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Mr Lucky
Music Reviews

United Future Organization
No Sound is Too Taboo
Verve Forecast 3145267222 Pop/Jazz


This will come as a great surprise to many of our readers who think of us as stuck in a fancier version of the past, unable to cope with the harsher version of modern reality, but there is a whole new movement of modern music that we fancy. Originally this music was called acid jazz and that term seems to work for lack of a better moniker but it's not acidic and it's only jazzy, not jazz. More often, it's interesting pop music that has influences in jazz, world beat and the funk of the 1970s.

The best of this breed (and we will keep you posted when the right name comes along) is United Future Organization. They are slick and well- produced, but they have a biting sense of humor and a firm grasp of their outside influences, which are many.

Like Massive Attack with a keener wit, UFO is all over the map, with a special affection for Brazilian rhythms. Other tracks cover hip-hop, Middle Eastern wails and nearly straight-ahead jazz. All of the tracks are at least interesting and very often they strike a musical chord that is so satisfying you have to question a music industry that values Mariah Carey over this. What's the big deal? This music is just as accessible and twice the fun!

For us the highlight of this album is the closing track, Tears of Gratitude. A strong yet understated Brazilian beat is the backdrop to a large Protestant chorus singing a moving wordless vocal. On the one hand, it's done very tongue in cheek and on the other, it's incredibly moving. The only quibble is that there is a faint sound of a record's surface noise with a needle in a groove, á la Arrested Development. Isn't this the most tired effect by now? Stop it this instant!

Review originally appeared May 1995


Maxine Sullivan
Atlantic 781783-2 Vocals

Maxine Sullivan for years was known mainly as the gal that made Loch Lomand swing and it's unfortunate that she didn't receive wider recognition. In fact, her talent grew as she aged and she became a very interesting singer. Usually this praise would mean that she lost her voice, but Maxine Sullivan sounded swell right up to the end of her life.

Together is a tribute to the music of Jule Styne and for our money, it represents the very best of classic American singing. It's straightforward, jazzy and unaffected. We'd have to say that Styne is probably the most "unrecognized" songwriter of the century, followed by Harold Arlen. Most everyone can name a song by Cole Porter, the Gershwin Brothers or Richard Rogers but mention Styne and you'd be lucky to get the recognition for writing Funny Girl (which, incidentally, is not represented here). In addition to Funny Girl, he scored Bells Are Ringing, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (although the film version had additional songs by Hoagy Carmichael) and Gypsy. He also wrote many good popular songs. Together, with its 16 tracks, is nowhere near complete but it showcases a good cross section of Styne's work.

The backup is by the very capable Keith Ingham Sextet. They are unobtrusive to the melodies, compliment Sullivan's singing style and shy away from nostalgia, except for the rare Dixieland riff here and there.

We're trying to understand why this collection works so well when a similar date by someone like Rosemary Clooney or Tony Bennett would be pleasant but ultimately put us to sleep. Great singers seem to get to a certain age and the singing becomes effortless and they just open their mouths to produce good music. Perhaps after years of this the edge becomes not so sharp, especially if one is successful. Rosemary Clooney and Tony Bennett could make good albums, they just don't. Clooney tends to sound as if she just rolled out of bed to make a recording date while Bennett is sounding more and more like a high school drama student in order to cover up the notes he can't quite make anymore. Maxine Sullivan has neither problem. Perhaps she wasn't as familiar with the songs because each song gets a real reading as if being sung for the first time. There's no coasting here.

The highlights would include Time After Time, which is taken at a dangerously slow pace but succeeds anyway, in part to a Ben Webster-inspired sax solo. Distant Melody from Peter Pan (with lyrics by Comden and Green) becomes a lullaby for adults while It's Been a Long, Long Time goes from being a World War II anthem to celebrating the breaking of a sexual fast. It's all very intelligent, adult and clever. The finest moment has to be Killing Time, written relatively recently with Carolyn Leigh. We can't imagine any of Sullivan's contemporaries doing this very moving song justice.

There are two weak numbers. Saturday Night (Is The Loneliest Night of The Week) is so tied to Sinatra that this lackluster arrangement does little to cut the cord. Dance Only With Me has the only arrangement that dates this 1987 release. It features a bogus Bossa Nova that belongs on Fantasy Island, not here.

This release was out of circulation recently but now seems to be back. If you spot it, grab it. Otherwise have your music agent order you a copy.

Summer 95

 Various Artists
Mambo Mania!: The Kings and Queens of Mambo
Rhino R271881 Latin

We have to laugh just a little now that the world seems to have discovered Latin music. Where was everybody when we were screaming from the rooftops about this great music? The danger is now that this music is "valid", everyone wants to get their two cents in. The positive side is that lots of great tracks that were long out of print are now coming out on compact disc. This Rhino collection, Mambo Mania! is a nice overview of some vintage Latin music but there are problems.

For us the biggest disappointment is that almost all of this material is available elsewhere on CD so the only interest is having these tracks all in one convenient place. Big deal! The one piece that is new to us is Desi Arnaz singing Un Poquito de Tu Amor with a small percussive combo rather than a band and it's a sweet little number, but hardly a mambo.

In the well-written booklet, the author describes how the word mambo erroneously became "the umbrella term for dance music that had different styles. The son montuno, the guaracha, and the guajira had their own individual expression, but by the end of the '50s they were all identified in the U.S. as either mambos (or as) the cha cha cha". This may have been true for non-Latins but mamberos and mamberas certainly knew what a mambo was and today we do, too. So why the odd programming that perpetuates the wrong information? The weirdest choices of all are La India de Oriente singing a countrified son (from 1980) and Ray Barretto's take on the charanga craze of the 1960s.

In defense of the CD, the sound is justifiably bad. A trend in re-issues, Latin in particular, is to clean and improve the vintage sound. Unfortunately this often means muffling up the scratches. Recording large mambo bands was hard enough but adding our "improved" recording techniques makes for a difficult listen. Mambo Mania! is clean.

One final gripe with Rhino records in particular: Why do you always have to justify your subjects in relation to rock and roll? The liner notes suggest Mambo is only valid because a generation that later made rock popular listened to it. Their Louis Prima collection suggests that we owe a listen to Louis because he was the bridge between rhythm and blues, and rock. We know from the generally fine programming that Rhino doesn't really believe this and we find it insulting that the listener is treated like a half wit. Besides, soon they'll have to start justifying rock and roll to a new grungey hip-hop public. On all counts, we think an explanation is owed the other way around.

If you're interested in the Mambo, we suggest you pick a vintage Machito like Dance Date with Machito, a 1950s Tito Puente title like Cuando Suenen Los Tambores on RCA and the very great jazz compilation from Verve, The Original Mambo Kings- An Introduction to Afro-Cubop.

May 95


 Billy Eckstine
Billy's Best!
Verve 3145264402 Vocals

What a man! Billy Eckstine is not for the faint of heart with his completely over-the-top bigger-than-life voice. We've mentioned him before in these pages but this new reissue is so great we couldn't pass up the recommendation.

From the no-holds-barred tango version of The Boulevard of Broken Dreams on, Eckstine comes on full force. Young ears making the transition from grunge to music in the MrLucky manner will not want to start here. It's just too wonderful.

We do have to admit that, depending on one's mood, Billy can be a bit much, but when the timing is right there simply is nobody better.

Among the treats here are Richard Roger's neglected Nobody's Heart, Harold Arlen's When the Sun Comes Out, the old chestnut Trust in Me and the previously mentioned The Boulevard of Broken Dreams. You will wonder how someone hip enough to be buddies with Bird, Diz and everyone else in the Bebop kingdom could sing so beautifully without much humor or irony and still not be sappy, but that's the Billy Eckstine miracle.

Summer 95

 Various Artists
DRG 12605 Soundtracks

We recently rented the videocassette of the sweet but ultimately boring film, Danzon. It's thin plot is about a woman who takes a trip to Veracruz to search for her missing dance partner. There are however many nice moments and the heart of the film is the music.

Here in the states we think of the Danzon as Cuban but the Mexicans apparently love it and think of it as part of their culture as well. Since the opening song on the disc is Lagrimas Negras, one of the most important Cuban numbers ever written, we get the sense that the relationship between Mexican and Cuban Danzon is like the relationship between pomme frites and french fries. They're both fried potatoes but they're also worlds apart.

About three quarters through a Danzon, the band usually cuts loose and that's when we really get interested. Judging from the dancing in this movie, these Mexicans don't feel the same abandon. Their Danzon is a very formal ballroom dance all the way through.

The soundtrack CD contains the best music from the movie, in particular the really fine Viajera by Luis Arcaraz y Su Orchesta, sounding very much like Italy's Natalino Otto. We're also nuts for Amar Y Vivir by Julio Jaramillo. Most of the rest of the disc is Mexican Danzon which we love for its oddness. These sound like field recordings, with an occasional sour note and free for all conducting, the perfect accompaniment to a dinner al fresco or a really kinky date.

 Dizzy Gillespie
The Champ
Savoy SV0170 Jazz

Nothing bugs us more than when someone asks, "What's the absolute best Salsa record to get?" or "If I'm only going to get one jazz record, which one should it be?". Whatever the motivation, the we perceive the question to be "Save me a lot of work and just tell me what to buy and I better love it to death or I'll lose total respect for you". You'd be surprised how many times similar questions cross our path. Being the happy carefree optimist so many of you know and love, we're going to now assume the meaning of the question is "I have no clue in regards to (fill in the blank). MrLucky, can you start my appreciation of (fill in the blank) by suggesting a title I might enjoy quite a lot? In fact a title that will cause so much merriment and joy that I'll perhaps be inspired to buy more titles by (fill in the blank)".

Dizzy Gillespie's The Champ is a good starting point for appreciating on e of America's greatest treasures.

The lack of good Dizzy Gillespie recordings available is a national embarrassment. Since his death, the situation is a bit better but on the whole there's much work to do. Part of the problem is that Diz was a real chameleon so having just a small part of his catalogue available distorts the picture.

Verve's Dizzy's Diamonds is a fair overview of the later Verve and Polygram years but it seems like a teaser of what should be available instead of a decent retrospective. In the end it leaves one wanting a lot more. It also feels very disjointed despite the fact that the three discs are separated into three groups: small bands, big band and Latin.

If you're after early Afro-Cubop Diz, there's RCA's The Bebop Revolution which features 10 tracks from the historic Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra featuring Cuban legend Chano Pozo. If you have any doubts about Dizzy's influence on popular music, not just jazz, over the next thirty years, give these recordings a listen.

For a nice introduction to Dizzy Gillespie just playing and arranging, we like Savoy's The Champ. It's not an "important" work but it's very representative of a certain swinging period in his life and as an album it holds its own. many of the tunes have minimal quirky arrangements, almost like late 1950s English comedy soundtracks. Every time we hear a new version of Tin Tin Deo we think it's the best and this one falls in that category. There are a few vocals from Joe Carrol and even Stuff Smith's violin, proving the point that Dizzy couldn't easily be pigeonholed.


 Keely Smith
Spotlight On...Keely Smith
Capitol CDP 0777778032724 Vocals

There is a God!

Long time readers of MrLucky will understand how we tend to go off the deep end when it comes to Keely Smith. Long considered only Louis Prima's sidekick, she is in her own right one of the best singers of her generation. Great voice, great phrasing and a sense of humor.

Until very recently, her in-print catalogue has included her work with Louis and some mediocre work available on the Jasmine label. Her best stuff was on Capitol when she worked with arrangers Billy May and Nelson Riddle. There's an English Capitol release called The Best of Keely Smith, which contains Politely (with May) and I Wish You Love (with Riddle). Unreleased (except as part of a very expensive box set of Louis Prima work) is her Riddle collaboration Swingin' Pretty. Fortunately, the best of all these albums really is collected here on Spotlight on Keely Smith.

It's Magic is the perfect example of why Keely is so great. The first go round, Keely sings this old Doris Day chestnut straight and sweet in a classic fifties style. Then it's almost as if Doris has left the room and Keely and the boys let it rip and sing a very swinging round of the same song. Finally, teacher returns and it's back to slow and steady but that's O.K. because we're pretty much wowed by what Keely just did with the song.

The highlights are too numerous to mention. We love There Will Never Be Another You from Swingin' Pretty. Keely starts with just the accompaniment of the bass but is quickly answered with the entire orchestra. In fact, the song is almost entirely a call and response between Keely and the band. Stardust is pretty high up on the list of songs we've heard one too many times but after a straight verse, Keely and Nelson Riddle change tempos, feelings and keys enough to keep us more than interested. Lullaby of The Leaves is a gorgeous tribute to her Southern roots and this version of Sunny Side of the Street is a real flag-waver.

We could quibble with the tracks not included. When Day is Done from I Wish You Love is brilliant and Keely's interpretation of All The Way rivals Sinatra's. Why the soppy Mister Wonderful and Don't Take Your Love From Me are included, we don't know except Keely, as always, is in fine voice.

We won't apologize for being so gung ho on Keely Smith, but you should keep in mind our admiration borders on the irrational. Even still, we don't see how any fan of classic American popular music can live without this collection.

Keely plays regularly in Las Vegas at the Desert Inn, as part of an act with Sam Butera. Sam, of course, played sax with Prima in their 1950s heyday, but now mimics Prima to the point of being almost creepy. Keely still has a gorgeous voice. In fact, it's so good it's almost spooky. What kind of vitamins does this gal take?

May 1995


 Various Artists
Accordeon 1913-1941
Discotheque des Halles DH002CD France

Once when we were in our teens, we decided to go to a real bar and see what all the fuss was about. The only drink we knew we liked was a Harvey Wallbanger, a sweet Galliano based drink popular among youth and secretaries in the 1970s. We also knew we'd be thrown out of the bar if we ordered such a drink. We had bad youthful taste but we were savvy! When the bartender asked what we'd like, we lowered our voice a notch or two and said, "Scotch and soda". As he prepared our highball, we laughed quietly to ourselves, for we had sure pulled one over on the bartender. It turns out that we didn't laugh for long. To our pubescent palate, Scotch tasted like Mother's nail polish remover. It was even more shocking than the time our dear Pater explained the birds and bees to us, even if the effect was the same: If this is what it means to be a grown up, no thanks!

Things have run their course and the birds, bees and scotch are all a happy part of the Big Picture, as we see it. So is accordion music. At first it was ponderous, dull and a bit too Eastern European for our fancy tastes. Then we discovered the Tango. This led to gypsy orchestras and now we are free from any accordion phobias. In fact, there is no more pleasant music on earth for preparing dinner or driving through the countryside.

On first listening, there might be a sameness but you soon realize that this is just not the case. The accordion can be a swinger, a waltzer or even a murderer. It's an orchestra in a box and the sound depends on the conductor.

This French collection has not left our CD player since it arrived home. As the title suggests, all styles from the early part of the century through World War II are covered. It would seem the accordion would have one last hurrah in the 1950s when George Shearing used a Bebop accordionist on a few of his early sides, and then not much interest until the early 1980s Tango revival. There aren't many vocals on this set, except for the first version of Edith Piaf's L'accordeonista, and that's just fine since it allows the accordion to take center stage.
Whether you like Scotch- or Galliano-based cocktails, you owe it to yourself to give this loopy music a go and we can't think of any better place to start than here.

October 1994


 Henry Mancini
The Music from
Peter Gunn
RCA 1956-2R Soundtracks

Was there ever a better recording ever made in the entire history of mankind?
While you most definitely are overly familiar with the title melody, there's the slight chance you've  never heard the infinitely hipper companion pieces on this amazing album. They range from breezy bachelor make-out music to finger popping anthems suitable for grocery shopping, convertible driving  and high speed chases.

Each of the numbers is "jazzy" and reportedly performed by L.A.'s top jazz musicians of the West Coast Jazz school. Henry Mancini wrote some of the most moving songs of the post Tin Pan Alley era but his arrangements often were too sweet or cheesy. The title song from the other great TV series, Mr. Lucky (the copycat!), is gorgeous but is marred by a roller rink organ and lush strings. It's Vince Guaraldi's version that gave the great melody it's place in the sun. Peter Gunn has great melodies and arrangements on every track. It's a winner all the way.

Our advice is run down to your music seller, put a copy on the hi-fi, fire up the BBQ and have a  painfully cold martini while you wait for the coals. We believe this is what Spaulding Gray refers to as a Perfect Moment.

Rene Touzet
The Best of Rene Touzet
GNP/Crescendo GNPD 2000 Latin

We didn't want to make this number of MrLucky quite so Latin-heavy but when we heard this re-issue we had to pass on the good news. This is a collection of various cuts from twelve of Gene Norman's Crescendo releases and it's a real hoot.

History hasn't been kind to Rene Touzet (pronounced "too-zette", not "too-zay" by the way).  He's become a footnote in the story of Latin music and this is a crime! His piano playing was very  elegant and while his arrangements used authentic Afro-Caribbean beats and rhythms, his orchestrations were gorgeous and grand rather than manic and wild. This is not to say he was laid back, watered  down or not interesting. His version of Siboney (originally from the Lp Too Much) is typical of his  technique with an arrangement. It starts out with the rhythm at a steady pace and then Touzet  enters on the piano and plays the song straight through once. The recording is rich and Touzet  sticks fairly close to the melody. On the next go round he lets loose and gives up the elegance  and plays vamps and bounces off the bongos, always with a sense of cool detached dignity.

We really love El Cid at top volume. It's pretty camp and you can imagine a toreador night club  routine but it also swings. The trumpet solos by Tony Terran are just great. The sound quality,  like most Crescendo recordings, is top notch for the era.

An oversight is the lack of anything from the Lp The Charm of the Cha Cha Cha, which  featured great covers of The Peanut Vendor and Malaguena, but with 12 albums in his catalogue, narrowing down the selections would be a real task.

P.S. We are happy to report that Mr. Touzet is thriving in sunny Florida.


 Judy Garland
The Complete Decca Masters (Plus)
MCA MCAD4-11059 Vocals

We like seeing old Judy Garland movies on TV and so far that's been about it. We'd hoped  last year's release of London Sessions from the 1950s would help us to understand her appeal  but it didn't. We almost always find her amped up emotional overdrive style too far over the top  to be really musical. So it's a mighty big surprise to discover how much we've enjoyed hearing The Complete Decca Masters these days.

The first track, Stompin' At The Savoy was recorded when Garland was only thirteen years old. It's kind of scary hearing this adult voice singing about lips and loving in such a mature way but  it's also impressive. The next track, Swing Mr. Charlie is even wilder and we much of the rest of this collection often continues in this upward direction.

These early tracks are so good because the orchestrations are excellent and Garland was really a  singer. This version of Over The Rainbow is actually refreshing because it's sung very straightforward and sincerely, not like the dirge or anthem it would later become. Harold  Arlen's Buds Won't Bud, Mickey Rooney's Oceans Apart and Noel Coward's Poor Little Rich Girl are all highlights.

The news isn't all good. Garland learned early on how to please the adults and it's nauseating  hearing her play innocent on Sweet Sixteen or turn green on It's A Great Day For The Irish.

Almost all of the Vaudeville tributes are barely tolerable in the movies but here you'll head right  for the forward button on your CD player. By the third CD of the set, the first signs of stress  show and she falls back on shtick a little too often. On the fourth CD a set of duets with a  piano should be arresting, frank and honest but end up almost pathetic as her voice and focus falter, particularly on Falling In Love With Love.

Still, there are great moments here and it's its nice to discover why everyone else  is so nuts for Judy Garland.


 Xiomara Alfaro
Siboney: Lo Mejor de Xiomara Alfaro, Vol.1
RCA 74321-17721-2 Latin

Among the big surprise releases this month is this collection from the excellent RCA Tropical Series. We knew nothing of Alfaro except an occasional vague reference in articles on Cuban music. What a shock to hear this really weird and wonderful voice that sounds like Indian film queen Lata Mashankar singing traditional Latin boleros in an upper register.

Alfaro sings high and we imagine this might be irritating if it were just playing on in the backround but the vocals are so arresting that it would be nearly impossible not to give her your full attention.

The arrangements are good (including several by Chico O'Farril) and we imagine this is what chic Latins listened to in the early 1960s. It's wild.

 Various Artists
Voices of Cool: Atlantic Jazz Vocals, Vols.1 & 2
Rhino/Atlantic R271748 Vocals

If we see one more stinking Cole Porter tribute we will scream and throw a tantrum. Yes, the  Gershwin brothers wrote quite an impressive number of fine songs but honestly, so did Harold Arlen,  Harry Warren and Johnny Green. Does the fact that Jon Bon Jovi is able to pronounce all of the  words to a Gershwin standard earn him the right to record these words on an "all star" tribute?  How are we to react when a writer on CompuServe claims Barry Manilow's new Big Band tribute is "absolutely authentic" and goes unchallenged by anyone else? Mediocrity is overtaking us, dear  readers! Singers of average talent are taking over and claiming the Great American Songbook as  their own! They must be stopped!

Before Harry Connick, Jr., Cher, Jon Bon Jovi, Toni Tennile or Sinead O'Connor commit another  act of clueless desperation by performing a song with more than three chords, they should be  required to listen to these two fine volumes of real musical Americana.

On the whole, these fine singers are the B list in comparison with Frank, Ella, Sarah or Mel in  terms of success but hardly in talent. The songs are a great mix of standards and unknown gems  that are refreshing to hear after the countless Porter and Gershwin collections we've been exposed to these last years. Quite a few of the tracks are absolutely great. Each and every one is the  essence of "cool" and musical at the same time.

The standouts are many. Ray Charles' When Your Lover Has Gone cuts straight to the point.  Mel Torme with the Raelettes performing Comin' Home Baby is a must-have that almost out-cools Cy Coleman's version of the same song. Bobby Troup's The Meaning of the Blues by Carmen McCrae will make you wonder why the Manhattan Transfer's Janis Seigel even bothered a few years back. Bobby Darin's All Night Long is not about getting a good night's sleep.

With 38 tracks, you're likely to go off course. Two Bessie Smith numbers are done by LaVern  Baker and Nancy Harrow and while they're not bad, they don't excite like the rest of the pieces do.  We've always found Jackie and Roy kind of icky and they seem just that to us here, but they  have had a tremendous career and are well respected among jazz folks so we're willing to let  them ride.

We are neglecting many things here but it would be redundant to go on and on. We will say  that there's a fascinating song with the Modern Jazz Quartet and Dihann Carroll that makes  us really mad. She's so talented and has a superior voice and yet where are her discs in print?  Perhaps she's chosen the Vegas life over Basin Street or maybe the record companies don't  care. Either way, it's a waste of a fine set of pipes.

Finally, as an added treat we have liner notes by the wise and witty Will Freidwald who  sheds light on each of the tracks. All this and heaven, too!

 Susannah McCorkle
From Broadway to Bebop
Concord Jazz CCD 4615 Vocals

To quote Ira Gershwin: "How long has this been going on?"

Most new female vocalists have left us cold or burned us. Nnenah Freelon commands minimal interest, Dianne Reeves went off the deep end and Anita Baker is strictly a one trick pony. Without a doubt, Susannah McCorckle is Best of Show. She has a wonderful rich husky voice that can hit the  notes and sound intelligent as well. She would probably hate the comparison to Joannie Sommers  but it's almost as if Sommers grew up and became hip. Sommers still sings (and often well) but  she hasn't an iota of the musical imagination of McCorkle.

This is our first McCorkle album but we doubt we've lucked out on a good one. The hip opener is Frank Loesser's Guys and Dolls with the Guys part swung to a brassy arrangement while the Gals part is taken at a slower vamp. That she can make these familiar lyrics sound new is a real feat. Chica Chica Boom Chic from the Carmen Miranda film That Night In Rio (which is brilliant, by  the by) is wisely sung straight because the lyrics are nutty enough as it is. Recently Brazilian  singers Marisa Monte and Joyce have attempted and botched it, perhaps by being too close to the source. The irony is that it was written by Gordon and Warren, who also wrote You'll Never  Know and The More I See You. We also love My Buddy which is taken up  tempo instead of as a dirge.

We need to nit pick just a bit. McCorkle can be a little too perky and sometimes the song  selection is odd. One of the Good Girls must work in concert but is a yawn after the initial  hearing with its operatic narrative and slow pace. Once You've Been In Love goes nowhere  fast and we had a hard time trying to follow the melody.

The band is very tight and you imagine them applauding her after each number. Everybody  obviously enjoyed making this disc and it shows. To say we're nuts for Susannah McCorkle  would be an understatement.


 The Beau Hunks
Play the Original Little Rascals Music
Koch Screen 387022 Soundtracks

Has there ever been a more welcome new CD?

The Beau Hunks Play the Original Little Rascals Music is a new recording by a Dutch  orchestra recreating note for note the original orchestrations from the scores of the Little  Rascals (or Our Gang) film series from the 1930s. The performance is absolutely faithful  to the original recordings but never sounds dull or museum-like. The Beau Hunks succeed  where others have failed because they avoid reverence and are obviously having fun with all  the great music composed by LeRoy Shield for this amazing series of films.

The music is surprisingly good and stands on its own, even without Buckwheat and Darla.  Only occasionally does it feel like incidental or background music yet we defy you to find  better background music for your daily chores around the house. Dusting and cooking are  particularly good pastimes at our maison. Your mileage may vary.

Except for the immediately identifiable theme song, Good Old Days, none of the individual  titles sound familiar except in style. This has led countless acquaintances to ask, "Just  what is this? It's great!" We have to agree and think you will as well.

The recording is excellent and since this is a domestic release it shouldn't prove too  difficult to find. All we know is that we don't wanna go to school today because we  hear the new teacher Miss Crabtree is a witch!


 Nancy Wilson / Cannonball Adderly
Capitol CDP 78484552 Vocals / Jazz

What a fine album this is! Before Nancy Wilson started relying on her own vocal clichés  to put over a song, she really was a bright young thing on the music scene. Adderley plays  it very straightfoward here and he's the perfect compliment to Wilson. The song selection is  very clever. Frank Loesser's Never Will I Marry makes much more sense in Wilson's  capable hands than her colleague Barbra Streisand's version on The Third Album. She  even swipes A Sleepin' Bee away from Babs, giving it a lighter touch, which we think  Wynton Marsalis swiped for one of his Standard Time discs. The only problem is that  the disc is too brief and only six of the tracks feature Wilson. Still, it makes for a  great outing.


 Shyam Brass Band
Street Music, Vol.3
Tips TCCD-5221 India

And now for something completely different...

This is a wild recording of an Indian brass band. It is beyond weird and we can't get enough of it. The drums are savage and the arrangements vary between college marching band-type numbers and something that is almost akin to Gnawa music. It is very original and disturbing. If you're up for an adventure you should try it.


 Eddie Palmieri
 & his Orchestra
Tico SLP-CD 1148 Salsa

Readers, file this one under Classics! Like most anything Eddie Palmierei ever does, Molasses explores new directions in Latin music rather than rehash successful formulas. This recording,  like most good Latin discs, has little documentation and no original issue date. We'd guess it's  from about 1965 or so and you can hear the Boogaloo coming just around the corner. Almost all of the cuts are upbeat winners with the stress on Afro in Afro-Latin. The only drag is Andre and Dory Previn's You're Gonna Here From Me from the film Inside Daisy Clover. The bolero beat can't help the trite lyrics and even hinders the melody, especially at the awkward bridge.


 Eydie Gorme & Trio Los Panchos
24 Grandes Canciones
Globo/Sony 81776/2-474188 Latin

Go ahead and laugh. We love most of this gooey treacle. Gorme has a great voice and  Los Panchos are the perfect combination-plate Mexican restaurant trio. Some of these  songs are classics in the Latin American Songbook, including Sabor a Mi, Luna Lunera and Piel Canela. Gorme's Spanish is flawless and sterile (her father was Puerto Rican)  and Los Panchos do their romantic best.




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© Coconut Grove Media

Scientific, Accurate
& Easy To Understand!
5 Martinis = Classic
4 Martinis = Great
3 Martinis = Good
2 Martinis = Fair
1 Martini = Poor


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