December 27, 2010

Chassidisco Fever!

Recorded and released in Israel in 1978, CHASSIDISCO FEVER is now the second LP inspired by the mega-popular Saturday Night Fever movie soundtrack to be featured on this blog (after Sesame Street Fever! back in 2008).

I picked up this record in small record shop in the town of Peterborough, Ontario, a rather unlikely place for an album like this (the title, by the way, is a play on "Chassidism", a branch of Orthodox Judaism). So at first, I wasn't sure what to make of it. Was this a parody album? But then I turned to the back cover and saw lyrics such as "Thy my help come from the Lord, who created heaven and earth ... Hear, O Israel! Our God is an eternal unity" - pretty heavy lyrics for a parody album, and all of the song titles were in Hebrew. When I played the record, I found out that's it's indeed real disco music, and actually sung in Hebrew too.

So I suspect it's a wee bit of both - serious late 70s Israeli disco music, with a nod to the 1977 mega-hit American film. The album consists of five tracks - four on the first side, with Ricki Gal (probably not her real name) providing vocals. The second side is entirely dedicated to the 18-minute instrumental disco epic CHASSIDISCO. 

This track, in my opinion, is where the real "fever" lies. While the main theme (which is repeated intermittently throughout, and sounds a lot like the music in an often-played heartburn medication commercial here in Canada) gets a little tiring after while, there's some good stuff in between. At various points in the piece we hear solos from a flute, a saxophone, some bongo drums with a triangle, an electric guitar, and a funky bass guitar. Particularly notable is an interlude around the 8:50 mark that sounds amazingly like the syncopated horn-and-sax bit in Stevie Wonder's 1976 song "Sir Duke". Mechaieh indeed!

Thanks for your support in 2010 - have a happy, happy New Year! See you in 2011!


Anonymous said...

I've been searching for years for a complete digital version of this album for years! I had the original vinyl I had purchased in New York City but had worn it out. Thank you so much.

Shalom said...

Ricki Gal was born Rivka Menashe, but she's been performing as Ricki Gal since 1968. At what point does a stage name become your real name? ("Ricki" is a common nickname for Rivka in Israel)

Incidentally, note three facts:
1. "Gal" means "wave" in Hebrew
2. Ricki Gal began performing while a member of the Israeli Navy
3. When the US Navy inducted female personnel during WWII, they were styled WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service)

Coincidence? I wonder...

B. N. said...

Get the newly released CD from:

Misha Lobanov said...

reupload please!

Misha Lobanov said...

reupload please!