Monday, May 10, 2010

Martin Denny

Martin Denny Exotica was a cottage industry back in the day; that was music whose sound was meant to evoke a tropical paradise. Usually it was a lot of chirping sounds that did it. Les Baxter was one purveyor of said style, though his hits were straight MOR. Martin Denny was another, and he also did a mix of straight MOR and exotica, and his music was heard in elevators throughout the land.

The album I have here is vintage early, original vinyl when I picked it up, that’s The Best Of Martin Denny, and of course they had to leave out one of his top 100 singles, though he only had 4, and we can’t blame chronology, because Martinique was a hit (sort of) in 1959, before The Enchanted Sea or A Taste Of Honey, both of which are here.

Martin Denny:

A Taste Of Honey – The Beatles did this famously on their first album, but the only real hit version was Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass’s manic rendition in 1965. Tony Bennett also put it on the chart. This is closer to the original intention. A small hit in the summer of 1962.
Scarlet Mist
More – The theme from Mondo Kane. I’ve written about this song before. It was a hit, in a very atypical arrangement, for Kai Winding. This is a languid version, you can smell the tropics.
Quiet Village – His only top 10 hit, very evocative. He uses tricks, like bird sounds and the like, but it works. From the summer of 1959.
Black Orchid – Not the Stevie Wonder song.
Cast Your Fate To The Wind – A hit for Sounds Orchestral and for the Vince Guaraldi Trio in 1965.
Little Bird – Not The Beach Boys song.
The Enchanted Sea – More of that tropical meringue. From the fall of 1959.
You’ll Never Walk Alone – An odd item in this collection. But it kind of works. He uses an odd tempo.
Hawaiian Tattoo
Call Me – A hit for Chris Montez in 1966.

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