Yesterday, I’m sitting at my boring work desk and haven’t thought about this tune in decades, when suddenly it is in my mind all of the time and I whistled it aloud perfectly as when it was on the radio daily back in the 1960s. The magic of my “jukebox brain” is that when a tune from the past enters it and presses “play” automatically, I can usually find it and/or name it with the help of YouTube, in seconds! So I “google” Herb Alpert and as soon as the “Greatest Hits” album comes up first and I see that familiar A&M Records olive-green label and the first cut, “Lonely Bull”, I was confident that I had my tune du jour.
I believe that simple familiarity is part of the alluring beauty of the music of this bygone era. Suddenly, I could have been in a scene at a Riviera resort in a James Bond (Sean Connery) movie or something! lol Doesn’t it sound like the background music for one of those scenes?
Herb played a Chicago Benge in the TJBrass days, later a Yamaha, and then a Sima trumpet. I’ve read where he said that the trumpet is not as important as practicing. Practicing scales on the trumpet is boring. I wish I could interview Mr. Alpert. I feel like I grew up with him or maybe he helped me grow up because I used to play the trumpet. My dad, a stiff of the military’s World War II bands wanted me to just practice scales, but Herb Alpert, Al Hirt and Miles Davis shaped my interpretation of the horny horn through the years and I wanted to play words like they did!
Herb Alpert is the man who played the contemporary disco dance classic, “Rise”! I betcha didn’t know that. More on it later because this post is about Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass’ “The Lonely Bull” as penned by me, “The Lonely Cheetah“.
Now lets jump to his many performances of it over fifty years beginning in 1962! I especially enjoy the one from 1969 where he wore the Star Trek-like “Captain Kirk” shirt and leaned a bit more to the right and waay back from the microphone! lol I think it one of his signature stances.
Measure several of those performances of this against the slower and more tempered original studio version on the video below, please. Pour yourself a class of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon and check out this first one, the whole “Lonely Bull” album.
Wow! What a run! I am glad he is still with us in the physical world to possibly blow more magical notes, if he so desires. I wanted to get in-touch with him for this post, but didn’t know how. Googling A&M Records went nowhere and I gleaned that the label is a casualty of the corporatization of the music industry that we used to know. However, my interview of Herb Alpert research lead me to this insightful video, where we get a flavor of the cool of Mr. Alpert and his philosophies on life and his approach to playing.
Geez, we all age and grey to some extent, but I will always remember the suave, energetic and excitable band leader seen in the above videos – not that he is finished as I write this, by any extent.
And oh, about “Rise” my classic dance 12″ I mentioned above? From “My Vinyl”collection, here you go:
Any similarities between “Rise” and “The Lonely Bull” that you’d like to discuss? Just blow some comments at me below!