!Shoot-out! TjB vs. BMB -- Round VI: 1969

Select the group that in your opinion issued the best LPs in 1969

  • Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass

    Votes: 5 55.6%
  • Julius Wechter and the Baja Marimba Band

    Votes: 4 44.4%

  • Total voters
    9

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Year 1969. While the TjB was in sunset mode Herb Alpert, himself, was experimenting with new musical ideas and the BMB was rocketing to new artistic heights.
  • Warm was Herb’s first "non-TjB sounding" LP — so much so, that it’s more of a solo effort than a "brass" type outing. To that end, Herb’s delivers an outstanding Brazilian piece, fronts larger ensembles on a couple pieces, sings two numbers, and provides a handful of memorable instrumental arrangements. Overall, Warm is a rather good LP that could have been a very good LP had Herb’s trumpet playing been optimal. Conversely, The Brass are Comin’ — another TV Special tie-in LP — is in reality a last musical spin in the Tijuana taxi for fans. While the few sparkles are notable, overall the band sounds tired and worn with the in-house material ranging from mediocre to marginal. Both LPs exhibited relatively disappointing chart numbers: Warm at #28 and TBAC at #30 — which all things considered are actually very good numbers, yet light years away from the previous seven consecutive LPs reaching the top 5 (I believe both 1969 LPs were OOP by 1972). Herb released his third and fourth Herb Alpert…vocalist 45s (not counting a DEC68 B-side), Without Her (MAY69) and You Are My Life (NOV69) while there were 2 singles released under the TjB moniker: the amazing Zazueira (MAR69) and the very enjoyable Marjorine (JUL69). Without Her and Zazueira charted at #63 and #78 respectively while the remaining two 45s did not make the Top 100.
  • For all things BMB, The Wechter—Stanton team along with arranger Nick De Caro (Those Were The Days) delivered two stellar LPs that are central to the BMB’s overall 1968-69 creative plateau. On both LPs the group is performing with heightened vigor and imagination. The originals are solid and the ensemble is tight and fully committed to the proceedings.
  • Vote your poll choice and tell us a bit about why you made your selection.
  • Warm (SP 4190) — Those Were The Days (SP 4167)
  • The Brass Are Comin’ (SP 4228) — Fresh Air (SP 4200)
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JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Warm is a pretty good LP — easily the TjB’s best since ..Sounds Like.. — yet it exhibits periods of uneven quality that plagued both Ninth and BOTB. The Brass Are Comin’ is weak as the band (with the exception of Nic) at their worst sounds like they’re simply phoning in mundane work. The marvellous Sunny aside, Herb’s playing seems largely uninspired.

Warm is good, but as pure music its six or so really good numbers along with the pallid TBAC are clearly not on equal footing with the near wall-to-wall musical excellence exhibited on Those Were The Days and Fresh Air.

The BMB easily wins this round.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Another really tough vote here. I really could justify going perhaps both ways, with the TJB on top at the start and the BMB on top at the end. But then we're talking WARM here. WARM has been and will continue to be personal comfort food, from its majestic beginnings to its race to the finish ending. From the moment I put WARM on my turntable I was mesmerized. "The Sea Is My Soil" shines like no other Tijuana Brass track, and at this point, I'd already heard two of the pre-album singles, "Zazuiera" and "To Wait For Love", and really liked them. The single that came along next was "Without Her" and it had the uniqueness of a really wild dynamic range - whisper-quiet one minute and blaring the next. I can see that those who disliked Herb's singing would have a problem, but I *liked* his singing from the moment I heard "This Guy's..." on TV. The album continues with a really nice "Marjorine", a reflective "Girl Talk", and a rousing "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da", to account for one of the best TjB sides ever. And things don't let up on Side Two either, with the fabulous "Zazuiera", a jaunty take on "The Continental", leading into "Pretty World". We'd already heard Sergio's take on "Pretty World" and this is one of Herb's patented turn-the-song-sideways arrangements. It's a slow, but luxurious take on the song, and one that I really like. Julius' own "Warm" then leads to the stereo version of "To Wait For Love" and the album gets into high gear for the "Sandbox" finish.

I cannot vote against that album - ever, no matter what one would put against it. And THOSE WERE THE DAYS is a formidable album on its own. I can rely on the old, but true, excuse that I wasn't paying a bit of attention to the Baja Marimba Band back then, so the familiarity of time gives this half-round to WARM.

Many of my compadres here have written a lot of negatives about THE BRASS ARE COMIN'. I found that quite surprising as I always included it among the great run of the Tijuana Brass albums. The TV special was a delight, and this tie-in album certainly didn't disappoint me. THE BRASS ARE COMIN' is the only album in Herb's canon to get awashed with the HAECO-CSG processing, giving an off-balance sound to the record that may have been part of the turn-off by some. Recently, with software plug-ins and digital manipulation, the old HAECO crap can be undone, and doing so, IMHO, makes this album all that much better. Since I played with the album digitally myself, I've been impressed with the way it sounds - more grounded and solid.

FRESH AIR might be the first and only Baja Marimba Band album to have attracted my attention, but not for at least another four or five years. The song "I Don't Want To Walk Without You", Julius' vocal turn, got airplay on the radio station I listened to. I remember liking that track a lot, and when I managed to grab a used copy of FRESH AIR from a throwaway pile, I was delighted to find the song on there. The rest of FRESH AIR is also a delight, with lots of songs I enjoy, with a couple so-so's.

Though the BMB gave it some tough competition, I have to give this second half-round to the TjB, with a special *really-close* medal to the BMB.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
The BMB albums never really engaged me--not that they're bad by any means, but I never turned to them much while growing up and aside from a few tunes from each, nothing has ever stood out to make me want to choose them when I'm in the mood.

Warm I tend to think of as the first "solo" album or perhaps the first non-TJB album, as there isn't much that resembles the earlier records. Especially once you heard the first 30 seconds of this record--you knew it wasn't the TJB of old. There are a few tracks I'll skip, but it's still a (pardon the expression) warm album to listen to.

The Brass are Comin' is also a mixed bag. Sure, some of it sounds tired partly due to Herb's horn, but there was never a more Mariachi song that the TJB ever performed than "La Bikina." Starting off a "country" album with a Brazilian song "O Trenzinho do Caipira" is also an interesting choice, and the big productions of "Moon River" and "Sunny" I've always liked. Same with the cornball "You Are My Life" as I'm probably the only one here who likes it. 😁 It's also nice to hear Sol Lake's "Maltese Melody." This album really was the last ride of the TJB as we knew it.
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
I'm feeling the same as Harry on this one but for different reasons i first heard the TJB's TBAC and BMB's TWTD about the same period of time between late 1979 and 1980 Warm arrived in 84 and Fresh Air much later however I knew Warm was very Different from the other TJB albums and The Brass are comin was mixed the BMB however they were really rising to new heights as I had the chopped down Pickwick version of Those were the days although I was unaware of 2 songs missing until I found the original A&M album I loved what I heard regardless and by the time I finally got a copy of Fresh air in 2006 and listened to it I though of it as a continuation of TWTD in a Good way but I voted for The TJB here as this was the last of the original group and the end of an era like Harry if I could vote both ways I would
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
I tend to feel the same as Harry and Rudy on this one. The Warm LP has been a favorite of mine since day one: I had it on 8-track first, which I copied to a cassette (boy did THAT sound bad), and then when it was long out of print, I paid a record-search service $41 to get it on LP -- the first time I had the album on vinyl. The songs I like on this one tend to be ones I "REALLY, REALLY" like -- there are only a couple of clinkers, and they're both vocals. Sorry, Herb.... But still, when I hear this album I almost always play it start to finish, vocals, and all. Yes, some of the playing is sounding a little overly casual but not too much... to me it's just a relaxed album that has a great flow.

For The Brass Are Comin, there are songs on it that I absolutely love and others that I hardly like at all. I really don't like "Sunny" and "Moon River," but I totally dig all of the originals and especially "I'm an Old Cowhand" and "Robbers and Cops" are delights. I didn't really realize how great a tune "Anna" is until a few years ago, I would have to call that a near-favorite. I'm not a huge fan of the title tune -- I think it is probably the worst opening tune of any TJB album. "Anna" would have been a much better opener, or "Maltese Melody" or "Country Lake."

The BMB albums -- Those Were the Days is yet another of the albums I first had on the infamous tangle-prone black A&M 8-tracks, so I didn't get a chance to hear it reliably until just a few years ago when I scored a sealed copy of it (along with Rides Again). Then I got the Japanese CD of it as well. My favorite tune on there has always been "Always Something There to Remind Me" -- it's my favorite version of that song. "Flyin' High" and "Big Red" might be tied for second place on this album.

Fresh Air was an album I also had on 8-track first, but it came out after A&M had switched to the olive-green colored carts that were far more reliable. Thus I heard that album on 8T for several years. I pretty much put it out of mind after the 8-track era ended until the Japan CD issue came out. I would say it's my favorite BMB album overall. I love all the fast songs the best -- I've never been a big fan of BMB's ballads very much, to me their instrumental lineup works much better for the fast stuff.

I love all four of these albums but if I was to make a list of tunes I couldn't see living without, there would be more of the TJB songs on the list so I'd have to give this one to Herb.
 

Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
Staff member
Moderator
It's also nice to hear Sol Lake's "Maltese Melody." This album really was the last ride of the TJB as we knew it.
I despise "The Maltese Melody" - it's the only TJB track that I will skip - and I really like most all Bert Kaempfert penned tunes.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
I despise "The Maltese Melody" - it's the only TJB track that I will skip - and I really like most all Bert Kaempfert penned tunes, too.
Amazing! I always find it quite surprising to find out who dislikes what, but I never thought Steve S. would suffer from what I'll call a "Maltese Malady"!

About the only TjB track that I'll skip is "Tijuana Sauerkraut" and maybe "Talk To The Animals".
 
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Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
I despise "The Maltese Melody" - it's the only TJB track that I will skip - and I really like most all Bert Kaempfert penned tunes.
Well jeez, I just screwed that one up! Apologies to Sol Lake! 😁
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
I love all four of these albums but if I was to make a list of tunes I couldn't see living without, there would be more of the TJB songs on the list so I'd have to give this one to Herb.
I'm in the same boat--that's ultimately how I voted TJB over BMB this time around. None would be a desert island album out of this batch.
 

Mr Bill

Gentlemanly Curmudgeon
Staff member
Moderator
Another tough Pick! Warm is clearly number one, followed by Fresh Air. Unfortunatley, Brass Are Comin' was a big disappointment to me, so it's number 4 of this batch... Those were the Days is probably my third favorite from the Baja boys (with "Big Red" probably in my top ten BMB songs)!

--Mr Bill
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Two comments about Fresh Air...

I think "Fresh Air" was an attempt to recreate the Brasil '66 sound. Check out the arrangement against "Tristeza" from Fool on the Hill. Very apparent.

"Wave" also has to be one of the most unusual cover versions I've heard, and in a good way.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
I think "Fresh Air" was an attempt to recreate the Brasil '66 sound. Check out the arrangement against "Tristeza" from Fool on the Hill. Very apparent.
I still think that in the group backing "vocals" in "Fresh Air", I swear I can hear Lani Hall in there. She's the one doing the louder "Hey - ayys".
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
I still think that in the group backing "vocals" in "Fresh Air", I swear I can hear Lani Hall in there. She's the one doing the louder "Hey - ayys".
She always added some enthusiasm to everything she was involved with I can understand totally
 

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
I give my vote for Warm. It was one of the first two that I ever bought from TJB(the other was Ninth bought at the same time) and I like it over all other TJB. It is the only one that I have bought on CD of the non compilation albums.
 
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