Song Of The Day 3/5/2014: Rice & Beans Orchestra - "The Blue Danube Hustle"


Errant Disco Decisions: Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven" was one of disco's most popular hits. Fragmenting and re-sequencing a bit of the old Ludwig Van and setting it to a mid-tempo throb, Murphy's recording was so influential that it even increased sales of actual classical music by 145% during the week in October 1976 when it was #1 on the Billboard chart. (...okay, I made that statistic up. Do I ever use statistics on this blog? Never. If you ever see a statistic here, there's a 95% chance it's fake.)

"A Fifth of Beethoven" caused dancers to temporary stop gazing at their navels, or those of others, and officially made any kind of music fair game to shove through the disco grinder. The same year as "A Fifth of Beethoven" took its lap, a conglomerate named Rice & Beans Orchestra attempted to combine the Hustle with Strauss' "Blue Danube Waltz."

There's one big issue with this, of course, and it's the fact that waltzing and disco dancing are pretty incompatible forms. The time signature for a waltz is always 3/4. Doing the waltz to the common 4/4 time of disco makes for a lot of minor whiplash. It's also a dance that requires a bit of a wide berth because of its big strides. A couple waltzing on the crowded confines of a disco floor in the mid-'70s would have been knocking everyone over. Rice & Beans conveniently overlook these logistical stumbling blocks, as their requisite female singers exhort their patrons to "Waltz, waltz, waltz, waltz, waaaaltz!" in the middle of the song. I'm sure Arthur Murray was grateful.

By the way, I came to the attention of this recording partly through the aegis of a full-service instrumental disco blog from Buenos Aires called The World Of the Disco Orchestral. If you can stand the painful, pre-2000 web design, you will find a great and ample supply of winsome disco curiosities.
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