Herb Alpert & Opinions on Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Herb Alpert

Trumpeter Herb Alpert has had a remarkable, multifaceted career. In addition to scoring his own hits with the Tijuana Brass in the ‘60s, he cofounded A&M Records, signing a diverse roster of artists ranging from The Carpenters to Janet Jackson. Herb Alpert joins Jim and Greg for a conversation. Plus, a review of the new album from legendary band Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

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Herb Alpert

Whipped Cream & Other Delights

Jim and Greg are delighted to be joined this week by legendary trumpeter Herb Alpert. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass scored a string of instrumental hits in the ‘60s, from The Lonely Bull to Casino Royale to A Taste of Honey. His 1965 album Whipped Cream & Other Delights became a staple of record collections all over, which was helped by its iconic, risqué cover. He even scored a surprise #1 hit as a vocalist with the Burt Bacharach/ Hal David composition This Guy’s In Love With You. But Alpert’s remarkable career goes well beyond his own recordings. Along with his partner Jerry Moss, he cofounded the venerable label A&M Records, signing a diverse roster including the Carpenters, Cat Stevens, Joe Cocker, The Police, and Janet Jackson. Through his philanthropic foundation, he’s donated millions toward music education. And if that’s not enough, he’s also an exhibiting sculptor. At age 81, he’s still going strong, with a brand new album called Human Nature. Herb Alpert discusses the genesis of his signature double-trumpet sound, being mentored by Sam Cooke, and his ethical approach to owning a label.

Skeleton Tree Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Skeleton Tree

Australian rock band Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are back with a new record called Skeleton Tree. The album is particularly dark, even by Cave’s standards, and deals with the aftermath of the death of Cave’s teenage son. Jim thinks it’s a hard listen, even for fans. He wishes that the album had a moment of redemption at the end, but recognizes that perhaps Cave has not yet found it. For those reasons, he gives Skeleton Tree a Try It. Greg agrees that the record is harrowing, meditating on questions of the pointlessness of life and how to carry on after losing a loved one. The way Cave interprets these songs is tragically beautiful, with vocals unlike any he’s ever provided, and Greg feels he’s working toward the light. While Skeleton Tree may not be something you want to listen to all the time, he gives it a Buy It for its earnest beauty.

Jim

Recently, Jim was in a tattoo parlor getting some work done on a sleeve full of his favorite album cover art. As one can imagine, he endured a fair amount of (self-inflicted) discomfort. However, he found refuge in the song Bad Vibrations by The Black Angels, which was playing in the shop. Jim’s Desert Island Jukebox selection comes from the 2010 album Phosphene Dream by the psychedelic southern rock band. Even though Jim was getting poked and prodded by a needle for three hours, this song momentarily took him to a groovy place in his mind where he forgot about the pain. The Black Angels conjure up a musical image of a hypnotic, chaotic bad trip, and Jim digs it big time for the Desert Island.

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