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Cruise to Mexico: Part 7

Posted by Job O Brother, December 6, 2010 11:37am | Post a Comment
mexico

Day 5 (Part 2)

Thursday. September 16, 2010

PUERTO VALLARTA



As the boyfriend, his father, Fred, the sweltering heat and I walked home along the quaint, plank-board sidewalks along the coast of Puerto Vallarta, I was all the time keeping a look-out for a keen thank you gift for Smithy, who’s house-sitting for us had caused her such difficulty after the devious plotting of the demon spawn we call “our kitties.”

You’d think that a tourist trap like Puerto Vallarta would be ideal shopping, but I couldn’t imagine Smithy exactly swooning over a miniature beaded palm tree statue or a Hard Rock Café tank-top.

Then, at last, I saw just the sort of boutique that catered to the refined taste of my dear,lady friend: a tequila specialty shop. Hypnotized by the variety of tans, camels, and caramel colors that shone through the many-angled bottles, I floated in and got real thirsty. The vendor – who’s name I never got, so I’ll call Graggenhauserfrauschembaur – practically materialized from out of my shadow, eager to exchange some of his wares for the far-less delicious bills I kept in my wallet.

“This,” I thought to myself, “Is gonna be a great relationship.”

It was. At Graggenhauserfrauschembaur’s insistence we sat at a tiny portable bar and were lined up shots after shots of tequila tasters. It was like being a college freshman girl at her first date rape. Graggenhauserfrauschembaur’s salesmanship was bar-none; how brilliant to get your customers drunk! And the tequila was, truly, lekker. My personal favorites were a coconut-crème tequila and a tamarind liqueur that made me wanna be an alcoholic again for the first time. I purchased some booze for Smithy, and some for myself. I bid Graggenhauserfrauschembaur a bittersweet farewell, and he scolded the boyfriend and I for coming from Los Angeles and not being able to speak Spanish.

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The Good, the Bad and the Great One

Posted by Whitmore, July 14, 2009 01:11pm | Post a Comment
Dear 45 Records room,
 
How’s it going? Up until a couple of days ago the weather had been pretty damn nice; mid 70’s, sunny, slight sea breeze ... but a cold front came in, shelving plenty of weekend barbeques. From the edge of this five acre property you can see the whitecaps out on the waves getting ornery. Damned cantankerous Northwest climate!
 
At the local thrift store I found a goldmine -- and I use that term loosely -- of used Jackie Gleason records in mint condition. Jackie Gleason, AKA the Great One, back in the mid 1950’s when his The Honeymooners television show was at the top of its game, was contracted by Capitol Records to arrange and conduct or compose a series of records with a relaxing-romantic-late night vibe. I suspect he simply just sold his name to Capitol and hung out at the studio sessions tippling with the musicians. The best part of this “Music For” series was the packaging. The art work always stood out. One cover in particular, Lonesome Echo, was created by Salvador Dali. But this thrift store’s stash of LP’s are the more “desirable” covers, pun intended. Anyway, I found about eight Gleason albums, minty jackets all, but minus the vinyl! These album jackets are perfect, lust filled portraits of silky and laced up vixens -- femme fatales draped over sofas and beds and floors with their come hither mouths and eyes whispering “another martini, lover boy?” What I found includes Music Martinis and Memories, Music for Lovers Only, Aphrodesia, Love Embers and Flame and of course Music to Make you Misty; all the albums ready for framing and decking out your mad bachelor pad dad!
 
Well, 45’s Record Room, I’ll talk to you later. Tuck in all the Northern Soul records for me, give the R&B section a kiss goodnight and tell the Ska records that I haven’t forgotten about them, I have a little gift to give them when I get back.

Yma Sumac 1922 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, November 3, 2008 10:32am | Post a Comment


Yma Sumac
the legendary, one of a kind singer famous for her 4 1/2 octave range, has died in Los Angeles. She was 86.

Peruvian born, she was the personification of exoticism, making her an international sensation in the 1950’s. After signing with Capitol Records in 1950, the striking, raven-haired beauty became known as the "Nightingale of the Andes," and the "Peruvian Songbird." Her first album, Voice of the Xtabay, rocketed to the top of the LP charts introducing a whole new genre, Exotica, to the music buying public. During her heyday, Sumac headlined at the some of the most prestigious venues in the world, such as the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall. She reportedly made $25,000 a week in Las Vegas and turned down offers to sing with New York's Metropolitan Opera. Her eccentric costumes and stage settings were often extremely elaborate, filling stages with native dressed drummers and dancers and caged wild birds. Yma Sumac was also featured in the 1951 Broadway musical Flahooley and appeared in the films Secret of the Incas in 1954 and Omar Khayyam in 1957.

Although details of her birth and early life have varied greatly, lending mightily to her legend, the biggest misconception was that she was born in Brooklyn as Amy Camus -- Sumac was actually born Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo in Cajamarca, Peru, on Sept. 13, 1922. After performing and recording in Argentina in the early 40’s, she and her husband, bandleader Moises Vivanco, moved to New York City in 1946, where they performed as the Inca Taky Trio, with Vivanco on guitar, Sumac singing soprano and Cholita Rivero, her cousin, singing contralto and dancing.

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Mort Garson 1924 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, January 14, 2008 06:58pm | Post a Comment

Every once in while you realize certain names are always appearing in the credits of old albums, and it’s a constant surprise. I was always astounded by how often I’d find Mort Garson's name, and on some of the most unlikely records. From Doris Day to Mel Torme to Glen Campbell, and all those albums of nice soft-pop vocals from the likes of The Letterman or the Sandpipers or the Glenn Yarborough record of Rod McKuen covers. And you would usually find Mort Garson conducting or arranging those safe but somewhat innocuous collections of ‘pop hits of the day’ by the Hollyridge Strings or the Sunset Strings. And if you’re lucky enough to find it, you’d see Mort Garson provided background music to Laurence Harvey reading poetry on Atlantic. And why do I think it’s so odd? Because whenever I think of Mort Garson I think of the legendary pioneer in electronic music, and not the multi-faceted, in demand arranger and conductor.

Mort Garson, who also co-wrote the classic "Our Day Will Come," died this past January 4th of renal failure in San Francisco. He was 83. Born July 20, 1924, in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, Garson attended the Juilliard School of Music. He was a pianist and arranger with dance orchestras before serving in Special Services during World War II and before moving onto Los Angeles and the pop music world. But it was his work as a composer using the then novel Moog synthesizer on a series of albums in the late 1960s and '70s that is his lasting claim to fame, especially to record collectors and electronica enthusiasts. These albums, especially the 1967 exotica classic, and influential, The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds,  established his cult following. The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds is one of the first electronic and psychedelic albums put out by Elektra Records.

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