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Saturday, March 20, 2010

An Evening With Chopin

B Side Track #2
An Evening With Chopin
Plantation Records PLP-502
1976 Meadow Properties

Sometimes an LP blindsides you and you just don't what to say.

I bought this LP because I like the horrible cover artwork. At least the art is worth $6 don't you think? I mean... Chopin snuggled up to a bar maid with some guys sitting in chairs (who in the hell are those guys?) and and why is some super hero figure shown barging through the door? That's worth $6! Now wait! There is a note on the cover that explains that the guys sitting in the chairs are historical figures: George Sand, Chopin, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Heinrich Hiene, Lord Byron, Novalis and Captain America. What?!! And wait... CAPTAIN AMERICA? That is NOT Captain America and I hope Marvel Comics didn't see that mention!  I have no idea what the cover means.  It must mean something...

Not be outdone by the cover, the music is a incredibly strange mix of orchestrated "Chopin" pieces mingled with "psych" tunes. Found on the B side, track 2, is sort of a mini rock opera that includes Prelude In A Minor – OP. 28#2, Waltz – OP. 64 #2 Part 1 and Waltz – OP. 64 #2 Part 3.

This track is actually groovy and maybe Benninghoff was on to something and rock operas where starting to "happen" in the 70s.

Korla Pandit - The Universal Language Of Music - Volume 3

Korla Pandit
The Universal Language Of Music Volume 3
INDIA Records
Recorded by Korla Pandit Production Co. 1969

This is a copy of Volume 3 with no printing on the back. Much to my surprise, when I opened the box I found that the jacket was autographed by Pandit. The autograph is in pencil. The pencil didn't imprint throughly, but it appears as if the autograph is written: Greetings Marc, Yours Korla Pandit 1977.

There is a great website you can visit to find out more about Pandit.

This LP is a lovely mix of traditional piano and organ tunes along with a few fun and funky period covers with drums and one exotica organ number.

I just found another signed copy of this album. This one is signed on the back of the jacket: Best Wishes Wilma & Elmer. Korla Pandit - 1972

And a third copy of the same release this one signed: Namaste! (Common spoken greeting or salutation originating from India and Nepal) Greetings! Doris. Korla Pandit - 1972 - Box 261 West Vancouver. B.C.

Bongos From The South

Bongos From The South
Edmundo Ros And His Orchestra
London Records SP 44003 1961

The engineering is incredibly good on this set.

Some of the music is exotica, some peppy "folk" and some cornball covers..

Apparently Decca also released this record at some point.

Friday, March 19, 2010

77 Sunset Strip - Frank Ortega & Sy Oliver

After Sunset (stereo)
Free Way Mambo (mono)

77 Sunset Strip
Frankie Ortega & Sy Oliver
Produced by Marty Palitz
Cover Design by Sy Leichman
Diamond Jubilee
A Product of Jay-Gee Record Co., Inc.
Cover and Liner Printed by MacMurray Press, N.Y.
SDJLP 1106 & JLP 1106

Personnel (Dining At Dino's, 77 Sunset Strip, Kookin' For Kookie, Free Way Mambo)
Frankie Ortega - Piano
Bert Hanson - Bass
Walther Sage - Drums
Sy Oliver - Arranger-Conductor
Charlie Shavers - Trumpet
Richard Perry - Trumpet
James Nottingham - Trumpet
Frank Sarraci - Trombone
Lawerence Brown - Trombone
Rodnet Levit - Trombone
Philip Bodner - Alto Sax and Clarinet
Sam Taylor - Tenor Sax
Seldon Powell - Tenor Sax
Dave McRae - Baritone Sax
Al Chernet - Guitar
Donald Lamond - Drums

Personnel (Lady In Distress, After Sunset, Spencer Stakes Out, Sunset Stripper, Stu's Muse, What Private Eyes)
Frankie Ortega - Piano
Bert Hanson - Bass
Walther Sage - Drums and Bongos
Sy Oliver - Arranger-Conductor
Charlie Shavers - Trumpet
Ernst Royal - Trumpet
Lawerence Brown - Trombone
Rodney Levitt - Trombone
George Dorsey - Alto Sax
Philip Bodner- Tenor Sax and Clarinet
Daniel Bank - Baritone Sax
Dave McRae - Baritone Sax
Kenneth Burell - Guitar
Donald Lamond - Drums

From Billboard - May 11, 1959: Sexy cover gives the package display value. Ortega, who is featured in the TV film series "77 Sunset Strip," provides solid swingy instrumental treatments of listenable jazz-flavored selections, including the title theme, and other tunes keyed to the series – Kookin' For Kookie," "What Private Eyes," etc. Effective backing by Sy Oliver.

From the back cover: The beat of the Frankie Ortega Trio is a familiar one on the West Coast. They are featured regularly in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe. They were heard recently, for the first time, on the East Coast – at the Embers in New York.

"77 Sunset Strip" is the sound and style of the Frankie Ortega Trio set in the moving music of Sy Oliver for this album and will probably be used in future episodes. The feeling of the program, the frenzy of "jazz" climate is here.

The Trio is featured in all of the numbers. The trio means Frankie Ortega on piano. Bert Hanson on bass and Walter Sage on drums. Frank is a native of Los Angeles. He studied with Edith Knox, joined the Roger Wagner Chorale when he was 10, remained with them for 6 years. Frank organized his first band when he was 17.

Bert Hanson first studied violin. Then he played cello with the Milwaukee Symphony under the baton of Bruno Walter, Stokowski and more. Walter Sage studied with Ian Kerr, Tympanist of the Cleveland Orchestra. He played with the Peter Merenblum Symphony. Each member of the Trio began his career in classical music.

Sy Oliver is one of our greatest arranger-conductors. He created the 2-beat style of Jimmy Lunceford. He played and wrote many of the great Tommy Dorsey arrangements. He has scored for Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Mills Brothers, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Della Reese.

The orchestra playing around the Frankie Ortega Trio here include some of the country's best and best-known jazz musicians. Many are featured as soloists through this "77 Sunset Strip" album.

77 Sunset Strip
Kookin' With Kookie
Spencer Stakes Out
What Private Eyes
After Sunset
Sunset Stripper
Stu's Blues
Lady In Distress
Dining At Dino's
Free Way Mambo

George Shearing - Black Satin

Black Satin
The George Shearing Quintet And Orchestra
Arrangements by Billy May and George Shearing
Capitol Records T858

Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the cover art. 

Excellent Shearing set to go along with the dynamic cover art. Super late 50s Capitol mood concept package.

From Billboard - November 3, 1958 (review for stereo release): This melodic package was a solid sales item in it's monaural version and has much to offer stereo-wise, via Shearing's tasteful delicate pianistics and the easy swinging jazz-flavor of the entire album. Listenable, spin able mood music.
The Folks Who Live On The Hill
If I Should Lose You
Starlight Souvenirs
What Is There To Say
Black Satin
You Don't Know What Love Is
Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You
One Morning In May
Moon Song
Medley: As Long As I Live – Let's Live Again

Thursday, March 18, 2010


You Really Got Me
H&L Records HL 69025-698 1979

Strange gimmick album practically lost to history (there is probably a good reason for that).

Track vocals are attributed to "monsters".  For example, You Really Got Me is attributed to "Frankenstein's Monster".

Of course... Frankenstein never sounded so good. You know, with all the throat surgery and all. And what this track has to do with "Monsters" I have no idea.

The tracks attributed to "Dracula" actually sounds a little like a cartoon Dracula singing.

It's hard to know who the target market was.  I don't think H&L had any idea either.

Exotic Dreams - Ethel Azama

Green Fire
Exotic Dreams
The Enticing Voice Of Ethel Azama
Liberty LRP 3104 1959

Ethel Azama was helped along in her career by Martin Denny. Azama was doing night club engagements in Honolulu and Denny wrangled a contract for with Liberty to make this LP. He also produced the LP. Denny is one of the "kings" of exotica. Readmore about Azama on wikipedia.

I can't say that this is my favorite exotica LP. The songs choices are uneven. Some songs don't promote the "theme".


Banja Je En Gay
All The Excitement And Mystery Of The Jungle In High Fidelity
Promenade Records 2125

Little to be found on this project. Jacket notes indicate that this is a project of the CAWANDA'S Group.

Tennessee Saturday Night Fever

Disco Inferno
Tennessee Saturday Night Fever
Jimmy Dempsey
Plantation Records 1979

What a strange music treasure...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Music For Space Squirrels

Sweet Lorraine
Music For Space Squirrels
Al Caiola's Magic Guitars
ATCO 33-117

From the cover art, it is hard to believe this album was created in 1958. The illustration is by Milton Glaser.  The illustration seems more like something you might see produced in the late 60s or early 70s.

The back cover presents a story about the U.S. sending two squirrels (Stanley and Stella) into space (squirrels this time around because the "apes" were "such prima donnas").

Space age pop and squirrels? How could I resist? The music is sort of high pitched or high strung and frenetic. I got the squirrel thing... but not the SPACE thing.  I would have preferred more "space" than squirrels in my music. Anyway. There is only one slow or laid back track on the LP and that's the song I like. Sweet Lorranie.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Leis Of Jazz - Arthur Lyman

How High The Moon

Leis Of Jazz
The Jazz Sounds Of Arthur Lyman
Cover Photo by Werner Stoy - Camera Hawaii

From the back cover: Arthur Lyman plays vibes, marimbas, congas, etc.; Alan Soares plays piano and celeste; John Kramer plays bass and percussions; and on the beat, Harold Chang, who plays as dazzling and overwhelming an array of percussion as  you'll ever see or hear. The voice heard in "Lullaby Of The Leaves," the last track on side one, is charming Ethel Azama.

Once again, through the courtesy and generosity of Mr. Henry J. Kaiser, we have been permitted to record the Arthur Lyman group in the Aluminum Dome on the beautiful grounds of Mr. Kaiser's famed Hawaiian Village Hotel. Fabulous is an extravagant word, but the recorded sound in the Aluminum Dome is extravagantly good, so we'll call it fabulous. The very fine photography on the cover is that of Werner Stoy of Honolulu.

Perfect sound reproduction was achieved with 3 AKG Austrian microphones, a custom built Ampex 3-track 1/2" magnetic tape stereophonic recorder, and later painstakingly processing, using a scully automatically variable pitch lathe with latest Westrex cutting head to make the master disc. Frequency response is from 16 to 20,000 C.P.S. Pressings are custom pure virgin Vinyl.

Leis Of Jazz
Trigger Fantasy
The Lady Is A Tramp
Body And Soul
Gypsy In My Soul
Lullaby Of The Leaves
On The Street Where You Live
My Funny Valentine
The Way You Look Tonight
How High The Moon
Lullaby Of Birdland
Aloha Oe

White Goddess - Frank Hunter And His Orchestra

White Goddess
White Goddess
Frank Hunter And His Orchestra
Kapp Records KS-3019

The jacket notes indicate that Hunter used an "Ondioline, an electronic instrument designed in France, which issues a strange, vibrator sound when the entire keyboard is shifted." There are a lot of other-worldly sound in the mix. Like any good exotica recording you will find yourself transported to another world.

Ritual Of The Torch
Strange Echoes
Jungle Drums (Canto Karabali)
Lost Plateau
White Goddess
Temple Bells
Lost In The Stars
Mist Of Gorongoza
Jungle Fantasy


In A Mist
The Brilliant Sounds Of Leo Arnaud
Liberty Records LRP 3088 1958

This is a wonderful album with a jacket graced by the most exotic cover model, Anita Ekberg (who "can be seen with Bob Hope in United Artists' Paris Holiday").

Arnaud has a long list of film credits to his name and at least 4 albums, including this one. This project as a good as any exotica record I have yet to hear. Consistent, playful and exotic!

Martin Denny - Latin Village

Martin Denny
Latin Village
Liberty Records LST-7378 (stereo) 1964
Cover Design: Studio Five

Another great out of print Martin Denny jazz LP with world/exotica flavor.

Great cover art and fresh music.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Taste Of Honey -Martin Denny

Route 66
A Taste Of Honey
Martin Denny
Liberty Records LST-7237
Cover Design: Studio Five

Apparently this is one Martin Denny album that never made it to CD. So I'll post a sample above. You can easily download the entire LP elsewhere.

In this case, a jacket note says it all: The exotic sound is especially well suited to the influence of jazz.  I love Denny's lesser known small combo jazz stuff. This is a great album

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Jungle Echoes

The Jungle Chase
Jungle Echoes
Chaino and his African Percussion Safari
Omega Records OSL 7 1959

Chaino is one of the elusive figures of space age pop. After growing up in Chicago, Leon Johnson left home and lived a fairly wild life, eventually taking up the bongos and making a name for himself as "Chaino" (taken perhaps from the great Cuban conga player, Chano Pozo?) on the "chitlins" circuit of black nightclubs. More at Space Age Pop

Great cover and wild exotica music, much of which is spiced up with grunts and groans. The B side leads off with a long and very funky track titled: Jungle Drum Variations. This is a cool recording.

Quiet Village - Martin Denny

Quiet Village
The Exotic Sounds Of Martin Denny
Producer: Si Waronker
Color Photography: Ivan Nagy
Cover Posed by Sandy Warner "the Exotica Girl"
Liberty LRP 3122 & LST 7122

Performing Group:

Martin Denny: Arranger-Composer, Piano, Celeste
August Colon: Bongos, Congas, Bird Calls
Julius Wechter: Vibes, Marimbas, Percussion
Harvey Ragsdale: String Bass, Marimbula
Raymond Alexander: Percussion
Jose Bethancourt: Percussion
John Frigo: String Bass

From Billboard - March 30, 1959: Liberty Records is re-releasing "Quiet Village," by Martin Denny. The disk (released as a single last October) suddenly showed up with heavy sales in Detroit three weeks ago, thereby prompting the label to re-release it nationally, including re-servicing of all radio stations.

The platter was originally featured in Denny's "Exotica" Volume 1 album. Meanwhile Denny, who just completed a six-week engagement at the Round Table here, opens at Bakers Keyboard Lounge, Detroit, this week, following which he plays a four-week date at London House in Chicago, starting April 15. He returns to Honolulu May 5, to resume a long-time run at Don the Beachcombers.

Stranger In Paradise
Hawaiian War Chant
Sake Rock
Paradise Found
My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii Cha Cha Cha
Tune From Rangoon
Happy Talk
Pagan Love Song
Quiet Village

Hawaiian Sunset - Arthur Lyman

Whispering Reef

Hawaiian Sunset
The Sounds Of Arthur Lyman

Also released, according to the sticker as seen above which is fixed the second cover shown, in stereo. The pressing came inside of the same jacket featuring the mono catalog number.

From the back cover: This recording was miked by three Austrian made AKG microphones and recorded by a custom built Ampex three channel Stereophonic magnetic tape recorder using 1/2" recording tape. Cutting of both the stereophonic and monaural disc was done by Westrex cutting heads and a Sully atomically variable pitch blade in connection with specially designed amplifiers. Exact engineering, painstaking processing and careful quality control make possible nil distortion, 16 to 20,000 CPS frequency range and noise level of minus 60 DB. Pressings are custom pure-virgin vinyl. This recording is also available on Stereophonic HIFIRECORD and pre-recorded HIFITAPE for stereophonic playback.

Hawaiian War Chant
Sweet Leilani
Imi Au Ia Oe
My Tone
Whispering Reef
Ha Lei O Hawaii
Isle Of Golden Dreams
Ke Kali Nei Au
Harbor Lights