Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The George Garabedian Players: Hooray for Hollywood

In a world where there’s a studio dedicated entirely to ripping off Pixar, Disney, and Dreamworks animated features, it will surprise no one that in the days when Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass were king, Tijuana Brass sound-alikes were so abundant they practically had their own Billboard chart.

One Tijuana-Be was producer George Garabedian, who ran Mark 56 Records of Anaheim, California. From 1967-1970, his label released ten LPs of “great hits made famous by you know who”: Spudnuts Presents Tijuana Taxi, Top Hits Made Famous By Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass, Der Wienerschnitzel Presents Tijuana Taxi, Colonel Sanders’ Tijuana Picnic, Taco Bell Presents – Tijuana Taxi, Pizza Inn Presents…Tijuana Party, Der Wienerschnitzel Presents…Up-Up And Away In My Beautiful Balloon, Phillips 66 Presents Tijuana Christmas, Such Brass!, and Squirt Does Its Thing (Semi-Soft Music In Tijuana Style). I hope most of these were promotional giveaways, because the unlucky soul who actually BOUGHT all ten would find himself with just 47 original songs repeated endlessly amongst 100 album tracks.

Anyway, amidst all this musical recycling and re-recycling, Garabedian was sitting in a mix session sometime in 1968 listening to the admittedly clean and well-produced work of his (uncredited) session musicians, and he had the idea for this gag record. To this respectable MOR production he had one trumpeter come back and add overdubs in a style that’s the secret heart’s desire of any pro: the 8th grader who took concert band to get out of study hall – out of tune, missing notes, and fracking like there’s no tomorrow. Trumpeter “Harry Arms” basically shits all over a doggie bag of pop hits from the late '60s, some of which deserve the stain more than others. In the end, what Garabedian probably intended just as yer basic party record has become a perfect piece of trolling, a record that screams out to young and old “There’s a thing called trying hard – and we’ll look into it!” And which, I must say, contains possibly the funniest final moments of an album I’ve ever heard.

The artist who did the color portion of the cover art isn’t credited, but the black and white cartoon is by genius Virgil Partch, who was a very busy cover artist in the 1960s. Keep an eye out for two other LPs on Mark 56 with Partch covers, Music for Happy Bowlers and Music for Dancing Doctors.

(Thanks to Doug Wellman and his Puzzling Evidence show for inspiring me to find, buy, and rescue this horrible thing.)

Hooray for Hollywood
Born Free
Begin the Beguine
Up-Up and Away
Whipped Cream
Sound of Music
Georgy Girl
Winchester Cathedral
Spanish Flea
Spanish Nose

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.


  1. You know, I've never met a Mark 56 LP that I didn't like? They're wonderfully cheesy and unintentionally humourous. Once in a while, they're also melodic...
    Thanks for posting this!

  2. The color portion of the album cover was painted by Reynold Brown, an artist who illustrated a great many 1950's sci-fi movie posters, including "Attack of the 50-Foot Woman." I think he also did other similar covers for Garabedian.