After a pretty tough go this weekend, I’m calling today as a full recovery day with no swimming, biking or running whatsoever. Tomorrow, of course, is intended to be another bear of a day training-wise so, yeah, probably not a bad idea this recovery thing. The only real activity I like to engage in though on my recovery days is a little light core (Day 115) and yoga on my mat just to help ease out any lingering knots and kinks from the week prior and, believe me, there are many.
My listening pleasure this afternoon then is the ‘Destination Moon‘ album by the Ames Brothers.
This album was acquired from yesterday’s Record Fair in St. Catharines for a whopping $2.00.
Thankfully, Space-Age Exotica albums are not in high demand among vinyl audiophiles I suppose.
Now there is often a close entanglement of the Space-Age genre with both the Lounge lands and Exotica style of albums. And luckily enough, there are albums that target all three styles to great success, if not always in equal parts. ‘Destination Moon’ by this vocal quartet, released in 1958 on RCA Victor, is an especially vivid artifact of the excitingly effervescent North American Space-Age era. Brothers Joe, Gene, Vic and Ed sing 12 well-known Jazz and big band standards that all have a close relation to the lunar or stellar concept as poignantly and actually tastefully depicted on the front artwork.
Seriously, look how happy these guys are to be on the moon!
Never mind that they apparently don’t need the protection of space suits, oxygen to breather, nor are they floating away in the zero gravity – they’re still having a pretty swell time looking at moon rocks n’ shit.
I rarely hear vocal Exotica-related albums, so I am more than intrigued in this case, as the brothers do not rely on their vocal skills alone, but luckily bring conductor Sid Ramin on board whose orchestra just underlines the quartet at worst and delivers stunningly energetic or enchanting bridges and instrumental segues at best. Horns, violins and timpani are the gold standard of late 50’s albums, but I would be damned if there weren’t genuinely positive surprises in store that are closely tied to Latin arrangements and tropical ditties. If the mood isn’t romantic, it is regularly uplifting: the joy, the positive vibe of that era is perfectly encapsulated, and encountering tunes like this lets contemporary listeners enter a mild-mannered, brightly blithesome world where technocratic blueprints did not yet evoke the epidemically spread fear of technological prowess and megalomania.
Unfortunately, a real Exotica outing by the Ames Brothers was never meant to be, as ‘Destination Moon’ is the penultimate album by the band, with only one true release and a “Best Of” following afterwards. But even as a whole, the album offers much for those who can take the romance. The quartet delivers one of the greatest performances of the Space-Age era, with each song fully transporting – better still: transfiguring – the carefree spirits of the time.
And with this slow stretch and core workout out of the way this afternoon, I’m also going to enjoy a few leftover chicken wings from last night’s dinner at South Coast Cookhouse before resuming my regularly scheduled work bullshit for the day here in Corporate Hell.