The Space-Age Surf Lounge Sounds of KAI WINDING

"More" (or is it called "Soul Surfin'"?) by Denmark's trombone-toting bandleader Kai Winding is one of my favorite thrift-store finds, a thoroughly unique mixture of EZ orchestra rockin' to a surf beat, and featuring the pre-Moog electronic keyboard, the Ondioline.  Huh? Who came up with that combination?  Perhaps it was an attempt to cross over from the youth rock market to the adult pop world and grab a potentially huge audience.  If so, the plan worked - the single "More" was a big hit in 1963 and this album followed. Which is pretty unusual, as most adult pops bandleaders didn't get into the dirty world of rock'n'roll, and if they did, they'd cover a rock song in a jazzy big band style. But not here - actual electric guitars and 4/4 drumming keep it cool for the kids. The arrangement here of the surf standard "Pipeline" isn't all that radically different from the Chantay's original.

Quite a fun album, perfect for lunar pool parties and tiki lounges, but I'm posting it today because the composer of "More," the great Italian soundtrack composer Riz Ortalani just died at age 87. Kai's instrumental version became Riz's biggest hit in the States, and countless others, from Sinatra on down, would cover "More," esp. after lyrics were added. If you buy enough EZ/lounge records from the Sixties, you will become very familiar with this haunting theme for the Italian "shockumentary" "Mondo Cane." "Mondo" is the Italian word for 'world,' (the film title translates to 'A Dog's World'), but after 'Mondo Cane,' the word came to mean anything weird and sensational, e.g.: Russ Meyer's "Mondo Topless." I have Riz's original soundtracks to "Mondo Cane" and its sequel, and they're quite nice.  Nothing too crazy about them.  Has anyone actually seen "Mondo Cane," and is it really that weird and shocking? I kind of doubt it.

Kai Winding "More!!!"

The wiki article on Kai Winding suggests that it was none other than legendary Moog-master Jean-Jacques Perrey performing on the Ondioline, tho Winding claims that he played it himself. I've been meaning to check out Perrey's book.  Maybe the mystery is solved within it's covers...

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