🎵 Classic AOTW Baja Marimba Band HEADS UP SP-4123

What is your favorite track?

  • Georgy Girl

    Votes: 9 33.3%
  • Spanish Eyes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Winchester Cathedral

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Domingo

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The Odd One

    Votes: 2 7.4%
  • They Call The Wind Maria

    Votes: 2 7.4%
  • Born Free

    Votes: 1 3.7%
  • Cabeza Arriba! (Heads Up!)

    Votes: 1 3.7%
  • Temptation

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Baja Nova

    Votes: 8 29.6%
  • The Cry Of The Wild Goose

    Votes: 4 14.8%

  • Total voters


Well-Known Member
audiofile said:
I used to get a kick out of that also. But now, I just think Charlie and Frank had two distinctive roles. Rhythm guitar played an important part of the Tijuana Brass sound, as well as the BMB. Julius probably just wanted Charlie Chiarenza to handle the solos and single note lines, while Frank always supported the band with the rhythm guitar. For Decaro's finest rhythm work in my opinion, check out Peru 68.
Yes, and since there were 2 guitars playing simultaneously on many selections, the guitar-driven counter-point rhythms actually propelled the BMB to greater degree relative to the TjB. Early on, Herb probably issued a directive to Julius that the BMB's sound was not interfere with (or "challenge" -- in the case of the technically gifted Lee Katzman) the TjB. Ergo, the BMB has their sound of marimba(s) + flute (with dos driving guitars) while the TjB has its sound of trumpet(s) + trombone (with uno guitar).

It's also interesting to note that while the TjB began to recede from its !!Going Places!! -- ...Sounds Like... ('65-67) peak period -- the BMB was still ascending to new musical heights. Earnestly, with each subsequent issue, '67-'69, the BMB appear to continuously improve upon the current LP -- with their latter LPs offering their most cohesive music. Again, to my ears, the BMB were the most musically rewarding (and consistent -- there are no sub-par BMB LPs...which cannot be said of B-66 or the TjB during the '66-'69 runs) of the A&M-stable artists for the period.



My first BMB album too! Didn't take too long in picking up the rest after that either.
The production, the arrangements, the classic sleeve... love it.


Well-Known Member

The Cover…
As A&M had recently moved into the old Chaplin studios, I’m going to bet that the cover photograph was taken in one of the sound stages (note the electrical conduit, which may suggest that particular facility was not wired for AC when built).

The familiar 9-member lineup now settled, the cover photo is laced with notable oddities: one of those well-known circa-1940s electrical fans famous for slicing into fingers; a circa-1967 houseplant (no doubt brought over from one of the adjacent offices), and an F tuba…attached to what looks to be, oh I’d say about a 5’ 10" 120 lb circa-1947 tall glass of water (wonder how that pose got past the sensors given the attire — or lack thereof). The cover photo processing quality itself is also of note as the colours appear attractively homogenized or muted (personally, I would have opted for a sepia tint on a b/w photo).

As for the BMB members themselves, DeVito’s holding a megaphone — suggesting he’s the vocal culprit on one of the selections. Curry, who apparently launched his BMB career with his cool, trademark hat, is the only member devoid of an obvious instrument (but what’s up with his mouth?). We get a look at Bud’s 12-string acoustic and I think Lee is holding a Martin Committee (man, those fetch a pricy nickel these days) — the East coast choice horn for sure. It’s great to finally see Mel’s presence. He looks to be the youngster of the group judging by the rear LP cover photos. The multitude of expressions contribute to the memorable cover and surely help to confirm that the BMB, as a bonafide ensemble, has at last arrived.

The Songs and Performances…
  • Georgy Girl. Nice ensemble piece. Played light and probably too straight — though it’s good to at least hear Devito open up a bit on the fills.
  • Spanish Eyes: Julius puts a few twists into this one on the second go-round, which lead to some nice climaxes. Otherwise, it’s another straight-ahead, safe ensemble piece.
  • Winchester Cathedral: Of course, this piece is right up BMB’s alley. I think DeVito’s on the "megaphone" (and/or EQ’d) vocal.
  • Domingo: Written by Mel, I like this one. The melody and changes take us through an uncommon, yet memorable cycle (notice the bass marimba). Dig that final low bone note at the end. Deceptively complex, it diagrammed fairly straight: INTRO AA’BA CACA’, OUT [A = 8, A’= 8, B=8, C=8]. (The INTRO is the first 4 bars of the C section.)
  • The Odd One: Another winner featuring a nice chordal and melodic downward spiral courtesy of Bud Coleman’s pen. I can hear Herb listening to this one and thinking (It’s good…but just too ____, ____, and ____ for the me and the brass.). The ending suits the piece well.
  • The Call The Wind Maria: Check out those voicings coming out of each phrase — I like how Julius keeps the listener off balance. The male voices add some localized tension...which, ultimately climaxes and resolves into a wonderful false ending…eventually leading to a beautiful riding-out-into-the-sunset fade. Good way to end an LP side.

  • Born Free: Solid side 2 opener. Julius arranged a memorable ensemble piece here. I like the novel changes, along side DeCaro’s chugging acoustic guitar, Curry’s bass marimba and the 8/8 open ride. Check out the organ near the end. Lee gives us about 15 seconds of "chop shop" on the fade. Excellent job all around!
  • Heads Up!: Lee starts off this charismatic Julius offering — which nearly sounds like "The Odd One Part II". Hearing such a piece, one can’t help but feel that Julius and Bud were simpatico with their BMB muse. Great to hear the pretty mandolin and more of Lee’s bright trumpet. (Man, there’s no confusing Lee’s shimmering, metallic tone with Herb’s ’67-’69 tone: two different worlds.) Cool ending. A+
  • Temptation: I also have this arranged by Les Baxter. Les did it up like a brooding bolero; It’s interesting hearing Julius’ treatment.... I like the arrangement and performance particularly with Curry’s bass marimba.
  • Baja Nova: Hey, it’s Warm! That Herb retitled Julius’ piece 2 years later when preparing the Warm LP further suggests that, at that time (early 1969), Herb was actively distancing himself from obvious TJB-isms on his then-new LP — particularly so given the presence of a couple Brazilian numbers. In any event, Baja Nova is yet another strong original with a memorable melody, a few cool rhythmic quirks and a solid arrangement. I like how Bernie and Julius trade fours (barely…twice...almost...I know…it’s a "pop" LP after all). I like both Herb’s and Julius’ versions and will volunteer that the BMB’s light and nifty approach is darn good!
  • The Cry of the Wild Goose: Like Ghose Riders in the Sky from Watch Out!, the LP end’s on an up 2/4 note!
Watch Out! is an interesting LP. Side 1 heads out of the gates not much different than the preceding Watch Out!; yet, from Domingo (Side 1 #4) through to Baja Nova (Side 2 #4), it’s evident there’s a different musical fire burning as the ensemble begins to formulate its musical path…

With four strong originals present, Head’s Up! — more than any of the preceding BMB LPs — heralds a forthcoming eminence. As we’ll soon hear, the BMB’s benchmark of tight ensemble interplay will begin to pay endless musical dividends (relative to the TJB whose purpose is exclusively to support a lead soloist). Simply put: the expectation is evident that more musical flexibility is available to an inclusive ensemble where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In this regard, inevitable BMB—TJB comparisons, which begin in earnest with Head’s Up!, are more accurately characterized as an apples-to-oranges juxtaposition. While it’s true Julius is the principal, he never dominated the proceedings in a song-after-song manner a la Herb. The BMB was an ensemble to the letter.

Unfortunately, midway through 1967 the BMB would make one last personnel change…though not by choice.


Well-Known Member
Again this was a Tough one while I enjoy every track my choice for favorite was "The Odd One" the structure to me was a challenging but Good Listen and Given it was a Bud Coleman Original this song and his Participation on this album would sadly be his Last however I also like Baja Nova. Georgy Girl. Cabesa arriba.and all the others but as others mentioned This was a true Group effort and The BMB became more of a solid group and much less of a studio group
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