Thursday, March 22, 2007

Break Through - Studio Two Stereo


Another classic lounge sampler, this time from EMI's Studio Two Stereo series. Released in 1967, this album has some crackers on it. Check out the Band of the Irish Guards' rendition of "Michelle" from the album "Marching With The Beatles" - if anyone has this album it is your sworn duty to upload it and send us all the link...

Other standouts are "Silhouette Hula" from Wout Steenhuis, one of my favourite Tiki artists, the bustling and energetic "633 Squadron" from Ron Goodwin, and "Spanish Harlem" from Norrie Paramour. Incidentally the cover photo is of the brand-new Concord under testing in the wind tunnel of the Royal Air Establishment.

(click on the tracklisting image for a larger view)

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Break Through - Studio Two Stereo
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Break Through - Studio Two Stereo

Mr Snookles

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Harold Smart At The Theatre Organ

Back in the heyday of the theatre organ in the UK - around 1940, a certain Charles Smart was working as a BBC Theatre Organ and recording artist. Fast forward to 1971 and son Harold, a popular Hammond organist gets back to his roots and records an album on the theatre organ. The Harold Smart Quintet also backed Petula Clark during the late 50's.

The sound lies somewhere between the Hammond and the pipe organ, although at times you could swear you were listening to Klaus Wunderlich. The album has a breezy and cheerful insouciance which makes well worth a few listens.
Enjoy

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Harold Smart At The Theatre Organ

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Harold Smart At The Theatre Organ

Mr Snookles

Monday, March 19, 2007

Enoch Light Singers – Dream A Little Dream Of Me


Enoch Light branches into Mike Sammes territory with this release, but choosing a repertoire made up of chart hits of the day. The choir - eight boys and eight girls - was asked to phrase and sing in the same way the Enoch's big band members played their instruments.

The result is this sunny collection of familiar tunes given the Enoch Light makeover and sung by a choir of distinctively '60's voices.
Groovy.


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Enoch Light Singers – Dream A Little Dream Of Me

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Billy Smith - Incredible Hammond Organ


More Hammond goodness, this time from Billy Smith. The 60's saw a swamping of the market with Hammond albums - from super to schlock. Billy went for the more rock-oriented approach of his more illustrious namesake, Jimmy Smith, but still added those cheesy touches that make lounge well - lounge.

And, could you resist those 'Buy Me Now' eyes on the cover-girl?

Enjoy.
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Billy Smith - Incredible Hammond Organ

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This Is Francoise Hardy


M. Snookles je'taime le chanteuse Francais!

Francoise Hardy was France's answer to Astrud Gilberto. The same breathy ingénue, but with a throaty Brigit Bardot-esque lower register that bespeaks the passion of the continent. The first side is a collection of torch songs sung in English, while side 2 is sung in French, but one suspects the sentiments are fairly similar.

The instrumental ensemble that accompanies Francoise in more a 60's pop-rock out fit than an orchestra or swing band, but the brass and string sections appear when needed. So grab your glass of Pernod, slip on your Courreges trouser suit, and drive your Lancia down the Rue de St Germain Des Pres with Mme. Francoise.


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This Is Francoise Hardy
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This Is Francoise Hardy

M. Snookles.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Demonstration Of The Big Astor Sound


More essential lounge with a showcase record from the Astor record company. This album has a couple of tracks from the Syd Dale combo. one of my favourite artists, as well as Tony Osborne, Dom Dominic and Geoff Walker, among others. If anyone has any of the albums below - well, why don't you upload them and drop a link in the comments...


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A Demonstration Of The Big Astor Sound

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A Demonstration Of The Big Astor Sound

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Les Elgart On Tour


Dating all the way back to 1959, this sheaf of prime Elgart tunes demonstrates the bounce, cleanliness and smoothness that make the band virtually irresistible. At least that's what the liner notes say, and the chic air hostesses on the front cover seem to be in full agreement.

Les Elgart's orchestra trod the middle ground between the sophisticated swing of Stan Kenton and Pete Rugulo, and the big band pops of Enoch light and co. The blend of smooth understated swing and bouncy dance tunes does indeed make good listening, and will appeal to jazzers and loungers alike.


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Les Elgart On Tour
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Les Elgart On Tour

Mr Snookles

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Prima Orchestra Di Roma - Italian Percussion

This rare Euro-lounge gem from the Australian World Record International company is a great example of the continental approach to big-band pops. Maracas, guitars, marimbas accordions and bongos join with the brass, reeds and woodwinds of the big-band ensemble to create a vibrant infectious album of groovy lounge tunes.

The constant changes of orchestration and stop-time bongo and timpani sections remind me of Esquival, and the twinkling marimbas and honking baritone sax riffs are classic lounge fare. A must have.

So get down and do the Mambo Raviolli.


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Prima Orchestra Di Roma - Italian Percussion

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Enoch Light - Let's Dance The Bossa Nova


OK, lets get back to some essential lounge listening from 1963 with this gem from Enoch Light and his orchestra. Don't be put off by the disintegrated cover, or the fact this Australian pressing was released in mono; this is a great collection of big-band bossa nova tunes by the maestro.

Tommy Mottola plays some smooth chord solos, and Enoch Light regulars Doc Severinson and Al Klink add standout solos. It's the ensemble playing by the sax and trumpet sections that really shines, however, along with the fidelity of the recording which allows the distinctive timbre of each instrument to be clearly heard. The bass saxophone grunts and the tambourine sparkles...you get the idea.

The other interesting feature of this album is the detailed album notes analysing each song on the back cover. It makes an interesting exercise to read each description as the music plays, to see if you agree with the reviewer. So what are you waiting for ... Wrap your ears around Enoch's swingin' big band and start Dancin' The Bossa Nova!

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Enoch Light - Let's Dance The Bossa Nova

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

More Switched On Bacharach


But wait - there's more! Yes, after receiving a knighthood for his services to lounge music, Sir Christopher Scott went on to record his second Moog tribute to BB. Again the "Mooginess" of this album isn't over the top, the sounds are actually quite musical, and the use of delays and echoes was really quite ahead of its time.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed our spurt of Burt; I think we've got it all out of our system now, and we can move on to see what other treasures lie in the Mr Snookles vault...

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More Switched On Bacharach
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More Switched On Bacharach

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Switched On Bacharach

For every great lounge artist there is at least one Moog covers album. Let's face it, you either love the Moog or you hate it. When played badly, the Moog can sound uncannily like the call of a lovesick, yet constipated brontosaurus echoing across the primeval ooze.

This album, on the other hand, is surprisingly musical - the artists have commendably resisted the urge to apply all the Moog sound effects which sounded so hip back then, but make one cringe/laugh hysterically/head for the nearest exit today. The only exception is the last track, where the inclusion of the word "Pussycat" in the title led to a showcasing of the Moog's ability to re-create the dulcet tones of a tomcat on heat. All in all one of the better Moog albums out there, and a great reminder of "The Sound Of The Future" circa 1972.

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Switched On Bacharach

Oops...the Rapidshare link pointed towards the previous Bacharach Baroque post...all fixed now.

Mr Snookles