Flea Market Music

: : You may remember my first mention of Jim Beloff and his Flea Market Music enterprise in an early print issue of Mai Tai some years ago. As a ukulele enthusiast, I was excited about this on-line community for ukulele players — and online store devoted to all things ukulele, including books, CDs, DVDs, and ukuleles designed and made by this wonderful little outfit. : :

: : Flea Market Music has recently added a new CD to its catalogue of releases, a collection of vintage exotica and Tiki songs called “Paradise Lost & Found” (with the ukulele as a featured instrument, of course). : :

: : The island-inspired songs in this collection are all part of a catalogue that Flea Market Music founder Jim Beloff acquired a few years back, and all were written in the 1950s and early '60s by LA studio musicians Ken Darby, Perry Botkin Sr., Mel Henke, and others. : :

: : Soon after discovering this treasure trove of material, Beloff was anxious to make new recordings of the Hawaiian-themed pieces. “But” says Jim, “the biggest challenge was finding musicians who could pull off the exotic jazz numbers originally recorded by Arthur Lyman.” : :

: : Luckily, he found Waitiki, a Boston-based group of extraordinary musicians who have a passion for this kind of jazzy exotic music. “Once they were on board, the rest of the project fell into place…” notes Jim. : :

: : Other guest artists include uke sensation Abe Lagrimas Jr. playing Perry Botkin’s 1950 instrumental “Ukey-Ukulele” and Chris Kamaka (of Kamaka Ukulele and Ho'okena fame) singing the Ken Darby classic “Legend Of The Rain.” Other standout tracks include “Duke Of The Uke” with Four Preps lead singer Bruce Belland. Rounding out the project are a few Jim Beloff songs including “Sunrise At Haleakala,” “The Hawaiian Turnaround” (with music by uke master Herb Ohta) and “I'm Carrying A Tiki Torch For You” performed by King Kukulele and the Friki Tikis. : :

: : “‘Duke Of The Uke’ by Perry Botkin has never been commercially released, as far as I know. Of my 4 songs, ‘The Hawaiian Turnaround’ has been covered a couple of times (recently by Seaman Dan from the Torres Strait in Australia) and ‘That Hawaiian Melody’ was used in an episode of the recent CBS TV show JAG.” : :

: : Beloff says he acquired the catalogue a few years ago after trying to license an old song written by ukulele-jazzman Lyle Ritz*. “It turned out that all of Lyle’s songs from his early Verve records were part of this catalogue started by Perry Botkin. When we established contact with the then owners of the catalogue they were very open to the idea of selling it. We had always wanted to buy a catalogue — if the price was right — and to own one with so many Lyle tunes and other Hawaiian/exotica tunes was a big attraction.” : :

: : Beloff’s enthusiasm is contagious — “Ukulele is featured on about half the tracks but it’s all fun!” : :

: : That is precisely why I enjoyed Paradise Lost & Found. And not only is it fun but I was also impressed by the virtuosity of the featured musicians — an excellent combination making it ideal for both first-time listeners and connoisseurs alike. : :

: : Paradise Lost & Found is available on Flea Market Music’s website,, and is also downloadable via iTunes. : :

: :  *Also check out Lyle Ritz’s long sought-after 1958 jazz uke recording “How About Uke?” — a personal favourite of mine — finally released on CD by Verve, the original record label. : :

Flea Market Music

Box 1127

Studio City, CA

91614 USA

Fred “Dag-Tiki” Sarli © 2008

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