I suppose it was only a matter of time before the eternally hip music of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass was subjected to the remix treatment. But thankfully, Re-Whipped is not just your average remix album…
First of all, Herb Alpert himself actually lays down some new trumpet solos on some of the remixed tracks. Also, the entire Whipped Cream & Other Delights album has been “re-whipped” by a variety of remixers (although the songs are in a different track order for some reason). This gave me the unique opportunity to dig out my old vinyl LP of Whipped Cream and listen to all 12 tracks side-by-side with the corresponding Re-Whipped CD remixes.
The album cover: The cover photo on the original Whipped Cream & Other Delights is really the only reason most people own or even know about this album, isn’t it? It’s a classic, an icon, a masterpiece. And it’s a real girl, covered with real cream (shaving cream instead of whipped cream, but still). Re-Whipped attempts to update and perhaps even outdo the original — BAD IDEA. There’s more skin, less cream, and — worst of all — the whole thing looks computer generated. Winner: Whipped (by a knockout).
“A Taste of Honey”: Ahh yes… nothing says “swingin’ sixties” better than “A Taste of Honey.” Herb’s rendition is pretty straightforward except for that nice part where he takes the tempo way down and just wades in a sea of marimba for a few seconds. John King’s remix wisely retains and repeats this moment a few times, but otherwise doesn’t do much other than add some synths and a backbeat. Winner: Whipped (by default).
“Green Peppers”: Smooth, baby… and short. The original is only one and a half minutes long. Anthony Marinelli’s remix adds the obligatory big beat, some reggae rhythms, and lots of echo. It’s nice to hear Herb laying down a fresh solo, but the track goes on for nearly five minutes and then just fades out. Too bad. Marinelli should have followed Herb’s lead and kept it short and sweet. Winner: Whipped (by several laps).
“Tangerine”: A real laid back, melodic affair on the original. DJ Foosh keeps it mellow, throws in quite a few processing effects and so forth. Quite nice, really. Winner: Re-Whipped (in a tie-breaker).
“Bittersweet Samba”: Um… not really. Herb’s original is more like the soundtrack to every unbearably unfunny madcap slapstick routine you could ever imagine. However, it is mercifully short. Mocean Worker doesn’t have much to work with here, but he does manage to superimpose an actual samba rhythm on it and, as an added bonus, he keeps it short too. Winner: Re-Whipped (T.K.O.)
“Lemon Tree”: Ah, yes… the background music at every Chi-Chi’s restaurant in Purgatory. Thievery Corporation actually improves upon the original, though, transforming it into a gorgeous, dreamy Mexican flavored meditation. Winner: Re-Whipped (opponent threw in the towel).
“Whipped Cream”: Middle of the road, soundtracky stuff, but that funky little drum and bass fill is sure cool. Marinelli delivers a phat beat, a new Alpert solo, and some background vocals, but somehow manages to leave out the best part — that killer drum and bass riff. Oops. Winner: Whipped (judge’s decision).
“Love Potion No. 9″: A fun little cheesy pseudo-stripper music number in Herb’s hands, and then it fades out. Marinelli and Ozomatli (there’s a tongue twister for you) manage to turn this tune into some kind of hip-hop/indie-pop hybrid, complete with radio-ready vocals by some guy named Asdru Sierra. Kind of a mess, but you gotta admire the effort. Still… Winner: Whipped (barely).
“El Garbanzo”: A corny little fiesta ditty that goes on a little too long on the original album. The remix by Medeski, Martin & Wood seems to be trying a little too hard, but in the end it’s a bit more fun to listen to, I guess. Winner: Re-Whipped (by a nose).
“Ladyfingers”: A rather lovely, loungey little no-frills ballad on the original. Camara Kambon’s remix throws in a lot of extra bells and whistles while still sounding sort of pretty — too bad the beat is just a little too intrusive. Winner: Whipped (by a field goal).
“Butterball”: A boring and/or irritating little tune with a monotonous beat and pseudo-New Orleans Jazz interludes made worse only by Marinelli’s relentlessly dull, unimaginative, and seemingly endless remix. Winner: Whipped (since it’s shorter).
“Peanuts”: Direct from the Mexican Polka party of your worst nightmares comes “Peanuts”. Marinelli manages to turn this into a pleasant if ignorable techno confection with a nice new Alpert solo as an added bonus. Winner: Re-Whipped (“I give it a 10 for a good beat”).
“Lollipops and Roses”: The ultimate “driving through Southern California with the top down” music to be sure. Marinelli, unfortunately, tries to transform it into a retro Stevie Wonder-ish synth-fest and drains all the fun out of it in the process. Winner: Whipped (no contest).
OVERALL: You simply must own the original Whipped, for the cover art if nothing else and preferably on LP. Don’t worry, you can find several copies of it in every used record store in the world. Re-Whipped, while not essential, is certainly a cut above most remix albums — despite the terrible cover art. Might as well just give in and get ’em both.