Budget A Cappella Recordings

It's an expensive endeavour to make a quality recording but for one reason or another we are able to offer these excellent titles for a budget price. Every title on the web page costs US$11.98 or less with many under $10. Great music at a great price!

Ball In The House: Think About It

Ball in the House- Think About It
Think About It
How Can It Be
Change Face
Ashmont (You're Gone)

What happens when you put five amazingly talented guys in a recording studio? The amazing powerhouse of sound, Ball in the House, answered that question with their newest CD. That's right, Tim, Jon J., Aaron, Dave and Dan are back with six new original songs to add to their repertoire. They have delivered a great mix of upbeat music you could dance to as well as some very tender ballads with lush harmonies that could give any contemporary a cappella fan chills. While there are only six tracks, the awesome lyrics and the catchy melodies of each song are more than enough to keep you satisfied as well as hope for their next release to be out soon. From the opening vocal percussion solo on the first track till the triumphant, yet soothing sound in the final track, your ears are sure to be glued to your stereo.

7424 CD $9.98

The Blenders: Now And Then

This 1997 release is a compilation of some of the group's favorite songs from their first three albums, plus three previously unreleased tunes. The new material opens the album - so the first half (the "Now" part) is accompanied, but full of the luscious vocals that has won the group so many fans. It includes a somewhat obscure Led Zeppelin cover, "That's The Way;" a solemn song about a friend's death "Fly Away;" and radio-friendly "Every Now and Then." Among the six a cappella tunes are the Christopher Cross tune "Sailing," and originals "Plainotfancy" and "Rock Your World." The CD is intended to introduce The Blenders to listeners outside the a cappella world, but it will also serve as a great introduction to the group for our catalog customers, and is a must for collectors who want a complete set by this up and coming vocal band.

2424 CD $9.98

Cartoon Johnny: Face The Music

Energetic 5-man, one-woman vocal band Cartoon Johnny first hit the Washington, DC area in 2001 under the name "3 guys mike." After a year, two of the original Mikes moved on, and 4 new men and one woman joined, changing the makeup of the group and updating the name. In their 3rd appearance at the Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweeps regional, the group won 1st Place, best arrangement for "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and "Audience Favorite." They went on to perform a strong set at one of the best Harmony Sweeps Finals we've ever seen and heard. "Face the Music" draws on influences from classic soul to modern alternative, and includes a variety of sure-fire audience favorites and the group's own original music. 7 songs, some favorites are George Michael's "Careless Whisper," live covers of Lennon/McCartney's "Drive My Car," and the rock classic "Higher and Higher," and the originals "Bring Me to Life," "Secret Smile" and the live cut, "Better from Here," written and arranged by group member Mike Henrickson. A strong debut CD from a fast-rising, spirited, talented sextet from Washington, DC!

7453 CD $9.98

Chordettes: Fabulous Chordettes

The Chordettes were one of the most successful female groups of the vintage era. After their selection, in 1949, for the Arthur Godfrey talent program, they recorded a series of albums, first for Columbia, and then for Cadence. "The Fabulous Chordettes" is a selection from this later period ('54-'61), and includes their first big hit, "Mr. Sandman,", "Lollipops," "Just Between You And Me," and nine others (accompanied, but reticently). Their vocal style and arrangements, though not strictly vertical, were definitely influenced by barbershop theory. Many of the cuts are mono - the digital master was transferred from the original analog recordings.

6252 CD $9.98

Chordettes: Greatest Hits

All the big hits at a budget price.

4628 CD $9.98

Clockwork: Orange

In the Garden of Eden
Polkadots and Moonbeams
My Baby Just Cares for Me
Lush Life
I've Got Rhythm / Fascinating Rhythm

Clockwork, 2004 Harmony Sweeps National Finals 1st runners up, is comprised of veteran San Francisco Bay Area harmony singers whose members have sung in several acclaimed a cappella groups. Two are founding members of Phil Mattson's PM Singers and Eric Freeman is the only singer to reach the National Finals in three different groups. Sophisticated jazz arrangements are a stand out on this EP including some complex harmonized bebop, the fabulous Brazilian classic " Corcovado" and a swinging Gershwin medley. This is smart, clever stuff!

4566 CD $9.98

Comedian Harmonists: Whistle While You Work

Whistle while you work
Marie, marie
Die Liebe kommt, die Liebe geht (Liebesleid)
Creole love Call
Liebling, mein Herz lasst dich grussen
Ach, wie ist's moglich dann?
Muss I'denn zum Stadtele hinaus?
Schone nacht, O Liebesnacht (Barcarolle)
Love me a little today
Congo Lullaby
The Donkey Serenade
Ein Freund, ein guter Freund
Dwarfs Yodel Song
Eine kleine Fruhlingswise
Night and day
"The Barber of Seville"

Germany's elegant, versatile Comedy Harmonists, now retrospectively viewed as Germany's first "Boy Group," the Comedy Harmonists were a class act. Influenced while in the US in 1927 by the Revelers, group member gifted mimic and comedian Harry Frommermann returned to Germany and put together a quintet (which later became a sextet), originally with piano, to sing that Roaring 20s American jazz. From the first cut, the title tune, and continuing with "Musketiermarsch," "Puppenhochzeit" (the March of the Toys), "Congo Lullaby," "The Donkey Serenade" and "Dwarf's Yodel Song," this music immediately recalls the jazzy, upbeat soundtracks to the first animated cartoons, by Disney and others. Those who think that vocal percussion and "fake" horns are contemporary creations should listen to the laid-back "Creole Love Call." Lightly accompanied by piano and other instruments; and mostly sung in German or heavily-accented English, the Harmonist's music is as joyous, fun and delightful as it was to their audiences 75 years ago. Try to maintain a serious mood while listening to "Ti-Pi-Tin" or "Night and Day," or try not to think of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd while listening to "The Barber of Seville" Overture. Can't do it! After their final concert in Munich in 1934, the 3 Jewish members of the group went on to appear in non-Nazi parts of the world, while the other 3 formed "Der Meistersextett" with 3 new singers that lasted until 1941. But "Whistle" is this talented sextet in their joyous, funny prime!

4604 CD $11.98

Comedian Harmonists: Die Grossen Erfolge

The Comedian Harmonists were a German singing sensation of the 1920s and '30s. The elegant sextet, five vocalists and a pianist -- all dressed in tails, had a repertoire that encompassed many vocal styles, ranging from folk songs to sentimental hits accompanied by banter and even silliness on stage. This recording contains some of their greatest hits from the early '30s and is mostly in German with a a few songs in English. This vintage recording is a fun piece of history.

4598 CD $10.98

Comedian Harmonists: The Harmonists

Filled with topflight performances and unforgettable music, this entertaining and critically acclaimed story was cheered by audiences everywhere! When Harry, a struggling but highly imaginative funnyman, forms a singing group with an unusual group of friends, "The Comedian Harmonists" go on to become an overnight sensation in prewar Germany. But as their wave of success inevitably collides with the nation's changing political tide, the group's members are forced to face unprecedented challenges that will try their wills and test their loyalty! An award winner at several prestigious film festivals - The Harmonists is another outstanding motion picture you dont want to miss. This film is 115 Minutes long, is presented in German with yellow English subtitles and is the first full length motion picture to be added to the Primarily A Cappella catalog.

4610 DVD $14.98

Delta Rhythm Boys: I Dreamt I Dwelt in Harlem

The rise of groups like the Golden Gate Quartet took gospel music out of the conservative confines of the Black church, and opened the door for other groups who wanted to sing spirituals in a different way. One of the groups to achieve success in the more liberated climate was the Hampton Institute Quartet, who changed their name to the Delta Rhythm Boys, and were equally at home delivering a pop song as a gospel item. They teamed up with Ella Fitzgerald during the 1940s recording ban in America, when her career might have been put on hold. However much the gospel group might have been threatened with eternal damnation to even think about "La Cucaracha," their fearlessness, both musically and politically, is what made them one of the greats. 20 winners, and we can't decide which we like the best, pop tunes like "Little Lize," the sweet "It Was Wonderful Then," a swinging "La Cucaracha," the silly minstrel-show tune "Watermelon On The Vine," the hip "Gimme Some Skin" and "Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gave To Me," or gospel hits like "Wait Till I Put On My Crown," a rocking "Ezekiel Saw De Wheel," "Certainly Lord," "Mighty Day," and "Scandalize My Name" (which is actually more of a commentary on religious bigotry). There's a particularly fine, laid-back early version of "Georgia On My Mind," and the swinging title tune, the final cut, is a joy. All songs at least piano accompanied, recorded in NY in 1941.

4542 CD $11.98

Dixie Hummingbirds: Move On Up

The unique, highly-defined harmonies that was called the "Jubilee" style of the Dixie Hummingbirds, made them pioneers of a Gospel quartet sound that became widely influential to many genres of music, including R&B, blues, Gospel, Pop and the Motown sound. Lead singer Ira Tucker, young baritone prodigy Willie Bobo, and a move to Philadelphia in the 1940s led to the growing popularity and legend of the "Birds," who continue performing, in various incarnations, to the present day, recording with Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder and earning Ebony Magazine's title of "Greatest Gospel Group," and a Grammy in 1973 for Best Soul Gospel Performance. "Move On Up" represents some of their music recorded in the 1950s with female Gospel group The Angelics. Included are 12 authentic Gospel hits, the soaring title tune, the rocking revival tune "In The Morning," "Beaming From Heaven," the inspirational "Jesus Will Answer Prayer," "I'll Be Satisfied," "Standing On The Highway," "Get Away Jordan," "Mercy Lord," the sweet "Is There Anyone in Heaven That You Know," "Cool Down Yonder" and "I Must Have Jesus." Butter-smooth harmonies, foot-stomping rhythms, inspirational words of salvation–"Move On Up" is a joy and a gift from start to finish. Some light accompaniment.

4559 CD $11.98

The Edlos: The Edlos Sampler

The Edlos are one the best-known groups in contemporary a cappella. Drawing on material from their previous three CD's, this “Sampler” is your basic Edlos 101, with a couple of new songs for extra credit: “Garbage Man” and “Mrs. Claus.” This California group is known for their humor, and there is plenty of that, but there is plenty of substance as well: their solid education in the fundamentals of a cappella singing and the styles of barbershop and doo wop have endeared them to fans for many years past, and for many years to come!

2475 CD $10.98

Face: Wake Up

We never forget a Face, especially having just savored the Boulder, CO's memorable performance at the 2005 Harmony Sweeps Finals in San Rafael and personally counted their winning votes for Audience Favorite (the judges also awarded them 2nd Place in a hugely talented field of 8 Regional winners). Face performed two of the 5 songs on this sampler CD at the Finals, a dramatic, soaring cover of Maroon 5's wonderful "Harder to Breathe" and a big fun, rock-solid vocal-percussion cover of Men Without Hats' 80's Techno hit "Safety Dance." Cake's "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" gets an appropriately manic, energetic treatment, and "The River Runs Slow" is a flowing, rhythmic, harmonic treat. The final cut is a sweet, sexy arrrangement of Marvin Gaye's seduction anthem "Sexual Healing." "Wake Up," and Face's live performance, give notice that this hard-working, talented group is ready for the bigtime in the a cappella world!

7454 CD $8.98

Fairfield Four: I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray

These Bones
Come On In This House
There Must Be A City
Get Away Jordan
I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray
That Day Is Done
Help For The Needy (Today)
Four and Twenty Elders
Amazing Grace / The Prodigal Son

Listen to Elvis Costello (from the CD notes) who invited the Fairfield Four to perform in an unlikely venue, The Meltdown Festival in London. "There was an apparent tension between the deep conviction on stage and a distinctly secular curiosity in the house. In truth I would have been among those who had never done more than utter "Amen" in their life. However, as I stood by the side of the stage to listen, it became apparent that something extraordinary was taking place. A "reprise chorus" became longer than the previous song, and so on, until the place was almost in an uproar, swept along by this wonderful sound and feeling. If few souls were saved that night, then quite a few were obviously swayed" Can we get a witness? If you consider yourself secular or not, this recording will move you just the same.

3322 CD $12.98

Fairfield Four: Standing In The Safety Zone

Founded in Nashville in the 1940s as a young, black gospel group, the Fairfield Four toured extensively and performed live on the radio. With the dropping-off of live radio programs in 1950, several group members went on to form the Skylarks, and then finally disbanded. Through the efforts of Doug Seroff, specialist in black gospel music, the group reunited in a moving performance in Birmingham, AL in 1980. Since then the National Endowment for the Arts named them National Heritage Fellows. 11 gospel songs: "Tree of Level," "My God Called Me this Morning," "Children Go Where I Send Thee," "Born Again," "Keep Me Near The Cross," "Roll Jordan Roll," the title tune, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "Last Month of the Year," "How I Got Over" and "Dig A Little Deeper." This is rich, authentic stuff, and a gift to us from an incredible, deeply spiritual group of men.
Listen to "Standing in the Safety Zone" in Real Audio.

3320 CD $12.98

Fairfield Four: Road To Glory

Under the supervision of popular deejay Bill "Hoss" Allen, the Fairfield Four created one of the great gospel albums. Originally titled The Bells Are Tolling this re-release as The Road to Glory has all the splendor of the original. In a slightly different order, this CD contains the deeply moving "Memories of My Mother" and the vocally acrobatic "Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around." What Are They Doing in Heaven" sports gorgeous harmonies and an impassioned lead while "Hide Me in Thy Bosom" showcases the group's spine-chilling harmonies. The longevity of The Fairfield Four serves to enhance their status as one of the greatest pioneering groups of gospel music.

2862 CD $11.98

Four Aces: Greatest Hits

Review pending.

4457 CD $14.98

Four Freshmen: Graduation Day

Of course there's the story of the four 20-year-olds who called themselves the Toppers at Butler U., of their discovery by Stan Kenton and all that. But all the brouhaha in 1950, continuing up into the 1990s, was about the smooth, harmonic sound of the Four Freshmen and there are 10 sweet slices of that on this CD. All 10 are beautifully crafted (accompanied) beauties, and it¹s hard to pick favorites: "Graduation Day," their biggest hit, bops us right in the nostalgia bone; "Poinciana," "It's A Blue World," "In This Whole Wide World," "The Day Isn't Long Enough," "Lovin' You," "Everytime You Touch Me" and "In You" are all treats. Yum!. Songlist

4779 CD $9.98

Four Freshmen: In Concert

The liner notes merely tell us that "In Concert" was recorded in the early sixties, probably at a number of live performances. The signature tight, bright harmonies are there, lightly accompanied by what sounds like an excellent jazz combo, but in fact are the 4F themselves, which always prompts the question: how can these guys sing so well and play instruments at the same time? There are 11 songs, mostly of the "torch song" variety: "You¹ve Got Me Crying Again," "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," "Love Lost," "There Will Never Be Another You," "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," "How Can I Tell Her," "Angel Eyes," "Blues In The Night," "Fools Rush In," "Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring" and "In This Whole Wide World." The electricity of a live performance, while losing none of the excellent recording quality and tone­music to slow dance to!. Songlist

4782 CD $11.98

Four Lads: Sixteen Most Requested Songs

Review pending.

2038 CD $11.98

Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians: Nutcracker Suite

The Overture
Dance of the Sugar Plums
Dance of the Toy Flutes
Waltz of the Flowers

Tchaikovsky's beloved Nutcracker Suite is given a twist as performed by Fred Waring and the Pennslyvanians. Conceived by arranger Harry Simeone he combines the charming lyrics written by Jay Johnson, Frank Cunkle, Daisy Bernier and Fred Waring. The arrangement was debuted on October 27, 1947 on Waring's radio program for General Electric and recorded for Decca Records later that year. It has been delighting audiences ever since. The performance heard here was originally broadcast August 19, 1948.

4576 CD $9.98

Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians: Caroling, Caroling

Fred Waring and the Pennsylvannians are at it again,this time giving Christmas their one-of-a-kind flavor. The smooth choral textures they present on this album could warm the soul of any who love the christmas season. The album starts out with a powerful fade in of voices in "Caroling, Caroling," followed by a great arrangement of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." They continue with some more beautifuly performed traditional carols including "White Christmas," "Oh Holy Night," "The Twelve Days of Christmas," and a few others, then end with a warm and cozy arrangement of "Winter Wonderland." This CD is a great pick for those looking for something they can relax to in front of a fire on a cold winter's night.

4589 CD $11.98

The Hi-Lo's: Clap Yo' Hands

Clap Yo' Hands
Long Ave and Far Away
You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby
Shadow Waltz
Chinatown, My Chinatown
Too Young for the Blues
You Took Advantage of Me
Birth of the Blues
Surrey With the Fringe on Top
Put Your Dreams Away
Button Up Your Overcoat
Speak Low
Jeepers Creepers
I Thought About You
Nice Work if You Can Get It
Stars Fell on Alabama
Rockin' Chair

Comprising two of their records from the 1950's-1954's "I Presume" and 1958's "In Stereo"-"Clap Yo' Hands" captures the close harmony sound of the Hi-Lo's, who defined the vocal jazz of their era. The playground for the talents of the brilliant arranger Gene Puerling, who went on to form the Singers Unlimited, the Hi-Lo's toured with the Judy Garland show and sang with legends such as Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney. These tracks are orchestrated (by Frank Comstock, who backed the group on many early recordings) and include wonderful standards such as "Summertime," "Long Ago and Far Away," "Surrey With The Fringe On Top" and "Nice Work If You Can Get It." This is a jubilant recording that is alive with the joy of music. We have it on good authority that "Clap Yo' Hands" includes some of the group's favorite songs. Songlist

4213 CD $11.98

The Hi-Lo's: Cherries And Other Delights

The Hi-lo's were formed in April of l953 by bass singer and arranger Gene Puerling. Their tight, close, ringing harmonies are applied to an eclectic variety of music, barbershop, folk, bossa nova etc. etc. All the songs are accompanied by a three piece combo of piano, bass, and drums except for the extremely beautiful "Down By The Sally Gardens." Aside from the title track other well known tunes are "Lazy Afternoon," "Georgia On My Mind," "Fascinatin' Rhythm" and "You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby." On less well known tunes they rock, they jazz it up, they visit Hawaii. They are formidable!

4204 CD $10.98

Ink Spots: 20th Century Masters

Along with the Mills Bros, the Ink Spots were the most popular black vocal group of the 1930's and 40's, though their careers spanned such duration, that groups are still performing under the Ink Spots name! Their trademark style, with a buttery tenor vibrato over spoken interludes by the bass vocalist, and elegant yet understated accompaniment, generated a spate of hits, including their first big chart appearance with "If I Didn't Care" in 1939. Having found their niche, a series of similarly-produced songs, including "The Gypsy," "Java Jive," "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" and "Prisoner of Love," capitalized on the record-buying public's attention. Though there were many subsequent personnel changes, the group sustained both artistic quality and popular success, and no music collection is complete without the Ink Spots.

6248 CD $11.98

Ink Spots: Java Jive

Through changing pop styles the popularity of the Ink Spots remained strong. Across the globe, audiences flocked to hear their unique blend and fresh approach to the music. Spotlighted on this CD are some their greats, including "I Love You Truly," "My Wild Irish Rose" and "Shine On Harvest Moon." Not to be forgotten, closing the program is one of their most beloved hits from 1940, "Java Jive." No matter the changes in style, these songs will always be classics.

6253 CD $9.98

Kindred Spirits: Rekindled

Coppell, Texas-based mixed Christian barbershop quartet (2 men and two women) Kindred Spirits bring us eight finely-crafted Christmas tunes: "Fum, Fum Fum," "I Wonder What You’re Doing for Christmas," the sweet, soulful "What Can I Give Him," the inspirational "I Have Been Revived," "Mary Did You Know?", "It Is Well With My Soul," "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "Auld Lang Syne." Kindred Spirits sings with a lot of warmth, and there are a lot of wonderful harmonies in this CD–and good feeling for the blessed event that is the true reason we celebrate Christmas.

5377 CD $10.98

Everybody's Boppin'

Charleston Alley
Gimme That WIne
Everbody's Boppin'
Home Cookin'
Come On Home
Midnight Indigo

To listen to this trio reveals what a great influence this group has been on so many artists, in terms of choice of material and style. The most sophisticated and hip vocal treatments - Hendricks was a foremost developer of the vocalese technique - they change moods on a dime and are impossible to predict. Ross takes the lead on "Midnight Indigo," a sultry trickle of sweat on the back of the neck. "Moanin'" mixes up roadhouse blues with the sweetest of refrains. "Summertime" is just on the inside of a discordant wail, an eerie lament. Also included: "Cloudburst" and "Centerpiece."

4255 CD $11.98

Lennon Sisters: Best Loved Melodies

Review pending.

4496 CD $11.98

Manhattan Transfer: Manhattan Transfer

Tuxedo Junction
Sweet Talking Guy
Clap Your Hands
You Can Depend On Me
Blue Champagne
Java Jive
Heart's Desire 

The debut album recorded in 1975. Contains "Operator," the first Transfer song to garner the public's attention. It's an impressive opening gambit, and is still consistent with their style-be it on "Candy," "Tuxedo Junction" or "Java Jive." "You Can Depend On Me" is a fast sprint, "Blue Champagne" an elegant toast to the era of the speakeasy. "Occapella" is a bluesy uptempo tune that sounds a bit like early Bonnie Raitt. Also, an early version of "Heart's Desire," (later re-recorded on "Bop Doo Wopp." ) All songs are accompanied, with particular depth in the horn/reed sections. Songlist

4101 CD $10.98

Manhattan Transfer: Boy From New York City

A budget-priced collection of some of their early hits. Boy From New York City, Java Jive, Gloria, Helpless, Tuxedo Juction, Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone, Ray's Rockhouse, Mystery, Smile Again, Birdland.

4591 CD $8.98

Manhattan Transfer: Bodies and Souls

1983 release featuring "Why Not?" for which the group won a Grammy. The group mixes up their sound, fronting a keyboard driven band and singing nearly all original material that could best be described as adult contemporary pop. Big production values augment the Transfer's four part harmonies; the songs range from the feel-good anthem, "Code of Ethics," written for the 1984 Olympics, to the sentimental "Goodbye Love," which is believable because of the sincerity of the vocal. "The Night That Monk Returned To Heaven" is noteworthy for its enigmatic chord voicings. "Spice of Life" is a dance number; "Mystery" a mid-tempo ballad; both songs could (of should) have been Top 40 hits, sort of a Manhattanesque Miami Sound Machine! Songlist

4120 CD $10.98

Manhattan Transfer: Brasil

The Transfer's style adapts well to this colorful recording, produced in 1987. Drawing upon the South American continent for thematic inspiration, as well as the characteristic rhythms and orchestration, the result is a satisfying world and jazz fusion of warmth and cool. "Notes From The Underground" captures a groove that is indelible, complimenting the distinctive melody. "Soul Food To Go," "The Zoo Blues" and "Metropolis" are contemporary pop, but with a welcome complexity; "Capim" is liquid contemporary jazz, with Stan Getz smoldering on sax throughout.

4116 CD $10.98

Manhattan Transfer: Tonin'

A stellar assembly of famous guests contribute to this 1994 recording of classic pop standards. "Groovin'" is a duet between tenor singer Alan Paul and Felix Cavaliere, the song's composer. The late Laura Nyro, writer of "La-La Means I Love You," duets with soprano Cheryl Bentyne; Janis Siegel, alto, gets her turn with Bette Midler, on "It's Gonna Take A Miracle." Phil Collins steps forward with bass vocalist Tim Hauser to sing "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby." Other highlights: "The Thrill Is Gone," with B.B. King and Ruth Brown, and "God Only Knows," arranged by Mervyn Warren of Take 6! Songlist

4113 CD $10.98

Manhattan Transfer: The Very Best Of

Few groups have a more distinguished pedigree than the Transfer. Since their formation in New York in 1972, these four voices (two male, two female) have notched up numerous gold and platinum albums, and accumulated a shelf full of Grammy's. Their performance of "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square" (included here) won a Grammy for its Gene Puerling arrangement. With collaborators Jon Hendricks and Richie Cole, they promulgated the use of the vocalese technique-singing lyrics over jazz solos. They had their biggest hit of their career, with "Boy From New York City," in 1981, when it went to number seven. "Route 66" and "Tuxedo Junction" were made famous by Nat King Cole and Glenn Miller respectively ("Route 66" won the group yet another Grammy in 1983). "Birdland" was originally recorded by Weather Report; with the addition of Jon Hendricks' lyrics, a Transfer classic was born. This is required listening for vocal jazz fans. Songlist

4123 CD $10.98

Manhattan Transfer: Coming Out

1976 recording featuring Laurel Masse, their third. We all know the Manhattan Transfer's musicality is impeccable. The collection of songs-all accompanied-range from the Latin "The Speak Up Mambo" to a percussive "Poinciana," featuring a Michael Brecker saxophone solo. "S.O.S," "Helpless" and "Zindy Lou" are guitar driven uptempo pop with guest appearances by Dr. John and Ringo Starr! "Scotch and Soda" has a gorgeous and languid melody, "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference" and "Chanson D'Amour" are easy ballads. "Coming Out" is basically a mainstream production that only hints at the group's later more jazz-oriented sound. Songlist

4122 CD $10.98

Manhattan Transfer: Pastiche

This 1978 release is chock full of classic MT harmony. Like so many great recordings of theirs, it mixes vocal jazz with doo-wop and pop. Highlights include an amazing, be-bopping "Four Brothers" vocalese work by Jon Hendricks; a unique country spin on Cole Porter’s "Love For Sale," and smooth jazz "On A Little Street in Singapore." This was the last recording to include founding member Laurel Masse, who went on to pursue a solo career. Songlist

4121 CD $10.98

Manhattan Transfer: Extensions

1979 recording and the first with singer Cheryl Bentyne, who replaced Laurel Masse. Contains "Twilight Tone/Twilight Zone," the group's first U.S. hit-basically a disco number that borrows from the television theme song of the same name. "Birdland," the Weather Report orginal that, with the addition of lyrics by Jon Hendricks, became a staple of Manhattan Transfer's repetoire and one of their most popular songs-and their first Grammy winner. "Body and Soul" is the Phil Mattson arrangement, and "Foreign Affair" was arranged by Gene Puerling (sung a cappella) and conducted by Clare Fischer! (Can't beat the talent! ) "Nothing You Can Do About It" has a catchy refrain and piano motive that won't let go. Songlist

4105 CD $10.98

Manhattan Transfer: Swing

A study in the nature of swing, the Transfer have recorded a definitive musical treatise on the topic. Using their voices as instruments-specifically, the horn and reed sections-the group performs material that could be categorized broadly as either urban or rural swing. For example, on "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," (featuring Asleep At The Wheel) the instrumentation includes steel guitar and fiddles. "Java Jive" is performed at a more relaxed tempo and with a warmer feel. Long time Manhattan Transfer collaborator Jon Hendricks stepped up to write lyrics to Jelly Roll Morton's "King Porter Stomp" and Basie's "A Study In Brown." "Clouds" (music by Django Reinhardt) features a splendid violin solo by Stephane Grappelli and a breathy vocal solo passage that evokes the atmosphere of a smoky Paris nightclub. Wonderful listening.

4117 CD $10.98

Manhattan Transfer: Mecca for Moderns

The fifth record, containing the Top Ten Hit, "Boy From New York City," (which won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance) and "Until I Met You (Corner Pocket)," which won a Grammy for Best Jazz Performance, the first time a group had won awards in both the pop and jazz categories in a single year! Of course, those two songs are worth the price of the CD, but, in addition, you'll hear "A Nightingale Sung In Berkeley Square," sung a cappella, from the Gene Puerling arrangement. (Gene won a Grammy for this one!) Also: the Caribbean-influenced "(Wanted) Dead or Alive," with it's steel drums and cowbell-infectious-and Charlie Parker's "Confirmation," which predicates the group's exploration of vocalese. Songlist

4106 CD $10.98

Manhattan Transfer: The Christmas Album

Produced by Johnny Mandel, who also arranged several songs, this orchestrated recording is as elegant and uptown as Fifth Avenue and the Rockefeller Center. A special guest appearance by Tony Bennett, singing "The Christmas Song" from an arrangement by Gene Puerling, adds extra sparkle, but every carol is meticulously produced. The big band glamour of the "Happy Holiday/Holiday Season Medley" rings all the bells, whereas " A Christmas Love Song" is quietly contemplative. "Snowfall" is arranged by both Puerling and Mandel, and "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" by Puerling; both are as ethereal and heavenly as a choir of angels. Songlist

4111 CD $10.98

Manhattan Transfer: Bop Doo Wop

Combining classic jazz (bop) and doo wop, the Transfer have recorded another impeccably constructed CD. Five of the tracks were recorded live in Tokyo-of course, the quality is spot-on per usual, the group representing the pinnacle of vocal art. Listen to the group go off on a scat improv on "Jeannine": the voices trade lines with each other in a perfectly executed quadruple play! "Route 66" won them yet another Grammy, for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, and it sparkles. "Heart's Desire" is some of the best sounding doo wop we've ever heard; it's a humdinger! "That's The Way It Goes," which is dedicated to the Harptones and Criterions (Tim Hauser, bass singer of the Transfer, was a member of the Criterions as a young lad!) is all the sweeter now. Songlist

4107 CD $10.98

Manhattan Transfer: Vocalese

Considered by some to be the apex of the Transfer's vocal development, "Vocalese" refers to the setting of lyrics to previously recorded instrumental compositions. With the contributions of Jon Hendricks (of the highly-regarded Lambert, Hendricks & Ross) and saxophonist Richie Cole, this CD was nominated for twelve Grammy's and won two-Best Jazz Vocal Performance and Best Arrangement for Voices. "Killer Joe" builds off of an undulating synthesizer bass riff, which is the foundation for some flashy vocal soloing, copping what were originally horn parts-vocalese! "Airegin" (Nigeria backwards) sets a pace fast and furious, "To You" is its complete opposite-slow, romantic, with a throaty tenor solo passage and back-ups by the Four Freshmen! "Another Night In Tunisia" allows guest Bobby McFerrin to display his trademark percussion and then sculpt a slurred vocal line, adding a dramatic vibrato for emphasis. Top form. Songlist

4110 CD $10.98

Manhattan Transfer: Live

The MT is accompanied by The Manhattan Transfer Band, Yaron Gershovsky on keyboards, Alex Blake, acoustic and electric bass, Wayne Johnson, guitars, Don Roberts, reeds, and Buddy Williams, drums. The 13 tracks were recorded live at Nakano Sun Plaza Hall in Tokyo in February of 1986, and the liner notes are remarkably zenlike: the names of the songs, the names of the musicians and the date of the recording. After all, this is the Manhattan Transfer, one of the most exciting vocal jazz bands ever to step onto a stage–enough said!

4112 CD $10.98

Bobby McFerrin: The Voice

The Jump
El Brujo
I Feel Good
I'm My Own Walkman
Music Box
I'm Alone

Sometime in 1983 Bobby McFerrin gave his first solo voice concert in Ashland Oregon. In March of the following year he had a tour of Germany stopping in concert and opera halls. This was the springboard which propelled him to world renown as a solo singer of unprecedented virtuosity. The Voice is the CD made of tracks from that tour. The thesaurus will run dry before this reviewer has used enough superlatives to pay homage to the world's only a cappella one man band. The two tunes which gained world wide play from this album are "Blackbird" and "I Feel Good" but the other tunes are as interesting, just too long for radio play.

4151 CD $11.98

Bobby McFerrin: Circle Songs

We can always expect something new from Mr. McFerrin. Circlesongs is a recording of eight spontaneous vocal improvisations sung by twelve singers and Bobby. Three basses, three tenors, three altos and three sopranos create the vocal textures around which Bobby weaves his lilting solos. The songs are very like chant because of the repeating and rhythmic sounds which truly have a circular sound. Words are eschewed in favor of syllables of sound, a style McFerrin explains, "I've always felt that singing a song without words makes one song a thousand songs because the people who hear it can bring their own stories to it."

4159 CD $11.98

Bobby McFerrin: Spontaneous Inventions

How do you capture spontaneous creation? Blue Note's answer was to present the widest possible variety of performances on one CD in order to capture the sense of someone who is spontaneous in every performance. They succeeded admirably! Three originals, four solo interpretations of other composer's work, singing around the piano of Herbie Hancock, facing off with the soprano sax of Wayne Shorter, and a hysterical "Beverly Hills Blues" (improv with Robin Williams), are the contents but one. That one is "Another Night In Tunisia," sung with The Manhattan Transfer and Jon Hendricks. It's a must for any collection..

4152 CD $10.98

Bobby McFerrin: Simple Pleasures

"Don't Worry, Be Happy" is the opening tune of a collection of multi tracked songs on which all the voices are Bobby McFerrin's. Five originals including the title track "Simple Pleasures" are interwoven with "Drive My Car" (Lennon/ McCartney), "Good Lovin'," "Susie Q," "Them Changes" (Buddy Miles) and Sunshine Of Your Love. Throughout this recording is the percussive chest thump which Bobby pioneered and really must be considered the origin of innovative vocal percussion which has become so important to contemporary a cappella.

4153 CD $11.98

Bobby McFerrin: Medicine Music

Medicine Music was written, arranged, and produced by Bobby. It is a very full sound created by overdubbing. The vocal percussion is more drum -like than ever. There is an underlying spiritual theme present, weaving its way from the beginning, "Medicine Man," to the closing reinterpretation of "The 23rd Psalm," dedicated to his mother. In addition, Voicestra, the vocal orchestra of his creation, sings on "Sweet In The Morning" and on "Discipline" which also features Robert McFerrin Sr. An anomaly is the electronically accompanied tune, "Common Threads," which was the theme from the movie of that name. It's beautiful.

4156 CD $10.98

Bobby McFerrin: Mouth Music

"Mouth Music" has a photo of a smiling McFerrin, thinly-wrapped dreadlocks hanging down, in an incongruous white tie and tux; and the first cut is Overture to "The Marriage of Figaro" by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra—conducted by Bobby McFerrin. The 2nd cut is the jazz standard "'Round Midnight," with Bobby's smoky, faux-trumpet solo lead, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums. Next is "Song for Amadeus," Bobby's improvisation on Mozart's Sonata No.2 in F Major," with Chick Corea on piano. The 4th and 5th cuts are "Pavane, Op. 50" and "Minuet" from String Quintet No. 1 in E Major, Op. 13, with Bobby conducting the Chamber Orchestra and providing soaring, joyful vocals, especially on "Minuet." The wonderful, rhythmic a cappella "Circlesong 1" and "Circlesong 2" are followed by a sublime "Hush Little Baby," "Flight of the Bumblebee" and the surprising "Hoedown," with Bobby's freeform vocals accompanied by Yo-Yo Ma. When we have a tendency to think that singers and other musicians aren't really so special, a CD like "Mouth Music" will show us exactly how extraordinary they can be. A beautiful CD from Master Bobby and his talented guests!

4612 CD $9.98

Mills Brothers: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection

We wish all history sounded this good! The Mills Bros. started singing together in 1925, combining barbershop harmony with the jaunty rythms of the swing era. It was a sweet combination that led to a 70 year career! From 1942's "Paper Doll" to their 1968 rendition of "Cab Driver", these harmonious gentlemen had a string of top-40 hits and enjoyed enormous popularity. Warning for purists: all the songs are accompinied to some degree, usually lighty. But don't miss this CD because of that -these guys are under the directory under "debonair". Every song is a treat "Lazy River", "You Always Hurt the One You Love", "'Till Then,"I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm", "Someday", their marvelous hit "Glow Worm", "Standing on the Corner", and "Be My Life's Companion." Classic!

4437 CD $11.98

Rescue: Rescue

Seven-track EP, released in 1999. Simple ballads, such as the title track (also the group's name, must be the theme) and 'Amazing Grace' set a reverent tone of obeisance. The percussive 'Kum-Bah-Yah,' at under a minute in length, is less a song than an interlude, but it and 'Obey Him' show the quartet in light rock mode. Skillfully produced and arranged, their sound is full and reverberant, but allows enough room (and silence) for the songs to breathe.

2205 CD $9.98

Spike & Co: Do It Acappella

True Image
I Need You
Mint Juleps
Don't Let Your Heart
Zombie Jamboree
The Persuasions
Looking For An Echo
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Phansi Em Godini Down In The Mines
Mint Juleps
I Want To Live Easy
Rockapella with True Image
Under The Boardwalk
The Persuasions
Up On The Roof
Mint Juleps
Higher And Higher
Take 6
Get Away Jordan
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
N'Kosi Sikeleli Afrika God Bless Africa
The Persuasions
Pass On The Love
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Timing, that is the key. Often we understand the magnitude of an event only though the hindsight of history. In 1990 Spike Lee & Co. produced a television special totally a cappella. It featured some of the finest rock/popular/doo-wop groups in the world. Included in this sound track are Ladysmith Black Mambazo, The Mint Juleps, The Persuasions, Rockapella, Take Six and True Image. In historical terms this event was a watershed event bringing the renaissance of a cappella of to the public consciousness. It still is a marvelous cd and a must for any enthusiast of the genre. What ever happened to True Image, anyway?

2391 CD $11.98

Take 6: Take 6

Gold Mine
Spread Love
If We Never Needed The Lord Before (We Sure Do Need Him Now)
A Quiet Place
David And Goliath
Get Away, Jordan
He Never Sleeps
Milky-White Way
Let The Words

Not just a cappella fans but the whole musical world perked up their ears when six young singers transformed the gospel world with their jazz arrangements. The beautiful harmonies and sophisticated arrangements immediately set a standard which has been endlessly copied ever since. Within a single song can frequently be found elements of jazz, soul, rock and R&B on a gospel base. It is no wonder that these singers were tapped to be the winners of two Grammy Awards for their first recording! It is a must for any a cappella collection! Remember this was 1988 and they set the standard by which other great harmony groups such as Boyz II Men were measured and continue to be so judged. Songlist
Listen to "A Quiet Place" in Real Audio.

3101 CD $14.98

Take 6: Live

The first live release from the group widely acknowledged to be the one that sets the standard for vocal harmony arrangements, recorded at the Blue Note in Tokyo, Japan. Though considered contemporary gospel, that may be an obvious categorization, but in fact their sound spills over into a variety of genres. Witness "How Sweet It Is," a pop tune that¹s voiced with jazz chordings and a swinging rhythm, or their wonderfully limber "All Blues," which features accompaniment by a jazz sextet, the members of which are, surprise, Take 6 themselves! The delicate touch of Cedric Dent¹s piano graces several cuts, such as "Smile," one of three songs never recorded by Take 6 before, and new for this CD. Favorites like "Spread Love" and "Mary" (with a new arrangement) are included in the set, but rest assured there¹s a lot of fresh sounds to get into ­ and the production and musicality are immaculate. Songlist.

2211 CD $15.98

Take 6: Brothers

In the fullness of a fabulously successful recording career it is axiomatic that the artists may do whatever they please to enhance their self expression. Therefore it would be wrong of this reviewer to bemoan the orchestration of one of the finest a cappella groups who ever harmonized (moan). There, that's out of my system. This is still an important album to those of us who have all their prior and subsequent releases. Vocally, the individual voices of whomever happens to be the lead singer at the moment is more prominent than on the pure a cappella releases and it is thereby fascinating to hear very clearly the beauty of the individual voices. A note of interest is that six of the ten songs have all the instrumentation played by Brian McKnight, no doubt the brother of singer Claude V. McKnight III. Songlist

3105 CD $14.98

Take 6: So Much 2 Say

This second release from 1990 extended the stunning originality of Take Six. Most of the songs on So Much 2 Say are originals, again enhanced by the groups willingness to use any musical tradition. Particularly notable is the marvelously sophisticated use of vocal and body percussion and the vocal horn intro in "I'm On My Way". Occasional sound effects sweetening just seems to enhance the messages and character of the songs, but never fear, the unbelievably tight harmonies and sublime intonation which are the trademark of the group is still the substance of the material which, once again, is mostly written by and always arranged by the members of the group. Songlist

3102 CD $14.98

Take 6: Join the Band

Well it was inevitable that any group as talented as Take Six would constantly expand their horizons. "Join The Band" features electronically synthesized orchestration with drum machines and the occasional saxophone in beautiful arrangements. To satisfy the ear of the a cappella listener there is "My Friend" sung with Ray Charles (yes, The Ray Charles), and two more, including the poignantly beautiful "Lullaby". Even if you consider yourself an a cappella purist and feel that instruments tend to obscure the goal of perfect harmony, as this reviewer does, this recording transcends that petty perspective and is a must for any collection. Songlist

3104 CD $14.98

Take 6: He Is Christmas

Contemporary Christian group Take 6 are virtuoso singers with a flawless grasp of harmonic theory. This vocabulary enables them to create arrangements that are resplendent with original ideas, though built on an unassailable foundation. "Silent Night" is a haunting mysterious dance with the familiar melody line, a departure point for the jazz chord voicings that are essential imagery of Take 6. The group's own "Oh!, He Is Christmas" is a sophisticated soul didactic. "Away In A Manger" is rooted in a repeating bass part - the breath of the tune - while the lead is freed up to explore every vocal contour. "Amen" is a smooth gospel-go-round, joyous and bright. If you want uniquely brilliant interpretations of your Christmas favorites, this is the CD for you.Songlist

3103 CD $14.98

Zap Mama: Sabsylma

we're waiting for you, kizzy-kizz, our lord and master
Sabsylma (What's Your Name?)
Mais Qu'est-Ce? (But What Shall We?)
De La Vie A La Mort (From Life To Death)
Citoyen 120 (Citizen 120)
Locklat Africa
Mr. Brown
Awakening In Australia (Reveil En Australie)
Fi Dunia
For No One
The Mamas Of The Mamas (Les Mamas Des Mamas)
Adjosio Omonie

Can one of the most original and exciting recordings in world music be followed by a repeat performance? Yes! It seems impossible, but the second release had fans wondering secretly if it wasn't even better than the first. As on the first, Zap Mama uses African rhythms, yodels and chants, always accompanied by an interplay of vocal percussive elements which become so complex that they demand total attention to appreciate. Using vocal techniques never before heard (as they are an original synthesis), these five women transport us not only to Africa and Europe, but to India and Australia in a continuing fabulous world tour. We can't possibly give any recording a more enthusiastic endorsement!

9251 CD $14.98

Zap Mama: Seven

we're waiting for you, kizzy-kizz, our lord and master

Marie Daulne is Zap Mama. She's gone on an exploratory odyssey on Seven. The rhythms are just as compelling and the vocals are just as inventive, but generally not quite as complex as those to which we are accustomed, for this recording features a variety of band arrangements to complement the vocals. For example, the driving rhythm and guitar work of the very first tune could be from King Sunny Ade, at least up until the last when the tune segues to a bit of the reggae "No Man No Cry." The next song starts with a bass and vocal section entirely reminiscent of the a cappella Zap Mama. Then the sultry saxophone comes in and you realize that there will be no predicting what's to come, except that it will be one fascinating album, which truly deserves the 'world' categorization. Though there are no a cappella tracks there is no mistaking the unique vocal arrangements of Zap Mama.

9252 CD $11.98

Barbershop Harmony Time (With The Chordettes)

Time They Say It's Wonderful - Chordettes
If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight - Buffalo Bills
Angry - Chordettes
Down By The Old Mill Stream - Chordettes
Why Do I Love You - Buffalo Bills
Down Among The Sheltering Palms - Chordettes
As Time Goes By - Buffalo Bills
Fit As A Fiddle - Buffalo Bills
I Believe - Chordettes
Your Eyes Have Told Me So - Buffalo Bills

Here's history for you. The Buffalo Bills were International Champions in 1951 and are well remembered today for their appearance as a barbershop quartet in the 1962 movie 'The Music Man.' That appearance along with their winning harmonies leave an inspired heritage for today. The Chordettes were a Wisconsin group who shifted their focus from folk music to close harmony in the late '40s. After winning Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scout Show they became regulars on the show, which is why you'll hear them singing "Down By The Old Mill Stream" with Arthur on this recording. From 1954-1961 The Chordettes had thirteen songs on the top hundred charts including the 1954 hit "Mr. Sandman." This is a must-have for anyone interested in the history of great barbershop groups!

5030 CD $9.98

Various Artists: Hot Harmony Groups 1932-1951 - That's the Rhythm Volume 1

"That's The Rhythm" is a delicious collection of 20 examples of Black vocal group harmony from the early 1930s to the early 1950s, all at least lightly accompanied. The watershed moment for these groups was the rise of network radio, which made immediate stars of the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots. By 1945 there were three routes an aspiring group could take, the "jubilee" gospel style of the Golden Gate Quartet, which enjoyed a crossover appeal, the jump/jive stylings of the Four Vagabonds, which had an almost entirely Black following, or going into the pop crossover stylings of the Ink Spots/Mills Brothers, whose huge success was due to the support of a vast white audience. So many treats: The Three Keys' cartoon-like "Somebody Stole Gabriel's Horn," Three Sharps and a Flat's wonderful title tune, the raunchy, double-entendre "Garbage Man" by the Four Aces, the very funny "Wig Blues" by The Melody Masters, who also star on "Subway Cutie," The Four Vagabonds' swinging "Choo Choo," The Four Blues' boogie-woogie anthem "It Takes A Long Tall Brown Skinned Girl," the Four Knights' sweet "Wrapped Up In A Dream," The Three Riffs' silly "Cherry In My Lemon And Lime," The Beavers' torch song "I'd Rather Be Wrong Than Blue"—these are unknown musical treasures on many levels. Funny, poignant, hip, romantic—it's all here, and some of the sweetest leads and harmonies you could imagine. We love this collection!

4543 CD $11.98

Various Artists: Harmony Sweepstakes '97

Review pending.

2597 CD $9.98

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