It never really dawned on me how damn similar these two album covers were. On the left, Arthur Lyman’s, Taboo, and on the right, The Legend of Pele. Now, what’s interesting, is that the internet can’t get its release dates straight. Some reputable sources are saying Taboo is Lyman’s debut album, released in 1958, while Pele was a 1959 release (with a few additional albums separating the year gap). Other sources are saying Pele was also released in 1958, and that Leis of Jazz (originally thought to have been released in 1959) is actually Lyman’s debut album, being released in 1957. Unfortunately, there is no clear source for this valuable information… give me some time.
Originally titled Percussion Spectacular!, Arthur Lyman’s 1961 “haunting melody” track, Yellow Bird, became a major hit, and Percussion Spectacular! would bow to its rereleased name, Yellow Bird. Whatever the hell you call it, L-1004 (catalog tag release name from HiFi Records) is another classic space age pop release by the master of ethereal delight, Mr. Arthur Lyman, and should be strongly considered for your next social gathering.
I can’t rightfully imagine that many sealed copies of Arthur Lyman’s 1975 album, Puka Shells exist these days. Apart from it being the legend’s last studio album, Puka Shells also serves as an introduction to his talented daughter, Kapiolani Lyman. I’m torn between removing this virgin gem from its 42 year old crypt and keeping it preserved while I hunt down another to spin. The weight of this decision is a taxing one, and will take some time to figure out.
The carousel of Space Age Pop continues to spin over here at The Prudent Groove. Next up, 1959’s The Legend of Pele from Arthur Lyman. “More birds?” asks my wife as the first tracks spins. Bird sounds were (apparently) a big thing in the late 1950s. Exotic sounds (and covers) of just about every kind were big just before the boom of the sonic British Invasion. This era, and this uncategorizable genre (Space Age Pop is a modern term) is a whirlwind of toe-tapping, bird chirping grooves that screams for unforgotten attention, that which it is currently, and diligently receiving from our cabinet hi-fi.
Arthur Lyman just made my list of musically most wanted. His otherworldly album covers from the late 50s are something heavily deserving of frameable art, while his music carries a luscious, easy listening, space-age brilliance rarely found in today’s dollar bin. Hawaiian Sunset, released in 1959, was the followup to his 1958 debut Taboo, another captivating package necessary for any cocktail lounger on a budget. His album covers start to tame-out in the early 60s, but man, these late 50s covers are something of sheer, cheeky brilliance!