Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Holiday Disco & Christmas Disco Party (TWO REVIEWS)



It seems on November 26, 2006 at 1:11 AM and again on November 26, 2006 at 1:13 AM, our good friend Ernie was in a Christmas disco kind of mood. Which is fine by me because on several occasions here, I've openly admitted that I have a guilty pleasure for all forms of Christmas disco.

Shortly after I began this blog in January, 2006, I reviewed my first Christmas disco album - The Salsoul Orchestra's "Christmas Jollies II". Several months later, I did another review for The Mistletoe Disco Band's "Christmas Disco" with a bonus - this was the very FIRST album I ever shared here at the yuleblog (does that tell you how I feel about this genre?).

With the addition of these two beauties (thank you Ernie), I now own nine Christmas disco albums. Not counting the disco album I intend to share at Christmas (more on that later). Turning on the disco ball...

This is what Ernie wrote about the first album:

"Today you get some disco Christmas! First up is Holiday People-Holiday Disco (Universal Spectaculars USL 101, 1979), from the height of the disco exploitation era. There is very little about this LP that's redeeming. It's because of cheap knock-off albums like this that the whole disco backlash began.

"Everybody may like a little Saturday Night Fever or Disco Inferno, but when they started to crack out nameless tune after nameless tune using nameless bands and beats that came stock with your Casio keyboard, it all went south.

"Not that I remember any of that, I was too young to know what was going on at the time. But as I got older, I figured it all out. Or at least I thought I did. Anyhow, enjoy these nameless musicians performing these public domain Christmas songs as best you can."

Despite my love for Christmas disco (good and bad), this one is riding the fence. Any song is an adventure. It could start off with disco strings, then the wha-wha guitars will take over and ride it for a while. Add some disco singers singing partial lyrics - "You'll go down in hissssss - tooorrrrrrrr - rreeeeeeeeeeee".

WHOAA... as I'm typing these words, the album is playing the background and son-of-a-gun! Can it be? Is it really? I wouldn't put it past it... Checking...

After much comparison, I've just discovered that "We Wish You A Merry Christmas", "White Christmas", "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", and "Auld Lang Syne" are completely original Christmas disco songs on this album by Holiday People.

The remaining tracks are recycled instrumentals that were also used on Mirror Image's Disco Noel and The Mistletoe Disco Band's Christmas Disco:


So this is the THIRD Christmas disco album in my collection using the same tracks... groovy. The Mistletoe Disco Band has another album entitled "More Christmas Disco" that I don't own (yet) and it probably uses these other tracks from the Holiday People album. But who knows?

Okay, I'm more bummed than finding out that the roller boogie night at my local rink were cancelled.

I need some good Christmas disco (that's the very definition of an oxymoron, no?). I'm talking Salsoul Orchestra style disco, not Charo style. Can the second album featured here be what I am looking for? I've got a bad case of "Saturday Night Fever" and it needs to be quenched!

Ernie, can you help? From his original notes on "Christmas Disco Party":

"Did I hear you say you wanted more Christmas disco, only better this time? Well, how's about some original tunes, and some semblance of originality? Sound good? Here's a group with no name performing Christmas Disco Party (Classic Christmas CCR 1941, 1979).

"I stuck the name Max Fagen on these tracks, since he seems to show up the most in the credits, but there really is no group name listed anywhere on the LP. I don't know why I like this album better than the other. Something just strikes me as a lot better. At least they tried to write some original music. Some of the titles are familiar, but they aren't really the songs they pretend to be."



TRACK REVIEWS:

1.) Santa Claus Is Disco'n To Town
How can you argue with a song with such wisdom like "He's got the moves that will loosen your blues"?

2.) All I Want For Christmas Is A Disco Beat
Doesn't everyone want a disco beat for Christmas? Anyone? "Gotta have a little drums!"

3.) Jingle Bell Disco Rock
Is it "Jingle Bells" or "Jingle Bell Rock"? About fifteen seconds in, you'll hear a great disco version of "Jingle Bells". Man, this is fantastic!

4.) Dancin' In A Winter Wonderland
Expecting a disco version of "Winter Wonderland". Instead, you get a smooth, contemporary original Christmas song - WOW!

5.) What I Want For Christmas (Is Just To Have You Here)
This is the song they would play at the rink, lower the lights, and announce "couples only". Another great original!

6.) Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Nope. Nothing like the version heard on the trio of albums above. About to break into Travolta-like dance steps!

7.) The Beat Moves On
Not Christmas, but it's a good disco instrumental.

8.) Rock Around The Christmas Tree (With Me)
Another Christmas title - but you get another original Christmas disco song!

9.) (Gonna Have A) Disco Christmas Party
This one's my favorite - you can expect this one to be played at my next Christmas gathering!


I'll put Christmas Disco Party up against anything the Salsoul Orchestra ever did. This is one great Christmas disco album - oxymoron's be damned! I would love to see this album get re-released with more on Max Fagen, the song composers, etc. This album has a lot going for it.

But because it's Christmas disco, no one's gonna re-release it. Which is a shame. So thanks Ernie for rescuing this one. You are hereby awarded the B.G.E's Award for the prolongation and preservation of Christmas disco.

And if you think Holiday Disco is bad, just wait until Christmas. For I have obtained what could be the WORST Christmas disco album of all time and I intend to unleash it to the world.

You've been warned...


Capt

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ooooh...

Hey Rob, Jeff here. (I always forget my blogger password so I'm going anonymous)

Loving the reviews and the ads, as always, and I am definitely looking forward to more...

Did I send you a copy of French Champagne's Non-Stop Christmas & New Year's Eve Disco Dancing Party? Cheesy Christmas goodness... If not yet, it'll be in your stocking at some point :)

CaptainOT said...

Jeff - To quote Cary Grant in Hitchcock's North By Northwest:

"Why are you so good to me?"

Looking forward to those in our annual swap of Christmas packages!


Capt

Ernie said...

I'm gonna have to work hard to dig up more Christmas disco this year. I don't currently have any in the stack, and it's a cryin' shame.

Thanks for the reviews, Cap'n!

Anonymous said...

I too possess the rare Christmas Disco gene.

FYI, the Roller Disco Orchestra/Mistletoe Christmas Band/Mirror Image tracks also sold under another name, The Disco Belles ("Non-Stop Christmas Disco") complete with trashy cover -- blonde bimbo straddling a giant candy cane.

In addition to these and the Max Fagan LP, here are a few other worth searching for:

KTel Christmas Disco Party (Yves Martin Productions)

Christmas & New Year's Disco Dancing Party (French Champagne)

Christmas Disco (PK & The Sound Explosion)

Christmas Disco (Montreal Sound)

Turned On Christmas (Henry Hadaway)

CaptainOT said...

Anon - I hereby award you the "White Polyester Suit" - the true mark of excellence when it comes to disco.

Man, more albums for the wish list!


Capt