Music Routes Blog

Herb Alpert to Gary Numan (SMLP #11)

14 November 2009

This week's listen from the $1 bin in the second-hand store: S.R.O. by Herb Alpert.  The album helpfully ha a personnel list at the end of the liner notes on the back.  (Are they still "liner notes" if they appear on the cover rather than on the inner liner?)

Unfortunately, both the Internet and a close listen suggest that the list is wrong or at least incomplete.  Marimba and organ are uncredited, for example.  The On A & M Records web site has a Herb Alpert sessionography buried within a Herb Alpert page, which would seem to be helpful in getting correct personnel.  Alas, not quite.  It is contained within a Shockwave file making it difficult to search and navigate.  More importantly, the information contained in the Shockwave file also contains errors and omissions.  I can't find sessions for most of the songs on this album.  For at least one track, there is no drummer listed but one is plainly audible.

Your Discography Help Needed: Given all of this, I've kept the credits in the Music Routes database for this album fairly minimal.  I included the full credits from the sessionography from "Work Song" and only credited Herb Alpert for the rest of the album.  If anyone can point me to more detailed and accurate data, I would be most grateful.

Your Discography Help Needed: The other album today is another 1980s record provided by Anu.  This time, it's the live Gary Numan outing White Noise, recorded in 1984.  For the database, I left out the track entitled "Intro" which doesn't seem to have Numan on it.  I left the full credits for the remainder of the record, but I wonder if I should have been listening more closely.  For example, is the credited female background vocalist on every track?

Saturday Morning Listening Party Route: Herb Alpert to Gary Numan in 6 steps

Of course, we start with the Herb Alpert track "Work Song" since that's the only track that I was able to somewhat-reliably locate full credits for.  In the video below members of the band mime along to the recording (with a few extra sound effects overdubbed) and Herb Alpert himself provides a brief introduction.

According to the sessionography, trombonist Lew McCreary is playing uncredited on that track along with Alpert's regular trombonist.  30 years later, McCreary would be one of the many studio heavyweights to contribute to the much-maligned Pat Boone album of metal covers.  In fact, McCreary is on every track!  Here's Boone's cover of the Judas Priest song "You've Got Another Thing Comin'"

Prolific woodwinds session man Tom Scott is on every track of the Pat Boone record as well.  He even wrote the arrangement for "Smoke On The Water"!  More than 20 years earlier, Tom Scott played the soprano saxophone on the Paul McCartney/Wings hit "Listen To What The Man Siad".

This brings us to Sir Paul McCartney.  Of course, he was in The Beatles, but that's not where we're headed.  He also sang on the 1980s charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" but that's not where we're going either.  We're going to, um, the 20th anniversary re-make of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Yup, Sir Paul is on both.  However, he doesn't sing on this version.  He is playing bass.

Also on this version is Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy.  He doesn't have a solo but he is singing on the chorus.  Hannon collaborated with Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields on a one-minute track by Merritt's project The 6ths called "The Dead Only Quickly".

Someone else who collaborated with Merritt on a track would be Gary Numan, singing "The Sailor In Love With The Sea".

This brings us to the final track in the route, "Me, I Disconnect From You" fom Numan's live White Noise record. Numan sure wore a lot of make up for this show.

Best Track In The Route: This one's tough.  I'm going to go with "The Dead Only Quickly" by the 6ths with Neil Hannon.