Friday, May 31, 2019

Les Baxter Tribute.

Here's my collected information, shares and snippets on the father of exotica Les Baxter.

Facts about Les Baxter:

  • He wrote the "Whistle" theme from the TV show Lassie.
  • In the 1960s, he formed the Balladeers, a besuited and conservative folk group that at one time featured a young David Crosby.
  • In his 1996 appreciation for Wired magazine, writer David Toop remembered Baxter thus: "Baxter offered package tours in sound, selling tickets to sedentary tourists who wanted to stroll around some taboo emotions before lunch, view a pagan ceremony, go wild in the sun or conjure a demon, all without leaving home hi-fi comforts in the white suburbs."
  • Les Baxter has a motion picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6314 Hollywood Blvd.
  • Baxter did not restrict his activities to recording. As he once told Soundtrack! magazine, "I never turn anything down".
  • Abandoning a concert career as a pianist, he turned to popular music as a singer. At the age of 23 he joined Mel Tormé's Mel-Tones, singing on Artie Shaw records such as "What Is This Thing Called Love?".

Jungle Jazz and Teen Drums added in sidebar thanks to Distant Earth blog.

New link to Festival of the Gnomes. I'd never even heard of this before I did the album list and now I've found it!

Voices in Rythym now posted thanks to Kelly's Lounge Sounds.

Links now re-organised slightly. Soundtracks and Compilations now have their own section. On that basis the Capitol and Reprise sections are now complete.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Les Baxter on Amazon

Mr Lopez has advised me that Amazon are releasing a lot of classic Baxter albums in mp3 format today (15 June 2010). They will be in 256kps quality which isn't great but should suffice. I've listened to the 128kps samples and they don't seem to be in better quality than my CDrips. The quality may be more noticeable if you compare to a LP rip.

The mini album above looks interesting as I haven't seen that before. It seems to have previously released tracks however.

Anyway a cheap way to legally stock up on any Baxter you don't have. Link

PS: see the sidebar for a 1982 Baxter soundtrack that's been added "The Beast Within".

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Colors of Brazil/African Blue

Thanks to Scott here's two of Les' later albums in a twofer.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Pop Side and even more!

The Pop Side was a request and comprises 25 tracks of Les' more pop (easy listening) sides.

The other two albums have been provided previously by yours truly but Scott has carried out some restoration work and would well be worth a download as alternate versions.

We should thank Scott not only for these albums but also because he carries out restoration of LP sources and also gives us some informative facts which I shall share with you:

Concerning Exotica Suite, this is from a stereo lp that I have done some slight sound restoration on.

Concerning Wild in the Streets, Les wrote 3 of the selections from the 1968 soundtrack which I have marked in their titles. This is from a stereo lp with some slight sound restoration applied.

The Pop Side is a cd rip. It contains many Capitol singles from 1951 – 1956, some were on albums and some were only released as singles.

Links are you know where.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Even more titles - soundtracks

Here's even more stuff courtesy of Scott. Soundtracks this time and these are the most complete versions around. For the All the Loving Couples album Casanova is Les under a pseudonym.

As advised by Scott the following info for the Master of the World album is provided:

"Tracks 1 - 7 Suite from the Original Soundtrack (film version conducted by Les Baxter)

Tracks 8 - 19 Original 1961 Re-recorded album (Cal Carter conducting The "100" Men)

Tracks 1 - 19 Stereo version." There is a new link for this share as well as the original link.

The Goliath album has an interesting cover making it look like an exotica album. Its more light classical than exotica but there are some middle eastern influences and the music is quite exotic at times. There's even a track sub titled Noisy Village. Probably vies with Bora Bora as Les' best soundtrack album.

The film itself is an Italian sword and sandal epic starring Steve Reeves. It rates 5.1 stars on IMDB and it actually doesn't sound too bad.

When the feisty Cuban actress Chelo Alonso was slapped as part of the action she couldn't help slapping the male actor back until the Director tied her hands behind her back. After being untied she then went to where the other actor was and slapped him and told him "here's the change". What a gal! Personally I think she should have slapped the Director.

Its said that Reeves was offered the lead in Dr No and Fistful of Dollars and knocked them back. Probably because it meant he would have had to learn whole sentences.

Links in sidebar of course.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Les Baxter new batch

Kindly provided by Scott here's three more from the LB archives. Lost Episode and By Popular Request are from the TV special Les Baxter's Sounds of the 60s, fragments of which are on Youtube. They're live recordings so not studio standard but very interesting and I'd love to see a good copy of the special not the blurry low res samples on Youtube.

Probably the most interesting of the three is the Balladeers album which is basically a 60s folk hootenanny outing but well done and no, David Crosby is not included in the mix.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Les Baxter - Academy Award Winners - Soul of the Drums

Freshly ripped at 320kps by yours truly here's a truly odd coupling of one of Les' best exotica albums and one of his very good 'straight' recordings.

Les' didn't make many albums for Frank Sinatra's Reprise Records so maybe that's why these two ended up on the same CD.