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Various Artists

Destination Moon: First Man On Moon

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite a cool album. It's a tribute to man's first journey to another world, our moon. It includes a wide variety of music along with a couple spoken pieces from history. The bulk of the music here is based on old-time rock and roll, but there are forays into jazz, surf guitar and more. This is a fun journey from start to finish.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Dinah Washington - Destination Moon
This classy old-school jazz romp is a lot of fun. It is definitely a product of its time, making it a nice slab of nostalgia.
John F. Kennedy - We Choose To Go To The Moon: September 12, 1962

Here we have the famous speech from John F. Kennedy announcing the beginning of the mission to reach the moon.

Narvel Felts - Rocket Ride

This is a fun instrumental romp. It's part jazz and part old-school rock and roll. There are definitely some hints of surf guitar in the mix, too.

Monte Meade - Cape Canaveral

An old-time rock and roller, this is quite dated, but a lot of fun.

Tommy Danton & The Echoes - Rocket To The Moon

With some hints of jazz in the mix, this is another old-school rock and roller. This is another entertaining piece. In fact, I prefer this one to the previous number. It has some doo wop vocals in the mix, too. There is a cool old-school guitar solo, as well.

Lindsey Powers & his Combo - Sky Rocket
Another instrumental, this is a solid rock and roll tune.
Joe Bennet & The Sparkletones - Rocket
The sound of 50s rock and roll is all over this thing. It has some doo wop along with fast paced guitar based music. I really dig the guitar explorations on this. This is sort of variant on the old race car song trope.
Glenn Willings - Race To Space
There is a real Chuck Berry vibe to this number. The wailing saxophone is cool.
Deacon & The Rock 'n' Rollers - Rockin' On The Moon
The Stray Cats made a career out of the type of music that makes up this number. It calls to mind Elvis Presley to some large degree.
Chuck Dallis - Moon Twist
As you might guess, this is an old school rock and roller. It's a fun tune that works well. I really love the guitar soloing on this thing.
Lynn Vernon - Moon Rocket
We're back into Chuck Berry-like territory with this little tune. It has some cool guitar lines and textures. It's an energetic instrumental.
Chris Kenner - Rocket To The Moon
There are some jazz elements built into this old school rock and roller. It has a great vibe and tone to it.
The Chaperones - Cruise To The Moon
A full on doo wop cut, this is a nice bit of variety, but not really my thing.
Pat Reader - Cha Cha On The Moon
This retro tune is more in line with the pop music of the 50s or 60s. It's another that's not really my type of music but adds some variety to the set. It has a silly kind of texture to it.
Chuck Daniels & The Downbeats - Saturday Nite On The Moon
The saxophone lends something special here. This instrumental has some rock and roll, but probably lands closer to a jazz treatment in a lot of ways.
Ray Ellis & his Orchestra and Chorus - The First Man Into Space
An orchestral cut, this is a jazz meets rock and roll and classical music thing. It has a very theatrical approach. It feels like a theme song to something. It's a bit over the top, but fun.
Eddie Hill - Monkey Business
The vocals on this make me think of The Residents for some reason. This is a fun rock and roller with some jazz in the mix. I really could hear The Residents doing something like this. I wonder if it was an influence on them. The little vocal bit at the end seems that it could have been an influence on The B-52s. Odd as this cut is, it's one of my favorites.
Buck Griffin - First Man To Stand On The Moon
Back into more pure retro rock and roll, this number is another entertaining one.
Sam Lazar Trio - Space Flight
This instrumental has some jazz combined with tasty rock and roll.
Lenny Welch - Rocket To The Moon
Doo wop rock and roll, this is fun. The saxophone lends some tasty flavors to it.
The Spotnicks - The Rocket Man
This is an echoey kind of surf guitar excursion. It's so cool. In fact, this is one of my favorites here, but I'm a big surf guitar fan.
Johnny Kay - Rocket To The Moon
This is a fun old-school rock and roller.
Rusty Wellington - Rockin' Chair On The Moon
Not a big surprise or change, this is more killer old-time rock and roll. I dig the saxophone soloing on the number.
Jesse Stone - The Rocket
This old school instrumental features saxophone and organ in prominent roles. It has plenty of jazzy textures along with the rock modes.
Jimmy Stewart - Rock On The Moon
This is a fun rock and roller with some cool saxophone in the mix.
Les Vogt - Moon Rocketin'
I dig the sound of the down-tuned (I think) standup bass. It sure sounds like the string is loose to me. Perhaps this predicted the whole down-tuning movement. In any event, this is classy old school rock and roll.
Kid Burbank - Madison Rocket
With a launch count-down serving as the introduction, this works out to a cool jazz meets rock and roll instrumental jam.
Neil Alan & The Cosmos - Light My Rockets And Send You To The Moon
Old rock and roll is on hand here. This has a classic sound and groove to it.
Trade Martin - We'll Be Dancin' On The Moon
This has a twist kind of vibe with some doo wop in the mix. It's a fun cut.
Jackie Lowell with Duane Diamond & The Astronauts - Rocket Ship
A rocket count-down starts this thing. From there we're taken into some rockabilly music. It gets into some tasty jamming later along the road.
Bob Roubian - Rocket To The Moon
This is a swinging kind of rock and roller. It has some great guitar riffing.
Les Baxter - Lunar Rhapsody
This is an orchestral piece with some non-lyrical chorale vocals that sometimes lean toward operatic. While I'm not a big fan of this, it is an interesting change.
Neil Armstrong - 'One Small Step'
Here we get an extended version of the famous speech.
Anita O'Day & The Three Sounds - In Other Words (Fly Me To The Moon)
The closing piece is a torch song. It's a classic jazz arrangement. It's also delivered with style. This is a pretty tune that makes for a nice bit of variety. I love the piano and bass work in the more powered up section later.
 
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