Martin Denny / Primitiva – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

This original looking and fairly quiet Liberty Black Label Stereo LP has Super Hot Stamper EXOTIC SOUND on both sides. The cover says it’s The Ultimate in Transistorized Stereophonic Hi-Fidelity Sound, but I hear an awful lot of Tubey Magical richness and sweetness — maybe not quite as much as some of the best early Denny recordings, but plenty nevertheless. The tonality is actually dead on the money, a quality that the most tubey recordings rarely exhibit; they can easily get overly lush and turn murky.

We played a big pile of Martin Denny records during our shootout, not having enough clean copies of any one of them to do it the way we would with rock or jazz records, and this pressing was one of the best we heard, musically and sonically. 

Side One

A++, some of the better Denny sound we’ve heard. As we are fond of saying, no recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever be able to capture what is in the grooves of this record.

Side Two

A++, this side has a lovely extended top end once you get your VTA dialed in perfectly. Added 3-D to the sound big time as well. Tracks two and three are especially good sounding on this side, track one not so much.


Side One

Burma Train 
M’Gambo Mambo 
Buddhist Bells 

Side Two

Llama Serenade 
Akaka Falls 
Bangkok Cockfight 
Mau Mau 
Dites Moi 
Jamaica Farewell

AMG Review

With an assortment of titles like “Burma Train”, “M’Gambo Mambo”, “Bangkok Cockfight,” “Dites Moi,” “Jamaica Farwell,” “Flamingo,” and “M’Bira,” it’s apparent that Denny was trying to be all things to all people here. It is one of his more diverse outings, though, if only for the sheer variety of instruments employed. Say what you will about the cheesiness of this pseudo-world music, Denny deserves some sort of credit for bringing instruments like the m’bira, Burmese gongs, koto, Buddhist prayer bowls, and “primitive log from New Guinea” into the mainstream. They can all be heard on this album, and some of the cuts are among the artist’s most rhythmic efforts.