Murder, Inc.

Rustling beneath the cover of midnight shadows lives the crippling dangers of the unknown. Blood-stained wingtips disturb calm and reflective puddles, while silence strangles the throat of innocence with a conservative necktie. This is Murder, Inc.. 12 mischievous anthems of criminal intent and strong-armed justice tussling with the nicotine-stained hands of fate. This Series 2000 release from Time Records (1960) was composed and conducted by Irving Joseph, and makes for an alluring inner monologue soundtrack for those restless nights when stress and suspicion creep gingerly beneath your window. If Sam Spade owned a jazz club, Murder, Inc. would be served every Sunday morning… with a mimosa and a side of ham-and-cheese waffles.

Brilliant Stereophonic Sound

HiFi Records was very proud to display and present their new, stereophonic albums with this vintage, foldout pamphlet. I’ll be honest. I had this whole post written up and (nearly) ready to publish when I received an error message (thanks, WordPress…) going into intricate detail (not really) about The Beatles and what $5.98 in 1960 was worth today, based, you know, on inflation. And now… I’m just going to be sick… and phone in this great opportunity for a classic post. SAVE YOUR SHIT, KIDS! Oh, and for those few wondering, a stereophonic record from HiFi Records in 1960 went for $5.98. That’s $50.59 today… Let that one sink in.

Italian Guitars

Time Records Series 2000 (S2023) features Al Caiola & His Orchestra hammering through 12 Italian-based, Space Age Pop, guitar-focused tracks. Torna A Surriento, Nights of Splendor, and Arrivedirci Roma are a few of the key standouts, but overall, Italian Guitars is a perfect, half-thought, lazy day groove record. It’s a Series 2000 record, so you’re know you’re getting quality sound. Pour yourself a hefty glass of Montepulciano and enjoy!

Bob

Bob Newhart released his 2nd comedy album, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! just six months after his debut recording, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart (both in 1960). This award-winning sophomore effort (winner of 1961’s Grammy for Best Comedy Performance for Spoken Word aka Best Comedy Album) granted this decades-long dry-humor mogul two Grammys for two albums, all within one year’s time. A clear indication that Bob Newhart would become and continue to be a household name, even some 58 years later. Prepare yourself for some straight man comedy brilliance.

Bongos / Flues / Guitars

The title is all you need to know about Enoch Light’s 1960 insta-classic, Bongos / Flues / Guitars. Command Records, and Mr. Light specifically, cranked out a substantial number of quality LPs in the late 1950s – early 1960s. Though officially credited to Los Admiradores, Mr. Light acted as Director and Producer, not to mention he released the album on his Command label. Buy it for the mid-century cover, keep it for the floral, Latin jazz.

 

Two Volumes are Better Than One

So happy to FINALLY complete the much anticipated, critically acclaimed Provocative Percussion series by Mr. Enoch Light and the Light Brigade. Hernando’s Hideaway is an early standout, followed by Foggy Day Cha Cha and What is This Thing Called Love. Completing a set is so gratifying, though I’m a bit sad that my journey is over. Oh, well. Now, it’s time to listen.

Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond

Alcoa (which is short for Aluminum Company of America), backed the ABC show One Step Beyond from 1959 – 1961. These are facts. This, is the soundtrack to that show. Another fact. Acquired simply for the “far-out” cover, (and although she skips like a rock), she’s a great example of “zither music” (the genre, not the actual instrument) for this place and time. Remember, kids, The Twilight Zone was popular during these years, so the idea of supernatural and impossibly imaginative adventures were all the prime time craze. Symphony Orchestra conducted by Harry Lubin… So, there you have it.

Volume 3

volume31959-1961 were very busy years for Command Records, and its owner / originator and record producer Enoch Light. Releasing all four volumes of Persuasive Percussion within this time, as well as Volumes 1 – 3 of Provocative Percussion (Volume 4 came out in 1962), the label, and mastermind Mr. Light, damn-near defined the Space Age Pop sound, while offered amazing, minimalist album covers in the process. If you’ve ever wanted to fill your bachelor pad with the persuasive and provocative sounds of Space Age Pop, we strongly recommend either (both) of these collections.

Provocative Piano

hymanIf only for the intoxicating album cover, one should check out Dick Hyman’s explosive, Provocative Piano. Released in 1960, this organ-dancing, cool-man’s-groove music will tickle your fancy just as easily as it tickles the permeating plastic keys of Dick’s outrageous organ. One listen and you’ll get exactly what I’m jivin’ at, boss. Enjoy, and tell ’em the Groove sent’cha!

Goodbye, Hank Williams, My Friend

HankEver’ so once in a blue moon, it’s Johnny Cash time, and on those rare instances where substance outweighs initial flair, it’s Johnny Cash Sings Hank Williams time. Now, more than ever, is that time. Take stock, kids… stock in the honest things that make you what you are. The rest is dispensable rhetoric, disguised as irreplaceable necessity. Weed through the muck. You’ll thank yourself tomorrow.

San Francisco’s Elite

HeckscherThe back sleeve to Ernie Heckscher’s At the Fabulous Fairmont boasts and brags about the social elite swilling it night after night in the coveted Venetian Room of San Francisco’s prominent Fabulous Fairmont high atop Nob Hill. 1960 would have been an interesting year to experience. I’d happily trade say, 2002 for it. Anyway, yet another easy listening treat for you this third Thursday before Christmas. I’ve been in a bit of a vintage mood as of late, if you haven’t noticed. Ernie Heckscher At the Fabulous Fairmont makes for great background music to just about any activity, save maybe for watching The Good Wife on Netflix. Tomorrow is Friday. This makes us happy.

Groove at the Copa

CopaA close friend and old roommate had a copy of this record back in the day, so when I saw it at Nickelodeon Records in San Diego for a cool $3, I had get it. From the cover, to the tracklist, to the Darin-esk cool within, Darin at the Copa, at least this copy, has found a welcoming place to call home in our collection.

Side note time: Nickelodeon Records was where I found my first Tim Hardin record, 1967’s This is Tim Hardin. I own all but a few of his albums now, and I’m grateful to the two women at Nickelodeon for helping to supply the essential ingredient to arguably the best discography known to man… arguably.

North by North, Alex

AlexNorthAlex North led a profoundly prolific career, this much is obvious. His work on the original 2001: A Space Odyssey score alone sets him a head above the cinematic competition, but here are a few other Alex North projects you may have overlooked (if you’re anything like me): A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Spartacus (1960), The Misfits (1961), Cleopatra (1963), and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), to name only a short few. This Spartacus soundtrack is a 1980 reissue of the original 1960 release, but a quick look on Discogs yields a fairly reasonable price for both versions (in the $6 range). Although soundtracks aren’t my immediate go to, they are a nifty little orchestral oasis once in a while.