Rip by King Poppa Review by Groovegirl
Posting and additional info’s by Nikos
We come across myths in the real world of music every time we stroll next to a crate of our Local Salvation Army. Οh my god, you don’t know the value until they tell you so. That’s a place where this LP was found. Too bad that SA in Greece doesn’t have crates like those. Supposedly, you just picked it up with your bare groovy hands. It was sitting humbly in a fat pile ,you flip it on the back and you read “members of the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra string arrangements”. Thus you can imagine bells , angelic ring a ling a dings and shoo waps, hooting as a hell of a million killers and can’t wait for an introduction to The Topics. Fascinated that you are dealing with a rare private pressed LP from a soul group so hard to find the word jackpot hits you. It is entirely yours bless catrine-suzy-funky-hurricane. This is an indispensable news treat with overwhelming strength and vitality. Now let’s find out that caring is sharing.
A1 Keep Dancin’ 3.08
A2 Rose 4.11
A3 Sing A Happy Song 4.28
A4 Man 3.33
B1 Choice Of A Million Girls 4.54
B2 Inflation 3.53
B3 I Can’t Help It 4.10
B4 What You Tryin’ To Do To Me? 5.10
The Topics, are a band of four, little is known about their existence rather that they singed in pairs of two on stage. Two red two white jackets. Hell and Heaven is anthropomorphic and prolific in the jive. All sorts of musicians contributed to their sound with majestic techniques on a fender rhodes, synthesizers, guitar, bass, drums and other percussion ,a trumpet, trombone, alto sax and of course a strings section arranged indeed by Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra. One of the rarest Modern Northern Soul LPs today in existence. As far as I’ve keyboarded out there, there hasn’t been a re-issue again in any digital form or physical release. The “say hi to a buyer” wont treat you very nice and empty your pocket in a jiffy. Their first album is rated up to $4000USD’s and its not a Japanese version. If you get too excited you can sing their cover on “Louie Louie”, a cheaper 7inch rare as a funky colored unicorn.
“Wanted Live! By a Million Girls” is quite a promising chic-ed out title for an album coming from the year of promises – 1978. The original private pressing is on the NCS label numbered 501 for the practical. Its so tight just as those old pair of Levi jeans hanging in the closet for a dancing night out. The Topics from Fresno, California are a rare soul,funk,rnb band worth a bright golden bite these days. Their 7inches passed through some mega series of soul roofs like Token, Carnival, Dream, Castle, Mercury and Heavy Duty Records. I always get so nostalgic with these reviews wondering what their soul strengths and spikes were at the time.
Success here is not a price. However this album deserves an exquisite medal in your raw heart. All of the individual elements of soulful and funky harmonies are a great deal. A ton of “smooth grooves” work together , the Topics would have been really captivating in live shows I suppose. “Keep dancing” deserves all the hard work for your ears ,it has that undeniable moving intensity in that tight mellow melodramatic groove of ecstasy. Maybe an A-side of Bootsy Collins could fit in here. Runner up “Sing a Happy Song” is an intimate ballad incorporating feelings into distinctive vibe ethics. Perhaps, you find yourself stranded on a summer night with the love of your life, or just drip into rainy days that are here to stay. With perfect little drum drops and an outstanding alto sax solo that wow factor sure blends in.“Rose” is an extroverted up-tempo arrangement you could feel your soul drifting in it with petals of funk carrying out aroma’s of intimacy. Vocals on this track are more normal pitched than the other ones, of the hi-hated heartfelt singers and side-wingers. A very deep and musky voice. Lets say its from Topics boy number 3. You do need a break of that soaring falsetto? Just because lush and great lust can’t go on forever. One of the sweetest harmonizing tracks on the album. “Man” is another acrobatic up tempo beamed into bliss ,vocal track. This love song of manhood is a statement that shines brightly, hitting notes in exact precision. A diamond cutter coming up “I cant help it” is a ballad for swishing sheets and syrupy satin curtains grooving with the vibe. “Inflation” is the track that caught most attention to my politics. “Inflation, starvation, I’ve been working hard, dirty dirty inflation,.. gotta run this whole nation, used to be education, I’m working, trying to compete but you know that I’m just a man, dirty dirty inflation, spending money fast as information, gasoline is too damn high”. Such sentiments were not so groundbreaking for the 1970s but they weren’t exactly common in the days of disco funk era. Perhaps, a big music cartel couldn’t care about their high human standards of galvanizing funk anthems. But ravishing emotions go with the revolutionaries even in music.
To sum up today’s jam you could say that The Topics, played in the same field as The Stylistics, The Dynamics, The Delfonics or even The Miracles. Its a miracle though that didn’t quite happen for them during their romantic era or aura of brilliant song writing at the time. With winner songs for the dance floor and the radio, ethereal ,youthful ,impeccable vocal performances and a magnificent debut, god knows why that didn’t hold so much attention in the prestige of time. I believe some things aren’t made for big stars in a bright sky. Though I believe always that those enormous gems find a way in our funkified and certified galaxy. Enjoy one of the rarest records , today from the funkmysoul family. Before you go looking for the price on Popsike or Manship’s price guide we have it for you. Turning that history dust into soulful shine . The true myth is simple- participating musicians were given copies. That’s how records leaked out from the private pressing. I believe Fresno Philharmonic still long lives these days. The same goes for JEL recording studios in Newport Beach. So why can’t The Topics live forever for a thousand boys and a thousand more girls? Peace.
For those of you who don’t have the money to buy the real thing if you could find it “on sale” these days here is your chance to download it from Funkmysoul. On the other hand if you do have the money for that kind of leisure you could also put some treasure chest money in funkmysoul’s paypal box as a true heart of a million-air it is, and all the girls will be after you.