Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Oldies - Dreamland by Dore Alpert

If you told anyone the story behind this record, they might think you were making it all up. Listen to the tune while I tell you the rest of the story...

Do you know this guy? His parents were Jewish immigrants. His father, Louis, came from the part of Russia that is now the Ukraine. He was a tailor, but he had a talent for playing the mandolin. His mother, Tillie, was the daughter of a Romanian immigrant who taught herself to play violin at a very early age. His older brother David was a talented young drummer. As for "Dore" Alpert, he began taking trumpet lessons when he was eight years old. He got pretty good at it, too. He played at school dances as a teenager. In 1952, he joined the Army after graduating from Fairfax High School. He tried his hand at acting, but eventually decided to go for a career in music. While attending the University of Southern California, he became a member of the USC Trojan Marching Band. He's credited as one of the trumpet players in the movie The Ten Commandments. He appeared in a movie in 1962 called Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation, playing a solo in a dance band. In 1957, he teamed up with Rob Weerts and became a songwriter for Keen Records, writing songs like Baby Talk by Jan And Dean, Wonderful World by Sam Cooke, and Alley-Oop by The Hollywood Argyles (and Dante And The Evergreens). In addition to playing trumpet, he also had a very nice singing voice, which landed him a contract with RCA Records. Instead of using his real name, he called himself Dore Alpert. He and his friend Jerry Moss started a record company together called Carnival Records. Since that name was already trademarked by someone else, they decided to use their initials to rename the company, A&M Records. Dore's real name, you see, was Herbert. You know him as Herb Alpert. One day Herb was down in Tijuana watching a bullfight. The brass fanfare that announced each new event and the excitement of the cheering crowds inspired him to express that emotional experience through music. He overdubbed crowd cheering sound effects and his own trumpet playing using a small recording studio he'd built in his garage. This song became The Lonely Bull, and Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass was born. The group became extremely popular and he sold a lot of records. In 1964, the demand for live appearances by The Tijuana Brass grew. Herb needed to put together a road band. You may not believe this, but NONE of the members were Hispanic. John Pisano played electric guitar, Lou Pagani took care of the piano, Nick Ceroli hit the drums, Pat Senatore played bass guitar, Tonni Kalash played trumpet, Bob Edmondson played trombone, and Herb led the group on trumpet and vocals. Bill Dana (aka Jose Jimenez) choreographed their moves and comic routines. Together, they became one of the highest paid live acts at the time. Herb's long-time friend, Julius Wechter, started out playing marimba for the band, eventually launching his own career as the Baja Marimba Band.

But if we go all the way back to his days at RCA in 1961, we find this single that he recorded under the name Dore Alpert. The song is called Dreamland, recorded on RCA 7918 and written by Shari Sheeley. It's another of the Greatest Hits You've Never Heard!

You can hear thousands of great undiscovered oldies on MusicMaster Oldies!


  1. While reading your Herb Alpert article it stirred a memory for me. I have been trying to find out for years if Herb Alpert did any studio work. If you listen to the song "I'm Yours" by The Duprees There is a real pretty featured horn (trumpet?) towards the end of the song that sounds like his style of playing. It almost has that Lonely Bull feeling to it, as short as it is. I've always wondered this and any info would be greatly appreciated. Love your blog keep up the good work and keep enjoying the music.

  2. It's remotely possible, but unlikely. I'm Yours was recorded for the Have You Heard album in 1963. At that time, the Duprees were on Coed Records which was located in the famous Brill Building in New York City. The label was co-founded by George Paxton, a seasoned Big Band veteran. George produced much of the music on Coed, including the Duprees sessions. George knew plenty of great trumpet players around New York, so he probably did not need to go as far as Los Angeles to get Herb Alpert to play on a track. Herb's career had just taken off big-time in 1963. A year earlier, The Lonely Bull became a smash hit. The A&M record label he started with his partner, Jerry Moss. Jerry came from New York City originally, and he had done some great work promoting Sixteen Candles by the Crests for Coed Records in 1959, one of the earliest hits on that label. However, Jerry had already moved out to Los Angeles by 1960, a few years before the Have You Heard album sessions. I would have to say that Herb was much too busy with his own label in 1963 to sit in on a track for another label. That's not to say that it couldn't have happened! It's just unlikely. It's far MORE likely that George Paxton was a big fan of Herb Alpert's music, with The Lonely Bull still being fresh in his mind, so he may have asked a session trumpet player to play in that style. Thanks for the excellent question, Edward! I'm glad you're enjoying my little blog!