Saturday Night Fever (RSO 2658 123) (1977)

R.I.P. Robin Gibb

The ultimate charity shop album?

“The next time I see a clean copy of the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack album, I’m going to buy it,” I grandly announced to my youngest son last Sunday; he and I were watching Family Guy whose music is by Walter “Fifth of Beethoven” Murphy and I was inspired. Who would have guessed that only two days later my scheme would be seen to its completion apon alighting the cafe of the Lord Whiskey Cat Sanctuary? Well, it was probably a safe bet: the album sold something like 15 million copies in its first year of release, going on to total 40 million world-wide at present.

While I already have the relevant BGs music on the rather lovely 3Lp Greatest, I have never owned SNF. I say never, in fact I did possess a 3M reel-to-reel version, taped from my friend Tim Tharp back in the day. Along with the track listing, I remember denoting myself as “producer”. I had recorded it, you see.

As it happens, the Brothers Gibb outshine nearly everything else on this double Lp, with only The Trammps’ “Disco Inferno” (all 11 mins. of it!) and “Open Sesame” by Kool & the Gang measuring up.  Though not produced or played by the band, session singer Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You” and “More Than a Woman” by Tavares both counts as a Bee Gees songs since they were written B., R. & M. Gibb.

That fact that I couldn’t even remember the other songs, despite playing the record a lot in 1978, goes some way to demonstrating their worth. “Boogie Shoes” falls short of KC & the Sunshine Band’s slight standards being a poppy 12-bar blues more akin to T-Rex. David Shire’s instrumental contributions pale in comparison to just about anything found here, let alone the toothsome stars of the SNF soundtrack. Their presence disrupts the album’s flow, even if they make the point that absolutely anything could “go disco”; this point is better made by the aforementioned Beethoven pastiche.

Alluded to earlier at club Thrifty Vinyl, we have a mixed result then–but at least Rick Dees’ “Disco Duck” didn’t make the final cut.

Published in: on May 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. as a disco bunny, other than recommending MFSB’s “k-gee” as a great slice of philly groove i would generally agree with the comments above: the david shire tracks were woeful and kc’s effort was a massive disappointment after the magnificence of “that’s the way i like it” and “get down tonight”. ralph mcdonald’s “calypso breakdown” starts promisingly with some interesting percussion but goes nowhere fast despite being nearly eight minutes long (a boon for the sampling/breaks and beats brigade but sheer tedium for anybody else) – if they had to include it at all they should have edited it down instead of butchering kool’s “open sesame”, which really does need to be heard in its entirety. still, at least we can be thankful for the opportunity to acquire the trammps’ mighty full-length version of “disco inferno” at a cut-price rate…

    oh yes, and i think the music for “disco duck” is actually quite a credible groove – apparently the instrumental version was featured on the legendary robbie vincent soul show at the time, that i used to (try to) tune into on my transister radio even though though the reception was dreadful!

  2. I’ve only heard “Disco Inferno” on oldies radio for the past couple decades and didn’t remember it as the 10+ minute testifyin’ disco workout that it is–a highlight for sure.

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