🎵 Classic AOTW Baja Marimba Band BAJA MARIMBA BAND SP-104

What is your favorite track?

  • COMIN' IN THE BACK DOOR

    Votes: 7 25.0%
  • UP CHERRY STREET

    Votes: 4 14.3%
  • MARIA ELENA

    Votes: 2 7.1%
  • PEDRO'S PORCH (PART 2)

    Votes: 1 3.6%
  • BAJA NIGHTS

    Votes: 1 3.6%
  • CHARADE

    Votes: 1 3.6%
  • MOONGLOW (PICNIC THEME)

    Votes: 2 7.1%
  • ACAPULCO 1922

    Votes: 2 7.1%
  • MARIA'S FIRST ROSE

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • SAMBA DE ORPHEU

    Votes: 4 14.3%
  • DECEMBER'S CHILD

    Votes: 2 7.1%
  • BACK TO CUERNAVACA

    Votes: 2 7.1%

  • Total voters
    28

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
Baja Marimba Band
BAJA MARIMBA BAND

A&M SP-104

BMBa.jpg

Tracks:

SIDE ONE:

COMIN' IN THE BACK DOOR
UP CHERRY STREET
MARIA ELENA
PEDRO'S PORCH (PART 2)
BAJA NIGHTS
CHARADE

SIDE TWO:

MOONGLOW (PICNIC THEME)
ACAPULCO 1922
MARIA'S FIRST ROSE
SAMBA DE ORPHEU
DECEMBER'S CHILD
BACK TO CUERNAVACA

CREDITS:

PRODUCERS: HERB ALPERT & JERRY MOSS
ARRANGERS: HERB ALPERT & JULIUS WECHTER

ON THE MARIMBAS: JULIUS WECHTER
ALBUM DESIGN: APPLE GRAPHICS
A&M RECORDS · 8255 SUNSET BLVD., L.A. 46, CAL.

Liner Notes:

Southeast of the state of California lies a rugged mountain peninsula known as Baja California, Mexico. It is about the size of Florida and is separated from the rest of Mexico by the Colorado River and the Gulf of Calilfornia. The guide book claims that the natives of Baja (pronounced Baha) California are "friendly and hospitable, scrupulously honest, not too addicted to hard work, intensely patriotic, and fond of music and fiestas." Combining some of the sophistication of their northern neighbors, a warm and rich inborn feeling for melody. the comraderie of a camp-fire, and the splendor of a voluptuous sunset, The BAJA MARIMBA BAND now presents their lively rhythms and infectious melodies.

Also issued on LP as LP-104 (mono) and briefly issued in Japan on CD.
 
Last edited:

nightcat

Member
I vote for Baja Nights. This is simply one of the most beautiful melodies I've ever heard! Recently a friend and myself compiled a list of our top 5 Baja tunes. Baja Nights came in 3rd on my list. If you haven't heard it in a while, give it a listen. Julius outdid himself when he wrote this one.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
The "Maria" Debacle

Two titles on this album have the name "Maria" in it: "Maria Elena" and "Maria's First Rose" which seems to have led to some confusion with the compilers of the Japanese DIGITALLY REMASTERED BEST compact disc issued in 1998.

On that disc, track 15 is listed as "Maria Elena", but the audio is indeed the other one, "Maria's First Rose."

When our Steve Sidoruk got involved with the folks at Collector's Choice for the US issue of basically that same track listing, he managed to get that corrected, finally listing "Maria's First Rose" as track 15. (There were four cover-type songs that Steve got them to sub some better home-grown Baja songs for.) Unfortunately, the good folks at Collector's Choice managed to mangle the date on "Acapulco 1922" sending it back in time a hundred years.

The "Maria" debacle actually managed to confuse me too. With BAJA MARIMBA BAND being our Classic Album Of The Week, I dug out my homemade CD-R from a few years ago to listen too. Somehow track 3 managed to sound an awful lot like track 9 and it was then that I realized that I'd been fooled by wrong track listed on the DIGITALLY REMASTERED BEST.

When I made those CD-R's, I'd use the LP's for the tracks that I had to, and subbed those that were professionally available on CD, and I was fooled into using the wrong song for track 3 on this disc. So I guess I'll have to do that one over again!

If you're keeping score, there is yeat another confusion of titles in the BMB catalog going back to the LP days. On the FOURSIDER compilation, Side Two, Track 2 is listed as "Brasilia", but the audio on the record is "Summer Samba."

Just so everyone's clear, "Maria Elena" is commonly available on CD on the Timeless Music 3-CD compilation.

Harry
 

Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
Staff member
Moderator
Well, here are more recording notes & stuff for the first, self-titled, BAJA MARIMBA BAND album. You will note some discrepancies here. There are three titles that are different from what we know on the album - "Lonely Little Lover Lost" (Buddy Holly, Audie Murphy, Scott Turner) - "I Told You So" (writer unknown) - "En Quarto" (writer unknown). Here's what I think - "Lonely Little Lover Lost" became "Comin' In The Back Door," only credited to Scott Turner as it became an instrumental. The other two titles were Julius penned tunes and their titles were changed to "December's Child" and "Back To Cuernavaca." Research at ASCAP and BMI revealed no listing for "En Quarto" and "I Told You So" was found, but there are roughly 70-80 tunes with this title - none credited to Julius, though. In an e-mail a while back with Cissy Wechter, she told me generally that titles were changed. You could envision that happening to go better with the theme of an album.

The info found for the third recording session for this album seems to be lacking some key players and instrumentation. Considering that we are going back over 44 years, I feel lucky to have found all that I did. Still, inquiring minds want to know and maybe the missing info will turn up with more research.

1/6/1964 - Gold Star Recording Studio - Up Cherry Street, Charade, Baja Nights, Maria Elena - Julius Wechter - marimba, Tommy Tedesco - guitar, Hal Blaine - drums, Ray Pohlman - bass, Jerry Williams - drums & percussion, Laurindo Almeida - guitar, Russel Bridges - piano, Frank Capp - drums & percussion, John Lowe - woodwinds.

1/9/1964 - Gold Star Recording Studio - Acapulco 1922, Lonely Little Lover Lost, I Told You So, Moonglow, Samba De Orpheu, En Quarto - Julius Wechter - marimba, Tommy Tedesco - guitar, Hal Blaine - drums, Ray Pohlman - bass, Lyle Ritz - ukelele, tuba, bass, violin, Jerry Williams - drums & percussion, Laurindo Almeida - guitar, Russel Bridges - piano, Larry Bunker - drums & percussion, John Lowe - woodwinds.

1/17/1964 - Western Recorders - Maria's First Rose, Pedro's Porch (Part 2) - Bob Edmondson - trombone, Dave Wells - trombone, Anthony Terran - trumpet, Richard Murwitz - ?

BajaMarimbaBandSP404NAMES.jpg

For those who may not have known, the A&M Co-Founders appeared on the album cover - this
happens to be the Little LP stereo jukebox version with annotation.

BajaMarimbaBandSP404c.jpg

Little LP stereo jukebox with tan label.

SP104back1.jpg

Photo from album back cover.

BAJAMARIMBABANDJPN.jpg

Japanese CD from 1987 A&M 25th Anniversary releases.
 

Captaindave

Well-Known Member
This was the first BMB album I ever heard back in the sixties. I used to have the album, but it has escaped over the years.

There are several tunes I like on this album; notably Comin' In The Back Door, Up Cherry Street, Maria Elena, Baja Nights, and Moonglow (Picnic Theme). Oh well, actually pretty much all of it...

IMO, this is a definitive album for the BMB sound.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Anybody else notice the typo on the song title "Samba De Orpheu" on the front cover? You can see it clearly on Steve's closeup.

By the way Steve, this is really great seeing all these musician credits for the early albums. Thanks for finding and posting them.

As for my favorite track here - I haven't heard the album fully in a long time and I don't have it anymore, but I think I liked "Comin' in the Back Door" best. To me the BMB didn't really get moving until a few albums down the road, although the next album after this contains some of my favorites.
 

audiofile

Member
I agree. The group didn't really have a sound at the time of these recordings. Obviously because there was no group. This just sounds like Julius backed by studio musicians, (which it was) and this lasted for the first three albums. On Watch Out, their identity seems to come together, and it is fully developed by Heads Up.
 

DAN BOLTON

Well-Known Member
This is a tough one...it's between MOONGLOW and SAMBA DE ORPHEU, with ORPHEU just getting the nod by a nose. Both tunes are definitive versions in my book, by far the best arrangements of both songs I've ever heard. The whole album seems a lot more polished as far as a first effort goes than TLB was for the TJB; but I agree that the BMB "sound" wasn't there yet.


Dan
 

junglero

Member
I am partial to " Comin' In The Back Door" Never knew it was a Buddy Holly tune. BTW, Was there ever a Pedro's porch (Part 1)?
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
Even though I've been privy to an excellent digital copy of this first BAJA MARIMBA BAND album, the collector in me has always wanted the real thing. It was released in Japan on CD back in 1987 and is quite rare. They either didn't press all that many, or the owners of them are hanging on to them. None of my periodic eBay searches have ever turned up a copy, but this past week, I spotted not one but two of them in the Amazon marketplace. One was stratospherically priced in triple digits, while another one was selling in the $60 range.

Since it's so hard to find, I decided to pull the trigger and order it. It's being shipped from Japan as we speak, and I don't expect to see it for at least a month - so I thought I'd visit the picture that Steve posted above. And I only wish that more of the BMB catalog had been properly mastered to CD. Sadly, they seem to have been all but forgotten, except in our little "Corner" of the world.

Harry
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Given the fact they were never "top sellers" on the label, I'm kind of surprised that anything of theirs made it to CD. It's too bad Herb didn't insist on getting those masters back too when he made the deal with Polygram.

I got to thinking, I've never owned this album on anything except an 8-track. I bought it that way in the brief period when 8-tracks were all I was buying. But, given it's never been a favorite album of mine I'm OK with not having it anymore.

My two favorite Baja albums did indeed make it to CD (Fresh Air and Those Were The Days) and I've got those, plus I have enough of the other tracks from the various compilations that are out. The only tune I really wish would get CDized is "Goin' Out The Side Door," from Rides Again. I have that on a needle-drop but since it's the last tune on the album there is some groove distortion on the ragtime parts.
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
I was Fortunate to have access to both mono and stereo versions of this LP which i still have. When i got my first copy back in 1985. ( the mono version) the first of my favorite standouts was Up Cherry Street. After hearing Herb's version first years before. It was nice to finally have Julius's own version. Maria Elena was already a favorite as i was introduced to it a few years before via Greatest Hits. I Love The Dixieland Jazz feel of Acapulco 1922. December's Child and Back to Cuernavaca were also standouts. And of course i cant forget Samba de Orfeu.the whole album itself is A Classic Goodie. And thankfully i have needledrop Cd versions of these since it may never appear on CD or True Digital form. ( as is sadly the case for many BMB Titles) This is a keeper
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
My two favorite Baja albums did indeed make it to CD (Fresh Air and Those Were The Days) and I've got those, plus I have enough of the other tracks from the various compilations that are out. The only tune I really wish would get CDized is "Goin' Out The Side Door," from Rides Again. I have that on a needle-drop but since it's the last tune on the album there is some groove distortion on the ragtime parts.

I had good needle drops of the first four albums but I can't locate the discs at the moment. (I'll let you know if I find them!) I'm hoping to get a high-res recorder at some point this year (a TASCAM pro unit), partly for a new site project I'm working on, and to digitize some vinyl I want to use on my media server.
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
First got this one in 5th grade when I raided my uncle’s record collection. This was the early '70s, and he, like most of his generation, had turned their collective back on the seemingly straight and suddenly square '60s pop which was very much out-of-step with the shuck ’n jive '70s. I played it for my dad who was also now done with "all those old records" and had no interest. I played it for an old timer around the corner who "didn’t much like it neither". Fast forward to the early '80s where I re-discovered the LP and decided to hunt down a few more — which was easy given their LPs were all over the early A&M inner sleeves. Like all of Herb’s '60s LPs, the BMB LPs appeared to be round-the-clock stalwarts at thrift stores in the 1980s…where I found most of mine, some for as little as 50-cents.

I guess Herb originated this thing as a parallel follow-up to the first two TJB LPs. So that the groups would not compete against each other, Herb wisely had "marimba + flute" define the group’s sound — all the more drawing up arrangements to ensure trumpets would not be a focal point (this would later become de facto marching orders for Julius once Lee Katzman became a member of the eventual group given Lee was a fiercely strong trumpeter).

As for the songs and performances…

Baja Nights has some memorable changes and a haunting counter melody; the song also features that "extra large marimba" Julius once mentioned was used on the first LP. Charade is gorgeous; the tick-tock marimba doubling the bass really accentuates the 3/4 feel…I’m sure Hank liked it — particular the swing-waltz rhythmic shift on the bridge.

Moonglow/Picnic Theme is always a joy to hear — and here we get vibes and marimba juxtaposing the two famous melodies. The free-for-all sections on Acapulco 1922 — featuring an intoxicated-sounding horn section — must have been a gas to record. When I first heard this at age 10 this was my favourite number with that mirthful soprano sax and the pileup ending with the trumpeter nailing a G above high C! (I wonder who those screech and reach trumpeters were that Herb hired?) Maria’s First Rose is a charming ballad (the 3-part harmony with the trumpets is nice). Along with Moonglow, Samba De Orpheu was probably the best known of the covers — I remember recognizing the melody when I first played the LP. Back to Cuernavaca was a strong closer — particularly with the light climax courtesy of the added trumpets (Herb?) and bones at the coda.

As for the photograph. In addition to Jerry (towering over everyone as always) and Herb, does anyone know who the other folks are? I’ve seen this cover diagrammed before — with the two ladies identified as Herb’s and /or Jerry’s and/or Julius’ wives. However, I don’t see anyone that resembles Julius on the photo — or for that matter anyone who would eventually end up in the BMB.

Somehow I ended up with the Capitol Record Club pressing; despite this, it’s a beautiful pressing — one of those lucky e-bay "NM" $8 finds that was correctly graded to Goldmine standards. The LP was well recorded — and far better sounding than the first two TJB LPs; the performance by the musicians was much better than the first two TJBs as well: no filler; no throwaways; nicely polished. Great debute all around.

DSC01455.jpg
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
Julius is the fourth one to the left on the cover He has a Goatee which is probably why you can't recognize him but He's there
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Julius is the fourth one to the left on the cover He has a Goatee which is probably why you can't recognize him but He's there
Yes, I've previously read such was the case, but dang if it just doesn't look like Julius to me...guess I'm the only one who fails to recognize his photographic likeness here relative to the other BMB LP covers, assorted studio photos and whatnot.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Julius is sporting the same goatee he had while with Martin Denny's band.



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I think if we try to visualize a sombrero on top of that look, we've got it nailed. 😁
 
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