Thursday, December 1, 2011

QUIET VILLAGE - Martin Denny

YEAR: 1959

LABEL: Liberty

TRACK LISTING: Stranger In Paradise, Hawaiian War Chant, Coronation, Sake Rock, Paradise Found, Firecracker, Martinique, My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua Hawaii Cha Cha Cha, Tune From Rangoon, Happy Talk, Pagan Love Song, Laura, Quiet Village

IMPRESSIONS: The father of lounge. As a kid, I remember this album was in my mother's record collection as long as I can remember. I never once listened to it. In fact, years later in the 80s, my mother got rid of a bunch of these records. Who knew a scant few years later they'd be selling for top dollar during the exotica/lounge music boom of the 1990s!

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Stranger In Paradise, Coronation, Sake Rock, Paradise Found, Martinique, Tune From Rangoon, Pagan Love Song, Laura, Quiet Village

FACT SHEET: QUIET VILLAGE is Martin Denny's eighth album. Martin Denny was brought to Honolulu, Hawaii by Don the Beachcomber in January 1954; he would stay on and form his own combo in 1955 playing at the Shell Bar at the Hawaiian Village on Oahu. The original combo featured Denny on piano, Augie Colon on percussion, Arthur Lyman on vibes and John Kramer on string bass. Denny accidentally discovered his trademark sound (which gave birth to the exotica craze) while performing at the Shell Bar; the space featured a large pool of water with rocks and palm trees surrounding it. During one number, he noticed that frogs were croaking along with the music and would in fact stop when the music stopped. What he thought was just a coincidence happened again the next time he started playing the song. As a joke, members of the band started making exotic bird calls during the song. Denny thought nothing of it until he started getting requests for the song with the frogs and bird calls in it. Denny's recording of Les Baxter's song "Quiet Village" sold a million copies and became a gold record. The song actually first appeared on Denny's first album "EXOTICA" in 1956 but the song was released as a single in 1959 when a DJ started playing it on the radio; Denny's eighth album hurriedly included the song at the end and was titled "QUIET VILLAGE" in response. Arthur Lyman had left the combo by this time to start his own group. The album "QUIET VILLAGE" features Martin Denny (piano, celeste), Augie Colon (bongos, congas, bird calls), Julius Wechter (vibes, marimbas, percussion), Harvey Ragsdale (string bass, marimbula), Raymond Alexander (percussion), Jose Bethancourt (percussion) and John Frigo (string bass). The famous cover photo is by Ivan Nagy and features model Sandy Warner "the Exotica Girl" who appeared on all Martin Denny's album covers before this.

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