Exotica (Martin Denny album)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Exotica is the first album by Martin Denny released in 1957. It contained Denny's most famous song, "Quiet Village", and spawned an entire genre bearing its name.

It was recorded in Webley Edwards' studio (not, as often reported, the Aluminum Dome at Henry J. Kaiser's Hawaiian Village Complex) in Waikiki in December 1956.

The original album was recorded in mono. It was re-recorded in stereo in 1958; by then, however, Denny's popular sideman Arthur Lyman had left the group (he was replaced by Julius Wechter). Denny preferred the original mono version: "It has the original spark, the excitement, the feeling we were breaking new ground." Only the mono version has been reissued on CD.


Recording details

During an engagement at the Shell Bar, Martin Denny discovered what would become his trademark and the birth of "exotica." The bar had a very exotic setting: a little pool of water right outside the bandstand, rocks and palm trees growing around, very quiet and relaxed. As the group played at night, Denny became aware of bullfrogs croaking. The croaking blended with the music and when the band stopped, so did the frogs. Denny thought this to be a coincidence, but when he tried the tune again later, the same thing happened. This time, his bandmates began doing all sorts of tropical bird calls as a gag. The band thought it nothing more than a joke. The next day, though, someone approached Denny and asked if he would do the arrangement with the birds and frogs. The more Denny thought about it, the more it made sense. At rehearsal, he had the band do "Quiet Village" with each doing a bird call spaced apart. Denny did the frog part on a grooved cylinder and the whole thing became incorporated into the arrangement of "Quiet Village".


The Exotica album was recorded in December 1956 and released in 1957. In 1958, Dick Clark hosted Denny on American Bandstand. "Quiet Village" reached #2 on Billboard's charts in 1959 with the Exotica album reaching #1. He rode the charts of Cashbox and Variety also.

Track listing

  1. "Quiet Village" (Les Baxter) – 3:39
  2. "Return to Paradise" (Dimitri Tiomkin, Ned Washington) – 2:19
  3. "Hong Kong Blues" (Hoagy Carmichael) – 2:15
  4. "Busy Port" (Baxter) – 2:50
  5. "Lotus Land" (Cyril Scott) – 2:22
  6. "Similau" (Arden Clar, Harry Coleman) – 1:57
  7. "Stone God" (Baxter) – 3:07
  8. "Jungle Flower" (Baxter) – 1:46
  9. "China Nights" (Shina No Yoru) (Takeoka) – 2:01
  10. "Ah Me Furi" (Gil Baumgart) – 2:08
  11. "Waipo" (Francis Brown) – 3:11
  12. "Love Dance" (Baxter) – 2:29


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Exotica (Martin Denny album)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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