Jabba the Hutt’s taste in women derives from the Red Sea shores of this north-eastern Egyptian city, or so it would appear from the cover to 101 String’s 1959 space-age pop-jazz compilation, East of Suez. Perhaps slave women apparel is globally standard and I’m just catching on, or, per chance, it’s that Mr. The Hutt has a very distinct taste in his slaves’ swimwear. If you’re in the market for orchestral mood music with a provocative, Egyptian undertone, look no further than East of Suez.
Broadcasting self proclaimed, “Beautiful Music,” KPOL, “Los Angeles’ first easy-listening music station,” unleashed 21 alluring tracks, which were all “superbly performed by 101 Strings” in celebration for their 20th anniversary-birthday-ceremony-festival-type thing.
I don’t know what’s worse, that this is considered “Beautiful Music,” or that someone actually bought this deluxe 2 record set. (Looks into mirror and notices his unabated shame.) It certainly isn’t “Grotesque Music,” or even “Homely Music” for that matter, it’s just that when I think of the word “beautiful,” 101 strings does not come to mind. (I’m instantly reminded of a certain Twilight Zone episode with the applicable title, The Eye of the Beholder.)
On a serious note, it’s a bit sad to see the excitement and enthusiasm displayed by this proud and noble radio station, given the chilling fact that they would forever close their doors just nine short years after this celebratory album was released.
“Have a helping of memories,” kids, because our days are numbered…
101 Strings, not unlike Dalmatians, is a wondrous sight to behold. Apart from being a monumental mass of “the finest musicians in Europe today” (circa: 1961), the wistful beauty discharged from these prominent performers is seductively pleasing to both the visual, as well as the hearing senses. Coupled with (The Wondrous World of) Stereo Fidelity, a US based subsidiary of Somerset Records, these 10 Italian hits that make up, well, Italian Hits, emerge from the stereo with a protuberant level of piercing and erotic joy, that is seemingly unheard of today, let alone in 1961.
Touching upon such Italian classics as Volare, Cha-Cha Italiano, La Dolce Vita, and Ciao Ciao Bambino (which translates into “Hello Hello Baby”), Italian Hits, as far as I can tell, does a satisfactory job of representing exactly what the back cover boasts: The Biggest Popular Hit Songs from Italy in the Past Ten Years. A “Pop” Program in the Sound of Magnificence.