Sunday, November 24, 2013

Inspired By Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

Tourists Pose for the Famous Tijuana Zebra Photo
Tijuana Mexico
(Flickr User Infrogmation of New Orleans/CC)

This is part of a multi-part post: Tijuana Day Trip
It Started At The Border-A Visit To Tijuana Mexico
Still in Tijuana and Enjoying the Music of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
Still in Tijuana With Artists Inspired By Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
Rock and Roll in Tijuana-Mexican Style!
Tijuana Remixed: Molotov, Nortec Collective, and Faca
Border Curios Part 1
Border Curios Part 2
Border Curios Part 3

As we crossed the border last week, we explored a bit on the subject of Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass. The band was all over the charts and TV in the 1960's. Such an impact was sure to provide imitators. In the 1960's a few things were happening that would cause the number of imitators to be not unsubstantial. During the 1960's there were a lot of knock off labels that would take the popular hits of the day and release similar sounding records that would sell for low prices to careless department store shoppers. In a slightly less devious vein, there was a lot of music created as easy listening versions of pop hits to be used as Muzak in elevators, stores and restaurants. Due to the breezy pop sounds of the Herb Alpert, these Muzak versions don't stray as far from the original as, lets say a cover of a Beatles hit. In addition to that there were still a lot of active exotic Jazz bands floating around from the late 50's who could adapt the Brass sound with minimal adjustments to their playing style.

The amazing number of releases that came out have had the result that a breeze through most thrift store LP bins will find a Tijuana Brass imitator. The most famous of these imitators is really more of a spin-off than an imitation. Julius Wechter was a marimba player who was a member of the early Tijuana Brass. As a composer he wrote "The Spanish Flea". He was encouraged by Alpert to start his own band and the Baja Marimba Band was created. They were immediately signed to Alpert's A&M label and began churning out music very much in the vein of the Tijuana Brass.
Baja Marimba Band Rides Again LP Cover

The Baja Marimba Band were the campy bad boys of the Brass scene. Over the course of the 1960's they released several successful albums. They wore goofy sombreros, Mexican blanket ponchos, and obviously fake Pancho Villa mustaches. Many Mexicans were offended, but they were mostly considered silly fun in the 1960's. They were tasteless in more ways than just the racist caricatures. As a running joke, almost every one of their album covers has at least one band member who appears to be relieving his bladder with his back to the photographer. Stay classy, Baja Marimba Band! Like the Tijuana Brass, there wasn't a true Mexican among them. The one album I have of theirs is their 2nd, 1965's "The Baja Marimba Band Rides Again". Here is the track list from the A&M website:
Album: Baja Marimba Band Rides Again Baja Marimba Band
  • Brasilia 2:36
  • Walk On By 2:58
  • Guacamole 2:33
  • More 2:23
  • Dear Heart 2:58
  • Majorca 2:31
  • Red Roses For A Blue Lady 2:04
  • Hecho En Mexico 2:53
  • Woody Woodpecker Song 1:58
  • A Spanish Rose 3:26
  • Juarez 2:38
  • Goin' Out The Side Door 2:33

To further stimulate your senses here is a short documentary about the Baja Marimba Band. Unfortunately Amazon doesn't offer this album for mp3 download.

 

There is a Tijuana Taxi load of music from varied knock off bands doing Brass sounding records. A few years ago, in 2007, WFMU had a record a day that they posted for download. It was generally unusual out of print thrift store find kind of stuff, but I like strange audio so I was downloading it and checking it out. On August 20, they posted a a great collection of 100 of these tracks for download that they called The Tijuana Sound (Box Set). I downloaded them and thought they were a pretty fun collection. It truly collects the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Tijuana Brass knockoffs. The set is now part of the Tijuana section of the Highway 101 playlist. If you would like to sample or download the collection (It's free!) or its various tracks, as well as read a much better history of those bands than I can relate, then I urge you to go HERE to check it out. But for the completists out there, here is the tracklisting:

Album: The Tijuana Sound (Box Set) Various Artists LINK
DISC 1
  • Hooray For Hollywood Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms  (1:32)
  • Tijuana Taxi The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires  (2:04) 
  • Pennsylvania 6-5000 In The Mood The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker (1:57)
  • Allied Moves To Tijuana Music To Move Families By Dick Boyell  (2:34)
  • What Now My Love Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass  (2:50)
  • Spanish Flea Plays a Salute to Herb Alpert and the Tijuna Brass Peter Nero (2:18)
  • Georgy Girl Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms  (2:44)
  • Tijuana Taxi Sing Today's Classics The New Classic Singers  (2:06)
  • All My Loving Lennon & McCartney Tijuana Style The Toreno Brass  (1:57)
  • Whipped Cream Sour Cream & Other Delights The Frivolous Five  (2:36)
  • Spanish Flea The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires  (2:18)
  • Spanish Flea Spanish Coffee Time The Jack Lander Trio at the Fifty Fourth  (2:09)
  • London Bridge Kiddie Pops Tijuana Style The Nursery Brass  (2:39)
  • Mexico A Go Go New Hits From South Of The Border The Mexicali Brass  (2:19)
  • Peter Gunn Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass  (2:20)
  • Sound Of Music Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms  (1:50)
  • Can Can Sounds Tijuana The Trumpets Unlimited  (2:45)
  • Tequila and Squirt Squirt Does It's Thing The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms  (2:08) 
  • Tijuana Taxi Sour Cream & Other Delights  The Frivolous Five  (2:22)
  • A-Hunting We Will Go Kiddie Pops Tijuana Style The Nursery Brass  (2:23)
  • Downtown (1:46) Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass -   (1:46)
  • Burrito Mistico Epices Cour Et Cuivres George Tremblay et ses Brass  (2:11)
  • The Dating Game In The Mood The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker  (2:10)
  • Spanish Nose Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms  (2:45)
  • I'm Getting Sentimental Over You The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass  The Modernaires  (2:14)
DISC 2
  • The Yellow Rose Of Texas Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass  (2:16)
  • Colonel Bogey March Sunday Night At The Movies The Brass Ring featuring Phil Bodner  (2:10)
  • Jingle Bells Tijuana Christmas The Border Brass  (1:57)
  • Spanish Flea Moog Espana Sid Bass  (2:17)
  • Eleanor Rigby Lennon & McCartney Tijuana Style The Toreno Brass  (2:05) 
  • Green Peppers Colonel Sanders' Tijuana Picnic The George Garabedian Players  (1:31) 
  • Chattanooga Choo Choo In The Mood The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker  (2:43) 
  • Little Brown Jug Kiddie Pops Tijuana Style The Nursery Brass  (2:32) 
  • Never On Sunday Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass  (1:47)
  • Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White A Demonstration Of The Big Astor Sound Dali Caldis Tijuana Brass  (2:40)
  • 24 Hours To Tulsa A Taste Of Tequila The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker  (3:12)
  • Up-Up And Away Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms  (2:37)
  • All My Loving The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires  (1:58)
  • Dengazo Viva Mexicali Brass The Mexicali Brass  (1:40)
  • Brasilia Brass Impact The Brass Choir conducted by Warren Kime  (2:12) 
  • Strangers In The Night Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass  (2:25)
  • The Lonely Bull Sour Cream & Other Delights The Frivolous Five  (2:34)
  • What Now My Love - Music To Watch Girls By Non-Stop Dancing The Bert Best Band  (2:12)
  • Music To Watch Girls By Georgy Girl and Other Music to Watch Girls By Living Marimbas  (2:43)
  • Flowers On The Wall A Taste Of Tequila The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker  (2:21)
  • Tijuana Taxi  Dale Zeigler  (1:19) 
  • Begin The Beguine Hooray For Hollywood   The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms  (3:26) 
  • It's Not Unusual Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass  (2:10) 
  • Mexican Paradise (Alla Cugat) La Magnifique (Soundtrack) Claude Bolling  (3:16) 
  • Mexican Breakfast Harper (Soundtrack)  Johnny Mandel  (2:09) 
DISC 3
  • Tijuana Taxi The Going Thing 1969 The Going Thing  (2:16)
  • Tsena, Tsena Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass  (2:12)
  • Spanish Flea Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms  (2:12)
  • A Taste Of Honey Sour Cream & Other Delights The Frivolous Five (2:40) 
  • Please Please Me Lennon & McCartney Tijuana Style The Toreno Brass  (2:01)
  • (I've Got A Gal In) Kalamazoo In The Mood The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker  (2:32)
  • A Taste Of Honey The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires  (2:19)
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Tijuana Christmas The Border Brass  (1:58)
  • Third Man Theme Colonel Sanders' Tijuana Picnic The George Garabedian Players  (2:35)
  • Malaguena Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass  (3:09)
  • Habanera Viva Mexicali Brass The Mexicali Brass -  (3:22)
  • Sombrero Tijuana Taxi Guadalajara Brass  (2:59)
  • The Lonely Bull/Spanish Flea Terry Canady With Rudy Perez Terry Canady with Rudy Perez  (2:20)
  • Winchester Cathedral Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms  (2:15)
  • Chiquita Banana Hats Off   The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker  (1:57)
  • Alley Cat The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires  (2:16)
  • Tijuana Taxi Plays a Salute to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Peter Nero  (2:02)
  • Swanee River What Now My Love The Mexicali Brass  (2:14)
  • A Taste Of Honey Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass  (2:03)
  • Spanish Flea Golden Instrumental Hits Many Moogs of Killer Watts  (1:41)
  • Spanish Flea 1999 WFMU Marathon Disc Optiganally Yours  (1:07)
  • Tijuana Taxi  W.C. Sullivan Junior High School  (1:49)
  • Tijuana Taxi Junior Band 1967 Westchester Junior High School Concert Band  (2:11)
  • Frere Jacques Kiddie Pops Tijuana Style The Nursery Brass  (2:49)
  • The Unocal Song Radio Spot  Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass  (0:59)


DISC 4
  • People Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass (2:24) 
  • Born Free Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms (2:27)
  • Mexican Shuffle The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires (2:07)
  • A Taste Of Honey Sing Today's Classics The New Classic Singers (1:57)
  • Sorry About That, Herb 45 single The Chipmunks (1:54) 
  • From Me To You Lennon & McCartney Tijuana Style The Toreno Brass (2:21) 
  • What Now My Love Sour Cream & Other Delights The Frivolous Five (2:14) 
  • The Mexican Shuffle Plays a Salute to Herb Alpert and the Tijuna Brass Peter Nero (2:12) 
  • In The Mood In The Mood The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker (2:45) 
  • Mama Inez New Hits From South Of The Border The Mexicali Brass (2:30) 
  • Chicken Fat Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass (2:02) 
  • Whipped Cream Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms (1:34) 
  • Spanish Flea Sour Cream & Other Delights The Frivolous Five (2:15) 
  • It's Too Late Hats Off The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker (2:39) 
  • Mexican Trumpets Midnight Flyer Ray Anthony (1:40) 
  • Our Day Will Come Colonel Sanders' Tijuana Picnic The George Garabedian Players (2:24) 
  • Serape Tijuana Taxi Guadalajara Brass (2:28) 
  • Aztec Two Step What Now My Love The Mexicali Brass (1:44) 
  • El Toro Colonel Sanders' Tijuana Picnic The George Garabedian Players (2:08) 
  • Michelle Viva Tijuana! The Fiesta Brass (2:34) 
  • A Taste Of Honey A Taste Of Honey Living Brass (2:55) 
  • La Cinquantaine New Hits From South Of The Border The Mexicali Brass (2:31) 
  • Dating Game Theme Themes From Game Shows Chuck Barris Productions (2:27) 
  • Mexican Shuffle British Percussion Le London All Star (2:11) 
  • What Now My Love The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires (2:10) 

Thanks for joining us as we checked out the world of Faux-Mexicana a la the Tijuana Brass sound. Next Sunday we will get away from the schmaltzy LA music that stole the name of Tijuana and check out some Mexican Rock and Rollers doing their own imitations of sorts. Don't forget to stop by Saturday too, when we continue our exploration of Sufjan Stevens Illinois.

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