Written by Burt Bacharach and made famous by Dionne Warwick, Do You Know the Way to San Jose got its best makeover (of about a thousand), by the the Baja Marimba Band back in 1968. This lovely little sketch is featured on the back of said band’s album cover and, I thought, needed sharing. Tomorrow is Friday, kids. Don’t forget to smile… it’s free.
Walter (or Wendy) Carlos performing Moog interpretations from of The Beatles, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Burt Bacharach, and Johann Sebastian Bach? Hell yes! Sign me up! Released in 1975 on Columbia Masterworks (and this truly is a masterwork), By Request is a great little novelty album perfect for lazy Friday afternoons with little-to-nothing to do. Enjoy your records responsibly, kids, and happy Friday!
I’d known Faith No More to be an enigmatic and critical band for more than 20 years, but it wasn’t until last night that I finally realized their crushing significance in modern day pop music. I’d witnessed many an amazing show in my tenure, but last night’s performance at The Wiltern was by far one of the best I’ve ever experienced. Patton singing Bacharach, and (obviously) NAILING it, is one of a handful of scenes that I’ll be mulling over for quite some time. I went in knowing it would be a good show, and I walked out shivering for more.
Herb Alpert and his talented band of merry elves deliver a stellar collection of wistful Christmas classics neatly wrapped in a “south of the border” sized box, with just the right amount of contemporary wrapping and an unforgettable horn-shaped bow. The standards, you ask? They’re here… Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Jingle Bell Rock, Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bells etc., as well the desperately playful Burt Bacharach number, The Bell that Couldn’t Jingle.
Released in 1968 on A&M Records, a label Mr. Alpert helped form (the A in A&M stands for Alpert… true story), this set of holiday hymns suffers from only one discriminating flaw… it is entirely too short. This album could easily be three times the length and still not cross that lingering line of awkward and incessant “is this album EVER gonna’ end” vibe. This album, like most everything Herb Alpert was involved with, is extravagant and considerably timeless. One thing is clear after listening to this album; I don’t listen to NEAR enough Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. My list of New Year’s resolutions is growing exponentially. I blame Obama.
When you purchase a used album, you really never know what you’re going to get. (Takes a few steps forward and smiles.) Hello, this is X from The Prudent Groove.
Not unlike downloading an album without the proper metadata, and we all know how annoying THAT can be, am I right?! (Takes a beat.) The level of quality attributed to a used record you find at say, a thrift store, is based solely on the mindset, (Beat.) and general care of its previous owner. (Looks down, then back up. Puts hands in pockets.)
Was the previous owner a neat freak who housed each of their cherished albums in overpriced, protective sleeves like we do here at The Groove? (Cocks head as to ponder this question.) Did they use the front jacket as a temporary table for rolling dried relaxation plants? (Beat.) Were they careless and used the back cover as a coaster, leaving a circular ring of ancient coffee above the “we’re trying to look casual” picture of the band? (Lets out a slight chuckle.)
These questions, and any others you may have of a record’s previous owner, will fall upon deaf ears, and the answers will only exist within our own imaginations. (Sits down on a chair. Where did the chair come from?)
Take for example this A&M Records insert I found inside my copy of Johnny Cash & Jerry Lee Lewis’ Sunday Down South album on Sun Records. (Holds up record, not pictured here.) The previous owner either didn’t care, or didn’t notice that the insert didn’t match the album. Not a very big deal as the record is in pristine shape. (Chuckles.) The previous owner probably didn’t enjoy the music and never played it, and THAT’S why it’s in such good shape. (Stands back up and begins walking.)
“Listen To Your World” is a clear-headed marketing slogan from A&M Records that suggests “your world” (Does quotes with his fingers… incorrectly.) can only be found on A&M Records. Clever girl. (Says in terrible British accent.) The flipside to this slogan showcases some pretty heavy-hitters from the A&M catalogue. (Looks down at insert as if to read.) Cat Stevens, Herb Alpert, Humble Pie, Quincy Jones and Burt Bacharach to name a few. With no date affixed to this insert, the words, “Listen To Your World” seem to become as timeless as some of the classic releases found on A&M Records. Coupled with the bold, white text on a basic, black background, this modern day musical proverb is a strong, and I hope profitable, marketing campaign for A&M Records, one that I’m happy I stumbled upon in an almost unorthodox manner.
Take a little mental trip on your next hunt through your local second hand store, and give a distinctive personality to that record you can’t live without. (Puts hands in pockets and smiles.) The album, like the music, exists as an entity in and of itself. Give it a history, and your collection will come to life in ways you never imagined.
This has been X from The Prudent Groove. (Smiles and puts hands on hips.) I’ll see you here tomorrow. Have a great afternoon. (Walks away in an awkward, no idea where he is stroll.)