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Frank Hunter

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Frank Hunter’s White Goddess is one of the incredibly great and incredibly hard-to-find Holy Grail albums that die-hard fans spend years looking for. Hunter was an unsung hero of the great days of corporate popular music production, overlooked by musical histories that focus only on the many stars they made sound good. He might have been completely forgotten were it not for the band of exotica fans who discovered one remarkable album that stood out from the rest of his professional works.

Like Manning’s Twilight Zone, Hunter’s White Goddess combines original compositions and standards, orchestrated and arranged for an unusual combination of instruments. Like Twilight Zone, it incorporates ’s favorite odd couple, the and wordless vocals, as well as other space age pop regulars like chromatic bongos, Chinese bells, and the buzzimba. It’s something of a cross-over between jungle exotica and space music and right up there with the very best in both categories.

Hunter was another big band veteran who switched to the studio, getting his first big break arranging for Elliot Lawrence’s Orchestra when it formed in the late 1940s (he was later joined by the young Gerry Mulligan). In the mid-1950s, he worked for Bethlehem Records, where he worked with Frances Faye and others, then moved on to work with a variety of labels and artists, including Mercury, Medallion, and Top Rank and Johnny Hartman, Ketty Lester, Carmen McCrae, Eddie Fisher, and Eddie Heywood.

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