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From '50s NYC clubland, a Yma Sumac-inspired version of "Babalu" by jazz/calypso singer Phyllis Branch.
The radio showThe show is Lost Frequencies. Every Monday night from 9pm to 11pm (CST) on Marfa Public Radio I explore the atmospheric side of post-War music: bop & vocals, soul/R&B heartbreak, exotica & soundtrack moods, Latin jazz, oddball instrumentals, honky-tonk ballads, early electronics - even some dreamy '60s psychedelic pop. Tune in at Marfa Public Radio or at KRTS 93.5fm.
Category Archives: Exotica/Space-Age
The Soviet Union’s successful launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite in October of ‘57 was just one of several early culminations in what had already been a long-simmering struggle for space between the Soviets and the United States. Sputnik was … Continue reading
In the first half of the 1960s, when this week’s selections were recorded, exotica hadn’t waned as a commercial or creative force. And the Arabic world was one peculiar, and significant, branch of the exotica tree. It was a … Continue reading
It’s impossible to talk about jazz pianist Horace Silver without regurgitating the same plaudits that, in reality, are entirely accurate. To begin with, Silver is a consistent and prolific composer with an enviable body of original material to his name. … Continue reading
The common tropes of Asphalt Jungle, Peter Gunn, D.O.A., The Maltese Falcon, This Gun for Hire, Johnny Staccato and dozens of other classic crime and detective serials and movies are well documented. Watching how certain motifs – the chase scenes, … Continue reading
The inimitable South American vocalist Yma Sumac is one of the figureheads of ‘50s exotica, often if not always mentioned in the same breath as Les Baxter, Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman. And for good reason. Sumac was exotica’s ultimate … Continue reading
I’m pleased to announce the Exotica Project, my new 45-related website. The Exotica Project explores a somewhat disparate collection of one hundred exotic-themed 45s through the motifs that unite them. The site approaches “exotica” more as a style, and a … Continue reading
Whither the hard-luck lounge singer? The dark-lit cocktail lounge at city limits, its few patrons and the décor both well past their prime. The nightclub singer, somewhere between down-on-his-luck and end-of-his-rope, staring pathos in the eye. This week: everything that … Continue reading
I’ve posted extensively about Afro-Latin music in California (here, here, here and here). The subject fascinates me, so I’ll try not to belabor the point too much. Latin jazz in the post-War Bay Area and Los Angeles was a diffuse, … Continue reading