Jan 16, 2017
2016 played grim reaper to a host of defining musical geniuses, and somewhere between the loss of Prince and Leonard Cohen I missed the November 14th passing of David Mancuso. (Seriously, I have to get a hipper Facebook feed!) As the man who brought the rent party downtown from Harlem and really invented the New York discothèque as we know it (which is, essentially, disco as we know it), Mancuso changed the world as we know it—not that he’s getting much posthumous love from what I can see. If anyone deserved a Life They Lived NYTimes obit, it was Mancuso. I think he remains obscure because he never really emerged above ground. He threw invitation-only parties in his apartment (which became world-famous as The Loft—the first, billed as Love Saves the Day, was on February 14, 1970), but he didn’t market them or likely profit from them. He didn’t remix, he didn’t produce, he didn’t endorse. What he did was to have the absolute best taste in music, a passion for high-end audio equipment, and a deep need to promote communal happiness. Plus he threw one hell of a dance party that paved the way for every other dance party that came after.
This mix draws from a list of 100 Mancuso playlist favorites that has circulated for some time. Mancuso as a deejay was unique in that he rarely altered a cut or mixed tracks; he just played ’em end-to-end and created a spell. I couldn’t stop myself from mixing, but I tried to keep it to a minimum. Mancuso liked to create musical journeys, and he also had a predilection for songs that changed mood and tempo throughout. He gravitated toward Philly soul and spiritual exotica, and he adored music with a message. In a memorium that ran in the Paris Review (because Lord knows Mancuso is a prophet unheard in his own land), Dan Pipepenbring quotes Mancuso from Disco Music: “I want a situation where there are no economic barriers, meaning somebody who didn’t eat that day or only has a few dollars in his pocket can eat like a king, drinks are included, you see your friends. There’s no difference if you have a lot of money or a little.” Mancuso claimed that The Loft's guiding principle was social progress. Perhaps it's time to come back to the land of make believe.
Anambra – Ozo ’76 ♥ Stay Free – Ashford and Simpson ’79 ♥ Going Back to My Roots – Lamont Dozier ’77 ♥ Inside Out – Odyssey ’82 ♥ Come On Down, Boogie People – David Williams ’78 ♥ Love Is the Message – MFSB with the Three Degrees ’73 ♥ Keep On – D-Train ’82 ♥ Don’t Stop, Keep On – Kat Mandu ’79 ♥ Life on Mars – Dexter Wansel ’76 ♥ Can’t Live Without Your Love – Tamiko Jones ’79 ♥ Woman – Barrabas ’72 ♥ Music – One Way ’79 ♥ Could Heaven Ever Be Like This? – Idris Muhammad ’77 ♥ Rain – Dorothy Morrison ’70 ♥ Standing in the Rain – Don Ray ’78 ♥ Space Bass – Slick ’79 ♥ Land of Make Believe – Chuck Mangione with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra featuring Esther Satterfield ’73
Nov 15, 2016
The podcast has been on hold for a bit; I’ve had a lot going on, and I must admit my inspiration had waned a bit. Now that we find ourselves in Trumplandia, however, I think disco is more important than ever, given that it grew out of the tribes most likely to be threated by Der Führer. So here’s a raspberry to our new administration and a call to arms to stand up to his hate.
Many of these songs are “disco” only around the edges, or songs that didn’t get released in their day and have only surfaced recently. That’s true of the opener and closer. “Blue Sway” started out as a jam during McCartney’s sessions for his second true solo album. It was fleshed out in full disco finery by Richard Niles as a bonus track on the re-mastered McCartney II. The Droids and Arpadys were French prog rockers who veered toward disco. The Incredible Bongo Band and Cliff Noble have long been in the dance pantheon, although both Apache and the Horse he rode in on pre-date the disco-as-disco era. I’ve thrown in some deep Eurodisco—Patrick Juvet before he joined Casablanca, French singer Chatelaine and discoCzech funksters Discobolos (who look less like a disco act than even Dschinghis Khan). Finally, there’s Disco Tech. Who wouldn’t want a disco cut by Carole King? And yet, no one seemed to want this. I think because it’s about a year too late to the party, and it was heavily under-promoted. Sounds like a winner today.
Blue Sway -- Paul McCartney with Richard Niles ’80 Ω Shanti Dance -- Droids ’78 Ω Apache -- Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band ’73 Ω Peter Gunn -- Henry Mancini ’75 Ω The Horse -- Cliff Noble & Co. ’68 Ω Monkey Star -- Arpadys ’77 Ω Zárlíš -- Discobolos ’78 Ω Corps a Corps -- Chatelaine ’77 Ω Catch the Rhythm -- Caress ’79 Ω Ou Sont les Femmes? -- Patrick Juvet ’77 Ω Disco Tech -- Carole King ’78 Ω Sadie (She Smokes) -- Joe Bataan feat. Jocelyn Brown ’80 Ω Sleaze -- Evelyn Thomas ’80
Jul 8, 2016
Started this ages ago and got distracted by life. I had already slapped Isaac Hayes and Bob Crewe together when a friend who is editing a book on Rick James asked if “Super Freak” and “When You Were Mine” were the first explicit mentions of ménage à trois in pop music. I don’t think he was quite ready for me to be so quick on the draw with "Moonlight Lovin’" and BCG. (and, of course, there's "Triad" from back in the day.)
I simply can’t get beyond the passing of Prince. I need to put something together, but that will take some time, I fear. Meanwhile, here’s some sweet talk.
Let’s Do It in Slow Motion - Latimore ’76 * Happiness IsJust Around the Bend - the Main Ingredient ’74 * People Fall in Love WhileDancing - Foxy ’76 * Do You Take This Man? - Tom Jones ’79* Moonlight Lovin’ -Isaac Hayes ’77 * Ménage à Trois - B.C.G. ’76 * You Can’t Hide Your Love - David Joseph ’83 * Things That ICould Do to You - Randy Brown ’80 * Midnight at the Oasis - Pleasure ’75 * CoolMe Out - Lamont Dozier ’81 * Don’t Freeze Up - Flavor ’75 * I Don’t Do This -Sidney Joe Qualls ’79 * Give Your Body Up - Billy Nichols ’79 * Running AwayFrom Love - Skip Mahoaney & the Casuals ’76 * Kind of Life - North End ’79* Give It Up - Sylvester ’81
Feb 15, 2016
A shout out to all the Bernie Bros (and Broettes) out there
– Sanders 2016! (What did you expect from the podcast that kicked off lo these
many years ago with an episode called Dance, Dance Revolution?) Need to raise
the question of our sheep in wolf’s clothing who offers up a disco slice of La
Bamba. I’m looking at the Buddah 12-inch and it’s clearly credited to one
Antonio Rodriguez. A little deeper digging suggests that we’re really dealing
with an Antonia Rodriguez, and close scrutiny of the vocals would bear out that
he’s a she. Typo? Genderf*ck? Who cares,
we’re all welcome at this party!
Dancin’ Man - Q ’77 + I’ve Been Working - Charles Drain ’76
+ Stomp! - Brothers Johnson ’80 + La Bamba - Antonio(a) Rodriguez ’78 + Turn My
World Back Around - Eddie Horan ’78 + Let’s Go Dancin’ - Papa John Creach ’77 +
Tighten Up at the Disco - Archie Bell & the Drells ’79 + Are You Ready for
This? - The Brothers ’74 + Que Sera Mi Vida - Gibson Brothers ’79 + You Can
Make It Dancin’ - J.J. Mack ’79 + Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed? - Barry
Manilow ’79 + Heavy Breathing - Bee Gees ’74 + That Thang of Yours - John &
Arthur Simms ’80 + Sweet Sweet Sweet Thang - Dalton & Dubarri ’79 + I, I, I
- Osmonds ’79 + Going Back to My Roots - Lamont Dozier ’77
Jan 25, 2016
Déjà Vu - Giorgio Moroder w/ Sia 2015 ^ Can’t Get Blue
Monday Out of My Head - Kylie Minogue 2002 ^ Carry On - Giorgio Moroder w/Donna Summer 1992 ^ I’ll Be There -
Chic 2015 ^ Dance
Your Pain Away - Agnetha Fältskog 2013 ^ The Boy Who Couldn’t Keep His Clothes On - Pet
Shop Boys 1997 ^
Freak - Jimmy Somerville 2015
^ Falling - Hercules & Love Affair 2010 ^ The Secret Life of Us - Sunburst Band 2012 ^ Bye Bye Bayou - LCD
Soundsystem 2009 ^ Stop
Me - Mark Ronson w/ Daniel Merriweather 2007 ^ Stomp! - Marcia & Deni Hines 2006 ^ Don’t Leave Me This
Way - Aretha Franklin 2014
^ Original Beast - Grace Jones 2015 ^ Sorry - Madonna 2005 ^ 100 Degrees - Kylie and Dannii Minogue 2015