Tijuana Christmas

Tijuana Christmas - The Border Brass - Design Records - 1967

Tijuana Christmas – The Border Brass – Design Records – 1967
Scan credit: worldofmateo on Flickr
Found via the Vintage Christmas: 1945-1970 group pool

Does this sound as cheesy and low-budget as it looks? Thanks to Vinyl Gnome on YouTube, you get to find out for yourself!

This was one of a number of albums made in the mid-to-late 1960’s and very early 1970’s by what appears to be several different producers trying to duplicate the sound of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Some even used the same title of Tijuana Christmas which can lead to some confusion and unwanted purchases if you’re looking for a certain one. Many were also re-released several times with different album covers and under different labels.

"Sound-alike" albums were quite the thing in the 1960’s through the early 1980’s. They were cheap to produce and could make good money if put in a well-placed store display. They also fooled a lot of people — especially unknowing grandmothers — who could not tell the difference between the real thing and the inexpensive knock-off…especially those with deceptive album covers as, remember, these were issued in the days long before you could preview an album at YouTube or Amazon.

The thing is, despite being cheap, most such recordings were made by true music professionals, many of whom regularly played with big-name artists. If the producer got them on a good day, these records could be very good if not quite original. In addition, as I have mentioned before here in discussing the Christmas music played on KoHoSo Radio 66, if such a record was in your house when you were growing up, this would be the version in your mind and most others would never compare no matter who performed them.

In the case of the album linked above, after listening to it a couple of times, I have to say it’s pretty darn good even though the "Tijuana Brass" sound can seem pretty cheesy. Frankly, I think it’s better than Alpert’s own Christmas album released a year later in 1968 that, to me, sounds about as flat and uninspired as these knock-off albums are supposed to be.

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