Tuesday, December 20, 2011


YEAR: Unknown

LABEL: Unknown

TRACK LISTING: China Nights, When Sam Goes Back To Samoa, Beyond the Reef, The Reef Is Calling, Matey, Pieces of Eight, Ports O' Call, My Fiji Island Queen, Let's Have A Luau, Castaway, Sweet Someone, Bali Hai, Maui Chimes, Chicken Koona Kaai, Pacific Farewell Medley (Now Is the Hour/Phillipine Farewell/Sayanara/Maururu A Vai/Aloha Oe)

IMPRESSIONS: The sound of the (rather small-sounding) gong leads us into the halcyon days of the tiki/exotica craze of the 1950s and early 60s when Don the Beachcomber ruled the themed-restaurant/bar biz. Paul Page was an ex-model and radio DJ who performed in various of these tiki lounges and named his albums after whatever tiki lounge in which he was appearing. Thus we have PIECES OF EIGHT; named after the tiki lounge on Fiji Way at Marina Del Rey. No singer, Page intones verse inspired by Don Blanding's classic 1928 book of "beach bum" poetry "VAGABOND'S HOUSE" over instrumental Hawaiian-sounding backgrounds provided by the steel guitar of Bernie Kaii Lewis and the vocalizing of the Island-Aires (who actually sound more like the Sons of the Pioneers than any South Sea singing group). Page is the epitome of the middle-aged white guy "haole" in his captain's hat who fell in love with the South Pacific during and after World War II. If that's your idea of a good time (and it certainly is mine), then this album'll be a really good listen!

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Actually, the whole damn treasure chest of songs, matey!

FACT SHEET: Paul Page is an ex-model, newspaper editor, radio personality, fine arts painter and tiki exotica lounge act. During his stint performing in various tiki lounges, Page cut several albums named after each restaurant in which he was appearing in order to have something to sell to the punters. In the words of Paul Page interviewer Dominic Priore: "Paul Page sounded like none of them. What he accomplished in these individualistic recordings was unique. Completely based in a Hawaiian sound, his songs end up sounding like Polynesian sea shanties, with spoken word dramatics coloring the dynamic mix."

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