Billy Vaughn, A Swingin’ Safari, Dot DLP-25458, 1962
Sometimes it’s just nice to return to a simpler era. Like when you could fly to a poor African country and kill a lion. But seriously, like the lion hunt, popular orchestra records are definitely from a bygone era.
Billy Vaughn was one of the biggest band leaders still having hits into the 1960s. But he wasn’t the only one. Ray Conniff, Mitch Miller, Henry Mancini, Lawrence Welk and Bert Kaempfert all had big hits in the 60s. In fact, A Swingin’ Safari was a Kaempfert recording that was a huge hit around the world, except in the US. Vaughn’s re-recording peaked at #13 and the album cracked the top 10. The Beach Boys’ Surfing’ Safari, and the Wipe Out band The Surfaris both worked the freewheeling thought of safari into their music because of this one.
It’s fun bouncy music, and you really can hear the size of the orchestra. There’s tons of big studio echo, and it’s a shame that no one really makes records like this anymore. The good news is, I sometimes think that I’m the only one who feels this way. They’re so cheap, and usually in really great shape that you’ll probably find a lot of them in discount bins and thrift stores. Save some for me, but buy them.
Cost: $2, $470 Remaining