We expanded the Martin Denny collection this weekend, tripled it actually, with the help of his 1959 album, Quiet Village – The Exotic Sounds of Martin Denny. Passed up Volume III of Exotica (stupidly), but managed to secure another 1959 classic of Mr. Denny’s, Afro-Desia. I don’t know what the hell was going on in the late 50s, early 60s, but things are getting out of control in a hurry!
Released in 1959 (a pattern… it’s beginning to develop!), Terry Snyder and the All Stars (with production and direction from label owner, Enoch Light) released volume 2 in a four volume series titled, Persuasive Percussion. Surprise, surprise, Space Age Pop a plenty on this series, and v2 was my first acquisition from the bunch. Had for a cool $0.92 (yes, that’s correct), Persuasive Percussion Volume 2 has gotten heavy play since the recent monetary transaction, and comes highly, no, intergalactic-ly recommended.
The carousel of Space Age Pop continues to spin over here at The Prudent Groove. Next up, 1959’s The Legend of Pele from Arthur Lyman. “More birds?” asks my wife as the first tracks spins. Bird sounds were (apparently) a big thing in the late 1950s. Exotic sounds (and covers) of just about every kind were big just before the boom of the sonic British Invasion. This era, and this uncategorizable genre (Space Age Pop is a modern term) is a whirlwind of toe-tapping, bird chirping grooves that screams for unforgotten attention, that which it is currently, and diligently receiving from our cabinet hi-fi.
It’s Saturday, and time for Cha Cha. I’m sorry, didn’t you know? Nevertheless, the glorious weekend is here, which is celebration enough for dancing. I Want to Be Happy Cha Cha’s by Enoch Light and the Light Brigade (gee that sounds great) offer a spectacular blister-popping dance party with this, their magnificent 1959 album. Enjoy your weekend, kids!
Hugo Winterhalter Goes… Latin, and we here are thankful that he did, since, as far as I can recollect, we can all benefit from this throwaway, yet strikingly beautiful 1959 design layout nonchalantly strewn across his majestic cover… or some type shit. You, my friend, exist, within “Living Stereo.” Manufactured in 1958, the Living Stereo logo is both synonymous with quality, and visual brilliance… not to mention it’s 58 years old. Respect the history of graphic design, kids.
Arthur Lyman just made my list of musically most wanted. His otherworldly album covers from the late 50s are something heavily deserving of frameable art, while his music carries a luscious, easy listening, space-age brilliance rarely found in today’s dollar bin. Hawaiian Sunset, released in 1959, was the followup to his 1958 debut Taboo, another captivating package necessary for any cocktail lounger on a budget. His album covers start to tame-out in the early 60s, but man, these late 50s covers are something of sheer, cheeky brilliance!
Stereo Exciting Sounds from Romantic Places… wait, or is it, Exciting from Romantic Stereo Sounds Places? Likely, it’s Exciting Stereo Sounds from Romantic Places with Leo Diamond’s Orchestra. Whichever way the mischievous title unfolds, Leo Diamond kills this 1959 easy listening LP. From cover to groove, this hi-fidelity ear-grabber sets both the mind, and body at ease. Listen with caution, if you dig.
The first compilation / greatest hits album Johnny Cash released (or rather, the label released for him) was 1959’s appropriately titled, Greatest! 12 cuts, all from the Sun Records library, Greatest! is a breath of fresh, country air even 56 years after its initial release. I have no idea what LPs sold for back in 1959, but this one set me back only $3 just last weekend. Inflation be damned, am I right? Anyway, Greatest! contains some classic, early Cash greats such as Get Rhythm, Luther’s Boogie, a few Hank Williams numbers (Hey, Good Lookin’, You Win Again), and some lesser known classics to round out a full, pertinent collection of tragic songs. Greatest! may not be Cash’s greatest, but it’s worth seeking out.
A quick (very, very quick) fact check places this Capitol Records insert in, or around the year 1959. Meredith Wilson’s Original Broadway Cast of The Music Man was released in ’57, Louis Prima’s Las Vegas Prima Style was ’58, and Sinatra’s 1959 Come Dance With Me! all help make this claim. Regardless, these vibrant colors coupled with this elegant and straight-forward layout make for compelling and eye-catching contemporary art. My local record store has STACKS of these random inserts, and I’m 15 minutes shy of heading down there and asking how much they want for the lot. I’m sure my SO would be thrilled to beat the band about me acquiring even more record paraphernalia. Let the convincing commence…
Jabba the Hutt’s taste in women derives from the Red Sea shores of this north-eastern Egyptian city, or so it would appear from the cover to 101 String’s 1959 space-age pop-jazz compilation, East of Suez. Perhaps slave women apparel is globally standard and I’m just catching on, or, per chance, it’s that Mr. The Hutt has a very distinct taste in his slaves’ swimwear. If you’re in the market for orchestral mood music with a provocative, Egyptian undertone, look no further than East of Suez.
Like something straight out of the opening credits to North by Northwest, this, the original cover to Henry Mancini’s 1959 The Music From “Peter Gunn” aptly packages the swiftly-infused late 50’s power jazz within. Spy Hunter has nothing on Peter Gunn, clearly, and this original sleeve runs high-speed laps around its reissue, which was (im)perfectly showcased here. Word on the street (via Internet Ave) is that John Williams was part of Henry Mancini’s orchestra during this time, so hit your local brick and mortar first thing tomorrow and track this down this jazzy jamboree.
Bernard Herrmann (double N), and the Hitchcock extravaganza… get this masterful record, after all, it’s a Varese Sarabande release, and those in the know, know. Released in 1980, a solid year after my manifestation, Vol. 1 in the Soundtrack Series, this is certainly one to seek out. On a day of SEVERE disappointments, North By Northwest is a comforting chap.