An unappreciated classic
David Wayne | Santee, CA United States | 08/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the classic album that gave The Village People their start. It is every bit as essential to mainstream dance music (of the "disco" era) as Donna Summer's Four Seasons Of Love, The Silver Convention's Save Me, or Musique's Keep On Jumpin'. The lead cut on the album, "San Francisco," did very well on the dance chart and made some pop/R&B inroads for the guys. "San Francisco" had an infectious beat, with emphasis on the congas. The lyrics spoke of freedom of expression, overcoming inhibitions, and the thrill of violence. Considering the year was 1977, the power of the song really came across. It was coupled with "In Hollywood," comprising side 1 of the lp. "In Hollywood" was a comical look at stardom, with the hero changing his name, overspending, going to any length to LOOK the part, and
even phoning the hotel to have himself paged! It's one of the funniest songs you've ever heard. The two songs were segued into each other, so in the era before mixing came into vogue, a disc
jockey could keep the floor packed for 10 minutes straight. Side 2 featured "Fire Island," a song celebrating the freedom to be found in alternative lifestyles (but with the explicit warning: "Don't Go In The Bushes"!). The last cut on the album, "Village People," was a call to all those hiding in the closet, to come on out. The lyrics make this very clear: Village People... We know who we are... Follow your star... Your fight is mine... Fight for the right (and do it while it's daylight), etc. The thumping, simmering Native American beat gives the song the feel of someting spiritual (as in a rain dance). Linking the songs together, breathing life into them (and adding a lot of soul) is the voice of Victor Willis. His gruff, raspy shouts remind one of Dennis Edwards or Edwin Starr or Eddie Levert. He took over the lyric writing with the next album (Macho Man), but even as sales of their records went through the roof ("Y.M.C.A.", "In The Navy"), the anti-disco backlash was already starting to catch up to The Village People. By the time "In The Navy" peaked at #3 pop, a whole lot of people were tired of their sound. It didn't help the group's fortunes any when Willis quit the group shortly thereafter. Without Victor's lyrics or voice, the crash came quickly for The Village People, and it was both loud and unappealing. Looking back, you have to go to the root; this album, to find something worth listening to today. The words said a whole lot, and the beat moved many feet."
THE Village People Album!
KRA | East End of LI | 10/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Village People would go on to Disco/Pop camp with their later albums, but this one is a true gem. Least anyone forgot The Village People were a Gay group, and this self titled album delt with it unlike their other albums of the 70's.
San Francisco (you got me) celebrated the openess of the city by the bay, and in a time before the cloud of AIDS spread, this track celebrated the first decade when there was Gay liberation. Hollywood (everybody's a star) was for those who wanted to live a little further south in California, but be no less out.
The final 2 tracks take us back east, first we have the ode to the Gay beach resort with Fire Island, and it's line about Don't Go In The Bushes. Funny thing is, going into the bushes is a good part of why many Gay men from NYC went to Fire Island. Today, now that many of us are older (and richer) we spend our summer's in the Hamptons, and spin tales about the "bushes" to our younger contemporaries, and in the process make it sound much more exciting that it actually was.
The final track, Village People, take us back to the West Village of the late 70's (long beore Chelsea became the
"gayborhood"), and tells the tale of being open, and celebrating much in the same vein as San Francisco.
This album was in hindsight The Village People's most direct, and frankly it's best."
The Viilage People sell their songs without even trying--and
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 10/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Village People, a remarkably cool and unique act that celebrated the joys of living an alternative lifestyle, got their first album out in style! Sure, it's just four tracks--but what a great four tracks we get!
The CD starts with "San Francisco (You've Got Me)." This number features The Village People singing of the freedom people experience and treasure when they live in the notoriously liberal city of San Francisco. As they sing of San Francisco as a haven for gay people, The Village People harmonize well and the musical arrangement makes great use of the percussion, brass and drums. Awesome!
"In Hollywood (Everybody Is A Star)" starts without any interruption from "San Francisco." "In Hollywood (Everybody Is A Star)" shows The Village People singing and gently poking fun at the people who want so badly to be Hollywood stars that they run to pay phones to have themselves paged at hotels, get dramatic makeovers and strive to get "THE" look of a true star by getting a limo that has a phone installed in it! The percussion marks the beat and The Village People sing this flawlessly. What a hoot!
"Fire Island" lets The Village People sing of a place where gay people can go to experience love or just a brief encounter; and the musical arrangement rocks! Great disco flavor on "Fire Island!" Although The Village People may sing a line about not going "in the bushes," you know they don't intend for this line to be a true warning. "Fire Island" makes great use of the drums and percussion; and the musical special effects are awesome. In addition, "Village People" has them singing of the importance of coming out in order to live a much happier life. Great harp at the beginning! The percussion marks the beat once again and they sing this to perfection. Terrific!
The liner notes have great artwork; and we get the song credits.
The Village People could be scoffed at for being such a dated group--but that's only if you don't understand that their music is truly great and the messages they sent through their songs are still relevant in our times. The Village People still have two of their original members, Felipe Rose (Native American) and David Hodo (construction worker); and with any luck they will continue to give us some good, campy entertainment for ages to come.
Thank you, Village People!