Friday, August 10, 2012

Jack Nitzsche - 2 in 1

Jack Nitzsche - The Lonely Surfer (1963)

Jack Nitzsche had one brush with greatness early in his career, apart from his job as Phil Spector's arranger -- "The Lonely Surfer," a classic of the surf music genre. This album attempted to extend his solo career beyond that of a one-hit wonder, with mixed success. The best cuts are songs that are in the same surfer mold: "Puerto Vallarta," "Baja," and "Beyond the Surf." Nitzsche had a gift for melodramatic, ascending arrangements that rose to dramatic crescendos, underpinned by rumbling basslines and clanging percussion. Less successful are a super-slow take on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and remakes of easy listening and soundtrack hits such as "Ebb Tide" and "More," which are given a precious sheen of strings. The one exception is a rather rocking version of Elmer Bernstein's "Magnificent Seven," which sounds like it was made for dancing. This is a pleasant, if not exceptional, set of music for fans of surf instrumentals.

01. The Lonely Surfer  (Album Version) (02:35)
02. Puerto Vallarta (Lp Version) (02:30)
03. Stranger On The Shore (Lp Version) (02:09)
04. Theme From Women Of The World (Lp Version) (02:56)
05. Old Town (Lp Version) (02:53)
06. Ebb Tide (Lp Version) (02:18)
07. Theme From Mondo Cane (More) (Lp Version) (03:08)
08. The Magnificent Seven (Lp Version) (02:10)
09. Baja (Lp Version) (02:20)
10. Theme For A Broken Heart (Lp Version) (02:49)
11. Beyond The Surf (Lp Version) (02:16)
12. Da Doo Ron Ron  (Lp Version) (03:22)

Jack Nitzsche - Dance To The Hits Of The Beatles (1964)

In 1964, the Beatles were the single most unavoidable presence in popular music, and nearly every record label on the face of the Earth was looking for a way to cash in on the success of the Fab Four. Since only a tiny handful of companies had access to bona fide Beatles tracks, a dizzying variety of Mop Tops knock-offs flooded the market, and even Jack Nitzsche, the brilliant producer and arranger who would work with some of the biggest names in pop through the '60s and '70s, got into the act at the behest of Reprise Records. Dance to the Hits of the Beatles features a horn-led band under Nitzsche's direction playing seven early Lennon and McCartney tunes, three covers the Beatles had also recorded (including "Twist and Shout" and the Tony Sheridan-era indiscretion "My Bonnie"), and two Nitzsche originals which lift Beatles riffs with no audible shame. Anyone looking for a work of lost genius is best off searching elsewhere; while the performances are peppy and were doubtless the work of some first-call session pros, most of the time this sounds a trifle rote, and this is one of those rare occasions where Nitzsche really couldn't improve on the originals (hey, they were the Beatles). Dance to the Hits of the Beatles is an inoffensive curio from the year the Beatles took over, but all these years later, it doesn't have much to offer besides nostalgia and curiosity value.

01. I Want To Hold Your Hand (02:16)
02. She Loves You (02:25)
03. Chains (02:28)
04. My Bonnie (02:00)
05. I Saw Her Standing There (02:53)
06. Ringo (02:09)
07. Please Me (02:00)
08. From Me To You (01:54)
09. All My Loving (02:12)
10. Twist And Shout (02:22)
11. T Be Long (02:05)
11. Mania (02:12)

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