Orient Express (1978) A Desert Fantasy (LP) Polydor 2424192 (Canada)

Orient Express
A Desert Fantasy
Polydor 2424192 (Canada)
produced by Steve Gilston and Franz Auffray
arranged by Uri Kariv

Rating:**** (Recommended)

Oddball desert-themed disco album from France (and Israel), the epic 13-minute title track starting off with a thumping beat and then alternating between that and signature Euro-disco vocal sections, spicing up the sound with jabs of rock guitar followed by rolls of middle-eastern percussion, slowly building up the number with bass and horns until it sounds more aware of James Brown’s lessons than most disco numbers, this likely following Donna Summer’s example of how disco could remain glossy and still provide a groove.

After an atmospheric slow-dance/make-out/waterbed number that comes complete with bluesy electric guitar and romantic saxophone, the flipside offers two more stand-out numbers, instrumentals that sound even more aware of Brown’s lessons, the set closing with “Abdullah’s Wedding,” not the strongest cut but perhaps the oddest, apparently the story of a girl who opts to mate with the father of the suitor, this number especially sporting the desert sound.

This might not be a classic, but it’s an oddball album and it’s clearly a cut above most of the competition.  For fans of rare disco, this is worth the search. 


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