Monday, May 29, 2006

Chief Bey and His Royal Household - Taboo

"All The Excitement And Mystery Of The Jungle In High Fidelity."

A mysterious one. Who is Chief Bey? There is no information in the liner notes. Just a mention that the drums are in the hands of the "CAWANDA group." I got the "Chief Bey and His Royal Household" off of the record label. There is no mention of "Chief Bey" or any "recording artist" on the cover, either front or back.

I seem to recollect reading somewhere that Chief Bey might be an alias of Chaino. I doubt it, but its possible. This is a very ethnographic style recording as opposed to the crazed exploitation feel of Chaino. In fact, much of this LP would be right at home as the background music on a commercial for Disney's Animal Kingdom (natazu!). Its very traditional African sounding, whether its real or not.

Most of the tracks would be a bit out of place on an exotica comp but...BUT, you exotica types might check out tracks 5 (Fakiiya) and 10 (Ayilongo) as those are pretty cool and could snuggle up with Yma most righteously.

The liner notes describe "Fakiiya" as thus: "The deep drums, the big drums, predominate as an accent to the rhythms of the smaller drums. The random shout, almost hysterical, pierce the air as the rhythm increases in intensity. A visual scene is stirred in the mind of a primitive jungle orgy."


Chief Bey and His Royal Household

Frank Edwards - Flying Saucers--Serious Business

Here's one for those of you who like the weird stuff (like me). Nine tracks of nothing but talking. Frank Edwards sitting in front of a microphone talking to you from 1966. The tracks are:

Flying Saucers Around Ships and Astronauts
UFOs--From the A Bomb to the Blackout
Kooks Who Claim Saucer Contacts
UFOs in Ancient History
Astronomers Report Flying Saucers
UFOs--Their Size and Power Source
Mysteries on the Moon
Flying Saucer Censorship
Signals--and Creatures--from Space

If any of you know of an online source for more recordings like this, please let me know. I'm also looking for sites that have audio files of alleged real weirdness like UFOs, Bigfoot, etc including interviews. Its for a Halloween mix project I have in mind. Anything that could've been on Sightings would be cool.

If I was on the ball I would've recorded this in mono and saved you all some download time. I screwed up.

Serious Business

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Featured Drink: Zombie Headhunter

This one is from the Hawaii Kai Cookbook. The actual name of the drink in the book is "Headhunter Zombie" but I've flipped the name around as it just sounds much cooler that way, besides this Hawaii Kai book is a bit sketchy. The Schindlers may have been a bit lit up when they put these recipes together. I've found two instances (so far) where the drink description did not match the recipe. The description for the "Waikiki Daquiri" mentions passion liqueur but the recipe does not contain it. The "Hawaiian Russian" is described as "Hawaiian wedding of Kona liqueur and vodka" but there's no Kona liqueur or coffee liqueur in the recipe! So for all I know this drink could actually be the "Zombie Headhunter" (it is the last drink listed in its section) and they just screwed up the name when putting the book together. Plus, in Jeff Berry's Grog Log prototype zine there is a drink called the "Zombie Headhunter" as was discussed on Tiki Central. Anyway...

This is a very strong drink that goes down quite easy. Two sips in and I immediately knew that tomorrow morning will be a tad rough which is too bad because I have things to do. You can really taste the demerera rum in this one. I used Lemon Hart 151 for the 151 required in the recipe. From the book:

Headhunter Zombie

Renowned as the "walking dead"! Two is the limit!

1 ounce papaya nectar
1 ounce peach nectar
1 ounce lime juice
1 1/2 ounces Demerera dark rum (86 proof)
1 ounce heavy dark rum (151 proof)
3/4 ounce gold rum
3/4 ounce honey
dash of angostura bitters

Pour all ingredients, except bitters, over 1/2 cup shaved ice. Blend! Pour mixture into 13-ounce frosted Zombie glass; add dash of bitters. Garnish with fancy pick, pineapple spear, red and green maraschino cherries, 8-inch straw, and paper parasol stuck in tip of straw. So here's mud-in-the-eye or, in graceful Hawaiian style, lea lea kakou--to happiness! And your response can be Mahalo, thank you or likepuol (the same to you). Serves 1.

The Polynesians/Buddy Collette - Aloha To Jazz

Who's idea was this?

Side one features The Polynesians with five sweet tracks of Polynesian and hapa haole goodness.

Tomi Tomi
Beyond The Reef
Lovely Hula Hands
Beauty Hula

Side two features Buddy Collette and his Quintet with a blast of West Coast Cool followed by a slow flute and drums based piece of exotica.

It's You
Blue Sands

Blues Sands is a fine bit of exotica except like many jazz cuts its longer than your average exotica piece clocking in at 8:48.

Both sides of the LP are great! As to why they were presented together, I have no clue.

On scratchy blue vinyl.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Today's Featured Drink: Barracuda Bite

Got a new drink recipe book: Okolemaluna (Bottom's Up!) and it appears to be dandy. Time will tell. If the drinks are half as good as the drink names then we've got a winner here. Some of the drink names that caught my eye are Sleepy Lagoon, Zombie Sleepwalker, Fiji Blackout, Mermaid's Milk (!), Tongan Teaser and South Sea Siren to name several. But good names do not make for good drinks necessarily. One thing I notice right away is that most of these drinks are very simple. Simple can be good and simple can be disastrous. The only way to know is to actually make the ultimate sacrifice and slog through them one by one. I feel that I am ready to make that sacrifice!

It appears that Beachbum Berry has this book in his library as many of the simple line drawn graphics appear in his books.

First up is the Barracuda Bite. This one is a monster. VERY strong and quite the looker. It's basically a lot of booze and a little lime, with grenadine to cut the harshness and provide the uniquely bloody appearance. I'd recommend for anyone reading this to go out of your way to pick up some Fees Bros American Beauty Grenadine and make it your grenadine of choice. It has a very distinct pomegranate flavor and doesn't taste as candy-like as most of the other grenadines. A second recommendation: let the ice melt a bit before you drink this one. Just a bit. It'll help. Yow! (In case you haven't guessed, I'm drinking this as I review it).

This is a good drink. That 151 kicks it straight into your bloodstream. Directly from the book:


To be mixed only if you are in a big hurry, and then only behind locked doors. Even though you can still stand, never drink more than two at one sitting.

1 1/2oz 150 proof rum
1 1/2oz vodka
1/2oz lime juice
1 oz grenadine

Mix lightly in shaker, pour into tall glass filled with crushed ice. Drink S-L-O-W-L-Y, no matter how thirsty you are!

Scientists - Weird Love

And now for something completely different...

This is one of my favorite albums of all time. For those who do not know, the Scientists were a seminal Aussie band led by the semi-legendary Kim Salmon. Founded in 1978 and dissolved in 1987, the band went through (to me) three fairly distinct phases. The early phase being sort of punky pop or poppy punk a la Radio Birdman, the middle phase being more of a swamp blues grunge rock sound and the latter phase being a bit more quirky and experimental. Sympathy For The Record Industry released three CD comps that more or less chronicled each of these three phases on a separate CD. For me, without doubt, the middle swamp-hunch phase is by far the superior and even though Weird Love was recorded and released in 1986, near the end of their career, it definitely and perfectly summates that phase of the band's output.

None of these tracks from this recording session appear on the SFTRI CD comps or on the Sub Pop comp. All of those tracks are taken from recordings made for Au Go Go or other labels. For this LP the band re-recorded the selected songs in London in 1986 with producer Richard Mazda. The LP was released on Karbon Records (UK?) and Big Time Records (US). I love the sound and the style that they got in this session. Its a tad more b(l)oozey, grungey and loose than the original takes. As far as I can determine these have appeared nowhere else but on this album and have never been put on CD.

I found this album by chance in 1986. I lived in a smallish college town in the South and we had a record store in the local mall that had a cool manager that would stock weird and unusual LPs, maybe he even had a few bootlegs. Can you imagine anything like that in a mall record (err, CD) store today? I think it was a Camelot Records. Anyway I bought this based soley on the cover art and I immediately fell in love with it. I sought out other Scientists releases but they were few and far between in the US in the days before ebay and independent mail order record stores. Whatever I found was good but not as good as Weird Love. For me, this is the pinnacle of their output.

Kathleen C. Fennessy, writing for All Music Guide ( described their sound as "primitive, psychotic, feedback-drenched swamp blues with a hint of twang (Hank Williams' legacy had also worked its way into the equation)" and also wrote that "At their best they were so far ahead of their time, they transcended the very notion. The proto-grunge they were cooking up in the late '70s/early '80s prefigured the music Sonic Youth, the Spacemen 3, and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion would be cranking out a decade later." But don't let that comparison possibly put you off, I don't think the Scientists sound all that much like those three bands (much looser and less dissonant than Sonic Youth or the JPBE and not as minimalist as Spacemen 3), at least not on this release.

This music sounds as fresh to me now as it did 20 years ago. And speaking of 20 years, that's how long I've had this LP and its been played probably hundreds of times but still sounds pretty decent.

Lastly, this is one of the few rock albums that I can see playing in a tiki bar. At least in my tiki bar. Its got that same exotic (but darker) vibe that the Hoodoo Gurus had with their early stuff. So if you're ever in the mood where the polynesian and the exotica just ain't mean and booze drenched enough for you, put this on and fire up the pufferfish lamps.

Weird Love

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hawaiian Room

Another restaurant record, this one is Hawaiian Room presents Melodies for Dancing from the Enchanted Islands by the Hawaiian Room Orchestra featuring George Hines on vocals and steel guitar and (allegedly Hawaiian) Johnny Coco on vocals. I never heard of a native Hawaiian go by the name of Johnny Coco but what do I know? I'm not sure what year this came out but those are some hellacious fonts on the cover!

This is a VERY haole recording. I doubt anyone who ever even met a person of Polynesian descent ever came within a mile of the studio during this recording. Its more whitebread than Pat Boone. Its still worth having though. The Hawaiian Room was one of the old classic tiki establishments and the mugs, souvenirs (of which this is) and the ephemera are very collectible. Beyond that its a more than decent collection of orchestrated Hawaiian standards (with the exception of the first track "Enchanted Island" which is an original) and some of the tracks have enough sweet falsetto to make me think that "Johnny Coco" may actually be a Hawaiian braddah.

Before anyone gets all snippety with me, "Sweet Lelani" was spelled thus on the cover and so that's how I spelled the file and the same with "Little Brown Girl" as opposed to "Gal."

Though the cover says MGM Records, my copy was pressed by Quality Records Ltd for distribution in Canada. I wish I knew what year this was recorded. To my uneducated ear the recording sounds early 50s if not a bit earlier.

From "The Hawaiian Room, situated in the Hotel Lexington, Lexington Avenue and 48th Street," NYC.

Lordy, rapidshare is slow on the upload tonight...

Doo doo de doo...da da da ta, bop de dah...

OK, let me go surf the net a little bit...

Finally! Here it is: The Hawaiian Room

The Big Bamboo

I want to post a couple of "restaurant records," a genre that consists of LPs that were recorded at or promo a restaurant, bar, club, resort or whatever. The first is a nice one recorded in 1961 at The Big Bamboo club in Nassau, Bahamas by the Big Bamboo Orchestra featuring Roy Shurland as vocalist and Little Sparrow on the Steel Pan. Though recorded at the club its not "live" as there is no audience or if there is then they are incredibly silent.

Its a great little album with the stand out track for me being the very, very (for 1961) risque song "Big Bamboo." Now I'd have figured it to be a standard but the label credits the tune to Roy Shurland, the featured Jamaican vocalist. But then again it credits Shurland for "Yellow Bird" and I'm doubting that. Hmmm... Anyhow its a fun one with calypsos and ballads and strong vocals and so just check it out!

I found it also curious that on the back cover, Carib Records had for sale other LPs that you could mail order directly from them. What I thought curious is that they were charging $5.95 per album back in 1961!

Today's featured drink: Maiden's Downfall

I like to dabble in mixology, especially when it involves vintage cocktails from the old tiki establishments. Or contemporary recipes from current tiki establishments. Or any drink with alcohol in it that is vaguely tiki-esque. I like the tiki drinks!

Most of the books that I have are still in print (Jeff Berry's books, Don The Beachcomber, Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails) and it wouldn't be right and proper to post those recipes since those guys went to all the hard work to find and compile them and publish a book. But now I'm working my way through an old out of print book so anything there is fair game for me to share.

The book is Hawaii Kai Cookbook by Roana and Gene Schindler. It was published in 1970 and you can usually find a copy on Ebay for pretty cheap. I haven't been terribly impressed by most of the drink recipes but this one is quite nice, if a bit on the sweet side. You guys and gals that love the lip puckering tart drinks might want to steer clear of this one. I really like it though. Directly from the book:

Maiden's Downfall

Virgins beware! This arouses the beast in any man.

2 ounces grapefruit juice
1 ounce lime
3/4 ounce orgeat
1 teaspoon sugar [ed - or .25 oz sugar syrup]
1 3/4 ounces vodka
1/2 cup shaved ice
dash of bitters

Mix all ingredients, except bitters, in blender over 1/2 cup shaved ice. Blend! Pour into 16-ounce glass over ice cubes. Add dash of bitters. Garnish with pineapple spear skewered with red and green maraschino cherries, 1/2 slice orange, and parasol placed into and 8-inch straw. Serves 1.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Jonathan Knight - Rainy Night in Shangri-La

Thinking about so-called (by me) "late exotica" in the previous post sparked a memory of this album. I ripped this quite a while back so there's no pic of the cover.

Jonathan Knight's Rainy Night in Shangri-La has a great selection of songs, strong arrangements and superb exotica sound effects with the bird calls and the thunder and rain, and it would be one of my all time favorite exotica LPs if not for the fact that Mr Knight's instrument of choice is the harpsichord. Yup, harpsichord. If you've ever wondered what Martin Denny would've sounded like if he performed for the court of Marie Antoinette then this album is right up your alley.

ANY other musical instrument would've been better than the harpsichord! Oboe, cello, trombone, mandolin, didgeridoo (actually, a didgeridoo exotica album would be extremely cool!), tuba or even a plain old harp would've been better. Any instrument that makes me think of John Malkovich in a wig and hose is a damnable thing.

Looking on the bright side: you've got some great tunes including Quiet Village, Yellow Bird, Pagan Love Song and Bali Hai; the rip sounds good and maybe this could kind of sort of fit in with a bunch of late exotica tracks.

I'm not crazy about this one but some of you may dig it.

Crazy harpsichord music here.

EDIT: Tiki Tim was kind enough to share HQ scans of the front and back covers of this LP. They can be downloaded here.

George Cates - Hawaii

Here's another exotica album that to me has a strong late 60s/early 70s vibe. One of these days I'm gonna divide all my exotica files into "classic exotica" and "late exotica." All of these late exotica LPs fit better with each other on a mix than they do with the older classics. Other examples of this sub-sub-subgenre would be Michel Magne, Fantastic Strings Orchestra, The Kokee Band, Les Baxter's Bora Bora and some others that escape me at the moment.

Having said all of that...this is a very good little LP. A collection of ten instrumentals that are a little punchier (just a little) and not (quite) so laid back as say...Arthur Lyman, but a damn fine listen just the same.

Now Is The Hour
Moon Of Manakoora
Hawaiian Wedding Song
Beyond The Reef
Pagan Love Song
Drifting And Dreaming
Bali Hai
Hawaiian War Chant
Song Of The Islands/Aloha Oe

Not a weak song in the bunch.

George Cates - Hawaii

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Richard Kauhi and the Polynesians - Hawaiian Sunset

Richard Kauhi and the Polynesians featuring: Harry Baty - Bob Nichols - Bernie Mattison - Bernie Allen.

This is a nice little set of mid-tempo hapa haole crooning in front of a small jazzy lounge combo. Not a world beater but nice mellow romantic aloha music. Every now and then you need a slow number thrown into your Hawaiian mix to give all the drunken haole dancers a chance to catch their breaths, and you can't always use Alfred Apaka so try using some Richard Kauhi and the Polynesians once in a while.

In stereo. On Crown Records.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Shelly Manne - Daktari

From 1968 here's Shelly Manne "conducting and performing his original music for the hit TV show." That show would be Daktari.

I was a kid when Daktari was on TV and I don't remember much about it except that it was a big favorite of mine and they rode around in jeeps with seats mounted to the front fender for lassoing rhinos and other large African plains mammals. As an adult, I'm taking an easy guess that the TV show was based on John Wayne's Hatari! movie which also featured jeeps that had seats mounted to the front fender for lassoing rhinos, giraffes etc etc.

When I was about ten or twelve, I had a big pile of model car parts that came from several different kits. I think that my modus operandi at that time was to get the model kit, open it up and promptly scatter and lose most of the parts all over our play area. I distinctly remember one day taking a Pontiac Firebird convertible body (ca 1968), painting it in zebra camo and frankensteining together my own Daktari style hot rod. I gave it big off road tires, a roll bar, a blower sticking through the hood and, of course, a seat mounted on the left front fender. That's how much I apparently loved that show! But enough about me...

Shelly Manne was a known and respected jazz conductor and drummer when he agreed to compose and record the music for this TV show. Its a VERY good LP and most all of the tracks fit extremely well with 70s exotica and a few would even mix well with the Classics from the 50s and 60s.

Those chimps: aren't they so cute?

Shelly Manne - Daktari

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sam Makia and the Makapuu Beach Boys - Hawaii The Fabulous Fiftieth State

I'm going to have to start using my scanner for these LP covers. That there looks like crap.

This one here is for ol' Pappy the Sailor. Pappy likes the Hawaiian stuff and I've been slacking a bit on the Hawaiian side and focusing more on the Exotica. I promise to try and have a more balanced selection in the future.

This LP does have an Exotica tie-in since Sam Makia and the Makapuu Beach Boys are backed up by the Frank Hunter Orchestra. Yup, Frank Hunter of White Goddess fame.

13 tracks of Hawaiian instrumental standards backed by an orchestra. These are more haole than hapa but they do feature some great time-warping steel guitar (listen and you'll know what I mean). A few of these tracks are medleys of two songs. That's the way they are on the album, I didn't present them that way out of laziness!

Sam Makia and the Makapuu Beach Boys