Cool & Strange Music Vol. 2, Number 6

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Wowzers cool cats! Hello and welcome once again to the Internet’s coolest and craziest music article: Cool & Strange Music brought to you exclusively on the LRC broadcasting network. And man-o-man do I have a terrific show for you today! I promise you that today’s Cool & Strange Music will be one that you shall not soon forget. Not only will you be turned on to some of the grooviest sounds around, today’s show features a free concert on-line! That’s right, you read correctly. A free concert unlike any that you ever have seen before. This concert will blow your socks off whether you are a fan of this type of music or not. I dare any of you to watch this concert for even a minute and if you are not either dumbfounded or totally floored by it, then write to me and I’ll do something about it. And that’s a promise. Now let’s 23 skidoo.

77 Sunset Strip [Import] — Warren Baker
Price $15.99

Kookie Kookie, Lend me your comb. When was the last time you heard that? Okay, well, maybe not long enough ago for your liking, but trust me here, this album is outstanding. Warren Barker and a group of incredibly talented studio musicians got together and made one of the most enjoyable West Coast Jazz albums of all time. This album has everything that will satisfy even the most uptight Jazz fan.

77 Sunset Strip was the first and best of the Warner Brothers detective shows that began in 1958. Detective Stuart Bailey walked the streets of Los Angeles alone, carrying the weight of his job and the world on his shoulders. He was an expert at foreign languages as he worked in the past as a government agent. Jeff Spencer became his partner and TV’s first hour-long private eye show, and one of the most influential private eye shows in TV history was born.

They both worked out of fashionable posh offices at 77 Sunset Strip in Hollywood, next door to Dino’s Restaurant, where French secretary Suzanne handled the phones. Besides Bailey and Spencer, giving the show some comic relief were racetrack tout Roscoe, and hair-combing Dino; also, the unforgettable beatnik private eye wannabe Kookie became a sensation. Comb sales soared and a 1950’s American fad was born.

After listening to this great album, you’ll realize this music could have stood on its own and not just as background music. I highly recommend this hard to find CD.

This CD reissue from Germany has superb sound quality (as do all recordings from that country) so you will be most pleased. Henry Mancini may have created the private eye jazz style (“Peter Gunn”) but Warren Barker took it one step further with this winning soundtrack. A must have.

Schroeder’s Greatest Hits — Nelly Kokinos
Price $9.98

I’d have to say that this is the ultimate CD for students of Classical piano music or those purists who want piano and nothing else. This is Classical piano as it is meant to be. If you have a youngster near you who is studying piano or if you are that youngster, than this CD is for you. Beautiful musicianship and wonderfully exciting performances make this CD the ultimate in enjoyment and motivation for your future Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, or Schumann. This 36 track CD will inspire as well as satisfy. If you love the piano or if you have nieces or nephews who do, then this CD cannot be beaten. This CD features wonderful performances and for a mere $9.98, it’s a superb investment in your child’s future.

Eclektronics — Jean Jacques Perrey & David Chazam
Price $16.98

Jean Jacques Perrey, born 20 January 1929 in France, is undoubtedly one of the great names of space age pop. He has been pushing the envelope of recorded music for over 4 decades. Inspired by inventor Georges Jenny, Perrey became the greatest proponent of the Ondioline, a tiny keyboard that could produce fascinating flute-like sounds full of vibrato. In the early 1960’s he and Gershon Kingsley exported this way out sound to the U.S. and intermingled its spacey sound with American pop. His first album with Gershon Kingsley The In Sound from Way Out, is one of the milestone markers of space age pop, and his last Vanguard album, Moog Indigo, is still sampled by DJs today. And when other musicians might be seeking to relax in retirement, Perrey continues to create and perform, spurred on by a new generation of admirers.

The newest release from the legendary Jean Jacques Perrey, “Eclektronics” is a perfect blend of classic ’60s melodies with modern, groove-oriented samples and production techniques.

Amazing New Electronic Pop Sound of Jean-Jacques Perrey
Price $12.99

Sound the alarm bells! Jean Jacques Perrey is now 76 years old and while he is currently working on a new project with a gentleman named Dana Countryman, I have found that several of his albums are no longer available. In fact, in a Cool & Strange Music article I wrote on August 28th, 2004, I highly recommended Jean Jacques Perrey’s Moog Sensations. Well, guess what? If you didn’t buy one when your old buddy Mike recommended it to you, well then, you’re plumb out of luck. They’re gone. In fact has a waiting list for people who want to buy this album used! It is now out of print and a used copy costs more than a new one did just one year ago. What does this mean for you? Well, it’s a sign that all of these albums could be headed for the out-of-print section, so you’d better buy these now. Of all the albums he’s released, there are only a few left. So I’m introducing them to you here today.

Honestly folks, Jean Jacques Perrey made some of the most fantastic and out of-this-world albums ever. One listen to his music and you —or your child — will be turned off to the Hit Parade of Hell forever. In fact, here’s a link to a classic he did called Baroque Hoedown.

You’ve never heard anything like this. If you are a fan of classical music or modern Electronica or if you thought Switched-On Bach was awesome, then Jean Jacques Perrey is for you. His tunes are incredibly catchy and burst with energy. The electronic sound was painstakingly reproduced (it’s difficult to believe what he created with primitive resources). Truly, Perrey is the great-grandfather of Fatboy Slim, without the heavy drum and bass. This is a terrific Jean Jacques Perrey album. And when you find that you enjoy it — which you will, you’ll find yourself buying his other CDs, too — in particular, check out Moog Indigo.

Moog Indigo — Jean Jacques Perrey
Price $12.99

I’ve had this particular album on record and CD for years and I never get tired of it. You won’t either. Also, I believe that this one is the next in line to become and out-of-print rare item. Many of the songs were co-written with Andy Badale (Who turns out to be Angelo Badalamenti of Twin Peaks fame!!) Twin Peaks fans will find Passport to the Future is where Andy began his signature style of somber music ala the Twin Peaks TV Soundtrack.

This CD is full of excellent music and there is not a single bad track on it. Younger listeners will be pleasantly surprised to find out that Jean Jacques Perrey’s classic “E.V.A” track -which is probably the most sampled song in years — came from this 76 year old genius. He wrote that song over 30 years ago by cutting and splicing magnetic tape (old fashioned sampling) and now every dance floor and Hip-Hop wannabe is using this track. But don’t think this is loud, thumping music. No siree! This is, I would say, Classical Music ala Wendy Carlos; with just a touch more pop to it.

The Wild One (Import) — Leith Stevens, Shorty Rogers & His Orchestra
List Price $26.99 Sale Price $25.49

Marlon Brando starred in many movies in his day and The Wild One was a different concept of a little guy looking big and tough was just another bore. To sell to the American public such an image was commonplace at that time. But in The Wild One, Brando was surrounded by top-grade, super-talented (yet very underrated) actors. The Wild One would have gone down as just another Hollywood cash-in except for one important thing: The soundtrack to the movie is fantastic. This is real Jazz at its best. This music is so sweet that it is still an excellent treat even to this day.

Sometimes I feel that today’s Jazz lacks feeling and melody. But there are very few Jazz records that really stand the test of time and this is definitely one of them. Why? Well the compositions, and undoubtedly, the musicians of that time knew and felt in their hearts what jazz is all about.

Of the hundreds of Jazz albums I have, I must rate the Jazz Themes from the Wild One as certainly among the top 5. Now a days, there are many Jazz musicians that may perform better than the musicians on this album, but they come nowhere near the feeling of what this music is supposed to represent. And that feeling comes through loud and clear on every excellent track.

This CD is not the actual soundtrack from the movie The Wild One by The Leith Stevens All Stars. The screen version included various percussion, string instruments, harps, French horns, etc. This album is a beautifully sounding studio effort by the Jazzmen who took part in the original music score. But no matter how you slice it, this is most definitely real Jazz at its best.

Intermission time!

Okay, I promised you folks a free concert. Well here it is. The guy’s name is McRorie and he’s a Canadian one-man band. He wears eight custom sensors on his shoes and four sensors on his chest. He has two midi keyboards on his hips, and sings lead vocals, harmonies and solo instruments — including lead guitar — with his voice. And he only performs totally live. I think even hard-to-please hard-core rock fans like Lew Rockwell and Gary North will dig this big time. Watch his promo video here first. McRorie used to play in a rock band with several other musicians, but as the lyrics to his original song One Man Rock explain, "I just wanna rock, I wanna roll. I got drums on my feet and chest man, I’m ready to go. I got my bass to my left, my rhythm to my right, all I wanna do is party tonight… Alright… Started out as a five-piece band. People started to leave, I came away with a brand new plan…" Watch the awe-inspiring video to that song here.

Amazing, isn’t it? This guy is incredible. All you wannabe rock and rollers grovel in front of the new king of the temple of the real rock and roller! Be humbled at the master plan of the, er, master. Is McRorie absurd or is he a new rock god? You decide. I, for one, think he’s out-of-this-world! And I would love to check out his live show. I guess you can if you are in Las Vegas sometime.

McRorie-One Man Live! Remember the name. Learn it, live it, love it. And remember, you saw it here first on Cool & Strange music!

Pickin’ On Led Zeppelin — Various Artists
Price $22.98 two disc set

Bluegrass pickin’ and grinnin’ of Led Zeppelin songs? Yep, that’s right. And these good old boys do these songs justice. In fact, I’m not a real big fan of Led Zeppelin, but I love this record. It’s not too far a stretch from the blues-inspired jams of Led Zeppelin to the bluegrass takes offered on these CDs. These instrumental versions of many LZ classics are performed essentially by some mighty fine studio musicians — as are most of the "Pickin’ On" series. These artists do justice to Led Zeppelins music and it comes out in the mix as a very enjoyable album for your dinosaur-hippie-long-hair nephew and for grandpa too. A must have album that everyone will enjoy.

Well-Tempered Synthesizer (Bonus Tracks) [Enhanced] — Wendy Carlos
Price $16.98

This was Wendy Carlos’ follow up to the unforgettable Switched On Bach album that turned the Classical and Pop music industry on its ear. Arguably, it’s actually better than the first. As technology improved, Carlos’ feelings and attention to details improved as well as her understanding of the potential of the Moog synthesizer. The timbres are lighter and much more airy and graceful; there is a more beautiful grasp of rhythm and intensity.

Although anyone would be struck by the beauty and sensitivity of the first and second Carlos works, there is definitely something mystical and magical about them. The sounds are fluttery, elusive, hauntingly beautiful, and the pitches waver. Carlos stands out from the rest, as her music is always bold and more satisfying than other ethereal artists that are half her age. The haunting final Monteverdi piece, with its strange, beautiful, and terrifying electronic vocals is worth the price of admission alone.

Rain Forest — Walter Wanderley
Price $14.98

Whenever I walk into any shop or store one of the first things I notice is the background music being played. As I mentioned before, music is a tool for creating a mood. The smart businessman will use music as a weapon to increase sales. For example, if you are running a liquor store, then I think it would be foolish to play loud rock or Hip-Hop music. In this case, Big-Band music or Jazz just might set your customers mood for splurging a bit more on themselves. Instead of that cheap whiskey, the music might set off a chain-reaction in their brain that makes them buy the better stuff. This, in turn, makes you more money.

Even though so-called "elevator music" has a bad rap; it can be used most effectively in an environment where you would want people to relax. A doctor’s or dentist’s waiting room perhaps. Or in an office where you want to play music that does not interfere with work and conversation but just might increase productivity. If this is what you are looking for, then this is the CD for you. Walter Wanderley’s Summer Samba is most probably the elevator’s most frequent song (that and Girl From Ipanema). It’s the perfect music to just sit back and relax with. Walter Wanderly was a pretty darned good organist. Let’s face it, the man can play! If you like Bossa Nova like Charlie Byrd, Stan Getz, and Antonio Carlos Jobim then you will love this. Walter Wanderley, though not nearly as famous as the aforementioned is better in my opinion.

Wanderley’s Summer Samba, is one of the most covered songs in music history and it is a bonafide standard classic. This album features Wanderly, with his quick and graceful hands, at his best doing Bossa Nova standards, like Girl From Ipanema and much more.

This is a great album to put on in the background more than any other I can think of. It’s the ultimate standard of 1960’s bachelor music. A fantastic and enjoyable album from start to finish!

Samba Swing — Walter Wanderley
Price $15.98

Swinging sixties Brazilian music turned into remarkably high-class big city lounge Jazz. Walter Wanderley rarely displays more than half his skills in his sophomore work, but his staccato, vibratoless style suits the music’s rhythms to perfection. The song selection is first rate, with Astrud Gilberto’s guest turns making for nice changes of pace. Like Count Basie’s piano style, Wanderly’s organ teases the listener as much as it actually reveals; there’s never a wasted note. The great melodies stick in your head and the band always sounds like it’s having fun without breaking too much of a sweat.

This is Walter Wanderley’s trademark brand of Brazilian organ-jazz and it is positively infectious! Everyone will dig this album. The only other 1960’s group that epitomizes the non-rock sixties pop sound would probably be the legendary Tijuana Brass. But, even though these records are 40 years old, they still sounds as fresh and exciting as the day they were released.

Samba Swing includes fifteen tracks from Walter Wanderley’s first 3 albums on the Verve label, and re-arranges them into a very well paced and quite listenable album. From the laid-back smash hit “So Nice” to the upbeat “Aqua de Bebe," Walt’s group covers all the bases, managing to spice things up with style all the while hanging onto the roots of authentic Brazilian Samba and Bossa Nova.

Look Around — Sergio Mendes
List Prices $11.98 Sale Price $9.99

Well, if I’m going to mention Walter Wanderley and the Tijuana Brass, I guess I must mention Sergio Mendez. Mendez was also one of the forerunners of the Latin lounge sounds that is so 1960’s — and therefore, so very cool. Even though Wanderley’s records and those of the Tijuana Brass are all instrumentals, Sergio Mendez was one of the few who could melt sexy, sultry vocals into the mix without it becoming an interfering sound. But make no mistake about it, Sergio Mendez is the fabulous sound of American Pop with Brazilian instrumentation.

Transport yourself to the warm tropical breezes; the restful sounds of the palm trees waving in the wind and the waves crashing on the beach. The delicious scent of tropical fruit; one listen to this album and you will be in your own island heaven; and what a wondrous and sweet feeling that is. Can you think of another record that could take you there?

This is simply incredibly beautiful music that you need to hear to believe!! Get this album.

Sette Uomini D’Oro (Seven Golden Men) — Armando Trovaioli
Price $18.49

Armando Trovaioli makes Italian movie soundtrack pop music that is just out of this world. This music is so cool and so stylish that it just blows my mind that it was made back in the day when Spaghetti Westerns were all the rage. But this is nothing at all like what you are thinking. Armando Trovaioli is a legend for making Mod-music, Easy-Tempo, and Electronica. The result? Classy and stylish music that fits a sensuous mood. This is the kind of music you’d hear on a visit to Rome on an extremely high class and ritzy sidewalk café. I have at least a dozen Armando Trovaioli albums and every one is simply awesome. If you like Vespas, Italian style and after-hours — but with a grooving beat music — then this CD is for you.

Also, I have noticed that most of Armando Trovaioli’s albums are quickly going out of print, so you’d better pick this one up right now. Why? It’s only $18.49 and I have seen the very same album selling for over $45.00 at other shops! That means someone knows something that you and I don’t. I suspect that record dealers have the inside scoop and know that this record is about to disappear. Honestly folks, trust me, everyone will dig this album. You must buy it now or forever bite your tongue!

Well, that’s today’s 12 winning Cool & Strange Music recommendations. I hope you enjoyed the show. Do yourself a favor and live a little bit and try out some adventure by buying some of these albums. You know, I’ve been writing this column for over a year, and while I have received hundreds of thanks letters, I have yet to receive one from someone who didn’t like a CD I recommended. The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say.

Also I want to thank all the great folks who have supported me and bought my book Schizophrenic in Japan. It has sat at #1 on sales for books related to Japan now for three weeks in a row. I’m flattered and so very thankful to you all. If you haven’t heard about or checked out my book, by all means, please click on the picture of my book below. Check out the awesome reviews I’ve been getting and, if you buy one through the link below, gets a percentage of sales. I have no publicist in the USA so I have to ask you good folks for help and to use the Internet and word of mouth to get my book sales going — it’s my own little "Anarchists publicity method" that I’m going to write about soon and share with you future writers all the secrets of my successes (as well as my miserable failures in promotion). Anyway, so far the support I’ve received has been most gratifying and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

So, until the next Cool & Strange Music column next month — keep plenty of hair gel on hand and don’t lend anyone your comb!

Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has the distinction of being fired from every FM radio station in Tokyo — one of them three times. His first book, Schizophrenic in Japan, is now on sale.

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