Tony Osborne And His Orchestra – The Romantic Mr. Osborne

Sleeve Notes:

Let’s be honest about it. This is a mood music album. It has piano and strings and some great ballads from the halcyon years of song. It’s designed to put you and your loved one in the right mood while dancing cheek to cheek. That’s what mood music is all about.

What it isn’t is musical wallpaper something you put on and forget, so that when it’s over you can’t remember a single note. Somehow that fate never befalls Tony Osborne’s records, which is why our Mr. 0. is still making musicianly albums of standards when other ex-mood music maestros are struggling against the embarrassment of trying to orchestrate banal pop tunes.

Tony realises that there’s still a demand for Romance. The stuff hasn’t gone out of fashion, whatever the trendies may say. He knows, too, that many people find it just a little difficult to get in a romantic mood to the output of the Top 20. But then why try? The greatest popular writers made it so easy with their love songs; songs of such inherent quality, both lyrically and melodically, that they have survived over the years.

Like Rodgers & Hart’s Isn’t It Romantic and Have You Met Miss Jones, Warren & Gordon’s The More I See You and Jobim’s Quiet Nights, all of which bespeak the thrill of new love. Or “lost love” songs like Irving Berlin’s plea for reassurance, Say It Isn’t So, Schwartz & Dietz’s I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan, McHugh & Adamson’s Where Are You and Lennon & McCartney’s Yesterday. Whatever the basic emotion, such songs are rich in the sort of melody that a mood music album cries out for.

They give an arranger something to work on and a pianist something interesting to play. When both functions are combined in one man like the multi-talented Tony Osborne, and when that man has a top-flight orchestra to work with, the result is the neatest piano playing and the richest orchestral ensemble you can imagine.

Of course, the only thing wrong is that it defeats its object as mood music. It’s so darned interesting as music per se you’re bound to stop whatever you’re doing to listen to it.

ARTHUR JACKSON

Tony Osborne And His Orchestra – The Romantic Mr. Osborne

Label: Rediffusion ZS135

1973 1970s Covers

The Romantic Mr.Osborne, His Piano & Orchestra

Sleeve Notes:

Let’s be honest about it. This is a mood music album. It has piano and strings and some great ballads from the halcyon years of song. It’s designed to put you and your loved one in the right mood while dancing cheek to cheek. That’s what mood music is all about.

What it isn’t is musical wallpaper something you put on and forget, so that when it’s over you can’t remember a single note. Somehow that fate never befalls Tony Osborne’s records, which is why our Mr. 0. is still making musicianly albums of standards when other ex-mood music maestros are struggling against the embarrassment of trying to orchestrate banal pop tunes.

Tony realises that there’s still a demand for Romance. The stuff hasn’t gone out of fashion, whatever the trendies may say. He knows, too, that many people find it just a little difficult to get in a romantic mood to the output of the Top 20. But then why try? The greatest popular writers made it so easy with their love songs; songs of such inherent quality, both lyrically and melodically, that they have survived over the years.

Like Rodgers & Hart’s Isn’t It Romantic and Have You Met Miss Jones, Warren & Gordon’s The More I See You and Jobim’s Quiet Nights, all of which bespeak the thrill of new love. Or “lost love” songs like Irving Berlin’s plea for reassurance, Say It Isn’t So, Schwartz & Dietz’s I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan, McHugh & Adamson’s Where Are You and Lennon & McCartney’s Yesterday. Whatever the basic emotion, such songs are rich in the sort of melody that a mood music album cries out for.

They give an arranger something to work on and a pianist something interesting to play. When both functions are combined in one man like the multi-talented Tony Osborne, and when that man has a top-flight orchestra to work with, the result is the neatest piano playing and the richest orchestral ensemble you can imagine.

Of course, the only thing wrong is that it defeats its object as mood music. It’s so darned interesting as music per se you’re bound to stop whatever you’re doing to listen to it.

ARTHUR JACKSON

The Romantic Mr.Osborne, His Piano & Orchestra

Label: Rediffusion ZS 135

1973 1970s Covers

Franck Pourcel – Imagination

Sleeve Notes:

Francais, Francais, The World Is A Circle, Last Tango In Paris, Vivaldi, I Love You, My Love, The Gondolas Of Venice, Vado Via, Forever And Ever, Quatre Saisons Pour Un Amour, Theme From The Film Papillon, Sunrise, Sunset, Clo Clo, Imagine, L’avventura

Franck Pourcel - Imagination

Listen to Franck Pourcel’s instrumental version of Paul McCartney’s “My Love

Label: Studio2stereo TWOX 1016

1973 1970s Covers

Moods Orchestral – Various Artists

Sleeve Notes:

Popular music, unlike football or cricket, cannot be neatly categorized. It is a sprawling and widely varied form of entertainment, covering many areas of taste and expression … rock, folk, rhythm-and-blues, jazz, underground, teenybopper and all the rest of it.

But there can be little doubt that the real backbone of the profession is centred in that flowing yet ever-progressing area known in the trade as middle-of-the-road, where melody and orchestral colour are considered to be just as important as the beat. This orchestral market is not necessarily aimed at a particular age group—more simply it is intended for listeners who just like to hear a good melody well played. First-class musicianship and unfailing good taste are the basic tools of the trade, but if an artist is also able to project a distinctive orchestral or instrumental sound, as, for example, Ray Conniff has, then the chances are that his recordings will continue to sell for years and years to all kinds of audience. The whole area of popular music’s middle road is, of course, impossible to define in terms of one artist and one style. A certain standard of performance is the ideal way of conveying all that is best in the genre. The twelve performances on this record, although quite varied in colour and mood, all adhere to the required standard and thus constitute a perfect programme for lovers of orchestral moods.

Side One

Stan Butcher, Birds & Brass Winchester Cathedral
The light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek flavour of this internationally popular hit of 1966 is beautifully captured in this sprightly Stan Butcher arrangement. While the bouncy Birds & Brass format has been devised somewhat along Conniff lines, it has enough individuality to hold up as a most entertaining sound in its own right.

Charlie Byrd Alfie
Classically trained guitarist Charlie Byrd has consistently proved himself a master craftsman in many fields of music, stretching from legitimate Spanish guitar and classical lute playing to jazz and pop forms. Charlie, in fact, even helped to create the famous bossa nova craze of the ’60s when he partnered sax player Stan Getz in that celebrated million-selling hit Desafinado, a record that was generally regarded as the forerunner of the whole bossa nova movement. On this occasion, Charlie demonstrates his compelling artistry as a ballad stylist, with a graceful interpretation of Burt Bacharach’s Alfie.

Don Lusher Makin’ Whoopee
The superlative trombone-playing of Don Lusher is one of the supreme delights of the British music scene. This is not to imply that Don’s fine reputation is merely limited to one country, for his work is just as well known in America as it is in Britain. But because he is one of Europe’s most in-demand session players, Don finds little time to record prolifically under his own name. His LPs, however, are appreciated all over the world. This excellent track teams Don with a sparkling arrangement by Pete Moore and is a real tribute to British musicianship. Pete, incidentally, is one of the few British arrangers to win an award from the American National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (for his work on the 1971 LP Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory). Apart from his renowned trombone work, Don Lusher is also a gifted arranger. His recent scores for the Harry Roche Constellation have delighted many critics and fans. In this performance of the well-known Donaldson-Kahn standard, Makin’ Whoopee, Don’s sense of humour is well in evidence and his faultless playing is a delight from start to finish.

Jerry Murad’s Harmonicats Dance of the Hours
The harmonica has always been a most popular instrument and in the right hands its flexibility knows no bounds. One has only to think of the versatility displayed by such masters as Larry Adler and Tommy Reilly to realize how much scope the instrument can offer. Further proof of a most convincing nature can be found in this dazzling and highly distinctive version of Ponchielli’s famous Dance of the Hours, in which Jerry Murad’s Harmonicats demonstrate the full range of colour and tone when the instrument is used in a multiple context.

Caravelli Trains and Boats and Planes
Few people would care to challenge Burt Bacharach’s eminence as a top-line songwriter. In today’s music scene, Bacharach is the natural successor to such giants as Porter and Rodgers, and like those distinguished craftsmen he displays in his songs a personal identity which ensures his music cannot be confused with that of any other composer. A Bacharach song invariably holds a strong appeal for all kinds of performers and musicians and this fine composition, originally a massive hit for Dionne Warwick in 1964, has been recorded by many artists in a variety of styles and treatments. This version by Caravelli is certainly one of the most satisfying.

Caravelli Trains and Boats and Planes
Few people would care to challenge Burt Bacharach’s eminence as a top-line songwriter. In today’s music scene, Bacharach is the natural successor to such giants as Porter and Rodgers, and like those distinguished craftsmen he displays in his songs a personal identity which ensures his music cannot be confused with that of any other composer. A Bacharach song invariably holds a strong appeal for all kinds of performers and musicians and this fine composition, originally a massive hit for Dionne Warwick in 1964, has been recorded by many artists in a variety of styles and treatments. This version by Caravelli is certainly one of the most satisfying.

Side Two

John Barry and his Orchestra You Only Live Twice
Without doubt, the most commercially successful film series of all time has been the James Bond adventures. They contained all the ingredients that film audiences love—fast-moving plots, colourful characters, imaginative sets, pretty girls, plenty of action and, not least, memorable background music by John Barry. Since the advent of the Bond films—or rather in parallel with them—Barry’s significance as a screen composer has gone from strength to strength with equally impressive scores for such films as ‘The Lion in Winter’ and ‘Born Free’ (for which he received an Academy Award). This particular theme song was composed for the 1967 film of the same name and was sung on the soundtrack by Nancy Sinatra, who scored a considerable hit with it. As a recording artist, John Barry has also come a long way since his early days as musical director for Adam Faith. In recent years, he has turned out a whole string of well-produced albums which have made him into an important middle-of-the-road artist. This track, then, serves a dual purpose, in that it spotlights Barry’s work both as a film composer and as a recording star.

Les and Larry Elgart and Orchestra Music to Watch Girls By
This lively Bob Crewe hit is one of the happiest instrumental pieces of recent years and it certainly makes an ideal vehicle for the big band sound of the Elgart brothers. Both Les (trumpet) and Larry (saxophone) are well-known personalities from the hey-day of the big band era, but their jointly led band is still an actively commercial unit, thanks to their ability to move with the times. In his early career, Les Elgart had played excellent lead trumpet for such bandleaders as Bunny Berigan and Charlie Spivak before forming his own band in 1945—which featured brother Larry in the sax section. An outstanding group it was, too, with exceptional arrangements by Bill Finegan and a youngster named Nelson Riddle. Les, a handsome man, was a somewhat subdued leader and, since brother Larry instilled so much enthusiasm into the band, confusion often arose as to who was the real leader. Eventually this conflict of temperaments resulted in a split between the two brothers, and each led his own band for a while. Later, both men realized that a jointly owned band was a much more commercial proposition after all, so they patched up their differences and joined forces on an equal basis. The new band proved to be even more profitable than the original 1945 unit. This comparatively recent recording by the band shows how well the Elgarts have moved with the times.

Andre Kostelanetz and his Orchestra Try To Remember
One of the all-time great masters of the light orchestral field, Andre Kostelanetz has been putting marvellous sounds onto records and into concert halls for many years. His sympathetic understanding of orchestral textures and his flair for decorating fine melodies have made him the envy of his colleagues and fellow artists. This tastefully arranged version of the popular ballad TryTo Remember illustrates just why Kostelanetz enjoys such an eminent reputation.

Alan Haven Charade
The increasing popularity of the organ in jazz and pop circles has created the need for a new style of keyboard artist, the kind of musician who is capable of drawing a unique sound from what has become an over-used instrument. Such an artist is Britain’s Alan Haven. His crisp technique and sensitivity of approach are stylishly applied to his individual interpretation of this well-known melody, composed by Henry Mancini for the 1963 film ‘Charade’.

Keith Mansfield Orchestra and Chorus And I Love Her
This superb song, one of the first major ballad compositions of Lennon and McCartney, helped to move the Beatles away from the “yeh, yeh” style of trivia with which they had become saddled in the early ’60s. It marked a positive step towards the maturity they later achieved. The true melodic worth of this fine song is projected with warmth in this lucid and illuminating treatment by the Keith Mansfield orchestra and chorus.

Alan Tew and his Orchestra We’ve Only Just Begun
There is a popular, though quite fallacious, belief that today’s songwriters are incapable of producing first-rate romantic ballads like those of the great songwriters of the ’30s and ’40s. This exquisite Paul Williams song clearly shows that the standard of ballad composition can be just as high today as ever it was. This reflective and moving arrangement by the talented Alan Tew adds glowing emphasis to a romantic masterpiece.

Moods Orchestral - Various Artists

Label: Reader’s Digest/CBS GCON-6A/S7

1973 1970s Covers

!Y Viva España! – Various Artists

Sleeve Notes:

La Plaga – Y Viva España! (en español), Peret – El Mosquito, La Plaga – Taka-Takata, Los Picadores – España Cañi, Rex Gildo – Fiesta Mejicana (en español), Hot Butter – Popcorn, La Plaga – La Banda Dominguera, Peret – Una Lagrima (nueva versión), Los Picadores – El Gato Montes, Peret – Borriquito…

!Y Viva España! - Various Artists

Label: Ariola 82178-H

1973 1970s Covers

Ray Conniff /4 – “Olé!”

Sleeve Notes:

Perhaps the paramount feature of Conniff’s sound is its adaptability to various musical styles, and this feature is sharply emphasized in the enclosed collection of twelve songs, all of which bear a distinct Latin-American or Spanish flavour. Latin rhythms, of course, are always exciting to work with, although too many arrangers make the mistake of over-stressing the rhythms to the virtual exclusion of other equally important elements. It is a common stylistic pitfall which Ray Conniff expertly avoids in this collection.

In Ray’s case, the presentation has to be different in view of the fact that his distinctive sound is concentrated on the combination of voices and front-line instruments. Of course, the rhythm is important in establishing the right mood —as it is in any Conniff arrangement—but it remains subservient to the broad splashes of vocal and orchestral colour, to the swelling harmonies and—above all—to the melody itself. And the melodies which Ray has selected in this case are exceptionally strong ones. For some of the scores you will notice that Ray has altered the original metres by taking certain songs at a faster tempo than is usual for them. In the Latin-American style, as in everything else he attempts, the Conniff philosophy pays off once again. Naturally, the real proof of this musical pudding is in the hearing—but when you have heard it, you’ll see just why Senor Conniff is such a revered and versatile musical chef. OLÉ!

Side One
Granada This famous and durable composition makes a fitting start to this collection of Latin favourites au Conniff. The majestic sweep of this well-known melody has proved to be an irresistible proposition for bravura tenors like Mario Lanza and Harry Secombe. Robust rhythmic stylings of the song, by Frankie Laine and Frank Sinatra respectively, took it into the pop charts on two occasions, and over the years various orchestral arrangers have used the tune to show off their writing skills. This superb Ray Conniff score is full of colourful effects that seem to add extra beauty to the wonderful, soaring melody.
Lady of Spain
Although this popular song exudes an authentic Spanish flavour, it was in fact composed by an Englishman, Tolchard Evans, born in Harringay in 1901. He sold his first song when he was in his late teens, and in the ensuing forty-odd years composed about a thousand more. Finding terrific international success with his 1931 composition Lady of Spain, Evans followed through with other songs of a similar nature, such as Valencia and Barcelona. Other Evans hits included Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing, Unless and Song of the Trees. Lady of Spain, however, remains his greatest hit and it is doubtful that she has ever appeared in a more attractive musical costume than the one Ray Conniff has dressed her in for this occasion.
Malaguena
No collection of Latin-American music would be complete without at least one melody from the pen of the great Ernesto Lecuona, and this inspiring composition is one of his finest. A Cuban by birth, most of Lecuona’s popular melodies (he has also written much “serious” music) contain a pronounced local character, strongly founded on the traditional dance music of his country. Such works include Siboney, Andalucia, Danza Lucumi and Always in My Heart. Ray Conniff’s arrangement of Malaguena reveals how effectively Lecuona’s music can be adapted to fit into a modern orchestral pop setting.
Do You Know the Way to San Jose?
It is not purely by coincidence that some of the best popular songs of the past fifteen years have been composed by Burt Bacharach. Right from his first big hit, Magic Moments, popularized in 1957 by Perry Como, Bacharach has continued to develop in so many different directions. One can easily cite those classic Dionne Warwick hits of the ’60s— Walk on By, Trains and Boats and Planes, etc.—which Burt not only composed but arranged and produced also. This particular song represents one of Bacharach’s rare excursions into the Latin idiom. Apart from sounding pleasantly authentic, it has that peculiar stamp of individuality invariably associated with Bacharach’s melodies. Ray Conniff’s beautifully voiced “wordless” arrangement, in which he has doubled female voices with trumpets and male voices with trombones, is a very fine example of the Conniff sound.
Besame Mucho
A strong Spanish influence pervades this enduringly popular standard, composed by Consuelo Velasquez and originally published in 1941. “Besame mucho”, literally translated, means “kiss me much”, so not surprisingly lyricist Sunny Skylar left the actual title intact when supplying the tune with English words. In August 1962, a series of celebrations in Guadalajara, where female composer Velasquez lives, marked the song’s twentieth anniversary. Many important recording artists participated in the event, which culminated in a grand climax at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. The melody, incidentally, is somewhat reminiscent of the “nightingale” aria in the Granados opera, ‘Goyescas’, but apparently Consuelo Velasquez was unaware of this at the time she composed it. For this recording, Ray Conniff has again applied his popular “wordless” approach to the arrangement and the overall “orchestral” effect is most satisfying.
Brazil
This marvellously evocative composition is perhaps the prototype of the successful Latin-American popular song. The original Spanish words and music to Brazil were written by Ary Barroso. The English lyrics were added later by Bob Russell. The song achieved world-wide popularity, chiefly through its appearance in the 1943 Walt Disney film ‘Saludos Amigos’. In this excellent recording, Ray Conniff’s crisply rhythmic arrangement utilizes Barroso’s original background figure (surely no arranger in the world would be foolhardy enough to try and alter it) and takes the melody at a slightly faster-than-usual tempo. In these circumstances, Ray wisely decided to dispense with lyrics and use the voices as part of the orchestra. The result is a truly superb version of a wonderful and much-loved song.

Side Two
El Condor Pasa
For this track, Ray Conniff has chosen to let the trumpets carry the melody while the voices play a supplementary role for the first chorus. But once the theme and mood have been clearly established, Ray brings the voices in for a sensitive rendering of Paul Simon’s haunting and philosophical lyric. The general mood of this piece is one of quiet reflection. The tune itself has a strong Mexican feeling about it.
A Taste of Honey
Here’s another beautiful song that has been heard to good advantage in various settings by artists of all types. It was, in fact, one of the standout songs on the very first LP by the Beatles. Top vocalists like Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee and Andy Williams have also shown a strong regard for this fine song. Now Ray Conniff, an ardent champion of fine songs, has joined the ranks with what is probably the smoothest version of all.
Spanish Eyes
Songwriting really is a funny business. For example, take this Bert Kaempfert composition. When he first wrote it, he originally named it Moon Over Naples and it achieved only a moderate success. But as soon as English lyrics were added along with a new title—Spanish Eyes —the song became a smash hit in America for singer Al Martino. Could it have been due to the lyrics, or was it because of the song’s geographical change of address ? Well, whatever it was, it’s
safe to say that this great Ray Conniff version will only enhance the song’s reputation.
Kiss of Fire
Back in 1951 this well-known song was a million-seller for singer Georgia Gibbs, but its melody goes back much further than that. Kiss of Fire was adapted by songwriters Lester Allen and Robert Hill from A. G. Villoldo’s El Choclo, a classic Argentine tango of 1913. This stirring modern arrangement by Ray Conniff evokes more than a hint of the song’s origins.
Temptation
This dramatic ballad, written by Nacio Herb Brown (music) and Arthur Freed (lyrics) for the 1933 Bing Crosby-Marion Davies film ‘Going Hollywood’, has been successfully revived in numerous versions over the years. As Bing Crosby himself once remarked : “I guess every baritone worthy of the name has had a whack at this one through the years.” Both Perry Como and Billy Eckstine notched up massive sales with their respective recordings of it. In this fine recording, Ray Conniff treats the melody with the warmth and respect it deserves.
Tico Tico
Just as Granada provided the perfect opening track to this special Conniff collection of Latin-American compositions, there could be no more appropriate tune to close the programme than this all-time Latin favourite. Its tricky yet infectious melody offers a strong challenge to the measured discipline of Ray Conniff’s orchestra and chorus. Ray’s dazzling arrangement keeps everyone on their toes and this brings the collection to a most spectacular close. Olé, indeed!

Ray Conniff /4 - "Olé!"

Label: Reader’s Digest/CBS GCON-6A

1973 1970s Covers

Enjoy some easy listening Ray Conniff vibes below!

Anna Moffo – Meine Lippen Sie Küssen So Heiß

Sleeve Notes:

Anna Moffo was born in Wayne, Pennsylvania to Italian parents. Already in her early years she showed a special interest in music, especially in the folklore of her native Italy. Initially, Anna Moffo intended to study history and literary history after finishing school. However, friends – and not least her parents – dissuaded her from this plan and let her voice be trained.

A scholarship from the Fulbright Foundation made it possible for her to stay in Rome, as well as an apprenticeship in Perugia. In addition to singing lessons, she also completed her piano skills in Italy. In a relatively short time Anna Moffo had a considerable repertoire “on it”, so that she was occasionally brought to the opera in Rome and La Scala in Milan. The directors and conductors pricked up their ears when the news went through the press that ‘Anna Moffo had Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, who fell ill, sang a program of new and modernist songs with great success. La Scala engaged her on the spot. In 1955 she performed at the Spoleto Festival.

Riere began in 1958 when Herbert von Karajan engaged her as Anna for his new Falstaff production in Milan. Karajan took the young singer with him to the Salzburg Festival in this role. From then on, the doors of the most important opera stages in the world opened to the Moffo. She sang in Paris, Vienna, Stuttgart, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Chicago and many other cities. She is a permanent member of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, whose first season after the new building Anna Moffo began in 1966 with the Traviata. In the opinion of the international press, the singer’s high level of artistry seems to be best demonstrated in this role. The Moffo repertoire includes around 150 roles from opera, operetta, musical and vaudeville. Anna Moffo is married to the director Mario Lanfranchi, with whom she lives near Parma. Anna Moffo has recently emerged as a television star several times, for example in a much-discussed television production of Giacomo Puccini’s “Butterfly”. In addition to Violetta in “Traviata”, there are Manon (Massenet), Mimi, Gilda and the Lucia on the most important roles of the singer.

Anna Moffo - Meine Lippen Sie Küssen So Heiß

Label: Telefunken SLE 14 545-P

1973 1970s Covers