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