It’s been a good day.
I burned about a zillion calories on the bike along the Niagara Parkway early this morning and then put away about twice as many with post-ride pancakes and bacon. I then went to the market, cut the lawn and yadda yadda yadda, Kelly’s gone to work and now it’s time to indulge in another guilty treasure/pleasure, Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass ‘Whipped Cream & Other Delights‘.
Well, here’s the thing: I don’t really give a shit what you think of this particular album or, hell, if you’ve even ever heard it all or not to be perfectly frank, as any self respecting vinyl aficionado will already know, that you need to have this album in your collection if you’re ever going to be taken seriously. It’s just one of those intricate and delicate fine lines that separate you from being a mere “music guy”, from a true aficionado. It’s that important of an album.
Why you might ask?
The music just has to be great, right? Well, it’s…okay. It’s definitely chic, let’s put it that way. I mean, Herb does as terrific a stripper’s theme as anybody else (‘Love Potion No.9‘) but, c’mon, look at it! The album cover is a seductive doe-eyed woman (Dolores Erickson, now aged 80) all slathered up in whipped cream and eye-porking the shit out of the lens as if to say: ‘You’d better bring two spoons, big boy‘.
What other rationalization do you need?
But before you start to label me as the next Brock Turner, hear me out.
I was about 12 when I first became interested in records. Sure we had a turntable growing up but nobody really used it and, really, we only had one John Denver ‘Greatest Hits‘ album, maybe a Nana Mouskouri, and the Smurfs album. That’s about it. It was the radio generation then and if Casey Kasem don’t know about it, then neither did we. Anyhow, I remember browsing through a cardboard box full of old records at some rummage sale in the basement of a church and thinking ‘who would ever listen to this crap’? I hadn’t heard of any of it and if memory serves me correctly, there was just a lot Bill Cosby and Scottish marching music.
In other words: shit…mostly.
And that’s when I landed on this beauty.
Let’s just say that I had to immediately find somewhere to safely conceal my, shall we say, sudden “indiscretion” from the Lord. How embarrassing. But such is life. I’m sure just about every other guy on this planet around my general age has had a similar experience with this album; it’s an unspoken right of passage ritual straight out of ‘A Man Called Horse‘ (click HERE).
The album was released in 1965 (A&M Records), so this album has been stirring up exactly five decades worth of spontaneous prepubescent boners in church basements around the world and – I figure anyway – that’s a huge (figuratively, of course) accomplishment!
Now, you can categorize this album as either world, jazz, some just crazy ass Mexican horn stripper music, whatever, all you need to recognize is that you need to have this album in your collection. If only for the album cover alone. Good thing then that you can find a copy in just about every dusty cardboard record box anywhere in the world. You could be browsing textiles and spices in Marakesh and pop into ‘Hamza’s Home Spiced Latte’s & Curio Boutique‘, and he’ll inevitably have a copy of Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass ‘Whipped Cream & Other Delights‘ somewhere in the shop.
In fact, I actually suggest you start your search at any local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other charitable thrift shop and, low and behold, you’re likely to strike pay dirt. There’s actually a rule somewhere that mandates that each and every “gently used” thrift store has to have on hand at least one copy of this album at all times.
I shit you not.
Of course, that might lead one to the conclusion then that this album must be really shitty since everyone seems to be trying to get rid of it, but to that I say: horseshit.
What these naysayers fail to realize is that for every time you find a copy of this album (you will likely never see it for more than, say, $3-5), it likely belonged to another true music aficionado who has sadly shuffled off this mortal coil and tragically left his collection – this prized possession amongst it – behind and in the hands of someone totally unqualified to spot and realize its importance. It makes my heart sad to think of it. Maybe I should set up a foundation that hunts out and rescues these forgotten and unloved copies of ‘Whipped Cream & Other Delights‘?
Maybe this is my calling.
And, now, knowing this album’s hidden magnificence, you too can go forward and offer salvation to some other wayward copy and help resurrect it like a Phoenix rising out of the ashes. Okay, that may be a bit overly dramatic, but you get the point.
Music aside, you need to have this album in your collection.
It is the band’s fourth full album and arguably their most popular release.
From a straight male point of view, and perhaps from others’, this was the sexiest album cover of the 1960’s, as many then-adolescent boys (not to mention this one approximately 20 years later) can to this day vividly recall. Whether or not it accurately reflected Alpert’s gently swinging, mariachi-inflected instrumentals, the photo surely helped propel the album into the #1 slot on Billboard’s list of top-selling LPs for 1966, beating out The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, The Rolling Stones, The Mamas & the Papas, Lou Rawls, and Barbra Streisand.
Not bad for crazy ass Mexican horn stripper music, eh?
Building upon ‘South of the Border‘s (1964) Top 10 success, Herb dismissed the contingency of Los Angeles-based studio instrumental all-stars, which he had christened the Tijuana Brass. Because there was enough demand for live dates, just like a musical Gepetto, he formed a real Tijuana Brass. The bandleader/trumpeter was joined by Tonni Kalash (trumpet), Robert Edmondson (trombone), Pat Senatore (bass), John Pisano (guitars), Lou Pagani (piano), and Nick Ceroli (drums).
It features the hits ‘A Taste of Honey‘, ‘Green Peppers‘, ‘Bittersweet Samba‘, and ‘El Garbanzo’. Allen Toussaint’s title composition ‘Whipped Cream‘ even garnered some significant attention, but not as a chart hit.
But, seriously, who really gives a shit.
In all honesty, it’s not that bad. I mean, it’s not great….but it’s decent. It’s fun. Let’s leave it at that. All in all, it’s a fun listen for a Saturday evening of manly indulgence. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get Kelly to also buy into an evening of whipped cream and disposable bed sheets.
*Which is now 38 strong!