1001 Albums 0015-0017

Published June 23, 2012

My continued journey through the albums featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

0015 Tito Puente & His Orchestra: Dance Mania, Vol. 1 (1958)

Quite enjoyable, this, in a Fifties night-clubby kind of way. Tito Puente, sometimes known as “The King of Latin Music”, knows how to perform a mambo, and as every decent person knows the mambo is one of the greatest human inventions. But while this album is nice to have on in the background, I wouldn’t rate it as essential listening.

Verdict: Fun and lively, but not so much for close listening.

0016 Billie Holiday: Lady In Satin (1958)

Oooh, this is where I have to make a confession: I’m actually not particularly fond of Billie Holiday. I’m aware that she’s regarded as one of the greats, but all I hear, at least on this album, is a heroin addict croaking her way through song after song without very much in the way of interpretation. And since I find the notion of the artist bound for self-destruction neither romantic nor intriguing, there's very little left here for me. The arrangements, by Ray Ellis, are nice, but cannot save the album. Sorry, Holiday fans.

Verdict: Not my cup of tea.

0017 Jack Elliott: Jack Takes The Floor (1958)

“This release is still engaging as it was in 1958,” it says here. Well, I wasn’t around in 1958 so I can’t really say how engaging it was back then, but I do know that it fails to engage me very much now. I understand that this kind of folky Americana (vocals and guitar only) sparks something in certain listeners, and I’m sure Mr. Elliott has been very influential. It’s just that this particular album makes this particular listener feel restless and bored.

Verdict: I have no wish to hear this album again.

Note: This album is currently unavailable.

Tito Puente And His Orchestra: Dance Mania, Vol. 1


Billie Holiday: Lady In Satin