Fine Melodies

Category: 1960s

Les Baxter – Soul of The Drums (1963)

Les Baxter is one composer I had to make a post about even though he is so well known here at Double Sided Galaxy. We have quite a few of his albums in our vinyl collection. I tried to find a lesser classic Les Baxter album at least for his showcasing on this blog. This is an interesting album by him with some very groovy drum sections. Considered exotica or lounge, he composed easy-listening albums and film scores during the 1950’s and 1960’s. The beginners of exotica music are Les Baxter, Martin Denny, and Arthur Lyman.

There’s a strange controversy regarding Baxter’s compositions; rumors spread over the decades that he didn’t write his own music. There’s not really any proof, just statements from other composers that supposedly held grudges against him. There are accounts of Baxter not being able to read his own scores, and writing a part for oboe of which included notes unplayable by an oboe, but other accounts say they worked with Baxter and saw his compositions written in his own handwriting. Whatever the case may be, the compositions credited to Les Baxter’s name are great and you should explore them all!

And here is the most classic Les Baxter album:

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Walter Wanderley – Rainforest (1966)

Walter Wanderley is Brazil’s number one organist, it says it right there on the cover. He’s great. He’s number one and there’s a toucan on the cover, are they implying something? Two can’t play at his level of skill. It’s nice relaxing lounge music for any time: dancing, waking up, cooking, eating, drinking, sexy time, zoning out, cleaning, and even crying.

Walter made over 30 albums in his short life span of 54 years (according to Wikipedia), though his famous staccato playing lives on forever. He mostly used a Hammond B3 organ.

The Music Man: Mort Garson

This is a great little feature on Mort Garson, the musical synth master mind. It’s a shame there is nothing that goes deeper than this. If anyone ever finds something more in depth let me know.

Mort Garson – Electronic Hair Pieces (1969)

Mort Garson’s Plantasia is probably his most well-known work, but all of his work is quite brilliant. Especially this one, Electronic Hair Pieces, which covers songs from the musical, Hair. He became a synth master during the 60’s, mainly known for using Moog. Mort has been involved as composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, and pianist as required in many top hits starting in the 50’s, and starting on his own projects in the 60’s. There is a great slice of a mini documentary on him floating on Youtube. I haven’t been able to find a longer version of the video.

Alan Watts – This Is It (1962)

A poetic album by the philosopher. Very out there and great. I didn’t know he had made an album until I stumbled upon it in Cincinnati on a road trip and bought it immediately without listening to it first. The record store was around the corner from a brewery in a church basement.

Paul Horn – Inside (1968)

Here’s another one I thought I might as well put up. Also has been played on Double Sided Galaxy many times. Paul Horn the great flautist, he passed away in 2014.

He began as a Jazz flautist in the late 1950’s and into the late 1960’s when he began practicing Transcendental Meditation, at which point he made his musical transition into the more meditative playing. He is known for recording an album not only in the Great Pyramid, but also in the Taj Mahal.

He recorded over 40 albums, and some of his more ‘out there’ greats are Paul Horn in India, Inside, Inside II, Visions, and Inside the Great Pyramid.

Dorothy Ashby – The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby (1970)

A beautiful harpist from Detroit, funky jazz, reaching spiritual. Most active in 1960s. Notable albums are “Hip Harp”, “Afro-Harping”, and “Dorothy’s Harp”. This album I think is the most notable because it’s not conforming so much to other styles or funk, like “Afro-Harping” and “Dorothy’s Harp” do, which is a reason to check those out too though, because they are funky. She also played on many albums of other famous folk such as Louis Armstrong, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Billy Preston, Freddie Hubbard.

I think my favorite song on this album is possibly “Joyful Grass & Grape”.

France Gall – Frankenstein (1972)

Song by Serge Gainsbourg, which wrote multiple hit songs for France Gall, so did Alain Goraguer. This song never became popular but it’s the best song she recorded in my opinion; everything else is just typical 60’s french pop.

She was married to a man with the last name Hamburger, so I guess that means at one point in her life she was a singing France Hamburger with sweet buns and pickle.

Alain Goraguer arranged this for France Gall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRva0YOVtcI

Jimmy McGriff – Electric Funk (1969)

Legendary American Hammond B3 player… this is the grooviest album he created.

Released on Blue Note.

Fifty Foot Hose – Cauldron (1967)

this is dope stuff.. way better than jefferson airplane which the singer sounds almost identical to grace slick.. and i think this is the only album they made.

Fifty Foot Hose is a psychedelic rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1967. Like a few other acts of the time they consciously tried to combine the contemporary sounds of rock with electronic instruments and avant-garde compositional ideas.