Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

Sounds Like

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For one week in June 1967, Sounds Like was able to break the Monkees' 31-week hammerlock on the number one slot on the charts -- just two weeks before the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper took over and changed the world. This shows, lest you forget -- and many have -- just how popular Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass were, still spanning the generations during the Summer of Love, still putting out records as fresh and musical and downright joyous as this one. Though not as jazz-flavored as S.R.O., Sounds Like does preserve the feeling, particularly in the extended vamps on an updated slave song, "Wade in the Water" (a hit single). "Gotta Lotta Livin' to Do" settles you into the record with nothing but a long vamp -- a daring production decision. Yet Alpert was on a roll; everything he tried in the TJB's heyday seemed to work. The lesser-known tunes back-loaded on side two are a string of pearls -- John Pisano's appropriately titled bossa nova "The Charmer," Roger Nichols' tense "Treasure of San Miguel," Ervan Coleman's catchy "Miss Frenchy Brown." Finally, Alpert takes a flyer and concludes the LP with an extravagant Burt Bacharach orchestration of his theme from the film Casino Royale -- an artifact of '60s pop culture, to be sure, but still a perfectly structured record.

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