The Boogie Knights – ‘Welcome to the Jungle Boogie’ (1997) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

What is The Boogie Knights? If you’ve been following along on the series, their name has popped up many times. Usually as a reason why Jeff Scott Soto can’t tour or even continue with a band he has been working with. Let’s go back and give a little history on The Boogie Knights. The band actually started in the mid-80’s and they were known as Roxanne. They were a hair band if you will excuse the term. They were signed to Scotti Bros Records and released an album in 1988, but due to very poor sales they were dropped by the label. The band continued on and by around 1992, they switched things up. What started as a Halloween gag in October 1992, turned in to a quite successful act. They decided to do disco hits…really…1992 and you do disco! Hell yeah! And they did it very well.

They became a regular on the Vegas scene and were booked for private events and heck, they have even been in movies, TV Shows and on soundtracks. They were kind of a big deal. Sometime around the mid-90’s, Jeff Scott Soto joined the band as the lead singer. He had downtime as Talisman was doing very limited touring and the other bands he was involved weren’t doing much. It was also a great way for him to earn a steady paycheck…which was actually a very good paycheck and kept him comfortable during this time. The job was perfect for Jeff as funk, R&B and disco were big in his influences and man, he can really sing that style of music really well. He definitely has the voice.

Over the years there have been some well known members in the band and not just Jeff Scott Soto. We have Brian Young and Ray Luzier (from David Lee Roth and Ray from Korn as well), Joe Retta (from The Sweet and Heaven & Earth) and Johnny Gioeli (from Hardline and replaced Jeff in Axel Rudi Pell where he is still singing today). There are more but don’t want to bore you more than I already have.

Each member of the band had a persona and Jeff Scott Soto’s persona was Humberto Banderas; John Butler was J.J. Vernon Woods, Doug McRoy was Corderious Washington; and I am not sure who was Vinnie Guiseppe Tortelli so if you know, please add to the comments. What we get with this release is 13 disco hits that are a mixture of live and studio recordings. Jeff does lead vocals on all but 3 of the songs. Discogs only shows 2 versions of this CD. A U.S. version from 1997 and a European from 2005 with more songs. My version is the U.S. version so now I need to go on the hunt for the other. This wasn’t an album per se. This was put together to help promote the band, get gigs and for fans to buy. And it has sold moderately, but not enough for them to do another.

Here is a little fun fact about The Boogie Knights. The guitarist for the band Steel Panther, Satchel (Russ Parrish), was a member of The Boogie Knights at one point. He left the band and started an 80’s tribute band in the same vein as The Boogie Knights known as Metal Shop which changed to Metal Skool and then Steel Panther. Jeff Scott Soto was also in a band that was similar to both acts called Polyester Pimps which had 3 members of Steel Panther in them. So what I am getting at here is that there are a lot of connections that came out of The Boogie Knights and some very successful. Now back to the regularly scheduled programming.

The album kicks off with the opening riff to “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns ‘N Roses but then goes straight in to “Jungle Boogie” by Kool & The Gang which is why the opening track is called “Welcome to the Jungle Boogie”. It is a studio track that tells you pretty quickly what you are in for with this album. The next track is a live track and the opening track to their shows as the announcer says in the Kiss style opener…”Are you ready…You wanted the Best and they couldn’t make it…here’s The Boogie Knights”. The band goes in to “Get Down Tonight” by KC and the Sunshine band. It is a party song like this whole album is. It is one giant disco ball filled party. Jeff’s vocals are so smooth and funky and fit perfectly in this genre as the man can sing anything.

They blast through songs from A Taste of Honey, The Jackson 5, Gloria Gaynor, Ohio Players and The Village People to name a few. Now Jeff doesn’t do all the singing. Two songs are sung by Giovanni Caccabuti better known as Joe Retta. He tackled the incredibly difficult “Lady Marmalade” by Patti LaBelle and he did “Got to Be Real” by Cheryl Lynn and he did them with ease. “Lady Marmalade” is hard song and he made it look easy. A third song was sung by Danny Gibbllione or Jamie Brown and he sang Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”.

The party is fun full force when they get to The Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” and it gets total crowd participation. A total hoot! Then we get a studio version of “Grease”…yes that ‘Grease’ and let me tell you, I love it. But the real prize on here is the track “Play That Funky Music Medley” which is a medley of a ton of songs including “Jungle Boogie”, “The Roof is on Fire”, “Brickhouse”, “Shake Your Booty”, “Kung Fu Fighting”, “Yo Baby Yo”, ‘Macho Man”, “The Right Stuff” from New Kids on the Block, “Ice Ice Baby” from Vanilla Ice and finally “Stayin’ Alive”. It is a total blast. So much so that Jeff does his own “Play That Funky Music Medley” is his solo live shows as well because this was such a success and people loved it. Kinda cool he still does it all these years later.

And that isn’t all. The CD has 99 tracks on this disc. After you get through the 13 original tracks, on Track 69 (of course) you get “Gas Attack” which is two minutes of farting…yes, boys will be boys. On Track 84 you get “Latin Percussion” which is a lot of latin flavored percussion with some scatting and finally on Track 99 you get an industrial mix of “I Will Survive” and I have to say it is quite awesome.

Jeff has done a couple of bands that were parodying something such as Skrapp Mettle and Bakteria, but The Boogie Knights was the first that took it seriously and made it successfully. If it wasn’t for Boogie Knights we wouldn’t have Steel Panther probably. The Boogie Knights are a disco fun-filled machine. The music is great and only gives you a taste of how great the actual live show really was. The band still plays today and not sure if any of the original guys are in it, but it lives on. I see why Jeff Scott Soto chose to do this as it was a very good steady paycheck and it sounds like a lot of fun. I will say this was much better than I expected and if I am ever in the mood for some disco fun, I will pull this out. My Overall Score is a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars if you want get your dancing shoes on, do a little “wooh wooh’s” and get down tonight. And honestly I would play this over some of Soto’s other work.

UP NEXT: TAKARA – ‘BLIND IN PARADISE’ (1998)

THE JEFF SCOTT SOTO SERIES:

  1. Panther – ‘Panther’ (1986) – recorded in 1984
  2. Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Rising Force’ (1984)
  3. Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Marching Out’ (1985)
  4. Kuni – ‘Lookin’ For Action’ (1988)
  5. Kryst the Conqueror – ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ (1989) / ‘Soldiers of Light: The Complete Recordings (2019)
  6. Eyes – ‘Eyes’ (1990)
  7. Eyes – “Nobody Said It Was Easy” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
  8. Talisman – ‘Talisman’ (1990)
  9. Talisman – “I’ll Be Waiting” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
  10. Skrapp Mettle – ‘Sensitive’ (1991)
  11. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Eternal Prisoner’ (1992)
  12. Bakteria – ‘Deficate! Suffocate! Mutilate! Masturbate!’ (1992 / 2009)
  13. Eyes – ‘Windows of the Soul’ (1993)
  14. Talisman – ‘Genesis’ (1993)
  15. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘The Ballads’ (1993)
  16. Biker Mice From Mars – ‘Biker Mice From Mars (Soundtrack)’ (1993)
  17. Takara – ‘Eternal Faith’ (1993)
  18. Talisman – ‘5 Out Of 5 (Live in Japan)’ (1994)
  19. Talisman – ‘Humanimal’ (1994)
  20. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Between the Walls’ (1994)
  21. Gary Schutt – ‘Sentimetal’ (1994)
  22. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Love Parade’ (1994)
  23. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Made in Germany (Live)’ (1995)
  24. Takara – ‘Taste of Heaven’ (1995)
  25. Talisman – ‘Life’ (1995)
  26. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Black Moon Pyramid’ (1996)
  27. Human Clay – ‘Human Clay’ (1996)
  28. Talisman – ‘Best of’ (1996)
  29. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Magic’ (1997)
  30. Human Clay – ‘U4IA’ (1997)
  31. Boogie Knights – ‘Welcome to the Jungle Boogie’ (1997)
  32. Takara – ‘Blind in Paradise’ (1998)
  33. Talisman – ‘Truth’ (1998)
  34. ‘Rock Star (Soundtrack)’ – Various Artists (2001)
  35. Humanimal – ‘Humanimal’ (2002)
  36. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Holding On E.P.’ (2002) – Bonus Edition
  37. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002)
  38. Talisman – ‘Live at Sweden Rock Festival’ (2002)
  39. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003)
  40. Talisman – ‘Cats & Dogs’ (2003)
  41. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Lost in the Translation’ (2004)
  42. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at the Queen Convention 2003’ (2004)
  43. Talisman – ‘Five Men Live’ (2005)
  44. Soul Sirkus – ‘World Play’ (2005)
  45. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Believe in Me E.P.’ (2006) – Bonus Edition
  46. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Essential Ballads’ (2006)
  47. Talisman – ‘7’ (2006)
  48. Journey – ‘Live from Atlanta (Bootleg)’ (2006)
  49. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘B-Sides’ (2006)
  50. Redlist – ‘Ignorance’ (2007)
  51. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Beautiful Mess’ (2009)
  52. Jeff Scott Soto – “21st Century” / “Gin & Tonic Sky” CD Single (2009) – Bonus Edition
  53. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘One Night in Madrid’ (2009)
  54. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – ‘Night Castle’ (2009)
  55. W.E.T. – ‘W.E.T.’ (2009)
  56. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at Firefest 2008’ (2010)
  57. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Damage Control’ (2012)
  58. W.E.T. – ‘Rise’ (2013)
  59. W.E.T. – ‘One Live in Stockholm’ (2014)
  60. SOTO – ‘Inside the Vertigo’ (2015)
  61. SOTO – ‘Divak’ (2016)
  62. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Retribution’ (2017)
  63. Sons of Apollo – ‘Psychotic Symphony’ (2017)
  64. W.E.T. – ‘Earthrage’ (2018)
  65. SOTO – ‘Origami’ (2019)
  66. Sons of Apollo – ‘Live With the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ (2019)
  67. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Wide Away (In My Dreamland)’ (2020)
  68. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live and Loud in Milan 2019’ (2020)
  69. Sons of Apollo – ‘MMXX’ (2020)
  70. SOTO – ‘Revision’ (2020)
  71. W.E.T. – ‘Retransmission’ (2021)
  72. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘The Duets Collection, Vol. 1’ (2021)
  73. Jeff Scott Soto / Jason Bieler – Live In Concert (2022) – Bonus Edition

28 thoughts on “The Boogie Knights – ‘Welcome to the Jungle Boogie’ (1997) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

  1. I actually love this! I’m confident in saying I’m likely your only follower who’s an unapologetic lover of disco – though I suspect more straight guys like it but would never admit to it. These guys do a great job covering these classics, and Joe Retta’s vocals are fantastic on “Lady Marmalade” and “Got to Be Real”.

    Liked by 1 person

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