Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cocktail Nation 271 Jimmy Borges Keeper Of The Flame

well its my pleasure to have a living legend on the show this week in that of the Keeper Of The Flame, the great Jimmy Borges. A Hawaiian legend of stage screen and TV. I've got an interesting story about an amazing find under someones house. On the back of the Marilyn Monroe festival here in Sydney I have an new Monroe revelation for you along with the best lounge and exotica hand picked from across the globe

David Carbonara A Beautiful Mine
Diana Krall S'Wonderful
Jimmy Borges Luck Be A Lady
Don Tiki With Jimmy Borges  Terminal
Jimmy Vargas Black Dahlia
Ixtahuele Lotus Eaters
Jackie Gleason Jo-Anne 
Arthur Lyman Bamboo Tamboo
Frank Bennett Would I Lie To You
Laura Ainsworth One More Time
Martini Kings You Only Live Twice
Chet Baker Time After Time

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cocktail Nation 270 Which One Is David Part Two

This week on the show we have part two of an interview with an English radio announcer who packed up and moved to Hollywood and became a successful actor. And this week we lost a a Hollywood legend in that of Esther Williams Cocktail Nation gets a mention in the LA Times and another interview with me is on our website for you to check out. 

Ixtahuele Black Sand
Laura Ainsworth Just Give Me A Man
Billy May Orchestra Mannix
Clouseaux Noctopia
Al Caiola Man From Uncle
B # Big Band Cest Magnifique
Arthur Lyman Midnight Sun
Nutty Pleasant Valley Monkday
Rosemary Clooney Hey Mambo
Si Zenter The Fugitive Theme
Skip Heller Watch Us Burn
Tiki Joes Ocean Quiet Voyage
Herbie Mann A Man and A Woman
Abe Lagrimas Like Two In Love

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Koop Kooper: Lounge Titan Of The Airwaves By Darren Long

Recently I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Koop Kooper for a Tiki Magazine article called, “Q & A With The Podcast Kings.” Due to space restrictions, many questions and answers ended up on the cutting room floor. I’m here to remedy that right now. Pour yourself a Blue Martini and enjoy the ride through Koop’s’ cool world.

And of that world, Koop says, “It’s me at my finest and worst. From a swank lifestyle with nice cars, swank apartments, and the Boeing Boeing lifestyle. But I don’t just throw on a smoking jacket and get a picture with some pinup gals to make me look cool.” Koop takes his image seriously, stating, “Too many people play at a lifestyle and don’t actually live it day in and day out.”

Of course music plays a huge role in Koop’s life. And that can be swingin’ or sad…just like one of his favorite artists, Frank Sinatra. “The music is often very sad, very isolated and really can touch you when you are feeling down. It really compliments the sadness and it sits along side of you as it helps you justify the lonely times. Of course it can also perk you up when it’s time to shake the shackles and throw on a tux and get swinging.” I bet Frank and Koop would’ve been best of pals, based on that shared philosophy.

I asked Koop what makes his home of Sydney, Australia such a cool city. “Sydney is the most happening place in Australia. It’s the place with all the money; it has the best views and really has the best of everything Australia has to offer. I’m not a native of Sydney, but it’s a place I fell in love with as soon as I came here. It does have its bad points like most big cities, like its high crime, some government corruption and God awful traffic. I often think of it as a pretty girl who hasn’t had to work on her personality. Nice to look at and be seen with, but the reality is that she is only interested in herself and has very little substance. It’s also the entertainment centre of the country and has a little of LA in her and a little NYC in her. Makes for an interesting place to live.”

Speaking of Sydney and its Tiki scene, Koop responds…”Sadly, we don’t have a Tiki Bar in Sydney anymore. A guy started one briefly a year ago and it failed terribly. It’s mostly because he refused to listen to me and really embrace the culture. Instead, he bought all of his fittings from ‘Square Joe’ stores and filled the bar with the hip young things and their chill out music. There was no Tiki, no Exotica, and guess what?…no money. I’m pretty sure I saw him outside the lobby of my building pan handling with a Tiki mug. The Tiki Gods can be pretty harsh on people who screw up their product.”

“The main place I like these days is the Tiki Bar and Lounge in Richmond Melbourne. Great people who are the real deal.” Koop’s favorite cocktail there? “They do a mean Mai Tai, but then who doesn’t! I love Tiki drinks but my choice drink is always the Blue Martini.”

Swinging back to music for a minute, Koop mentions some favorite vinyl LP’s he’s currently enjoying. “Picked up Bob Thompson’s “Sound of Speed’ album as a re-release recently, and I just love its cover and sound. It might be a repro, but it’s nice to have in the collection. I also love the recent Martini Kings compilation, “Palm Springs Serenade’. Great sounding album, plus I was asked by the guys to do the liner on the back of the album, which was a real honour.”

It seems only fitting to wrap up this article with a question regarding another smooth, suave gentleman in a tux; James Bond. “I wouldn’t say I have a favourite movie, I have enjoyed them all. I am a sucker for Roger Moore. Most people don’t like him as Bond, but I’ve always rated him highly. As I’ve said to many people…Bond IS Lounge.”

Summing up in his own words, Koop Kooper distills the whole Cocktail Nation experience down to this credo: “I just knew I could do it better than anybody because this is how I make my living. I’m not playing at being a radio host, this is my real life, my real vocation, so why not use my God-given talent to bring people the best Lounge & Exotica from new and old bands and make it blend? All of these aspects are things that make this the Number One Lounge & Exotica show on the planet.”

Well said, Mr. Lounge Leader. Pardon me, but I need to shake up my Blue Martini and dial into Cocktail Nation right about now. Koop is playing one of my songs this show, and I’m not going to miss that cool experience! Cheers, Koop.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cocktail Nation 269 Which One Is David


This week on the show we have part one of an interview with an English radio announcer who packed up and moved to Hollywood and became a successful actor. And this week we lost a legend of Space Age Bachelor Pad Music and a member of the "Tonight Show"  plus  an icon of Houston that is under threat.

Laura Ainsworth The Gentleman Is A Dope
Darren Long Twist Of Lyman
Julie London Must Be Catchin
Line Renaud Sexe
Kava Kon Behind The Sun
Vic Flick Live And let Die
Waitiki Hula Lady
Metropole Orchestra My Blue Heaven
Pete Rugulo For Hi Fi Bugs
Ixtahuele Stone Gods Of Bimini
Bob Thohmpson on the ROCKS
Buddy Collette Jazz Heat Bongo Beat 
Chris Connor They All Laughed

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


This morning I woke to the sad news of the passing of Bob Thompon. A composer, arranger, and orchestra leader who scored film and television soundtracks, and wrote commercial jingles. He was a leading exponent of termed Space Age Bachelor Pad Music. This experimental orchestral music became hugely popular in the 1950s and 1960s as a result of the home stereo systems that had become popular.

Today an email came in from music historian Irwin Chusid who wrote to me with confirmation of his passing.

"I spoke with Bob's wife Paula last week and she said Bob passed away on May 21. She had told me a month or two ago that his health was declining and he was not expected to last long. I have been Bob's publisher and ad hoc manager for the past 17 years, and for the past four years I've dealt only with Paula since Bob moved to a nursing home. " 

Not so long ago on The Cocktail Nation radio show I spoke to Bob's son Spencer about the re release of the album "The Speed Of Sound" and here's a portion of the interview which will be available in full in my upcoming book Koop Kooper's Cocktail Nation The Interviews Part 2.

The music  for the album "The Speed Of Sound" was composed and arranged by Bob Thompson and was recorded in Italy by the Orchestra Dei Concerti di Roma.  It was conducted by Paul Baron. "The Sound of Speed”  has recently been rereleased on vinyl through Sundance Records.  Spencer Thompson stopped by to talk to us.
Thompson:​ thank you for your time Koop.
Kooper:​Can we start from the beginning?  I understand your father started as an arranger for a radio station in the early ’40s.  He also had very little formal training musically, which is pretty amazing.
Thompson:​Yeah, it kind of was an unusual education.  He started listening to radio as a bunch of those people did when Duke Ellington came on the scene, and became very inspired by that.  He played in jazz bands, and then when he moved to San Francisco he was arranging, they used to have an orchestra that accompanied various radio shows, and he did arrangements for that in the early ’40s.  And after that, he started basically being an apprentice with a Berklee professor for arranging, and they would meet monthly or weekly and so he never went to Berklee Music School, but he did, while he was working, study with this Professor Denny.  So that was the education.
Kooper:​That’s really quite incredible.  He obviously had a lot of natural talent, I gather, which is, when you think about it, for somebody to not go through the usual avenues is really quite amazing.  He must have had an incredible ear?
Thompson:​Yeah, he did.  Also I can say that like some musicians, he’s completely absorbed by music all the time, so he’s always working on it and always thinking about arrangements and melodies.  So it was more than … he gave so much attention to it that I suppose that’s how it happened.
Kooper:​Now, of course he spent seven years with the radio arranging the music there, and of course eventually that dried up as more recorded performances became more common on radio, and then headed off to LA.  Which was really quite amazing, because most of the top session musicians seemed to be all living there.  They all seemed to accumulate either in New York or LA in those days after that work dried up.  And what happened then?
Thompson:​Then he was a struggling musician.  Lived in a garage in Hollywood.  Played at a piano bar.  Played in jazz pickup bands.  Eventually he did more and more arranging and got the attention of people at RCA, and that was around ’58 or ’59.  So he took a long time, those didn’t come out until … the RCA ones until he was in his early-30s, so he spent a lot of time still struggling.
Kooper:​And how did the Bachelor Pad type albums – like “Just For Kicks”, “On The Rocks”, “Mmm Nice!” – how did they all come about?  I mean, obviously his love of arranging brought him there, but were these things that perhaps RCA kind of wanted to have on their catalogues?
Thompson:​Absolutely.  The interesting thing about it is this is popular music before rock and roll, and after the Andrew Sisters and all that kind of stuff.  So this was meant to be mass-marketed music.  My dad wanted to be the best jazz pop arranger in the world, that was basically his drive.  And I think he wormed his way into the top five in that category.

Cocktail Nation 268 Tiki magazine

theres a marvellous magazine that has been around for a while that has been catering for tikiphiles obsession with all things polynesian pop.
This week we are joined by editor Nick Camara to talk about the history of this magazine and where its going in the future.
Theres a new book out talking about the secrets of Howard Hughes as told by his former attorney.

Emma Pask Mas Que Nada
Darren Long Sandy Samba
Don Tiki Forbidden Finger
Frank Bennett White Collar Crime
Jacke Gleason From Russia With Love
Three Suns Smoke
Orchestra Superstring Evidence
Metropole Orchestra La Paloma
Beverly Kenny Try A Little Tenderness-
David Carbonara Nearing The End
Diana  Krall I've Changed My Address
Enoch Light Bingo Bango Baby
Janet Seidel April In Portugal
Les Baxter Calcuta