This fervor is admirably expressed by Baxter in
his music, and his penchant for taking
a simple "imported" melody and arranging it to his own unique specifications and
"Poor People of Paris" was just another tune when Baxter encountered it in
1956. Its title, in French, "La Goualante du Pauvre Jean," meant nothing to Les
anyone else, including Reg Connelly, the publisher. But in Baxter's agile mind the
melody contained a spark; to him it somehow smelled hitty. Within three days after his
recorded arrangement went on the radio in New York, orders topped 150,000 copies
and - with its catchy new title still unapproved by Mr. Connelly - became one of the
year's greatest successes.
"Monika" on the other hand, is Swedish. Les composed the melody himself as a
recurring theme for the controversial Swedish motion picture, "Monika."
Parasols" also emanates from the cinema, the spectacular "Seven Wonders of the
World" Cinerama production, third and by far the most entertaining of the impressive
"Melodia Loca" is a Chilean theme, also called the "Drive-You-Crazy
its monotonous melody and odd chord progressions are said to have driven numerous
Chileans to suicide. Perhaps it should be played sparingly. "The Clown on the Eiffel
Tower," "Normandy," and "Padam, Padam" are quite obviously Gallic
in origin, and
would indicate that Baxter's international preferences point, to a strong degree, to the
"Romantic Rio," "Venezuela" and the lively "What Happens in
Buenos Aires" cover
three additional nations on Baxter's tour of the globe, the first two in tango form and
the third, a rousing street march with six California children singing the vocal
choruses. Germany is represented with "Auf Wiederseh'n, Sweetheart" and the
vocal solo is by the slender blonde from Hamburg, Sue Allen. "Purple Islands"
Sir Walter Heebner's pen embraces, with the poetic Baxter violins, the blue Caribbean.
Yes, Les Baxter has come a long, long way from Texas. Pack your bags and hop