Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra released a riveting collection of Afro-Cuban-infused jazz for Mercury Records on his / their 1961 album, The Best of Cugat. Having been recording and releasing material since the early 1940s (Rumbas, released in 1941), it must have been painstakingly difficult to find only 12 tracks from Cugat’s vast, hip-swaying catalog to fill this compilation. If you haven’t heard of Xavier Cugat, climb out from under your rock and check out this “best of” comp. It’s a great place to start, and can be had for under $3.
Originally titled Percussion Spectacular!, Arthur Lyman’s 1961 “haunting melody” track, Yellow Bird, became a major hit, and Percussion Spectacular! would bow to its rereleased name, Yellow Bird. Whatever the hell you call it, L-1004 (catalog tag release name from HiFi Records) is another classic space age pop release by the master of ethereal delight, Mr. Arthur Lyman, and should be strongly considered for your next social gathering.
Ahhh (sigh of relief). Another day, another early 60’s Space Age Pop album. Enoch Light? Check! High quality gatefold cover? Check! Command Records quality? Check! Groovy, minimalist album art? You bet’cha! Provocative Percussion Vol. III is probably my favorite so far, of those I own. Still missing Vol. II, then we’ll have all 8 volumes of both the Provocative and Persuasive Percussion series. Volume IV of Provocative currently rests on the wall of our kitchen after the wife knocked over the previous framed accent. She’s a fan of these volumes as well, so secretly, I think she wanted to display the album art. Who can blame her?!
No, not the fun loving, prehistoric Snorkasaurus from Bedrock, but instead, the golden-throated matador, and decades old wearer of many hats, Dean Martin. Originally released in 1961 by Reprise, Dino Latino takes the Italian American south of the border for a stampeding collection of Latin gems. Check it out, if only for the outlandish cover.
Music to Drink Bubble Up By! was a fantastic find for $0.92. We listened to her the other night and she’s filled with early 60’s radio jingles ranging from Cha-cha-chá, to rock, to easy listening, to seductive sleaze. If the cover doesn’t grab ya, the clever and well-written jingles will certainly have you reaching for cool, refreshing, lemon lime bottle of classic Bubble Up. I’ve certainly never had it, but it’s now on my radar.