So you thought exotic recordings only came from Hawaii or the USA? Well, you're wrong. Here's a collection of amazing, far-flung sounds from the UK. Rare, wild, and just itching to turn your turntable into a strange pagan place of sonic worship. Just try to keep those cocktails from flowing and your clothes on. "Britxotica" (pronounced "Britzotica") is a word you may never have come across before. This term neatly describes an odd and undocumented pre-Beatles musical scene in which famed UK composers, singers, and bandleaders threw convention to the wind and went wild wild wild! Drawing influences from Hollywood, Hawaii, and holiday (any hot and frantic destination would do) they conjured up sounds to suit a modern but fledgling escape from the gray trudge of postwar London. The result is a bunch of rare, mod, wild, and naïvely experimental trips into the tribal, but keeping the white suit, shirt, and tie firmly in place no matter what the temperature. Fascinating, sometimes fierce, and often absolutely bananas, this new album of old toss is an absolute trip!
1. African Waltz - Lyn Cornell
2. Jungle Drums - Ted Heath
3. Poinciana - Allan Bruce
4. Bahama Rumba - Rawicz And Landauer
5. Follow Me - Lucille Mapp
6. Taboo - Sounds Incorporated
7. Run Joe - Nadia Cattouse
8. Street of a Thousand Bongos - Brian Fahey
9. Zambezi - Tony Mansell & Johnny Dankworth
10. Ritual Blues - Reg Owen
11. The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God - Harry H. Corbett
12. Take My Lips - Laurie Johnson & His Orchestra
13. A Night of Adventure - Edmundo Ros
14. Cha Cha Cha Calypso - Maxine Daniels
15. Cerveza - Cherry Wainer
16. The Hat - Jerry Allen
More history and track info in comments.
More info on Britxotica
At the end of 2014 legendary DJ and tastemaker Martin Green approached me (John Trunk) with a new idea about old music. He’d been amassing odd, rare and exotic British records for years and had come up with a plan. I’ve known Martin Green since the Smashing days of the early 1990s and have always trusted his taste and nose for the future past. If fact we did the Resurrection LP together way back in the 1990s. Anyway, I decided to leave him to it – he knows what he’s doing after all. I even let him write all the sleevenotes. So, below is his explanation of it all.
Following a vinyl hunt around the sleepy coastal towns of Kent, I sifted through my hoard of dusty singles to see whether I had found forgotten treasure or misjudged junk. Examining the A and B-sides, I soon noticed a common theme among my spoils. A bizarre mid-century creative clash between Great Britain and The Exotic World.
Titles such as Ritual Blues, Jungle Drums and Dusky Slant-Eyed Maiden by artists named Reg, Ted and Brian propelled my thoughts back to a time when Trechikoff's Asian Girl portrait hung on flocked-papered walls, plastic flamenco dancers posed upon polished walnut TV cabinets and Bernard Cribbins playing a spy, dragged up and belly-danced around a Pinewood, plywood Casbah, disguised as a hefty harem girl. Soon I realized this cultural cross pollination was BRITXOTICA!
During the 50's Americans became obsessed with all things Latin, African, Polynesian and Hawaiian. They made stars of composers Arthur Lyman, Esquivel, Les Baxter and Martin Denny who provided an exiting rhythmic soundtrack to their affluent modernist lifestyle of highly stylized Tiki themed restaurants, casinos and hotels adorned with tribal decoration. Recovering from war, steeped in tradition and closer to European, Middle Eastern and Asian influences, the British equivalent was rather different. Quietly reserved, gently comic and slightly confused.
Britxotica was a unique blend of straight-laced sensibilities and an English perception of wild ethnicity. It was Our Man in Havana, The Admiral Crichton and Carry On Spying. Architecturally it was The Eve Club, The Beachcomber and Lorelei Pizzeria, all sadly gone, their hand built wooden bars and bamboo lined walls chopped up for tinder. Miraculously, hiding beneath London's Hilton Hotel, Trader Vics, an original 1963 Tiki bar, somehow survived the axe swinging safari which claimed its contemporaries. Today, on this compilation and buried alive by Hyde Park Corner, Britxotica Lives!
I'm impressed, intrigued, and expecting wonderful things. Thank you!
Ditto here: I'm a fiend for exotica, and although I recognize a couple of the names in these posts, Britxotica is gonna be all new for me. Thank you!
These Britxotica comps are excellent, and so is your blog. Thank you for sharing these!
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