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Shelly Manne 2, 3, 4, Antill Corroboree, The Cool School, Viva Elvis

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How Did You Spend Your Christmas Money?

The favorite day of the year for my two sons when they were children was December 27th. My mother only had two grandchildren and she would give them all these clothes and things that they didn’t need or didn’t fit. She would leave on Dec. 26th to go back home and on the 27th we would go to the mall to return all the things that hadn’t worked out. Then they would take the money and go shopping for what they really wanted.

Well, I didn’t have anything to trade in but my wife and sons know to give me gift certificates for LPs for Christmas. So, I wanted to share with you what I spent my Christmas money on.

Shelly Manne 2, 3, 4

Shelly Manne 2, 3, 4
Numbered & Limited Edition to 2500 copies
•• 45rpm
•• 180g Vinyl
•• Double LP
•• Gatefold jacket
•• Pressed by RTIMusicians:
•Shelly Manne, drums
•Coleman Hawkins, saxophone
•Hank Jones, piano
•Eddie Costa, keyboards, vibes
•George Duvivier, bass


1. Take the “A” Train
2. The Sicks of Us
3. Slowly
4. Lean on Me
5. Cherokee
6. Me and Some Drums

This LP is simply stunning. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about the music, the musicians, the compositions, the arrangements, or the sound. The five selections featuring the legendary tenor sax player Coleman Hawkins, pianist Hank Jones, bassist George Duvivier and drummer Shelly Manne are just about as good as real jazz gets. Both “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Cherokee” find the group at times playing two tempos at once. Mann’s drum playing is simply stunning. The most swinging piece is “Avalon.” It was previously in limited availability. “Me and Some Drums” features Hawkins and Manne in a powerfully effective duet. The equally good news is that this 45 rpm recording pressed by RTI is as stunning as the performance.

Sir Eugene Goosens – Antill: Corroboree/ Ginastera: Panambi

Sir Eugene Goosens - Antill: Corroboree/ Ginastera: Panambi

This was a hard purchase decision for me; I pay full price for LPs, by the way. Back in September I reviewed the 33 rpm, Classic Records version of this recording that was pressed on 200g Quiex SV-P Vinyl. I have been so pleased with their 45 rpm Clarity series that I had to give this title a try. Well, I sure glad I did! It is simply better in most every way. The performance comes out of a quieter background, the music has a more natural flow, and dynamics are greater. If you have not heard of the clear vinyl that Classic Records called Clarity Vinyl, it may be too late since Acoustic Sounds so far has had nothing to say about continuing to make them. They still have some to sell at the time of this writing, and they’re some available on the used market.

June Christy/The Cool School, Songs for grown-up children

June Christy/The Cool School, Songs for grown-up children
Pure Pleasure Records(Capitol) 180 Gram Vinyl RecordTracks:

Give A Little Whistle
The Magic Window
Baby’s Birthday Party
When You Wish Upon A Star
Baubles,Bangles And Beads
Aren’t You Glad You’re You
Kee-Mo Ky-Mo
Scarlet Ribbons
Looking For A Boy
Small Fry

The “Cool School” by June Christy is a very different recording from my favorite Christy album, Something Cool. Something Cool was recorded in 1954, and Cool School is from 1961; still, the latter is more complex and interesting even though it’s a collection of children’s music. Again, even though it’s a children’s album, Cool School is neither over sentimental or childish. The songs are performed with a directness that is refreshing. I found this a really fun listen and a great recording. Thus, it comes highly recommended.

Viva Elvis – The Album

Viva Elvis - The Album

1. Opening
2. Blue Suede Shoes
3. That’s All Right
4. Heartbreak Hotel
5. Love Me Tender
6. King Creole
7. Bossa Nova Baby
8. Burning Love
9. Memories (interlude)
10. Can’t Help Falling In Love
11. You’ll Never Walk Alone (interlude)
12. Suspicious Minds

While the Cirque du Soleil’s tribute to the Beatles’ Love is one of the greatest performances I have ever seen, likewise the vinyl soundtrack is one of my favorite LPs. I wish I could say the same for Cirque du Soleil’s Viva Elvis. It is supposed to be a celebration of Elvis, the true king of Las Vegas. The promo material says they spent more than 3,000 hours reviewing countless albums, films, concert recordings, interviews and home recordings of Elvis. Supposedly they used more than 17,000 samples of Elvis’ songs and tens of thousands of samples of Elvis’ voice. They say their goal was to have an accurate and emotional rendition of the original recording.

Well, I did enjoy the music at the live performance, but all the Cirque du Soleil acrobatic numbers just seemed forced. What about the LP, though? Well it’s a complete failure. It has no dynamics, no micro-dynamics. It somehow takes the great Elvis songs and robs them of all emotions. If I didn’t know better I would think they took MP3 files and put them on vinyl.

Save your money and get some real Elvis LPs.

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