Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Killer Joe's International Discotheque

1965 was a great year for corny but capable dance albums.  The proof?  Welcome to the world of "Killer Joe" who manages to just mildly slay you with his virtuoso musical abilities.  Recorded gently and without a hint of malice by the "Killer Joe Orchestra."  A little research and the VVers discover that the entirety of the music was in fact done by Atlantic Records' serious session men and even more serious record execs of the day.  See, the "King of the Discotheque" isn't a musician at all, but instead a superstar for his skills with the boogie.  At least so says the back cover description.  His job?  Pick the tunes, order of songs, and set the tempo to elicit maximum dance.  Hang with Joe as he manages to not bore you through: the watusi, the monkey, the swim, the "cheek to cheek," the bossa nova, the merengue, the jerk, the cha cha watusi, the hully gully, the mlle (pronounced "millie"), the frug, the shake, the frug (twice with the frug!), and lastly, la bostella.  Yes, "all the new dances to be seen at the chic discotheques in New York, Paris, Washington, or London, where the smart people have fun" are featured here in one handy dandy collection.  Is that Ray Charles?  No, it's not.  It is however a handily done version of "What'd I Say" from the session crew.  Not too shabby, cats!  Pop this platter on and you'll be fruggin' in no time!  As well, "C'mon and Swim" is a tidy little cut for you to swim to - aka - aquatically shake a little of this and that.  You can tell these session pros are having a blast with this Sly Stone penned ditty.  Also, Mr. Joe loves to rock the third-person insertion into the lyrics "look at Killer Joe look at him go," "Killer Joe is one fancy pants, mojo whoa oh," "Go Joe, go and kill it, Joe, you are killin' it," and "she wants to dance with Killer Joe, Millie, she's silly, from Philly." Good luck trying to figure out which of those lyrics are real.

Killer Joe, also known as Frank Piro, winner of the national jitterbug competition of 1942, does it all!  He's got the right moves for every occasion.  However, those who should make the mistake of looking at pictures of Mr. Joe on this record will likely recoil in horror/amusement at his over the rainbow expressions and herky-jerkiness.  "The Jerk" indeed!  One look at this cornball and you will never want to look away.  You are now under his power!!!  Perhaps, at the discotheque, with the lights turned down a bit, it's not as blinding.





Mr. Joe apparently was doing a very important and respectable job of teaching people of a certain means the hip dances of the day as well as generally being a regular on the big-time club scene.  No harm, no foul.  These pics just have not aged well.

P.S. Also, what the hell does this high fidelity thing mean?  The VVers refuse to look this up.  The VVers refuse to learn fancy terminology for turntables.

P.P.S. The Cha Cha Watusi:
"My Girl Sloopy" really just sounds like "I want schmoopy" and in particular, Spanish ham soup, "I want schmoopy, schmoopy jamon."  Singing the wrong lyrics is so impossibly catchy to VVer #2 that there's no way this record is dancing its way out of the house anytime soon.  That is what VVer #1 gets for digging around thrift shops and picking up random, horribly covered albums as a joke.

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