No one knows — least of all himself — why Arie Maasland, as Dutch as the bulbfields, the wooden shoes and windmills of tourist-poster fame, should have taken to Latin-American music so completely and successfully that in Argentina, the land of the tango, he is regarded as the best tango composer in the world. Arie Maasland — Malando to the world of light music — has never been to Argentina. “Somehow I’ve never got down to it”, he says, “I’ve been too busy, but I hope to go there someday”.
The amazing thing is that not only is Malando a musical “emigrant” himself, but also an “exporter” of the tango and rumba to other countries besides the Latin-Americas. In 1959 he won an “Oscar mondial de l’accordeon” for the best performance at the Accordion Concours in Pavia, Italy. His repertoire was Latin-American pure and simple. The gramophone record dealers in Japan awarded him the bronze “Legendary Archer” in 1964 (on the occasion of his first tour of that country) to mark the phenomenal success of his record sales. It has been statistically demonstrated that twenty times more of his records are sold in Japan than in his own country! Currently there are twenty of his LPs on the market there. One of them consists entirely of Japanese melodies with a South American flavour, the most popular being “Furusato”, based on a Japanese lullaby.
Also in 1964 Malando was the winner of an Edison for the LP released to mark the 25th anniversary of his tango and rumba orchestra. In 1966 he was distinguished with the “Golden Harp” award by the Conamus Foundation for his services to light music in the Netherlands.
Malando himself once remarked to someone from Buenos Aires that he considered his “exports” to the Latin American countries as rather like taking coals to Newcastle, and was at a loss to understand why there was so much demand for his music there. The answer was: “Your orchestra is different. It has a special touch about it”. The Malando touch is indeed recognizable immediately the orchestra is heard. Each melody it plays is, as it were, a signature tune. It is South American music with a Dutch touch. Many of his tangos, for instance, are slower than those of the Argentine, and this seems to have a special appeal. He explains the difference in tempo by pointing out that, though his tangos are so popular in South America, they are written in a rhythm adapted to dancers for whom the Latin American rhythm is not just a matter of course. Malando’s strength lies, in fact, in his having made millions of people Latin American minded by suiting that type of music to their own taste, thus admitting them to a world which might otherwise have remained “foreign” to them for ever.
TOP OF THE POPS SOUNDS OF TODAY’S TOP HITS WHILE THEY ARE HOT ON THE CHARTS. THE SOUNDS YOU HEAR EVERYDAY ON YOUR RADIO AND TELEVISION. LOOK FOR AN EXCITING NEW ALBUM OF UP-TO-DATE HITS EACH MONTH. BUILD THE MOST EXCITING COLLECTION OF POP TUNES IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD.
In recent years there has been a plentitude of unorthodox performers who have made their mark in pop music, but non more versatile nor as colourful as Mason Williams. Expert guitarist, folk singer, comedy writer, poet, author, publisher, arranger and composer of well over a hundred songs including “Cinderella, Rockafella”. He is also very much a best-selling record star in his own right as his chart success “Classical Gas” proves.
Williams was born on August 24th, 1938, in Abeline, Texas. While studying mathematics at Oklahoma City University he learned to play guitar and formed a successful folk trio. After serving in the U.S. Navy he began singing in folk clubs during which time he was introduced to the Smothers Brothers. They used Mason and his material on an album they were then recording and he has written consistently for them ever since. Many of his songs, in fact, have been recorded by artists such as The Kingston Trio, Claudine Longet, Glenn Yarborough and Johnny Desmond.
He has written and published seven books. The biggest (literally!) is called “The Bus Book” and is a life-sized photograph of a Greyhound bus which folds up into a small package. This has been exhibited at The Pasadena Art Museum, in Life magazine and on the Joey Bishop TV Show. It now hangs permanently in the New York Museum of Modern Art.
Mason Williams is obviously a person who thinks big—his records, his songs and his whole talent prove it— but probably the most spectacular, not to mention eccentric, feat he has ever accomplished occured while at his desert retreat recently. He ‘painted’ a sunflower by hiring a plane to skywrite a stem and leaves below the rising sun. The result was a ‘temporary’ thing of beauty.
Beautiful, too, is the music contained in this album. But unlike the ‘sunflower’, this is fortunately of a more permanent nature.
The artistry and the magic of Ferrante and Teicher is something almost unique in the heri-tage of the American concert platform today. This famous piano playing duo seems to have found the perfect blend of popular and classical music,which delightsthe hundredsof thousands of fans who attend the phenomenally success-ful concert tours undertaken by this talented twosome.
The record buying public also has shown its appreciation of these instrumental giants by consistently buying their albums in such numbers that they have rarely been out of the best selling lists for the past decade. It would take too long to analyse the reasons for the success of Ferrante and Teicher—suffice it to say that the collection of melodies on this album are some of the very best examples of the lush romantic music which has become synonymous with Ferrante and Teicher. The interpretations are vivid and sparkling, yet warm and tender—so reach out and switch on your gramophone, and prepare to listen to this collection of songs for lovers old and new—” REACH OUT FOR LOVE”.
Listening to music is a matter of time, place and, of course, — mood. Here we have music which is especially played for all lovers and for those who are falling in love, as the title says. But not only lovers have tender moods, and so we think, that this is also music for listening if you are alone and want to relax awhile, or, if there is a party, people will enjoy some smooth and sweet background music.
This music, however, is also dedicated to connoisseurs of good light music. These performances — outstandingly presented by Bert Kaempfert and recorded under his direction, arranged and conducted by Herbert Rehbein — reach a high standard of quality, “light-musically” speaking. The idea of placing a solo saxophone in contrast to a background of strings was made popular by the great Charlie Parker. Since that time there is a tradition of arranging in this style which has mainly appeared in American light music. The present recordings appreciate the best of tradition in that field, and it is Bert Kaempfert’s merit to give it the following in Europe, which it so worthily deserves.
Listen to Emil Wurster’s tenor playing and note, how his figures blend with the sound of strings, although his tone and phrasing show a deep feeling for jazz. Now move into the mood of romance and listen to 12 beautiful and sweet melodies, which will enchant you time and time again.
Maurice Ravel was born on March 7, 1875, in Cibourne in the French Pyrenees. His family moved to Paris after his birth and, in 1889, he began study at the Conservatoire with Beriot (piano), Gedalge (counterpoint), and Faure (composition). He competed three times for the .Prix de Rome without success; a scandal ensued the fourth time when he was denied the right to participate in the competition — he had chosen to write a cantata in the style of an operetta. Moreover, many of his early performed works were ill-received.
During the First World War, Ravel served in the French Air Force, but after 1920 he lived withdrawn and alone in his villa, “Le Belvedere” in Montfort-l’Amaury, visited only by a small coterie of carefully chosen friends. He caused a further scandal in 1920 by rejecting the cross of the Legion of Honour. He did, however, accept an honorary doctorate from Oxford University in 1928. Earlier the same year he undertook a four-month tour of the United States, mainly as a conductor of his own works. Chronic nervous disorder became acute after the shock of a car crash in 1932. He never recovered properly and in 1937 he died after an unsuccessful brain operation.
Musically Ravel was highly influenced by Faure, Chabrier, and the “Five” of the Russian school, but he also felt himself drawn to modern composers like Stravinsky, whom he knew personally.
“Bolero” Towards the end of 1929, Ravel was asked to orchestrate the “Iberia” piano suite by Albeniz for Ida Fiubinstein’s guest performance at the Paris Opera. When he later learned that Enrique Arb6s had secured all rights for the work, he decided to write a new composition, although Arb6s had in the meantime agreed to waive his rights. Ravel avoided compositional difficulties by limiting himself to two characteristic Spanish dance themes which repeated themselves constantly, without any real development, in a long continuous crescendo. The successful premiere of the ballet took place on November 20, 1928.
“Ma Mere l’Oye” Ravel loved children. His fairy-tale suite, “Ma Mere l’Oye” (Mother Goose) was originally composed as a piano duet for the children of his friends the Godebskis — Mimi and Jean. Four years later, in 1912, the five movements of the suite were rewritten as a ballet. The music is marked by a motivic simplicity, incorporating the traditional fairy-tale characters.
Even groomed for adult occasions, the work has not lost its innocence. We expect it at any moment to say something naively horrid but it is well-bred and never does. The 20 diatonic bars of the “Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty” are dignified and gracious in the trim rise and fall of their phrases.
In “Petit Poucet” a slight-social difficulty occurs as Hop-o’-my-Thumb, unable to find his way back by means of the bread-crumbs he had dropped to mark the trail (the birds, naturally, had eaten them all up)announces his panic first by two beats in the bar, then by three, and so on up to five. He is left bangjng doubtfully off the end of the music, partially consoled, it may be,
by memories of the waltz theme from “Beauty and the Beast,” or by anticipation of the dainty freshness of the “Empress of the Pagodas,” who, to the strains of a melody played entirely on the black keys in the piano version, proceeds to take her bath in the garden. After an interlude “The Fairy Garden” wakes up slowly in serene four-part writing before, at last, a little tolling bell makes us rub our eyes to meet reality once more.
“La Valse” “La Valse” (1923) was created initially as a “choreographic poem” which paid homage to the waltz capital in its original title “Vienna.” Diaghilev expressed his willingness to present the work as a ballet but subsequently withdrew the offer. The final stage version was by Ida Rubinstein. While “La Valse” is primarily a Viennese waltz, an atmosphere of melancholy takes the place of the usual frivolity. The score carries the following inscription: “Drifting clouds give glimpses, through rifts, of couples waltzing. The clouds gradually scatter, and an immense hall can be seen, filled with a whirling crowd. The scene gradually becomes illuminated. The light of chandeliers bursts forth. An imperial court about 1855…”
Pierre Monteux Like Ravel Pierre Monteux was born in 1875. He became famous as the conductor of Diaghilev’s “Ballet russe” and conducted the premieres of Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloe” and Stravinsky’s “Petrouchka” and “Le sacra du printemps.” From 1917 to 1919 he conducted the Metropolitan Opera in New York before taking overthe Boston Symphony Orchestra. He was second conductor with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam, from 1924 to 1934. In 1929 he founded the Orchestra Symphonique de Paris and directed it in a series of famous concerts until 1938. Meanwhile, in 1936, he had become director of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra which he conducted until 1952. From 1961 until his death in 1964 he was chief conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.
GOLDEN MEMORIES return to me every time I hear this melody, Memories enfold me, Memories that hold me, Memories of Gold, that mean the world to me.
Your smile tells me that you remember too, how we used to dance the whole night through, knowing we would belong, the day this Golden Melody became our song.
I can tell this lovely melody lingers softly in your memory, bringing you Memories of the night we found our Love and called this Golden Melody OUR SONG.
Most of us have a soft spot for one particular song — a song which brings back all those precious memories we can never recapture often enough. This album aims to do just this —bring back a few of your treasured and Golden Memories —and we hope that Your Song is one of those featured here by THE CASCADING STRINGS, conducted by GREGORY. This record includes a wide selection of some of the world’s most popular ‘Standards’, embracing several decades, but actually begins with a new song — the song which has given its title to the album — ‘GOLDEN MEMORIES’. Composed especially with this record in mind by their Conductor JOHN GREGORY, THE CASCADING STRINGS play this beautiful melody as if it is an ‘Evergreen’ they have long known, and indeed, as with many of the world’s most popular songs, it is the kind of melody you hear for the first time, and yet feel you have known it a lifteime.
Apart from conducting the orchestra, GREGORY arranges and orchestrates all the music himself, and over the past years, has developed a style of arranging which he calls ‘Panoramic Sound Pictures’. On the previous LP entitled ‘THE CASCADING STRINGS’ (6308 016) the track which best portrays this idea is his arrangement of ‘Raindrops Keep falling on my Head’.
On this record however, the best example of a GREGORY Sound Picture’, is the track which opens side two — Charles Trenet’s famous ‘LA MER’. He begins this quietly, depecting the sea’s tranquil yet mysterious quality. Gradually the sounds ‘swells’ as first a little wave, and then a larger one, approaches the seashore, gathers speed, tumbling over itself, and then crashes down on to golden sands, spreading out like a fan, and then receding, dragging with it the shingle from the water’s edge. The warmth and depth of the melody bring us back to the serenity and calmness of the sea, but in the background, behind the piano solo, one can still hear the little wavelets (on violins), dancing and breaking over the rocks, sparkling like diamonds in the glittering sunshine.
‘NIGHT AND DAY’ is another lovely arrangement, done in a modern style. As THE CASCADING STRINGS play this number, it is easy to picture yourself on some balcony at night, with the moon highlighting the features of your loved-one beside you, and as the ‘cellos play the melody, you will hear in the background (on violins) the rustling of the leaves on the trees overhead, as the gentle breeze fills the evening air with the scent of flowers.
‘JUST AN OLD FASHIONED WALTZ’ begins gently, almost shyly, like young love, but gradually, we are transported as though in a dream, to an elegant ballroom setting, where we see a young girl in a beautiful long gown, which billows gracefully as she is being swung gently round the dance floor by her partner.
The song that was featured in the Columbia picture ‘Cover Girl’ starring Rita Hayworth — ‘LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY’ — has been given an unusual rhythmic pattern, and the opening to ‘MOONLIGHT AND ROSES’, which closes the album, is almost symphonic in its approach. Apart from this, what more remains to be said about such famous songs as Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s ‘SOME ENCHANTED EVENING’ and ‘THE SOUND OF MUSIC’, or Charles Chaplin’s recent ‘THIS IS MY SONG’, that hasn’t been said so many times before. The same might be said of ‘LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDOURED THING’, ‘STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT’ or the ever-popular ‘ANNIVERSARY WALTZ’. On this album, GREGORY has given them all beautiful, warm and melodic treatments, which truly show THE CASCADING STRINGS off to their fullest advantage. We are sure you will enjoy listening to this record as much as we enjoyed making it for you, and if Your Song was not one of those featured here, then perhaps it will be on our next volume of GOLDEN MEMORIES.
From time to time it feels like the right time to assess the best covers from the collection of covers at Cover Heaven. This time around we’re looking at covers from the fifties and attempting to rank the top five based on nothing but aesthetic pleasure, the greatest representation of the fifties decade and our own predilections. You might agree with our choices or you might think we have it all wrong, either way we’d love to hear what you think. So without further ado let’s get ranking!
Bringing up the rear at number 5 is this daring (for the time) cover from Mohammed El-Bakker. Featuring a bare-breasted dusky beauty this came at a time when breasts were acceptable so long as they weren’t attached to an obviously Caucasian woman.
The old stereotype of dusky maiden performing for the benefit of men is present and correct, she’s bare-breasted and showing every sign of being happy about it even while we know she’s the exploited one here. What is the man at her feet doing? Promising more to the crowd? Asking for requests? Money? Who knows. We do know this is “a study in stereophonic high fidelity sound” so we’re definitely being asked to treat it seriously. If only we could! Instead we’ll simply reflect on how daring some aspects of the fifties were when it comes to record covers and celebrate it’s existence as a reminder.
There’s a lot to like about this record cover from 1959. Starting with the beautiful typeface of the album title which lends the whole design a seductive air that complements the photo of the attractive lady. The lady herself is dressed “middle-eastern” style or at least in a style that designers at the time thought represented that exotic area.
Her top half is alluringly under-covered in a way that wouldn’t fall foul of any censorious busybodies at EMI, the home of the Parlophone label (later to become very famous for being the Beatles’ label). Her gaze into the camera adds a different reaction to the viewer from profiles that cannot convey the same sense of connection. The colours are velvety and tasteful while the overall lighting is expertly arranged. A worthy entry in our top five fifties covers. But what do you think?
The attractive woman on this cover is very much covered up but as is often the case, less is sometimes more. Beautifully posed, skillfully lit and photographed this cover epitomises the nineteen fifties in a way others struggle to emulate.
Lou Busch (who also released albums under the moniker of Joe “Fingers” Carr) was by no means an unattractive guy but he probably knew the benefit of keeping well away from his album photo shoots in favour of leaving the heavy lifting of promotion to more appealing visions such as this. Nevertheless the way the cover model drapes her fingers lightly over Lou’s ivories tells us all we need to know about Lou (Joe “Fingers” Carr) Busch and his penchant for a pretty lady. A year later Lou released this album cover with a more playful theme.
Classical recordings were big business in the fifties not least because, being quite expensive to buy, they appealed to the wealthy who could afford half-way decent hifi equipment at home. To shift records off the shelves more quickly many releases featured racy, exotic, sexy and classy covers. Always tasteful of course so the record didn’t look vulgar in the drawing room.
This cover plays into the exotic theme (nowadays might likely be called a “trope”) of femme fatale ready to ensnare or hypnotise unsuspecting males. In this example the beautiful woman is lying on the floor, presumably waiting patiently and attentively for her man to come and pull the curtains away (snigger). The beauty looks down not at us but at the whimsy of what she wishes to happen. Or something like that. In any event it’s a fabulous cover complete with perfectly designed and arranged typography and makes a worthy runner-up in our top 5 fifties covers in our humble opinion.
Okay our number one in the top fifties covers in Cover Heaven is this wonderful example from 1957.
A deceptively simple cover at first sight but one that yields more pleasure the longer one lingers over it. The colour palette is gorgeous featuring a range of blues but with a punctuation of red in the model’s hair, lips and record title. Her direct to camera look fixes the viewer to her eyes making it difficult to escape. The out of focus background hints at where she is – a late-night club? The photographer is Ben Somoroff who began his career as a painter and this shows in his unique style. His images have often become notable works of art and we feel that this example encapsulates both his fabulous talent as well as the look that we come to associate with the fifties, at least in album cover designs, and is therefore a worthy top place winner in our fifties top five..
Listen to the title track here:
What do you think about our Top Five fifties covers? Have a look at all the fifties record covers we have and see if you can find worthier contenders. Let us know what you think below.
Look out for the top five sixties covers coming soon!
The record covers featured in the Cover Heaven archives come from a diverse range of genres, styles and artists but among them you’ll find a more than fair representation of records from what might be labelled the “budget” end of the spectrum. These were usually records released by record labels – some well-known, some not so – featuring cover versions of contemporary hits made by session musicians of varying abilities from the utterly lame to the near-perfect copyists.
The Main Players
Of the well-known labels involved in this genre perhaps Music For Pleasure and Hallmark (home of the “Top of the Pops” series) stand out but of the lesser known labels there are many. They included Deacon Records; responsible for the “Pick of the Pops” series as well as many “tribute” type albums that focussed on one artist, Boulevard Records; who made many a “Sounds Like…” album as well as various Tijuana related releases – all with covers featuring attractive women, Windmill Records; famous for the “Parade of Pops” series – another cover versions genre, Stereo Gold Award and Marble Arch records who were one of the first to release hits of the day albums recorded by session musicians (who often included then unknown but now global superstars like Elton John). Titles followed a predictable style ranging from the aforementioned Top of the Pops, via Pick of the Pops, 16 Chart Hits, 12 Tops, Chartbusters, World of Hits, Parade of Pops, Super Hits all the way to Hit Parade Special.
From forgotten to desired
At the time budget albums like these were somewhat inconsequential, garnering no great love among the wider record buying public but finding their niche nevertheless. Niches included satisfying those with limited budgets who couldn’t afford to buy up all of their favourite hits of the day so contented themselves with passable versions. Let’s not also forget that for many a young boy with pocket money to spare these albums were the only route into having a pretty and/or sexy woman staring back at them!
Now the outlook is very different for these formerly budget LPs and some change hands for significant sums on the auction sites such as eBay with collectors determined to snap up every volume of every set to form a complete collection. There are even those who want to listen to the records within the sleeves though whether this is out of a sense of nostalgia or masochism is open to debate. In truth some of the production values were quite high as evidenced with this rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” from 1980’s “Parade of Pops”:
On the other hand there were also cringe-inducing attempts like this:
For those interested beyond the pretty covers there are websites that catalogue these records in fine detail. If you’re at all interested in delving further into this fascinating world then check out these excellent sites: