Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Vintage Instrumentals, Vol. 1
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Another Great Series From Stardust Productions In Canada
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like the series Treasured Tunes, this also comes from Stardust Productions and, like that series, the sound quality is excellent. Each volume covers a range of years, in this case from 1956 [track 1] to 1972 [track 20].
The liner notes are more in the nature of comment on each selection, e.g., for Petite Fleur it says: "Recorded when Chris Barber was putting together an album and asked his clarinetist, Monty Sunshine, to find a clarinet number. That album was released in 1957 and years later Petite Fleur was number one in Germany." For the record, it also went to # 5 Billboard Pop Hot 100 and # 28 R&B in North America in 1959. Not bad for a jazz piece at the height of the birth of R&R.
You can be confident that any in this series offers only original selections and of the highest quality, some of them bona-fide "hard-to-finds.
First up is Eddie Heywood's 1956 piano classic, Soft Summer Breeze, which became a # 11 Billboard Top 100 for him in the summer of 1956 on the Mercury label, this at virtually the same time as Canadian Sunset was on its way to # 2 Top 100/# 7 R&B in conjunction with Hugo Winterhalter & His Orchestra on RCA Victor! His instrumental of Soft Summer Breeze outdistanced the vocal version by The Diamonds (# 34 Top 100 also on Mercury). Swanee River Hop is taken from Fats Domino's 1956 Imperial LP Fats Domino Rock & Rollin' which hit # 18 on the LP charts.
One of Billy Vaughn's biggest hits at Dot, Sail Along Silvery Moon, went to # 5 Top 100 early in 1957, while Roger Williams' cover of the 1947 Francis Craig # 1 smash, Near You, topped out at # 10 Top 100 in late summer 1958. Poor Boy, meanwhile, was a modest # 17 Billboard Hot 100 for The Royaltones in late 1958. One of the oddest instrumentals of that period had to be Quiet Village, a cover of a 1952 Les Baxter cut (he wrote it), billed to The Exotic Sounds Of Martin Denny. Complete with exotic bird sounds it rose as high as # 4 Hot 100/# 11 R&B in May 1959.
The Fireballs, in addition to doing vocal tunes such as Sugar Shack, had several pure instrumentals, and in Torquay, their first hit on Top Rank, they had a # 39 Hot 100 in October 1959. And speaking of smash hits, how about Calcutta by the venerable Lawrence Welk & His Orchestra which hit # 1 Hot 100 and # 10 R&B in early 1961. A tune like (Ghost) Riders In The Sky has been done numerous times since Vaughn Monroe first had a major Pop/C&W hit with it in 1949, but usually with vocals. Here you get The Ramrods' rendition which, as their only Hot 100 hit, reached # 30 in February 1961.
Also in 1961, pianist Jimmy Wisner, recording as Kokomo on the small Felsted label, adapted Grieg's Piano Concerto In A Minor and turned it into a # 8 Hot 100 as Asia Minor, whereas German orchestra leader Bert Kaempfert dipped into South African music to come up with Afrikaan Beat, which reached # 10 on the new Adult Contemporary (AC) charts/# 42 Hot 100 in the spring of 1962. Balboa Blue by the Hollywood group, The Marketts, finished at a very modest # 48 Hot 100 in May 1962, and is regarded as a hard-to-find selection. Later that same year, to meet the current "limbo" craze, The Champs had Limbo Rock just make it into the Top 40 at # 40 Hot 100 in July.
It was in 1962 as well that rockets and satellites were in the news and so, to capitalize, the British group, The Tornadoes, launched Telstar and itsaw it go all the way up, to # 1 Hot 100 (and stayed there for 3 weeks) as well as # 5 R&B. In early 1963, Nashville session saxophonist Boots Randolph, inspire by the King Curtis lick in The Coasters 1958 smash Yakety-Yak, came up with Yakety Sax for his first solo hit, a # 29 R&B/# 35 Hot 100 in March. Then came one of the oddest sounds of the period as Pete Drake And His Talking Steel Guitar covered the 1960 Little Dippers hit, Forever, taking it to # 5 AC/# 25 Hot 100. You'll swear that guitar could actually talk.
The last three in the album are Hawaii Tattoo by The Waikikis (who hailed from BELGIUM), a # 8 AC/# 33 Hot 100 in early 1965; Keem-O-Sabe by The Electric Indian, which topped out at # 6 AC/# 16 Hot 100 and, from 1972, Popcorn by Hot Butter, a quirky little tune that reached # 4 AC/# 9 Hot 100 in August.
The first in a thoroughly delightful series capturing almost all the significant instrumental hits of the era covered."