Today’s music video is Tijuana Taxi and the song is performed here by the American band Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass.
This video was posted to You Tube by Smurfstools Oldies Treasure Chest
When I first started these Sunday Music Posts back in late 2008, I started out with Instrumentals. I had an idea that the Posts were just going to be the occasional filler, but they developed a life of their own, as I found more music to post with some text about the song and the artists. I really didn’t think there were going to be many Instrumentals that I could actually Post, but it lasted almost nine Months before I started adding songs with lyrics. I was surprised just how many Instrumentals I really did like, and a couple of those songs I did post were from Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass.
Herb Alpert came to fame in 1964 when he released his first hit, The Lonely Bull. His distinctive trumpet is readily recognised. He formed his band The Tijuana Brass (TJB) after this first hit, in 1965, and this band dissolved in 1969, a relatively short time for an artist with so many hits from that era. Incidentally, not one member of that band was of Hispanic origin. Alpert is Jewish, and TJB consisted of an excellent group of session musicians, another of Jewish extraction, an American, and 4 others with Italian backgrounds. They were one of the highest paid acts during those latter years of the 60’s, and much in demand. They had a string of hits, 15 Gold albums, 14 of which went Platinum. In 1966 alone, the band sold 13 million albums, just in the U.S. In that same year they were credited with having 5 albums simultaneously on the Billboard pop album chart, an achievement not done prior to this, and for that fact, not done since as well. In April of that year in fact, Alpert had 4 of those albums in the Top Ten simultaneously. What needs to be realised here is that this was a t a time when The Beatles were at their best and every song they released went to the top of the charts, and Herb Alpert and TJB were almost as big as that as well.
With The Tijuana Brass, Alpert won 6 Grammy Awards.
Later he formed the A & M Records label (Alpert being the A part of the title) with Jerry Moss. This label was one of the ‘biggies’ in fact and signed numerous artists, The Carpenters among that number, and had hits spanning three decades. Alpert and Moss sold A & M Records in 1987 to PolyGram for a reported $500 Million.
Alpert won a further Grammy in 1979 with his monster hit Rise, and also an Achievement Grammy with Jerry Moss for their work with A & M Records.
This song I have featured today is Tijuana Taxi, which was released in 1965 as the lead track from his fifth album, !!Going Places!! The song was a Top Five hit in most places around the World, including here in Australia, where the band was really popular. For a band that was basically just Brass, or so you might think, as there were really only three brass instruments, and with a distinct jazz feel, even if it is upbeat, the song is still good to this day, not dated, as some hits become in time.
What is surprising here is that in the middle of the song, there is a break, and if you think of rock music, that break is usually filled by a lead guitarist going off with a lead break. Here for this song, you might expect a break to be filled with a horn solo, but here for this song, Herb was thinking outside the box, and his break was done with Marimbas, and it was really effective. The guy playing the Marimbas is the band’s keyboards player, one of those four Italians in the band.
It was not all that surprising really, as the song itself was written by Ervan ‘Bud’ Coleman who also played guitar and mandolin, and was a frequent session player for Herb Alpert and TJB. Coleman was also a member of the Baja Marimba Band, another group formed by Alpert to cash in on the ‘south of the border’ style of music which he made so popular himself.
This song is a wonderful example of the music of Herb Alpert and the TJB.