Tag Archives: Dean Martin

Picture this: Found just in time

My dad and I hit the road on Labor Day, a trip that yielded some nice surprises. Not long after we arrived at my aunt’s house for a visit, she handed me a small album full of old family pictures.

Janet and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, and our wedding was in those pictures. This picture, our first dance, was among them.

The only pictures we have from that Labor Day weekend bash in 1987 were taken by family and friends. The photographer we hired was mortified to find, after the fact, that there were no pictures from our wedding. Technical difficulties.

We showed this picture to Evan, our 17-year-old son. He looked at it and said: “Nice amp.”

And now, the rest of that story.

Janet has long had a wonderful gift for handling my many quirks with patience and grace. She needed it as we planned the wedding. Then as now, we had a big record collection. I thought it would be fun to have the music at the reception come from our albums. So we did that.

If I could do it over, we would hire a band instead of renting a sound system with that “nice amp” and tell that clueless music nerd where to stick his mix tapes. They were dreadful.

After hearing what likely was one too many Dave Edmunds song, quite possibly “I Knew The Bride,” Janet’s aunt asked whether we had anything besides “that cowboy music.” Aunt June was right. How bad was it? The Georgia Satellites’ “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” was on one of those mix tapes. Gahhhhh.

By the end of the evening, one of our guests had become so weary of our mix tapes that he went out to his car, grabbed a Springsteen tape and demanded we play it instead. At that point, we turned off the sound system and adjourned to a bar for the rest of the night.

If I could do it over, our first dance would be to something more sophisticated than Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” At the time, I was really into Elvis. Again, gahhhhh.

It would have been more fun for everyone — and Aunt June probably would have approved — had we danced our first dance to this.

“Just In Time,” Dean Martin, from “This Time I’m Swingin’!” 1960. He’s backed by a wonderful big band led by the incomparable Nelson Riddle. Its big horns evoke the nightclub era at its peak. (This rip is from “The Best Of Dean Martin,” a 1966 compilation on Capitol Records.)

Just in time, I found you just in time

Janet has long loved old musicals, and this tune comes from “Bells Are Ringing,” the 1956 Broadway musical. Few songs have a pedigree better than this one. Jule Styne wrote the music. Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote the lyrics.

You found me just in time
And changed my lonely life that lucky day

This was cut at the Capitol Recording Studio in Hollywood on May 17, 1960, the last day of a nine-day session during which Dino was really in a groove.

The LP is out of print but the song is available on “Dino: The Essential Dean Martin,” a Capitol CD that lives up to its billing. It was re-released last year with six tracks added to the original 2004 release.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under September 2012, Sounds

Three under the tree, Day 10

Today, we’re driving across Wisconsin’s winter wonderland, heading to a wedding. My dad will be with us, and it seems appropriate to see what Christmas sounds like at Ray’s Corner.

If you’re a regular visitor around these parts, you know we occasionally stop at Ray’s Corner and borrow tunes from Dad’s collection. Ray’s Corner, of course, is the apartment where the music is loud and where the martinis are made of gin with the vermouth bottle held about a foot away.

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“Winter Wonderland,” Dean Martin, 1959, available on “Christmas With Dino,” 2006, and “Season’s Greetings from Dean Martin,” 1992.

Dad digs Dino, and I generally do, too. However, I’m not a huge fan of Dino’s many Christmas songs. This one’s a keeper, though.

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“Jingle Bells,” Duke Ellington, 1962, from “Jingle Bell Jazz,” 1974. (This CD, released in 1985, combines cuts from the 1974 album “Jingle Bell Jazz” and the 1981 album “God Rest Ye Merry Jazzmen.”)

This cut starts slowly, then picks up the pace when the 12-piece horn section jumps in. That, of course, is Billy Strayhorn on the piano. Recorded in New York City on June 21, 1962. (I turned 5 years old that day.)

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“Boogie Woogie Santa Claus,” Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra, 1950, from “Santa Claus Blues,” 1988. It’s out of print, but it looks like Amazon has an mp3 available from another compilation record.

The liner notes on this cut say only that it was recorded in 1950, but I’m guessing it comes from a session on Oct. 27, 1950. I have a Hampton cut from that session on another Christmas album. That’s likely Sonny Parker on the vocals. Mind you, this was 58 years ago, and he’s singing “rock, rock, rock, Mr. Santa.” There also are terrific trumpet and sax charts on this one, along with a little taste of Hamp’s vibes.

“Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” was an R&B hit for Mabel Scott in 1948. The next year, she married her pianist, Charles Brown, who had hits with “Merry Christmas Baby” in 1947 and “Please Come Home for Christmas” in 1960. Alas, they stayed together for only a short time, and Scott eventually went back to her original love, gospel music.

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Filed under Christmas music, December 2008, Sounds

Moving day at Ray’s Corner

If you’re a regular visitor to AM, Then FM, you know we occasionally visit Ray’s Corner and cue up some selections from my dad’s music collection.

Ray’s Corner is the apartment with the loud music, where the martinis are still made of gin with the vermouth bottle held about a foot away.

Tomorrow, though, Ray will be moving from his corner apartment.

At 82, he’s finding it increasingly difficult to get around, so he’s moving from the second floor down to the first floor, and moving his parking space so he doesn’t have to walk across the lot to get to his car. He’ll be next door to his friend, Maxine, so that’s an added bonus.

So we’ll be up early in the morning to help him with a move that comes just in time.

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“Early in the Mornin,'” Louis Jordan, 1947, from “The Best of Louis Jordan,” a 1989 compilation on CD.

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“Just in Time,” Dean Martin, 1960, from “Dino: The Essential Dean Martin,” a 2004 compilation on CD.

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Filed under February 2008, Sounds

Another visit to Ray’s Corner

It’s been a while since we stopped by Ray’s Corner and checked out something from my dad’s collection.

Dad is 81. He has the apartment with the loud music.

Here at Ray’s Corner, the martinis are made of gin with the vermouth bottle held about a foot away.

So cool it, man, and enjoy …

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“Sway,” Dean Martin, 1954, from “Dino: The Essential Dean Martin,” a 2004 release.

If you dig this rumba-flavored tune, be sure to stop by ilovedinomartin, the blog faithfully maintained by our pallie Dino Martin Peters.

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“Gene’s Blues,” featuring Gene Krupa on drums, 1955, from “Krupa and Rich,” reissued in 1994.

Playing along with Krupa and Buddy Rich on this album are some of the biggest jazz stars of the day: Oscar Peterson on the piano, Dizzy Gillespie and Roy Eldridge on the horns, Illinois Jacquet on the sax, Herb Ellis on guitar and Ray Brown on bass. Oh, yeah, it swings.

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Filed under May 2007, Sounds

A visit to Ray’s Corner

Some fathers and sons bond through sports. My dad and I bonded through television.

Specifically, the 10 p.m. news, then Johnny Carson. I started watching Carson with Dad when the show was still in New York, before 1972. Dad loved — and still loves — comedians and any musician who swings. My tastes were shaped along the same lines.

I mention that just so you’ll know where I’m coming from as I roll out selections from Dad’s collection from time to time. Dad is 81. He has the apartment with the loud music.

That said, welcome to Ray’s Corner, where the martinis are made of gin with the vermouth bottle held about a foot away.

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“Ain’t That A Kick In The Head,” Dean Martin, 1960, from “Dino: The Essential Dean Martin.”

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Filed under March 2007, Sounds