[Every Friday #20] > eden ahbez – full moon {1960}

eden ahbez was a wild man. He was the prototype hippie, living under the Hollywood sign in the 1940s, propagating vegetarianism and an anti-capitalist lifestyle way before anyone had long hair and beards.

He recalled once telling a policeman: “I look crazy but I’m not. And the funny thing is that other people don’t look crazy but they are.”

He was also a songwriter and scored a big hit with “Nature Boy” for Nat King Cole which provided him financial independence. Born under the name George McGrew, he adopted the name “eden ahbez”, choosing to spell his name with lower-case letters, claiming that only the words God and Infinity were worthy of capitalization. A true eccentric in the best meaning of the word.

The 1950s gave birth to the amazing genre of exotica music, which was the background sound to what a lot of people in the USA imagined exotic islands to be like, including bird calls and primitive ethnic instrumentation. As a prime example of exotica music eden ahbez recorded his only album in 1960 from which this song is taken.

Further exotica: Martin Denny, Arthur Lymann and Les Baxter – all worth checking out.

“To live in an old shack by the sea
(And breathe the sweet salt air)
To live with the dawn and the dusk
The new moon and the full moon
The tides the wind and the rain…
To surf and comb the beach
And gather drift-wood and shells
And know the thrill of loneliness
And lose all sense of time
And be free
To hike over the island to the village
And visit the marketplace
And enjoy the music and the food and the people
And do a little trading
And see the great ships come and go
And in the evening
(When the sky is on fire)
Heaven and earth become my great open cathedral
Where all men are brothers
Where all things are bound by law
And crowned with love
Poor, alone and happy
I make a fire on the beach
And as darkness covers the face of the deep
Lie down in the wild grass
And dream the dream that the dreamers dream
I am the wind, the sea, the evening star
I am everyone, anyone, no one…”

Picture © Steve Maleny

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