THE SOUND OF TIKI - VARIOUS ARTISTS
LABEL: Bear Family Records
TRACK LISTING: Taboo Tu - Arthur Lyman, Aku Aku - Martin Denny, Bali Ha'i - Gloria Lynne, Bird of Paradise - Les Baxter, Castaway - Paul Page, Tiki - Martin Denny & Si Zentner, House of Bamboo - Andy Williams, Kon-Tiki - The Shadows, I-Ha-She - Marais & Miranda, Hawaiian Eye - Buddy Morrow, Hilo Boy - The Mary Kaye Trio, Ulili-E - The Surfers, Pieces of Eight - Paul Page, Full Moon - Eden Ahbez, Bamboo - The Surfmen, Hawaii Five-O/Quiet Village Medley - Don Ho
BONUS TRACKS: Luau Is Calling You - Radio Jingle
IMPRESSIONS: Long after the big lounge music/exotica boom in the mid-90's, Bear Family Records came out with this handsome cd package compiled by "THE BOOK OF TIKI" author Sven A. Kirsten. While this in no way can compare to the near-perfect ULTRA LOUNGE VOLUME 1: MONDO EXOTICA (discussed elsewhere on this blog), any new tiki/exotica lounge music album is cause for celebration. It's hardly surprising the author of the rather nice "BOOK OF TIKI" provides us with a lavishly-illustrated booklet for the cd describing the history of the lounge music phenomenon mid-20th century as well as brief bios of the artists and their songs. The "big three" of exotica music -- Les Baxter, Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman -- are all represented here but it's also an unexpected, pleasant surprise to see TWO tracks by the dippy Paul Page (whose album I also have previously discussed on this blog ... see the link on the right hand side there) as well as one of my favourite songs of all-time: Eden Ahbez's "Full Moon" (and yes, Eden Ahbez's album has ALSO been previously discussed on this blog ... follow the links). Andy Williams is not one of my favourite people but his version of "House of Bamboo" is pretty good; although the definitive version still remains Earl Grant's. The inclusion of the obscure Surfmen (I should post on one of their albums one of these days) is welcome as is the track by that incredibly odd pair of "musical anthropologist" folk singers Marais & Miranda (I really should also do a post on one of THEIR albums one of these days as well). The Shadows' "Kon-Tiki" is a good track but I don't really think it belongs here as it musically belongs to the "surf guitar" genre. Buddy Morrow (of "POE FOR MODERNS" fame) does a fun and silly version of the Hawaiian Eye theme song too. While not as musically strong as other "Ultra Lounge" compilations, this is a worthy addition to the pile of tiki tunes.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Taboo Tu - Arthur Lyman, Aku Aku - Martin Denny, Bird of Paradise - Les Baxter, Castaway - Paul Page, Tiki - Martin Denny & Si Zentner, Kon-Tiki - The Shadows, I-Ha-She - Marais & Miranda, Hilo Boy - The Mary Kaye Trio, Pieces of Eight - Paul Page, Full Moon - Eden Ahbez, Bamboo - The Surfmen, Luau Is Calling You - Radio Jingle
FACT SHEET: THE SOUND OF TIKI is a compilation album of exotica music focusing on the tiki/exotica fad of the mid-20th century and which has been celebrated in the RE/SEARCH: INCREDIBLY STRANGE MUSIC books leading to a retro-boom in the mid-1990s. Phew! The collection is produced and compiled by Sven A. Kirsten: author of "THE BOOK OF TIKI" who also appeared in a recent episode of "STORAGE WARS" as a "tiki expert". "Taboo Tu" is from Arthur Lyman's "TABOO VOL. 2" album. "Aku Aku" appears on Martin Denny's "AFRO DESIA" album. "Bird of Paradise" is taken from Les Baxter's "THE PRIMITIVE AND THE PASSIONATE" album. "Castaway" and "Pieces of Eight" are taken from Paul Page's "PIECES OF EIGHT" album. "I-Ha-She" is from Mirais & Miranda's "GO NATIVE" album. "Full Moon" is from Eden Ahbez's "EDEN'S ISLAND" album. "Bamboo" is taken from the Surfmen's "THE SOUNDS OF EXOTIC ISLAND" album.