“Listening to Meet the Tiki Delights is like an
intravenous pina colada—cool, relaxing, and
an instant vacation. It goes down way too fast!”—
Jane R. Snyder www.janersnyder.com
“I absolutely LOVE this CD! I have long been a fan of ‘tiki style’ music since my parents would toss a Martin Denny record on the stereo. There is something so relaxing in the sounds and blending of the instruments. Rarely do I hear a new song once and find myself humming the lyrics, but I have found myself doing this numerous times to the tune Stay in my Arms. Simply magical! Well done Darren and friends…can not wait to hear the next CD you produce. You have a lifelong fan”.—-Gina McNew, Kennesaw, GA
“Seasoned singer / songwriter and composer Darren Long turns back the clock taking us to a time when WWII was over and Vietnam wasn’t in our vocabulary yet. Leveraging a host of Nashville’s talent, Long’s take on the current Tiki craze mixes styles and elements not found in the typical instrumental band.
While others have focused on a specific genre such as surf or spy, the Tiki Delights present a variety of styles that would make the Tonga Room’s drink menu look like a Sailor’s short list of favorite tropical punches. Although each song stands on its own, the entire mix is nicely blended.
The journey begins in a tropical forest. You’re led to a comfy Tiki hut by a set of good vibes. A splash of flute is tastefully poured over a twist of Lyman to set the tone. As the first drink on the menu, Twist of Lyman was enough to Light My Fire. I couldn’t get enough of those tangy vibes. The drink, I mean the song, finishes gently giving no hint of what follows.
I nearly spilled my shaken, not stirred vodka martini while attempting to walk, not run to the juicy offering of Scorpion Rider. By replacing the traditional marinara sauce with a hot spicy salsa, this plate of spaghetti could deliver a Fist Full of Dollars. Standing on its own, Scorpion Rider was like a shot of fire water served up by an Apache bartender. The song’s catchy intro stops one chord short of a wipeout by resisting the temptation to fall into mediocrity. Song stylist Long finally delivers the missing chord when you least expect it and pounds it into your head like a Polynesian cracking into a coconut over lava rock.
The Sandy Samba paints a melancholy mood that gently sweeps you from Bermuda to Bali Hai, and then back again. But before you get swept away, the first sip of the song’s middle section takes you to the bottom of the glass and one is over come by the intended effect of Long’s jungle juice. The second part of the middle section snaps you back to attention like an angry wife pulling her husband away from the bar. Still, Sandy is a curvy and subtle beauty that helps round out the entire offering.
The Beach Boys never intended in taking their Safari to Bali, but we’re led there through a thick jungle of reed instruments . The song gives you the feel of a Luau with plenty of fish and poi. The reeds buzz like colorful tropical birds. The song’s mystical ending sets up the CD’s only vocal selection, Stay in My Arms.
With steel strings to steal you away, one can’t help but ponder what Don Ho could have done to follow up The Hawaiian Wedding Song. This song would have made the right chaser. Long’s gentle vocal style is as smooth as the fog rolling eastward along Geary Avenue towards Trader Sam’s. It’s a nice change up from the instrumental offerings that dominate the menu.
The six song selection of Tiki concoctions ends with a final ride on a Stormy Outrigger gliding along on the last wave at Sunset. The lead guitar’s tremolo could make a novice Gremlin look like Surfer Joe, before he joined the Marine Corps. It’s no surprise that the melody echoes surfer Chris Isaac’s haunting guitar. I’m sure Isaac would prefer the warm tropics that Long takes us to in this CD offering, to the chilly chop of Ocean Beach. Along with Scorpion Rider, Stormy Outrigger stand as the most potent potables in this exotic mix that packs a Hawaiian Punch”.—Lawrence Lahl, Writer; San Francisco, CA
“MEET THE TIKI DELIGHTS! is simply a musical journey into the tropics. The mood, the tempos, the sounds, the natural lay of the instruments are all together a vacation to the ears and mind of the listener. Darren Long paints pictures with his music on this project. You feel the emotion of the ocean, the warmth of the ocean breezes, the waves crashing and the overall mood is set to a peaceful locale. Lay back in your hammock and relax with the smooth instrumental work of Darren’s rhythm section featuring Cactus Moser on drums, Bobby King on electric bass and Tisha Simeral on upright bass. You will want to come back to the Tiki place over and over again. This modest review will highlight how these songs make me feel and where they take me when I listen to MEET THE TIKI DELIGHTS!.
TWIST OF LYMAN–John Heinrich (flute) and Rodger Morris (vibes) lead me on a mellow stroll down a sandy road through a sunny, green pasture speckled with butterflies and through a grove of orange trees to the beach. A great start to my musical journey through Tikiland.
SCORPION RIDER–Every cowboy surfer has his day on the desert, and this song takes you through the wind blown, dust-filled, rugged ole west. The electric guitar tones by Bob Williams would sell this song to any Sergio Leone movie director out there. The accordion ride by Mark Stacy rolls like a tumbleweed along a windy trail.
SANDY SAMBA–The music of Sandy Samba places me in a single-story, ranch-style 60’s pad overlooking a patio on a cliff that leads down to a beautiful beach cove. I’m wearing a Hawaiian print shirt with walking shorts, and a pair of flip flops. She has a sleek pair of cat-eye sunglasses on. Certainly, a romantic walk on the beach is in order.
BALI SAFARI–This song takes me into the jungle, deep into the thicket. Hot muggy air, sweat beating down my brow where my safari hat keeps the mosquitos off my face. Trudging forward to cross a delapidated rope-swing bridge over a deep canyon. Onward toward my treasure on the other side. Set up camp at the end of the day on a river bank as the sun sets in the west, and the tropical animals stir.
STAY IN MY ARMS–The ukulele magic of Mark Stacy and the Hawaiian steel sounds of John Heinrich set the mood for Darren’s sultry and rich, baritone voice. This romatic tune is a warm breeze under the swaying palm trees, a slow dancing couple’s dream.
STORMY OUTRIGGER—Waves crash against the bow as grey clouds rivet my sailboat. Flying across the surface at nautical speed, riding the hull, feeling the full force of the wind and the surf. Salt spray in my eyes.
Bottom line, MEET THE TIKI DELIGHTS! is an enjoyable body of music that is fun and relaxing. The songwriting and production by Darren Long is organic and dynamic. The final mixes and master by Mark Stacy are very clear, easy on the ears, with a high degree of quality. The instrumentation and arrangements by Darren Long and John Heinrich stand up today and will hold up very well over time”.–John Nanni, Producer @ Three Creeks Music; Franklin, TN