Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

The Lonely Bull, South of the Border, Whipped Cream & Other Delights, !!Going Places!!, What Now My Love, S.R.O., and Lost Treasures (Shout Factory)

Reissues

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

The Lonely Bull (Shout! Factory)

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

South of the Border (Shout! Factory)

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

Whipped Cream & Other Delights (Shout! Factory)

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

!!Going Places!! (Shout! Factory)

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

What Now My Love (Shout! Factory)

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

S.R.O. (Shout! Factory)

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

Lost Treasures (Shout! Factory)

Years of secondhand ubiquity make it odd to hear Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass in a format other than used vinyl and on a label other than A&M. It seems every middle-class household in Sixties America bought an Alpert album only to jettison it years later like embarrassing wallpaper. Alpert's sprightly, trumpet-led instrumentals purported to capture the romance of Tijuana. In fact, he was the son of a Ukrainian-born Jewish tailor and not particularly fond of Mexican music. Yet despite its inauthentic origin, the netherworld evoked by Alpert's trademark tone and irresistible melodies remains one of the most potent aural fantasies of its era. 1962's "The Lonely Bull" was the single that started it all, but its namesake LP is slapdash by comparison. Alpert's 1963 follow-up, Volume 2, was a bona fide sophomore slump that isn't included in this reissue series. 1965's South of the Border is where Alpert solidifies his borderland sound with tunes like "Mexican Shuffle" and "El Presidente." The culinary-themed (and titillatingly covered) Whipped Cream & Other Delights was Alpert's first chart-topper. "A Taste of Honey" went Top 10, the title track appropriated for The Dating Game, and "Bittersweet Samba" eventually got mashed up with Public Enemy's "Rebel Without a Pause" to grand effect. The carnival-flavored !!Going Places!! features rollicking rides like "Tijuana Taxi" and "Spanish Flea," while What Now My Love and S.R.O. tone down the pep to emphasize easy listening. Sadly, aside from two bonus tracks on Whipped Cream, there are no extras and no reason why these short albums shouldn't have been packaged as twofers. At least the 22-track Lost Treasures offers value in its grab bag of rarities, including a pre-Carpenters version of "Close to You" sung by Alpert, as well as his deliciously inappropriate samba take on James Taylor's "Fire and Rain."

(The Lonely Bull) **

(South of the Border; What Now My Love; S.R.O.; Lost Treasures) ***

(Whipped Cream & Other Delights; !!Going Places!!) ****

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