Jonathan Knight & the Lonely Harpsichord

Lonely Harpsichord: Rainy Night in Shangri-La

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While most "lonely harpsichord" efforts deserve solitary confinement, Rainy Night in Shangri-La remains an anomalous classic in the pop-exotica idiom. The lead instrument, of course, is the harpsichord, which, with all its historic associations, lends itself well to exoticism. The other sounds include standard rhythm accompaniment and sound effects like rain, thunder, and tropical birds. The gimmick can wear thin, but the selections themselves are hard to hurt. The Caribbean/Brasilian standards "Flamingo" and "Quiet Village" are mildly interesting given this treatment, as are the originals "Tiki Waterfall," "Dream Theme" (co-credited to Leon Russell), and "Midnight Hideaway." Rainy Night in Shangri-La is pure ersatz exploitation, a desperate variation on the played-out formula of dumbing down natural beauty into treacly sentimentality. And that puts it squarely in the tradition of exotica.

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