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Official Review You Smile -- The Song Begins [Herb Alpert & The T.J.B.]

Discussion in 'The Beat of The Brass: Herb Alpert/Tijuana Brass' started by Rudy, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    [​IMG]

    SIDE ONE
    Fox Hunt 2:38/ Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor 4:52/ I Can't Go On Living, Baby, Without You 2:48/ I Might Frighten Her Away 4:11*/ You Smile- The Song Begins 3:21/ Up Cherry Street 2:32.

    SIDE TWO
    Promises, Promises 2:31/ Save the Sunlight 3:50***/ Dida 3:17/ Alone Again (Naturally) 2:29/ Last Tango in Paris 2:50**/ A Song For Herb 4:20.

    All selections arranged by Herb Alpert/ *Strings by Burt Bacharach/ **Strings and things by Quincy Jones/ *** Lani Hall's voice appears/ Thanks to Bill Earl and Lani Hall for being there/

    Engineer - Larry Levine/ Mastering Engineer - Bernie Grundman/ Recorded at A&M Studios, Hollywood/ Produced by Herb Alpert/ Art Direction - Roland Young/ Photography - Edward L. Simpson/ Design - Hagiwara McGowan

    SP 3620 entered the Billboard Top 200 on June 1, 1974, charted for 11 weeks and peaked at #66, according to Whitburn's "Top Pop Albums."

    The album included charted singles: "Foxhunt" # 84 & "Last Tango in Paris" # 77

    Release Information

    Vinyl: SP-3620
    CD: forthcoming

    Purchase

    Locate CD on: forthcoming
    Download from: Amazon | Itunes
    Locate vinyl on: eBay

    The December, 2015 release marks the first time that the You Smile--The Song Begins album will appear in lossless digital format. Digital download and streaming release date was December 4, 2015, with CD to follow in early 2016.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
  2. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    December 4, 2015 marks the day that this Herb Alpert & The T.J.B. album, You Smile--The Song Begins, was released in digital lossless form, for the first time. It will be released on CD in early 2016.

    As with any recording that is decades old, sound quality can be variable. The worst of the age-related issues on this recording are minimal--just the occasional tape dropout at times, and they are barely audible. There is also the very slight dulling that occurs with magnetic tape over time, something many listeners would not even notice, but might reveal itself in close comparison to the vinyl copy if the listener is equipped with better playback equipment.

    This album is a pleasant surprise here in late 2015. The original LP mastering always felt a little stuffy and congested, and a slight change in tonal balance helps with the clarity on this mastering. Because of this, it is easier to hear the various nuances within the tunes. While the reverb trail on many of the sounds are a little truncated thanks to the 44.1/16 digital version I'm reviewing here (only vinyl or higher-resolution digital preserves this quality), you still have a bigger sense of space on slower tunes such as Chuck Mangione's "Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor," and the overlooked Bacharach gem "I Might Frighten Her Away." One other slow gem is the melancholy closing track, penned by the great Roger Nichols: "Song for Herb."

    One teaser we had a short time prior was the inclusion of the Gato Barbieri theme song to"Last Tango in Paris" on the Foursider anthology set. This track was arranged by none other than Quincy Jones and like some of his other arrangements of known tunes, he will often veer off into something different towards the end of the tune, as it does here. It is presented here in finer detail than in previous digital versions.

    That also applies to the other upbeat tracks. While "I Can't Go On Living, Baby, Without You" sounds somewhat closed in and slightly distorted, the added clairty to tunes like "Alone Again (Naturally)" and the album opener "Fox Hunt" works to an advantage in that you can more clearly hear the instrumentation in the background (the marimba, the steel drums, etc.). The upbeat "Up Cherry Street" is a wonderful new arrangement of the classic that first appeared on South of the Border. Lani Hall comes in for an assist on the vocal cut "Save The Sunlight."

    This album marks Herb's re-entry to recording, having taken a break post-Summertime. He would pay tribute to his trumpet mentor, Carmine Caruso, on his next album, but we do hear Herb sounding much better than his somewhat weary playing on Summertime thanks partially to Caruso's guidance. It is also important to note that the new group is officially billed as "The T.J.B.," a nod to Tijuana Brass (commonly abbreviated as "TJB" back in the day) without officially calling it that. Stylistically it does still have a few of the old Brass elements, but you feel a small sense of growth and pulling away from the past, something that would be escalated on his following album, Coney Island.
     
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  3. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    When this came out, I was in the music business. I knew the album was coming and had ordered it, but our rival music dealer in town (a variety store) got it in before we did! But I couldn't stand to wait a few more days and went ahead and paid their slightly-higher price. (This was before the days when "street date" was so widely publicized and people would line up for new releases.)

    I've always liked the album a lot -- it didn't sound like the "old" TJB but really, every album since Beat of the Brass had had a markedly different sound, so it was getting to be normal to be surprised by Herb's latest style.

    My go-to tunes are "Save the Sunlight," "Fox Hunt" and "Legend of the One Eyed Sailor." But my favorite on the album is "Promises, Promises," which boasts a killer arrangement and some very cool scat vocals by Herb. It's one of those many TJB tunes that I really enjoy cranking the volume on.

    I'm looking forward to revisiting this one.
     
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  4. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    Herb takes "Promises, Promises" at a breakneck pace and flies right through it. Yet I've heard other singers and musicians complain that they don't "get" all of the time signature changes.

    Then again, I grew up in a house where an old Moondog record was not out of place, so anything in addition to 4/4 time is pretty natural to me. I remember the nightmare of trying to teach a band how to play "Take Five"... :D
     
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  5. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    I do have a good memory associated with this album. My mother showed up at home one day, in the summer, and handed this record to me. Naturally I was excited over it. It turned out that it was the first "white/silver" 2nd generation A&M label, vs. the old tan label I was familiar with. So, that was a novelty. And, the record didn't spend much time off of the turntable for the balance of the year. (And I still have that old thing, worn and a little scratched from years of usage.)

    I mention the summer because it was related to something else--we got in the car one evening and drove up to some ski resort nearby that had recently built an amphitheater (Pine Knob). And guess who was playing that night. :D So that was quite a surprise, with the record being the teaser.

    We would return the next year for the Coney Island tour, and we were one of only a few of the guests who ate at the ski lodge dining room that evening. There as a large table in the middle with a large group seated. Some guy with a bushy black mustache. A lady who looked suspiciously like a singer led by a Brazilian pianist. And someone else at the head of the table, wearing large dark sunglasses, who I bet could probably play a mean trumpet. :D It wasn't too hard to figure out Herb and the band were dining in there, but we kept a low profile and didn't bother them.

    I missed the tour for Bullish (never even heard about it!). But I did catch the symphony tour for Under a Spanish Moon at Meadowbrook, and then drove up to E. Lansing for the 2009 gig with Lani and the jazz combo.
     
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  6. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I have always thought this album deserved a better cover. I mean, Herb looks great in the picture, but it's just not an exciting cover. I was expecting it to at least have a cool innersleeve and it didn't even have that (nor did Coney Island). Even Summertime had more going for it than this one due to the cool back-cover photography, and also the front picture with its infamous pants DID at least look ... summer-y.

    I can never pick a favorite TJB song, but it's easy for me to pick a favorite album cover: SRO. It shows the whole band and is just a classy looking cover. Some people might say "what about Whipped Cream?" Well, I leave the first 4 albums out of competition because the band hadn't been formed yet. (My contest, my rules!)
     
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  7. Maybe so, but - speaking as someone who never cared about the covers of Alpert's albums, but only the contents - I must say that had I ever worked with Alpert in any capacity in the 1960s, I would have urged him to give some of his later records a similarly sultry cover, in the hopes of selling more copies of his albums.

    (Obviously, I don't mean imitating the cover directly, as so many other records by so many artists have done. I just mean a sensual cover picture, with some shtick to hint at an element of the album's contents.)

    One could reasonably argue that the idea of making a similar cover is so obvious, that it must have occurred to Alpert and his colleagues to do so, so the fact that Alpert didn't try such a cheap ploy speaks well of his artistic integrity.

    On second thought, I take back what I said about not caring about cover art. I remember as a child, far too young to care about female beauty in that way, I had a long conversation on the strange imagery of the Whipped Cream cover with my MOTHER, of all people. That picture just had a certain je-ne-sais-quoi.

    But okay, it's your contest, with your rules, so what's my favorite post-Whipped Cream cover? Maybe I'm just prejudiced because I like the album itself, but Bullish is technically listed as a TJB album, and while I know nothing about art, I think that vivid image of a bull made of just a few minimal lines, yet looking like it's charging at you, seems like a clever piece of art.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
  8. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    The other song on this album that was an early favorite of mine was "Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor." I always wondered if it's named after Popeye (the cartoon). I guess probably not. But it's still a great tune and fits in perfectly with the TJB's long history of doing songs with tempo changes and other surprises. Did Chuck Mangione ever record it?
     
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  9. Steve Sidoruk

    Steve Sidoruk Founder, A&M Fan Net Moderator



    Land Of Make Believe and Tarantella.
     
  10. Captain Bacardi

    Captain Bacardi Well-Known Member Moderator

    Herb mentioned back then that when he heard Mangione's version of "Legend" it made him want to get out and record again. Then when Mangione was looking for a record company Herb jumped at the chance to sign him.
     
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  11. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    We played Chuck's version in a jazz combo back in high school. The other horn in the band was a big Mangione fan, even having a flugelhorn, so it was a natural choice. I haven't touched a sax in a decade, and my buddy is now a chiropractor in Florida. But the rhythm section, not surprisingly, ended up being music instructors at universities. Bass and piano were twin brothers, and they lived next door to the drummer (a huge Buddy Rich fan), so they were already a tight rhythm section. A dream to play with.
     
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  12. Captain Bacardi

    Captain Bacardi Well-Known Member Moderator

    The first version of "Legend" was from his Alive album from 1972:


    Then the more popular version from the Land Of Make Believe from 1973:
     
  13. Captain Bacardi

    Captain Bacardi Well-Known Member Moderator

    I saw Steve Gadd at a drum clinic and he said he came up with the drum intro for the song. He even played the thing at the clinic. And, of course, he's the drummer on all three of these videos.
     
  14. Captain Bacardi

    Captain Bacardi Well-Known Member Moderator

    "Legend" was the first big band arrangement I did in high school. That arrangement I did similar to how Herb recorded it. Then at Ball State I did another arrangement but more in the Mangione style, except I wrote it in F minor, instead of Mangione's C minor. It seems the lead trumpeter couldn't hit that high A like Jon Faddis did - but few probably could. :wink:
     
  15. I guess this is heresy on these boards - especially on this thread - but I never felt much thrill with this album, much preferring the Lost Treasures version of "Up Cherry Street," "Promises, Promises," and "Alone Again (Naturally)." But I regard one track as exceptionally impressive: "Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor."
     
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  16. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    Everyone has their own tastes. And as I find with any artist I like (and collect), there are albums I really like, and others that might still be considered fine albums but just don't do anything for me. Elsewhere, for instance, it would be "Marie Antoinette time" if I mentioned I didn't like the Beatles "white album", but that is my opinion which I don't expect others to share, and I can still appreciate that it has its strengths, even if I am not overly fond of it. :)
     
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  17. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    We did it in Chuck's Cm version also. We also did a Cannonball Adderley song, but I can't remember which one it was. (Not "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" though.)
     
  18. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    To me the version of "Promises, Promises" on this album sounds much more finished than the one on Lost Treasures. There are a lot of little touches missing from the LT version.
     
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  19. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    I like the Lost Treasures versions, but to be honest, I will always prefer the originals since that is how I've listened to them for 40+ years. The great thing now is having that choice. :)

    "40+ years." Egad, I hate saying that... :sigh: Seems like a blink of an eye ago.
     
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  20. Steve Sidoruk

    Steve Sidoruk Founder, A&M Fan Net Moderator

    1974 brings back a lot of fond memories for me, particularly, this album, Herb's comeback tour (meeting Herb & Lani for the 1st time) and later the TV Special. The album has a lot of great tunes, but I always really loved "Fox Hunt." The A&M College Rep from Boston set me up for the week of shows each in Warwick (RI) and Wallingford (CT) and also first time met A&M Rep Barry Korkin (now at Universal). Shot lots of photos and years later put this photo book together. Just out of college and some unbelievable doings for a Herb fan!

    YOU SMILE.jpg
     
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  21. I like this performance from a 1974 special:

     
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  22. Captain Bacardi

    Captain Bacardi Well-Known Member Moderator

    I loved this album when it came out. "Fox Hunt" got a lot of AM airplay on a couple of Chicago radio stations. Then the People magazine article about the comeback made me even more intrigued. Up to that point I didn't know about the personal issues Herb had that led to the '69 breakup of the TJB. Obviously I had heard "Last Tango In Paris" on the Foursider LP and realized Herb was taking the group into a bit of a new direction, which I loved. I still think "I Might Frighten Her Away" is a gorgeous ballad. Even Rolling Stone hailed this album, which was a pleasant surprise to me. It's a solid album.
     
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  23. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I first owned a couple singles from this "Save the sunlight" "Fox Hunt" and "Last Tango in Paris" which was all i had until i finally found a copy of the album i wore those singles out from constant play. But i am looking forward to having this in a clean sounding digital cd when it is released. I like every song on this and "Promises Promises" is very close to Bacharach's own version except Herb takes it into a slightly different direction.
     
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  24. DeeInKY

    DeeInKY Well-Known Member

    Imagine if you'd tried to teach them Blue Rondo..... :shock:
     
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  25. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    Don Ellis Orchestra: "3 3 2 2 2 1 2 2 2...and that's just the area code." :laugh:

    On the total opposite end of the spectrum: I'm not a huge fan of The Who, but do like a few of the records. But what boggled my mind was how overrated Keith Moon was. I saw him as just a drunk smashing away in 4/4 to anything that came his way--any high school kid could do that (and we had our share of drunk high-schoolers in our bands, and I'll plead the fifth here :D ). He couldn't even handle a 6/8 rhythm for "Music Must Change" (from Who Are You)--Townsend had to resort to having him play a simple tambourine part. Certainly not what I'd expect out of a band's primary rhythm keeper. I'll take Kenney Jones' drumming any day of the week.

     
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