I found these two records, “Blackbuster 3″ and “Blackbuster 5,” in a long-forgotten thrift store. Both were shoved into a single tattered sleeve, alongside of a couple dance instruction posters. I bought them immediately of course, looking forward to the expected faceless studio performances of generic disco covers. I got what I hoped for, but I also got more.
Blackbuster isn’t actually faceless; I’d just never heard of them. Culled from the pool of musicians that circulated around South Seas record industry mogul Orly Ilacad, Blackbuster represents the cream of Philippine funk (albeit in a form designed to turn a quick buck). Ilacad is highly regarded in club circles as the the leader of regional sixties legends the Ramrods. Blackbuster itself is considered eminently sampleable.
The group released around a half dozen records, as well as numerous re-packagings in different countries. Some of the cover art is quite spectacular. But aside from a couple of tracks on YouTube, Blackbuster’s web presence is practically nil. You’d think someone would have uploaded something by now.
But I can get the ball rolling with these two records. “Blackbuster 3″ sticks to the popular club fare of the mid seventies — “Latin Hustle,” “San Francisco Hustle,” “Bus Stop,” “Baby Face,” “Get Up And Boogie,” that sort of thing — all disco banded for maximum danceability. “Blackbuster 5″ is the more adventurous of the two. Another “current hits” package, the disk takes its liberties with the arrangements of material like “Could It Be Magic,” “We’re All Alone,” Spring Affair” and “Dis-Gorilla.”
Even if disco-banded “Top Of The Pops” style sound-alikes aren’t exactly your cup of tea, it will cost you nothing to check em out. If you like ‘em’, tell your friends. Get a buzz going. And if the band’s reputation gets a buffing along the way, so much the better. And if another party uploads the rest of the Blackbuster canon, even better still. I figure it’s worth a shot.