General 7-1-2005

Music Reviews – June 2005

"Whipped Cream and Other Delights" by Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass and "Live From Austin" by Richard Thompson


Whipped Cream and Other Delights

Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass

Shout! Factory

There’s a certain kind of ’60s bachelor-pad, pool-party cool that nothing—nothing—represents better than Whipped Cream and Other Delights, the best-known of a host of classic albums from Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass. From the legendary cover (a young woman wearing nothing but several dozen cans of Reddi-Wip) to the unmistakable sound of the Lonely Bull’s trumpet work to the mix of standards like “Tangerine” and pop tunes like “Love Potion No. 9,” this is pretty much a whole culture of tiki drinks and Docksiders in one little package. Fortunately, the music—critically ignored but massively popular in its time—still holds up as much as the ethos. Alpert has never been confused with any of the greats of jazz trumpet, but his melody lines are warm and inviting, and the band’s Latin rhythm workouts are just as danceable now as they were in 1965.

Kudos are due to Shout! Factory, as well—amazingly, much of the Tijuana Brass’s output has been unavailable on CD until now; Whipped Cream is one in the new “Signature Series” of Alpert rereleases the label is doing, all featuring deluxe packaging and added bonus tracks. (Keep an eye out for S.R.O. , the band’s loosest, jazziest work.) If you’re looking for a few fun, listenable slices of nostalgia, look no further.

Live From Austin

Richard Thompson

New West

Since bursting onto the British Summer of Love-era folk scene with Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson’s been a legend for his virtuosic guitar playing. This live album, recorded during Thompson’s 2001 Austin City Limits performance for PBS, certainly showcases his brilliant fretwork, but it’s toned down somewhat, putting Thompson’s dark, witty songwriting center stage and, hopefully, introducing a new audience to one of the underrated giants of the last four decades of pop. Thompson’s skill as a composer and lyricist shines through particularly on the live versions of classic tracks like the British-folk-inflected “Cooksferry Queen” and the still-fiery-after-all-these-years breakup anthems “Shoot Out the Lights” and “She Twists The Knife Again,” the latter of which counterpoints his impossibly warm guitar tones with biting sarcasm. Which is actually a pretty fitting microcosm of Thompson’s body of work as heard here: mordant, blackly funny, with unparalleled musicianship to back it up.