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Meco

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Meco - Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk (Millenium MNLP 8001) (1977)

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ITEM# SR-MIMNLP8001
Ratings: C=VG-; LP=VG+

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Artist:

Meco

Title:

Stars Wars and Other Galactic Funk

Released: 1977
Label: Millennium
Catalog: MNLP 8001
Genre: Disco / Funk / Jazz
T R A C K L I S T:

01 Music Inspired By Star Wars

a. Title Theme
b. Imperial Attack
c. The Desert and The Robot Auction
d. The Princess Appears
e. The Land of The Sand People
f. Princess Leia's Theme
g. Cantina Band
h. The Last Battle
i. The Throne Room and End Title

02 Other Galactic Funk

a. Other
b. Galactic
c. Funk
Submit a review.

Album Review

by JT Griffith [allmusic.com]

As a purist, Meco's Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk should be heard on its original vinyl, even if that means losing the two bonus tracks on the Hip-O CD, the "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band (7" Radio Edit)" and the "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band (12" Disco Mix)." This is not the music most people would listen to every day, so why not enjoy the experience. The LP's cover is large, and the two space travelers bumping bottoms is hilarious cheese. Musically, the LP and the CD are identical (with the exception of the bonus material). An interesting trivia bit is that John Williams supposedly did not know anything about disco when he returned from London. When he was asked to listen to Meco's version of his now famous recording, Williams was apprehensive. But, in the end, he credited Meco with helping bring symphonic music further into the mainstream. This important genre-busting album is most enjoyable in its original form. The "Title Theme" was a number one hit in 1977. Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk makes one of the best kids albums out there.


Artist:

Meco

Title:

Encounters Of Every Kind

Released: 1978
Label: Millennium
Catalog: MNLP 8004
Genre: Disco / Funk / Jazz
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Time Machine
02 In The Beginning
03 Roman Nights
04 Lady Marion
05 Icebound
06 Hot In The Saddle
07 Time Machine
08 Crazy Rhythm
09 Topsy
10 Meco's Theme / 3 W. 57
11 Theme From Close Encounters
Submit a review.

Album Review

by Christian Genzel [allmusic.com]

Whether you'll like Encounters of Every Kind, the follow-up to Meco's successful Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk, depends on whether you like both lounge and disco. Or, more precisely, whether you'd like the thought of a discofied James Last orchestra with a science fiction theme and a bit of silliness thrown in for good measure. The orchestra, by the way, is made up of top session musicians (like Will Lee, Alan Shulman and Tom Malone) and even includes Randy Brecker. The theme of this album is the "Meco Time Machine," which leads Meco and the listener through several epochs of time and space. "In the Beginning," we're thrown right into a prehistoric (as a matter of fact, 1, 348, 264 B.C.) setting, with furious pterodactyls sweeping across the sky. Next stop is "Roman Nights" (45 B.C.), at an orgy in the Senate Bath House with fanfares (the liner notes meticulously describe the whole travel). Then we're led to 1690 A.D., meeting "Lady Marion" in Sherwood Forest; this one sounds more like a classic Star Trek episode, but chirping birds are all around us. We're "Icebound" in the 1880 A.D. Antarctic next, with chillingly cold wind and creepy strings, but we'll quickly reach the next era on our agenda, "Hot in the Saddle," in 1881, invoking visions of "Bonanza," complete with gunshots, Indians, arrows and the cavalry.

Side two of the record presents the two most hilarious tracks; one is a rendition of "Crazy Rhythm" -- loungey swing in 1926 Chicago, not omitting the sudden raid by a couple of machine-gun-toting gangsters. In 1952's Johnsonburg, we're exposed to an unbelievable version of "Topsy" (yes, that Topsy), with "Smurfy" vocals by an alien family. Back to the present; we're watching the city from the top of the Millennium Building while listening to "Meco's Theme" -- might be a forgotten soundtrack to an equally forgotten '70s cop TV series. Lastly, we're heading right for the future, climbing atop Devil's Tower, Wyoming, to experience "Close Encounters" (of the Third Kind, of course); supported by a rendition of John Williams' famous theme. It's hard to be halfway about this album; you'll either love it or hate it (who said that this only has to be valid for avant-garde records?), and I love it. A product of its time, and a rather silly one too, but actually very clever and inventive at the same time.


Artist:

Meco

Title:

The Wizard Of Oz

Released: 1978
Label: Millennium
Catalog: MNLP 8009
Genre: Disco / Funk / Jazz
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Over The Rainbow
02 Cyclone
03 Munchkinland
04 Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead
05 Munchkinland (Again)
06 We're Off To See The Wizard (The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz)
07 Poppies
08 The Spell
09 Optimistic Voices
10 The Merry Old Land Of Oz
11 The Haunted Forest
12 March Of The Winkies
13 Dorothy's Rescue
14 If I Were King Of The Forest
15 Over The Rainbow
16 The Reprise:
I. Delirious Escape
II. Over The Rainbow
III. Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead
IV. Munchkinland
Submit a review.

Album Review

by JT Griffith [allmusic.com]

Wow. How could a review of this LP not first include that word? For fans of Meco, this is a stunning find. Most people will know of his disco take on the George Lucas and John Williams universe of Star Wars & Other Galactic Funk. The first single from that album went to number one and was followed by takes on super heroes (Superman) and other sci-fi (Close Encounters of the Third Kind). Few know that he also did a disco version of this famous 1939 film. The album is gloriously ridiculous! Meco puts the merry back into the Merry Old Land of Oz. It sounds very similar to his Star Wars work but with even more Donna Summer cheese thrown in for good measure. Released in 1978 by Millennium Records, The Wizard of Oz also features Harold Wheeler and, amazingly, Meco's Cantina Band. Standout tracks include "Cyclone," "Munchkinland," "Poppies," and, of course "Over the Rainbow." What am I talking about? It's the Wizard of Oz done in a disco style! Every track is hilarious. Of course by the reprise of "Over the Rainbow" most people over the age of ten will be sick of this experiment. But that is an important strength of Meco's work. It is meant for the young and young at heart. Wizard of Oz is a great record for kids, and parents bemoan the lack of good children's records all the time. So go to the used record store and track down some Meco. Star Wars & Other Galactic Funk may always be the best place to start. But this album get my vote for Meco purchase number two. Oh, "Optimistic Voices" is great too. It is a real shame that this record does not sync up to the film the way Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon does. That is a missed opportunity for genius. Oh, and "If I Were King of the Forest" is great. Ah the 1970s...

Meco's Biography

by Jason Ankeny [allmusic.com]

Producer and studio musician Meco marked a confluence of the two dominant pop-culture preoccupations of the late '70s, shooting to fame on the heels of a chart-topping disco rendition of the theme to Star Wars. Born Meco Monardo in Johnsonburg, PA in 1939, he took up the trombone at the age of nine, and later earned a scholarship to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. There Meco formed a jazz trio with fellow students Chuck Mangione and Ron Carter, later enlisting with the West Point Army Band. From 1965 to 1974, Meco worked as a studio player, and also landed a number of arranging gigs, most notably on Tommy James' "Crystal Blue Persuasion." He additionally arranged and performed the music on a series of television commercials.

Meco's breakthrough arrived in 1974 when he co-produced the Gloria Gaynor smash "Never Can Say Goodbye," followed by the Carol Douglas masterpiece "Doctor's Orders." In 1977, Meco saw the George Lucas film Star Wars on the day of its release and quickly became obsessed, seeing the picture numerous times; while admiring producer John Williams' score, he felt the music lacked commercial possibilities, and soon contacted Casablanca Records chief Neil Bogart about the possibility of a disco version. Working with veteran Broadway arranger Harold Wheeler, Meco recorded Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk; soon the first single, "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band," rose to number one. Although he recorded similar music inspired by films including The Wizard of Oz and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Meco remained most closely associated with Star Wars, even recording a highly successful Christmas album based on the movie; he retired from music in 1985, later working as a commodities broker in Florida.
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