Saturday, April 29, 2006

Fantastic Strings Orchestra - The Shadow of Your Smile

Betcha don't have this one! I'm assuming that this is a pretty rare Exotica album since I've never ever seen anyone mention it before.

Yeah, the cover is a bit bizarre.

The title of the LP is The Shadow of Your Smile - Fantastic Sound by The Fantastic Strings Orchestra. As far as I can tell this album was recorded in Japan in 1972 and The Fantastic Strings Orchestra consists of Japanese musicians and vocalists. The label is JVC CD-4.

Yup, its a full fledged Exotica release with all the bird calls and other sound effects. It does have some 70s touches (wahwah guitar or synth bloops) on some of the tracks that makes it sit in better company with 70s exotica LPs like Nardini's or Michel Magne's but many of the tracks could sit comfortably, if not intimately, with your Denny's and Baxter's.

Enjoy. Its a good one.

"Ebb Tide" is a smoker.

New working link!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Ukonu - Real Native (redux)

Thanks for the feedback on the "noise filter" vs "non-filter" question.

Here's the Ukonu LP without the filter: Ukonu - Real Native

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I need a little help...

No, I don't want any money...

My latest rip, Ukonu - Real Native, had a problem with excessive surface noise. I tried out some new software and I have mixed feelings about the results. Here are two versions of track 2: Ada Le, one with noise reduction and one without. The one with "(noise)" in the track title is the one without the noise filter. Maybe I did that backwards? Anyhow, if you could take a couple of minutes and compare the two and let me know which version you prefer, I'd appreciate it. It will help me to know how to deal with filtering on future rips. Thanks!

Click here.

Ukonu - Real Native

Here's a new one for ya. This is supposed to be a recording made by four African students (and one American) studying in the US whenever this was recorded (late 50s?). Lots of drums and flutes. From the liner notes:

Though his full name would hardly ever appear on a marquee, Anyaogu Elekwachi Ukonu is a young man of many talents. A pre-medical student at UCLA, Ukonu has appeared in three motion pictures since coming to this country, and having started drumming at the age of six, he has developed blinding speed and precision in his short twenty-three years. A member of the Ibo Tribe, Ukonu hails from Nigeria, West Africa and is the son of Chief Elekwachi. The leader of the group, Ukonu will return to his native land following the completion of his studies at UCLA and his internship in this country.

Other members of the group include Henry Palmer, a UCLA student from the Yoruba Tribe in Nigeria, West Africa; Alex Amatow, flutist from the African Gold Coast; John Ibloko, an engineering student at Loyola University and a cousin of Ukonu's; and Cecil Penrice, drummer and sanitary engineer from Santa Barbera.

I wonder how those guys met Cecil?

Authentic? Who knows.

I had some problems with this rip. The surface noise is strong on this LP and the music, being primarily drums and flute, does not override the noise all that well. I have some new editing software and tried to eliminate the background noise but I'm not completely happy with the results. There are some odd sound artifacts due to the noise reduction filter. My impression is from listening through headphones, however, and perhaps listening to the tracks over a regular speaker at home or in the car wouldn't sound so weird. I'd like some feedback on the sound quality if you don't mind.

Maybe you should read the next post before downloading this rip. Especially if you have a slow connection.

EDIT: Based upon your feedback I redid this rip without the noise reduction filter crap. Here it is.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Milt Raskin - Exotic Tahiti

One of the ten best Exotica albums of all time, in my opinion, is....Milt Raskin's Kapu.

Exotic Tahiti is Kapu as released in Germany. Same songs but different cover and the tracks are in a different order. My copy of Kapu is kurap (sounds like the band is playing on the back of truck as its driving down a gravel road) so I ripped this version. This vinyl isn't perfect, there are some surface noises and a few clicks but it's not too bad.

Track listing:

Koko Head
Moon Festival

Hope you enjoy.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Rex Kona - Wild Orchids

Light bubbly exotica. The more interesting tracks are the Japanese flavored ones. You'll know them by their titles. Moonlight in Vermont would, for example, not be one of those tracks to which I refer.

Wild Orchids

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tenth Naval District Steel Band - New Paths For Steel Band

This is one of the more unusual "exotica" LPs and I've never seen anyone else do a rip so here it is! This is a new one, just ripped it tonight.

New Paths For Steel Band by the Tenth Naval District Steel Band - San Juan, Puerto Rico. Chief Musician Franz E. Grissom, USN - Leader.

Apparently a US Navy band got the go ahead to record this project for God knows what reason. The back cover suggests that the LP is on Showtime records and was recorded by the West Indies Recording Corp but the record label says "Cook" so your guess is as good as mine. Its basically steel band renditions of a few classics and a few originals. The reason it shows up on the radar of exotica collectors is, I suppose, because of 1) the presence of bird calls and jungle noises and 2) they cover "Quiet Village."

The tracks:

Annie Laurie
Steel Band Safari
Penny Whistle Calypso
La Pachanga
The Enchanted Sea
Walking to Missouri
Theme for Steel Band
Mercin Bon Dieu
Quiet Village
Enoe y Paquita

Dig the liner note description for The Enchanted Sea: "not only enchanting music, but a sea that is so magicked, it sounds more like a tropical jungle. Musicological note; all jungle sounds re-created exclusively by these versatile musicians."

"Magicked?" What the hell? Sounds like a bunch of Crowley acolytes or something. Too weird! No respectable person used the word "magick" back in those days. Not that anyone respectable would use such a word today. Was the Tenth Naval District Steel Band a cover for a covert Naval Intelligence group studying Caribbean occultism to use against the communists?

How about this blurb describing the cover? "On the cover: the band during a happy moment on a trek through El Yunque, the Puerto Rican rain forest." "During a happy moment?" Like just before they all got killed by the first batch of experimental chupacabras? What does it mean!?!? Does McGarrett know about this???


Its an interesting listen. It won't segue seamlessly into most exotica comps since its all steel drums. You're going to have to be a bit creative to make it fit. But I know you can do it. :)

New Paths for Steel Band

Les Baxter - Ritual of the Savage

The classic. Strangely enough never released on CD here in the US (as far as I know). Here it is complete with a few pops and clicks for that real vinyl experience.

Les Baxter - Ritual of the Savage

Dick Schory - Supercussion

A selection of five tracks from Dick Shory's Supercussion. These five lean more towards the exotica side of the tracks.

Dick Schory

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Billy Vaughn - Blue Hawaii

Hapa loungey haole music. Great for your prom.

This one is the entire album.

Billy Vaughn - Blue Hawaii

The Islanders with the Waikiki 12

Three tracks from the "Hawaiian Paradise" LP. Steel guitar and falsetto vox.

The Islanders with the Waikiki 12

Hilo Hawaiians - Honeymoon in Hawaii

This isn't the entire LP, just the six best tracks. Sweet, sweet steel guitar...

Hilo Hawaiians

Alfred Newman - Ports of Paradise

I've heard people refer to this album as overly orchestrated, and that may be true, but its not orchestrated like an ultra-saccharine easy listening record. The way this one is orchestrated reminds me more of a 1950s movie soundtrack which, for all I know, it may very well be. This is another LP that I ripped long ago and I don't have the cover with liner notes available to me just now. Anyhow, the highlights are the opening track "Ports of Paradise," track six "Isa Lei" and track eight "My Little Grass Shack." Those latter two tracks feature the vocals of Mavis Rivers.

"My Little Grass Shack" is a smoking version of the hapa haole classic. Suggestive rhythms and slightly suggestive tweaking of the lyrics with some pretty comical background singing adds up to being one of my favorite Hawaiian haole tracks of all time. When I first heard it I pictured Mavis Rivers to look something like Doris Day so imagine my surprise to find out that Mavis is Samoan!

Mavis Rivers

Here's the album:

Ports of Paradise

A little about this blog...

My original intent for creating this blog was primarily to share older Hawaiian and Tahitian LPs. There are several blogs sharing Exotica rips but not so many with the Hawaiian stuff so that was my intended niche.

I was also planning on getting a much nicer turntable and, in fact, had one lined up but the deal fell through. So for now I'm making due with my old unit. Truthfully, for now I'm just posting rips that I made months ago for personal use, hence the lack of cover art. Once I start digitizing LPs again I'll scan the covers an include them as well.

I don't know how this blog things gonna shake out. It'll primarily be shares of old Hawaiian and exotica LPs, stuff that is not in print, but I'm sure I'll occasionally include whatever strikes my fancy, whether that be country, jazz or punk or whatever. Let me know if you dig what you hear...