Crappy Album Covers #196 — Superstition and legend

The Incans were ahead of their time. Their legends may have given us the first samples of pornography. Voice of the Xtabay is a legend about a woman who has sex with countless men, then died with Xtabentum (fragrant flowers) growing on her grave. It has all the elements of a plotless porn film. All it needs now is bad acting in between the sex scenes.

Depicted is a very young Yma Sumac (1922-2008), a Peruvian soprano known for her 5-octave vocal range. For the Exotica genre that was popular in the late ’40s and throughout the 1950s, they don’t get more famous than her.

This 1950 studio album, and Sumac’s first, was produced by no less than Les Baxter, who also helped write two of the tracks. It features Peruvian rhythms, and of course, Sumac’s vocal range. The recording can be purchased in CD form through any number of online vendors.

Two Polynesian dudes are busy singing along, when all of a sudden both say: “Hey, who brought in the white chick?” This is yet another CAC from that veritable CAC factory, TOPS.

The composer was Robert Drasnin (1927-2015), at the time, a recent UCLA graduate with a Master’s in Music. In 1959, he was approached by the upper management at TOPS to produce an exotica record. On that record you will likely hear the piano of John Williams, who would later go on to write the musical scores of Star Wars and Jaws. Drasnin himself would later produce music for the small screen, most notably The Twilight Zone, and Gunsmoke. By 1977 he became the director of music for the CBS television network.

To date there has been at least two reissues of Voodoo on compact disc. To show that Exotica has not yet died, Drasnin recorded Voodoo II on CD in 2007 when he was 80.

 

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