Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Herb Alpert - Rise (1979)

Note: this release was originally purchased as a LP, later replaced by a CD, the 2007 reissue with two bonus tracks.

Do you ever consider certain albums to be "summer albums"? These would be albums that you bought or were introduced to during the summer or albums you listen to only during the summer. This is definitely such an album to me. This was listened to quite a bit in the summer of 1980 and then in subsequent summers. Here it is the end of May with a forecast in the mid-90s today, so it's as good a time as any to pull out this CD.

Legend has it that 3M loaned A&M records one of their newfangled digital recorders and this album is the result of Alpert and his nephew playing around with the capabilities of the new technology. Despite Alpert's horrible trumpet tone, this is good instrumental disco music (if such a thing actually exists). I'm not sure if I listen to this now because of the music or for reasons of nostalgia.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #6
Peak on Billboard's Jazz LPs chart: #1
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #6
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #6

Tracks: As a 13-year-old kid that had just recently taken up the trumpet, I loved all the tracks. I don't skip any tracks, but if I had to pick the stand out tunes, I'd go with 1980 (written for that year's Olympics), the title track, Rotation, and the cover of Joe Sample's Street Life (which rivals the original). At the time, I had no idea that the track Aranjuez (Mon Amour) was a cover of a classic guitar concerto (Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez). I have to admit that it makes a great disco tune. The studio was obviously more of a lab at that time, but I didn't know any better so I thought having pedal steel guitar in a bad calypso arrangment of Procol Harum's Gary Brooker's tune Angelina was a perfectly normal thing to do.

Bonus tracks: The two bonus tracks don't get any mention in the liner notes, but the first is an alternate version of Rotation. It may be me, but I don't think the backing tracks could have been recorded in 1979, so I think it's just Alpert's old trumpet solos over some new backing tracks. The second bonus track is a 2007 dance mix of Aranjuez which is nothing remarkable. Neither bonus track is worth ripping to iTunes. Speaking of iTunes, it is necessary to listen to the CD on iTunes because, for this re-release, the sequencing was changed. As it notes on the CD, "This album has been resequenced by Herb Alpert for this reissue." Why? Doesn't really matter, because I restore the original sequence when I listen.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: So many. I have an image of me mowing the yard in the summer of 1980 at church. I was probably paid $10 and was then able to buy this album. That fall, I started high school and played an above average arrangement of Rotation. I think that song stayed in our folders all four years of high school. I also remember buying the piano/vocal/trumpet sheet music for the title track from Collins Music Center in BC. I'd play the trumpet part on my cornet and thought I sounded better than Alpert. I'm sure I've still got that music around here somewhere. Wow, I just confessed to being a total music geek AND a pack rat. (Update 23 Sept 2013: sheet music found. Lyrics follow.) 

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