Saturday, November 05, 2011

MECO's The Wizard of Oz

You ever listen to the MGM movie's score and think, "this needs a disco rearrangement?"

... Anyone?

Okay, well, it happened in 1978. The band MECO, famous for their Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk album gave a similar treatment to Oz.

The album has only been released in entirety on vinyl LP records. Which, if you're from a later generation than me, those are those big, flat black discs with grooves on them a needle replays the sounds from it while a turntable spun it around at the right speed. (My dad had SO many records...)

So, how's the album? Well, if you hate how this sounds, then I wouldn't recommend it:
Now, if you stuck around after that, I'll say this: I loved it.

Since the running time is only about a half hour, the entire score is not represented. Every song is not sung, for example, as in the above sample, "Over the Rainbow" is only an instrumental. The only songs sung are "It Really Was No Miracle," "Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead!," "You're Off To See The Wizard" (preceded by Munchkin voices saying "Follow the Yellow Brick Road," but it's not sung), and "Optimistic Voices."

There's voice acting as well. The only bits of dialogue is from the Wicked Witch, the Wizard, and the Cowardly Lion, aside from those Munchkin voices and Toto barking. In addition, just before the Lion has his first lines, we hear the classic "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" Also, the Winkie guards are heard singing their iconic chant, though I think they got it wrong. It's "O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah!" but here it sounds like "O-Ee-Yum! Ee-Oh-Um!" (And when you note THAT error, you know you're an Oz fan.)

The album also doesn't forget it's in stereo. There's a number of stereophonic effects, most notably alternating beats in the cyclone, but the most effective is in the first track when we hear the Wicked Witch cackle. It begins in the right audio channel, then moves over to the left, then back again, creating the audio impression that the Witch is flying back and forth on her broom.

As for the music itself, it's very lively and fun to listen to. The themes are still quite recognizable, so only people who don't enjoy this type of music should find it objectionable. While "If I Only Had A ___" is not anywhere on the album, the music moves so lively that you don't miss it. I particularly enjoy the lively Emerald City beat headlined by "Optimistic Voices" just after the mellow Poppy Field themes. And "If I Were King of the Forest" is part of the Wicked Witch's demise as a triumphant beat following a reprise of "Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead!"

The best part is at the very end, when there's an upbeat medley of the score's highlights, this time not in disco. It's really a lovely bit and very Ozzy as well!

So, go ahead and buy the album. There's plenty for sale on eBay last I checked. There's a version that used yellow vinyl instead of black (yellow brick road), and no, that's not what I own.

And whoever owns the rights to this, GET THE WHOLE THING BACK OUT THERE!!!

1 comment:

saintfighteraqua said...

They should at least put this on itunes or amazon! Thanks for sharing.