Roots was yet another studio band who worked for the production music library company Music De Wolfe and it’s sublabel Rouge Music. They recorded several albums, so this time we’re not talking about a one off band. Their 1982 released album was called Pussyfooting and what you can expect from the year, it was pretty much disco oriented. All the tracks were composed by the well known library composer duo Chris Rae and Frank McDonald.
The album is described as modern group moods featuring electric piano and brass. It starts with midtempo disco funk jam “On the job” with funky beats but a slightly cheesy saxophone. Next up is “Gringo”, the type of disco that doesn’t move me that much. It’s followed by a midtempo disco track “Human spirit” with a hint of reggae on it’s beat. Then comes another uptempo disco take, the title track “Pussyfooting”. Next up is a cosmic disco track “The force”. The elctro funk sounding “Borderline” ends the side a. It could’ve been a great track if there wasn’t this annoying synth ruining the song. B-side starts with a nice disco-funk track “Grafter”. It’s among the best songs on this albums. It’s followed by a percussive uptempo “Jackpot” with a strong Love boat feeling and a hint of some jazzfunk sounds. Next is mellow downtempo “Happy event” followed by jazzy midtempo disco track “Happy hour”. After them comes the standout track, almost five minute long banging uptempo disco funk cut “Party people” with a nice long percussion break and catchy horns. Then comes another dull uptempo disco track “Fun house”. Dark, heavy and spacy electrofunk track “Cliffedge” finally ends the album. Pussyfooting is maybe not a great album as a whole but at least there’s one really great track worth buying the album for that track only and several good and decent tracks to follow.
The Eliminators was first formed in the early 1960s as a school band in Atkins High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Ten years later, the original members were all playing in different groups in Winston-Salem area, but were unsatisfied. They started to seek old friends from the high school times and finally reunited to start their musical career again. They cut this one album together and it was released on BRC label in 1972. They are widely credited as the baddest and the funkiest band ever come from the Winston-Salem area. Apparently they got so popular in their area that the record was later released also on BRC’s parent label Brunswick to get a wider distribution. That didn’t work out very well, or then the band was so loved that people listened their records to pieces as the album is very rare and seldom seen. They toured actively before their split in 1976. Although it looked totally impossible since, the glad news in Winston-Salem Journal few months ago tells us that the band was again reunited after being separated for 36 years.
The Eliminators is a good example of soulful funk with a hint of disco. There’s very fat sound on their playing, with loads of percussion and tight funky drumming without any cheesyness. The title track, funky soul track “Loving explosion” starts the album. It’s followed by another disco’ish funky laidback soul track “Get satisfied” that reminds me of B.T. Express‘ first albums. “Love your woman” is a similar tune too, although it has a little more pace. Then comes one highlight of this album, uptempo percussion heavy disco funk jam “Give it up”, with some guitar work that I’m not that fond of. The mellow ballad “Try, try, try” ends the first side. Side b starts with socially aware “Blood donors needed (give all you can)”, which is a grooving midtempo disco funk track with a conscious message in it. After a ballad “Taking love, and making love” comes another two highlights, Funky percussive midtempo flute driven instrumental take of the second track called “Get satisfied (pt. 2)” followed by an uptempo disco funk track “Loose hips” with a massive percussion break in the middle. Last one is again another mellow but funky soul tune “Rump bump”.
Times have passed with this blog and a quite big amount of posts have been released during the few years. To celebrate the record post number 100 I’ll bring up the very first bboy related album I have ever bought. Or at least this was the first one strictly intended only for playing for bboys back in the late 1990s.
As a soundtrack score to a document about plants, Journey through the secret life of plants is exactly what you think it would be. Mostly ambient sounds mixed with occasional melodies and strange vocals, almost if it was a new age recording. It was originally made only for the documentary film, but later Motown decided to release the score as a new Stevie Wonder album. It was supposed to be kind of a sequel album to much praised Songs in the key of life. I guess fans back then were as confused as I am still about this album, it’s so different from the previous material what we used to hear from Wonder. Journey through the secret life of plants was by the way the first album where digital sampling synthesizer, Computer Music Melodian, was used.
Wonder created the film score through a complex process of collaboration. The film’s producer, Michael Braun, described each visual image in detail, while the sound engineer, Gary Olzabal, specified the length of a passage. This information was processed to a four-track tape (with the film’s sound on one of the tracks), leaving Wonder space to add his own musical accompaniment. The result is an underscore that, at times, closely mimics the visual images on the screen.
Among the subtle ambience of the underscore tracks can however be found a true gem. The first track on side d, “A seed’s a star / tree medley”, is one of the best of these so called less known Stevie tracks. It easily moves people on dancefloors everywhere with it’s hypnotic uptempo groove. I think I’ll never get bored to this song. From the background chanting at the end you can hear repeatedly the name of another interesting track on this album, “Kesse ye lolo de ye”. It’s a track with raw drumming with several different percussions, kora melodies and chanting. Not typical Stevie at all. And that’s not all. Downtempo dramatic “Power flower” is also quite a good track and the hypnotic eight minute uptempo disco track “Race babbling” is the last one the mention. The rest of the album is that documentary score type of strange music with titles like “Earth’s creation”, “The first garden”, “Venus’ flytrap and the bug”, “Black orchid”, “Ecclesiastes” and so on. This album is quite common and really undervalued musically in general. Every home should have a copy of it…
Yuji Ohno (大野 雄二) was born 1941 in Atami, Shizuoka. Soon after his first public appearances he became very well known in his homeland Japan as a great jazz pianist and composer. In the mid 1970s he formed his own jazz band, called You & The Explosion Band (ユ－&エクスプロ－ジョン・バンド) - where You Refers to Ohno himself. Even though he has released a lot of records during his career, he is primarly known for his scores for the anime series Lupin III. Before Ohno started scoring the Shin Rupan Sansei (New Lupin III) series in 1977, there was only some occasional 45s released of the series within its original run in the late 1960s early 1970s. But with Ohno handling things, there suddenly started to appear a relatively great number of soundtrack albums during the years. Of course these were not all for the tv anime series that run from 1977 to 1980 and from 1984 to 1985, but there was a great number of other stuff aswell. Including direct-to-video releases, yearly television specials and full length anime films. And they were really popular. Even the legendary Studio Ghibli did their share with the feature film called Castle of Cagliostro (Rupan Sansei: Kariosutoro no Shiro) in 1979 (as directed by Hayao Miyazaki). Hayao Miazaki and Isao Takahata also directed a great deal of the original 1971-1972 series by the way, but that was a time before Studio Ghibli was even established. But anyways, when the second Lupin III series began running on NTV in 1977, the boom of soundtracks also begun. Totally 48 soundtrack albums were released and most of them were composed by by Yuji Ohno. Takeo Yamashita made his little share on those too, but it was really minimal compared to Ohno. Later on Ohno have even released 15 collections of jazz arrangements of the Lupin III series with his Yuji Ohno Trio, The Lupintic Five and The Lupintic Sixteen.
This soundtrack here, simply named Lupin III, is supposingly the first one of the new series. It was released in 1978. The album starts with “Theme from Lupin III”, the original take of the new series theme. It’s an uptempo disco’ish soundtrack with some jazzy feel and there’s some dialogue in the middle as well. Next two, “Silhouette” and “I miss you babe (yes I do)”, are a little cheesy ballads. The latter one has vocals sung by Sandra Hohn. Next one is “Red roses for the killer”, a midtempo jazzy track. Then there’s “Dangerous zone”, which is an uptempo chase theme with nice breakbeats, some percussion and strong horns but on the other hand, there’s some occasional cheesy synth strings too. Next one, “Sunset flight” is a mellow groover with a hint of latin in it. It’s followed by the well known downtempo groover “Magnum dance” and a little similar “Lonely for the Road”. Last two tracks are the love songs of the album, “Lovin’ you (Lucky)” and “Love theme”. First one sung by Tommy Snyder (of the Godiego fame). Overall this is a pretty decent album and a good start for the great series.
Theme from Lupin III
Red roses for the killer
The other detective series Tatsuya Takahashi & Tokyo Union made music for, was Daitokai (literally Big City), that run three seasons from 1976 to 1979. Although TT&TU were’nt the only ones who did soundtracks for the series, they were responsible for Part III (season III) music. The first and the second season were mainly handled by the bands called Game and Microcosmos II, but that’s another story and we’ll come to them later.
Let’s talk about this one first. The opening track “大都会 Part III テーマ” (Daitokai part III tēma) starts the album quite frantically with it’s uptempo jazzy disco beats and hectic feeling. Maybe not the best theme around but acceptable. Second track “Dream of dream” is also an uptempo groover with also quite jazzy but discoish beats and some percussion works overdubbed with a slightly cheesy saxophones and occasional guitarwork. Next up is the very mellow but still groovy “And so in love” that would easily fit into the Love Boat soundtrack. After that comes another uptempo track “One floor house”. The first track on side b is “The Indian medicinman & g’uru”, despite the slow mellow start, it’s turns into a nice midtempo jazz track. Next one is “Midnight Tokyo special”, again very nice uptempo jazzy groover with its occasional disco moments. The last one on the album is a mellow love song called “Moon flower”. All the tracks are instrumentals. Although it’s nothing like the blaxploitation ones from the US, it’s still a pretty good one. It’s more like a typical Japanese detective soundtrack from that late 1970s - early 1980s era.
Daitokai part III tēma
1931 born Tatsuya Takahashi (real name Tatsuro Takahashi) is one of the most well known band leaders in Japan, and a very talented tenor saxophonist as well. Takahashi started his career in 1961 and after years of hard work, he moved to Tokyo and became the fourth bandleader of the Tokyo based big band called Tokyo Union in 1966. That was the point when the band was really starting to gain reputation and become a big name in the scene. In that point their name was also settled as Tatsuya Takahashi & Tokyo Union. Basically they were a strict jazz band, but they did some pretty good soundtrack scores too. Seems that along anime, the Japanese people had also a very strong thing to detective series throughout the 1970s and 1980s. (kinda same way as the Germans in the 1980s). So it was kind of natural, that Tatsuya Takahashi & Tokyo Union did their share of the soundtrack albums to several different detective series. Among these was a soundtrack to the series called Seibu Keisatsu Part II (literally Western Police). Actually they did more than one of these albums, but we’ll talk about this one particular now. Seibu Keisatsu was a detective drama series that was running from 1979 until 1984, with total of three seasons. Part II and Part III (seasons two and three) soundtracks were mainly played by Tatsuya Takahashi & Tokyo Union, while the Part I (season one) was by The Hornets. As expected, the soundtrack music varies from dramatic themes and mellow moods to some funky jazz and hectic chase funk.
The opening track “ワンダフル・ガイズ ～ TVサイズ” (Wandafuru gaizu ~ TV saizu) starts the album with the known quality of the Tokyo Union, it’s a typical uptempo detective theme with some disco feel in it. “ワンダフル・ガイズ ～ フルサイズ” (Wandafuru gaizu ~ furusaizu) is a full version of the same track, while the first was a shortened one fitted for television. Next one, “気分は最高” (Kibun wa saikō), instead is a very mellow and kinda sad track. Then comes “デンジャラス・チェイス” (Denjarasu cheisu). The name means dangerous chase, but it’s still a very nice midtempo jazz track in a Tokyo Union way, not a hectic chase theme. “ハッピー・ボーイ” (Happī bōi) is just what the name happy boy stands for. An happy but short track with a certain circus feel. Then comes two sad mellow tracks, “トワイライト・ストーリー” (Towairaito sutōrī) and “ロンリー・ポリスマン” (Ronrī porisuman). Well with the names like twilight story and lonely policeman, what else they can be. The last track on side a called “ジャングル・ヒーロー” (Janguru hīrō) is a killer uptempo chase theme with some percussion works, nice melodies and occasional guitarwork. The first track on side b is “パトカー・コンボイ” (Patokā konboi), again a quite nice uptempo detective theme but the cheesy disco feel gives it a little minus. After a mellow “ダーティー・ヒーロー” (Dātī hīrō) comes “スーパー・チェイサー” (Sūpā cheisā), the best track on the album. It’s a very blaxploitation-like uptempo chase funk track but with again some cheesyness. With a name like super chaser, what else you actually expect but a chase track. Too bad it’s a quite short one. Again there’s a one mellow drama song “哀愁のエアポート” (Aishū no eapōto) before we get to another uptempo track. “サラブレッド” (Sarabureddo) has some slightly annoying guitarwork, but despite that it’s a very nice one. And the same order continues to the end. First mellow and dramatic “友情” (Yūjō), then uptempo discoish “軍団マーチ” (Gundan māchi) and last one “サンセット・ハーバー” (Sansetto hābā) is again a downtempo drama track. Overall Tatsuaya Takahashi & Tokyo Union did their job quite well as this is a very decent soundtrack among the countless others that came from Japan during the 1970s and 1980s.
The previous post was about some Filipinos hanging out in West Germany and doing music there. Now it’s time to introduce a bunch of Filipinos hanging out in Philippines and doing music there. Although I have almost nothing to say about these bands, this is still one magnificent compilation. And it’s most likely published in 1978. It seems that there has been a quite strong influence from American soul and funk music when it comes to the Pinoy stuff. I think the US troops based there during the Vietnam war were one strong influence in their special genre called Manila sound. Even the names of the bands reflect that. There’s Soul Jugglers, Frictions, Our Daily Bread, Poor Immigrants, Hangmen, Brown Sugar, etc. The music itself is very much western style, half of the songs are some sort of funky disco or disco’ish soul. And the rest are ballads and pop rock.
There are several tracks to mention, so this is definitely not a one track album. Funky midtempo pop tune “Sabi-sabi, haka-haka” by Brown Sugar is one. Midtempo disco funk track “Hanggang magdamag” by Soul Jugglers is another. It’s a very nice groover in a strong BT Express or Kool & The Gang way. Downtempo funk track “Happening sa gapô” by We Inc is also a really nice one. Last ones to mention are strong disco funk track “Let’s boogie now” by The Hangmen and the funky pop rock track “Perwisyo sa lipunan” by Frictions. Latter has a break in the beginning, some electric guitar work and even a short harmonica solo in the middle. All the mentioned are vocal numbers and needless to say they’re all sung in Filipino.
Please was a band that consisted of bunch of Filipinos located in West Germany during the 1970s. The fellows Roy David (trumpet), Carlos David Jr. (guitar), Lito Cruz (trumpet and percussion), Manuel Santa Maria (trombone and percussion), Mariano Santa Maria (drums) and Roberto Vilegges (bass) formed this band that released two albums and several 45’s on German Telefunken label before vanishing into obscurity. The story does not tell how and why they were in Germany, but at least they did pretty good job when it comes to funky music.
Manila thriller was the second album of Please and it was released in 1976. I’m pretty sure the title refers to the legendary “Thrilla in Manila”, the heavyweight boxing championship fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier that took place at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Manila on October 1, 1975. The cover of the album also supports that, otherwise it would’ve been quite weird and disturbing. Although the main focus of the album seems to be on sweet soulful music, there’s some discoid funk business too. There’s midtempo funky soul such as “I’m gonna take care of business” and “Good stuff”, uptempo disco’ish soul like “Flaming lady” and then there’s also uptempo disco funk tracks like “Please yourself” and “Ego trippin’”, the latter having a nice break in the beginning and in the end.
The story of the Italian disco group Traks goes back in the early 1970s when Aax Donnell (born Aurelio Donninelli) and brothers Paul and Peter Micioni were all working as disc jockeys. In 1974 Aax and Paul met in the town of Alba Adriatica and immediately became friends. Meanwhile few years later brothers Micioni had their first recording experiences with the group Easy Going - a brainchild of Giancarlo Meo and Claudio Simonetti. In the early 1980s Aax Donnell started to plan a more dancefloor friendly remake of a regular piece of all of their dj sets, a Doobie Brothers hit “Long train running”. On this project along with vocalist Aax Donnell there was drummer Marian Savati, bassist Pino Santamaria and the former Goblin drummer Walter Martino on percussion. When the track officially released as a part of their Long train runnin’ album the ‘official’ Traks was a little different with it’s line-up - Aax Donnell still on vocals, Paul Micioni on guitar, Peter Micioni on bass and Marian Savati on drums. The band was active only few years releasing two albums and a couple of singles before they broke up.
Basically there’s only four different songs on this album. The mentioned “Long train running”, a seven minute straight up disco beat monster with a long percussion break. There’s also a song called “Short train running”, which is basically just a short version of the song. Another train themed track is “Love train”, a downtempo pluck bass eighties funk jam. “Driving here on Broadway” is an uptempo eighties funk track in a strong funkstyles way. Last track to mention is “Drums power”. There’s more uptempo part 1, that is a better one, but only 53 seconds long. Part 2 is four and half minutes but has a slower pace.
The Chaplin band was formed in 1976 by Maastricht based brothers John and Joe Bartels to respond the growing demands of the Dutch disco fever. Their first single release, “Let’s have a party” was released the same year and was an instant hit. After some line-up changes they released their first album, Grandmother’s airpig in 1979. It was a mix of disco, soul and funk with occasional hints of jazz and even reggae. Despite the occasionally annoying plucking bass it’s actually a pretty decent album.
Most of the tracks are uptempo disco tracks with hints of jazz and soul and a load of funk. Like “How low”, an uptempo vocal disco-funk track with some nice guitarwork, or “I’m gonna start” and “Do it”, soul’ish disco funk numbers with a lot of groove. “Do it” has a nice starting break and almost Cloud One sounding beats. “Funky banana” is an uptempo party-disco track with whistles and weird vocals about a banana with strong accent. There’s “Be my sunshine”, a midtempo jazzy disco-soul track. The title track “Grandmother’s airpig” instead is a nice midtempo pluck bass funk jam, almost eighties sounding. Then there’s a midtempo vocal soul number called “I don’t know why she’s leaving me” and also “I’m gonna start a new life”, a flute driven jazzy vocal number with strong influence of soul. Overall this odd curiosity is a quite nice one when it comes to European disco. Later in the early 1980s they turned their style into more italo disco, but that’s a different story.