Though I’m a fan of the historical importance of its existence, and early Simon & Garfunkel is damn-near perfect, hardcore folk music has always been one of those illusive and rarely sought-after genres I’ve made attempts to all but avoid throughout my “listening career.” It’s my ignorance, really, or my desire to “waste” my time listening to music of much better quality (again, ignorance rears its daft head), but The Kingston Trio’s 1960 album String Along nicely fits this unwelcomed void, so much so that it’s making me question the sadly inevitable, “getting into folk” chapter of my life. Coming as a “must-have” suggestion, mainly for the side 2 track, To Morrow about a small town in Ohio where the “suggester” spent his glory years, I fear this key is unlocking a folk-sized door that my ears (any my patience) have always intended to ignore. A welcoming error in judgement on my part, we’ll see how long this new storm cloud lingers.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
1959-1961 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.
If 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!
Ever’ 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.
The 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.
A 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.
Alex 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.