This copy of Jingle Bell Jazz was sought out by my better half, and contains jazz-tastic renditions of holiday favorites by Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Chico Hamilton, among others. Recorded between 1959 and 1969, Jingle Bell Jazz was originally released by Columbia Records in 1962 (Frosty the Snowman by the Dukes of Dixieland was replaced by Herbie Hancock’s Deck the Halls on this 1980 reissue). Solid holiday music from start to finish, and a great find by my wife.
This 1956 reissue of Duke Ellington’s 1951 classic, Masterpieces, was one of the first records to take full advantage of the (then) new long play (LP) format. Previously restricted to about three and a half minutes on 78rpm records, Mr. Ellington and his partners in crime liberated listeners with Mood Indigo, the 15-minute opener of jaw-dropping proportions. Though I much prefer the cover art to this reissue, the 1951 original is something of recorded music history, and therefore one I shall hunt down. But seriously, this album is amazing in any format, and as with any Ellington release, comes highly recommended by the feeble minds here at The Prudent Groove.
Moonlight Becomes You by Paul Weston and His Music From Hollywood isn’t just a kitchy cover featuring some no-name model and a hammock. By no means. Moonlight Becomes You is mid-century baby-making music with a kitchy cover featuring some no-name model and a hammock. I Remember You from Somewhere, Almost Like Being in Love, and I Should Care carry this wistful collection of moods through “360” hemispheric sound. It’s a perfect circle of moods for any and every occasion. Check it out.
Here is a double page insert from Columbia Records by way of the December 6, 1963 issue of Life magazine. Though the issue focuses (and rightfully so) on the then recent assassination of Mr. Kennedy, this particular issue is chock-full of music-inspired holiday gift ideas, such as the layout above. I’m in the market for this particular magazine (happened upon it at a cabin by the lake), but was sure to take plenty of photos of its wonderful, 54-year-old contents.
A few things I didn’t notice about Art Garfunkel’s 1975 Columbia records release, Breakaway. 1) Richard Perry produced it (Mr. Perry is famous for his work with Harry Nilsson), and 2) the track My Little Town has Paul Simon on it, making it a legitimate Simon & Garfunkel song. Their last? Of that I’m not sure, but it’s a good day to find out. Thank you, 42 year old hype sticker!
A friendly reminder that Columbia Records (now owned by Sony Music Entertainment) would like for you to enjoy the world’s greatest catalog of high-fidelity records… superbly performed and recorded on Columbia 33 1/3 LP Records. Your favorite artists… your favorite music reproduced with matchless clarity and realism.
Enjoy Columbia Records, and have a great Friday doing it.
Mr. Jerry Vale answered a seemingly endless string of mundane, and inessential questions with the title of his 1965 album, Have You Looked into Your Heart. Odd that there’s not a question mark at the end of this title. Anyway, below is a brief series of questions, adequately answered by this Italian-American legend:
Q: Dammit! I’m late for work… again. Where the hell are my damn keys?
A: Have You Looked into Your Heart?
Q: Why is my toe bleeding?
A: Have You Looked into Your Heart?
Q: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
A: Have You Looked into Your Heart?
… of high fidelity, or so Columbia Records claims, circa: 1956. At a time when many lesser-than labels were pushing “high fidelity” as more of a general, blanket statement rather than something that could necessarily be guaranteed, Columbia felt the incessant urge to mark themselves above all others with their “360” SOUND symbol. Have a read below from the majestic wonders of “360” SOUND, in Columbia’s own words (as found on the back of Paul Weston and His Music from Hollywood’s Moonlight Becomes You):
The symbol “360” SOUND is the summa cum laude of high fidelity.
It is your GUARANTEE that each record so designated has been engineered and individually tested under the supervision of the Columbia Sound Laboratory.
Starting with the taping of the performance, through strategically placed wide-range microphones, every step in the manufacturing process is checked for peak efficiency — including an actual laboratory-calibrated playback of each disc before it is released.
Not only original masters, but stamper test-pressings are required to match, in A-B tests, the tapes from which they were derived.
Only such rigid control permits production of recordings covering the entire 30 to 15,000 cycle range within a plus or minus 2-decibel tolerance.
Like the 360 degrees of a perfect circle, “360” SOUND is the true spectrum of high fidelity.
For this reason Columbia Records, the oldest name in recording and creator of “Lp”, GUARANTEES without reservation the fidelity of this “360” SOUND record.
Editor’s note: Hot damn!
This illusive little slithering snake has managed to outrun me for the last, conceivable time. Found this essential gem over the weekend for a cool $6.42 at my local brick & mortar. I’ve checked the country section for this album at that store every week for the past several years, and I finally walked away red handed. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, originally a track written for Roy Acuff by Fred Rose, has been covered in the studio over 8 times, includes renditions by both Conway Twitty and Hank Williams. I can’t say I’ve heard each and every version, but I’m confident in stating that none could be better than Willie Nelson’s soft-spoken, heartfelt version, track five on Columbia Records’ 1975 masterpiece, Red Headed Stranger.
Meet Andre Kostelanetz is a fascinating compilation of easy listening classical jazz from 1955. Made up of a handpicked selection of Kostelanetz’s earlier Columbia Records recordings, Meet Andre Kostelanetz features, among others, cuts from Carmen, The Nutcracker Suite, and classic Gershwin, while beautifully offering hi-res (albeit small), full color images of his previous Columbia Records releases. A great companion for early evening ambient noise while prepping for dinner or cleaning out the fishtank, Meet Andre Kostelanetz is a perfect introduction to this brilliant and hard working Russian conductor.
You have to go way back to July 17, 2013 for the first Groove post on fine quality Columbia Phonograph ad-serts. As you’ll recall, “Listening in Depth” is a buzz term used by Columbia sound laboratories to promote their seemingly revolutionary Directed Electromotive Power (D.E.P.) phonograph console. Featured here is Model 535 which boasts and brags about all the same cabinet wood finish variations as Model 532, but ups the ante in overall power and sound quality (if only marginally). This beautiful piece of 1958 machinery would go perfectly in any (or every) room in my house, and I’ll personally shake the hand of the first person to send me one. Email me for shipping address.
It’s a random Wednesday in December, so let’s celebrate the mundane doldrums of mid-week mediocrity with Boris Sarbek and His Orchestra’s 19?? Gypsy Fire. This enticing, bongo-hugging, ethnically-charged, gas-fireplace-raging, not-so-subtle-hint of sexual emotion is, by all intents and purposes, the perfect mid-week ear snack.
I know absolutely nothing about Polly Bergen (sorry, Polly), but this 1957 Columbia records release, at one point, and likely very briefly, graced her hands. I imagine a 1957 year old Jane was a lover of Polly’s early film career, or perhaps Jane was just a monster fan of The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse (Polly hosted from 1954 – 1955 before getting her own show, The Polly Bergen Show in 1957). I found this copy at a Goodwill in the valley and decided I had to have it. Maybe I should give it a spin sometime…
Big Brother & the Holding Company’s 2nd studio album, 1968’s Cheap Thrills, featured not only the groundbreaking single, Piece of My Heart, but also a vibrantly illustrated cover by Robert Crumb. Rolling Stone created a list of the 100 greatest album covers of all time. Cheap Thrills ranks no. 9. Interesting fact is that this was originally intended to be the album’s BACK cover, but apparently Ms. Joplin preferred Crumb’s art to a picture of herself and Columbia Records swapped covers. Smart move if you ask me, and you didn’t.
Side note: All this time I thought Southern Comfort took Janis. Thanks for that one, Bruce! Heroin, eh. Moderation, kids! Oh, and happy Friday!