DJ & the Spice of Life – “Tell Me Once More”

That DJ Muro tracklist is nearly complete, aside from information like label, year, album title. But one thing’s now definite: DJ & the Spice of Life are responsible for “Blue Moon”. I came across Tell Me Once More on eBay a while ago, saw the songs listed and immediately knew this was the band whose Rodgers & Hart cover was included in DJ Muro’s mix. But I needed absolute proof, so I picked up a copy*.

Notice how their outfits are coordinated? The guys on the end wear vests, the middle men white shirts, and D.J. Oshiro is the only one with white pants.

The album art poses one of two possibilities: face-melting disco-funk group, or mediocre cover band. With its minimal black/white design, a mixture of cover songs and originals, words like “congas”, and the fact that it’s a private pressing (SPL Records :: SPLP-101) send signals that this’ll be a hot one.

Well, it’s split between the two, but leaning toward the latter. Of the 10 songs, 4 are originals. They’re decent, better than some of the covers. Yet the biggest drawback is probably the recording quality of the instruments and vocals. In several instances, D.J. Oshiro’s lead vocals seem to suffer from clipping. The keyboards are thin, the guitar lacks oomph, and the kick drum sounds a little drowned out. Was it the recording studio’s fault? I can’t say, even if the name “Commercial Recording Hawaii” sounds generic and lackluster. (Actually, CRH was built with “aesthetic and acoustic qualities [that made it] among the best in Hawaii”. The award-winning Hawaiian Eyes by Jon Osorio & Randy Borden was recorded at CRH.)

BUT, all is not lost. Despite the record’s unimpressive attempt at disco/funk, I prefer the parts without singing. Plus, the original compositions are a good listen. I wonder what kind of gigs they played?

Here’s my mix with edited versions of “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me”, “Tell Me Once More”, “Blue Moon”, and “(Just) Fade Away”.

D.J. Oshiro :: vocals, percussion
Rick (Richard) Hayduk :: guitars, congas
Frank M. Reuter :: keyboards
Cyrus S.L. Goo :: drums
Dan Char :: bass guitar

Cover photo by Roald F. Hartman
Art direction and design by Dan Char

(*I’m sure the seller I bought this from has more copies. Keep checking eBay and you’ll find one).

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