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April 11, 1996 - Image 22

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-04-11

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108 -The Michigan Daily - Weals.4 e&. - Thursday, April 11, 1996

Slinky, exotic lounge music making comeback from '60s, '70s

By Heather Phares
Daily Arts Writer
Hot and cool, slinky and spacey,
exotic, sophisticated and sometimes
downright weird, lounge music has
been making a big comeback in the
past few years. The advent of current
groups influenced by the easy listen-
ing and pop records of the '50s and
"60s, like Combustible Edison,
Pizzicato Five and (to a lesser extent)
Itereolab, has prompted the reissuing
end re-evaluation of works by lounge
composers and performers like
Esquivel, Les Baxter, Martin Denny
,and many others.
These reissues include the six-disc
"Ultra-Lounge" series by Capitol, the
three-disc "Cocktail Mix" collection
by Rhino and two recent Esquivel
reissues: "Cabaret Maiana" and
,"More of Other Worlds, Other
Sounds."
Overall, the "Ultra-Lounge" col-
lection is probably the best of the
;batch. The first three volumes of the
:set feature the wackier side of lounge
music. Volume One, "Mondo Ex-
otica," brings the jungle into your
rumpus room w th exotica tunes by
'composers such as Les Baxter and
;Martin Denny. Crowing birds and
-other jungle sound effects meld with
lightly Carribbean-inspired melodies
:on tracks like "Atlantis" and "Cara-
van."
Volume Two, "Mambo Fever,"
pretty much explains itself by its title;
it includes Latin dance favorites like

featuring Julie London again along
with Rat Packers Sammy Davis Jr.
and Dean Martin and the incompa-
rable Peggy Lee with her classic "Fe-
ver." And finally, on Volume Six,
"Rhapsodesia," the musical subject is
seduction. Tracks like "Tenderly,"
"Seranata" and "Ebb Tide" are cheesy
but sexy musical aphrodisiacs. Even
if it's not possible to get all six vol-
umes, one or two of its discs - par-
ticularly "Space Capades" and
"Rhapsodesia" - are worth picking
up.
Rhino's "Cocktail Mix" series is
also good, but not as ambitious in
scope as the Capitol collection. How-
ever, it does make a good introduc-
tion to lounge music in general. The
Rhino series focuses mostly on the
jazzy/vocal side of lounge; there's
very little space-age bachelor pack
music or exotica to be found, which is
a bit of a disappointment.
Still, there's fun to be had on each
of the volumes of "Cocktail Mix."
Volume One, "Bachelor's Guide to
the Galaxy," features some demented
instrumental takes on classics like "Fe-
ver" and "I Get a Kick Out of You."
Volume Two, "Martini Madness,"
lives up to its name with Ann
Margaret's stinky song "Thirteen
Men," Rene Touzet's take on Henry
Mancini's"Baby Elephant Walk" and
Quincy Jones' "Soul Bossa Nova."
Volume Three, "Swinging Singles,"
focuses on great vocal performances
from such swingers as Sarah Vaughan,

Peggy Lee and Robert Mitchum. As a
less expansive, expensive collection
than the "Ultra-Lounge" set, "Cock-
tail Mix" caters to champagne tasg
on a beer budget.
Finally, the Esquivel reissues are
just two in a growing number of trib-
utes to the inspired Mexican
bandleader. "Cabaret Maiana" is an-
other compilation of Esquivel's
wackier moments, much like Bar
None's "Space Age Bachelor Pad
Music" and "Music From a Sparkling
Planet" reissues of recent years. It
covers some of the same territoryas
those two, such as the excell
"Mucha Muchacha" and Esquivel's
take on "Harlem Nocturne."
Unlike those collections, "Cabaret
Maiana" features five tracks that have
never been released in the United
States before: "Mini Skirt," "El
Cable," "Guanacoa," "Todavia" and
"Yeyo." The generally good song se-
lection makes it a good starting point
for those interested in learning aba
Esquivel, and the "new" tracks ma
it necessary for diehard fans.
"More of Other Worlds, Other
Sounds," however, is a straight reis-
sue of Esquivel's 1962 album. This
album is much less wacky than the
collections of Esquivel's work, at-
testing to his talent not only as a crazy
composer but as an almost serious
one as well. Again, for diehard fans,
it's necessary. All these collections,
however, show just how hip the sqi
music of the '50s and '60s could be.

Peggy Lee consults with producer Michael Frank on her latest project. The incomparable Lee's lounge hit "Fever" appears on
Capitol's six-disc "Ultra Lounge" set.

"Oye Negra" and "Peter Gunn
Mambo." Volume Three, "Space
Capades," focuses on one of the most
popular facets of lounge: Space age
bachelor pad music. Les Baxter is
back again with "Saturday Night on

Saturn" and "Moon Moods." The in-
tergalactic sound effects and gener-
ally off-kilter feel of the tracks on this
volume make it a winner.
The other three volumes focus on
the smoother, more straightforward

side of lounge. Volume Four, "Bach-
elor Pad Royale," is a swank collec-
tion of tunes like "Sexe" by Line
Rinaud and "Black Coffee" by Julie
London. Volume Five, "Wild, Cool &
Swingin'," is the jazziest of the set,

Cher's career grows dull as she grows older
Audiences can't decide which role they like ... if they even like her at all

_

I .

By Kristin Long
'Daily Arts Writer
Ifyou're like most people, the men-
tion of a movie starring Cher prob-
ably makes you a bit skeptical - not
to mention a tad nauseous. Perhaps
it's the singer/actress dual-role prob-
lem that we have; we cannot seem to
decide in which role we like her best
-- or even if we like her at all. Cher
has certainly had her share of winners
and losers, and her recent mix of duds
_- both in music and film - will
hardly build her an esteemed reputa-

tion.
For awhile, audiences only knew of
Cher as the better half of the "I Got
You Babe" singing duo. She and hus-
band Sonny Bono were the pair who
created the timeless song that has con-
tinued to survive through the trends
of heavy metal and rap. Their hit even
still provides a nostalgic tune for the
hippie generation.
When Cher hit the silver screen,
she made ofmix of dramas, comedies
and even a thriller to keep a balanced
resume. Most of her films don't rank

among the best of all-time; still, how-
ever, some of her performances have
astounded audiences and amazed crit-
ics.
In 1982, she starred in the drama,
"Come Back to the Five and Dime
Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean." It is a
story about a reunion of high school
friends that worshipped the rebellious
sex symbol. Cher delivered a criti-
cally acclaimed performance. Then,
two years later, she worked with Kurt
Russell and Meryl Streep in
"Silkwood," the frightening tale of

the secrecy behind a nuclear plant.
Her appearance and general per-
sona helped her with her stellar role in
"Mask" (1985). Her unforgettable
acting as the mother of a disfigured
child earned her great respect through-
out the industry. She moved audi-
ences to tears with her rough, blue-
collar appearance, a role that she filled
best.
Cher earned an Academy Award
for Best Actress in 1987, with her
amazing performance as the heart-
broken, yet lovestruck widow in
"Moonstruck." Starring opposite hunk
Nicholas Cage, she played the epitome
of a New York Italian, and put the
amour back into theaters.
1987 was a big year for Cher. She
starred in three pictures with some of
the brightest and best talents within

Will the lovely Chet have better luck with'

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flirt with Cage, she was the love inter-
est of Dennis Quaid in "Suspect." In
this suspense thriller, she played pub-

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lie defender for Liam Neeson.
Then, Cher, along with Susan
Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer, was
the object of the devilish J0
Nicholson in that peculiar sexual com-
edy "The Witches of Eastwick." The
profound and obscure story had the
world talking about this flick and its
dynamic cast.
After that, Cher hit a lull. She found
her niche in those annoying night spots
on infomercials, representing cos-
metic products and the like. It must be
a sign of a falling career when celeb-
rities resort to selling products that
take an hour to show their im -
tance.
1990's "Mermaids" was a bit of a
rebound. In addition to a decent
soundtrack, she did a grand job as
Winona Ryder'sandChristinaRicci's
uncontrollable mother. She mixed
comedy with drama, making a half.
way decent performance.
Cher mingled with some of
Hollywood's finest in Rol
Altman's 1994 murder mystey
"Ready to Wear." A mediocre film
portraying the shallowness of the fash-
ion world, it included stars like Tim
Robbins and Julia Roberts.
Aside from her film montage, Chei
has produced numerous hits in the
music industry. Remember the early
'90s, late'80ssingle, "If I CouldTurr
Back Time?" It isn't that hard to for-
get. Perhaps it is her singing car i
that flawed our impression ofhermU
She gives a sample of her style in two
minutes, which is barely enoughtime
to get accustomed it.
Last Friday, her latest film, "Faith-
ful," opened. In it, she plays a New
York housewife enduring a 20-year-
long marriage to co-star Ryan O'Neal
From the look of the ads - depicting
Cher in a robe with crazy hair - the
future doesn't look so bright for
star. "Faithful" is a comedy with a i
of a somber side.
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