Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Trio Orfeo at La Taverne (~1965)

I picked up this gem at the Winchelsea op-shop a couple of years ago. In the past I may have skipped past a release like this, but I had recently heard and very much enjoyed RareCollections' 'Australounge' podcast, featuring music from the house bands of Australian establishments of the sixties and seventies. The Trio Orfeo were a group of Greek musicians who had relocated to Australia and during the sixties were enjoying a residency at Sydney Restaurant, La Taverne. 

As is described in some detail in the aforementioned podcast, these stints as a house band often resulted in the pressing of records so the group could make a little extra money and the diners could have a souvenir of their experience. The playing and harmonies on this LP are excellent and the song choices are generally fantastic, incorporating Greek folk tunes and some nice surprises such as the exotica standard Adventures In Paradise. Inevitably there is a version of Zorba The Greek and for some reason the trio plays The Mexican Hat Dance - which I'm sure says something about Australia's difficult relationship with racism although I have no idea what. 

I love the sound of The Trio Orfeo and the feeling of being in a 1960s Sydney restaurant, however a contemporary critic said that one of their later LPs made them want to turn their record player off and described the group as "play[ing] inoffensive nightclub music"! No accounting for taste, I suppose.