Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Ganimian and his Orientals - Ganimian and his Oriental Music: Come With Me To The Casbahdotdotdot
artworkThis album is here for two reasons. First and foremost, it contains the original version of "Come With Me To The Casbah" that has been covered by all sorts of bands from Los Straitjackets and The Vampires to Abisal and Mister Neutron, and has been included in countless bootleg compilations under the guise of sleaze and Las Vegas runway grind. Second, oriental music is fundamental to the surf sound.

Charles 'Chick' Ganimian was born and raised in New York City of Armenian immigrants, and was surrounded by the music of their roots. His songs are sensual and mysterious, and often pulse with emotion.

Come With Me To The Casbah is surely a sidetrip for surf fans, but what an exotic and sensual sidetrip it is!
Picks: The Whirling Dervish, Play Girl Play, Come With Me To The Casbah, Nine Eight

Track by Track Review

Oriental Jam dotdotdot
Middle Eastern Exotica (Instrumental)

"Oriental Jam" is just what it says, with not much melody, but lots of flights of fancy through a chord structure. The hypnotic, pulsing rhythm and exotic sound are captivating in a tribal and dangerous way.

Over The Rainbow dotdotdot
Middle Eastern Exotica (Instrumental)

This is completely strange, illustrating the period jazz band tendency to cover standards in a nontraditional way. I say jazz band, because that is essentially what Ganimian and his Oriental Music are. Note bending all over the place, and distant horn. Interesting from a novel viewpoint - not as much as Sun Ra, but engaging nonetheless.

The Whirling Dervish dotdotdotdot
Middle Eastern Exotica (Instrumental)

"The Whirling Dervish" is a cool track, and while relentless as the subject would require, its pulsing rhythm is sensual and exotic. This track, perhaps more than any others here, remind me of Kaleidoscope, or perhaps I should say Kaleidoscope remind me of Ganimian and his Oriental Music's "The Whirling Dervish." Hypnotic and erotic.

Play Girl Play dotdotdot
Middle Eastern Exotica (Instrumental)

"Play Girl Play" is a very exotic harem-like intro with the feel and imagery of the Orient the way Kaleidoscope saw it, but without the rock'n'roll attitude inserted. Its undulating rhythm is very sensual, and the oud is superb.

Swingin' The Blues dotdot
Middle Eastern Exotica (Instrumental)

Showing off the blue jazz venues that Ganimian and his Oriental Music haunted, "Swingin' The Blues" is a jazz jam way more than a Middle Eastern piece, despite some of the instrumentation. Not very interesting.

My Funny Valentine dot
Middle Eastern Exotica (Instrumental)

As so many of his contemporaries did, Ganimian played around with arrangements of standards. Even with exotic instrumentation, "My Funny Valentine" is too noodly and not very interesting.

Come With Me To The Casbah dotdotdotdotdot
Middle Eastern Exotica (Instrumental)

"Come With Me To The Casbah" is perhaps the least really traditionally based of Ganimian's recordings, yet is so very archetypal of the genre's influence on jungle, exotica, and primitive rock'n'roll. This song has been covered by many modern bands with a variety of outcomes. This original version is just superb. The apparent tongue-in-cheek song and arrangement is both fun and sensual, exotic and strip club trashy. It is perhaps the perfect melding of the orient's pulsating sensuality and western fun. Simply superb!

Hayastan Moods dotdot
Middle Eastern Exotica (Instrumental)

As moody as "Norwegian Wood," as lovely as any fifties romantic backdrop, but done with western playing of oriental instruments. Pretty, but unremarkable.

Nine Eight dotdotdotdotdot
Middle Eastern Exotica (Instrumental)

"Nine Eight" is interesting for its precursor quality to Kaleidoscope's "Seven-Eight Sweet." That aside, it stands on its own right as a solid, sensual, pulsing, and exotic masterpiece. You can almost smell the incense of its hypnotic and late night hazy visuals. The rhythms and progressions are superb.