As I listen, I sense some of the same icy grandeur of Eno and Lanois’ earlier ambient gem Apollo and Bowie’s Low; however, technology had moved on from the previous work and the feel is somehow less resonant, less moving. Enjoyable nonetheless (especially the Satie touches) and only a pound from Hythe chaz.
This soundtrack to Paramount’s Three Tough Guys composed, conducted and performed by Isaac Hayes features more jazzy blowing than other 70s black action film music I’ve heard. Given that Hayes (who also starred in the film) is generally considered in possession of a pretty weak solo catalogue, it is a surprisingly engaging listen; better than the overly-lauded Shaft soundtrack I would have said. Rhythm by The Movement, strings by The Memphis Symphony Orchestra. 8/10.Gatefold, nicked at the top, otherwise NM condish, it cost one a pined when out thrifting yesterday with the elder of the two junior Asbos.
James Bond reclined in the swan shaped paddle boat, pumping the pedals leisurely up the Seine. The casual Left Bank observer could be forgiven for mistaking him and his companion for another romantic couple enjoying April in Paris, not the pair who saved the Eiffel Tower from destruction.
“Now that we’ve given Dr. Gateaux-Noir his just desserts,” here Bond paused to smile at his pun, his left eyebrow arched slightly, though his eyes remained heavy lidded–the effect was devastating. “What can I give to you?’
“Just a penis,” replied Mimi Bonne-Arse in a comically French accent.
“I beg your pardon?” Bond was shocked.
“A penis is all I ask of you,” she cooed, again the accent was ridiculously thick.
The smile was wiped from the agent’s face. His brow went from arched to furrowed. He’d saved the Eiffel Tower and, by extension, the Free World from the clutches of the evil Dr. Gateaux-Noir with this woman and now he felt like little more than a piece of meat.
Miss Bonne-Arse sensed his unease. “Just make me ‘appy, James and I will make you ‘appy.”
At last Bond understood: “a penis” = ‘appiness. “Oh yes,” purred the agent, “I will make you very, ‘ow you say, ‘appy.”
And as the two lovers paddled down the Seine past Notre Dame, locals watching the swan shaped paddle boat would swear that there was only one lone man travelling slowly with the most beatific smile they’d ever seen.
Editor: A rare Thrifty Vinyl outside broadcast, I got these three Barry soundtracks from 4 Paws animal welfare chaz in Scottsville, Virginia. Sorry about the old joke.
Jesus H. Jumped-Up Motherfucking Christ on a stick! Again with the Brian Eno Apollo Lp! How many times do I have to tell you to turn that Goddamn ambient racket down! I can’t even fucking hear myself think with that strident, haunting drone and in-your-face, atmospheric onslaught!
It’s so fucking peaceful and zen-like, I’m gettin’ a freakin’ headache over here.
No, I don’t care that, through a combination of tender, wistful melody snatches and a dense pad of lush background tones, Apollo evokes the wonder and majesty of space travel and the corresponding enrichment of the human experience, while at the same time darkly alluding to the first manned mission to the moon’s twin existential difficulties, i.e. the possible mortal consequences of error on a personal level and the recognition of the Earth’s relative insignificance at the cosmic level. Not when I’m trying to watch Monday Night Football.
Anyway, it’s not even music–it’s just noise. It’s all texture and no tune. Not like in my day. Back then, if the milkman couldn’t whistle it, it didn’t go on the album, even if it was a perfectly judged aural portrayal of the Apollo astronauts’ awe and scientific coldness, a kind of ambivalence perhaps unique in the history of our species.
And what’s the deal with the innovative use of the steel guitar on side two, ironically evoking country music? Is that supposed to be some sort of comment on the Apollo mission’s American genesis? I don’t know, you tell me.
Whatever. My house is not a Goddamn discotheque and Eno’s “mood music” is putting me in a bad mood. Just turn that shit down before I turn it off–permanently!
It’s no wonder kids today are going deaf.
Editor: I first heard this around ’84 when I baby-sat a friend’s record collection while he spent his Junior year of Kenyon abroad. Later, it was one of the first CDs I bought and if ever a piece of music needed to be experienced with digital clarity, it’s this. As with Spirit of Eden, the crackle of the thrift store vinyl can be a bit distracting.
“Mr. Hayes?” Jerry Goldberg poked his head in his boss’s office/composition room to deliver some good news. “Joel Freeman sent a letter confirming your involvement in the soundtrack of his new film about a black private detective called Phallus.”
“Excellent,” Isaac burred. “Does he give any specs?”
“A few. Shall I read them?”
“Well, Joel says here he wants it to sound like fairly smooth soul music, nothing too syncopated, with a few Bacharach moves. You will want to use strings and wide-ranging musical colorations on some tracks to presage the disco movement by half a decade.”
“I can do that.”
“He also says he wants it to sound nothing like your brilliant southern soul work for Sam & Dave, et al.”
“Finally, he’s included lyrics for the ‘Theme from Phallus’ which he’d like you to tidy up as you see fit.”
As he spoke, Jerry handed a sheet of paper to Isaac.
This is what it read:
Who’s the African-American private investigator
That’s physically attractive to a variety of women?
You’re darn tootin’
Who is the man
That would demonstrate bravery for other African-Americans?
Are you understanding what I’m saying?
Who’s the gentleman that isn’t afraid
Of any impending disaster?
That’s exactly right.
Understand, Phallus is a d-amned–
(Reconsider that phrase)
But I’m discussing Phallus
(Then we can understand what you’re saying)
He’s a multi-faceted character
But no one understands him other than his good-lady wife
After he finished reading, Isaac set the paper down on his desk, leaned back in his chair and said, “Needs work.”
“But I do like the Greek-inspired, stereotype-fullfilling name,” he added brightly.
Editor: In what must surely be the greatest twist of logic ever to grace Thrifty V, I include the above Lp on the grounds that I exchanged it (and others, more of which later) at the used records stall in the Hythe Malt House for albums I’ve thrifted (including some featured here).
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.
I knew this wasn’t like a regular Stevie record, but still had high hopes when I relieved it from the original owner at the last Lyminge Garage Safari. I’d read that this early digital recording was something of a lost masterpiece, its reputation rehabilitated after an initially cool reception, and that Wonder himself rated it as some of his best work. But while it might work as soundtrack music, divorced from moving images, some weedy-ass synth sounds that wouldn’t scare a 5 year-old, cloying muzak and a general air of self-indulgence make this an unwelcome listen ’round these parts. Apart, that is, from “Race Babbling”, a nine-minute hidden gem of proto-house that some Balearic DJ needs to cane, if he isn’t doing so already. Spotify that one–seriously wickit!