Friday, November 5, 2010

Quiet Village ...

At the last count I had eighty two versions of Quiet Village here at the Secret Island. Quiet Village is one of the most important pieces of instrumental exotica, that was originally written and performed by Les Baxter in 1952. In the liner notes to his album, Ritual of the Savage, Baxter described the themes he was conveying in the work:

The jungle grows more dense as the river boat slowly makes its way into the deep interior. A snake slithers into the water, flushing a brilliantly plumaged bird who soars into the clearing above a quiet village. Here is a musical portrait of a tropical village deserted in the mid-day heat.

Seven years later, in 1959, Martin Denny added exotic sounds to the song, and his instrumental version made it to number four on the pop singles chart. In this video clip Denny performs Quiet Village on the popular show Hawaii Calls...

In 1977, The Ritchie Family recorded a disco version of the song and added vocals. The single was included on their African Queens album. Along with the album's title track as well as "Summer Dance", "Quiet Village" hit number one for three weeks in 1977.  The original single hit was a mono recording edited to 2:42, and this length version was used on the Liberty album as well. There was a different recording, done in stereo, used on stereo Liberty LP's and many subsequent reissues. The full length version only made is first appearance sometime in the 1980's.

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