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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rains In The Tropics - The Gene Rains Group

The Song Of Delilah
Rains In The Tropics
Songs And Sounds Of Far Away Lands
The Gene Rains Group
Decca DL 4348

This from Gene Rains wiki page: Today, Rains is considered the third man of Exotica, behind Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman. Although he did not achieve the level of renown of Denny or Lyman, Rains' albums nonetheless are textbook examples of the style of Exotica.

I've been lucky enough to finally pick up several Rains albums. This elusive album is every bit as good or better than any of the many popular Denny or Lyman albums I've collected (and love the sound of). The album is solid. The sound is rich. But what strikes me most, or what seems to set this effort apart from the other exotica albums I have on hand, is the band's sophisticated arrangements and jazz-inspired syncopation.

From the back cover: The late, incomparable Alfred Apaka discovered a fresh new sound in four young Hawaiian instrumentalists calling themselves The Gene Rains Group. Convinced that their provocative originally warranted a wider audience than that available to them at the small clubs they had been playing, Apaka arranged for their appearance at the Shell Bar of Waikiki's Fabulous Hawaiian Village Hotel.

Some successes, like some avalanches, require a little shove to set them in motion. Their great potential coming to full flower on the stage of the Shell Bar, it wasn't long before the group became one of the most popular acts in the Islands. Now, two extraordinarily successful Decca albums later, they are international favorites.

Gene, on vibes, sets the pace for the group; the drums are in the capable hands of Allen Watanabe; Archie Grant takes charge of the bass; and Byron Peterson's forte is the piano. Each of the boys, however, can and does double on almost anything – including a unique collection of rare and authentic percussive instruments (rhythm logs, conch shells, Burmese bells, nose flutes, the samisen, etc.) The group's sound – amplified through unique skill and versatility far beyond what might be expected of so small an ensemble – characteristically exhibits a a strong tropical and Near-Eastern influence.

Bangkok Cock Fight
The Song Of Delilah
Soshu Night Serenade
Off Shore
Shadow Of Love
Lonely Winter
I Will Always Love You
Jasmine And Joe

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