Tuesday, August 18, 2009

RadioMONDO Reviews: YMO "Tighten Up"


I used to watch Soul Train with an almost religious dedication. I doubt that I ever missed an episode until the last season when I got a job that required my attendance on Saturdays. One show stands out because of the goofy oddity of it. It was the appearance of Yellow Magic Orchestra. They were one of few non-black artists, and one of only two Japanese groups (the other being Hiroshima), to appear on the predominately-black program performing a cover (albeit badly lip-synced) of Archie Bell & the Drells' "Tighten Up". While the band played Haruomi Hosono jumped offstage to dance in the audience like a crazy tourist. Everybody looked like they were having a ball. I vaguely remember Don Cornelius trying to do a post-performance interview that was cut short because the band's English seemed limited. It was a highly entertaining few minutes.

I spent years looking for the single of that song since it was not (up to that point) released on any of the LPs i had found. Having found a copy, it had spent a lot of time on my turntable. It's as infectious and danceable as the original with the addition of goofy vocals with ad libs like "Sock it to me Sakamoto!".

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