This morning I’m tucked away in my basement office with my presentation modules. I’m having a hard time of it truthfully, seeing as how a lot of what I’m trying to design this morning is centered around babies n’ shit and God knows I know buckus about babies. So in an effort to keep my stress and frustration levels waning, I’m sliding on some heady vinyl to keep my working environment sane and my attention laser focused. To that end, I’m listening to the ‘!!Going Places!!‘ album by Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass.
Don’t ask me what the exclamation marks are about.
Only ‘ol Herb knows for sure.
‘!!Going Places!!’ is the 5th album (released on A&M Records in 1965) by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and, along with their prior album, ‘Whipped Cream and Other Delights‘, is one of their most popular releases. It actually spent six weeks at #1 in 1966. However, you might more recognize this as the album which popularized the song ‘Spanish Flea‘ (click HERE for Homer Simpson’s version), composed by Alpert’s friend and fellow mariachi band leader Julius Wechter, which saw regular use on ‘The Dating Game‘.
Oh, and then there’s ‘A Walk in the Black Forest‘, a cover of a better-known version of the song that same year, by Horst Jankowski, which briefly serve two years later as the theme of a short-lived game show, ‘Reach for the Stars‘. The Piggly Wiggly supermarket chain also used it as a theme for its TV commercials.
Besides these two awesome tracks, I love the album because – duh – it features an airplane on the cover, bitches! So, of course, when I first saw the album for $5.00 in a discount bin somewhere, I immediate read the “Going Places” as:
“Yeah! Going straight into my collection”.
Most of what is contained on the album is light and easy listening filler with spots of interesting rave-ups alongside the bands usual trademarked tongue-in-cheeze fun numbers.
I mean, how else are you going to classify Mexican stripper songs?
Perhaps the band is undone slightly less on the jokey tracks with this album; ‘The Third Man Theme’ starts off alright as a rave up for horns, but it quickly loses its momentum when it incorporates an almost ‘Addams Family’ sounding piano part to help augment all things zithery. The musical stoppage shortly thereafter serves to spotlight the terribly corny vocal interjection of ‘Oh yeah‘. It’s not enough to kill the track entirely as the track is still able to come off as listenable and fun. But the band applied these same contrivances to ‘I’m Getting Sentimental Over You’, which was perfectly fine until the last half a minute or so when the arrangement turned into a sloppy Dixieland death tumble.
‘Mae’ gets the full treatment of an orchestral score and sounds very much as if it could have fit quite comfortably into a film soundtrack. There’s also a gentle drunken buzz that suits this song, so much so that I can almost hear Dean Martin humming along to it. ‘Walk Don’t Run’ is another break neck paced rave up courtesy of Hal Blaine’s exquisite drumming skills. But speeding this song up does not improve upon the classic hit originally by The Ventures.
The album closes out on a real great song. ‘Zorba the Greek’ begins on what almost sounds like a false start behind Blaine’s drum kit, but once things start to heat up you can feel yourself being taken in by the song, you might even feel the need to dance a little bit.
I didn’t, of course, but I thought about it.
Nobody would want to see my stripper moves anyway.
“Moves like Jagger” I do not.
There’s a few moments when this song reminded me of the gibberish singing from The Blues Brothers ‘Rubber Biscuits‘. I loved the dynamics; from slow to fast, from quiet to loud, while all in all there’s an overwhelming sense of fun.
Did it help me laser focus on my presentations?
Was it fun and serve to lighten things up a bit around the ‘ol dreary basement office?
Oh, hells ya!
Mission accomplished on that front.