Firstly, I'd like to say how welcome this release is. And with two full albums on one CD, it's certainly a bargain, even thought the total running time is still only a little over 64 minutes - pretty much what you'd expect from a single album these days.
The first album, "Get On The Funk Train" was recorded with a some of the very best session singers from the time, including Madeline Bell of Blue Mink fame,and Sue and Sunny, all of whom had their own hits in the early to mid 1970s. While the vocals are obviously top notch, the fact that they tend to all sing together does give the album a rather anonymous , slightly bland sound. This first album was really just a vehicle for the 15-minutes-plus title track, a great disco period piece, funkier and less electro than you might expect. It undoubtedly inspired many other artists around at that time, particularly Frank Farian and the Boney M team, who virtually copied the idea on "Night Flight To Venus". Tracks 2-7 are all studio covers of tracks already released by Giorgio's artists, four Donna Summer tracks (including one reprise), one Roberta Kelly track (the excelent "Trouble Maker"), and one from Giorgio himself, the rather splendid "I Wanna Funk With You Tonight". With the exception of the last named, these don't work as well as the originals, which benefit from strong solo vocals, rather than the massed voices approach.
The second album "A Whiter Shade of Pale" uses a solo female singer, Chris Bennett, and benefits greatly from this more focused approach. The title track, a #42 UK hit in 1978, is exactly as you would expect, a light breezy, uptempo cover of a song you all know. It's obviously not better than the original, but it's different enough that it shouldn't cause any offence. Bennett's voice carries the album well through the other tracks, with the obvious exception of the instrumental "La Nuit Blanche", a Strauss piece which sounds like Oxygene-era Jean Michel Jarre. She shines on the Eartha Kitt-like "It's For You", and the standout track "It's All Wrong (But It's Alright)".
As it was originally released in the 70s, there may not be many remixes, alternative versions or unreleased tracks available, but it would have been nice to hear a little more, a couple of bonus tracks at least, if there wasn't enough material for a second disc. That apart, a welcome addition to the collection.
I'm a great fan of Giorgio Moroder and all of his 70's productions, most of which I purchased on vinyl at the time. The only Munich Machine material I owned was a single and their mention on the early Donna Summer works. Deciding to finally catch up and see what I had missed, I ordered this double package which was priced very cheaply. Boy was I rewarded! It's a shame I didn't get it at the time, but all the more richer for hearing it for the first time four decades later! The first album is a disco/funk masterpiece and although the subject matter is tongue firmly in cheek, kind of dated and full of sexual innuendos, the music is marvellous: Rich, lush orchestration over pounding beats, bursts of sublime vocals as one song segues seamlessly into the next. No 70's party would be complete without the 15 minute strong "Get on the Funk Train" (the complete side 1 of the original vinyl). It drives endlessly, occassionally stopping at various stations on it's journey to announce various expressions, sounds and interesting noises! The whistle blows and we're off again! It really is great fun and is utterly brilliant. It completely steals the first album. The disco fanatics must have adored this track at Studio 54 in it's hey-day, surely one of Moroder's finest moments and still infectious to dance to. The rest of this album segues through shorter tracks including early instrumentals of early Donna Summer works and a couple of other less known, obviously from other Moroder produced artists. Still excellent quality production and exciting rhythms. Second album is a little more restrained, 6 individual tracks, each one a complete song with gaps inbetween. More pop fuelled than dance, (you can sit down and listen to this!) The title track, an electro/pop reworking of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" is actually very good: A great cover in fact. I had the single of this and always wondered how it wasn't a massive hit. It has all the mystery and intrigue of the original with some very nice upbeat hooks and lovely saxophone breaks. Its longer here and is a much better version than the single as more instrumental passages improve the whole sound. Chris Bennett has a great voice, (she features on 5 tracks) and gives this classic song a wonderful interpretation. Another favourite is "It's for you" which has some really lovely instrumental breaks portraying the most gorgeous tune, showcasing the Munich Machine's amazing orchestral arrangements. "La Nuit Blanche" is a Kraftwerk-esque instrmental pastiche of strauss which adds another dimension to the album. This second album is more of a grower than the first, but grow it WILL and lodge inside the brain like all good music should. I have to add hear that the remastering of these two albums is first class. It could pass as vinyl in it's warmth and has some great volume without losing anything. This package is fantastic value for money. For anyone interested in 70's dance/electro/pop, it has to take a place in your collection if like me it's one that got away at the time. Or if you only ever buy one original disco CD in your life. Get this. You won't be disappointed.
This is a long over due release of two great albums of 1970s Disco music from the Munich Machine. Giorgio Moroder created the Munich Machine in 1976 The Munich Machine was a group of session musicians that played on many Disco record in the second half of the 1970s. They provided backing vocals and instrumentation for people like Donna Summer, Boney M, Silver Convention and La Bionda. Back in 1977 you would have to go to the Disco to know about either of these albums. In 1977 when I was a teenager I had both albums and loved them. The music on these discs was not the sort of thing you would find on radio in the UK. Disc one contains the entire first album released by Moroder as The Munich Machine. The album is called "Munich Machine introducing the midnight ladies." The first track was originally the only track on side one of the vinyl original release. It lasts a full 15 minutes and 42 seconds. The original cover was graced with a picture by Shusei Nagaoka with two dancing robots. The other tracks originally formed the entire second side of the original vinyl release. These tracks form an instrumental medley of Moroder/Bellotte's hits that they had already had with Donna Summer, Roberta Kelly and Giorgio Moroder as a solo artist. . Get On The Funk Train begins with an intro of "destination, funk" and further coaxes you with examples of various disco beats & rhythm which leads into the main dance song. It is really mainly instrumental with "get on the funk train" as a random chorus. The medley of other tracks begins with an electronic intro of Love To Love You, Baby followed by random vocals, then proceeds into chorus. Following this song are many familiar disco songs built on the Giorgio Moroder "Munich Machine" foundation like, "Troublemaker," "Try Me, I Know We Can Make It," "Spring Affair," & "I Wanna Funk With You, Tonite."
With no real radio exposure the single releases did not make any significant impact on the charts but the album is a classic piece of Disco. It remained more of an underground Disco creation.
Their second album (disc two) A Whiter Shade of Pale (1978) introduced singer Chris Bennett on an Electro-pop cover of Procol Harum's hit. She also posed naked on the cover, even posing on the back cover with the two dancing robots from the first album. Once again the single releases did not impact the UK singles chart but like its predecessor the album was very popular in the Disco clubs. The album did well in the Underground of Disco The sound on this CD issue of both albums is fabulous. It actually does sound better than the vinyl original.
Giorgio Moroder was very busy during this period of 1977-1978. He produced a single album, a double album, a live album, tracks for film soundtracks and a special suite all for Donna Summer. He also produced an album for the Three Degrees, Roberta Kelly, Sparks and others as well as his solo projects. But all this work did not dilute the quality of the individual works. This release is terrific and it is good to get both of these albums on one release.
This is great value two albums on one cd with bonus tracks and remastered in top notch sound . Get on the funk train is a long track taking us on a trip across the dance floor pure disco at it's best the b-side of the munich machine album is a medley not worth saying much about. NOW the Munich Machine White a shade of pale IS IS just amazing the great Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte are the master minds behind both albums with the Munich Machine that is in truth the band they used for all thier tracks including Donna Summers best and greatest works from 70's till 80, I love the white shade of pale album all ways have , and to have it on cd remastered is a disco buffs dream come true,this is real disco not your record companys jumping on the disco band wagon or cheese chart rubish disco music most people think of as disco music is in fact POP DANCE or just crap ! like all music disco like punk or rock well any type of music for that matter was sucked in and spat out by greed record companys wanting to make a quick buck at the cost of the real music Nough said.
The Munich Machine precision engineered Euro Disco powered by Uber producer Giogio Moroder,,deliciously fluffy Disco tracks to enjoy at any time of day or night;listen to those happy,unpretentious,euphoric tracks;grab the person in front of you and start a conga line,tchoo,tchoo!!