Wild is Love
Capitol CDP 724382851127 Vocals
to Nat's liner notes, he was looking for "something else"
and he felt he had found it in this high concept collection of songs
by Ray Rasch and Dotty Wayne. The credits and look of the cover
art are meant to give the impression that this is the soundtrack
to a movie never made.
thing it wasn't! The songs are very loosely related by inane and
cliché laden commentary by Nat. The story is never fully realized
so we're left bewildered as to what he's even talking about.
the bad news. The good news is that the performances by Nat and
an orchestra led by Nelson Riddle are all topnotch and if you can
ignore the between song narrative and several lyrics that are just
plain dumb, you'll discover a pretty great CD. There's an occasional
chorus that sounds like a parody but their appearances are so few
they provide some humor and don't get in the way.
like Hundreds of Thousands Of Girls and Pick-Up are
such great studies of early 1960s clichés that you'll want to jot
the lyrics down and liberally pepper your conversations with them.
The title song (also nicely covered by Shirley Horn on her Lp Loads
of Love) is a peppy bongo'ed jaunt that we find ourselves singing
biggest complaint about Nat has been his trouble keeping up with
a big band. He usually sounds lost and confused. He seems
more at ease with the ballads, especially later in his career. This
isn't the case on Wild Is Love. He sounds relaxed and upbeat
at the same time. We can't just attribute this to the very talented
Nelson Riddle because we had problems on their previous flag waver,
Just One Of Those Things.
sound is absolutely gorgeous and you'll be amazed that this album
was recorded over 30 years ago.
Torres & his Mambo Kings
E&E Entertainment (no cat. number) Latin
disc has been getting a lot of airplay on salsa programs and the
buzz in the clubs is that this is a winner. We can't figure out
why. It's fair but each of the tracks has a mild easy beat that
hardly excites one to take to the dance floor. The band never really
lets loose except on perhaps La Mulata Rumbera and Eres
Mi Coco, and even then the horn arrangements are rather uninspired.
other thing that bugs us is the use of the word mambo. Ninety percent
of this is lackluster New York salsa and the other 10 percent
is Latin Jazz, which is closer to what we think mambo would be but
the mambo greats during the golden era of the Palladium had powerful
and intricate arrangements. These tracks have a "head"
arrangement played at the start and then each of the players taking
solos. In truth, we think these are closer to a descarga than a
Black Coffee and Other Delights
MCA/Decca MCAD 211122 Vocals
come to the conclusion that Peggy Lee is one weird bird. We grew
up listening to her old recordings with the Benny Goodman Orchestra
and her later Capitol recordings from the 1960s and 1970s. We remember
her singing Memories on a Kodak commercial and we also remember
her recreating her big dramatic moments from the movie Pete Kelly's
Blues on the Carol Burnett Show. Our dear Pater would lament
that she was losing her voice but she had such a great sound and
sense of intimacy it didn't matter much.
confess that we were unable to finish reading her autobiography
because her memory was dim when it came to anything interesting
but she remembers looking out several windows on several birds singing
and she took these sightings as "signs". She also remembers
several of her gowns. There wasn't much for music fans and even
less for those searching for good juicy gossip.
Coffee and Other Delights is a two disc collection of her Decca
years. This is the period in the 1950s sandwiched between her long
running Capitol gigs. It has many nice numbers and quite a few dogs.
On the whole, if you're not "Peggy People", this is not
a good place to start. There are many off numbers where Lee must
be experimenting with new ideas but they just don't gel. Here are
the first glimpses of that Valium voice that was to later become
effective but here sounds like, well, Valium talking. It's occasionally
funny, but not all that satisfying. Instead Lee sounds like a loon
and you imagine the room where she recorded the tracks was equipped
with nice men in white jackets and rubber walls.
are some straightforward standards for those of us who have trouble
with Peg's version of exotique, but she's either recorded
them better before or after or someone else has. You've Got To
See Mama Every Night (Or You Won't See Mama At All) sounds contrived
and unconvincing compared to gutsy Kay Starr's version. A simpler
version of Sugar (That Sugar Baby of Mine) works much better
on the Capitol Collector's Series disc. The same is true
of I Don't Know Enough About You.They Can't Take That
Away From Me is done with a big band that adds nothing.
Coffee and Other Delights isn't all that bad but we don't think
it will find its way onto our player very often.
A.S.P.I.C. X55517 Latin / Cuba
must have done something very good indeed to be treated to such
a great new disc.
recent recordings out of Cuba have been a mixed bag and the Salsa
scene stateside hasn't had a real gutsy release for some time. All
we can say is if the wait yielded Sextetto Ache, it was worth
a collection of Cuban son, this band has listened to enough jazz
and pop to infuse a new energy into this great style. While not
sounding particularly folklorico, there's a real guairo (country)
feeling with lots of tres and trumpet. The best of Celina and Reutilio
comes to mind and our initial reaction was to throw a huge barbecue.
You can almost hear the splat of the lime-marinated pork loins hitting
the grill. You can feel a slight "ice headache" as you
down another Mojito cocktail a wee bit too fast and you also get
that great trance-like feeling dancing to this music, earning your
nickname of "Snakehips". To top all of this off you have
Gabriel and his funky trumpet inviting you just a bit higher.
we'd better get some air.
Afro-Guairo mix is perfect and we've yet to find a listener who
is not taken with this set. The voice of Joel Padron is youthful
and the recording clean.
CD has not left our player.
Atlantic 826272 Vocals
memory tricked us with this CD that we raved about last month. That's
All is a fine album of Bobby Darin's Sinatraesque work and it
includes the two essential Darin cuts, Mack The Knife and
Beyond the Sea. It's also kind of weird with strange "arty"
arrangements, overwrought ballads and an odd recording technique
of separating the vocals to one channel instead of the center.
these annoyances, any Darin fan will welcome this re-issue featuring
Softly As In A Morning Sunrise, I'll Remember April
and Some Of These Days, which are not on the Greatest Hits
compilation, Mack The Knife: The Best Of Bobby Darin Vol. Two.
almost ruins the whole show is the closing track, That's All.
What was poor Bobby thinking? A sweet simple ballad is turned into
a bongo-laden mess with meaningless lyrics and perhaps the most
embarrasing attempt at scat singing we've heard. It's this kind
of abuse that sent a generation running to rock.
Armenteros y su Conjunto Estrellas de Chocolate
Guaguanco a Todos los Barrios
Antilla CD 15 Salsa / Cuba
at our growing collection of compact discs and platters of Latin
origin, we realize that Guaguanco A Todos Los Barrios
was one of the titles we latched onto early in the game. At first
we were disappointed because it wasn't fiery and urgent enough,
like the Salsa we were listening to at the time. Slowly, its charm
started to overtake us and we now would have to list it as one of
are nice arrangements with horns and a conjunto but the sound is
relaxed and more like a bunch of friends hanging around seeing how
well they can play. As usual, we prefer the zippier numbers to the
boleros but even the rhythm numbers are bouncy rather than manic.
clever trumpet playing of Chocolate is very bright and he uses it
almost as an answer to the call of the other soloist instead of
taking center stage.
Billy Eckstine Update
heard a lot of enthusiasm for our Billy Eckstine review in the last
issue. Good! Until recently the works in print have been dismal.
We've just found two new gems to add to your collection. Basie/Eckstine
Incorporated (Roulette CDP 7243.8.28636.2.5) has beautiful clean
sound and typical Basie arrangements on this 1959 date. The song
selection is generally good and Billy gives lots of room for the
Basie Band to blow. Even better, but less in a jazz vein is Verve's
Jazz 'Round Midnight (Verve 314.521.652.2). This is a selection
of songs from the same period as the Everything I Have Is Yours
years (reviewed in the last issue) but less framiliar songs which
is always a good thing for MrLucky readers.
Never Been In Love Before seems to be the only duplicate (and
it might be a different take) and that's such a nice performance,
who cares? A real stand out is You Leave Me Breathless and
a big "Wow!" comes from It Can't Be Wrong from
Bette Davis' film Now, Voyager. The melody and Eckstine's
performance are so beautiful that you'll forgive the world famous
Herman McCoy Singers who do their best to muck up the number.
only real complaint is about the cover of the CD. Why is there a
grainy photo of a stupid yuppie couple with the fellow biting the
strap of the lady's Maidenform? We realize that this release is
part of a series called Jazz 'Round Midnight but why? Billy
Eckstine was considered a dreamboat in his day and photos prove
this to be true. Why not show him off?
Cruz & Johnny Pacheco
Celia & Johnny
Vaya VS-31 Salsa
you interested in building a substantial library of Latin Muisc?
Let this disc be part of the foundation. Everything worked in these
sesions and one of the finest records of contemporary Salsa was
produced. There's so much going on at any given time that it's easy
to lost and just enjoy the general "feeling". This is
fine but you'll miss all of the real treats. What Celia does with
her voice on the first track Quimbara is nothing short of
impossible. How does she make all of those syllables come out so
fast? What do they mean? Just try repeating the phrases.
of the other tracks are equally as strong. The recording is good
(better than even the more recent Tributo a Ismael Rivera)
and you'll find yourself wondering what other Celia Cruz albums
really "Right On!" cover is an added bonus.
Verve Blues 31454211472 Blues
we go any further we have to state that Lucky Peterson fans are
very excited about his work. We must also state that in general,
soaring electric guitar solos are not our bag. On hearing Lucky
Peterson for the first time we were very surprised to find this
categorized as blues. It is superior rock by an earnest musician
with a pretty great voice and loads of electric guitar riffs. We're
stating all of this so that you can put Peterson in context. We
like it and you may love it. How's that for diplomacy?
general energy level is in overdrive. Several numbers stand out
like the instrumental title track, That's The Way It Ought To
Be and a cover of Stevie Wonder's You Haven't Done Nothin'.
Apparently Peterson puts on a great live show and perhaps it's there
that his blues roots shine.
like his first name an awful lot.
Czech Symphony Orchestra
The Symphonic Fellini/Rota
Silva SSD 1024
wouldn't be very clever or original advising you that no one captures
the romanticized version of Italy, and Rome in particular,
better than film maker Federico Fellini and that it's unimaginable
what his films would have been like without the music of Nino Rota
as their soul. This is a given. Visions of Anita Ekburg taking a
midnight dip in the Fontana di Trevi, Marcello Mastroianni cruising
the streets of modern Roma in a convertible with a pair of cynical
good natured prostitutes and a band of local boys urging the grotesque
Serafina to do her dance on the beach are all part of our collective
consciousness of an idealized absurd Italian fantasy.
spent many hours wandering around Rome with a Walkman playing the
music of Nino Rota, trying to recapture the circus atmosphere, but
it was unnecessary. Even without the Walkman, you still hear the
music, thanks to Nino Rota. This collection is great mostly because
of the improved fidelity but it also features great arrangements
of 8½ and La Strada, among others. The orchestral
arrangements are nearly perfect while the jazzier bits, like the
suite from La Dolce Vita fall short of the original recordings.
What's needed is really a jazz group to do it justice. This version
of Amarcord is flawless. It uses several themes from the
film and intertwines them into a medley that progresses naturally.
Spotlight On ...Peggy Lee
Capitol CDP 724382853329 Vocals
can't imagine how much flack we took from the fans of Peggy Lee
when we reported our ultimate boredom and frustration with
the Decca collection Black Coffee and Other Delights. In
our opinion, these just weren't good times for Peg. "Peggy
People" don't agree, but then they also think Olè a la Lee
is Latin music, not indulgent camp.
we all can agree that Capitol's new reissue Spotlight On...Peggy
Lee is first rate all the way. The songs, the arrangements,
the sound quality and of course, the singer, all make for one of
the few Peggy Lee albums you must buy to understand classic American
her Collector's Series compilation focused on the early years
with hubby Dave Barbour, this set takes the best snippets from her
long playing records from the late 1950s and early sixties. Like
Spotlight On...Keely Smith in the same Great Ladies of
Song series, these really are the best or essential tracks from
these albums. Unlike Keely Smith, Lee's output on Capitol was huge
and the decisions must have been much more difficult. The only real
crime is that this CD wasn't released years earlier.
all of the tracks are highlights but we've always been partial to
When a Woman Loves a Man from I Like Men. This original
Lp also had a killer Good for Nothin' Joe that will hopefully
will see the light of day soon. This release features the definitive
renditions of Too Close For Comfort, Close Your Eyes
and The Best is Yet to Come. We all know and love Fever
but shouldn't we stop for a minute and think how unbearably hip
it was to take this R&B number and bare it down to bass and
drums in 1958, let alone today. Shouldn't we also wonder what pop
icon Madonna thought she was doing when she sang her silly version
a few years ago?
Lee had several ways of singing. Sometimes, when she's not swinging,
it sounds as if she's either on downers or in a loony bin. There's
always been much made about Peggy's "Valium Voice". Some
love it, many hate it, and others tolerate it. We understand all
three sentiments. It permeates her album The Man I Love,
with orchestra conducted by Frank Sinatra. We will now duck and
dodge the stones as we say it's probably an overrated disc with
some fine moments. Its tracks here are among the album's weakest
with the exception of her other worldly rendition of Jerome Kern's
fine The Folks Who Live on the Hill. Appropriately Lee has
cited this as one of her best works and it's the perfect ending
to a near perfect album.
Seven Gates SGDL0001
Aru Ketu de Periperi
when we think the Bahia sound has spent its last musical penny,
we discover something else great to like about the music known as
samba-reggae. The moniker makes sense when you hear the distinct
beat but it's neither samba nor reggae. As played by Aru Ketu it's
a gutsy pop music that's not as inventive as fellow Bahians, Timbalada,
but more consistently wonderful.
MrLucky isn't the type that would don a thong on a tropical beach
and dance to samba-reggae under the glorious Brazilian sun,
but alone in the Coconut Grove compound, dancing around to Aru Ketu,
we imagine that we almost could do just that. The songwriting is
pretty good on all three discs and the performances are surprisingly
consistent. We tend to play Bom Demais more than the others
but we can't explain why. Each disc has two or three essential tracks
and several of those wonderful breaks where the music stops and
the sound of pulsating drums takes over. It's infectious and highly
Calypso- Is Like So...
Scamp SCP 9701 Vocals
beauty of this re-issue is that it's exactly what you'd expect-
film star Robert Mitchum singing calypso music. It's also
a best case scenario. The humor is in the concept, not the
execution. The orchestrations are definitely Hollywood fifties but
they're well done. "Bob" is in fine voice and his traces
of a Creole accent are respectful rather than mocking. The song
selection is textbook calypso-cliché but it's really a fine romp
and you should buy it now in case it goes out of circulation again.
a bonus there are also two non-calypso numbers but the smart money
is on the Caribbean.
is also a Bear Family release out of Germany that includes the entire
Calypso - Is Like So... album plus everything else he recorded,
mostly being country-rock. If you're a Robert Mitchum fanatic, you'll
want the complete recordings. The rest of us will be more than happy
with this domestic (U.S.) release.