"Harem watusi" - 16 harem shakers and other exotic belly twisters



In The Trashcan Records       GARBAGE97
"Dance the watusi, dance the cha cha cha or the twist in the middle of the desert. A mirage of miracles and magic music from long forgotten years..."

Parlophone 45-R-4510 from 1958 1. cha cha pop pop – tony scott

One of the coolest and weirdest cha cha cha tunes I found. In 1958 he recorded this pop pop pop cha cha platter for Parlophone and it still remains one of the label's best kept secrets, carefully hidden as a b-side for “You go to my head”.
9. watusi wedding – the warriors

Wow! What a fantastic sleazoid schizoid watusi wailing instrumental that should have been on comps such as “Forbidden city dog food”. Wanna find it? It’s the b-side of “Lackawanna”.
Top Rank 45HTR-521 from 1959
Fast 1079 2. lu-mum-ba-cha-cha – al verlane

This Belgian band leader recorded many great cha-cha-cha songs (see also vol 28). As you know Congo/Zaire was a Belgian colony and Lumumba was one of its earliest leaders (yet assassinated too young). Anyway, Verlane sings in Flemish about this highly respected Central-African politician from 1960. On the  b-side he’s helped by Ping Ping for “Prefiero el mambo”.
10. havin’ a whole lot of fun – johnny jano

Ronnex means Belgian rock ‘n’ roll: this b-side of “X-cello rock” by Louis Brooks (see vol 93) is standard rock ‘n’ jive; a great sax stomper that’ll be loved by r&b fans too. I don’t know who Johnny Jano was.
Ronnex 1202x45 from 1957
ABC-Paramount 45-9660 3. yodel cha cha – trio shmeed

How crazy can I get? A Tiroler yodeling cha-cha tune? Just be glad that I didn’t select the a-side: “Polka yodel”; both sides being produced by Don Costa (oh no, not him again). Despite this information I’m sure you’ll be dancing from the very first beat.
11. workin’ out – ernie fields

It’s the b-side of “Chattanooga choo choo” which was also issued with another b-side “In the mood”. Again a super sleazy strip tune that escaped from the attention of the Las Vegas Grind people. I LOVE this; it’s so sexy; dancing on this tune is like workin’ out on the dance floor with a martini in your left hand and a daiquiri in the other.
Rendezvous 117 from 1960
Columbia 4-44399 from 1967 4. lima lady – mel torme
From Switzerland to Peru is a small step if you go from cha-cha-cha to the bossa nova samba sounds of this Mel Torme tune which sounds a little bit too much like “Girl from Ipanema”. On the  b-side you’ll get the title song from the Warner Bros movie  “Wait until dark”.
12. the tables have turned – junior parker
A splendid slice of the finest popcorn hidden as a b-side for “Yonders wall”. Even northern soul fans love this tune when I spin it at allnighters. Parker recorded dozens of 45s in his 20-year career, starting as Little Junior Parker. Some recordings were made with Bobby Bland.
Duke 367 from 1963
London 95359 5. the sultan’s harem – hrach yacoubian

The Middle East and its sheiks and sultans: romantic to some, fairytale to others. Yacoubian recorded this fantastic two-sider for Era. Featuring a bouzouki player I assume this has a Greek origin. Also listen to "Harem twist” , a little bit further.
13. harem twist – hrach yacoubian

Every oriental twist is welcome in my record collection and certainly this one: Rudy Protrudi tried (and almost succeeded) to copy this guitar sound on his Link Protrudi & the Jaymen’s second album “Slow grind”. Sometime I’d like to be Rudolph Valentino in a 50s version of “The Sheik”.
London 95359
Decca 451140 from 1962 6. tabou – los machucambos

Normally I’d say: forget about the hundreds of Los Machucambos records, but this is a welcome exception: a terrific vocal (!) version of “Tabou”. Other songs on this EP are “Pepe”, “La palomita” and “Alegre pescador”.
14. beep beep – the playmakers

Again a split-single: the A-side is “Bimbombey” by Jimmy Morris”. A little bit influenced by Nervous Norvus “Beep beep” starts at 5mph and after a thousands beeps in three minutes the race ends at 200mph. And, just look at the gorgeous sleeve!!!!
Bell 99
Philips 319678PF 7. yell! – sandy ford

Sandy Ford didn’t seem to be very fond of “Mashed potatoes”, but I’m glad that the flipside is so much better: “Yell!” is the frenziest song Louis Prima forgot to sing. And sure he’s yelling, the drummer is freakin’ out, the organist destroying the keyboard while the rest of the combo are on a bad trip. For parties: play this song directly after Ralph Nielsen’s “Scream”; so you get the idea.
15. ching-ching – jack collier

And another split-single, this time coupled with John Van Horn’s “Octopus tango” as an ode to the well known prison. Even for novelty lovers this is pretty weird. Did he get mad in prison and then escape to record this song?
Dela DS1022
Philips B322455Ffrom 1959 8. i’m forever blowing bubbles – the kirby stone four

A fabulous fast jive tune by this well known quartet although this “Red shoes” flip has remained undiscovered to compilers.
16. sleepwalk – the codas

I end with a split-single (b-side= “Thank you pretty baby” by Paul Sheldon) with a copy cat version of Santo & Johnny’s million seller “Sleepwalk”. Yep, it’s time to go to bed and dream of the Harem Watusi.
Bell 122