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Herb Alpert Surprises Fans with <i>Lost Treasures</i>

  • Doug Levine

Fans of Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass are celebrating a new album of rare and unreleased recordings titled Lost Treasures. Its release marks the first album by the original Tijuana Brass in more than 30 years. VOA's Doug Levine takes us back to the heyday of one of pop music's greatest instrumental groups and the songs we don't remember.

When sifting through countless tapes for his decision on the final tracks for Lost Treasures, trumpeter Herb Alpert discovered that what's old is new again. Some of the songs he found in his vault were first released on obscure albums or on collections that fared poorly in the aftermath of such Tijuana Brass hits as "The Lonely Bull" and "A Taste Of Honey." Others like "Whistlestar" were never released and now have a second life thanks to the group's unlikely founder and leader.

Before the Tijuana Brass, Herb Alpert made his mark as a songwriter in Los Angeles, composing the song "Wonderful World" for R&B great Sam Cooke. Taking the festive music of the Mexican mariachi bands that blared across the border in Tijuana and blending his own pop-jazz style, Herb Alpert quickly became a household name. The group is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having five albums in the Top 20 at the same time. One of their early hit albums was South Of The Border, which featured the cut "Up Cherry Street."

An alternate version of "Up Cherry Street" is one of several lost treasures Herb Alpert reworked for the new album. He admits that after hearing the original masters he felt he needed to re-record or complete the trumpet parts on a few unfinished tracks.

All technical troubleshooting aside, fans now have a chance to relive the Tijuana Brass sound that dominated the charts in the 1960s. Among the cover songs on "Lost Treasures" is "(They Long To Be) Close To You," which Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass recorded but shelved when Alpert decided it was better suited to a new act called The Carpenters.

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