Various Artists - Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 17: Bongoland

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The lounge songs of the '50s and '60s on this compilation are all dominated by the pulsating rhythms of the bongo drum. As with other instrument-specific CDs in the Ultra Lounge series (Saxophobia, Organs in Orbit), it can be too much. However, there is some great mood music here, perfect for creating a Latin-tinted party ambience. "Taboo," by Leo Arbaud, is especially exotic, while "Nightmare," by Joe Loco, is the song to choose if you want your mai tai drinkers to dance. The Middle Eastern go-go dancer take pairing Rudy Vallee's "Deep Night" with Hammerstein's "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise" is ultra-strange. And how can you go wrong with a cover of Duke Ellington's "Caravan" by Dick Hyman? Bongoland largely features lesser-known acts who scored even lesser-known films, but a few of the Kings of Lounge are included: Martin Denny's "Young Savages" and "On Green Dolphin Street/Hernando's Hideaway" and Les Baxter's "Balinese Bongos" are here. Baxter and Billy May are also co-credited with a newly minted tune titled "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White." As with many Ultra Lounge CDs, the majority of the album focuses on soundtrack music and pre-'50s pop standards. Warning: If you are not naturally drawn to a song's rhythm, this is the wrong CD for you! A perfect compilation for a party night and the worst for a hangover morning. ~ JT Griffith

1) Deep Night/Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise - Terry Snyder (05:41)
2) Latin Fever - Jack Constanzo (03:01)
3) Taboo - Leo Arnaud (04:00)
4) Nightmare - Joe Loco (02:44)
5) On Green Dolphin Street/Hernando's Hideaway - Martin Denny (04:45)
6) Dr. No's Fantasy - Elliott Fisher (03:02)
7) A Night in Tunisia - Latin Jazz Sextet (03:51)
8) Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White - Les Baxter / Billy May (05:24)
9) Bernie's Tune - Al Caiola (03:35)
10) Brazil - Tino Contreras (03:40)
11) Caravan - Dick Hyman (02:21)
12) The Inchworm - Jack Costanzo (03:01)
13) Misirlou/Quien Sera - Nick Perito (05:11)
14) Young Savages - Martin Denny (02:36)
15) Balinese Bongos - Les Baxter (03:07)
16) Club Caballeros - Laurindo Almeida / Danzaneros (02:25)
17) Moderna Muchacha - Joe Loco (02:38)
18) La Cumparsa/Harlem Nocturne - Jack Costanzo (06:24)
19) Colon - Savage Beat Of Augie Colón (03:10)

Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 17: Bongoland
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Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 17: Bongoland | Various Artists