DEAR JERRY: I have always admired the career and style of Herb Alpert & His Tijuana Brass, but I have some unanswered questions about his music.
Despite several hits with Mexican and Spanish titles (“The Lonely Bull;” “Acapulco 1922;” “Mexican Drummer Man;” “Mexican Shuffle;” “Spanish Flea;” etc.), I heard none of the group were Mexican or Spanish. True or False?
A friend told me the girl covered with whipped cream on the cover of the “Whipped Cream” album is singer Claudine Longet. True or False?
I don't know her by sight, but it seems possible since there is publicity for her recordings on other Herb Alpert albums.
Finally, before hitting the big time as an instrumentalist with “The Lonely Bull,” I know Herb made some vocals. But did he recording anything playing the trumpet like on his many hit albums?
Richard Dunbar, Decatur, Ala
DEAR RICHARD: It is comforting to know there is a 50% chance of correctly answering the first two. My guesses are true, and false.
True. None of the Tijuana Brass are Hispanic.
False. Claudine Longet is not the cream-drenched hottie seen on “Whipped Cream & Other Delights.”
That nominee for the Dairy Products Pin-up Hall of Fame is model Dolores Erickson.
Frankly, because of the hot lights and length of time involved, only a smidgen of genuine whipped cream is in that shot. Most of what you see is shaving cream.
Not nearly as tasty, but Foamy stays foamy much longer. Real whipping cream would have degenerated back into milk.
Answering your last question will reveal a virtually unknown fact, one I doubt has ever been published.
After producing several hit records for Dante and the Evergreens in 1960 and '61, Herb and Dante returned to the studio in mid-'62 to do some tunes for Imperial Records. (Rick Nelson helped open that door at Imperial for these sessions.)
Dante (Don Drowty) had just put together a new group, called Dante and His Friends.
One track from that session, “The Magic Ring” (Imperial 5867), features a tricky trumpet solo by Alpert one in which he used a then-unconventional triple overdub process.
Alpert's triple-trumpet solo on “The Magic Ring” is likely the underpinning of a style that would, in a matter of a few weeks, make him an international star.
For the record, Herb Alpert did play trumpet on a few earlier sessions for other artists, particularly the Untouchables, but none involve the sound he fashioned for “The Magic Ring.”
DEAR JERRY: Our favorite oldies station plays a version of “Tell Him,” by the Exciters, that just doesn't sound quite right to me.
I would like to bring this to their attention, but that may not believe me.
After reading your dissection of the Pips' “Every Beat of My Heart,” I'll bet you can give me some proof.
Lesley Bonner, York, Pa.
DEAR LESLEY: Your testimony in this case will go unchallenged if you enter these facts into evidence:
An alternative “Tell Him” does exist, one close enough to the original hit to fool the casual listener. Still, accurate identification of the original is possible by listening to the first minute.
About 50 seconds into the 1963 hit, lead vocalist Brenda Reid sings: “If you want him to be, always by your side.”
At this same point in the alternative take, Brenda seems to lose track of the words. Aware of the flub, she ad libs the rest of the line with words pulled from thin air: “If you want him (unnatural pause) … make your heart sing out.”
That is all you need to know to make your case.
IZ ZAT SO? Herb Alpert can proudly claim two of history's most remarkable album chart feats.
For the first week of April 1966, he and the Tijuana Brass held four of Billboard's Top 10 positions: (2) “Going Places;” (3) “Whipped Cream & Other Delights;” (9) “South of the Border;” and (10) “The Lonely Bull.”
Equally impressive is that for four consecutive weeks December 23, 1967 to January 20, 1968 EIGHT Herb Alpert & TJB albums continuously resided in Top 100.
They include the above four, still there since 1965, plus “Sounds Like;” “S.R.O.;” “What Now My Love;” and “Herb Alpert's Ninth.”