Very often, Herb Alpert’s albums were very “topical.” Like a newscaster dispensing the latest news, many Tijuana Brass albums would feature recent hits. Back in the era of the Lonely Bull album, another great style was taking over American airwaves and record stores: the Bossa Nova. “Desafinado” today is considered a Bossa Nove standard, composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Newton Mendonça. The earliest recordings of this tune by Joao Gilberto are for the most part unavailable today, but the most popular hit version was recorded by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd, on their 1962 album Jazz Samba, reaching the Top 20 in the US. Here is their version of “Desafinado.”
The Coney Island album would stretch the “new” T.J.B. even further into new musical territory, covering tunes from many diverse artists and genres. “Señor Mouse” originated on the 1973 album Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy by Return To Forever. This was the first jazz-rock lineup of RTF which featured Chick Corea (keys), Stanley Clarke (basses), Lenny White (drums) and Bill Connors (guitars). Al DiMeola would replace Connors on the next album, taking RTF into its most popular and successful era.
Explaining both the album’s title track and “Captain Señor Mouse” as reminiscent of being in outer space, Corea explained that the song “…reminded me of a mouse at the helm of a spaceship;” hence, the title. Here is the Return To Forever version of “Señor Mouse.” Enjoy!
Released in 1978, the Herb Alpert/Hugh Masekela album brought an entirely new sound to Alpert’s worldwide fans–a mix of funk, jazz and African stylings that was unlike anything he had ever recorded previously. One track that intrigued us was “Lobo,” penned by the great Brazilian composer Edu Lobo, whose tunes were featured on many A&M albums throughout the 60s and 70s. “Lobo” is originally the title track to Lobo’s 1976 album Limite das Aguas. Here it is!
Originals is a series of featured original or hit recordings which Herb Alpert would cover on his solo or Tijuana Brass albums. From the popular to the obscure, we’re digging to find you the best!
Today’s Original is a 1966 hit from the duo Peter & Gordon (Peter Asher and Gordon Waller), a British pop duo who were part of the British Invasion of the 60s, whose tune “A World Without Love” would top the charts internationally. Our featured Original, “Lady Godiva,” would peak at #6 US and sell over a million copies. Worldwide it became a #1 hit in Australia and Canada, and hit the Top 20 in other countries. In this case, the Tijuana Brass rendition (from the Sounds Like album) did not stray too far from the music hall style of the Peter & Gordon hit version.
In this new series, called Originals, we will take a quick look at the original or “hit” versions of songs which Herb Alpert would rearrange and include on his Tijuana Brass or solo albums. The fascinating part of looking at Alpert’s entire body of work is the widely diverse musical styles he would use as sources for his own recordings. From current pop hits to world music and even classical, you are bound to find a sample of these on his records.