Tuesday, December 21, 2021

PTB Classic - Xavier Cugat

This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

My last Tuesday Blog for 2021 follows the classic format we brought back this year.

My mom would have been 90 this year, and in some small way, this post is a wink in her direction. As an awkward teenager, my mom tried to teach me (and my brother before me) what she thought to be a basic life skill – ballroom dancing. She tried her best to get us to learn the basic steps to Latin dances, particularly the cha-cha and rumba. Her go-to vinyl record was an old Mercury disk featuring Xavier Cugat and his orchestra.

Xavier Cugat (1900-1990) was a Calatan musician and bandleader who spent his formative years in Havana, Cuba. A trained violinist and arranger, he was a leading figure in the spread of Latin music. In New York City he was the leader of the resident orchestra at the Waldorf–Astoria before and after World War II. One of his trademark gestures was to hold a chihuahua while he waved his baton with the other arm.

Cugat recorded for Columbia (1940s and 1950s, and Epic), RCA Victor (1930s and 1950s), Mercury (1951–52 and the 1960s), and Decca (1960s). Cugat followed trends closely, making records for the conga, the mambo, the cha-cha, and the twist when these dances were popular. In 1940 his recording of "Perfidia" became a hit. In 1943 "Brazil" was Cugat's most successful chart hit. It spent seven weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard magazine National Best Selling Retail Records chart.

Past members of his orchestra have included Desi Arnaz, Lina Romay, Abbe Lane, Tito Rodriguez, Yma Sumac, Miguelito Valdés, Frank Berardi, Gene Lorello, George Lopez, Glenn E. Brown, Henry Greher, Isabello Marerro, James English, John Haluko, Joseph Gutierrez, Luis Castellanos, Manuel Paxtot, Oswaldo Oliveira, Otto Bolívar, Otto Garcia, Rafael Angelo, Richard Hoffman, Robert De Joseph, and Robert Jones.

Today’s share features two specific Cugat albums: a “Best Of” compilation and the record that my mother used for her lessons, “Viva Cugat”.

The Best Of Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra
  1. Sway [Norman Gimbel, Pablo Beltran Ruiz]
  2. Tequila [Chuck Rio]
  3. Fly Me To The Moon [Bart Howard]
  4. Brazil (Aquareia Do Brasil) [Ary Barroso]
  5. Desafinado [Antônio Carlos Jobim]
  6. Witchcraft [Cy Coleman]
  7. Green Eyes ("Aquellos Ojos Verdes") [Adolfo Utrera and Nilo Menéndez]
  8. Besame Mucho [Consuelo Velázquez]
  9. Yours (Quiéreme Mucho) [ Gonzalo Roig]
  10. Amor [Gabriel Ruiz, Ricardo Lopez Mendez]
  11. It Happened In Monterey [ William Rose, Mabel Wayne]
  12. Tea For Two [Vincent Youmans]
  13. What a Diff'rence a Day Made ("Cuando vuelva a tu lado") [María Grever]
  14. Papa Loves Mambo [ Al Hoffman, Dick Manning, and Bix Reichner]
  15. La cumparsita [ Gerardo Matos Rodríguez]
  16. El Cumbanchero [ Rafael Hernández]
  17. I've Got The World on a String [ Harold Arlen]
  18. Always In My Heart [ Ernesto Lecuona, Kim Gannon]

Spectrum Music 554 767-2
CD, Compilation
Released: 1998
Discogs https://www.discogs.com/release/1762...-His-Orchestra

Viva Cugat!
  1. Jungle Concerto [Xavier Cugat]
  2. The Peanut Vendor (El Manisero) [Marion Sunshine, Moises Simons, L. Wolfe Gilbert]
  3. Isle Of Capri [Jimmy Kennedy, Will Gross]
  4. Tropical Merengue (Amanecer Tropical) [Don Marsh, Lawrence Elow, Rafael Munoz]
  5. Nightingale [Fred Wise, George Rosner, Xavier Cugat]
  6. Perfidia [Alberto Dominguez]
  7. Siboney [Dolly Morse, Ernesto Lecuona]
  8. Jungle Drums (Canto Karabali) [Carmen Lombardo, Charles O'Flynn, Ernesto Lecuona]
  9. Anna (El Negro Zumbon) [Armando Trovajoli]
  10. Maria Elena [Lorenzo Barcelata]
  11. Poinciana (Song Of The Tree) [Buddy Bernier, Manuel Lliso, Nat Simon]
  12. Say Si Si (Para Vigo Me Voy) [ Al Stillman, Ernesto Lecuona, Francia Luban]

Mercury – SR 60868
Released: 1951, reissued 1961
Discogs https://www.discogs.com/release/6147...tra-Viva-Cugat

YouTube https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL...mtRn7Z6L6cgEH8

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