Fingers were pointed and accusations flew across the breakfast table this morn when I found this album in our vinyl collection.
My missus vehemently denies bringing this double-record set into the home, but I am damn sure I didn’t buy it. Irrespective of whether I’m right or she’s wrong, the album has been listened to repeatedly this afternoon.
Of course, most of these tunes are irrevocably etched in the skull of almost anyone born in the past 50 years. I actually saw the film at the cinema on first release around 1979 (not long after I saw Star Wars on the big screen). I seem to remember thinking it was a little racy and that the music was loads of fun.
31 years later, listening to the 24 tracks with a reasonably open mind, and treating the album as a set of showtunes, I must say it’s a pretty solid album. The stand-out tracks don’t feature the leads, but rather are tongue in cheek and a bit ‘adult’.
The future First Lady is suitably salacious and snide on …Sandra Dee. Frankie Avalon is nasty on Beauty School Dropout.
The thrill for me has been reacquainting myself with the silliness that is retro-champs Sha Na Na. They cover ’50s classic with aplomb. I distinctly remember the primetime show from these guys (a sort of cross between Sesame Street, Young Talent Time and Laverne and Shirley). I’d see them on stage before I’d bother with Grease:
File under: It’s the word
Posted in G, On Vinyl, Soundtrack, Various
Tagged album, album review, CD review, Frankie Avalon, Grease, John Travolta, music, music review, Olivia Newton-John, Sha Na Na, Soundtrack
My wife Catherine (and much of the rest of our state) had the day off today while I was slaving away at work, and she volunteered to listen to our next Björk CD. Incidentally this album was the soundtrack to the second movie we ever saw while dating – Dancer in the Dark – a harrowing and completely inappropriate date film. Here’s her review.
Like the film this music was written for, this album is unsettling and even somewhat disturbing. I found myself turning the volume lower and lower to avoid the full impact, but even so I found it a jagged and grim experience. The best thing about this album is that it only last for 32 minutes.
Given I only paid about a dollar for the CD, I think I may just chuck it out, free up space for more enjoyable listening and certainly protect myself from ever having to endure the experience again.
That’s pretty condemning.
File under: Harrowing
OK, so we’re 16 albums in and this is the third with a South African connection. I can explain. My interest in South African music stems from several sources: (i) I was moved by several novels books about SA as a teenager (Cry, The Beloved Country was one); (ii) I studied SA history one year at high school; (iii) I saw Paul Simon on his Graceland tour; and (iv) my wife was raised there and I have visited the beautiful land.
This album is the soundtrack to an amazing documentary about the role of music in the South African struggle against apartheid. I can highly recommend the film, and this album. It brings together a diverse and moving set of tracks from some of the big stars of the day – Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim, Vusi Mahlasela and Mariam Makeba, as well as some choirs, and a few one hit wonders.
Some tracks are slow, building laments. Others rock along. A little gem is Meadlowlands – a be-bop tune about the clearing of a township. It reminds us that protest music doesn’t have to be aggressive, but can be subtle and a lot of fun.
This is a beautiful collection and wonderful historical document.
File under: Noble and gnarly