Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass — Volume 2
(Herb Alpert Presents HRB 023, 1963/2016, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-03-02
Over a dozen years ago, the Shout Factory label was tasked to release the entire Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass catalog on fresh new digipak CDs. Mac Beaulieu even reviewed a good chunk of them back in issue 33. For some reason unbeknownst to me, they never released the second album from 1963, Volume 2. When it was originally released, it flopped, getting nowhere near the attention of the debut album The Lonely Bull with its title track single hitting #6, the two singles released from Volume 2 barely scraped the bottom of the top 100 chart, although when the LP was reissued a few years later, the album fared much better. Perhaps this is why it was ignored for reissue? Anyway, that has been rectified now with this CD reissue, released by Alpert himself (along with the rest of the catalog including other post-1968 albums that Shout Factory ignored). Opening with “The Great Manolete,” an Alpert original which seems to be attempting to re-create the feel of “The Lonely Bull” — not a knock, it’s an excellent opener — the album quickly moves into TJB’s trademark Mexican flavored interpretations of contemporary pop songs with an absolute stunning version of the Lieber / Spector hit “Spanish Harlem,” which still sounds great to this day (the song, at only three minutes, features some vocals as well, a rare thing for Tijuana Brass endeavors at this early stage). Other instantly recognizable tunes include the Bernstein / Sondheim theme “America” from the West Side Story soundtrack, and “More,” the theme from the movie Mondo Cane. Other originals with seemingly silly titles like “Surfin’ Señorita” and the striptease-like “Swinger from Seville” contain absolutely infectious melodies that will follow you around all day. The album’s highest charting single (at #96!) is “Marching thru Madrid,” written by Sol Lake, with a warm and beautiful melody that repeats and fades away gracefully at the end. Lake, who penned “The Lonely Bull” on the first album, wrote two other tunes here as well, “Crea Mi Amor” and “Winds of Barcelona.” I’m pleased that better judgement has prevailed and Volume 2 has finally made it to compact disc.
Related artist(s): Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more