If You Love Kooky American Music Trends, You’ll Totally Dig 1950s “Exotica”

Not saying it was good, but it was fun.

Album Review

Various Artists
Technicolor Paradise: Rhum Rhapsodies & Other Exotic Delights
Numero Group

Targeted at grown-ups who were turned off by the vulgarity of rock and roll in the late-’50s and early ’60s, Exotica wasn’t so much a genre as a marketing tag. The music incorporated a smorgasbord of elements, such as twangy surf guitars, dreamy melodies, often with a Middle East tinge and a tropical vibe intended to evoke a South Seas idyll, hoping to snare folks who preferred their Easy Listening with less vanilla and more spice.

The premier reissue label Numero Group, known for stellar sets of obscure soul and rock, applies its meticulous archaeological approach to this oddball phenomenon on the delightful Technicolor Paradise. Bypassing bigger Exotica names like Martin Denny and Esquivel, this three-disc, 54-track set showcases a host of obscure artists, among them The Monzas and Gene Sikora & the Irrationals, and devotes a third of its space to vocalists, including an adult Darla Hood, the former Little Rascals fave. Goofy, tacky and cheerfully fake, Exotica wasn’t “good,” but it was great fun.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate