The Rocky Horror Picture Show
1975/1989: Ode/Rhino R2 70712
What a fun and deliciously corrupting album this is I cant remember how many years Ive had it, on vinyl first and then CD, but I know Ive been influenced by The Time Warp since the late 1970s (I first heard it at a dance at a Christian summer camp, can you imagine???) and was grooving to Sweet Transvestite back at home within a few years.
Although I didnt even see the film until about 1982 or 1983, I was primed for it and yet still didnt know what I was in for in the long run. One of the aspects of it that fascinates me now is how the décor of the Frankenstein place colored and informed my sense of a certain achievable decadence style I saw in the very early 80s, in college-student apartments as well as alternative shops and their wares. In a sense the room Columbia & Magenta are in while watching Janet & Rocky get it on is what I imagined a cool adult life would have as its environment: lots of flea-market furnishings, heavy 1920s/30s overtones in the colors and decorations, and isolated, minimal lighting that emphasized the pre-modern aspects of the space. Like you had moved into an apartment that had remained unchanged since its last owner died in 1932 and you decided to leave it pretty much as is, ratty fabrics and all, revelling in the way the combination of kitsch and nostalgia enrichens a contemporary existence.
Well that is one HELL of a long way off the subject of the soundtrack, now isnt it? Sorreh.
As far as the soundtrack goes, I must confess that I havent seen a live production of the Rocky Horror Show, so I cant think of these recordings as anything but how the songs were *supposed* to sound. Having said that, I think the bulk of this album is just faboo although Im not a big fan of Science Fiction/Double Feature and its reprise, there are times when its just what I want to hear, and that applies to a number of other tracks on this as well. Naturally Im miffed that The Sword of Damocles isnt on any of the standard RHPS releases, as its a mighty fine rocker (and without it Im left rehearsing the backup-group moves with Riff Raff and the girls on the video), and Planet Schmanet Janet is missed as well, but the quality of the recordings included nearly makes up for that.
Im Going Home is just torturously slow and dull without the emotional effect of Frank singing in moist disarray, and the sleep-inducing Super Heroes barely worked even in the film. And while these recordings might be a bit clean production-wise for the show itself, theyre plenty gritty in their content and delivery dont discount the album just because the musicians got to sound superb as opposed to how a live theatre setting makes them sound .
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.