Monday, November 10, 2008

MARDI GRAS MASSACRE -- The Soundtrack!

Jack Weis' no-budget gore flick MARDI GRAS MASSACRE (1978) features a slammin' -- and completely inappropriate -- soundtrack of R&B/disco songs credited to Westbound Records and the label's top production team at the time, Dennis Coffey & Mike Theodore (Theo-Coff Productions). No song titles or artists are listed in the credits, but I've managed to identify all but one of the songs and confirm the 1978 production date that is most frequently cited for this movie -- even though it received its widest theatrical exposure five years later.

Westbound Records, formed in Detroit in 1970 by Armen Boladian, had just seen its three most successful acts (The Ohio Players, Funkadelic, Denise LaSalle) depart for greener pastures and needed some hits to satisfy a new distribution deal with Atlantic Records. Theo-Coff -- the team that discovered Rare Earth and Lonette McKee, produced "So Nice to be With You" by Gallery as well as Coffey's own million-seller "Scorpio," and brought the world one of the greatest movie themes ever ("Theme from BLACK BELT JONES") -- was called in to produce some hits for the struggling Motor City label. They could've had a smash with "Devil's Gun" by C.J. & Co. but the single, despite being a big hit in the clubs, only reached 36 on the Pop chart and never got the push it deserved. By the time MARDI GRAS MASSACRE was completed, Westbound had lost its distribution deal with Atlantic Records and Theo-Coff was looking for work elsewhere.

I wrote to Dennis Coffey about MARDI GRAS MASSACRE in early 2006 and he answered, "A long time ago Mike Theodore and I and Armen from Westbound worked on a film score based upon things we had already recorded. It was a pretty gory film. I don't know if this is the one you are referring to."

It is!

All of the Coffey songs were pulled from Back Home and the Theodore numbers were from Cosmic Wind, both released in 1977. "Big City Sidewalk" is on C.J. & Co.'s second album, Deadeye Dick, a Theo-Coff production released in 1978. Several of the songs are heard twice in the film, and the intro from "Cosmic Wind" is played every time one of the gory sacrificial murders is committed.

1. "High On Love" – Dennis Coffey
2. "Cosmic Wind" – The Mike Theodore Orchestra
3. "Funk Connection" – Dennis Coffey
4. "Our Love Goes On Forever" – Dennis Coffey
5. "Ain't Nothing to It" – The Mike Theodore Orchestra
6. "The Bull" – The Mike Theodore Orchestra
7. "Belly Boogie" – The Mike Theodore Orchestra
8. "Free Spirit" – Dennis Coffey
9. "Boogie Magic" – Dennis Coffey
10. "I Love the Way You Move" – The Mike Theodore Orchestra
11. "Big City Sidewalk" – C.J. & Co.
12. "Brazilian Lullaby" – The Mike Theodore Orchestra
13. "Wings of Fire" – Dennis Coffey


Bradley Zybert said...

Thank you for sharing your research on one of the most obscure Video Nasties. I appreciate it!

Spasmo Mixtape said...

Hi there, really love your blog & have been meaning to leave a comment for a while now. Great stuff! Regarding your awesome detective work in sourcing the Mardi Gras Massacre, I'm just wondering if you wouldn't mind me posting a direct link to your page on my blog( I've managed to track down 11 of the songs mentioned and I'd like to upload/share a mini-soundtrack release on my blog. Hope that is okay?

Temple of Schlock said...

Thanks for the positive response to this post in particular and the blog in general, guys! Schtoffer, no problem, we look forward to hearing your soundtrack and will gladly link back to your site as well. We're still unable to identify one song in the movie, and we have a frightening amount of Westbound recordings in our collection, but someday...someday...

Spasmo Mixtape said...

Hello again, a lil' xmas present for everyone: the soundtrack - minus a few tracks :( - for Mardi Gras Massacre. Thanks again for your help!

Mciver said...

Thanks a lot for the great information on the soundtrack.
I have always had a soft spot for this film, and the groovy music in it.
Coffey & Mike Theodore will funk up the mood tonight!

Unknown said...

Probably the greatest post on this site! Not really, but it's pretty high up there! This is one of the reasons I love this blog!

Cinetastic said...

I've had new LPs of C.J. And Company - Deadeye Dick & Dennis Coffey - Back Home bought off Amazon back in December 2007 awaiting transfer, and can now do them in 24/96 Hi Res Audio; and have just 'upgraded' from the CD to a near Mint LP (from Discogs) of The Mike Theodore Orchestra - Cosmic Wind. All this to join the recent Code Red Blu-ray of the film (which I only just found had been released) - never though that an upgrade from the VHS would be possible to such a degree (and take soooooo many years!)