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on 30 August 2013
Jasmine Records has provided us with the best (and cheapest) Al Caiola compilation so far. 64 tracks, including the best of the United Artists period plus some rare items from the 50's, originally issued by RCA Victor and Regent Records, among others. These early samples (especially 'Undecided' from the 1957 RCA LP 'High Strung') leave me hungry for more. Caiolas recorded output is vast and of uneven quality. From early jazz outings to magnificent (!) Film and TV-themes to rather bland covers of contemporary 'hits'. The compiler here, Robert Nickora, has done a very fine job. I just miss detailled information of year and format of original releases. Furthermore, many tracks are mono - even when stereo masters should be available. And why has it become fashion not to list mono or stereo in the tracklisting.
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on 11 March 2016
HISTORY:

Al Caiola was born Alexander Emil Caiola on September 7, 1920 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He has released over 50 albums in his career. He was heard on numerous hit recordings of other artists (Paul Anka: Diana, Put Your Head On My Shoulder, Puppy Love; Frankie Avalon: Venus; Glen Campbell: Galveston; Petula Clark: Don’t Sleep In The Subway & This Is My Song; The Crickets: Rave On; Bobby Darin: Mack The Knife, Dream Lover; Dion: Runaround Sue, Abraham, Martin & John; McGuire Sisters: Sugar In The Morning and many more). His main label was United Artists. Although he has only two charted singles: The Magnificent Seven and Bonanza, he has many uncharted singles & EPs, like Guns of Navarone, Moon River, etc. He is one of the guitar greats of our time. For trivia buffs, Al Caiola plays two solid gold guitars: the Gretsch and the Epiphone, on which he performed the bulk of his United Artists recordings. “I have those gold guitars with me” he reveals, “they’re part of my legacy, they go to my children in my will.”

CONTENT:

Although he has many releases, his CDs, especially on United Artists are hard to come by. It is next to impossible to do a Complete Singles Discography or Album Discography, because of the rarity of the materials. So far, I have collected 18 CDs and 10 vinyl albums, waiting for me to convert into digital forms. The best CD release so far was Bonanza! 1960 – 1969 on Raven Records 2002. Now Jasmine Records has released a 2 CD with 64 songs! Wow!

I have compiled a detailed song listing (with information on label & number, chart position, year, album source, label & no., year, painstakingly extracted from my own detailed discographies on Al Caiola, plus personal comments), which is as follows:

Disc 1:
01 Bonanza (United Artists 302)(US 19/1961)(from album Hit Instrumentals From Western TV Themes)(United Artists 6161) 1961
02 Laramie (from album Hit Instrumentals From Western TV Themes)(United Artists 6161) 1961
03 The Ballad Of Paladin (from album Hit Instrumentals From Western TV Themes)(United Artists 6161) 1961
04 Bat Masterson (from album Hit Instrumentals From Western TV Themes)(United Artists 6161) 1961
05 Law Man (from album Hit Instrumentals From Western TV Themes)(United Artists 6161) 1961
06 The Deputy (from album Hit Instrumentals From Western TV Themes)(United Artists 6161) 1961
07 Theme From “The Rebel” (from album Hit Instrumentals From Western TV Themes)(United Artists 6161) 1961
08 “Tall Man” Theme (from album Hit Instrumentals From Western TV Themes)(United Artists 6161) 1961
09 Wagons Ho! (from album Hit Instrumentals From Western TV Themes)(United Artists 6161) 1961
10 Maverick (from album Hit Instrumentals From Western TV Themes)(United Artists 6161) 1961
11 Rawhide (from album Hit Instrumentals From Western TV Themes)(United Artists 6161) 1961
12 Gunslinger (from album Hit Instrumentals From Western TV Themes)(United Artists 6161) 1961
13 Theme From A Summer Place (United Artists 736)(b-side to Guns of Navarone)(from album Golden Guitar)(United Artists 8028) 1962
14 A Taste Of Honey (from album Golden Guitar)(United Artists 8028) 1962
15 Wheels (from album Golden Hit Instrumentals)(United Artists 6142) 1961
16 Asia Minor (from album Golden Hit Instrumentals)(United Artists 6142) 1961
17 Autumn In Cheyenne (United Artists 437)(uncharted single, 1961)
18 Experiment In Terror (United Artists 438)(uncharted single, 1962)
19 Sleep Walk (United Artists 50231)(b-side to Never Pick Up A Stranger, 1967)
20 Flamenco Love (Regen 7500)(uncharted single, 1956)
21 Tumbling Tumbleweeds (from album The Guitar Style Of Al Caiola)(RCA 710) 1962
22 Anna (from album Blazing Latin Brass, Nick Perito)(United Artists 8502) 1961
23 The Lonely Rebel (United Artists 261)(b-side to The Magnificent Seven, 1960)
24 Aegean Love Song (Preferred label)(uncharted single)*featuring the trumpet solos of Jack Morreale
25 Speak Low (United Artists 347)(b-side to Autumn In Cheyenne, 1961)
26 Straight Ahead (from album The Guitar Style Of Al Caiola)(RCA 710) 1962
27 Katusha (United Artists 499)(uncharted single, 1962)
28 Evening Tide (Preferred label)(uncharted single)
29 The Bounty Hunter (United Artists 302)(b-side to Bonanza)(from album Golden Hit Instrumentals)(United Artists 6142) 1961
30 Wonderland By Night (from album Golden Hit Instrumentals)(United Artists 6142) 1961
31 Swingin’ Safari (from album Golden Guitar)(United Artists 8028) 1962
32 Gunsmoke (United Artists 586)(uncharted single, 1963)

Disc 2:
01 The Magnificent Seven (United Artists 261)(US 35/1961)(from album Solid Gold Guitar)(United Artists 6180) 1962
02 Two Guitars (from album Solid Gold Guitar)(United Artists 6180) 1962 (from album Solid Gold Guitar)(United Artists 6180) 1962
03 The Guns Of Navarone (United Artists 736)(uncharted single, 1964)(from album Solid Gold Guitar)(United Artists 6180) 1962
04 I Walk The Line (from album Solid Gold Guitar)(United Artists 6180) 1962
05 Take Me Home (Preferred label)(uncharted single)*featuring the trumpet solos of Jack Morreale
06 Undecided (from album High Strung)(RCA 2031) 1959
07 Martin Kane Theme (RCA Victor 5652)(uncharted single, 1953)
08 You Don’t Know Me (from album Golden Guitar)(United Artists 8028) 1962
09 Apache (from album Golden Hit Instrumentals)(United Artists 6142) 1961
10 Ramblin’ Rose (from album Golden Guitar)(United Artists 8028) 1962
11 From The Heart (Regent 7500)(b-side to Flamenco Love, 1956)
12 Love Is Like Champagne (United Artists 499)(b-side to Katusha, 1962)
13 Moon River (from album Solid Gold Guitar)(United Artists 6180) 1962
14 Jezebel (from album Solid Gold Guitar)(United Artists 6180) 1962
15 Big Guitars (from album Solid Gold Guitar)(United Artists 6180) 1962
16 Your Cheatin’ Heart (United Artists 1004)(uncharted single, 1962) (from album Golden Guitar)(United Artists 8028) 1962
17 Calcutta (from album Golden Hit Instrumentals)(United Artists 6142) 1961
18 Roses Are Red (from album Golden Guitar)(United Artists 8028) 1962
19 On The Merry Go Round (from album Golden Guitar)(United Artists 8028) 1962
20 The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise (from album Solid Gold Guitar)(United Artists 6180) 1962
21 Guitar Boogie (United Artists 545)(uncharted single, 1963)(from album Solid Gold Guitar)(United Artists 6180) 1962
22 Theme From Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (United Artists 740)(uncharted single, 1964)
23 I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You (from album Warm And Mellow)(United Artists 21003) 1967
24 Pepe (from album Golden Hit Instrumentals)(United Artists 6142) 1961
25 Baby Elephant Walk (United Artists 740)(b-side to Theme From Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm, 1964)
26 Suzanne (Preferred label)(uncharted single)
27 Hora Staccato (EP RCA 15230, 1957)
28 Sergeant’s Three March (United Artists 438)(b-side to Experiment In Terror, 1962)
29 Mexico (from album Solid Gold Guitar)(United Artists 6180) 1962
30 Foot Stompin’ (from album Solid Gold Guitar)(United Artists 6180) 1962
31 Theme From Dr. Kildare (from album Golden Guitar)(United Artists 8028) 1962
32 Vaya Con Dios (May God Be With You)(from album Solid Gold Guitar)(United Artists 6180) 1962

All the songs are rare gems! The sound is very well remastered, vibrant, clean with no hiss. I was hoping for a more detailed song listing with label & no., chart position and year, but this is not to be. All the songs are original versions.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Al Caiola is one of my all-time favourite guitarist, besides Tony Mottola and Hank Marvin. This 2 CD set has many rare singles with b-sides, plus many complete album cuts, plus rare cuts from outside United Artists label. I have painstakingly listed out the chart position, year and source of album for your consideration. I hope that there are many similar releases on Al Caiola, like those in the Original Album Series with 5-7 album in one box set, in the future. Thanks to this collection, I have found many missing rare gems to fill up my discography. There are many songs that appeared on CD for the first time. This set is very highly recommended, and a Must-Own!
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on 16 September 2013
This is another to add to my collection of this wonderful artist and his beautiful music. What a pity we have left it so late - maybe there'll be other DVD's in the pipeline? I do so hope so, as I first 'knew' his music some 50 years ago when Reader's Digest had his Hawaain music in one of their record sets released in 1960!! I have since become a collector of whatever releases I can find of Al Caiola.!! Anyone who loves guitar music MUST have this collection and many others of this artist.
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on 2 October 2013
As well as a generous selection of Al Caiola's United Artists this collection includes rare singles and tracks from RCA Victor, Regent and other labels.

Recording quality is far superior to the Bonanza! 1960-1969 UA compilation released by Raven Records in 2002. This release should be avoided if you're at all fussy about sound. Instead try the 40 Exitos double-CD set from EMI in Mexico for a comprehensive overview of Caiola's UA recordings.
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on 18 January 2015
Guitar in instrumentals at their best, by a master of the craft, who I first became aware of in the early 1960s, via his album 'Solid Gold Guitar'. Well worth a listen if like me you love guitar music and film and T.V. western themes etc. A Bargain bonanza to be sure.
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on 21 October 2013
excellent recovery of the great AL CAIOLA issues reminds us of the great orquestistas of music of all time, Swoop.

Julian Granadino Guerra
21/10/13
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on 20 September 2013
Good for the library. If you like western themes, this is a must for you. It sets your imagination going to the movie and is nice to listen to.
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on 28 February 2014
very good CD's, sound is exceptional for the era, many western themes & other well known tunes, very good value
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on 25 October 2014
Al who! I didn't know but now I do. Brilliant interpretations of the genre!
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on 8 March 2015
Brilliant !
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