Friday, January 26, 2018

Space Lounge Vol. 2


Aloha and welcome to the second shindig at the Space Lounge, blasting you back through time to the atomic age and beyond. Kick off your creepers and grab a pineapple drink, because this clambake starts in 3.....2.....1.....

Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 with their landmark hit "Mas Que Nada," a song that, in many ways, defined the vibe of a particular time and place. Plus, J.J. Abrams and company liked this song so much they named a Star Wars character after it. Tip of the hat to Mike Myers and Jay Roach for including this in an Austin Powers movie and reminding everyone what a hip song it really is.


You can't look through stacks of vintage vinyl and not see at least one copy of Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass album Whipped Cream & Other Delights peeking back at you. The album went to number one and eventually sold over six million copies. I actually used to take a picture of the album every time I ran across it in second-hand shops. This song, "A Taste of Honey," achieved a whole new level of popularity when it began to be used on the TV show The Dating Game.



The Shadows are an instrumental band from the UK, known for their darker interpretation of the surf music that was coming out of So-Cal. Their version of the song "Apache" was number one in England for five weeks in 1960. American instrumental band The Ventures also had a hit with this one, but there's something special about the treatment it was given by The Shadows. If parts of the melody sound familiar, that's because The Sugarhill Gang sampled The Incredible Bongo Band's version of this song. Jump on it!


Composer Jack Marshall (father of film producer Frank Marshall) made several albums in the fifties and sixties, but his claim to fame will always be that he wrote the theme to the TV series The Munsters. Often imitated but never topped, Marshall's original vision for the tune is practically perfect. Here's an extended, different version of the song, complete with weird horns and an organ solo.


So many people have covered the standard classic "Volare," including Dean Martin and Connie Francis. My favorite version, though, will always be this version from 1960 by Ben E. King. Dig those background vocals. The bouncing tempo and the enthusiasm of the singers take this one from syrupy ballad to sixties swinger and makes it very hard to sit still.


Has any single person been more responsible for reviving mid-century cool than Brian Setzer? His work with The Stray Cats in the early eighties led to a promising solo career that hasn't slowed at all. This song, "Hollywood Nocturne," comes from the massively-successful 1998 album The Dirty Boogie" from The Brian Setzer Orchestra. With a moody, noir atmosphere, blistering guitar, and scintillating saxophones, this is a good place for us to pay the check and head back to the world below. Until next time, cats and kittens, keep the drinks cool and the nights hot.


As always, you can visit the Cereal At Midnight YouTube channel to this music in a playlist. Find it HERE.

*All videos above are credited to their YouTube uploaders.

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