Percy Faith & His Orchestra


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Percy Faith followed Themes for Young Lovers, one of his most successful albums, with this change-of-pace visit to exotic places. He had traveled to other locales musically before, but this collection, at least thematically, took in a considerable amount of ground, most of it in the Far East, from the fictional Himalayan utopia celebrated in Robert Maxwell and Matt Malneck's 1946 title song to the fictional island of Manakoora in the South Pacific and on to, well, "Beyond the Reef," wherever that might be. The key to these musical journeys was that they were fictional in more ways than one. Although Faith was willing to adapt works of the Russian composers Rimsky-Korsakoff (Tommy Dorsey's "Song of India") and Borodin ("Stranger in Paradise" and "And This Is My Beloved" from the 1953 musical Kismet), for the most part he wasn't really interested in venturing east of Broadway or west of Hollywood Boulevard. This was the Orient as interpreted by songwriters like Richard Rodgers ("The March of the Siamese Children" from the 1951 musical The King and I) and Irving Berlin (the title song from the 1957 movie Sayonara). And when Faith wasn't borrowing from Broadway or Hollywood, or from his big band favorites, he was repeating himself, recalling his hit arrangement of "Stranger in Paradise" for Tony Bennett and his own hit version of the theme from the 1953 film Return to Paradise, here given an extended treatment lasting almost four-and-a-half minutes. But the result spelled faraway places to listeners brought up on this music of the '30s, '40s, and '50s, and Faith had another successful album on his hands.

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