🎶 Pick a Dozen 12 Latin/Mexican tunes by Herb Alpert

Highlighting the Pick a Dozen series

Rudy

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Inspired by Harry's thread, here's an exercise in picking your 12 favorite tunes from the Herb Alpert and TJB catalogs that really bring out the Latin/Mexican vibe. The early TJB dove in deep with the flavor of 1960s Mexico, where Fandango finds Herb in more of a modern Mexico City mood. Passion Dance pairs Herb with, essentially, a jazz/salsa band. Plenty to choose from, but hard to narrow it down to twelve favorites. Let's see what we all come up with!

If you want to go with a longer playlist, feel free to contribute one to Harry's thread here:


🍻
 

Rudy

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I'm going to roll with this list, attempting to capture my favorite Latin-sounding tracks:
  1. Mexican Shuffle. I mean, how could I not start off the list with this track?
  2. La Bikina (aka Good Morning, Mr. Sunshine). The most Mariachi of tracks the TJB ever recorded.
  3. The Great Manolete. More bullfighter-ish than "The Lonely Bull." I'm seeing toreadors here.
  4. Passion Dance. A favorite downtempo cut.
  5. Coco Loco. A crazy classic.
  6. South of the Border. The title kind of explains it, si?
  7. Route 101. Another one--how could I not?
  8. Zamba (Para la niña Yolanda). Bet you forgot about this one!
  9. El Presidente. Classic TJB here.
  10. Margarita. Yeah, I could use one right about now.
  11. Que Pasa, Mr. Jones? I've always wondered if he had a thing going on...
  12. Latin Medley. A four-in-one deal with some classic Latin melodies.
 

Harry

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There are lots that get left out of a list like this, but here are my "first pass" selections through the Alpert library.

1. Latin Lady (Te Quiero Asi) from BLOW YOUR OWN HORN - Lani Hall also did this song on her first Latin album, LANI

2. Bittersweet Samba (REWHIPPED, promo version) - I return to this one all the time. It's slightly different from the released version and has more of a Latin push/pull rhythm going on.

3. Memories Of Madrid (WHAT NOW MY LOVE) - Can't leave out the Tijuana Brass. This is a favorite from a favorite album.

4. Winds Of Barcelona (VOLUME 2) - One of my favorites from the early years of the TjB.

5. Numero Cinco (SOUTH OF THE BORDER) - Another early favorite from an album where all selections could be considered.

6. Spanish Nights (JUST YOU AND ME) - Herb's first real solo album still had a song with a Spanish flair.

7. Aranjuez Con Tu Amor (RISE) - This one snuck up on me years later and is a real favorite.

8. Las Mananitas (CHRISTMAS ALBUM) - This was also on a 45 in a less-produced version, as well as done by the BMB.

9. Libertango (COLORS) - A little-visited album, but one of my favorites from it.

10. Route 101 (FANDANGO) - Another album with lots of possibilities. This song brought me back to the Herb Alpert fold after some years of distance.

11. The Little Train Of Caipira (THE BRASS ARE COMIN') - It gets so much better with that darned CSG removed!

12. Brasilia (WHAT NOW MY LOVE) - I know, Ii's not really Mexican or Spanish, but it's all about a place South Of The Border, and a true favorite that I cannot leave off this list. This one HAS to be the "wet" version of the old LP days.

There were so many more to consider, that Latin Medley, Coco Loco, Fandango, Noche De Amor, and on and on...
 

Rudy

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There are lots that get left out of a list like this,
I know it. I had to pass on a handful myself. And my mind could change on my list of a dozen. I guess I like torturing myself. 😁
 

Rudy

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The Work Song? A Taste of Honey?

Some compiler forgot the theme for a minute...
I was going to say... 🤣

Yeah. "My Favorite Things?" Then again, the LP appears to be from Holland, so maybe all of this is their idea of Mexican. 🤷🏽‍♂️
 

JOv2

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Salud, Amor y Dinero; Adios, Mi Corazon; and Good Morning, Mr. Sunshine exhibit the most overall "latinesque" feel while the balance were included for their use of a latin feel or latin rhythms -- except for For Carlos, which is included for its subject matter. There are surely others, but these are my favourites.
  1. Salud, Amor y Dinero (SOTB)
  2. Adiós, Mi Corazón (SOTB)
  3. Green Peppers (WC&OD)
  4. Bittersweet Samba (WC&OD)
  5. What Now, My Love? (WNML)
  6. For Carlos (SRO)
  7. A Banda (Ninth)
  8. Bud (Ninth)
  9. Panama (BOTB)
  10. Zazueira (Warm)
  11. Good Morning, Mr. Sunshine (TBAC)
  12. Route 101
 

Mr Bill

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Still figuring out my input on this one... My Portuguese and Brazilian friends will argue that Brazilian and Portuguese music is NOT latin or hispanic. One of my friends will even pop you in the nose for suggesting it! On my last ship during "Hispanic Latino Heritage Month" the Commanding officer asked our small Port/Braz contingency why they weren't participating... They told him "because we are not hispanic or latino... We're Portuguese and Brazilian!"

I will likely try to go with truly latin/Mexican songs and avoid those written by the non-latin TJB stable of composers (who were mostly Jewish or Italian, LoL)

Reminds me of a joke...

Q: How many South Americans does it take to change a light bulb?
A: A Brazillian

--Mr Bill
 

martin

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1. Salud, Amor Y Dinero
2. Adios Mi Corazon
3. Good Morning, Mr Sunshine
4. Fandango
5. Aria (from Fandango)
6. Baila Conmigo
7. Beba
8. El Presidente
9. Margarita
10. Cinco de Mayo
11. The Green Leaves Of Summer
12. The Great Manolete

- greetings from the (very warm) north -
Martin
 

Mike Blakesley

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I didn't realize this was an older thread until I got to my own comment, above!

While reading some of the titles, I got to thinking: When we've seen the notes from old TJB sessions, some of the songs are referred to by generic names like "Sol's Tune #3" and such. Makes me wonder how many of Herb's Mexican/Spanish/Latin tunes are really just "tunes," but they gave them Spanish or "south of the border" type names to make them fit the overall TJB theme. Heck, it happened right off the bat -- the original title of "The Lonely Bull (El Solo Toro)" was, as we all know, "Twinkle Star!"
 

Rudy

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With those, you're right--it was more about the arrangement than the composer of the song. My own list has some that aren't technically from Mexico or South America, like "South of the Border" (which predates the TJB). I put my list together more based on how they sounded rather than where they came from, although I could do another that has more of a "purist" approach to it.
 

martin

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I agree with Rudy, and I don't think the "purist" approach is relevant when it comes to Herb (and the TJB). It's more about flavour. Herb has repeatedly mentioned the letter he got from a lady in Germany thanking him for the "vicarious trip to Tijuana", after hearing The Lonely Bull, and how that inspired him to thinking that his music should "paint pictures".

- greetings from the north -
Martin
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
but they gave them Spanish or "south of the border" type names to make them fit the overall TJB theme
Agreed. I think Herb (and Sol) figured out by SOTB that a catchy song titled "Quiero tomar tu mano" is not going to make any impression with either casual record buyers or AM radio music directors.

A couple of the throwaways could garner Spanish titles, but the best of the lot need to be in English to rack of the $$$.
 
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