!Shoot-out! Herb Alpert/TjB vs. Terry Stafford (1963 - 1963): "Mexican Corn" (aka "Heartache On The Way")

Which version is your favourite?

  • Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass

    Votes: 6 60.0%
  • Terry Stafford

    Votes: 4 40.0%

  • Total voters
    10

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
  • Here is the second of three as recommended from LPJim
  • Vote for your favourite version and tell us a bit about why you made your selection. (The selections are listed in release order.)
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
I don't like this song much in any form, but even though I've heard the Herb Alpert version many times, I'd have to go with the Terry Stafford version here. It's basically the same arrangement with a vocal instead of a trumpet, but the song works well with a vocal. Maybe I'm just in more of a vocal mood today, I dunno. Or maybe it's because it's one of my least favorite songs on one of my least favorite TJB albums. Maybe on another day I'd feel differently. But as of Nov. 21, 2021, I like the vocal one better.
 

DAN BOLTON

Well-Known Member
Herb all the way...Stafford sounds like a country singer trying to make a pop record...he'd of course hit it big with "Suspicion" a little later and then write "Amarillo By Morning". Don Bowman later wrote a novelty song that Waylon Jennings recorded called "Poor Old Ugly Gladys Jones". Stafford sounds a little over-produced here to my ears, maybe just a little "green"...he'd get it right very quickly, though.
 

bob knack

Well-Known Member
Like many people, I first started buying TJB albums at the release of Going Places and worked backwards. Volume Two was the last one I bought retroactively. I can't say I like anything on it very much. What I like about "Corn" is it seems to be the first time Herb dubbed his trumpets the way he would do going forward. Stafford has way too much echo. I take it no album was ever released.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
I'm really liking the Terry Stafford version here, but the two are so nearly identically arranged that I find it hard to choose one over the other. They're both catchy, and Volume 2 still remains one of my favorite TJB albums to this day. I don't have any idea of when the Stafford single was released, but I wonder which one came first. I can see choosing different names, as if both were to become hits, it would prevent some confusion on the charts and in the stores.

This single by Stafford is one that should be included on some sort of A&M "deep cuts" compilation. There were so many one-off singles like this that are forgotten to all but the most devoted A&M followers and other collectors of obscurities that they would make for an interesting listen. The charting hits might have paid the bills at A&M, but singles like these and plenty of others are what the label was built on. And that part of history, thanks to Universal's Great Master Tape Roast of 2008, is now wiped out forever.
 

LPJim

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Many years went by without my knowing "Mexican Corn" had a variation with lyrics. There was no album from Terry Stafford, or many artists who did early singles on A&M and found greater success and fame on other labels.

Among them were Toni Basil, Rod McKuen and Capt. Beefheart. Waylon Jennings' A&M recordings from 1963-64 didn't come out on an album -- DON"T THINK TWICE (SP 4238) -- until he had left for RCA in the late '60s. That album should be reissued on CD with the non-album 45 cuts: "Rave On," "Love Denied" and "Sing the Girls a Song, Bill."


JB
 

Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
Staff member
Moderator
I'm really liking the Terry Stafford version here, but the two are so nearly identically arranged that I find it hard to choose one over the other. They're both catchy, and Volume 2 still remains one of my favorite TJB albums to this day. I don't have any idea of when the Stafford single was released, but I wonder which one came first. I can see choosing different names, as if both were to become hits, it would prevent some confusion on the charts and in the stores.

This single by Stafford is one that should be included on some sort of A&M "deep cuts" compilation. There were so many one-off singles like this that are forgotten to all but the most devoted A&M followers and other collectors of obscurities that they would make for an interesting listen. The charting hits might have paid the bills at A&M, but singles like these and plenty of others are what the label was built on. And that part of history, thanks to Universal's Great Master Tape Roast of 2008, is now wiped out forever.
The Stafford single is 707 and the TJB single is 711, so probably pretty close on the release dates. As A&M didn't have that many singles yet, they likely weren't sitting on them for very long. The VOLUME 2 session for MEXICAN CORN looks to be August 1, 1963, but it either had a different title or was swapped in later. Couldn't find session note for the Stafford single.
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Definitely the same backing track. I like Herb's animated stylings: he's definitely having fun tracking this one. However, I'm going to give it to Stafford -- of whom I've never heard until now. I like his voice and he does a really nice relaxed job with the double tracking.
 

Mr Bill

Gentlemanly Curmudgeon
Staff member
Moderator
Waylon Jennings' A&M recordings from 1963-64 didn't come out on an album -- DON"T THINK TWICE (SP 4238) -- until he had left for RCA in the late '60s. That album should be reissued on CD with the non-album 45 cuts: "Rave On," "Love Denied" and "Sing the Girls a Song, Bill."
Universal imprint "Hip-O Select" released a CD a few years ago entitled Phase One: The Early Years featuring a number of A&M singles only releases (some even featuring Herb Alpert on trumpet)

Amazon product
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
OK, back to Terry Stafford and Herb Alpert. I don't own the Stafford record, but I captured the YouTube video's audio with the idea of synching it up with Herb's track. I can't attest to the uploader's turntable speed, but it was running faster than the VOLUME 2 version of "Mexican Corn". I had to slow the Stafford track down by -1.015% to get them to synch all the way through. Here's the comparison:

 

Mr Bill

Gentlemanly Curmudgeon
Staff member
Moderator
Nice job, Harry! Your comparison supports the theory that the backing track(s) were one recorded session and that Stafford's vocals were overlayed for his version and Herb's trumpet(s) were overlayed for his version. The only thing that leads me to believe otherwise is that back in those days recording studios generally only had four tracks to play with, requiring ping-ponging when layering (and essentially locking combined instrument parts together within the stereo spectrum). A talented engineer and producer (Larry Levine and Herb) could work this to their advantage, though...

--Mr Bill
(Sorry for the Waylon distraction a couple posts ago, LoL)
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Actually, if this was recorded at Gold Star, their studio was only three-track. (There is no studio credit on either LP jacket version, giving only the engineer Ben Jordan.) If at RCA (where a few other A&M recordings were made in the early days), I'm not sure if they had four-track by that point but I do know that Mancini's recordings were all recorded three-track up until the mid 60s (or at any rate, up until a couple of years past the recording date of Volume 2 tracks).
 
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