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🎵 Classic AOTW Herb Alpert & TJB THE BRASS ARE COMIN' (A&M SP

LPJim

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Side 1: The Brass are Comin' (The Little Train of Calpira) 2:06/ Good Morning Mr. Sunshine 2;36/ Country Lake 2:56/ I'll Be Back 3:15/ Moon River 255/ The Maltese Melody 2:13.
Side 2: Sunny 3:11/ I'm an old Cowhand (from the Rio Grande) 2:38/ Anna 2:39/ Robbers and Cops 2:13/ Moments 2:43/ You are my life (vocal by Herb Alpert) 3:23.

Arranged by Herb Alpert/ Sunny and Good Morning Mr Sunshine orchestrations by Shorty Rogers/ You Are My Life and Moon River orchestrations by Dave Grusin/ Producers: Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss/ Recorded at A&M Studios/ Engineer: Larry Levine/ Art direction Tom Wilkes/ front cover photo John Engstead/ back cover photo Barry Fenstein/ inside - Jim McCrary.
 

DAN BOLTON

Well-Known Member
One of my FAVORITE TJB albums...I loved the TV special, and thought it was by far the best of the TV shows that they did.

Songs that stand out for me: MOMENTS- I never hear this song enough...the melody line is familiar...VERY familiar, as if I'd heard it before..was it used in a commercial, perhaps? I've just recently been reacquainted with the album, not hearing it for nearly 20 years...but this track sounds too familiar to just be an album cut...


THE BRASS ARE COMIN'- Neil's favorite banjo number...I couldn't imagine this song without a banjo, it adds just enough country/folk flair to the song...I've seen the subtitle spelled several different ways...CAIPIRA, CAPRIRIA, I believe THE WINTERCONSORT called it "The Little Train of the Caipiria"...I wonder just what the original title really was. Herb's version is the definitive one for me...it sounds like that train could be from Durango or Minsk...


GOOD MORNING MR. SUNSHINE- I always felt like this was the greatest collaboration between Shorty Rogers and Herb Alpert, and it's one of the great classic TJB tunes, defining the sound of the Brass as much as "A Taste of Honey" did...I would DEFINITELY want this tune on a box set, or any future compilation...

ROBBERS AND COPS- a great fun tune, I especially like the ending with the prominence of the dominant 7th.

SUNNY- I never would have thought of this tune done in the fashion that Herb does it, kind of a mambo...really swings!


YOU ARE MY LIFE- Herb's best vocal since "This Guy...", nice arrangement, nice trumpet, ewspecially on the fade out...

This was obvioulsy an experimental album, with MOON RIVER as an example, I really like the arrangement: I can't think of many tunes that would stnd up to this type of treatment[orchestra-combo-orchestra], but this one does...when the orchestra comes back in on the final chorus, it's a real triumph, a sentimental song becomes an anthem...

There is one song that I realy was a little disappointed in, though...ANNA might have been done a little differently. I heard a version of the song a couple of years ago with a slower tempo, and it worked a lot better for me, especially the chorus...it sounds a little "lustier" played slower. The version I heard was a vocal, and Anna must have been quite a lady...I didn't catch all the words[it was in a Chi-Chi's, over the sound system]...was this a showtune? I don't have anything against Herb's version of the song, it really is quite nice, and is an upbeat take on the tune, but a slower vocal is more colorful, to me...


I really liked this album, as you can probably tell...some of the greatest TJB music of all-time debutted on this album, nd unfortunately, most of it is nearly forgotten. This album really cries out to be released as a CD, and it never has...why is a mystery I'll never figure out!


Dan, amateur music critic and professional TJB fan...
 

William

New Member
DAN BOLTON said:
THE BRASS ARE COMIN'- Neil's favorite banjo number...I couldn't imagine this song without a banjo, it adds just enough country/folk flair to the song...I've seen the subtitle spelled several different ways...CAIPIRA, CAPRIRIA, I believe THE WINTERCONSORT called it "The Little Train of the Caipiria"...I wonder just what the original title really was.

The original title was "O Trenzinho Do Caipira." (It's the fourth movement of Heitor Villa-Lobos' "Bachianas Brasileiras No. 2," composed in 1930.) I believe a direct translation would be "The Little Train Of The Caipira."

As for the TJB album at hand, I've only heard "Sunny" (on Foursider). I have yet to find a vinyl copy in good condition.

- William
 

Harry

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A bittersweet Tijuana Brass album for sure, as this marked the effective end of the classic TJB as we knew it, as well as the end of the decade of the '60s. Changes were in the wind, and some of the lush orchestrations heard on WARM are present here as well, particularly on songs like "Good Morning, Mr. Sunshine", "You Are My Life", and "Moon River." An often-overlooked Beatles tune, "I'll Be Back" gets the Herb treatment here, done as a slow bluesy number.

THE BRASS ARE COMIN' did indeed have a CD release, although it was only released in Japan as D32Y3591 by Pony Canyon. It remains one of the rarer titles to obtain out there. I searched forever for a clean vinyl copy, and when it finally came and I transferred it flawlessly to CD, someone sent me a digital copy of the Japanese CD. So I know how tough it is to find this one in good shape. Several of my vinyl copies, although clean in most respects, had a low-frequency rumble built into the grooves. Poor pressing, I suppose.

Three of the tracks on this disc had made it to compilations. "The Maltese Melody", a bubbling-under type hit, can be found on several different CD compilations, while both "Moon River" and "Sunny" are on the FOURSIDER disc.

As for "Anna", it's turned into one of my favorites. Starting with Nick on drums with an infectious rhythm, then adding Julius, and finally Herb and the gang, it's an inspired arrangement, and I can't imagine the song any other way. I love the complex rhythm changes throughout the middle, and it sounds like it would've been a fun song to record. I can imagine numerous takes in the studio to get it right.

Three homegrown tunes shine on this album: Sol Lake's "Country Lake", Julius' "Robbers And Cops", and John Pisano's "Moments." The album finishes off with Herb's vocal on "You Are My Life", which I find a really good addition to his vocal works. Again, like "This Guy's In Love With You", Herb sounds earnest, while the song itself gets away from the somewhat clichéd Burt Bacharach approach.

I find much to like about THE BRASS ARE COMIN' and found it an effective tie-in with the TV special. Although I don't own a video of this special, I do still have a really poorly recorded home-made reel to reel. Back in the economical. can't-afford-new-tape days, somewhere along the line, I re-dubbed this special from one machine to another, and the audio suffers from a good deal of wow and flutter, along with the poor quality of TV audio back then anyway. While I still have some memories of how the show looked, I'm sure I've forgotten a great deal.

Harry
NP: THE BRASS ARE COMIN' - Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
 

Rudy

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For just about all purposes, I've long considered this the last ride of the original TJB, and that being the case, it ended the original TJB, and the 60's, with a bang. Summertime was a radical departure--I'd almost consider it like a solo album with it's acoustic approach.

My favorite track on Brass Are Comin' is far and away "Good Morning, Mr. Sunshine." This is a traditional Mexican song that I've heard performed by other artists under different titles. (This, I believe, is one of those public domain songs...in fact, Esquivel recorded this nearly a decade earlier under a different title.) "Maltese Melody" has grown to be another favorite.

Still not sold on the banjo, Dan. :wink:

My vinyl experience here has been a little spotty. My U.S. copy is very clean, no noise, it may have the rumble Harry mentioned, but the odd thing is that side two only is out of round, not side 1! Sloppy quality control. When my friend Susan wanted a copy, I'd found a similarly clean copy (not sure about the out-of-round part) and sent one her way. I also found a Deutches Gramaphone pressing that, as far as pressing and vinyl were concerned, top notch, but to me it doesn't sound as though the tape DG used was as good...perhaps a different generation of tape than what we used stateside.

-= N =-
 

W.B.

Member
Harry said:
Several of my vinyl copies, although clean in most respects, had a low-frequency rumble built into the grooves. Poor pressing, I suppose.

That rumble of which you speak might have been attributable to the cutting lathe which A&M used to cut their lacquers. I heard a similar rumble on a lacquer A&M cut for Linda Ronstadt's late 1974/early 1975 chart-topper, "You're No Good" (Capitol 3990).

But back to the subject at hand, The Brass Are Comin': During that period (late '69), A&M's lathe also emitted a slight groan at the point the lead-out groove was cut. I heard this on some lacquers for a couple 45's of this period, including Joe Cocker's "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window" (#1147) and The Sandpipers' "Come Saturday Morning" (#1134 and #1185).

Interesting on the 45 of "You Are My Life" (#1143, b/w "Good Morning, Mr. Sunshine"): Unlike Mr. Alpert's other vocal turns that had been issued as singles in the past ("This Guy's In Love With You," "To Wait for Love" and "Without Her" come to mind), this one on the label credited the artist to "Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass," with the credit "Vocal by Herb Alpert" shown below the title.
 

Rudy

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Could I guess that the lathe rumble is caused by the mechanism of the cutting head? I have heard that on other A&M's that I've been transfering to the hard drive for editing. In fact, I hear a little of the same rumble on the lead-in grooves as well, although not to the same extent.

I just wonder how much of this rumble, at a greatly reduced level or lower frequency, occurs during the music portion of the LP? That is a mechanical distortion, and if it happens while the cutting head is moving faster, it stands to reason it's doing something similar while cutting the signal.

-= N =-
 

W.B.

Member
Rudy said:
Could I guess that the lathe rumble is caused by the mechanism of the cutting head? I have heard that on other A&M's that I've been transfering to the hard drive for editing. In fact, I hear a little of the same rumble on the lead-in grooves as well, although not to the same extent.

I just wonder how much of this rumble, at a greatly reduced level or lower frequency, occurs during the music portion of the LP? That is a mechanical distortion, and if it happens while the cutting head is moving faster, it stands to reason it's doing something similar while cutting the signal.

Very likely that the mechanism could be at the root of it.
 

Captain Bacardi

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This album was pretty much a major disappointment for me. Most of this is due to Herb's trumpet sound. It sounds like he was having a lot of trouble making a sound on the horn. I believe it was during this period that he was having marriage problems, as well as questioning himself as to what he was doing musically. This was a rather dark sounding album, and I didn't really dig the cowboy motif. But there were a couple of worthy songs, most notably "Anna", which has a nice little samba romp, as well as a decent horn solo. I also enjoyed "Robbers And Cops", "Sunny", and the beginning of "Moon River". "I'll Be Back" also had it's moments. I definitely could have done without "You Are My Life", "I'm An Old Cowhand" and "Maltese Melody" (which was a hit in Japan - don't ask me why). This is the least played TJB album in my collection. :cry:


Capt. Bacardi
NP: Charles Mingus - Thirteen Stories
 

W.B.

Member
Captain Bacardi said:
This album was pretty much a major disappointment for me. Most of this is due to Herb's trumpet sound. It sounds like he was having a lot of trouble making a sound on the horn. I believe it was during this period that he was having marriage problems, as well as questioning himself as to what he was doing musically. This was a rather dark sounding album, and I didn't really dig the cowboy motif. But there were a couple of worthy songs, most notably "Anna", which has a nice little samba romp, as well as a decent horn solo. I also enjoyed "Robbers And Cops", "Sunny", and the beginning of "Moon River". "I'll Be Back" also had it's moments. I definitely could have done without "You Are My Life", "I'm An Old Cowhand" and "Maltese Melody" (which was a hit in Japan - don't ask me why). This is the least played TJB album in my collection. :cry:

Funny about the title The Brass Are Comin', considering that after this LP, the Brass, for all practical purposes, were gone.

Then, forty-three catalogue numbers after this release, came the breakthrough emergence of the next big act in A&M's history . . . (I'll leave y'all to figure the math.) :wink:
 

martin

Well-Known Member
I got this LP back in 1970 in the European version/German pressing and it was not until visiting a used vinyl shop in LA in the nineties that I discovered that the American version had a gatefold cover. It is also the CD in my collection that I have spent the largest amount of money getting hold of, on eBay a couple of years ago.
I think it holds up as an album. The arrangements are good and the sound also. The album obviously lacks a good hit song. Even though "You are my life" is a good vocal take by Herb,a nice song with a nice arrangement it does not have smash hit qualities. Saleswise the album was the least succesful TJB release at that point in time. Even though it was accompanied by a very popular TV special, shown virtuallty all over the world, and a world tour by the TJB, it peaked at no. 30 in the US and no. 40 in the UK and it was the first TJB release to not sell to gold in the US.

- greetings from the north-
Martin
 

Rudy

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martin said:
Saleswise the album was the least succesful TJB release at that point in time. Even though it was accompanied by a very popular TV special, shown virtuallty all over the world, and a world tour by the TJB, it peaked at no. 30 in the US and no. 40 in the UK and it was the first TJB release to not sell to gold in the US.

This is probably what clued Herb in to the fact that the bloom was off the TJB rose. World tours and TV specials should spur sales.

-= N =-
 

martin

Well-Known Member
This is probably what clued Herb in to the fact that the bloom was off the TJB rose. World tours and TV specials should spur sales.
Exactly. The tour, however, was a success. The TJB visited Scandinavia for the first time playing in Copenhagen and Stockholm to full houses and raving reviews. Since Norway was not granted a visit,(few international stars bothered in those days) Norwegian TV got a short exclusive interview, which I still remeber seeing. I can recall Herb talking about wanting to change the style a little towards more improvisation. When the Passion Dance tour reached Copenhagen in 97 I saw some quotes in the press from Herb's performance there in 69. The journalist had observed "..a nervous Herb Alpert drinking vodka straight from the bottle" before the concert and also that "...the excitement of the audience could have lighted a candle.."

- greetings from the north -
Martin
 

Rudy

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Rudy said:
This is probably what clued Herb in to the fact that the bloom was off the TJB rose. World tours and TV specials should spur sales.
martin said:
Exactly. The tour, however, was a success.

That's what is so surprising--from the artists I deal with, they usually see a spike in album sales when they go on tour. They usually break even on the tour proceeds, but it does benefit them down the road.

Do you recall if international sales of that album were better at the time?

Without the tour and TV special, would this album have really bombed, instead of being merely disappointing? I admit I listen to this album less than the others, but it's nowhere near being a musical disaster by any means! Could the lack of a hit single have caused this? The band made Billboard records that stand to this day...on the album charts, so they were historically album artists.

One other thought about its disappointing sales: did everyone who bought The Beat of The Brass expect more of the same on Warm, and become disappointed enough with the "new" sound that they didn't want to take a chance on Brass Are Comin'?

martin said:
saw some quotes in the press from Herb's performance there in 69. The journalist had observed "..a nervous Herb Alpert drinking vodka straight from the bottle" before the concert and also that "...the excitement of the audience could have lighted a candle.."

In that case, maybe the TJB (or Herb, solo) missed a chance to cover the Thin Lizzy song "Whiskey In The Jar"...??? :wink:

-= N =-
"...there's whiskey in the jar-o..."[/i]
 

martin

Well-Known Member
Do you recall if international sales of that album were better at the time?
I don't think so. Honestly, I believe that what happened to the TJB sales at this point was more or less unavoidable. The market was "tired" after frequent TJB releases. Remember, they were putting out albums twice a year (like many artists in the 60's), and some of the budget price collections emerged at this time. "America" was just out in Europe and so were one or two budget releases of the two first TJB albums, plus samplers like "A taste of A & M".
You see that with a lot of today's artists too, especially big names that have been around for a while. They may be pulling big crowds but the album sales are modest.
The 69 tour probably had effect on the catalog sales. In 1970 (those good old blessed times) the entire TJB catalog was still in print, and a few months later Greatest Hits did well. Even though the chart performance in the US was unimpressive peaking at 43,it still went gold and in England it cracked the top 10, peaking at no.8 in June 1970, but then that's another "album of the month"-story.

- greetings from the north -
martin
 

Captain Bacardi

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Moderator
martin said:
Saleswise the album was the least succesful TJB release at that point in time. Even though it was accompanied by a very popular TV special, shown virtuallty all over the world, and a world tour by the TJB, it peaked at no. 30 in the US and no. 40 in the UK and it was the first TJB release to not sell to gold in the US.

And as "luck" had it, this was the 13th TJB album, and the first not to go gold. Hmmm.... :rolleyes:


Capt. Bacardi
...flaming out at 96 degrees today online... :oops:
 

Marty

Member
This album if would have to pick one& only one to take to a deserted island would be my choise!! The title track, I'm an ole cowhand,& good morning mr sunshine are just total Tijuana brass !!!In contrast to Mr Bill ...It is always played everyday at my house!!!! Total TJB fan, Marty :D
 

Mr Bill

Gentlemanly Curmudgeon
Staff member
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Marty said:
This album if would have to pick one& only one to take to a deserted island would be my choise!! The title track, I'm an ole cowhand,& good morning mr sunshine are just total Tijuana brass !!!In contrast to Mr Bill ...It is always played everyday at my house!!!! Total TJB fan, Marty :D

You're getting your "Bills" mixed up. "Mr Bill" is moi, Navy video geek, perpetrator of the IRS Corner and frequent player of Brass Are Comin' (when I have a working turntable). The other "Bill" is Bill Bernardi, aka "Capt Bernardi/Bacardi" (though he was never an orificer), the one who rarely plays Brass Are Comin', a mail delivery professional and desecrator of photos of his A&M Corner buddies...

--Mr Bill
setting folks straight on the "A&M Corner Bills" (and thinking WB is wise to go with the formal "William" to avoid even FURTHER confusion...
 

Mike Blakesley

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This is my 3rd-least-favorite of the Tijuana Brass albums. (The two I like less are LONELY BULL and VOLUME 2.) For me it's the overall sound of the album I don't like...something about the production and the way the thing sounds. It has this compressed feeling. The accoustic guitar is replaced in alot of places by a strummming electric that just sounds out of place.

Still, as with all TJB albums, it has spots I like. My favorite tracks are "Robbers and Cops" and "I'm an Old Cowhand." I remember on "Cowhand" the trombone fades out at the end, while on the TV special it kept going down,down,down until it sounded like the record was stopped. That was cool.

I have always wondered why they left the whispered "Robbers and cops...take one" (or whatever it says) at the beginning of that song. Sloppy tape editing? Or was Herb going for a carefree, rehearsal-atmosphere sound, kinda like "Terrific, terrific" at the end of "The Bell That Couldn't Jingle" from CHRISTMAS ALBUM.

I also like "Good Morning Mr. Sunshine." That song had kind of faded into the background for me and I rediscovered it after reading about it on A&M Corner. I can't say it's one of my all time favorites, but I like it more than I once did.

I like "Sunny" and "Moon River," but they suffer from the production. If they sounded the way the uptempo songs on GOING PLACES or WHIPPED CREAM sound, they would be much improved.

I like "You Are My Life" too, although I think it's a tad bit over-orchestrated. Sounds like something out of the 40s when it first starts. Herb's vocal, again trying for the "This Guy" magic, just doesn't make it...he's overblown by the orchestration.

Overall, the album is listenable but like the Capt., it's the least played one in my Herb collection (I don't own BULL and VOL. 2...yet!).
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
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Mike Blakesley said:
I also like "Good Morning Mr. Sunshine." That song had kind of faded into the background for me and I rediscovered it after reading about it on A&M Corner. I can't say it's one of my all time favorites, but I like it more than I once did.

At a more naive young age, I always associated this exclusively to the TJB...but as I got older, I'd heard other mariachi bands do it (I don't know if the TJB's version, or the mariachi versions, came first...but they're almost identical). I know the song had been around earlier, though, since it appears on a late 50's Esquivel album (with a different "loungey" feel to it). It's probably one of the most authentic mariachi sounds the TJB ever recorded.

Mike Blakesley said:
I like "You Are My Life" too, although I think it's a tad bit over-orchestrated. Sounds like something out of the 40s when it first starts. Herb's vocal, again trying for the "This Guy" magic, just doesn't make it...he's overblown by the orchestration.

One look at the string arranger and you'll realize why it's overblown and over-orchestrated. I don't mind the song itself, but don't like the syrupy excess. (It's one of those songs that make me lunge for the turntable.) Maybe this worked within the storyline of the special...?

-= N =-
 

martin

Well-Known Member
I have always wondered why they left the whispered "Robbers and cops...take one" (or whatever it says) at the beginning of that song

The whispering has to do with the particular part of the TV special that featured Robbers and Cops. Here Herb and the TJB are breaking into a music shop at night. They take the instruments from the shelves ("take one..")and start playing on the "stolen" instruments. Towards the end of the song "the cops" show up...

- greetings from the north -
Martin
 

Captain Bacardi

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Mr Bill said:
The other "Bill" is Bill Bernardi, aka "Capt Bernardi/Bacardi" (though he was never an orificer), the one who rarely plays Brass Are Comin', a mail delivery professional and desecrator of photos of his A&M Corner buddies...

All in good fun, my man. At least I didn't break out the X-rated version. :D


Capt. Bacardi
...almost lowering myself to Wendoofus levels online...
 

Captain Bacardi

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Mike Blakesley said:
Still, as with all TJB albums, it has spots I like. My favorite tracks are "Robbers and Cops" and "I'm an Old Cowhand." I remember on "Cowhand" the trombone fades out at the end, while on the TV special it kept going down,down,down until it sounded like the record was stopped. That was cool.

If you noticed on the BAC video that the ending of "Robbers & Cops" goes on a bit more as well. Nothing spectacular, but different nonetheless.


Capt. Bacardi
 

William

New Member
Mr Bill said:
thinking WB is wise to go with the formal "William" to avoid even FURTHER confusion...

Are you referring to me (William K) or the WB who collects 45's? :laugh:

- William
...not to be confused with Bill, Mr. Bill, or WB...
 
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