Martin Denny’s Quiet Village – Our Shootout Winner from Way Back

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This Superb sounding Hot Stamper copy of Quiet Village has a lot in common with the other Bachelor Pad / Exotica titles we’ve listed over the years, albums by the likes of Esquivel, Dick Schory, Edmundo Ros, Arthur Lyman and others.

But c’mon, nobody really buys these records for the music (although the music is thoroughly enchanting). It’s all about the Tubey Magical Stereoscopic presentation, the wacky 3-D sound effects (of real birds and otherwise) and the heavily percussive arrangements. In all of these areas and more this record does not disappoint.

If you’re an audiophile, both the sound and the music are crazy fun. If you want to demonstrate just how good 1959 All Tube Analog sound can be, this is the record that will do it!

This copy is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the sound here is PHENOMENAL. This is vintage analog at its best, so rich and relaxed you’ll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to “improve” it. If you like the sound of vibes and unusual percussion instruments, you will have a hard time finding a more magical recording of any of them.

Quick Notes

We were surprised that a number of copies were neither transparent nor spacious. For a while there we thought of giving up, but then we played this Black Label original copy and all was right with the world.

Unsurprisingly, we ran into plenty of noisy vinyl, too noisy to enjoy as the music is frequently quiet for extended periods.

There is a shocking amount of rich, deep bass in the recording. You could play fifty ’70s rock records and not hear this much richness and weight down low. Having played scores of Exotica titles over the years we were very pleasantly surprised to hear the bass  on this title surpass them all.

Side Two

Every bit as rich, sweet and tubey as side one, but this side is transparent, three-dimensional and spacious like no other side of any copy we played. The perfect music to demo your stereo with for anyone who thinks audio recording technology has improved in the last thirty years.

Side One

Super Hot Stamper sound, with a big stage, Tubey Magic and correct tonality from top to bottom. From top to bottom the tonality is Right On The Money. It’s very lively, with tight, clear bass.

Listen to how open the drum sound is. That sound is just not to be found on popular albums anymore.

This IS the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There actually IS a CD of this album, and youtube videos of it too, but those of us with a good turntable could care less.

High Fidelity

What do we love about these vintage Liberty pressings? The timbre of every instrument is Hi-Fi in the best sense of the word. The instruments here are recorded with remarkable fidelity. Now that’s what we at Better Records mean by “Hi-Fi”, not the kind of phony Audiophile Phony Sound that passes for Hi-Fidelity these days.

There’s no boosted top, there’s no bloated bottom, there’s no sucked-out midrange. There’s no added digital reverb (Patricia Barber, Diana Krall, et al.). The microphones are not fifty feet away from the musicians (Water Lily) nor are they inches away (Three Blind Mice). 

This is Hi-Fidelity for those who recognize The Real Thing when they hear it. I’m pretty sure our customers do, and any of you out there who pick this one up are guaranteed to get a real kick out of it!

Further Reading

Other recordings that we have found to be especially Tubey Magical can be found here.

Transparency, the other side of the Tubey Magical coin, is also key to the better pressings of this album as well as many of our other favorite demo discs.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Stranger in Paradise 
Hawaiian War Chant 
Coronation 
Sake Rock 
Paradise Found
Firecracker

Side Two

Martinique 
My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, hawaii Cha Cha Cha 
Tune from Rangoon 
Happy Talk 
Pagan Love Song 
Laura 
Quiet Village

AMG Review

Despite its ubiquitous appearance in thrift stores (it is the Whipped Cream and Other Delights of exotica), this record packs quite a few surprises. First, the final track is a re-release of the number four hit and Denny signature tune, “Quiet Village” (originally on the first Exotica LP). “Coronation,” “Firecracker,” and “Sake Rock” — covered by 1990s group the Cocktails — are representative of the standard Denny oeuvre: birdcall “Polynesian” exotica, Chinese, and Japanese. Most intriguing, however, is the self-parody treatment of “Little Grass Shack” set to a cha-cha-cha beat and punctuated with an absurd duck call instead of the usual birds.

Frogs and Birds

Martin Denny reveals in an interview where the frog sounds and bird calls originated.

The Hawaiian Village was a beautiful open-air tropical setting. There was a pond with some very large bull frogs right next to the bandstand. One night we were playing a certain song and I could hear the frogs going “Rivet, rivet, rivet.” When we stopped playing, the frogs stopped croaking. I thought, “Hmm—is that a coincidence?”

So a little while later I said, “Let’s repeat that tune,” and sure enough the frogs started croaking again. And as a gag, some of the guys spontaneously started doing these bird calls. Afterwards we all had a good laugh: “Hey, that was fun!” But the following day one of the guests came up and said, “Mr. Denny, you know that song you did with the birds and the frogs? Can you do that again?” I said, “What are you talking about?”—then it dawned on me he’d thought that was part of the arrangement.

At the next rehearsal I said, “Okay, fellas, how about if each one of you does a different bird call? I’ll do the frog . . . ” (I had this grooved cylindrical gourd called a guiro, and by holding it up to the microphone and rubbing a pencil in the grooves, it sounded like a frog). We played it the next night, and all evening people kept coming up and saying, “We want to hear the one with the frogs and the birds again!” We must have played that tune thirty times. It turned out to be Quiet Village.

Ted Keep, Engineer

Theodore “Ted” Keep was a co-founder of Liberty Records. In his role as chief of engineering at the label and afterward, Keep introduced a number of innovations to commercial sound recording.

During the 1950s, Keep provided the synchronization process that allowed Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. to combine his speed-doubled voice technique with full orchestration on “Witch Doctor” and the series of Chipmunks recordings. For the latter, Keep received Grammy Awards in 1959 and 1960. Keep’s Liberty Studios was the first commercial recording studio to employ solid state mixing equipment, retaining its claim as “the world’s only transistorized recording studio” into 1960.

Wikipedia

Bruce Botnick credits Ted Keep for teaching him a thing or two about recording. I will be adding more to that story down the road.