Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Burt Bacharach Bonanza

Mr Snookles is about to take a break for the holiday season, and so to finish the year with a bang we turn to the one and only Burt Bacharach. In the land of lounge he stands head and shoulders above the rest. This double LP of Burt conducting his own orchestra shows why he is the best of the best.

Also included is a jumbo-sized print quality scan of the centre picture, so you can have Burt on your wall as well as in your speakers. Alas the records were somewhat dilapidated, however they have been painstakingly hand-restored, and the overall quality is pretty good. The beginning of track 12 does show some audio artifacts as it was heavily scratched. After about 15 secs it comes good however, and is fine thereafter.

p.s. Thanks to Scott Soriano for his comments on copyright and the dreaded RIAA. you can find his words of wisdom in the comments for the "Mr Snookles Says" post

Rapidshare - 3 part archive - make sure you get all three.
Burt the First
Burt the Second
Burt the Third

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Burt Bacharach Bonanza

Now you can Burt till you hurt...

See you in the New Year!
Mr Snookles

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Polynesians - Hawaiian love Songs

For those lovers of Tiki music, Mr Snookles presents The Polynesians with their 1964 release, Hawaiian Love Songs. The number one spot for Tiki music, Kono Tiki Island, is back up and running after a recess of some months, and to celebrate Mr Snookles adds his one and only Tiki album to the listening public.

There is very little biographical info on The Polynesians on the net, and none whatsoever on the album cover. If anyone can provide some info, please leave a comment. The music itself is classic Tiki instrumentals, ukuleles, and slide guitars with a languid backing section completing the dreamy sound that makes this style of music so appealing.

On another note, Mr Snookles would like to thank the many people who have contributed to the discussion on the rights and wrongs of sharing music over the internet. Good to see a few strongly held opinions for and against. Particular thanks must go to Mr Anonymous, who compared Mr Snookles to Burke and Hare, two criminals from the 18th century who killed 15 or so persons so as to sell their bodies to doctors for medical research...

Alas the cover of this album has degraded badly over the years, and that Mona Lisa smile is overlayed with a patina of white flecks which looks uncannily like the sun reflecting off a deep blue Pacific ocean... The music itself has responded well to computer restoration techniques and is relatively scratch and crackle free.

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The Polynesians - Hawaiian love Songs

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The Polynesians - Hawaiian love Songs

Mr Snookles

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Al Caiola - Golden Hit Instrumentals

Along with Tommy Mottola, Al Caiola was the first choice New York session guitarist for three decades (visit Space Age Pop for a full bio). His sound was more towards the twangy, surf guitar style than Mottola, and can be heard to good effect on "Bonanza" and the quintessential surf-guitar instrumental, "Apache".

There is a lively good humour to this album, and Caiola's playing is consistently good, the right sound and the right phrasing for each track. My pick for the rest of the tracks is "Wonderland by Night", with some fat trumpet sounds by an artist who is, alas, unacknowledged on the album.

If only they shelled out a few more bucks for the cover art...

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Al Caiola - Golden Hit Instrumentals

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Al Caiola - Golden Hit Instrumentals

Mr Snookles

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Marlene Deitrich - Live at the Cafe de Paris


"We know God made trees, and the birds and the bees,
And seas for the fishes to swim in.
We are also aware he had quite a flair,
For creating exceptional women."

Before Madonna there was Marlene. This album, from 1954, is the live recording of Marlene's legendary opening night at London's Cafe de Paris. The verse above is part of the introductory patter written and delivered in person by Noel Coward himself.

Marlene's music arranger was non other than the high llama of lounge, Burt Bacharach. His arrangements disguised the narrow range of Marlene's voice, and allowed for the maximum theatricality in her delivery. In an age of bobby-sox and Doris Day, Marlene was wearing outfits made of a fabric called souffle (alas no longer manufactured) which in her words "had the effect of making me look naked even when I was dressed".

Sometimes she would dress in top-hat and tails and sing love songs to the women in the audience. In short, an entertainer ahead of her time. And, after all, anyone who can get Noel Coward in to warm up the crowd must have something going for them.



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Marlene Deitrich - Live at the Cafe de Paris

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Marlene Deitrich - Live at the Cafe de Paris

Mr Snookles

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Focus On Phase 4 Stereo

As the back cover of the album says, this record has 14 sound spectaculars. This sampler, put together to demonstrate the phase four sound, is big in scope, big in sound and big in spectacle.
In 1961 London Records introduced Phase 4 Stereo, with promises to break "the sonic barrier."

The webzine "The Endless Groove" defines Phase 4 thus:

Phase one was the concept of stereo. Phase two was using stereo as a gimmick (my language), such as having a Ping-Pong ball bouncing from left to right speaker, etc. Phase three was when engineers discovered how to electronically "move" sounds. Individual instruments, voices and effects could be moved left and right and back and forward in the stereo spread. And then, here's the label's explanation of Phase 4 Stereo: "New Scoring Concepts Incorporating True Musical Use of Separation and Movement. In this phase, arrangers and orchestrators re-score the music to place the instruments where they are musically most desired at any particular moment and make use of direction and movement to punctuate the musicality of sounds. The effect is more sound -- more interest -- more entertainment -- more participation -- more listening pleasure: PHASE 4 STEREO is not background music." (Tony Maygarden - Endless Groove issue 4). For the full article, click here.

You will recognise a few favourite names in this compilation; Edmundo Ros, Frank Chacksfield, Ronnie Aldritch all contribute, but the standout tracks for me are Roland Shaw's "The Avengers" with trombone pedal-notes which would have endagered a few sub-woofers in their time, and the zany version of "The Skater's Waltz" by Will Glahe, with ping-pong stereo effects, whistles, boings and a host of musical theatrics.

And notice the retro price on the cover...

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Focus on Phase 4 Stereo

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Focus on Phase 4 Stereo

Mr Snookles

Friday, December 08, 2006

This Is Hugo Montenegro

Today's post is a double LP from the king of the movie western sound track, Hugo Montenegro. There is an interesting collection of western themes with whistling, whip cracks and 'Yee Hars' in abundance. Also a good smattering of spy movie soundtracks - "Our Man Flint" with its daring touches of Moog is a standout. Finally a few arrangements of iconic sixties tracks such as :Good Vibrations" and "So Happy Together" round out the selection.

Hugo clearly enjoys finding exotic and unusual tone colours for his pieces. Ocarinas and Brazilian jungle flutes pop out from amongst the strings. In his own words - "I'm an experimenter in music. I am interested in enhancing the musical experience by utilizing dramatic effects."


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Due to Rapidshare file size limitations this post is split into two sections. You will need to download both parts to unzip the file.
This is Hugo Montenegro part 1
This is Hugo Montenegro part 2

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This is Hugo Montengro

Mr Snookles

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Arthur Feidler and the Boston Pops - Christmas Party

Mr Snookles, being a composite creature, was somewhat undecided on whether to post some Christmas vintage vinyl. "Bah Humbug" said the spleen, "Ho Ho Ho" said the left ventricle. Eventually the heart triumphed over the head and Mr Snookles presents Arthur Feidler and the Boston Pops with their Yuletide festivities.

A 93 piece orchestra adds some musical muscle to the arrangements, and the inclusion of some classics as well as the standard tunes adds interest to the album.

The Dream Pantomime from Hansel and Gretel is a nice addition (it used to be performed as a Christmas entertainment before it became a grand opera). The swinging version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town which closes the album is probably the pick of the tracks, a lively swing-band feel gets the chimney rockin' and the sleigh-bells ringin'.

And a Merry Christmas from (all of) Mr Snookles


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Arthur Feidler and the Boston Pops - Christmas Party

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Arthur Feidler and the Boston Pops - Christmas Party

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Paul Mauriat - Blooming Hits

Paul Mauriat, French pianist, conductor and arranger, has been described as the virtuoso of the "in" sound, and in this album you can hear a generous dose of the "hip" instrument of the time - the harpsichord.

The mood is sunny and light, and the catchy tunes linger in the memory. "Love is Blue (L'Amour Est Bleu)" was Mauriat's biggest selling single at around the 1.6 million mark, and took the single and this album to number one on their respective charts.

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Paul Mauriat - Blooming Hits

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Paul Mauriat - Blooming Hits

Mr Snookles

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Art Van Damme Quintet - A Perfect Match

Today's offering is a jaunty outing from jazz accordionist Art Van Damme. For this album he teams up with guitarist Johnny Smith, hence the title. The smooth tones of Smith's guitar contrast well with the raspy edge of the accordion, and the two protagonists, with a sound understanding of each others phrasing, complement each other well.
The result is light and airy in mood, and the girl in the red bikini tops off a delightful retro listening experience.


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Art Van Damme - A Perfect Match

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Art Van Damme - A Perfect Match

missing track;
Poiniciana

Mr Snookles

Monday, November 27, 2006

Nat King Cole Sings - George Shearing Plays

Something a bit special today - the incomparable baritone of Nat King Cole teams up with the dreamy piano of George Shearing to create an album that's about as smooth as you can get.

The George Shearing Quintet, with its pianos and mallets, was the quintessential cool jazz sound; add a string orchestra for that extra schmaltz and weave in the cultured tones of Nat King Cole as he masterfully interprets the tunes. A cool, swingin' treat for you lounge lovers.


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Nat King Cole Sings - George Shearing Plays

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Nat King Cole Sings - George Shearing Plays

Mr Snookles

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Joe Loss - Big Band Bossa

Don't be put off by the clarinet-fondling floozie on the front cover - this is a classy selection of tunes with a light bossa beat. There's a few bossa standards such Desafinado and the ubiquitous Girl From Ipanema, the latter featuring some tasty tenor sax lines from Duncan Lamont. The other tunes are popular standards of the day - Bacharach's "Close To You" is a stand out, and there's a hip arrangement of "Killing Me Softy" on side two. Joe Loss has a deft touch with his arrangements, and the musicians, made up of his regular band and a number of top session musos brought in for the recording, give a first class performance.

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Big Band Bossa

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Big Band Bossa

Oops...

Mr Snookles has just noticed that track six in the download is faulty. The download has now been fixed, but for any of you early-birds who downloaded the original file, here is a replacement track six...

Track Six - Soul Bossa Nova

track 12 also...

Track 12 - Bossa Nova USA

Mr Sookles.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Victor Silvester - Someday I'll Find You

For those lovers of the light classics, here's a collection of the tunes of Noel Coward, played by Victor Silvester with his Silver Strings. The mood is feathery light and sunny, merry pizzicati and bubbling woodwinds decorate Coward's whimsical tunes. The silver strings themselves carry most of the melodies, and a sense of English drawing room charm pervades the entire album.


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Victor Silvester - Someday I'll Find You

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Victor Silvester - Someday I'll Find You

Mr Snookles

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Rugulo Plays Kenton

Silky smooth, beautifully orchestrated swing-band jazz from the Pete Rugulo Orchestra. The mood ranges from the more typical feel-good swing grooves to moody, introspective moments where the arranging talents of Rugulo come to the fore. Some of the slower tracks even hint at the dreaminess of impressionist composers such as Debussy or Ravel with their constantly shifting tone colours.

Approaching its 50th birthday, the vinyl has suffered somewhat and some restoration of the original was needed. The quality of arranging and Stan Kenton's harmonically sophisticated tunes make the listen well worth the few imperfections.


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Rugulo Plays Kenton

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Rugulo Plays Kenton
Mr Snookles.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tony Mottola Joins the Guitar Underground

For those of you who enjoyed the previous Tony Mottola posting, here's another one for your listening enjoyment. This Project 3 release features Tony playing with the Guitar Underground, a group consisting of a rhythm guitar and three electric guitarists. The use of a few unorthodox foot-pedal effects, 12-string classical and six-string bass guitars adds variety and depth to the ensemble sound.

Here's the track listing from the back cover.


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Guitar Underground

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Guitar Underground

Mr Snookles

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sonia Rosa - Golden Bossa Nova

Lazy Bossa rhythms, acoustic guitars and bass create an intimate setting for the delightful voice of Sonia Rosa on this unusual Japanese recording, made in the studios of EMI's Tokyo associate Toshiba Musical Industries.

Stand out tracks are a smoldering version of "The Look Of Love", one of my favourite Bacharach tunes, along with Jobim's "Meditation" and "Corcovado". Here's a snippet of the back cover with the tracks (full cover scans in the download).

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Sonia Rosa - Golden Bossa Nova

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Sonia Rosa - Golden Bossa Nova

Mr Snookles

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tony Mottola's Guitar Factory


This offering on Enoch Light's Project 3 label features Tony playing a wide variety of guitars, along with a dash of electric sitar, and spiced up with a smattering of inventive foot-pedal electronics from Vinnie Bell, who also plays guitar on the album. Dick Hyman guests on organ and piano, rounding out the guitar combo sound. The result is mellow, but has a catchy and endearing quality that makes it worth repeated listening.

enjoy.

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Guitar Factory

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Guitar Factory

Mr Snookles

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The 50 Guitars of Tommy Garrett - Spanish Eyes


A few Hawaiian Tommy Garrett Albums were floating around in the blogosphere a couple of months ago. This album is more of a mixed bag. The beautiful mellow tones of the guitar orchestra will be instantly recognisable, however, to any one who has heard any of Garrett's other 50 Guitars albums.

The arranging is done for the main part by Ernie Freeman, and much of the solo work is by Tommy Tedesco.

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Spanish Eyes

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Spanish Eyes

Monday, October 30, 2006

Enoch Light - The Best of Hollywood


Here's a first album share to let you know what kind of music we like. This is Enoch Light and the Light Brigade with a Project 3 release. The standard of playing and the quality of orchestration is just what you would expect from the maestro.

This album comes from that era when it was de rigueur to put the detailed studio description on the back cover. The folks at project 3 were modestly proud of their achievements...

STEREO HAS COME OF AGE

PROJECT 3 SURPASSES THE STATE OF THE ART

PROJECT 3 HAS ACHIEVED TOTAL SOUND!

...announces the back cover.

Here's a snippet of the body of the article;
(You can read the full text on the back-cover scan in the download).

Project 3 albums are master recorded on 35 mm. magnetic film. In spite of the fact that the film is fifteen times more expensive than most studio tape, the advantages of recording on film are irrefutable. The use of 35 mm. magnetic film recording equipment, because of its sprocket-driven, closed‑loop recording, insures extremely stable, flutter‑free sound. The film, with its wider tracks, allows for improved signal to noise ratio; and the substance and solidity of the magnetic film completely eliminate print‑through, a form of distortion.

The master disc is cut directly from the film, rather than from any intermediary mix‑down step, using specially designed recording amplifiers, capable of delivering two hundred watts of power per channel, in connection with a Westrex type cutter. The master is cut and re‑cut until it meets the rigid quality of Project 3's engineers.

Mr Snookles

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Enoch Light - Movie Hits

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Enoch Light - Movie Hits


Friday, October 27, 2006

Hello World

Dear world...Welcome to Third Island.

Third Island exists as a kind of pseudo-haven for Mr Snookles, an amorphous, composite entity through which various sundry bloggers and music aficionados find expression.

Contrary to popular opinion, Mr Snookles is not the soft, cuddly toy some people imagine - (see picture). He does however have impeccable taste in music, and enjoys its full spectrum, in all its resplendent diversity, as only a truly composite being can.