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8 Reviews
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ground zero album for exotica along with wordless vocal masterpiece that makes Pink Floyd's "Great Gig In The Sky" seem tame
It is my hope that all of Les Baxter's exotica albums will soon have made it to CD, and this hope is becoming a bit more of a reality, thanks to the release of these two great pieces of impressionist mood music from the master himself.

Martin Denny may have had the minor Top 40 hit with 1959's "Quiet Village", but I still prefer the original, complete with...
Published on August 3, 2006 by Moon Mist

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MAYBE SOME TIME.....
SOUND IS AWFUL.
MUSIC TAKES YOU TO ANOTHER PLACES...
IF YOU WANT IT YOU CAN TAKE IT.
IT'S NOT SO GREAT.
Published 4 months ago by J. S. Alfille


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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ground zero album for exotica along with wordless vocal masterpiece that makes Pink Floyd's "Great Gig In The Sky" seem tame, August 3, 2006
By 
This review is from: Ritual of the Savage / Passions (Audio CD)
It is my hope that all of Les Baxter's exotica albums will soon have made it to CD, and this hope is becoming a bit more of a reality, thanks to the release of these two great pieces of impressionist mood music from the master himself.

Martin Denny may have had the minor Top 40 hit with 1959's "Quiet Village", but I still prefer the original, complete with lush orchestral strings and a myriad of percussion instruments, as is featured as easily the most famous and recognizable selection off of the first true exotica album, 1951's "Ritual of the Savages". Much of the album will remind anyone over 50 of the soundtracks of old movies set in tropical locales, such as "The African Queen", "Hurricane", "Drums of Tahiti", "King Solomon's Mines", or any number of Tarzan films.

The daughter of a wealthy and prominent Jewish family in Philadelphia, Beatrice Kurzman studied voice with the intent of honoring her family's wishes that she become a cantor. However, she veered off that course and into popular music, but adapted the stage name of Bas Sheva ("Bathsheba") to attempt to at least meet her family's wishes half-way. After performing in the Jewish resorts of the New York Catskill Mountain "Borscht Belt" in the early 1950's, in 1953, she recorded, in a brash, brassy and somewhat untraditional way, an album of traditional Jewish songs on Capitol Records, the long out-of-print "Soul Of A People".

Her powerful and unique voice caught the attention of fellow Capitol labelmate Baxter, who made her the voice of woman in his 1954 tone poem "The Passions". While I have always preferred Baxter's true exotica albums over this one, it still is a very interesting and unusual album. I love wordless vocals and this is something Les Baxter also uses to good effect on his mostly instrumental exotica releases. Sheva shows a true dynamic range on this album with "Lust" being an especially good cut, featuring Sheva at her most sensual, with sounds almost simulating orgasm. I would have liked to have seen the look on her parents' faces when they heard this album.

This and "Soul Of A People" are the only known recordings Bas Sheva ever made. She returned to live entertaining and died of diabetic shock while performing on a cruise ship off the coast of South Carolina in 1960. She was only 34.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martini Mood Music!, January 9, 2007
By 
Balclutha (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ritual of the Savage / Passions (Audio CD)
An excellent genre-creating album from the '50s before rock n roll came crashing. Really takes me back. Back where? How should I know? I was born in 1966! I was listening to Rubber Soul and Revolver in the womb! What I mean is this record conjures a mood as well or better than any of the exotica, ez, space-pop or swinger hep-cat sounds of the era. Martin Denny was my gateway to finding this great stuff...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ritual of the Savage/The Passions, September 10, 2007
By 
Bruce Lynn "Bruce" (Springfield, MO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ritual of the Savage / Passions (Audio CD)
My mother had these on vinyl and I listened to them growing up. I was glad to find out that they were available on CD. I will confess that my hearing is not the best, but they sounded great given what I would expect the quality of the original recordings was. I was not fond of The Passions with Bas Sheva. I believe that if you like Les Baxter and classic lounge music you will be very happy with this CD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Too hip, May 2, 2014
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This review is from: Ritual of the Savage / Passions (Audio CD)
That is Les Baxter. Too darn hip. Totally amazing music that holds up, my opinion only, after all these decades. Yes - DECADES. I would like to find a tiki bar that plays exotica music - that would be my favorite hangout.

The musicianship is first rate. The music is very, very cool. The sound is hot.

I listen to the Retro Cocktail Hour (you can google it) on Saturday evenings, and that is what got me turned onto this style of music.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic of Exotica Music, October 14, 2013
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This review is from: Ritual of the Savage / Passions (Audio CD)
Much has been written about this album, and it is well-known and respected in Exotica circles. After listening to it closely, I'd say that this album is also proof that little has changed in the marketing of music since the mid-20th century. The first part of the album (tracks 1-12) is 'Ritual of the Savage' - a classic exotica collection, one of the real icons that helped establish the genre. It combines tropical and Asian themes, ethnic instruments and sound effects to produce a vivid, almost cinematic experience. The second part of the album (tracks 13-20) is 'Passions' - a rawer and much less popular form of exotica, emphasizing wordless female vocals. Opinions are mixed about this style - one reviewer called it "banshee howling"! - but it obviously didn't have the staying power of classic exotica. Both were originally separate works, and both are fairly short. It's clear that Rev-Ola (the record label) decided that combining them onto one LP would increase sales - slightly for 'Ritual' (by increasing the play length) and considerably for 'Passions' (by associating it with 'Ritual'). If you enjoy classic exotica, it's certainly worth getting the entire album; I tend to think of tracks 13-20 as freebies, like the 'Bonus Material' you get on the same DVD with a good movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ritual of the Savage., January 17, 2013
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This review is from: Ritual of the Savage / Passions (Audio CD)
I was thrilled to find this on DVD. My old 33rpm record had been become very scratched and past enjoyable listening.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MAYBE SOME TIME....., March 8, 2014
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This review is from: Ritual of the Savage / Passions (Audio CD)
SOUND IS AWFUL.
MUSIC TAKES YOU TO ANOTHER PLACES...
IF YOU WANT IT YOU CAN TAKE IT.
IT'S NOT SO GREAT.
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6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ritual of the Savage / The passions: Les Baxter, October 11, 2007
By 
Albert Flynn (Burbank, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ritual of the Savage / Passions (Audio CD)
This is a two album collection with "Ritual" being a good exotic jungle
themed recording. I could do without album #2 "The Passions". If you
enjoyed Yoko Ono's agonized schreeching with the Plastic Ono Band, you'll
love "The Passions".
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Ritual of the Savage / Passions
Ritual of the Savage / Passions by Les Baxter (Audio CD - 2006)
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