Don Cunningham

Don Cunningham

Something for Everyone

Luv N’ Haight/Ubiquity

Where do they find this stuff? Ubiquity’s imprint, Luv N’ Haight, has brought us yet another rare, little treat with Don Cunningham. This former percussionist for Johnny Mathis returned to his native St. Louis after traveling through the Caribbean, Australia, Fiji and Hawaii to drop this multi-culti bomb back in 1965. Something for Everyone is a 40-minute pleasure that’s just a lot of fun to which to listen.

The opening track, “Angelina,” is a cute, little calypso with Cunningham sounding a bit like Belafonte. “I’m Your Slave” (weird subject choice for a black man, I think) is the only clunker. It’s sappy and strained with Don sounding more like his former boss (the same soundings go for “Sylvie,” though it’s a much better song).

The real finds on this reissue (only 500 LPs were ever printed, by the way) are the instrumentals. Cunningham was a mighty fine percussionist, and the accompaniment of pianist Marion Miller, bassist John Mixon and drummer Manny Quintero also shines. I wish they would’ve recorded more together. I mean, hell, how many albums did The Three Sounds have? Anyway, this group has a nice, mellow swing on “Samba de Orpheu.” “Quiet Village” is an impeccable, hard-driving mambo that would make Perez Prado (Huh!) proud. The same goes for the oft-sampled “Tabu.” And “Manha de Carnival” is a fantastic mambo ballad a la Stan Getz or Paul Desmond.

Yet again, I have to hand it to Ubiquity for finding a rare album that has no good reason for being rare. Now, if they’ll only do something with Caldera.

Ubiquity Records:

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