March 25, 2009

Play That Funky Music, Jedi

When I was growing up, my brother and I used to get a kick out of repeatedly listening to a beaten-up 45 single of a "funk/disco" version of the Star Wars Theme that our parents owned. Years later, after the age of downloadable music arrived, I managed to find this track online and enjoyed it all over again.

So imagine my surprise when I went LP shopping recently, and found this album - "Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk" by funk/disco group Meco. OMG! Who knew a whole album existed?

But sure enough, this was it. If you've ever had the pleasure of hearing this track, and enjoyed it, you'll be delighted to hear the whole thing - it's about 15 minutes long, so unlike the single, it includes not just the Star Wars Theme and Cantina Band, but also "Imperial Attack", "The Land of the Sand People", and "Princess Leia's Theme", among others.

The second side claims to have 3 separate tracks, titled "Other", "Galactic", and "Funk", respectively, but upon listening to it, there is really just one long track taking up the whole side, so I'm just calling it "Other Galactic Funk".

So as a result, instead of this album having the usual 10 to 15 tracks like most albums, there are only two "extended" mixes. Star Wars lovers (and disco lovers) rejoice!

March 17, 2009

A St. Patrick's Day
"Top o' the Mornin' Two-fer"

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

To celebrate the day, it's a St. Patrick's Day "Top o' the Mornin' Two-fer", featuring Irish folk legends The Dubliners, as well as the Carlton Showband, a Juno Award-winning Irish-Canadian band formed in Brampton, Ontario in 1963.

First up is The Dubliners, an Irish folk band whose popularity spreads far beyond the shores of Ireland and into Europe and North America. "More of the Hard Stuff" is an early release of theirs from 1967, and is a follow-up to their album "A Drop of the Hard Stuff" released earlier that year. Irish folk songs, pure and simple! Some of the album is scratchy and there are a few minor skips, but in this case it's charming more than annoying.


The Carlton Showband, formed in the 60s in Brampton, Ontario, were well-known in Canada for being the "house band" on the show "The Pig and Whistle", a popular Canadian musical variety TV series from the 1970s set in a fictional English pub.

This album, "The Best of the Carlton Showband", was released in 1973 and would end up being the first of several "best of" compilations, until the band's dissolution in 1996.

March 10, 2009

Today's Post-Hibernation Post:
Mexicali Brass - a 5-Record Treasury

After a long winter hibernation (I'm too embarrassed to admit I had "fallen off the wagon" with this blog so I'll tell you that what really happened is that I went on a three-month LP-buying frenzy, and didn't have time to post an entry. Sorry about that, but we're back now).

For those who are just about to take, are currently taking, or have just returned from, a trip to a sunny destination like Mexico, here is a 5-LP set of "Mexicali Brass" performed by the Longines Symphonette, a symphony orchestra sponsored by the Swiss watch company Longines (and mentioned in the song "Birdhouse in Your Soul" by They Might Be Giants: "My story's infinite / like the Longines Symphonette / it doesn't rest").

Described on the cover as "more ... of the new sound of gay Fiesta" (ya heard me), this is somewhat similar in style to the "Tijuana Christmas Party" album posted on this blog before, without the holiday themes. There's a whopping 50 songs here over the course of the 5 albums, so take your pick, you're likely to know at least a few of them.