Herb Alpert – Definitive Hits

Definitive Hits
Herb Alpert
(A&M – 2001)
by Matthew S. Robinson

How self-serving can one musical genius be to have a label he co-founded release a collection of his best-loved songs?

But this is not just any self-serving genius. This is the guy who brought the world Dolores Ericson covered in shaving foam. This is the self-serving genius who scored the best James Bond film that wasn’t really a James Bond film ever. This is the self-serving genius who set the music to elevators and waiting rooms around the world.

This is Herb Alpert!

From the opening charge of “The Lonely Bull” (complete with homesickness-inducing crowd noise) to the closing washes of “Making Love in the Rain,” this album chronicles one of the most prolific and constantly contemporary careers in the music industry. Taking his Tijuana Brass in their jalopied “Tijuana Taxi,” Alpert blows from the “Heat Wave”-inspiring “Mexican Shuffle” to the bazoukid blitz of “Zorba the Greek.”

Perhaps his most famous film-related song, however, is the Burt Bacharach classic “Casino Royale,” a song which could inspire even Woody Allen to take on the world’s most dastardly criminals. Bacharach also gave Alpert one of his most famous ballads, and one of his Herb’s peachiest vocal offerings, with “This Guy’s In Love With You.” Herb also has a groovy thing goping with Nat Adderly’s “Work Song.”

On this collection, Alpert swings from the authentic Latin punch of “Fandango” to the smooth American drive of “Route 101” and from the funky crescendo of “Rise” to the hip pop hops of “Diamonds” and “Keep Your Eye On Me.” Along the way, Alpert offers delicious delights like the minor-keyed rag “Whipped Cream,” the sweet blooms of “Lollipops and Roses” and a bee-utiful spin through “A Taste of Honey.”

How sweet it is to have all his hits together at last!

Thank you, Herb!

© 2001, M.S. Robinson, ARR