Friday Favorites 1/11/2013

TJBIn 1962, the year I graduated from East Haven High School, a most unusual hit appeared among early rock ‘n’ roll hits like The Wanderer by Dion (formerly of the Belmonts), Do You Love Me by the Contours and Booker T and the MG’s Green Onions.   It was the mariachi-tinged bullfighting song, The Lonely Bull by Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass.  The song … and The Brass’ first album of the same name … was recorded by Albert only, overdubbing his own trumpet to produce an ensemble sound.   By 1964, in response to the demand for live performances, Alpert formed the first real Tijuana Brass from studio musicians.  Interestingly, none of them were Hispanic.  According to Wikipedia, Alpert referred to the band as Four lasagnas (John Pisano on electric guitar, Lou Pagani on piano, Nick Ceroli on drums, and Pat Senatore on bass guitar), two bagels (Alpert and Tonni Kalash on trumpet) and an American cheese (Bob Edmondson on trombone).  In the seven years to follow, the Tijuana Brass produced 6 Grammys, 14 platinum albums and outsold The Beatles in 1966 while never straying far from the mariachi sound.  The Tijuana Brass albums actually outsold the singles.  The 1965 album, Whipped Cream and Other Delights included one of the best known album covers ever, model Dolores Erickson wearing what appeared to be a dress of whipped cream.  The music of Herb Alpert made its way into Schlitz Beer commercials and the songs Whipped Cream and Lollipops and Roses were frequently used on The Dating Game.

Herb Alpert would go on to have a successful solo career recording more jazz-oriented music like my favorite uplifting song, Rise, and he even had a vocal hit in This Guy’s in Love with You.  But the music of the Tijuana Brass is unique, simple but joyful.   Can anyone listen to A Taste of Honey without cheering up?

How about What Now My Love?

I’m smiling and it’s not even Monday.  That’s why Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass are my Friday Favorite.  Everyone needs a little joy on their mp3 player. If you’d like to hear a little more, there’s a nice live TJB medley here.  Enjoy.

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One Comment on “Friday Favorites 1/11/2013”

  1. territerri Says:

    What an effort that must have been to create an entire album of music without any accompaniment! It’s fascinating to think about. Proves you really can do almost anything you put your mind to.

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