Tag Archives: Al Caiola

Getting in the swim

There always has been music at the pool.

There certainly was in the summer of 1976.

We hung out at the pool where our friend Herb worked. The ladies loved Herb, so it was good to be his pal. Hello, Valerie. Hello, Pam. Herb dated Pam. We also hung out at the other pool in town, the one where plenty of good-looking girls worked. Hello. Laurie. Hello, Lisa. My brother married Lisa.

Our local FM rock station usually was blasting from the speakers at the pools. When I think of the pool where Herb worked, I think of Peter Frampton. When I think of the pool where the good-looking girls worked, I think of John Miles.

I’m back at the pool these days, working out rather than hanging out. The FM radio is still playing at the pool. Problem is, it’s loud enough to keep the lifeguard company, but not summer of 1976 loud. So you hear only bits and pieces of the tunes while doing laps.

There clearly was a soundtrack for those summer days wasted at the pool. But is there a soundtrack for working out at the pool?

“All Right Now” by Free came on the radio at the pool today. Always a good tune but played nowhere loud enough. It was followed by Journey and then by Paul Simon. Buzzkill, even with the volume low.

Guess I’ll have to keep a soundtrack in my head, starting with …

“Underwater Chase,” Al Caiola, from “Sounds For Spies and Private Eyes,” 1965. It’s out of print.

Spy music from one of the great instrumental guitarists of the day.

“Hold Back The Water,” Bachman-Turner Overdrive, from “Bachman-Turner Overdrive,” 1973. The LP is out of print, but the song is available digitally.

The going gets good at 2:25, when a long guitar instrumental bridge kicks in. There’s a variety of styles, including some nice wah-wah guitar at 3:40. This was the flip side to BTO’s fine first single, “Blue Collar.”

Smoke on the Water,” Deep Purple, from “Made In Japan,” 1972.

Live LPs usually aren’t my thing, but this cut is smoking. My friend JB explains, in one of the finest comments ever left here, after I wrote about this tune a couple of years ago:

“The difference between the studio version of ‘Smoke on the Water’ and the live version from ‘Made in Japan’ is the difference between somebody telling you about the famous fire at Montreaux and actually finding yourself in the middle of it while it’s happening.”

So, any other suggestions for a soundtrack for swimming laps? All of these tunes have “water” in the title, but don’t feel obligated to have them in yours.

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Filed under October 2010, Sounds

Beware the black SUVs

I dig this story. It’s by Amy Gardner of the Washington Post.

“A construction crew putting up an office building in the heart of congested Tysons Corner in McLean, Va., hit a fiber-optic cable no one knew was there. …

“Within moments, three black SUVs drove up, half a dozen men in suits jumped out, and one said, You just hit our line.'”

That line was “black” wire, used for top-secret intelligence gathering.

Another contractor said:

“Yeah, we heard about the black SUVs. We were warned that if they were hit, the company responsible would show up before you even had a chance to make a phone call.”

Cue the spy music!

We used to cruise around our central Wisconsin hometown in my Chevy Impala — I had a ’63, then a ’69 — the radio blasting away.

Every once in a while, my pal Marty would shout “Spy music!” and I’d be urged to drive faster and careen around corners. Cold beer usually was involved. Is it any wonder we didn’t have girlfriends?

I can’t remember what qualified as spy music. Maybe Marty does. “Secret Agent Man” is too obvious, and it rarely was on the radio in the mid-’70s. But when the right tunes came on the radio … “Spy music!”

Reading that story this week, I instantly thought … “Spy music!”


“Underwater Chase,” Al Caiola, from “Sounds For Spies and Private Eyes,” 1965. It’s out of print.

Yes, all these years later, I still am a sucker for spy music.

This record is chock full of originals and covers just dripping with cool and a hint of menace.

alcaiola65Al Caiola was much in demand as a session guitarist in New York in the ’50s.

Then he started cranking out stylish instrumental covers of movie and TV themes on the United Artists label in the ’60s and early ’70s.

“Sounds For Spies and Private Eyes” is one of those records. It’s considered one of Caiola’s best.

This tune was written by Caiola’s producer, LeRoy Holmes. It’s the only original on Side 1, sitting between covers of the themes from “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “The Fugitive” and “The Third Man” and covers of “Secret Agent Man” and “Slaughter On Tenth Avenue.”


Filed under June 2009, Sounds