I have exactly 20-some odd minutes to myself before the storm gets back home and we commence with the dinner preparations. I am taking full advantage then with another Goodwill Hunting find from just earlier this evening at the store in St. Catharines, the ‘The Shadow Of Your Smile‘ album by Arthur Lyman.
And, hey, you know what’s better than ordinary Exotica music?
Cheap-as-fuck Goodwill Exotica, that’s what.
Lyman was well into his decades-long stint as a mainstay at the tropical paradise Hilton Hawaiian Village – a tourist mecca designed and delivered by Henry J. Kaiser. And it is in the aural ambient friendly environs of the Geodesic Aluminum Dome that Lyman would serve his significant tenure at the legendary Shell Bar as well as record dozens of long-players, such as this one.
The Hawaiian ballad ‘I’ll Remember You‘ may best be recalled for Elvis Presley‘s version on ‘Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite‘ (1973), however the Kui Lee-penned number has been covered by a wide spectrum of talent from Tia Carrere to Andy Williams. The groovy feel given to the main theme to ‘Zorba the Greek‘ is a reflection of the continued popularity of the 1964 film as well as Lyman’s considerable abilities to recast familiar tunes into something bearing his signature sound. Continuing in the Mediterranean vein is the poignant ‘Moon Over Naples (Spanish Eyes)‘, which had been a huge hit for its co-author Bert Kaempfert. A rare singalong chorus – at least for a Lyman platter – is marked by the infectious groove of the Don Ho favorite ‘E Lei Ka Lei Lei (The Beach Party Song)‘.
The jazzy mod score makes it a definite timepiece of its era as well as one of the best offerings on this album. Turning back to the stage and screen, the four-movement ‘Sound of Music Medley’ reworks the ‘Sound of Music‘, a nod to Dave Brubeck‘s ‘Take Five‘ on ‘My Favorite Things‘, as well as ‘Do Re Mi‘. The tune concludes, culminating in an inspired, hearty take of ‘Climb Every Mountain‘.
It’s gets that friggin’ cheesy.
It’s back to the islands, albeit briefly, for a bit of tropical tiki exotica on ‘Marobi‘. On the other side of the sonic spectrum is the high-energy march ‘Imua Kamehameha‘ which is a school fight song for the Hawaiian islands. The remake of the Beatles’ ‘Yesterday‘ is served with an extra side of 100% pure cheese-ola, but again reveals Lyman’s abilities as an immaculately tasteful interpreter. ‘The Shadow of Your Smile‘ is suitably the project’s title track with an unencumbered samba gently motivating the melody. Another choice ballad follows with the exquisite love song ‘Kamalani o Keaukaha‘ which, is kinda reminiscent of a Christmas song I think.
And not one to end on a somnolent note, Lyman strikes up the band for a rousing conclusion on a hip update of the concurrent rocker ‘Hang on Sloopy‘ which is definitely worth the whopping 50 cents I paid for the album.