Whipped Cream And Other Delights

Herb Alpert

A&M, 1965


REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


In terms of cheesiness, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Band are on the same level as mirrored ceilings, white wing-tipped shoes and Mai Tais. You can imagine Herb Alpert being in heavy rotation in the house of the Family Guy’s Quagmire as he puts another coat of Pledge on his wood-paneled walls, just before another sexual conquest. Hell, the title song was the theme song for the Everest of cheesy TV shows: The Dating Game.

Still, there is something endearing about such cheesiness as it harkens back to an era where this stuff could top the charts. In the case of Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream & Other Delights, it probably didn’t hurt that the album cover remains one of the most provocative album covers in contemporary music: a topless woman decorated with whipped cream “sampling” some of the topping. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Still, nudity didn’t make the album a chart-topper. If that was the case John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins would have topped the charts for months.

The album’s “theme” revolved around the only thing as universally appealing as sex: food. This combination of a provocative album cover and easy-listening jazz fare resulted in Whipped Cream & Other Delights going platinum and several times over. It must have been agonizing to be a jazz purist at this time, seeing artists like Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and even Miles Davis enjoy modest success, but Herb Alpert enjoying a landslide chart-topping success.

With all due respect, Whipped Cream & Other Delights is much more than a novelty. “Green Peppers” has a cool jazz-type loop that would later lay the foundations of chillout electronica. “Peanuts” introduces polka to listeners who would probably never approach the genre even in a bar on St. Patrick’s Day. In addition, his band was capable of playing a multitude of genres and remaining faithful to its sources. You can hear this in the cool Latin vibe of “Bittersweet Samba” and “Rosemary.” The latter song was not on the original album, but has been added to later releases.

One of the reasons for the mass appeal of Whipped Cream & Other Delights is its ability to transcend any age lines. The original liner notes state that “little old ladies,” “squares” and “hippies” could be at the same performance. Just last year, notable DJs such as Thievery Corporation and Medeski submitted their versions of the songs on Whipped Cream & Other Delights (unoriginally titled Whipped Cream & Other Delights Rewhipped). Kitsch never goes out of style, but simply put, the reason Whipped Cream & Other Delights can still capture new fans is its great set of songs.

This month, we’ve seen the implosion of the Stardust casino. The once ultimate example of shallow excess, reduced to rubble in less than 15 seconds. Whipped Cream & Other Delights is part of the soundtrack to that era and lifestyle. It’s one of those albums that has grown into a great musical work, despite its almost insurmountable novelty factor.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


I actually have this album in my collection and have never listened to it. I'll take a listen now. I didn't even know it was about food.

© 2007 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of A&M, and is used for informational purposes only.