieve from the turmoil of mid-60s Brazil, keyboardist Walter Wanderley had left the country and settled in the United States.   He emigrated at the behest of Creed Taylor and made half a dozen albums for Verve. Most of them can be classed under ‘lounge’ or ‘exotica’ music, which has its own charms, although often as sweet as the half ton of bagged sugar featured on the front of this album.  But “Chegança” is more like the bossa-jazz records Wanderley made in Brazil and has much less of the Creed Taylor background-music schmaltz factor.   The whole band grooves together.  There is appropriately unsubtle cuica playing on O Ganso (“The Goose”)  The highlight, though,  is still the organ playing.  Have a listen to the solo in “Você e eu” below. Continue reading

The Three Suns – A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas! (1959)

The Three Suns – A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas!
Original release 1959, RCA Victor LSP-2054
2015 reissue, Real Gone Music: RGM-0395


01 Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (2:04)
02 Skater’s Waltz (2:56)
03 The Chipmunk Song (2:03)
04 White Christmas (3:06)
05 Ding Dong Dandy Christmas (2:54)
06 The Christmas Song (2:31)
07 Russian Sleigh Song (2:39)
08 Jingle Bells (2:41)
09 Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (2:20)
10 Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (2:00)
11 Jingle Bell Rock (2:12)
12 Sleigh Ride (2:57)
13 I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (2:21)
14 Winter Wonderland (2:44)

Guitar Al Nevins
Accordion Morty Nevins
Organ, Vocals Artie Dunn
Arrangements Charles Albertine
Other Performers Uncredited

Producer Al Nevins
Engineer Ernie Oelrich
Liner Notes Art Whitman; Joe Marchese

Tubas! Bells!  Rockin’ jazzed-up guitar solos! Accordions! Did I mention bells?  After I first heard this Three Suns Christmas album (one of several they made), I began picking up every Three Suns LP I came across in the charity shops in the hopes of finding one as fun and exciting as this one.  So far that quest has ended in failure, nothing comes close.  This toe-tapping, zany sleigh ride through a set of old chestnuts will bring a smile to even the most jaded humbug hater of Christmas music.  Sure, most of these tunes are so worn out that they should be classified as noise pollution during the month of December, but you’ve rarely heard them this animated.  This is what the future sounded like in 1959!  If you were trapped in a fallout shelter for a hundred years with only one holiday record, this would have been the one to choose.  Thanks to my friend Y. for supplying the secure audio extraction.  He also supplied this blurb from the Dusty Groove record store, which I will include below solely because it includes the word tintinabulation.

A hell of a great record from the Three Suns – upbeat, playful, and everything we love about an unusual Holiday set! In fact, the record may well be better than most of the group’s other RCA work – as their usual groove is inflected here with lots of hip percussion, which creates an extra flourish amidst melodic lines on accordion, guitar, tuba, and organ – all romping around in a mighty nice way! There’s lots of bells, especially – and they add this tintinabulation to the record that’s really wonderful – ringing out on titles that include “Skater’s Waltz”, “The Chipmunk Song”, “Ding Dong Dandy Christmas”, “Russian Sleigh Song”, “Jingle Bells”, “Sleigh Ride”, and “Let It Snow”.

So do yourself a favor, put on that smoking jacket and fix a drink from that oak sideboard with the built-in speakers holding your hi-fi equipment, and let your mind relax while your eyes wander across that patterned wallpaper in your den.  I’m not inclined toward any insightful socio-musical commentary during these busy holiday weeks, but I am inclined to post a few more light-hearted albums that are only good once a year, so stay tuned to this station.  Also if you are brimming with holiday generosity,  consider becoming a patron of the blog via Patreon – if we get enough patrons, we can get a Mega Pro account, because hosting direct links on this site is no longer a viable option going forward.  Also, more than 3 patrons (our current number) would allow me to actually run the fun activities like opinion polls and the occasional request fill that are set up as ‘member rewards’ currently.

Careful with that eggnog!

passw3rd: vibes