From the Land of Band Box Records

Two From Our Past

November 20, 2017

Some additional details on a couple of groups from the Mile High State

Alpha Centauri (Greeley)

Band Members:

  • Randy Thompson (keyboards)
  • Garth Hannum (bass)
  • Kurth Smith (drums)
  • Jess Redmon (guitar)

The following was submitted by David Monahan:

(Randy was) Born in Denver Colorado, Randy was one of the founding members of Alpha Centauri, and remained in the band for their entire 12 year run. Keyboard player, lead vocalist, songwriter, Randy’s talent always came through even though he was surrounded by a mountain of keyboards. After the breakup in 1983, Randy continued performing with drummer Kurt Smith in another Colorado band called “Eyez” After the breakup of “Eyez” Randy ended his career as a full time musician, and began perusing a career in electronics. Randy still resides in Greeley, and is employed as an electrical engineer for an international electronics manufacturer.

(Garth was) Born in Fargo, North Dakota, Garth grew up in Wyoming, where he began playing in bands in 1969. After majoring in advertising in college, Garth worked in several photography studios in Phoenix and Minneapolis, before joining Alpha Centauri. Bass player and songwriter, Garth proved that bass players didn’t have to stand in the background, and was a vital part of the energy that the band projected. He resides in Texas where he is Sr. Videographer and Photographer for a large international company.

(Kurth is) A native son of Greeley, Kurt began playing drums at the of twelve. As one of the founding members, he played with Alpha Centauri for over 10 years, and continued to play in various bands after the break-up. Kurt laid down a “thunderous” drum beat that was another reason the band had such a hard driving rock sound. Kurt has maintained a successful business in Greeley, where he continues to live with family.

Jess was another early starter, picking up the guitar at age seven. Jess joined Alpha Centauri in 1971 and stayed with them, for the most part until the end in 1983. Jess was a quintessential Hard Rock Guitar player and a driving force that helped captivate audiences, where ever Alpha Centauri played. After the band broke up, Jess started his own recording studio and label called Blue Zephyr. In 1988 he received the “Best Songwriter of the Year” award from the C.S.W.A. The most musically active member of the Alpha alumni, Jess lives in Pierce, Colorado with his family.

LP – Salt Audio 003 – “Alpha Centauri”

CD – Pacemaker – “Alpha Centuari” – 1995

The Lee Arellano Trio


  • Lee Arellano (drums)
  • Less James (guitar)
  • Andy Arellano (bass)
  • Sam Piano (keyboards)

Lee Arellano Jazz Trio – formed at Denver’s Metro State College in early 1970’s.  They made their debut performance in July of 1967 at the Club Seville in Denver where they recorded several tracks over multiple sessions.

In 1968 Andy Arellano is replaced on bass by Jack Dujo, also from Pueblo, Colorado. The trio would experience several personnel changes before recording their second LP in 1969 on the Denver label Premiere.  Sometimes the Arellano name appears as “Arlano”.  They cut four tracks on the Sonobeat record label.

Keyboard player Sam “Poni” – is actually Sam Pannunzio and he would go on to perform under that name.

In 1976 Lee joins with a large combo called “The Denver Affair”.

who today remains an active performer based in Pueblo, Colorado. By 1976, Lee has joined big band The Denver Affair. Lee passes away on October 1st, 1982, at the age of 48.

Sam Pannunzio started off his musical career in the early 1960’s as a member of the NORAD military band stationed in the Colorado Springs area and then joined with Arellano right out of high school.  He continued on later in his career working and performing in Pueblo and also in Colorado Springs working at the Broadmoor Hotel’s “Penrose Room”


Johnny Smith (Image from "The Denver Eye")

45 – Sonobeat 501 – There Will Never Be Another You” b/w “Meditation” – 1967

45 – Hector 2775 – Harper Valley P.T.A.” b/w “Drums” – 1967 (with Lee drumming on B side with Byron Petersen Combo) – 1969

Space Race & Cocktail Time in the Old Bachelor Pad

November 18, 2017

An Innocent and Intriguing Time

Image result for space age music logo

I don’t believe I have ever – ever purchased a long play album which could be classified as “Space Age Pop” – But before I could make that claim I thought I would look a little deeper into just what exactly defines that genre….


Esquivel!’s Lunar Landing

“Space Age”, “Lounge”, “Exotica”, “Bachelor Pad”, “Cocktail” – it goes on and on.

Wikipedia keeps it simple:
“Space age pop is a music genre associated with Mexican and American composers and songwriters in the space age of the 1950s and 1960s.  Space age pop was inspired by the spirit of those times, an optimism based on the strong post-war economy and technology boom, and excitement about humanity’s early forays into space.  Although there is no exact album, date, or year when the genre was born, producer Irwin Chusid identifies its heyday as “roughly 1954 to 1963—from the dawn of high-fidelity (hi-fi) to the arrival of the Beatles.”

Along come the 1990’s – A CD is released titled “Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music”  by Julian Garcia Esquivel, and a full blown “Space Age” revival is born.

Julian Esquivel was born in January of 1918 in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico and in his professional musical career was generally referred to as simply “Esquivel!” (complete with the exclamation mark!).

He would become known as the “King of Space Age Pop”.  Beyond arranging and performing many Latin flavored standards and applying touches ranging from Chinese bells to mariachi touches – vivid orchestration and even vocally delivered nonsense syllables – often accompanied by elaborate light shows.

But Esquivel!’s style was his – There was Mancini, Zentner, Denny, Gleason, Lyman, the Mona Keys, Julie London and on and on it goes.

So who were the connoisseurs of Space Age Pop?  Who exactly was purchasing these long play albums?  One thing I know for sure, it certainly wasn’t anyone running with my crowd.

In fact, we rarely ever purchased a long play album!  I remember going to basement parties sorting through stacks of 45’s that several of us would bring along, scratching them up as they were shuffled and then placed on the portable Hi-Fi.

But I never recall anyone bringing along a long play album to one of these parties.

Now my parents owned a modest collection of long plays, and many were influenced by their occasional journeys to the “Islands” – specifically the island of Maui.  Webley Edwards’ “Hawaii Calls” series were a favorite, as were any number of Hawaiian collections – including Burl Ives performing “Pearly Shells”.

My folks counted among their friends a few couples from the generation following their own (“The Greatest Generation”) but as I recall these couples were more into some bop and swing type stuff.

Top: Martin Denny – Linda Lawson – Esquivel! – Felix Slatkin Bottom: Don Ralke – Arthur Lyman – Rene Touzet

My sister and her friends were more prone to purchasing an Eddie Fisher or Pat Boone long play before they would choose a Nelson Riddle recording.

So I suspect there were many closet “Space Agers”.  I can imagine fidelity nuts going in big time for the genre – testing out their high end audio equipment or perhaps even dabbling in Heathkits – remember those?   The Heathkit company was founded in 1912 by Edward Bayard Heath, starting off manufacturing oscilloscopes, moving into Ham radios finally moving into audiophile components to be assembled at home.

And it rode right along with the golden Rock and Roll Era – rolling right into the British Invasion before silently returning to Earth!

Space Age Selected Discography

Robert Drasnin did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Robert Drasnin – Voodoo Exotic Music From Polynesia and the Far East – 1959

Esquivel! did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Esquivel! – 4 Corners of the World – 1958

During the Space Age Music Era Ferrante & Teicher placed ten LP’s on the Billboard Charts – and a total of 31 LP’s for all time

Ferrante & Teicher – Blast Off – 1958

Ferrante & Teicher – Pianos In Paradise – 1962

During the Space Age Music Era Jackie Gleason placed eight LP’s on the Billboard Charts and a total of 18 LP’s for all time

Jackie Gleason – The Torch with the Blue Flame – 1958

Morton Gould did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Morton Gould – Jungle Drums – 1956

Bobby Hammcack did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

The Bobby Hammack Quartet – Power House – 1955

Tom Harper did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Ton Harper – Lady Lonely – 1959

Richard Hayman did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Richard Hayman – Voodoo! – 1959

Dick Hyman placed two LP’s on the Billboard Charts during the Space Age Music Era and six LP’s all time

Dick Hyman – (Swings Music From) Whoop-Up – 1959

Linda Lawson did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts


Linda Lawson – Introducing Linda Lawson – 1960

Julie London placed six LP’s on the Billboard Charts during the Space Age Music Era

Julie London – Sings Latin In A Satin Mood – 1963

Arthur Lyman placed three LP’s on the Billboard Charts during the Space Age Music Era

Arthur Lyman -Taboo – 1958

Henry Mancini placed eleven LP’s on the Billboard Charts during the Space Age Music Era and 40 LP’s all time

Henry Mancini – Combo! – 1961

Eddy Manson did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Eddy Manson – The Fi Is Hi – 1958

The Monn Keys did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

The Monn Keys – Dreamsville – 1961

Bobby Montez did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Bobby Montez – Jungle Fantastique! – 1958

Enric Madriguera did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts


Enric Madriguera – Arthur Murray Favorites – Sambas – 1960

Nelson Riddle placed three LP’s on the Billboard Charts during the Space Age Music Era

Nelson Riddle – Route 66 Theme – 1962



Don Ralke did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Don Ralke – Bongo Madness – 1957

Walter Schumann did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

The Voices of Walter Schumann – Exploring the Unknown – 1955

Raymond Scott did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Raymond Scott – The Secret 7 “The Unexpected” – 1960

Felix Slatkin placed one LP on the Billboard Charts during the Space Age Music Era

Felix Slatkin – Paradise Found – 1961

The Smart Set did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

The Smart Set – Informally Yours – 1959

Terry Synder did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Terry Snyder – Mister Percussion – 1960

The Spencer-Hagen Orchestra did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

The Spencer-Hagen Orchestra – Essence of Romance – 1958

Carl Stevens did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Carl Stevens – African Sounds – 1962

Bob Thompson did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Bob Thompson – The Sound of Speed – 1958

Tak Shindo did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Tak Shindo – Brass and Bamboo – 1961

Rene Touzet did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Rene Touzet and the Cha Cha Rhythm Boys – Blue Bongo – 1958

Ed Townsend did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Ed Townsend – New In Town – 1959

Randy Van Horne did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Randy Van Horne – Clef Dwellers – 1958

Kitty White did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Kitty White – Kitty White – 1956

Deep Purple vs. Carol Burnett – Battle of the Century!

November 14, 2017

A Cosby Venture…..

Off the Deep End

Before Troubles Set In

So what do the Brits Deep Purple have in common with Carol Burnett the zany comedian and host of her own television show which ran from 1967 until 1978?

Absolutely nothing other than both recording for the record label Tetragrammaton in the 1960’s.  The label was formed in late 1967 with the first releases hitting the market in the Spring of 1968.

The first single released was by “The Fat Albert Orchestra and Chorus”.  The “Fat Albert” debut was appropriate enough since one it’s creators was the fallen Bill Cosby – who debuted the character of “Fat Albert” as far back as 1967 in a stand-up comedy routine.

From there “Fat Albert” appeared in an animation program in 1969 “Hey, Hey, Hey, It’s Fat Albert” but not before the character debuted on Tetragramaton Records.  The record label was also a project headed up by Cosby along with three other owners – one of which was Cosby’s career manager Roy Silver.

The second act introduced by Tetragrammaton was an unlikely pairing with the British group Deep Purple – who at time – were not a ‘heavy metal’ band both more in the genre of ‘progressive’ British rock.

From Roundabouts to Pure Purple

Deep Purple was the brainchild of Liverpool’s Chris Curtis who had previously performed as the drummer for The Searchers.  Curtis did not envision the a steady lineup but instead picking up and dropping musicians of considerable talent – and thus naming them “Roundabout”.  After a short time working as Roundabout – band member Ritchie Blackmore suggested a change to “Deep Purple” a song favored by his grandmother.

Lots of personnel changes before they entered the studio in England where they would cut their first LP which in turn was released in the United States on Tetragrammaton as “Shades of Deep Purple”. The LP would chart at number #24 in the Fall of 1968 and would be followed three additional LP’s released by Tetragrammaton (by the way which translates to ‘the name of God’ in Hebrew).

By the time of the fourth Tetragrammaton Deep Purple LP, the label was in fiscal trouble and therefore the release was not well promoted – and died a quiet death.  Deep Purple would move on – with Warner Bros. picking up the Tetragrammton catalog.  Deep Purple would change during the 1970’s morphing into a heavy metal band and enjoying ample fame.

Best Unfinished Johnny

If you are a collector of all-things Beatles – you probably own a copy of John and Yoko’s “Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins” which by many accounts would have been better off never started!

But at any rate – long story – John and Yoko’s presenting of the LP tracks along with nude cover graphics was not well-received by Capitol Records who distributed Apple releases in the United States – so much so that Capitol flatly refused to distribute it as presented.

A Bad Apple for Capitol

So Tetragrammaton stepped in and took over distribution.  Didn’t matter much – the LP only reached #124 on the Hot 200 dropping off the charts after a short eight week run.  The LP proceeded in the U.K. via it’s normal distribution outlets but did no better – failing to chart altogether.

Here is a partial description of the Lennon/Yoko collaboration from BSN Pubs ” Once the brown paper bag was removed, one was left with a disappointing nude photo of what John Lennon described as “two slightly overweight ex-junkies” and an album whose content is, well… what we actually have here is about a half hour of noise, or I should say noises, of various sorts. At about 10 minutes in, we hear a sound not unlike someone heaving, and rightly so. “

And As for Carol Burnett

Most likely this LP on Tetragrammaton 106 “Together Again for the First Time” (with fellow comedienne Martha Raye) was most likely just fellow comedic travelers finding an outlet with the Cosby enterprise – as were both Murray Roman and Biff Rose – appearing on the label.

Burnett – Boone – Kingstons – Raye

Tetragrammaton Long Play Discography

Tetragrammaton LP – Murray Roman

Tetragrammaton LP – 102 – Deep Purple

Tetragrammaton LP 103 – Biff Rose

Tetragrammaton LP 104 – Ivory

Tetragrammaton LP 105 – Bobby Paris

Tetragrammaton LP 106 – Carol Burnett and Martha Raye

Tetragrammaton LP 107 – Deep Purple

Tetragrammaton LP 110 – The Johnstons

Tetragrammaton LP 111 – Rhetta Hughes

Tetragrammaton LP 112 – Sweet Thursday

Tetragrammaton LP 113 – Tom Ghent

Tetragrammaton LP 114 – Summerhill

Tetragrammaton LP 116 – Biff Rose

Tetragrammaton LP 117 – Elyse

Tetragrammaton LP 118 – Pat Boone

Tetragrammaton LP 119 – Deep Purple

Tetragrammaton LP 120 – Murray Roman

Tetragrammaton LP 123 – The Steve Baron Quartet

Tetragrammaton LP 124 – Gene and Francesca

Tetragrammaton LP 125 – Joshua Fox

Tetragrammaton LP 131 – Deep Purple

Tetragrammaton LP 5002 – Quatrain

Tetragrammaton LP 5003 – Mark Slade

Tetragrammaton LP 5006 – Lalo Schifrin (Movie Soundtrack)

Tetragrammaton LP 5100 – Bill Cosby

Tetragrammaton LP 5101 – The Kingston Trio

Tetragrammaton LP 5101 – John and Yoko Ono

Tetragrammaton LP 5102 – The Great White Hope  – Broadway Play