May 19, 2017 Decisions, Decisions

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Neal Hefti, Hefti In Gotham City, RCA LSP-3621, 1966
Nestor Armral & His Continentals, Craftsmen C-8027, 195?

We are over 350 records in, and there is still over $90 left on my quest to buy 365 albums for $1000.  I could run out the clock with interesting $1 records like the one on the right above.  It’s a discount record on the Craftsmen label that features a young Mary Tyler Moore on the cover.  It would be easy for me to gush about how they tried to make our Mary look like the Contadina Tomato girl, and how the low budget “Italian” instrumentals sound after 55 years or so.

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But, no.  I think i’d rather cut it close to the wire and spend the next two weeks spending that $92 down and find a better class of interesting records, like the one on the left.  Neal Hefti is one of those artists that skirted the lines of fame & sales and producing & performing.  As a performer, he led made a name for himself in the Big Band era, eventually working his way up to the Count Basie Orchestra.  When Frank Sinatra started his Reprise label with Basie as one of his first signings, Neal Hefti came along as the conductor of the studio orchestra.  By 1966, Hefti had moved on to RCA and work on film and TV scores.

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It was a formidable assignment, as Hefti wrote, arranged and conducted possibly the most memorable TV theme song of the 60s.  Both the Batman TV show and it’s theme song were instant hits, enough so that RCA gave its in house producer follow-up album.  Hefti In Gotham City barely sold, but it is full of lush mid-60s instrumentals and incidental music from the show.  It’s in near mint condition too, which, along with it’s rarity and TV show tie in, makes this a bargain record to find for the price.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $15, $77 Remaining

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March 19, 2017 Gigi Tyler Moore

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Gordon Fleming, Gigi, Golden Tone C-4035, 1960

I wasn’t paying all that much attention when I flipped though a pile of records at a vintage store when I first saw this record.  I thought to myself that the cover model looked like Mary Tyler Moore, so I splurged $2 for if on a whim.  It wasn’t until I looked through my new purchases, looking for TV themed records that I noticed that it IS Mary Tyler Moore on the cover of this discount record version of the stage and screen hit musical Gigi.

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It turns out that MTM made her way into show business by being a cover model for the Tops and Golden Tone record companies.  Both are long defunct discount labels based in Los Angeles, and they released generic covers of soundtracks and public domain songs by anonymous musicians and sold them at discount prices.  To compete, they used attractive young girls for their record covers, and Mary Tyler Moore appeared on (it seems) about 12 of them in the late 50s and into 1960.  Landing a gig as Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1961 finally stopped this strange aspect of her career.

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Gigi won the 1959 Oscar for Best Picture of 1958, and the Lerner & Lowe musical was a broadway smash before that.  That made it a prime candidate for people to make cover version of the music.  That’s about as kind as I can be to the actual music of this album.  It’s not it’s badly made, it’s just not that well made.   This really is one to buy for the cover, and judging by what it lists for on eBay, I got a screaming deal!

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $2, $289 Remaining