When I was about 4, my Dad returned from a business trip to Hong Kong bearing gifts. Cutie embroidered silk robes, China dolls, and a Boney M tape, Nightflight to Venus. Hot, very hot. Quite disco, occasionally a little Carribbean, a little of this-and-that thrown in, and that's Boney M. Popular in Europe in the late 70's, they never made it too big in the US, but there was a small cult following. The Younces were part of it. That's right, they were with us on those 2-week road trips in the van. They were put on after dinner for us to dance our blood-sugar-energy-rush off before bed. This album was part of our youth in the same way Mom's Chicken-and-Noodles and the smell of ripe grapes on the vine were. We can probably even attribute my first exposure to, and therefore the start of the love of, disco to this tape.
In high school, when I started discovering my own taste for modern alternative, classic folk and disco music, I returned to Boney M. Dug the tape out and put it in my prized collection. I mentioned it to friends and got blank looks in return. Only one other girl had even heard of them, and she grew up to a different album that meant nothing to me.
So it was like a warm homecoming when my sister Maren gave me the CD for my birthday this year. We put it on immediately and both families - all six kids and four adults - started to dance and laugh and dance some more to the rockin' beats. Hazel pointed to the girl in the silver cap, much as I had at her age, and said, "She must be the queen!"
So I've been playing Boney M as my make-dinner music. The girls have latched on to it, and one song in particular: Rasputin. You know the story. Or maybe you don't. No reason you should. I'm pretty sure the only Russian history I've ever learned came from this song, which is not impressive. Here's the wiki link if you really want to know. ("Oh, those Russians...")
Anyway, the song is crazy fun. Put traditional Russian-sounding tunes to a disco beat, and the story of a kind of madman/charlatan/loverboy/politician into 70's slang, and you have really got something special. In the song, his name is pronounced, "Rass-pyoo-teen", so the girls call it "Rescue Team." The sex and intrigue references are over their heads, but Hazel picks up enough to know it is about a person, so he must be a superhero. And in one line he is referred to as a "cat" so Ginger thinks Rescue Team>Diego>Baby Jaguar>cat, so it all makes sense! They ask for it (on repeat, naturally) every evening and spend 15, 20, sometimes close to an hour marching/dancing around the coffee table to the music. Ginger's favorite part is the chorus:
Rah, Rah, Rasputin, lover up the Russian queen
There was a cat who really was gone
Rah, Rah, Rasputin, Russia's greatest love machine
It was a shame how he carried on
I watch them and think back 30 years to me and my sisters doing the EXACT same dancing to the EXACT same song. Some things are really worth passing on. Boney M has just made it one more generation. Rah, rah!