Robert Drasnin, 1960
is one of those albums that if not for the efforts of a few fans might
had been lost to history. When it was released by the Tops Record Company
in 1960 is was seen as just another knock-off exotica record. Robert
Drasnin was a young composer who had been known mostly for his
work for television and movies. He was given an assignment to create an
album that basically sounded like Martin
Denny. (Drasnin would later actually work with
on his albums Latin Village and A Taste of Honey.)
who was much more a straight ahead jazz composer, quickly came up with
the twelve original tracks that comprise Voodoo!
Fast forward a few decades.
The start of the retro-lounge/exotica movement was just starting. Fans
of the genre were digging around in thrift stores and garage sales for
hidden musical gems. They find this album called Voodoo!
(or Percussion Exotique--one of the titles it was given
for a re-packaging). With one listen they realize that Drasnin
was anything but a hack music writer. His tunes on Voodoo!
rival those of any of the exotica masters. He had perfectly captured the
exotic rhythms, percussions, and general intrigue that would cause your
standard surburban bachelor to drift into a South Seas fantasy.
With the help of Dionysus
records, a CD was made from a virgin vinyl pressing of the album. (At the
time they thought the master tapes to be lost, but the masters were later
found and a second CD has been made from them.) If not for love of a few
dedicated fans, the current generation of exotica music lovers might have
never known the strange beauty that Voodoo! possesses.
Robert Drasnin is still with
us and actually teaches music at UCLA. There's a great interview with Drasnin
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