"Caravan" - 16 exotic tunes from the Middle East to Easter Island

In The Trashcan Records       GARBAGE01
"This is the first of a whole set of volumes with exotic sounding tunes or songs that deal with exotic subjects. Some of these should have been perfect on Jungle Exotica, a Crypt release. The next 5 exotic volumes are "vol 12", "vol 15", "vol 30", "vol 36" and "vol 38"...."

(UNITED ARTISTS UA352 from 1961) 1. caravan - ralph marterie 

The one song that will always be connected to Ralph Marterie is Shish-Kebab which I intended to use in this series, but recently it resurfaced on a comp called "The International Vicious Society" which I highly recommend. But I used another Shish-Kebab on volume 9. Caravan, a Duke Ellington composition from 1936, was first recorded under an alias: "Barney Rigard & His Jazzopators". It's been covered hundreds of times, but this 1953 (!) recording is the one that rocks the most and swings the best. My garbage copy is from 1961 and the b-side is Tonight.

9. in morocco - the classmates 

Was this really a British band? Now I know why the Clash recorded a song called "Rock the Casbah"! This song about a mysterious Casablanca guy really rocks. "I feel", an uptempo beat rock song, is the other song on this great 45, their third of four. Obviously they failed to hit the charts.

(Decca F.11806 from 1964)
(Vogue 45-PV. 15036, first released Pye) 2. the sultan of bezaaz - ray ellington 

The Beryl Stott Choir and Bill Shepherd's orchestra help Ray in his praise for the extremely rich Sultan. Where is Bezaaz? In the Middle East? India? An Arabian prince perhaps? Half way the song the girls of Beryl Stott sing along and then the song really starts swinging and it all ends with an enchanting gong.
10. timbuctu - billy duke

And now over to desert city number one: Timbuctu. Billy Duke runs away from his love to Timbuctu and joins a caravan, just like Laurel & Hardy joined the Foreign Legion after running away from disappointment after disappointment. Billy's recording career started in 1954 and ended a decade later. The flip is an uptempo jazzy swinger called "Ain't she pretty", not so bad after all. I've selected it for volume 20.
(Ember EMB S160 from 1962, first released on 20th Fox 301)
(Ronnex R 1301 from 1963) 3. ali ben ghazi - jack hammer 

Already his 9th single release, the American-Belgian king of twist recorded this exotic Arabian bossa nova tune about Ali Ben Ghazi who hailed from Bagdad - in those days still a fairy tale city in the middle of the wonderful desert. More about Jack Hammer and his roots in volume 31.
11. my sweet watusi - mindy carson

This has become one of my fave "unknown" exotica tunes. Mindy's first release was in 1950 and she also recorded a few singles in 1952-53 with Guy Mitchell, but this is definitely her best effort. Fast, sizzling and inviting you to date a Watusi. The b-side "You can't be true to two" is her typical pop style à la Guy Mitchell in a female version.
(Columbia 4-40641 from 1956)
(Palette PB25459 from 1966) 4. allahabad - jacques ysaye

Another "Pearl of the East" was Allahabad, described by Jacques Ysaye and his orchestra. Steady beats, swirling Hammond organ, strings and an oriental flavour rule this instrumental. On volume 15 you can listen to the flip "Chinese lantern feast".
12. tamouré - the royal polynesians
...featuring Charles Mauu, an actual Tahitian chief, administrator and judge. During a visit to America he participated in this recording and helped give it complete authenticity. Tamouré is an invitation to have fun to the intriguing rhythms of an old island chant. This 4-track EP is called "Polynesia! - part 1". The other songs are "Vana Vana", "Papio" and "Café au lait". The sleeve was printed in the recent "The book of Tiki" of 2003.
(Capitol EAP 1-483 from 1951?)
(Kapp K-181X from 1957) 5. harem dance - armenian jazz sextet

I suppose this sextet were Armenian immigrants who released this 45 on the New York based Kapp Records. The instrumental "Harem dance" was covered as "Hey" by Gabriel & His Angels on the fabulous comp "Jungle exotica vol 2", a Crypt release. "Pretty girl", the B-side is also a nice eastern flavoured song which might appear on a future volume.
13. bikini - stan applebaum
The Stan Applebaum Orchestra might be from Canada, but Bigtop Records hailed from New York. The only word you hear in this instrumental is ... Bikini! When the guys are shouting it, it is wishful thinking, but when the girl is whispering, it is pure sex! Take off your bikini!
(Bigtop 45-3025 from 1959)
(Philips P370.280F) 6. loukoum - kemal rachid & ses ottomans 

Labeled as "oriental cha cha" this French sung gem (with a very heavy Arabian accent though) is digested in the same way you swing to Bob Azzam's hit record "Mustapha", a very old traditional. Accidentally, Loukoum is the flip to a great version of that Mustapha. I'm told Kemal Rachid was an Algerian immigrant who lived in Paris.
14. the natives are restless - enoch light
This must be a late 50s release from France and it's the closest to rock 'n' roll Enoch Light & His Light Brigade will ever come. Enoch and Command: almost synonyms. Native beats against velvet strings, a lost guitar fights exotic percussionists. It's exotica heaven up here.
(Command SSD-20013)
(Top Rank HTR-716, first released on Seafair 103 in 1961) 7. istanbul - the night people

This is the Dutch release of the American 45. The Night People recorded a handful of 45s in the early 60s including this one, later covered by They Might Be Giants (after adding lyrics) as "Istanbul, not Constantinople". The flipside contains another great guitar instrumental, "Zazerac" which might turn up on a later volume.
15. gauchos - the jokers
This early 70s tune is one of the best by this Belgian instrumental guitar band that sold over 850.000 albums in the 60s all over the world. Even in Japan, where they were almost as popular as the Ventures! In 2002 this song (about cowboys from the Argentinian pampas) was covered by another Belgian instrumental combo: Fifty Foot Combo. Some more Jokers can be found on volume 31.
(Panky 093, also released as Reward 1029 from 1971)
(Capitol 45-CL 14704 from 1957) 8. shake shake sonora - lord flea & his calypsonians 

The label also reads "spanish music". But it's more like Marino Marini, a Latin influenced Italian singer. It reminds me of a southern Italian village party with women dancing around and swinging their skirts while the men encircle them handclapping. Also the flip "The naughty little flea" is more Napoli than Acapulco, but has a distinguished Caribbean touch.
16. dance everyone dance - betty madigan
And now that you've listened to all these songs, everyone should be dancing. This song is an English translation of Hava Nagila, the Jewish traditional, released on Decca's sublabel Coral. Forget about the ballad on the flip, but enjoy this super swinging cover version by Betty, whose recording career was about 15 years long.
(Coral 9-62007 from 1958)