Artist: Stanley Wilson
Album: Pagan Love
Year: 1957
Label: Capitol
Genre: Exotica
RIYL: White men pretending to be knowledgeable about things outside the US.

Thanks to the amazing Flash Strap blog, I have acquired a rather keen appreciation for the Exotica genre. This is one of the gems I scored–I mean, look at that cover! It is so exotic… and sexy… and just everything that makes Exotica so amazing and ridiculous. I mean, Exotica is largely white men in their posh apartments writing songs that they think sound foreign. It isn’t world music because none of it is remotely genuine, no matter how sincerely they state “facts” on the covers.

“One of the most colorful and important facts of Pagan life is the courtship ritual,” starts the text on the back cover. “But while the idea of ritual is common to all primitive societies, pagan love rites run a startling gamut–from the death-defying land diving of New Hebrides through the perilous ballet of the Malayan Pinchak Knife Fight to the innocent witchcraft of Zulu love magic.” At best it is a romanticization of what really happens–coupled with music that has the authenticity of a Hollywood film score. At worst it is complete bollocks–intentional lies to move product.

Regardless, seen with the eyes of 2011 the whole thing seems rather precious. Yet the music is rather engaging and thrilling. Think of it as the musical equivalent to books that take place in the deep jungles–it’s just a fantasy.

(Click icon to download)