The majority of the work day is complete. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel…almost. Time for one more (okay, maybe two) vinyl celebration to wind down the work day, ‘The Brass Are Comin‘ by Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass.
I got this record for FREE.
Just for walking into the NOMAD store in Stevensville.
What can I say?
Membership has it’s privileges I guess.
Some days it’s good to be a record snob.
And what a score it was too. First off, just look at that amazing cover. It’s no ‘Whipped Cream & Other Delights‘, but still…those are some seriously bad lookin’ hombres, right? Would you fuck with them? Hells to the NO! I sure wouldn’t.
And then there’s the photo inside the gatefold:
C’mon, that’s pretty cool too.
Sure, the Western motif on the double-fold album jacket signals this as another companion album to a TV special. But there is a deeper significance to this LP, for shortly after its release, a burned-out, personally troubled Alpert disbanded the Brass and retired from music for awhile. Indeed, stretches of this record reveal a tired group and a leader whose trumpet has lost much of its old zip.
Even so, as on all TJB albums, there are several gems – the stunning shifts in texture and tempo that enliven the worn-out ‘Moon River’, the chugging bluegrass-tinged arrangement of Villa-Lobos’ ‘The Little Train of the Caipira‘ that masquerades under the name of the title track, a haunting rendition of the Beatles’ ‘I’ll Be Back‘, the fast samba treatment of ‘Anna‘. Dave Grusin and Shorty Rogers contribute an occasional orchestration, and Alpert does a modest vocal turn on the lush ‘You Are My Life‘. But this time, the old sales magic was gone; the Tijuana Brass had suddenly become “unhip” in polarized 1969.
Alas, just as my workday too must end, the end of an era was finally upon them.