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Merit Hemmingson - Plays

August 3rd, 2012

Merit Hemmingson - PlaysMERIT HEMMINGSON

  • Plays
  • RCA Camden
  • 1968
  • Sweden

In the mid and late 1960s there started to appear soul jazz recordings in Scandinavia. One of those was Merit Hemmingson’s Plays. 1940 born Merit Hemmingson is an organist, composer and arranger from Sweden, who started her career as a jazz pianist. In the early 1960s she had her own jazz group with four black American female jazz artists, the group was called Merit and her Girl Stars and they toured Sweden in the beginning of the 1960s. In the late 1960s she changed the jazz piano to Hammond B3 organ and started to tour with her newly reformed band The Meritones. In 1967 they recorded her first album with that group. Merit Hemmingson is propably better known for her early 1970s folk-funk albums Huvva, Trollskog or Bergtagen but this soul jazz album from 1968 is definitely worth to be brought up.

Album starts strongly with a good midtempo take of Beatles classic “Lady Madonna” followed by the mellow Louis Armstrong standard “What a wonderful world”. Next up are Cliff Richards‘ Eurovision song contest 1968 entry “Congratulations”, Bob Dylan’s “Too much of nothing” and the latin influenced Chico Buarque’s “A banda”. Then comes a midtempo take of the 5th Dimension hit “Up, up and away” followed by a pretty good downtempo version of Tim Hardin’s “If I were a carpenter”. B-side starts with more heat. First up is pretty funky version of Bar-Kays‘ hit “soul finger” followed by Evert Taube’s mellow tune “Så skimrande var aldrig havet”. Next is a another Bob Dylan song, “Mighty Quinn”. I have heard several better versions, but this ain’t that bad either with it’s tight funky drumming and grooving organ. Next is a banging uptempo breakbeat take of Miriam Makeba’s “Pata pata”. For me it’s clearly the best track of the album. Then comes another pretty good track, funky percussive uptempo groover “The letter” originally by The Box Tops. Last two tracks are heavy percussive take of Frankie Valli song “Can’t take my eyes off you” and a groovy take of “La la la”, which is a 1968 Eurovision song contest entry from Spanish singer Massiel.


Lady Madonna


A Banda


Up And Away


If I Were A Carpenter


Soul Finger


Mighty Quinn


Pata Pata


The Letter


Can’t Take My Eyes Off You


La La La

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under easy listening, europe | No Comments »

Tatsuya Takahashi & Tokyo Union - Daitokai Part III

April 18th, 2012

Tatsuya Takahashi & Tokyo Union - Daitokai Part IIITATSUYA TAKAHASHI & TOKYO UNION

  • Daitokai Part III
  • Polydor K.K.
  • 1978
  • Japan

The other detective series Tatsuya Takahashi & Tokyo Union made music for, was Daitokai (literally Big City), that run three seasons from 1976 to 1979. Although TT&TU were’nt the only ones who did soundtracks for the series, they were responsible for Part III (season III) music. The first and the second season were mainly handled by the bands called Game and Microcosmos II, but that’s another story and we’ll come to them later.

Let’s talk about this one first. The opening track “大都会 Part III テーマ” (Daitokai part III tēma) starts the album quite frantically with it’s uptempo jazzy disco beats and hectic feeling. Maybe not the best theme around but acceptable. Second track “Dream of dream” is also an uptempo groover with also quite jazzy but discoish beats and some percussion works overdubbed with a slightly cheesy saxophones and occasional guitarwork. Next up is the very mellow but still groovy “And so in love” that would easily fit into the Love Boat soundtrack. After that comes another uptempo track “One floor house”. The first track on side b is “The Indian medicinman & g’uru”, despite the slow mellow start, it’s turns into a nice midtempo jazz track. Next one is “Midnight Tokyo special”, again very nice uptempo jazzy groover with its occasional disco moments. The last one on the album is a mellow love song called “Moon flower”. All the tracks are instrumentals. Although it’s nothing like the blaxploitation ones from the US, it’s still a pretty good one. It’s more like a typical Japanese detective soundtrack from that late 1970s - early 1980s era.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzAkh-AyVI
Daitokai part III tēma


Dream of dream


And so in love


One floor house


The Indian medicinman & g’uru


Midnight Tokyo special


Moon flower

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under asia, disco, easy listening, jazz, soundtrack | No Comments »

Esko Linnavallin Orkesteri - Joulusoitto

December 20th, 2011

Esko Linnavallin Orkesteri - JoulusoittoESKO LINNAVALLIN ORKESTERI

  • Joulusoitto
  • Scandia
  • 1971
  • Finland

First of all, a brief history of the man himself. Esko Linnavalli was a talented orchestra leader, arranger, composer and especially a very good pianist and organist. He started his career as a classic jazz pianist, but soon in the mid 1960s he started his job as an arranger and conductor at Scandia records. Later in the 1970s Linnavalli moved to RCA for a production manager vacancy. As an organist, Esko Linnavalli is clearly one of my favorites in Finnish music history and he is also behind some of the great Finnish jazz records. On the rocks (together with Esa Katajavuori), Finnish design, A good time was had by all to name a few. He was also involved with UMO jazz orchestra and Day is Over. And of course he and his band backed numerous Finnish artists throughout the years - Kirka, Danny, Carola, Lasse Mårtenson, Vesa-Matti Loiri, Kari Jalkanen (Kari Tapio) and so on… Esko Linnavalli died relatively young in 1991. He was only 50 years old.

In 1971 Esko Linnavallin Orkesteri (Esko Linnavalli Orchestra) released a Christmas album called Joulusoitto (Christmas play in English). With sublime arrangements of mr. Linnavalli, it’s one of the grooviest “traditional” Christmas albums I’ve ever heard. And if that’s not enough to convince you, there’s more. There’s pretty impressive line up with some of the key players of Finnish jazz scene; Christian Schwindt, Esa Katajavuori, Esa Pethman, Esko Rosnell, Heikki Laurila, Ilpo Kallio, Jörgen Petersen, Ossi Runne, Rauno Lehtinen, Reino Laine and more. The tracks are all instrumentals (except the scat vocals on one track) and mostly covers of the well known Christmas carols. There’s two original compositions of Linnavalli too. First up is “Rekiretki” (”Sleigh ride”, originally by Leroy Anderson), a latin influenced midtempo groover. Next up is Linnavalli’s own composition, “Joulusoitto” (Christmas play), a downtempo track with a slight easy listening feel. “Valkea Joulu” (”White Christmas” by Berlin Irving), “”Kello, joka ei soinut” (”The bell that couldn’t jingle” by Bobby Winton and Burt Bacharach) and “Sataa lunta” (”Let it snow” by Jule Styne) are all jazzy takes of the Christmas classics. Next up ar two really groovy ones. “Joulupukki matkaan käy” (”Santa Claus is coming to town by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie) is a funky version of this standard with great arrangements and even a break at the start. “Kuuraparta” (”Frosty the snowman by Walter “Jack” Rollins and Steve Nelson) is also a very good version of the standard with some funky drums and great synth works of Esko Linnavalli. “Joululaulu” (”The Christmas song by Mel Tormé) is a groovy downtempo one with a nice tender feeling. The last track is funky “Joulupukin aatto-ilta” (Santa Claus’ Christmas eve) by Esko Linnavalli. It’s a very nice ending to a very nice album. I just can’t praise this album enough, it’s that good.


Rekiretki


Kello, joka ei soinut


Sataa lunta


Joulupukki matkaan käy


Kuuraparta


Joululaulu


Joulupukin aatto-ilta

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under christmas, easy listening, funk, jazz | No Comments »

Jörgen Petersenin orkesteri - Mukana musiikki

October 9th, 2011

Jörgen Petersenin Orkesteri - Mukana MusiikkiJÖRGEN PETERSENIN ORKESTERI

  • Mukana musiikki
  • Top Voice
  • 1975
  • Finland

Jörgen Petersen (RIP) was born in Randers, Denmark, in 1931. He was a very talented child and started his first band when he was only 12. By the age of 14 he was already making his living by playing trumpet as the youngest professional musician in Denmark. In 1954 he joined the Al Stefano’s orchestra, that was the most famous Latin-American music orchestra in Denmark that time. With them he visited Finland in 1956. The same time he also met his future wife and in 1957 moved to Finland for good. Petersen started to play with various bands and orchestras until he got a vacancy in the trumpet section of Radion Tanssiorkesteri (Radio Dance Orchestra) - which lasted 13 years. In 1959 he also joined the very popular Ronnie Kranckin Orkesteri (Ronnie Kranck’s Orchestra) for eight years. It didn’t take long until Petersen found himself working for PSO - Pohjoismainen Sähkö-Osakeyhtiö (Nordic Electric Ltd.), a major record label in 1960s and 1970s Finland. He was a producer, songwriter, arranger, conductor and a trumpet player - a true jack of all trades. And a very productive one too. During his whole career he participated - as a musician, writer, arranger, conductor or producer - within over 5500 recordings. And that’s really exceptional in a small country like Finland. Petersen was also the first Finn ever to score a song in a Billboard Top 100 list - although he wasn’t actually a Finn that time. It was his breakthrough song “Boulevard of broken dreams” that hit the US charts in 1961. Petersen finally took the Finnish citizenship in 1981 and remained very active character in Finnish music scene until 1987 when his doctor forbad trumpet playing from him and he withdraw himself from the publicity. Petersen passed away in 2009 at the age of 77.

During his active years, Petersen released several albums of his own too. Either as himself or with his orchestra. In 1975 he released an album called Mukana musiikki (Including the music in English). It was a typical album for him, full of instrumental covers of contemporary songs and few original compositions - all with a certain easy listening feel of his “golden trumpet”. There’s versions of songs like “Era”, “Jeannie, Jeannie”, Ding-a-dong”, “Let me be the one”, “El Bimbo” and “Emmanuel”. All quite dull easy listening numbers. The stand out songs on this album are the first three on the side b. First up is a song called “Strip-tease”, a song written by Paul Lupano (a pseudonym of song writer and lyricist Martti Piha) that was first recorded by Petersen in 1959 - although it was a pretty different version back then. “Strip-tease” is a very funky uptempo track with a quite heavy drum and percussion beat, but with slightly easy listening feel at times. Almost like the music from Nikke Knatterton series - you all remember those, right? Next up is “Itsehän sen tein” (”I did it myself”), a funky almost downtempo track with a very melancholic trumpet. The third good one is “Yli rajojen” (”Over the borders”), a bboy friendly midtempo funk track with breaks and a quite banging percussive beat. Both of the latter are written by Petersen himself. Of all his albums, Mukana musiikki is clearly the funkiest one.


Strip-tease


Itsehän sen tein


Yli rajojen

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under easy listening, europe, funk | No Comments »

Paul Kass / Simon Haseley - Prototype

September 21st, 2011

Paul Kass / Simon Haseley - PrototypePAUL KASS / SIMON HASELEY

  • Prototype
  • Music De Wolfe
  • 1972
  • UK

Established in 1909, Music De Wolfe is the originator in production music library business. They started releasing their recorded library records in 1927 with the advent of ‘Talkies’ and the company is still active in the production music scene. With it’s over 80000 titles it’s one of the main players in the industry. During the 1960s and 1970s it was also among the funkiest production music companies, together with KPM, Themes International and Peer International. Music De Wolfe had also several sublabels for production library music such as Hudson Music, Rouge Music and Sylvester Music.

In 1972 composers Paul Kass and Simon Haseley made an album called Prototype. It’s one of the funkiest among all the funky library records. It’s full of breaks, funky rhythms, groovy organs and banging beats from funky easy listening to jazz funk, funk rock sounds and beyond. For example “Filibuster” by Paul Kass starts with a break and continues as a midtempo rockish heavy funk tune having another tough break in the middle. Another great song by Paul Kass is “Causeway”, again starting with a break and continuing as a bboy friendly uptempo library funk track with heavy breaks, some percussion and nice breakbeat rhythm. And there’s more to mention. “Heavy Mob” and “Fast burner” are great funky library tracks too. Although Simon Haseley’s side is not as funky as Paul Kass‘, it still has some really great tracks. Midtempo “Hammer man” is a cheerful but at the same time quite heavy track with its funky banging drums. The last track “Response” is clearly the best one from Haseley. Funky drums and organ along the driving wah wah guitar makes it a great library funk track. What’s also nice compared to most of the production music library records around is, that most the songs are full length instead of those one to two minute themes there usually are on this type of records.


Paul Kass - Filibuster


Paul Kass - Causeway


Paul Kass - Fast burner


Simon Haseley - Hammer man


Simon Haseley - Response


Simon Haseley - Prototype

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under easy listening, europe, funk, jazzfunk, library | No Comments »

Adam Best - Wall of sound

February 5th, 2011

Adam Best - Wall of SoundADAM BEST

  • Wall of sound
  • Fontana
  • 1970
  • UK

Who was Adam Best? Question that still remains unsolved to this very day. Back cover of Wall of sound tells us a story of him. He was an electronics student at college and built his own instruments from the scratch in his North London coal cellar. There is strong suspicions of his relations to Music De Wolfe sound libraries due the similarity in certain library records and this one, but nothing is proved. There’s even a picture of him in the back cover of Wall of sound. Or a picture of somebody, no one knows for sure. It doesn’t matter whether he was a real person or a product of somebody’s mind, the music is still the thing here. There’s five original compositions and seven cover takes of contemporary material. First track is an fast pace cover of “I’m a man”, originally recorded by Spencer Davis group in 1967. “High in grass” is an uptempo organ grinder despite its weed referring name. Similar but more psychedelic is the title track “Wall of sound”. “You shouldn’t say” is a nice midtempo funk track instead. The Edwin Starr cover “Twenty five miles” starts with a really hectic short break and continues as an uptempo organ driven dancefloor filler. Rest of the tracks are more or less cheesy easy listening stuff with no point of interest. An obscure little groover I should say.


You shouldn’t say


High in grass


Wall of sound


Twenty five miles


I’m a man

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under easy listening, europe, funk, latin funk | No Comments »

Gil Ventura - Sax club number 5

February 3rd, 2011

Gil Ventura - Sax Club Number 5GIL VENTURA

  • Sax club number 5 - filmusic
  • Emi Odeon
  • 1974
  • Italy

Gil Ventura (born Marcello Olmari) is an Italian easy listening saxophonist who began his career in nightclubs in the 1960s. Since 1972 he did a lot of albums similar in every way to those Fausto Papetti saxophone records. The songs are mostly covers, mostly really cheesy and there’s a naked woman on the album cover. In his career he has recorded over 50 albums so I must admit that he’s been a quite productive musician. In this fifth volume of his Sax club -series he dives into the world of soundtracks. As you can expect, the tracks mostly really cheesy orchestrated numbers with Ventura’s wailing saxophone on top. There’s however quite decent versions of Ennio Morricone’s “Il Mio Nome è nessuno” (”My name is nobody”) and Paul McCartney’s “Live and let die” (”Vivi e lascia morire” here). Of course there’s got to be something on this album, otherwise I wouldn’t have brought it up. The standout track is the groovy version of Armando Trovaioli’s “Sesso matto” (”Mad sex” in English). You know, the track with a catchy saxophone riff borrowed from Manu DiBango’s “Soul Makossa”, nice beat thoughout the track and even a break. It doesn’t beat the original though, but it’s still a good one. And this album is not that hard to find either.


Vivi e lascia morire


Il Mio Nome è nessuno


Sesso matto

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under easy listening, europe | No Comments »
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