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⭐ Official Review Summertime [Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass]

Rudy

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Looking at the release dates of the albums, there was a gap between The Brass are Comin' in 1969 and Summertime in 1971. It makes me wonder if the album was indeed in the can for a year or two (I could see it being a 1970 release), perhaps to keep some new Herb Alpert "product" available while he was taking a break. Or it could have been a couple of sessions rounded up for the album; some of the tracks sound different than the others (from a technical standpoint), making me think it could have been a couple of different recording dates. Then there is a track like "Last Tango in Paris" that pretty much came out of left field, appearing first on the Foursider anthology.

I also am curious about when Herb switched from using Gold Star Studios to A&M's own studios. The Gold Star recordings have that well-known reverb chamber in use. Yet, for most of those early albums, Gold Star only was capable of 3-track recording. What I hear on Summertime and even Warm is too complex to have been done at Gold Star, likely needing eight tracks to record what we're hearing, and (aside from that dreaded CSG processing) The Brass Are Comin' has a cleaner sound to it also, along with those orchestrated bits.
 

Aaron Bitman

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I believe that "Hurts So Bad" was recorded on April 21, 1970, and that "Martha My Dear" was recorded on November 10, 1970 and on March 11, 1971, all three of those sessions at A&M Studios.

I'll confess that I have no idea about "Darlin'."

I'm not aware that Alpert recorded "Last Tango in Paris" before February of 1973.
 

Mike Blakesley

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That's probably pretty close because it was included on Foursider which came out later that year.
 

bob knack

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I may have mentioned it sometime in the last 20 years here at the Corner...but there are three songs (Hurts So Bad, Martha My Dear and Darlin') that were two to three years old at the time of the album's release. I've always wondered if Herb started the album in '69 or so (either in between WARM and THE BRASS ARE COMIN' or just after), then set it aside and came back to it, with "Hurts", "Martha" and "Darlin'" already done or close to it. They just seem like odd choices if you're starting from a clean slate in 1971.

It seems to me Strike Up The Band was done earlier also. Sounds almost like the original travelling band doing it.
 

Rudy

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It seems to me Strike Up The Band was done earlier also. Sounds almost like the original travelling band doing it.
If not the same band, it certainly is in the "classic TJB" style. At this late date, it feels like a last hurrah for the original TJB sound. As we would find out (from "Last Tango" forward), things would change quite a bit going forward (and all for the good!).
 

Aaron Bitman

Well-Known Member
Even if the original TJB had performed "Strike Up the Band" earlier, I believe that Alpert performed his trumpet parts (or at least one of them) for the song in 1970, just like he had to perform the trumpet parts for some of the Lost Treasures tracks that were missing them such as "Happy Hour."
 
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Aaron Bitman

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You know, this thread is amazing.

Back in the 1980s, I got an old copy of the Summertime album from a yard sale or something. I enjoyed it at the time. It was far from my favorite, but after hearing so many other Alpert albums hundreds of times each for so many years, it was nice to hear some new material. Eventually, though, I tired of Alpert altogether, and stopped listening to his records for 20 years or so.

Still, something about the album's influence stuck. Every time I do the laundry - more than once a day, on average - I see the "Cotton / High" setting on the dryer and Alpert's performance of the "Summertime" song plays in my head. "Cotton's growin' mighty high..."

Last year, I got hooked on Alpert's music again and sampled all his albums on the internet. I heard Summertime and thought "Meh. It sounds unfinished and unprofessional. 'Jerusalem' and 'Strike up the Band' are kind of nice, but I don't want them on my playlist. Besides, having grown up hearing 'Strike up the Band' on an Arthur Fiedler record, Alpert's version just seems like a nice variation, but no substitute for the original. Even in the 1980s I thought that."

So when I then proceeded to splurge on Herb Alpert music, I didn't buy Summertime. Over the course of the next year, I listened over a dozen HA albums, dozens and dozens of times each. I didn't exactly grow TIRED of them yet, but the novelty wore off, and when I hear the records, I don't pay such close attention to them anymore. Feeling the need for "new" material, I started adding some of Alpert's lesser (in my opinion) songs, as well as some "Ti-wannabe" music, to my playlist. Still, whenever I tried Summertime, I gave it a pass.

Today, reading this thread made me start listening to Summertime on YouTube again. And I think I finally got hooked! Once again, I've found some "new" material!

In fact, of all the records in what I regard as Alpert's "middle period" (that is, after The Beat of the Brass and before "Rise") I may have to rank this one as my favorite. I mean, I have - for example - most of the Coney Island album on my playlist, but some of the tracks on that album don't interest me enough to include them. Yet here I am, listening to the entire Summertime album, in order, again and again.

Unlike Rudy and Harry, though, I'm not entirely thrilled with the squeak and silence in "Darlin'." I like false endings, particularly those in Herb Alpert's songs, but... we already GOT a false ending. Why do we need another? And the squeaking annoys me a bit. Well, maybe it will grow on me. If it doesn't, I could just listen to the original version instead.

Anyway, I may soon be adding this album to my playlist.
 

Bobberman

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Summertime has always had a special place in my heart i first had the album in 1985 when i bought it from a collectors shop in exellent condition for $1 ( i didnt play it to death though.) I really enjoy " if you could read my mind" and "The Nicest things happen" ( The Latter song really stuck in my mind as one of the big standouts) I really look forward to finally seeing summertime and eventually Everything else on CD This may be the only chance we get these. IMO so i plan to get on them the same way i did with the Signature series on Shout Factory.
 

Rudy

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Unlike Rudy and Harry, though, I'm not entirely thrilled with the squeak and silence in "Darlin'."
I do prefer the original (and I could duplicate it in the sound editor in about half a minute). But it's a nice little easter egg for collectors. Nothing more. :)
 

Rudy

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I really look forward to finally seeing summertime and eventually Everything else on CD This may be the only chance we get these. IMO so i plan to get on them the same way i did with the Signature series on Shout Factory.
I don't mean to tell everyone how to spend money. :D But, I do suggest that if anyone really wants the CDs, to buy them as soon as possible. They could be around for a decade or two, or....maybe not. We can't know that. I have so many times regretted not buying CDs thinking "they will be there next time," only to never see them again. And I can safely say this numbered in the dozens, even including three Herb titles! Through friends I have been able to locate some, and have at least a digital copy to play.

I'm personally torn. I will be getting these all as high-res, along with the vinyl releases (analog being the highest resolution possible :wink: ). My music is stored on a music server (and of course, backed up). When I do that, I either keep the best sounding version, or the highest resolution version available. I do not keep multiple versions of an album on there--I'd never play them. Since the CD and high-res are the same mastering in this case (the CDs being downsampled), there really is no need for me to get the CDs. (There are cases where a high-res version is from a lousy mastering.) I'd never play the CDs, and I'd never even rip them to the server since I'd have the high-res versions already. Due to the fact that I've run out of wall space, the only discs I may have out soon will be SACDs (which I cannot yet rip to DSD files to put on the server). I'd store all the CDs away; I can find the info online if I need it. Yet...I don't know, it seems like I'd miss out on having the new CDs. There is that part of me that still wants them, and to own a complete set. I'm not a "completist" collector by any means, so it's not like I'd use them to complete the collection. These are albums I grew up with, though. It's hard not to want them, even if for my own stupid sentimentality. :D
 

Mike Blakesley

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I'm not a completist either, but I do want to get these new Herb reissues. Maybe not all of the solo albums but definitely the TJB stuff. Part of it is my desire to have the cool new packaging. (I never did really like the Shout packages - thought they looked kind of cheap. But I did like the fact that they had the booklets with pictures.)

Yet here I am, listening to the entire Summertime album, in order, again and again.

I had a similar experience with Summertime. I got it when it came out (on 8-track at first), liked it sort of, but it wasn't in my top 5. I always liked "Jerusalem" and the title song but the rest was kind of "eh." But then many years later, conversations here on the Corner led me to start listening to it again, (and getting a great needle-drop CD version of it helped a lot) and I got a lot further into it, to where now it IS in my top five. I have to be in the right mood to listen to it, but it's almost always a "full-length" listen when I do pull it out.
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
The last word was releases would be about mid-April.
I remember that was the last word we heard and i am eagerly anticipating these On CD ( 9 of them ) this will sure help Completists like myself. Fill those Missing Gaps.and i am already making plans.
 
The last "Gold Star" (and, consequently, four-track-mastered-album) would've been CHRISTMAS.
Meantime, I'm pretty sure Sergio's FOOL ON THE HILL is/was the first album which was recorded at A&M "proper", AND...on an 8-track Scully 284 (interestingly: Herb dropped Ampex -- studio-wise AS WELL as: in terms of; making his pre-recorded tape product, all at once).
However, the dreaded HAECO came-about around this time (as it was Howard Holzer that designed A&M's studios).
So, the off-sounding tracks on SUMMERTIME (ex: Hurt So Bad, Strike Up the Band)...with the boxy and tubby midbass were, in all likelihood, done on the Scully/HAECO-chain; while, the rest were on a then-brand-new, 16-channel 3M M79.
 

Michael Hagerty

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Contributor
Looking at the release dates of the albums, there was a gap between The Brass are Comin' in 1969 and Summertime in 1971. It makes me wonder if the album was indeed in the can for a year or two (I could see it being a 1970 release), perhaps to keep some new Herb Alpert "product" available while he was taking a break. Or it could have been a couple of sessions rounded up for the album; some of the tracks sound different than the others (from a technical standpoint), making me think it could have been a couple of different recording dates. Then there is a track like "Last Tango in Paris" that pretty much came out of left field, appearing first on the Foursider anthology.

I always thought the inclusion of "If You Could Read My Mind" meant that at least that track had to have been recorded in 1971 (the year it was a hit for Gordon Lightfoot), but I just tripped over a back issue of Billboard that shows the album SIT DOWN YOUNG STRANGER was actually released in April of 1970. Given that the newest song before that was "Hurt So Bad" (if you assume Herb cut it in response to it having been a hit for the Lettermen in '69 instead of as a revival of the Little Anthony and the Imperials original), and I'm thinking that SUMMERTIME was a batch of tracks Herb did in '69 and '70 that Herb felt were strong enough to release despite his having lost his lip.
 

Michael Hagerty

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Contributor
I believe that "Hurts So Bad" was recorded on April 21, 1970, and that "Martha My Dear" was recorded on November 10, 1970 and on March 11, 1971, all three of those sessions at A&M Studios.

I'll confess that I have no idea about "Darlin'."

I'm not aware that Alpert recorded "Last Tango in Paris" before February of 1973.

Aaron: Do you have access to an Alpert sessionography? Your post is the first time I've ever seen specific recording dates for Herb.
 

Sleepy Night Records

Well-Known Member
I love Summertime, especially that its now at last on CD, one of my fav Herb albums. Not a lot of tracks but each one is of quality. I love Herb's tone on the trumpet... The final TJB album.....does anyone know all the dates when each track was recorded? Here is an out take from the back cover as my avatar.
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
I really enjoy the Summertime CD reissue and the improved sound along with the bonus on "Darlin". As i said before Was Very Much Worth The Wait.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Crossover time! Herb Alpert lip-synced the title song, "Summertime," on the début episode of the Carpenters' 1971 summer replacement TV series, Make Your Own Kind of Music.


("Summertime" starts at 3:53.)
 
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