The Wizard of Oz

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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...

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