Posts tagged ‘vinyl’

Let’s Tango with Harry Horlick and His Orchestra! [1959]

Translated literally as “The Touch,” Tango is a dance that is performed exactly as it is described.

With its roots in Europe and Africa, Argentina today stands as the popular source of Tango. The music and the dance are distinctive, flowing and beautiful.

Harry Horlick wasn’t from Argentina.

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That didn’t stop this Russian immigrant from putting out at least two Tango albums. The one seen here is a thrift-store find, worn to the point of being grey in the grooves. But the beauty of Tango makes its way through anyway. I digitized a couple of the tracks into a video for your home dancing pleasure 🙂

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Ray Coniff His Orchestra and Chorus – Mack The Knife [1963]

He had the chops to be considered the King Of Easy Listening.

When I think of instrumental versions of popular songs, I always think of Ray Coniff and His Orchestra. As a band leader, he was great. And to get what could easily be called “The Ray Coniff Sound,” he added choral parts over the instruments. Still without words, the vocals added an element to the songs that seemed to smooth everything out.

Listen to his version of Mack The Knife from 1963, digitized from glorious vinyls, and you’ll see what I mean!

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Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” From 1983 Gets Its Due Attention In 2013

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Lately I’ve been digitizing some songs from my record collection, pulling sources from albums I’ve had for decades – or ones that I’ve found at thrift stores over the years. It’s pretty hard to pass up a 99-cent copy of Herb Alpert, Sergio Mendes, Sarah Vaughan, or Henry Mancini, when you still have a working record player. I mean, seriously…single MP3 tracks off Amazon or Apple cost that, and only if that vintage track is available at all. I can get the whole album for the same price?

Here’s my dollar, Ms. Cashier.

Plus of course, there is the argument over the “warmth” of listening to analog recordings from vinyl. Frankly my ear isn’t well tuned enough to hear anything shrill in digital remasters. I will say this: there is a familiarity to hearing the “clicks and pops” of a record, something tangible and tactile on a turntable playing a song for me through a vinyl track of glory.

Life isn’t perfect, and therefore the soundtrack to life shouldn’t necessarily demand perfection.

Last night I was putting away canned goods in the pantry when I spied a box of records that hadn’t been touched in a while. Taking a quick look inside exposed a few items I had owned since the 1980s, along with some other items given to me by friends when they gave away their record player in the early 1990s. One of those albums is the one you see here: Metal Health by Quiet Riot.

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Of course there’s nothing quiet about it; Metal Health was standard-issue early-80s rock, courtesy of the blaring-yet-powerful high-pitched vocals of Kevin DuBrow, mixed with the hook-heavy guitar solos of Carlos Cavazo and solid backing by Frankie Banali and Rudy Sarzo. Since its release in 1983, the album has sold over 6 million copies. Quiet Riot was a seasoned crew of performers by this time, having been together for a decade. They played many of the same venues as Van Halen during the 1970s. While not achieving the same notoriety as other L.A. rock bands of the era, they continued to play until 2007, when singer DuBrow was found dead of a cocaine overdose at his home. They reformed in 2010; none of the original early-70s line up remains.

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On my copy of the album the first track is titled “Metal Health,” which according to resources makes it part of the first release. On subsequent releases of the album, the track was retitled as “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” – which is what most people called it anyway. Much like The Who’s Baba O’Riley being called “Teenage Wasteland” by most of the listening public.

Metal Health is considered widely to be Quiet Riot’s largest hit and, thanks to the 2013 Superbowl, has seen a worthy tribute 30 years later as part of a really funny Hyundai commercial – the two versions of which are posted below:

And if you’re itching to hear the original song in its epic entirety, here’s the track I digitized from my LP version. All Hail Vinyl!

Herb Alpert – Going Places! [1965]

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If you know just one Herb Alpert song, it’s probably Tijuana Taxi.

And if you know two, the other is one you probably don’t know the name for but have heard it on countless occasions: Spanish Flea.  Now if you were to buy just one Herb Alpert album to take in the Latin flavor of his trumpet, Going Places! would be a safe bet.  Not only does it have the two aforementioned songs, but it also has a Go-Go cover of The Ventures’ hit Walk Don’t Run.

Bottom line: this album is a 60s classic that should be revered and plated until it is grey!

Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 – Mas Que Nada

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Take a sharp-dressed piano man, add catchy music and perfect harmonies.  The result: Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66.

Hugely overshadowed by the “Surf Sixties” and “Free Love Sixties,” the “Lounge Sixties” stands today in testament of the quality and talent that permeated the decade – on full display in countless videos on the Intertubes.  The Bossa Nova beat is difficult to ignore – upbeat happiness that caresses the ears.

Case in point is the song Mas Que Nada, originally written and performed in 1963 by Jorge Ben.

Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 brought it to prominence about three years later on their A&M debut.  While I have known about Sergio Mendes’ talent now for many years, I only first hear Mas Que Nada as part of the soundtrack for 1997’s Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. I picked up the clean copy of the A&M LP a while back, and play it regularly.  Since then I have also purchased other Sergio Mendes work, thoroughly enjoying every one.

If you’re down, try a little Bossa Nova and a strong cup of South American coffee.  That’ll clear up what ails you 🙂

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