Great catalogue music often arrives in the unlikeliest of places. Universal Music Classics and Jazz’s German division has created the budget Jazz Club label, celebrating artists from the various labels under the Universal umbrella. And though its titles may not be available at your local shop, they’re well worth seeking out, offering plenty of material not available elsewhere. Two of the most recent Jazz Club releases are of a particularly rare vintage. Wir Lieben Bacharach! collects 18 German-language renditions of famous songs from the Burt Bacharach and Hal David songbook…and some not-so-famous songs, too! Quincy Jones’ Originals, on the other hand, pairs Songs for Pussycats and Quincy in Rio, two rare themed LP compilations of Jones’ 1960s Mercury recordings on compact disc for the first time.
Wir Lieben Bacharach! – or We Love Bacharach! – is a particular treat. With 18 tracks recorded between 1965 and 1973, it contains the songs that are the crème of the crop of the Bacharach and David ouevre: “Close to You,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “A House is Not a Home.” But listening to this compilation, you might know those tunes as “So wie ich,” “Ich wunsche mir so viel von dir” and “Ein Haus ist kein Zuhaus” as performed by Karel Gott, Bata Illic and Corry Brokken, respectively! But in addition to the familiar classics, there are rare German renditions of “The Green Grass Starts to Grow,” “Hasbrook Heights,” “Paper Mache” and “The Wine is Young,” too, all favorites of Bacharach diehards including yours truly. Some arrangements hew closely to the originals (Gus Backus’ “Hallo, Pussycat” – you can guess the English title!) while others offer unique re-interpretations (Die Caravelles’ “In Gedanken bin ich bei dir,” or “True Love Never Runs Smooth”). For those who understand German, the translations are often far from literal, so that adds another dimension to these recordings. The booklet has full-color reproductions of sixteen original LP and single sleeves, plus discographical information and liner notes – in German, of course!
Hit the jump to explore some of the earliest productions from the man known as Q! Plus, we’ve got track listings with discography and order links for both releases!
After a couple of mid-fifties efforts for ABC-Paramount, arranger and bandleader Quincy Jones began his relationship with the Mercury label in 1959 with his The Birth of a Band album. While at Mercury, the multi-talented Jones would record nearly fifteen albums, produce pop hits for the likes of Lesley Gore (“It’s My Party,” “Judy’s Turn to Cry”) and manage to moonlight at labels like Reprise, for whom he arranged and conducted sessions for Frank Sinatra. Near the end of the 1960s, Mercury International released the two compilation LPs which form Originals, this unusual but hugely enjoyable two-for-one CD.
Songs for Pussycats took three songs from Jones’ 1966 Quincy Plays for Pussycats (including Bacharach and David’s “What’s New Pussycat,” naturally!) and added eight other cuts from Jones’ other Mercury albums including two from Quincy Jones Explores the Music of Henry Mancini (1964). Quincy In Rio, on the other hand, took 1962’s Big Band Bossa Nova as its starting point with five songs. Recorded at the height of the bossa nova craze, Big Band introduced “Soul Bossa Nova,” better known as Austin Powers’ theme! That track wasn’t repeated on Quincy in Rio, but classics from Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa made the cut. Quincy in Rio is rounded out with highlights from Travelin’ with the Quincy Jones Big Band (1960), Quincy Jones Plays the Hip Hits (1963) and more! Both albums feature Jones’ iconic blend of jazz, bossa, soul, pop and the orchestral sweep often associated with soundtracks; a fan of any of those genres will likely get a smile from the music contained on this CD’s 22 tracks.
Both Quincy Jones’ Originals and Burt Bacharach’s Wir Lieben Bacharach! are available now from Universal’s Jazz Club series. You’ll find Amazon U.K. links below, and you can peruse the various other Jazz Club releases here!
Various Artists, Wir Lieben Bacharach! (Universal/Jazz Club 06007 5332218, 2012)
- Heiß ist der Kaffee in San José (Do You Know the Way to San Jose) – Corry Brokken (Polydor single 53 061)
- Doch täglich liebe ich sie mehr (I’ll Never Fall in Love Again) – Bata Illic (Polydor LP 2371 361)
- The Look of Love – Roberto Delgado (Polydor LP 222 003)
- Ein rosarotes Himmelbett (Paper Mache) – Ramona (Philips LP 6305 101)
- So wie ich (Close to You) – Karel Gott (Polydor LP 2371 205)
- Hallo, Pussycat (What’s New Pussycat) – Gus Backus (Polydor single 52 588)
- Casino Royale – Horst Jankowski (Mercury LP 138 113)
- In Gedanken bin ich bei dir (True Love Never Runs Smooth) – Die Caravelles (Polydor single 52 484)
- Wenn ich nur wüßt' was ich tu' ohne dich (I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself) – Waltraud Dirks (Polydor single 52 804)
- Mach dich schön (Wives and Lovers) – Peter Beil (Philips LP 843 797)
- This Guy’s in Love with You – Peter-Thomas-Sound-Orchestra (Polydor LP 184 171)
- Leben kann jeder Mensch allein (The Green Grass Starts to Grow) – Helena (Polydor single 2041 270)
- Ich wunsche mir so viel von dir (I Say a Little Prayer) – Bata Illic (Polydor LP 2371 260)
- Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head – Henry Arland (Polydor LP 2371 708)
- Mitternacht (Hasbrook Heights) – Ireen Sheer (Polydor LP 2371 290)
- Ich glaube an die Menschlikeit (The Wine is Young) – Ramona (Philips LP 6305 101)
- Alfie – Heinz Schachtner (Polydor single 52 729)
- Ein Haus ist kein Zuhaus (A House Is Not A Home) – Corry Brokken (Polydor LP 840 379)
Quincy Jones, Originals: Songs for Pussycats/Quincy in Rio (Universal/Jazz Club 06007 5337844, 2012)
- What’s New Pussycat
- A Taste of Honey
- A Walk in the Black Forest
- Mack the Knife
- Moon River
- Take Five
- Gravy Waltz
- I Hear a Symphony
- Mr. Lucky
- Cast Your Fate to the Wind
- Manha de Carnaval
- Samba de Una Nota So (One Note Samba)
- Bossa Nova U.S.A.
- Se e Tarde Me Pardoa (Pardon Me If I’m Late)
- (I Love You) And Don’t You Forget It
- Non-Stop to Brazil
- The Gentle Rain
- Jive Samba
- Chega de Saudade (No More Blues)
Tracks 1-11 from Songs for Pussycats, Mercury International LP 134 537
Tracks 12-22 from Quincy in Rio, Mercury International LP 134 519