KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND; "Get Down Live" (Intersound). *
BLONDIE; "Remixed, Remade, Remodeled: The Remix Project" (Chrysalis/EMI). *
A tune by Mike Watt and Eddie Vedder warns, ". . . the kids of today must defend themselves against the '70s. . . ." Two "new" releases - from KC & the Sunshine Band and Blondie - show no truer words will be heard.
- DURING THE DISCO ERA that infiltrated the 1970s, Harry Wayne Casey and his Miami-based band hit the scene's flashy tack with "Shake Your Booty," "I'm Your Boogie Man," "Keep It Comin' Love" and "That's the Way (I Like It)." The tunes were crafty devils, with infectious beats and dumb but catchy lyrics.
Those hits plus "Boogie Shoes" and "Get Down Tonight" are resurrected on "Get Down Live." But is that a good thing?
Disco fans can drag out and shake their polyester bell bottoms, fluffed sleeved shirts and thick, gold-chained medallions - if the clothes still fit. They can even flip on the mirror ball and slow dance to "Please Don't Go" and "Yes, I'm Ready." They can also sing along. Why not? The album's live audience does.
"Get Down Live" was recorded during the band's 1993-94 world tour in Australia, Texas, South America, Georgia and New York. It's not hard to picture die-hard nostalgia mongers cramming the halls to see and hear KC live. It's almost like a last-minute but vain attempt to hold onto lost youth.
- BLONDIE MIXED POP, PUNK, DISCO AND NEW WAVE to create its sound. (We must remember Blondie was the name of the whole band. Deborah Harry was just the singer.)
Four of the band's songs - "Heart of Glass," "Call Me," "Rapture" and "The Tide Is High" - shot to No. 1, while most of its other singles peaked in the Top 40.
So why remix an already successful and somewhat decent sound? Maybe Blondie, which actually disbanded in 1983, needs the cash. Or maybe producers and record label execs figured they could get on the '70s revival bandwagon and make some bucks.
The questions run on and on, but the justification isn't there.
The new-wave synth roll of "Heart of Glass" and the flowing cut of "Dreaming" were fine as they were; this album's remixes are choppy, long and boring. The revisions might be fine as background noise for a night of mindless dancing and pickup lines, but nothing more.
The creative mysticism of "Rapture," the calypso groove of "The Tide Is High" and the rollover burst of "Atomic" also become victims of the digital razor. As with "Heart of Glass" and "Dreaming," what emerges is messy.
The 1970s music scene is over. Nostalgia can be fun, but it's a lame excuse for rehashes like these.
RATINGS: four stars (* * * * ), excellent; three stars (* * * ), good; two stars (* * ), fair; one star (* ), poor, with 1/2 representing a higher, intermediate grade.