Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Disco Delivery #47:
Hot Blood - Disco Dracula (1977, Dynamo)

Hot Blood - Soul Dracula
Hot Blood - Sex Me
Hot Blood - Terror On The Dancefloor

Okay, so it's Halloween, and aside from Christmas, no other occasion has inspired more strange disco novelties.. Needless to say, I thought I'd be putting the novelties away with the last post, but with this thing arriving at my door yesterday (perfect timing!), it appears I've got one more to put up..

Perhaps best known for "Soul Dracula" (included here, naturally), Hot Blood was a rather anonymous German disco production, featuring a number of notable Munich session players, like Keith Forsey, Gary Unwin and Pepe Solera, to name a few.. The record is so anonymous in fact, that the production credit is given as 'Produced by Hot Blood,' which doesn't exactly illuminate things, although looking at the credits, one could speculate that the major player behind this was arranger Stefan Klinkhammer. Klinkhammer is perhaps best known for his work as both arranger (and sometime songwriter) on the majority of Boney M's albums along with a few other Frank Farian productions.. There doesn't seem to be much information on Klinkhammer available in English, but former Boney M member, Marcia Barrett has a couple of pictures with him on her official website. Unfortunately, I can only speculate from her captions that Klinkhammer has since passed away..

As far as the record itself goes, don't be fooled by the lipstick lesbian vampiress action on the cover (the vampire is apparently Calvin Klein model Lisa Taylor, thanks to Enrique for this tidbit.). This thing is a far cry from any Saint Tropez disco sapphic soap-opera.. The major track on the record, "Soul Dracula" has every cliché one would expect from a novelty 'dracula' track: maniacal laughing drrrracu-la with exaggerated Bela Lugosi-esque accent, catchy/annoying background gimmicks that drill themselves into your head, cheesy sexual overtones, not to mention a bit of pointless appropriation in the song title. I mean, somebody tell me what's so soulful about the 'Soul Dracula," anyway..

Still though, cliché's aside, this track is probably one of the better, more enjoyable Halloween disco records I've come across.. Unusually (although some might say mercifully) short at just around two and a half minutes, ironically enough, it's the shortest song on the album. Apparently there's a slightly longer version out there running at least 3.57 (thanks Kenneth!) which they didn't put on the album, for some reason...

Although this was released on a rather obscure indie label in the US two years following "Soul Dracula's" original single release, apparently, judging from what I've come across, "Soul Dracula" was a pretty sizeable hit in parts of Europe. I suppose it had to be, to have been 'performed' on TV. And as intriguing as the song is on it's own, I personally think it's best enjoyed with a little visual aid. Check out one of the performances archived on good ol' YouTube, complete with masked dracula and hilarious choreography:

Hot Blood - Soul Dracula
Uploaded by Kommog

Okay so the quality is shit, but you get the idea.. I could say more about that craziness, but I think one of the commenters on YouTube, brightonbits, summed it up best: "If Vampires sucked blood exclusively to get the cocaine in your system, I suppose this would be the logical theatrical interpretation.." That's right, move over, Thriller!..

Anyway, the rest of album is not all cheesy dracula tracks, there are actually a couple of half-way pleasant instrumentals, like "Even Vampires Fall In Love" and "Dracula Does Dreamy." Aside from those, the one track here that somewhat rises above the kitsch would have to be "Sex Me," the final track on Side 1. Instrumentally speaking, it's a nice sleazy, sexy slow-burner complete with a moaning female, sly guitar and string arrangements. If weren't for the ol' "Soul Dracula" getting in on the action, repeatedly whispering: "sex me.. sex me.. give me satisfaction" and my personal favourite: "do it..right there.. I like it.. I need it fresh!", it would probably make for a seriously substantial track on it's own. I suppose if Vampires can fall in love, they can get horny too, I guess..

Another bit of craziness that I also had to include here was the last track on the album, "Terror On The Dancefloor" (evidently released as a 12" in the US) which basically consists of our "Soul Dracula" mentioning a few of the other song titles over a litany of screams and a template Munich disco backing. With those catchy basslines and those strings (courtesy of the Munich Philharmonic) chased by some killer horn arrangements, it's quite possibly the best damn thing on the album..

Overall though, "Disco Dracula" is your typically harmless, fun novelty record, firmly entrenched in the realm of kitsch and camp, yet not without it's moments of inspired musicianship. Not something to break the bank for, yet nothing to pass on either..

Anyway, that's my Halloween post for this year. Happy Halloween!

And just a final note: by popular demand, I've also re-uploaded (for a limited time) last year's Halloween Post as well.. Enjoy!





Kenneth H said...

I found this album (as mp3) somewhere late last year after your last years Halloween post, and it's true it's not half as bad as you might expect.
The Soul Dracula I found prior to the whole album is 3.57. At least it says so in winamp.

Tommy said...

Hey Kenneth, thanks for the comment! Yeah the album's not bad at all. I've had "Terror On The Dancefloor" on constant rotation over here for the last little while..

Thanks for the info about the 3 minute version of "Soul Dracula." I've just come across that longer version too. Anyway, I just corrected the entry.. Thanks again! :)

Michael Röhm said...

Ah,another one I've been looking for! Thank you so much! You've helped make for a fine kitschy disco Halloween!

Tommy said...

Hey Michael, no problem! Glad you enjoyed it.. :)

Unknown said...

Wow, that video was something else. I'm, uh, speechless. I think it even surpasses anything in the godawful (in a good way) disco musical "The Apple"... Side note: I believe the album cover vampire facing the camera is model Lisa Taylor. A Helmut Newton favorite in the late 70s (and lead model in an early 90s ad campaign for a Calvin Klein), she played model "Michele" in "Eyes of Laura Mars," which itself is a great disco-era movie featuring a pretty good soundtrack (including an extended photo shoot sequence set to Michael Zager Band's "Let's All Chant"--the memory is etched im my brain)... I can't believe you actually have two albums with a disco vampire theme; the only one that came to mind was the soundtrack to the disco vampire B-movie "Nocturna." You must dig pretty deep in those vinyl bins up there!

Tommy said...

Hey Enrique! Yeah, that video was totally ridiculous lol. Now that you mention it, I really have to find a copy of the "Nocturna" soundtrack.. As far as digging deep goes, I do try :) Although most of the things that I've put up have been things I've found in person, I actually got this one off eBay recently.. And with the way the Canadian $ is going lately, I'll be on there a whole lot more these days :)..

By the way, thanks also for the tip on cover model Lisa Taylor.. I'll be sure to add that detail to the entry! Anyway, I'm sorry it's taken me a while to reply.. I've been a little occupied lately, but thanks for the comment, as always! :)

osses said...

i got a copy of this:)

in Poland there is a radio show,hosted by Wojciech Mann-at the end of every show he plays it:)Its strange because its a commercial radio...there are no such tunes.

big up tommy!

vaporacle said... Press announces the publication of its newest title, Disco Hypnotic, by CJ Laity. It's pretty groovy man. For info you can check out

Tommy said...

Hey Osses,

Thanks for the comment! :) That's kinda funny hehe, I kinda wish I heard kitschy stuff like this over here more often hehe..

Anyway, thanks again :)

discokid said...

Thinks interesting that the Soul Dracula single was pretty popular in Japan. it was at #30 of best-selling singles in Japan in chart history betwen foreigner singles.

Tommy said...

Hey discokid, thanks for that bit of info, I had no idea! Now that you mention it, I guess it doesn't surprise me that this was a hit there too.. I'll have to mention that in the entry next time I edit it. Thanks again! :)

Mike said...

I need to own this!

Tommy said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Mike! :)

Arthur said...

Apropos the Hot Blood video:
This is a broadcast from the Dutch (that is, The Netherlands) tv show TopPop Non Stop, which was a show mining the archives of TopPop, Holland's main music tv show in the seventies and eighties.
For the record, the captions roughly read:

"Horror is a main theme not only in heavy metal...
...Kate Bush knows her way around it in 'Hammer horror' and obviously Michael Jackson in 'Thriller'.
Hotblood [sic] is a not an existing group, but a studio formation from France [!].
Because of this we turned to Penney and her ballet.
This strange 'Soul Dracula' scored Hotblood a top 10 hit."

Penney is Penney de Jager. Her disco ballet performed to the tracks on TopPop if an artist could not or would not appear on the show - like Pan's People on Britains Top of the Pops.
The top 10 hit was probably scored in Holland, seeing this is a Dutch show.

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