Saturday, March 21, 2009


One of the goofiest efforts in the goofy exotica genre -- and brother, that's saying something, given the stiff competition.

First, I want to thank everybody for their kind words of support for this blog of mine. I practically gave it up some months ago but then I checked my downloads which skyrocketed recently and started reading a shitload of positive comments. Obviously, people are diggin' my eclectic taste in everything that ends with .mp3. So -- I am back. Kachoing!

So, here's a great, great (one of the best) goofy odd 60's exotica albums of all times from one of the weirdest and unexplained composers ever. It's kitschy and almost child-like atmosphere, brilliance of arrangement with tasteful yet naive choruses of paradises lost and psychedelic roads of calmness, definitely lock-up the age of relaxed psy music makers into the 60's. It is very strange how far and "romantic" this record sounds. It's like we will never hear something this childish done with such an effort for detail.

Ahbez boasted a resumé as colorful and mysterious as his music. Born Alexander Aberle in Brooklyn in the early 20th century, he changed his name in the 1940s shortly after moving to (where else?) California. A hippie a good 20 years before his time, he cultivated a Christ-like appearance with his shoulder-length hair and beard. He claimed to live on three dollars a week, sleeping outdoors with his family, eating vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

One of the genuinely strange characters of pre-rock American popular music, Eden Ahbez's main claim to fame was as the composer of "Nature Boy." The melodically and lyrically beguiling song was a huge pop hit for Nat King Cole; it would be covered by many other reputable performers, including Frank Sinatra, John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughan, and the Great Society (Grace Slick's pre-Jefferson Airplane band). But Ahbez's modern stature rests on a 1960 album that mixed exotica album and beatnik poetry. It rates as one of the goofiest efforts in the goofy exotica genre -- and brother, that's saying something, given the stiff competition.

Musically, Ahbez' 1960 outing was squarely in line with the exotica fad, utilizing then-unusual combinations of instruments (flutes, bongos, vibes) and sound effects like creaking boats to conjure up the aural equivalent of a tropical breeze. Unlike Martin Denny or Arthur Lyman, Ahbez often added his own spoken poetry, speaking of coves, paradise, and other idyllic subjects. Occasionally he even sang in a thin voice (he's no Nat King Cole). Even those who share Ahbez' yearning for heaven on earth must concede that his recorded effort to invoke these states is, to put it bluntly, sophomoric. Yes, it's good for some snickers from the exotica revival crowd, but that's almost definitely not what he had in mind when he was making this.



Marcus said...

Thanks so much for coming back! I know I should have commented before now, but you are my absolute favorite music blog. Some of the best stuff I've ever found on the internet has been found here. I'll be sure to comment more in the future to let you know!

Anonymous said...

yeah, thanks for coming back. you know we're big fans of the panda stuffer!

cheers | alonso

eshaman said...

what a great nugget this is!

Laurent said...

One of my favorite album. No more, no less...


Panda Stuffer said...

Tnx everybody!

Kapalsky said...

Wow thanks a lot, I discovered an interesting artist today :D

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this!

Panda Stuffer said...

:))) Enjoy!

Fother said...

Great album, i just downloaded after I learned about eden ahbez by his nature boy composition work. I appreciate your music collection and i would certainly appreciate your comments on my own work. I am chilean (from Chile, South America, that's why my english is so basic) and I have a kind-of band called Los Mil Jinetes. Again, it would be interesting if you could listen to it, in lays the whole first album.

Congratulations for your noble venture.


Panda Stuffer said...

Hello Cristóbal,

Very glad you loved the Eden album :)

I will most definitely listen Los Mil Jinetes. How do you translate the band's name in English?

Thanks friend

Fother said...

Los Mil Jinetes means A Thousand Riders
We are near to put our new album out soon.
i hope you enjoyed our first work there in the myspace

I have been looking through your recommendations, very wide register, i've found some surprising albums and very acute reviews.

Have a good day wherever you are, my friend

Anonymous said...

Great stuff! Thanks for posting it

cialis online said...

Interesting, I never saw o hear about this tv show ever, but I guess I hear this song in somewhere but definetly wasn't on tv, I'm pretty sure of that.
Anyway thanks, I just solve a mystery of my life.

Mousakka said...

It strikes me that this album gives me the same sensation as when i discovered The Doors in my younger days.

Anonymous said...

Mildly taking offense you're calling Mr Ahbez' art goofy.

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