Thursday, December 15, 2011

EDEN'S ISLAND - Eden Ahbez

YEAR: 1960


TRACK LISTING: Eden's Island, The Wanderer, Myna Bird, Eden's Cove, Tradewind, Full Moon, Mongoose, Market Place, Banana Boy, The Old Boat, Island Girl, La Mar

IMPRESSIONS: A cornerstone of the lounge/exotica genre. With his Christ-like long hair and beard, his Far Eastern philosophy and his barefoot beach bum lifestyle, Eden Ahbez was a hippy long before there existed such a thing. This album features the tropical instrumentation integral to exotica lounge music of the 50's and early 60s much like the works of Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman and scads of others. No real singer, Ahbez intones poetically over half of the instrumental tracks. My favourite song (and something of an obsession) is "Full Moon" which one night, when I was feeling particularly lost and pensive, I played on endless repeat for hours in my car as I drove around during a gorgeous summer night with my car windows all open and the twinkling stars swirling overhead. The song probably prevented me from walking in front of a bus.

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Eden's Island, The Wanderer, Myna Bird, Eden's Cove, Tradewind, Full Moon, Market Place, La Mar

FACT SHEET: EDEN'S ISLAND is Eden Ahbez's one and only album. It wasn't a success. Only years later during the 90's lounge music boom did the album gain notoriety; until then it was only a much sought-after relic by those rabid record collectors interested in "incredibly strange music". Eden Ahbez (born Alexander Aberle in Brooklyn) hit it big when his song "Nature Boy" was recorded by Nat King Cole and went to number one in the Billboard charts in 1948.

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