This CD combines the first two volumes from the “Exotic Blues & Rhythm” compilation series named “Katanga!” and “Ahbe Casabe!” with two additional bonus tracks. This album is a colorful garden of delights consisting of R’n’B and rock’n’roll based songs from the 1940s to the early 1960s that all have this slightly exotic, dark and mystical feeling from the melody structures and instrumentation. Most of the tunes at hand sound astonishingly fresh and timeless. Eddie Cole & Three Peppers with their hypnotizing groover “Police” for example present a Caribbean mento with a mambo and rhythm’n’blues feel. The beat will drag you directly from your seat and make you swing on the dancefloor. This piece finds its roots in the late 1940s and demonstrates impressively how far even the predecessors of rock music already got in their development. The simple yet haunting lead vocal harmony makes this song a steaming hot all-time fave. And this is only one out of 26 rare gems. The album already starts magically with a gloomy bluesy tune named “Green onions” played by German composer and conductor Claus Ogermann, a cover of a Booker T & The MG’s tune from 1962 with a rather specific basic melody that will stay with you forever. There is much more simmering popcorn rock and enchanting exciting pop from those old times to be found on this compilation and when you reach the “Ahbe Casabe” this is where the strange and quirky charme of exotica music captures your soul even more. The title track for example is a song from the late 50s written by proto hippie Ehden Ahbez that combines a Latin groove with a vocal melody speaking of dark backstreets in oriental cities. The album is rich on colors and the view behind the obvious you are allowed to take will open an entirely new world for you. The 1940s, 1950s and 1960s had much more to offer than what we already know and this is a field of diamonds you get to dig in when you spin this record. A nice little oddity is the bonus track “The riddle of the papawhos” by Danny Staton, based on old spirituals and gospels with a 1950s pop music base. The backing vocal effects here are more than strange somewhere between a deep gnarling and chipmunk style squeaking while the lead vocals on the other hand are soulful and striking as expected. The other bonus track by Kip Tyler named “Pu-Chun-Ga” is another outstanding mad Latin tune with wild female vocals and memorable lead melody. Tracks like “Shadow Street” leave you once more somewhere in between the jungle and a haunted oriental café in a town near the desert plains of Egypt. Next to master Ike Turner (still without his later wife and coming legend Tina) with his exotic surf instrumental “Katanga” from the first part, good old rock’n’roll pioneer Bill Haley should be the most famous contributor to this musical treasure chest. The sheer sensual stimulation you receive from these 26 songs will make you groove your mind away. Regardless where you are, these catchy Rhythm and Blues tunes will turn any place into a vintage dancefloor!