Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: Jungle Exotica
|Volume one of the Jungle Exotica series finds a collection of Vegas weirdness and tribal bonkery. Some fine tracks and some why bothers, thirty two in all, making for more a budget safari to the outskirts of reality. Some surf-based tunes as well.|
Picks: Native, Don't Wanna Leave The Congo, Congawa!, Zebra, King Kong, Wild Man Walk, Baghdad Rock, Ah-So!, The Jungle, Conga Twist, Pigmeat, Cafe Bohemian, Oasis, Hi Yo Camel!, Monkey, Calypso Bop, Tarzan, Yabby!, Ah So!, Kana Kapila, Daddy Lolo, Carachi, Jungle Safari, Snow Surfin' Matador, Kookie Limbo, Uprising, Watusi Zombie, Dragon Walk, Jungle Run, Firewater, Isis, Come With Me To The Casbah
Track by Track Review
Vegas Tribal Runway (Instrumental)
This tom tom driven thing is mighty infectious. It sports great drums, and cool vibrato guitar behind a sensibly restrained sax. The interspersed cries of "umgawa" and other nonsensical "African" words place this squarely in the pre political correctness era. It's a fine instro with a mighty friendly hook.
Don't Wanna Leave The Congo
Vegas Tribal (Instrumental)
This dreadful record has little going for it. It's a blend of bird calls, R&B piano jive, Tarzan cries, and moronic jungle silliness. Thumpy and spirited, but otherwise, just trash rock.
Tribal drums, R&B jungle jive, and tropical percussion wander through out this beat driven track. It's fun, but not particularly memorable.
This R&B number uses the "Suzie Q" drums, and a mess of jivin' lo-fi groovin' to create an exotic sound. No melody to speak of, and a boring fifties guitar break.
Weird Jungle (Instrumental)
This is the sort of jazzy thing that might lie somewhere between Spike Jones and Ernie Kovaks. It's playful and riff driven, but not very interesting. The lyrics thrust in the middle about "going ape" and not making a "monkey out of me" are too period! Like a TV comedy bit without the visuals.
Wild Man Walk
Just an R&B riff with some herky jerky grunts and groans.
Ain't nothin' middle eastern about this. Not the progression or the melody, though the sax does attempt a slight snake charmer thing. Fifties rock 'n' roll sleaze.
Fake Oriental (Instrumental)
Completely cheesy. After the intro, the guitar goes into a riff and sound that leads you to expect something cool, but the the verses with the girls chorus kicks in, and the phrase "this sux" comes blasting through. Otherwise, it's pretty fun, with tribal percussion and gutty sounding guitar licks.
Classical Tribal (Instrumental)
A diabolic voice evilly laughs and cries out "I am the voice of the jungle. I am the eyes, the ears. I know everything!" Then the melody comes in, driven by a slightly vibratoed guitar, nearly surf. The percussion is manic, and the fun drips from every phrase. The melody is the main theme from the "Nutcracker Suite," followed by a cool riff. Quite a spiffy track!
Tribal R&B (Instrumental)
Great cow bell action, and a cool riff over conga drums, all behind an R&B sax line. This is a really cool track. I don't think this is any relation to the Central Coast band the Revels of "Church Key" fame, but there are some similarities in instrument tone. Cool track.
Tribal R&B (Instrumental)
Strip joint R&B with screams and cheap jungle noises. It's the sort of thing that reminds me of Dale Beckner's treatment of "Tequila" with Ron Wilson's Surfaris. Pure cheese.
Exotic Lounge (Instrumental)
A falsetto vocal, like the Silhouette's "In The Still Of The Night" opens the track, but that disappears in a whisper, to be replaced with echoed bongos and a cool rhythm, until the Annie Haslam "ah-ah" chorus comes in. Nifty.
Mean sax and radical tribal tom tom action, and a simple sax riff, punctuated by vibratoed guitar. Gutsy and exotic, this seems quite fun. I'd say that Los Straitjackets should add this to their set. It's a little like a fast Viscounts thing.
Beduin Silliness (Instrumental)
Boy, does this bash every sacred boundary. slovenly beggars cry out "aums for the poor" and then in comes this cool guitar playing a trite middle eastern riff. Between verses, silly utterances are heard, like Bo Diddley used in "Say Man," except all about Beduins. Very fun, though certainly moronic.
This is just churning funky riffola with a Leslie organ and honky sax.
Caribbean Flavored (Instrumental)
This is a decent guitar instro, with echoed lead lines, and a fun riff. The sax is a raw and sometimes too loud, but the track is fun and listenable.
This a surf track. It's loaded with cool surf guitar bits and silly playful jungle stuff too. This is a pretty cool track, primitive and tribal. The lead guitar is often damped, with vibrato, and even plays some glissandoes. The sax is solid. This musta wowed 'em at the Vets hall.
Mall Cheese (Instrumental)
Just grunts, percussion, and a bass line, with some console organ like you never heard in the mall. Sheesh.
Soy Sauce Trash (Instrumental)
Another oriental stereotype, that is mostly back room rock from a lost era. Just trash.
Polynesian Rock (Vocal)
Fifties trash with Polynesian vocals. Entirely silly. You can see the tourists at the bar on Waikiki ordering another mai tai while the locals play their variation on rock 'n' roll. Totally bonkers.
Arabic vocals, cheesy riffs, and acoustic oud. One has to wonder if this was a serious disc from the middle east, 'cuz it lacks the usual misinterpretations of Vegas imitators. Nifty.
Whistlin' Rock (Instrumental)
Playful fifties riffin' and whistlin', like a twisted "Fishin' Hole" (Andy Griffith's theme). Pretty fun, though just a riff.
Runway Jungle (Instrumental)
Cheesy riff and jungle sound instro, with a nasty R&B sax and a pumping churchy Wurlitzer. Some of the jungle chants are more like "Hey, Mr. Custer" (Larry Vern) than anything from the dark continent.
Near Surf (Instrumental)
This is an odd combination of Spanish influences, from castanets to a wailing female voice, to guitar licks and a great beat. Nearly surf at times, almost gimmicky to a fault, yet gutsy and very credible. It's a very strange song with an attractive arrangement on the most unusual list.
Pool Party Limbo (Instrumental)
Like "Mary Ann with the shaky hand," dippin' under the limbo bar. Party stuff for the back yard pool gathering.
Late fifties war party whoopin' rock, full of edge and hand claps, and mean guitar. Lots of stereotypical Indian elements here, but it rocks mightily!
Mean jungle guitar and mighty percussion, noisy and gutsy. Tribal from the get-go, with no shortage of spirit. "Watusi Zombie" is just a riff, but is quite infectious. Really trashy and cool too! Dig the drums and shouts!
Jungle Fever Surf (Instrumental)
Echoed like Dick Dale's "Jungle Fever," "Dragon Walk" has the same kinda charm and tone. It's a fine instro on the edge of surf.
Jungle Pre Surf (Instrumental)
Riff driven, vibrato throbbed guitar, surf bits, and tribal ambiance. Pretty cool. It's another Los Straitjackets possibility. Vibrato and birtd calls, with tribal percussion. Great stuff!
Fifties Riff Rock (Instrumental)
"Firewater" is a fifties riff rock progression, with no melody and muddy sound. This is not the great east LA band that hit with "Farmer John" and "Get On This Plane." Not particularly cool.
Jungle Pre-Surf (Instrumental)
Tribal drums and a sorta "Moon Dawg" feel, with a nifty riff. It's from the fifties, most likely, but is hints of some surf to come. A nice find.
Come With Me To The Casbah
Oriental Beduin (Instrumental)
Los Straitjackets do this as live. It's too fun, with imitation Beduin melodies, and great grimy sax. Just plain fun.