Friday, April 29, 2011

Vicente Bianchi w/ Coro Chile Canta
feat. Jaime Soval

Artist: Vicente Bianchi w/ Coro Chile Canta feat. Jaime Soval
LP: Misa a la Chilena y Otros 6 Temas Chilenos
Song: "Agnus Dei"
[ listen ]

Here's a lovely South American something for a sunny Friday morning in Seattle. Born in Santiago, Chile in January of 1920, Vicente Bianchi began studying piano when he was just six years old. He went on to study music and lead orchestras in Argentina and Peru before returning to Chile in 1955, at which time he began composing a series of songs called "Music for the History of Chile" with popular Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. You can read about Vicente Bianchi's life and his musical career that spans eight decades (so far) here and here, and find more info and photos on Bianchi's official website here. Links to Spanish-language versions of these sites can be found here, and the Spanish-language liner notes from the "Misa a la Chilena" LP, which was evidently released in either 1965 or 1968, are included below.

[ Vicente Bianchi, 1938 ]

 [ Vicente Bianchi, 2010 ]

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Luther Henderson & His Orchestra

Artist: Luther Henderson & His Orchestra
LP: Pop! Goes the Westerns
Song: "Down Hoe-In It"
[ listen ]

This high-steppin', hoe-downin' hootenanny from Luther Henderson, the master of hand-clappin' instrumental dance music of the '60s, is the perfect thing to wake up to first thing in the morning. In fact, I find it's also the perfect thing to wake up to after you've already been at work for 45 minutes. Technically, the album should probably either be called "Pop! Go the Westerns" or "Pop! Goes the Western," but who cares about semantics—let's dance!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Melba Montgomery

Artist: Melba Montgomery
LP: Miss Country Music
Song: "What Makes You Think I Still Miss Him"
[ listen ]

As a matter of fact, I believe I actually have been starting to "Miss Country Music." It's been a while since I've posted any of it here. Born in a place called Iron City, Tennessee in 1938, Melba Montgomery was raised in Alabama and learned to sing and play guitar at a young age. When she was 20, she and her brother won an amateur talent contest in Nashville and by the time she was 25 she was landing hit singles on the charts with fellow country crooner George Jones. Melba last hit the country top 30 with a cover of "Angel of the Morning" back in 1977, but the lady is only 72, so a stunning and sudden comeback isn't entirely out of the question. You can read about the life and career of the lovely Ms. Montgomery on Wikipedia here, and the liner notes from this 1966 LP are included below.

[ Melba Montgomery ]

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Karen Beth

Artist: Karen Beth
LP: The Joys of Life
Song: "In the Morning"
[ listen ]

One of the joys of life I came across during my trip to Austin, TX last October was this beautiful debut LP by new age folk musician, songwriter, and performer Karen Beth. You can visit her website here, where you'll find her biography, album reviews, and samples of some of her music. You can also get "The Joys of Life" on CD and pick up a copy of her "Overcoming Stagefright" cassette, which will enable you to share your talents with others with an aura of confidence and ease.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Les Bélaisières et les Doudous de la Grande Terre sous la direction de Gérard La Viny

Artist: Les Bélaisières et les Doudous de la Grande Terre 
sous la direction de Gérard La Viny
LP: Fete Creole Aux Antilles
Song: "L'Ete en Pyjama"
[ listen ]

I'm pretty sure "L'Ete en Pyjama" means "lying around the house in your pajamas," which is what I was doing all weekend, after coming down with a horrible cold late Friday night. Musical ambassador Gérard La Viny has been bringing the joyful songs of the Antilles to appreciative French audiences for years, as you can read for yourself on this awkwardly-translated website. The French-language liner notes from the back of "Fete Creole Aux Antilles," or "West Indies Creole Memories," are included below.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Tams

Artist: The Tams
LP: Time For The Tams
Song: "Fall Down, Go Boom"
[ listen ]

It's Friday morning, and Time For The Tams! Formed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1960, The Tams were most popular in the '60s and '70s, but they had a #21 hit in the UK as late as 1987 with "There Ain't Nothing Like Shaggin." The BBC banned the song from British airwaves since they thought it was about sexual intercourse, but it was actually about the '60s dance craze. There are two versions of The Tams nowadays, both based in the Atlanta area, both claiming to be "the original" version of The Tams, and they would both like to play at your next wedding. You can click here to read about The Tams as led by Charles Pope, brother of deceased founding member Joseph Pope—and click here to read about The Tams as led by founding member Robert Lee Smith. You can read more about the first original The Tams on Wikipedia here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hiroko Takegoshi

 Artist: Hiroko Takegoshi
LP: Tokyo Gypsy
Song: "Nowhere to Go In Tokyo"
[ listen ]

Before my friend Aki helped me translate the title of this 1966 record into English, I had no idea that there had once been gypsies living in Tokyo. I'm pretty sure I've included some information about "Nowhere to Go In Tokyo" below, but I can't tell if it's the lyrics or a song description or what.

Well, it turns out they ARE the song lyrics, and my friend just sent me an email with the translation:

I woke up when I saw my mom crying in my dream and felt so sad.
I may look strong, but that's just on the surface.
Deep inside, I'm just a lonely gypsy.
I'm just like everybody else, you know?

Sure, I fell in love with a guy before, but it didn't work out because of my way of life.
I was so stubborn that I cried secretly under the blanket then.
I'm just like everybody else, you know?

If you really try, you can clean up even the heaviest rust.
I wish I could be a little girl with braided hair
and go back to my home town.
I'm just like everybody else, you know?

My friend adds: "So she's not technically a gypsy per se, but she lost touch with her family once she moved to big city Tokyo from her small hometown." Thanks, Aki!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Claude Gauthier

Artist: Claude Gauthier
LP: Claude Gauthier
Song: "Ma Muse"
[ listen ]

Here's a lovely something from a 1965 French-language Canadian record I picked up at Jive Time Records last week. Born in the remote village of Lac-Saguay, Quebec (population still just 492) in January of 1939, Claude Gauthier decided he wanted to become a singer after hearing Félix Leclerc on the radio. Claude worked for a spell as a wilderness guide and then in a record dealer's warehouse before taking his voice and guitar to the coffee shops of Montréal, where he soon became a favorite of audiences and critics alike. In 1964 he shared the stage at Carnegie Hall with Peter, Paul, & Mary, and also co-wrote a song with fellow Canadian folksinger Buffy Sanite-Marie. Claude got his acting career underway by co-starring with Genevieve Bujold in the 1967 film BETWEEN SWEET AND SALT WATER, for which he also wrote the music. But if you ask me, Claude Gauthier's accomplishments in music and film are slightly overshadowed by his remarkable ability to compliment a dynamite sweater with the perfect pair of boots. You can read more about the life and career of Claude Gauthier on Wikipedia here and go here to see a more recent photo of the handsome singer.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Los Relampagos

Artist: Los Relampagos
LP: Los Relampagos
Song: "Segudillas"
[ listen ]
Song: "La Leyenda del Beso"
[ listen ]

Here's another terrific record I took home after trading in a bunch of vinyl at Jive Time last weekend—this one featuring Spanish instrumental rock reportedly influenced by Johnny and the Hurricanes. El relampago means "lightning" in Spanish, but according to Wikipedia's English translation, this group was at one time known as Dick and Lightning (!). In any case, Ricardo, Pablo, Ignacio, José Luis, and Juan Jose formed Los Relampagos in 1961, they disbanded in 1972, and then they got back together again and released a new record in 2001. This self-titled LP was released in 1965. You can read more about Los Relampagos on Wikipedia in Spanish here, in English here, and the Spanish-language liner notes are included below.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Merrill Jay Singers, feat. Wendy Leyden

Artist: Merrill Jay Singers, feat. Wendy Leyden
LP: Songs of the Railroad
Song: "Daddy's On the Engine"
[ listen ]

Here's something I picked up for $3.50 at EveryDay Music on Capitol Hill last week. If you ask me, this crazy quilt of fun, toil, triumph, disaster, and the universal love-hunger is ripe for a contemporary remake.