From the Vault...


Carl Douglas
"The Soul Of
The Kung Fu

© Sequel Records

Year of Release: 1998

track listing
  • Kung Fu Fighting
  • When You Got Love
  • I Want To Give You
    My Everything
  • Too Hot To Handle
  • Changing Times
  • M.O.R.F.
  • Green Tangerines And
    Wild Evergreens
  • Witchfinder General
  • Stand Up For Love
  • Mistakes Of Mine
  • Love Peace And
  • Dance The Kung Fu
  • Blue Eyed Soul
  • Never Had
    This Dream Before
  • I Don't Care
    What People Say
  • I'll Bet Your Light
  • Girl You're So Fine
  • I'll Keep Lovin' You
  • Honest Women
  • Shanghai'd
  • Run Back
  • Kung Fu Fighting
    (by Bus Stop
    Carl Douglas)

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    Carl Douglas Website
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    Nelson--After The Rain
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    Don Henley--Building The Perfect Beast
    Carl Douglas
    "The Soul Of The Kung Fu Fighter"

    In discovering the songs that reached #1 of the past, it's an often wonder to listen to a group or artist's music, other than the number one song(s) from their career. Take the case of Carl Douglas, who is most famous for only one song, "Kung Fu Fighting." Many thought he was a one-hit wonder, but in 1998, Sequel Records released a 22-song Greatest Hits compilation, The Soul Of The Kung Fu Fighter, which defines Carl Douglas as more of a 1970s Soul singer, rather than his novelty for the faze at the time his song was popular, Kung Fu karate (due to the popularity of the David Carradine TV series, Kung Fu).

    This Greatest Hits compilation starts out with his most famous song, yet when you hear the rest of this compilation, you become quite surprised, and impressed...

    "When You Got Love" and "I Want To Give You My Everything" truly defines the true sound of 1970s Soul ballads. "Too Hot To Handle" continues the soul sound, in a more funky beat, and could easily be compared to the early Stevie Wonder or Sly & The Family Stone. "Changing Times" is another great true Soul song, as in the likes of Al Green.

    "M.O.R.F." definitely has the current sound that would become more famous towards the end of the 1970s, Soul music mixed with Disco. Having a more soulful ballad sound as its intro, it then kicks into a melody similar to "Kung Fu Fighting" ==> "Green Tangerines And Wild Evergreens." Funky Soul/Disco returns with "Witchfinder General." Medium-tempo'd Soul returns with "Stand Up For Love" having a chorus similar to the popular soul song, "Mr. Telephone Man." Al Green-type soul also returns with "Mistakes Of Mine," combining soul and funk. Soul with a touch of funk best describes "Love Peace And Happiness," similar to the early Stevie Wonder, and/or the soulfulness of Otis Redding.

    With the popularity of "Kung Fu Fighting," a "sequel" was recorded by Douglas, "Dance The Kung Fu;" and as it tried to recapture the popularity of its predecessor, it didn't, yet most "sequels" to popular hits don't, anyway.

    "Blue Eyed Soul" is an instrumental, as it defines the mix of soul and disco, with its "Shaft" guitar effects. The soul of Smokey Robinson can be compared to "Never Had This Dream Before," another true 1970s Soul ballad. Likewise, "I Don't Care What People Say" is another song in the sound of 1970s soul, and also could be compared to the "soul" voice of Tom Jones. "I'll Be Your Light" is another soulful tune, as it could of been an easy song for any Motown artist.

    A pop soul ditty, "Girl You're So Fine" has a more upbeat pop rock sound. Another song having the familar melody of "Kung Fu Fighting," is heard in the song "I'll Keep Lovin' You." Another soul/Motown sounding tune, "Honest Women" still continues Carl Douglas as a contending soul singer with the rest of the well-known soul singers of the times. "Shanghai'd" is another pop soul ditty, like "Girl You're So Fine." "Run Back" has the pop/soul sound, and it could of been a song that the Village People may have included as an album cut.

    The album's last song, is by the group Bus Stop, "Kung Fu Fighting," released in 1998, where it sampled Carl Douglas' original, with a rap beat and vocal by Bus Stop.

    Carl Douglas may be best remembered for his #1 hit, "Kung Fu Fighting," a song where most would call a novelty, yet after listening to The Soul Of The Kung Fu Fighter, Douglas is discovered as an excellent Soul singer, and could of been as popular as his former counterparts of the 1970s, such as artists Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Al Green. Some of these songs could easily have been popular, maybe even more popular than "Kung Fu Fighting." Discovering Carl Douglas' music was surprising -- there weren't alot of songs with the novelty style of his most famous hit, instead there were songs that could easily fit in the standard soul music of the times. And discovering an artist's music in this way, is truly rewarding, as we can easily say that Carl Douglas was a great soul singer, and we wished that some of the songs he recorded should of been classics as his fellow soul-mates.

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    Previous Review: #696
    Nelson--After The Rain
    Next Review: #698
    Don Henley--Building The Perfect Beast