The Lost Art Of Liner Notes: Geoff Love & his Orchestra – Latin With Love (1976, Quality Records)


For no particular reason (OK, boredom is probably the reason), I’ve decided to resurrect our Lost Art of Liner Notes series wherein I examine the sometimes weird little essays people used to write on the back of album covers. FYI, The likelihood that I will soon get bored of this and stop doing it again is pretty high, almost certain, in fact.

In the meantime, let’s look at Latin With Love, a collection of songs from British orchestra leader Geoff Love, pictured in the corner of the album cover looking like he could not give less of a shit about being featured on the cover.

Seriously, look at this guy – just nonchalant as hell!

The liner notes for this album, written by one Nigel Hunter (no idea who he is, but it’s safe to assume he’s not the guy from Chumbawamba), begin by working under the assumption that anyone would find album titles with cheap puns on Geoff’s surname to be “interesting and relevant” when really, it’s the most obvious and easy thing to do. He then weirdly goes on to list two albums without love in the title at all, but seeing as how he included all the catalogue numbers, there was likely some push from the label to include as much promotion for their back cataolgue as possible. The second paragraph then resorts to a lot of name dropping, while the final three paragraphs are focused on describing in detail each instrument featured on the album, making sure to mention every song title as well, just so you don’t get surprised by any of it. Or maybe it’s because ol’ Nigel Hunter got paid by the word to write this thing? Probably the latter.

And now, on to the liner notes:

A surname like Love is ideal when it comes to selecting interesting and relevant album titles. Hence we have already enjoyed LPs called “Big Love Movie themes (RS103), with a neat double meaning, and “love With Love” (RS107),to say nothing of others, Love-less in title but not in origin, such as Big Western Movie Themes” (RS104); “Big War Movie Themes” (R105)

The Love in question is, of course, Geoff Love. One of Britain’s most distinguished and successful musical directors and arrangers, and certainly one of the most popular with the public and his fellow musicians, with a constantly cheerful and amiable nature as befits his surname. Geoff has worked with and won the unstinted admiration of some of the greatest names of international show business, including Shirley bassey, Howard Keel, Judy Garland, Paul Robeson, Vera Lynn, Frankie Vaughan and Des O’Connor. As an artistin his own right, Geoff’s albums mentioned above have proved to be amongst the best-selling records in the history of the label.

His latest is “Latin With Love”, and is destined for the same popularity. Geoff selected twelve of the perennially favorite melodies from Latin-America or inspired by that colouful sub-continent, and arranged them for an orchestra comprising four trumpets doubling fluegel horns, four trombones, five woodwind, twelve violins, four violas, four cellos, piano, two guitars, bass doubling bassguitar, one drummer, and three Latin-American percussion. The results are ear-catching and immensely enjoyable.

La Bamba, that lively dance speciality from vera Cruz in Mexico, provides a suitably bright opener with all sections of the orchestra spotlighted and a growling jungle flute solo. the mellow evocation of that area in New York city known as Spanish Harlem begins with marimba and piano setting the easy pace and a cor anglais solo later, Guantanamera receives an appropriate Afro-Cuban atmosphere with the brass shining over the cha cha cha beat, and Sucu Sucu of Argentine origin gets a sprightly samba treatment here. Another Brazilian tempo in the form of the bossa nova ensues as a second Music for Pleasure Latin music maestro, Duncan Lamont, is featured on tenor saxophone in The Girl From Ipanema, and the bossa mood is maintained for One Note Samba with fluegel horns prominent.

The second side begins noticeable South Of the Border as Geoff coaxes a Mexican mariachi sound from the trumpets in cha cha cha time, and then we meet the beautiful Maria Elena portrayed in bolero style by the guitar against a background of muted trombones, followed later by piano, string, oboe, and a key change into a full ensemble passsage. Marimba and trumpets open Spanish Eyes in baion time, with the rest of the orchestra joining in in turn, and then comes the famous prototype bossa nova, Desafinado, introduced by woodwind and trombones before the fluegel horns take the theme.

Nigel Hunter

Posted on by Paul in Albums, Classic Albums