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Sol Lake

Caroltoo

New Member
Thread Starter
I have never really been able to find out much about Sol Lake (aka Solomon Lachoff) this guy. He wrote numerous lovely hits, including THe Lonely Bull and Mexican Shuffle. He died in 1991 at the age of approximately 80 in Riverside, CA. Just curious if Herb or others could fill in a little background on him. Was he an immigrant, was he a "Tin Pan Alley" songwriter, a hermit-curmudgeon or a baby-cradling grandpa? Inquiring minds want to know!!!! Could Herb provide a photo of this mysterious gentleman??!!
 

Moritat

Well-Known Member
I certainly agree with Caroltoo. In my opinion he was the best songwriter the TJB ever had and I never understood why Herb (or the label) never spoke about him. It seems quite unfair for this guy to just fade away and disappear without any stories or information about him. Where and how did Herb meet him? Are there any interesting stories behind some of his songs, or his life for that matter? During some upcoming interview with Herb, I'd love to hear him talk about Lake and his contributions. And finally, lets give Sol Lake some respect by at least posting a photo of him. Is this too much to ask for a gentleman who meant so much to this label?
 
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DAN BOLTON

Well-Known Member
Sol Lake wrote the song Roly Poly for the movie Pajama Game in 1959, IIRC...his biggest success until The Lonely Bull.

Sol had a jazz combo, and Dave Alpert was his drummer...Dave invited brother Herb to sit in once, and that's how Herb and Sol hooked up. Sol played an "ethereal" piece he called Twinkle Star for Herb, and it became The Lonely Bull.

Sol had a furniture restoration business; that was evidently his major source of income, until the Brass got started. Sol wrote or co-wrote around 35 songs, and the TJB recorded about two-thirds of them, establishing him as a successful and popular songwriter...Wes Montgomery and Earl Klugh, among others have also recorded his work.

I agree that there isn't much in print regarding Sol Lake, and Herb doesn't say much about him...maybe Sol wanted it that way.
 

lj

Well-Known Member
It is really is baffling for such a talented pop songwriter, there is practically nothing written about the great Sol Lake. Type his name in Wikipedia and there is absolutely nothing. Go figure. Arguably without Lake's songs, the TJB would never have had their huge success.
 

bob knack

Well-Known Member
It is really is baffling for such a talented pop songwriter, there is practically nothing written about the great Sol Lake. Type his name in Wikipedia and there is absolutely nothing. Go figure. Arguably without Lake's songs, the TJB would never have had their huge success.
Sol and Julius too. Maybe Lake didn't really care for the spotlight and took his TJB royalties and went home.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
In this thread from about four year ago, Rudy compiled a list of Sol Lake songs and arranged them in a playlist order.


I assembled that list into a playable, segued, radio-style hour, but YouTube blocked it in the US. It's still playable in other countries though. The list is a good playlist of Sol's tunes.
 

lj

Well-Known Member
Sol and Julius too. Maybe Lake didn't really care for the spotlight and took his TJB royalties and went home.
Bob--thanks for adding Julius Wechter's name to the list of the top TJB songwriters. His "Spanish Flea" was every bit as important as Sol's compositions. All of their tunes created the signature sound of the TJB and then with Herb's arrangements--it was icing on the cake. All three guys had created an identifiable sound crucial for pop success.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
In this thread from about four year ago, Rudy compiled a list of Sol Lake songs and arranged them in a playlist order.


I assembled that list into a playable, segued, radio-style hour, but YouTube blocked it in the US. It's still playable in other countries though. The list is a good playlist of Sol's tunes.
If you can find all the tunes separately on YouTube through the distributor, you can assemble a playlist that way and it won't be flagged. I've done that with a handful of playlists so far.

I wish we could upload our own playlists or album versions, but still have the rights and royalties go to the proper rights holders. I mean, if the technology is there for us to get flagged for doing this, why not flip it around so the songwriters and performers get a cut of it, and leave it public?
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
It is really is baffling for such a talented pop songwriter, there is practically nothing written about the great Sol Lake. Type his name in Wikipedia and there is absolutely nothing. Go figure. Arguably without Lake's songs, the TJB would never have had their huge success.
Actually, it's not that uncommon. Reviewing the writers for all the top-100 songs, week-to-week in the mid '60s, will yield literally hundreds of similarly unknown names... For instance, I was looking at a Dean Martin reprise LP the other day -- I recall every song was written by someone I've never hear of, yet all were solid, catchy tunes. During that time, there were literally "thousands" of writers who made a lucrative career (in NYC, Nashville, Chicago, and Hollywood) from writing pop tunes and getting their agents to feed them to labels -- particularly during the 1955-70 era when AM radio (in automobiles!) and coast-to-coast TV shows opened up the industry to unseen proportions. More to Ij's point, however, is that unless one broke into Broadway or the movies, it was strictly a behind-the-scenes gig with no visibility. Two things changed this: The Beatles (1964) -- who ushered in the self-contained ensemble era (which removed any A&R needs), and singer-songwriters (1970). Regarding the latter, I once heard a tape of Bud Dashiell on the old Skip Weshner Show discussing his delight of discovering a young writer (whose name escaped Dashiell during the interview) in the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band who had written several unique songs covering content that he and others from his generation just hadn't thought to set to music. This was 1966 and of course he's talking about Jackson Browne -- who would take another 5 years until he himself moved from a behind-the-scenes songwriter to a recording artist.
 

lj

Well-Known Member
Actually, it's not that uncommon. Reviewing the writers for all the top-100 songs, week-to-week in the mid '60s, will yield literally hundreds of similarly unknown names... For instance, I was looking at a Dean Martin reprise LP the other day -- I recall every song was written by someone I've never hear of, yet all were solid, catchy tunes. During that time, there were literally "thousands" of writers who made a lucrative career (in NYC, Nashville, Chicago, and Hollywood) from writing pop tunes and getting their agents to feed them to labels -- particularly during the 1955-70 era when AM radio (in automobiles!) and coast-to-coast TV shows opened up the industry to unseen proportions. More to Ij's point, however, is that unless one broke into Broadway or the movies, it was strictly a behind-the-scenes gig with no visibility. Two things changed this: The Beatles (1964) -- who ushered in the self-contained ensemble era (which removed any A&R needs), and singer-songwriters (1970). Regarding the latter, I once heard a tape of Bud Dashiell on the old Skip Weshner Show discussing his delight of discovering a young writer (whose name escaped Dashiell during the interview) in the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band who had written several unique songs covering content that he and others from his generation just hadn't thought to set to music. This was 1966 and of course he's talking about Jackson Browne -- who would take another 5 years until he himself moved from a behind-the-scenes songwriter to a recording artist.
Excellent history of that golden era of pop music--my favorite era.

A brilliant arranger associated with this era was Ernie Freeman. On the Reprise label Ernie was the go-to arranger. He arranged Dean Martin's chart topper "Everybody Love's Somebody" in 1964 and arranged Frank Sinatra's No. 1 hit "Stranger's in the NIght" in 1966. And then he branched off and on other labels he arranged Vikki Carr's 1967 Top 5 Hit "It Must Be Him" and arranged Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters". Those were the days. Arrangements like the above set the tone and sound through 1970.
 

Harry

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Staff member
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Ernie Freeman was also responsible for adding the "stereo overlay" to The Vogues' earlier hits like "Magic Town" and "Five O'Clock World" for a Reprise-era GREATEST HITS album.

 

lj

Well-Known Member
Here is my favorite Sinatra song from the 1960's--The World We Knew-- with a splendid 1967 arrangement by the great Ernie Freeman.

 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
Late conductor Jeff Saunders did a great instrumental version of "The World We Knew (Over And Over)" for the "Beautiful Music" market (which is on Readers Digest "Sweet With A Beat" 6 records or 9 records set from 1971). Heard that version back then on "Beautiful 102" WGER (102.5 FM) in Bay City, Michigan in the mid 70's!!
 

Harry

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Staff member
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"The World We Knew" was written by Bert Kaempfert who did an instrumental version of it (it's on his VERY BEST OF), and Paul Mauriat did it as well on his MAURIAT MAGIC album.
 

lj

Well-Known Member
And a nice fuzz bass to open the song by the great Carol Kaye.
Yes, indeed Moritat, from the get-go it was this stunning intro with that fuzz bass that hooked me to this song. Great arrangers/orchestrators have a way of coming up with those musical hooks. Then Sinatra took from there. The mid to late 1960s were an interesting period in Sinatra's career. He was trying to find a more contemporary sound. Into the void came producer Jimmy Bowen and arranger Ernie Freeman who joined Sinatra and instant success followed--Frank's No. 1 Hot 100 hit "Stranger's in the Night" in 1966, followed by another huge hit with "That's Life" in 1966, and then with "The World We Knew (Over and Over)" which was for many weeks a No. 1 Easy Listening hit in 1967. This is not to minimize the legendary work Sinatra had earlier in his career working with arrangements by Riddle, May and Jenkins, but Sinatra was ready for a change by 1966. By 1969 Don Costa became his last go-to arranger with mixed results. It wasn't necessarily the fault of Costa or the singer, rather the music chosen, e.g. songs by Jim Croce and John Denver, didn't fit the Sinatra persona. Luckily there were exceptions-- such as the Bossa Nova songs he sung with Jobim perfectly, and signature songs such as "My Way" and "New York, New York" both charted superbly by Don Costa.
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
golden era of pop music--my favorite era.

A brilliant arranger associated with this era was Ernie Freeman. On the Reprise label Ernie was the go-to arranger.
My favourite era as well. I recall a high school friend of mine writing in my senior yearbook (long since gone): "James, the 1970s are out there somewhere". That was 40 years ago... I'm just as '60s-centric today as I was in 1981.

"The World We Knew" was written by Bert Kaempfert who did an instrumental version of it (it's on his VERY BEST OF)
Yup. I've got it too! (The thing about Kaempfert given he was also a songwriter he pops up in the most unexpected places; for example, the Al Hirt "tribute" LP (1968). His LP, Gallery (1974) remains a favourite.)

Yes, indeed Moritat, from the get-go it was this stunning intro with that fuzz bass that hooked me to this song. Great arrangers/orchestrators have a way of coming up with those musical hooks. Then Sinatra took from there. The mid to late 1960s were an interesting period in Sinatra's career. He was trying to find a more contemporary sound. Into the void came producer Jimmy Bowen and arranger Ernie Freeman who joined Sinatra and instant success followed--Frank's No. 1 Hot 100 hit "Stranger's in the Night" in 1966, followed by another huge hit with "That's Life" in 1966, and then with "The World We Knew (Over and Over)" which was for many weeks a No. 1 Easy Listening hit in 1967. This is not to minimize the legendary work Sinatra had earlier in his career working with arrangements by Riddle, May and Jenkins, but Sinatra was ready for a change by 1966. By 1969 Don Costa became his last go-to arranger with mixed results. It wasn't necessarily the fault of Costa or the singer, rather the music chosen, e.g. songs by Jim Croce and John Denver, didn't fit the Sinatra persona. Luckily there were exceptions-- such as the Bossa Nova songs he sung with Jobim perfectly, and signature songs such as "My Way" and "New York, New York" both charted superbly by Don Costa.

Thanks for the late '60 Sinatra assessment. Cycles (Costa) remains a unique listen -- given the contemporary covers; and for my nickel, he owns Both Sides Now -- the subject of which is simply not believable as delivered from young-sounding voices of the day...but in the hands of Sinatra, one feels the sense of loss only a seasoned voice can deliver. What are your thoughts on Watertown (1970)? My understanding is that this was the only LP (at least up to that time) where he tracked his vocals. That was the LP I used to use to introduce "rock and roll" folks to Sinatra.
 

lj

Well-Known Member
My favourite era as well. I recall a high school friend of mine writing in my senior yearbook (long since gone): "James, the 1970s are out there somewhere". That was 40 years ago... I'm just as '60s-centric today as I was in 1981.


Yup. I've got it too! (The thing about Kaempfert given he was also a songwriter he pops up in the most unexpected places; for example, the Al Hirt "tribute" LP (1968). His LP, Gallery (1974) remains a favourite.)



Thanks for the late '60 Sinatra assessment. Cycles (Costa) remains a unique listen -- given the contemporary covers; and for my nickel, he owns Both Sides Now -- the subject of which is simply not believable as delivered from young-sounding voices of the day...but in the hands of Sinatra, one feels the sense of loss only a seasoned voice can deliver. What are your thoughts on Watertown (1970)? My understanding is that this was the only LP (at least up to that time) where he tracked his vocals. That was the LP I used to use to introduce "rock and roll" folks to Sinatra.
I agree that Sinatra owns "Both Sides Now"--far better than the Judy Collins version. I also like the title track "Cycles". Fine supporting charts by Costa. I like the concept of Watertown--produced and composed by Bob Gaudio--famed for his role and compositions for the the Four Seasons. I really like "I Would Be in Love Anyway" from the album. Sinatra liked to record live with an orchestra just like Bacharach. However, Watertown was the only exception--that is, orchestra track first and Frank came in later to lay down the vocal track. This was an adventurous concept album that critics are now starting to appreciate.
 

lj

Well-Known Member
I agree that Sinatra owns "Both Sides Now"--far better than the Judy Collins version. I also like the title track "Cycles". Fine supporting charts by Costa. I like the concept of Watertown--produced and composed by Bob Gaudio--famed for his role and compositions for the the Four Seasons. I really like "I Would Be in Love Anyway" from the album. Sinatra liked to record live with an orchestra just like Bacharach. However, Watertown was the only exception--that is, orchestra track first and Frank came in later to lay down the vocal track. This was an adventurous concept album that critics are now starting to appreciate.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Yeah, for a number of years I've loved Sinatra's work with Jobim, both the full album and the other sides he recorded. One Sunday morning someone online recommended WATERTOWN. I'd had a copy floating around here for years, a refugee from the radio station.

I put on the album, opened the gatefold jacket, followed along with the lyrics, and sat transfixed as I let the whole thing wash over me. By the time Side One had finished, I was already resigned to finding a better copy on either CD or LP, and ended up with both.

WATERTOWN tells a story, and I'm a firm believer that "The Train" should be the final chapter of that story. CD versions sometimes add the WATERTOWN-session version of "Lady Day". I don't like that there. It should end with "The Train". The album has become a favorite, and I do recall "I Would Be In Love Anyway" played on our Big Band/Nostalgia station, particularly during the Sinatra shows.
 

Doug Castleman

Well-Known Member
I remember a concert of Herb's that mostly featured the Fandango album songs...I think this was early 1983...at the Universal Amphitheater. Sol was in the audience, and Herb had him stand and take a bow after they played the Lonely Bull...he got a solid applause I remember. I also remember that Herb paid for every woman to receive a rose when she came in the theater. My (then) wife was amazed and said "He's so classy."
 

TjbBmb

Well-Known Member
I remember a concert of Herb's that mostly featured the Fandango album songs...I think this was early 1983...at the Universal Amphitheater. Sol was in the audience, and Herb had him stand and take a bow after they played the Lonely Bull...he got a solid applause I remember. I also remember that Herb paid for every woman to receive a rose when she came in the theater. My (then) wife was amazed and said "He's so classy."
Didn’t know he toured during this period. Who was in the band?
 
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