Exploitation. one of the most versatile words in your musical lexicon. In this show, DJ Ringfinger (that’s moi!) exploits the depths of his £2 vinyl collection to bring your a smattering of the joy that is, exploitation records. Recorded on the cheap, released on nondescript labels and sold at places likes Woolworths in the UK and Waltons in Sydney, these records rode the wave of popular music that was driven by radio in the 1960s and the FM radio in the 1970s. Mostly, these records aped popular music, covered versions of songs in often an incongruous style and was sometimes, just sometimes was funky as fuck. This is not an exhaustive trawl. Three quarters of my exploitation collection is located 16500km away in Sydney. It makes me sad. It is just the first 20 records I find in my collection. You like it? Well, I might do a part two.
Let’s start with beatlexploitation The Beatles spawned more exploitation than almost any other band. The Sessionmen Do Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was released on the famous ‘MusicWay’, an offshoot of the incredibly prolific MfP label in 1978 in South Africa of all places. The funky take on ‘Get Back’ is the best of the bunch. Hammond is another classic exploitation instrument. This is the masterful Ena Baga playing Eleanor Rigby, with a great snappy drum break in there for good luck. Ena is famous for doing silent movie accomnpaniments in London from the 1920s. This record came out on the exploitation stable Hallmark.
Next up is two tracks from the Euopa label, a German label that put out some great XP (what we call it from now on) focused on those who like dancing. This track is from a compile called “High Life – Kesse Tanzmusik’ and once again features the Hammond Organ. The track is called ‘Das Wandern ist des Mullers Lust’ which translates as the hiking is enjoyable. This fine LP came out in 1968 and is credited to the Great Griffin Group. Next up, Beatxploitation and the Spots with Cherries and Cream (with a heavy german accent). This record came out in 1967 and was also released on the Europa label. Keep on streaking is a motto I live my life by. Apparently. It is also a track from the 1974 Ray Davies and the Button Down Brass album ‘A Button Down Party’. It features the ‘funky’ trumpet of Ray Davies (not the Ray Davies of course).
One of the great traditions in exploitation records is the compilation. Lots of different orchestras and bandleaders all aggregated together in celebration of the ‘hi-fi sound’ or ‘phase 4 stereo’. This track comes from one of those is arises from the baton of the great German bandleader Werner Muller. It is a cover of the Julio Iglesias track ‘Eso es el Amor’. Next up we hit some some drumxploitation. Great drummers are few and far between, these two hit the big beats, though not always noticeably. We start with the Big Beat of Eric Delaney on ‘One Mint Julep’ a track from his Marble Arch recording ‘The Big Beat of Eric Delaney’ record in 1968. The intersection of jazz, soul, lounge and exploitation is highly blurry in a lot of these records. Many of the artists like Eric Delaney were accomplished musicians and bandleaders often ‘reduced’ to making these supermarket records. But in the end, they didn’t skimp, they may records like this with great brass and amazing hammond. Lost in the £1 bins of history, until now. Of course, we couldn’t have drumxploitation without the american maestro Sandy Nelson. Like most these records, you can find Sandy Nelson LPs everywhere cheap, but they ar just so funky, dirty and full of breakbeats from hell. This track is from the 1969 LP ‘Rebirth of the Beat’ and is a stonking patch cover of Cream’s ‘Sunshine of your Love’. Thank you unnamed guitar player for one of the dirtiest imitations of Eric Clapton ever. Speaking of geetar, can you go past the Super Guitar of Lightnin’ Red? I don’t think so. On the superlative Stereo Gold Award label, this is an exploitation of an exploitation record.Funky Friday is the track. So much wah-wah, so much flange, so much tremolo. POWER. Sampled like the mother (by Fatboy Slim) this series was written by the label impresario himself.
Rolling Stones-xploitation is almost as popular as Beatlesxploitation. From French covers to Sitar version, the Rolling Stones catalogue is rife for picking. This cover of Satisfaction comes from The Helmut Zacharias Orchestra from 1971. HZ was a famous German violinist who say much profit to be made from cover sod stoned sixties legends. Here the psych violin in its entirety here. Next up is the Flash starring Denny Jones doing ‘Paint it Black’. This is another exploitation trope, the sound-a-like record. Oh dear. Denny certainly tries to sound like Jagger.And we finish with one the funkiest covers ever of Jumpin Jack Flash by the Peter Thomas Orchestra, a staple of so many compiles of the crate dug exploitation classics. This comes from the 1968 LP ‘Organic’. Very Psych.
Of course a show of this type would not be complete without some Moogxploitation. One of the most expensive instruments of its time, the MOOG would commit some many crimes against music. This is not one of them. Jungle Juice is a funky break ridden track from the Moog record ‘Go Moog’ by the Elektrik Cokernut (UK by the way). I can never ignore this Moog record, the classic Country Moog (also known as Switched on Nashville). Gil Trythall released two collections of Moog country tracks, this of course being his cover of the Jeannie C Riley classic, Harper Valley PTA. One of the great tropes of Moogxploitation is that the Moog plays both the rhythm and melody lines, aping the singer. Ah, the 1970s.
With one of the best cheesecake covers ever, Enoch Light and the Brass Menagerie take us home with the Doors classic ‘Touch Me’. released in 1969 on the Project 3 label. Really, Enoch Light is someone you have to check out, brilliant percussion albums, plenty of exploitation classics and then this brass ridden homage. Another trope on display is the medley. I have extricated two classic hard rock tracks from this Les Humphries Singers record entitled ‘Singing Revolution’ from 1971. We start with Deep Purples ‘Black Night’ which morphs into Humphries own ‘Woman I’m gonna make you mine’. Yes, clearly it was the 70s people. Oh yes, then then they do Paranoid by Black Sabbath, as most easy listening bands do. Really. See Cindy und Bert. Do it. And finally in this metal set we have German grunge meister Dieter Zimmerman doing ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by led Zeppelin. We play this when we DJ most every night, brings the house down. It is from the 1971 BASF album, Meine Welt. Surrounded by a whole heap of crud, this is a polished Zeppelin.
OK, now it just gets weird. The Alan Tew Orchestra is a record released on Phase 4 in 1967 and featuring the cream of the UK session set (Alan White from Hollies, Nicky Hopkins who played with the Stones, John Paul Jones from the Zeppelin on bass, this has to be one of the weirdest covers ever of the Nancy Sinatra classic…love the vocal. Come on Booties, take off! On to Little Marcy, a marionette puppet who simply is the stuff of your nightmares. She released too many records in the sixties and this one of my favourites…When Satan knocks at my Heart’s Door. Finally, we have one of funkiest tracks I have ever played at a club. This is Light up my Fire, by the Young World Singers on the jesusxploitation label Cherry Pie, quite inappropriate really. I love this song. Lyrics, just let yourself go and sing along. Not quite poetry.
There you have it, exploitation in a nutshell. Part 2 will return (like Jebus) soon.
wait for the bonus track…:)