Mar 14, 2017

Witchi Tai To

Soundscape created for the Water Is Life Exhibit at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

Music:
“Witchi-Tai-To” – Jim Pepper (1971)
“Stand Up” – Stand ’N’ Rock (2016)
“Bloop Bleep” – Gary McFarland (1966)
“Only Happy When It Rains” – Garbage (1995)
“Four Degrees” – Anohni (2016)
“Here Comes the Rain Again” – Eurythmics (1989/83)
“Take Me to the River” – Al Green (1974)
“Cool Water” – The Sons of the Pioneers (1960)
“Water Is Life” – Will Evans (2016)
“Indian Giver” – Neil Young (2016)
Águas de Março” – Elis Regina and Antônio Carlos Jobim (1974)
“Witchi-Tai-To” – Everything Is Everything (1968)
“The Body Electric” – Hurray for the Riff Raff (2014)
“You Don’t Miss Your Water” – Otis Redding (1967)
“The Ocean” – The Velvet Underground (1969)
“Why Did You Separate Me from the Earth?” – Anohni (2016)
“Witchi-Tai-To” – Brewer & Shipley (1969)
“Waters of March” – Antônio Carlos Jobim (1973)
“History Repeating” – Propellerheads with Shirley Bassey (1997)
“Rain” – Dorothy Morrison (1970)
“The Gentle Rain” – Astrud Gillberto (1965)
“Witchi-Tai-To” – Harpers Bizarre (1969)

Spoken word:
Field recordings from Standing Rock  courtesy of Maija Mikkelsen; a presentation on the Moth Radio Hour from pioneering aquanaut Sylvia Earle; sound clips from activists Myron Dewey and John Trudell; news reports on lead contamination in Flint, MI; a PSA on the Pacific Ocean’s “garbage island;” a clip from The Miracle Worker; Sir Richard Burton reading from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner;” and Sesame Street.

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Mar 4, 2017

Loftier

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Another tribute to Maestro Mancuso, this time focusing on his love for sound effects, straight-boy rockers who went disco (or didn’t as in the inexplicable “Macho City” that somehow still seems to work), psychedelics, sprung rhythms and jazzbos.  This is, to a large degree, not really disco at all.

House Party - Fred Wesley ’80 Ȼ Above and Beyond - Edgar Winter ’79 Ȼ Macho City - Steve Miller Band ’81 Ȼ The Mexican - Babe Ruth ’72 Ȼ Hold on to Your Mind - Andwella ’70 Ȼ L.O.V.E. Got a Hold on Me - Demis Roussos ’78 Ȼ This Feeling - Frank Hooker ’80 Ȼ Baby I Love You - Easy Going ’78 Ȼ How Much Are They? Ȼ Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebezeit and Holger Czukay ’81 Ȼ Go Bang! - Dinosaur L ’82 Ȼ Yellow Train - Resonance ’73 Ȼ New York City - Miroslav Vitous ’76

 

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Feb 7, 2017

The Young Girls of Rochefort Go to a Disco

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Today’s ipod-sode is brought to you by La La Land.  I was mildly amused by it (I mean, it paled in the Moonlight), and grateful to have seen it if only because it sent me back to its source material – the great MGM musicals, especially as channeled by Jacques Demy in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort, two of my favorite films. And so an homage to all things discothèque Frances and Hollywood romantic, with a cornerstone that is the swirling medley of Michel Legard movie themes “Disco Magic Concorde.”  Homage/fromage: yes, I am well aware that this offering is terribly caloric, but I own up to a fondness (fondue-ness?) for unabashedly cheesy disco (especially Euro-disco).  I mean, Umbrellas and Young Girls are two of my favorite movies for crying out loud!

 The Last Disco in Paris - Partners’79 ¥ Love Is Still Blue - Paul Mauriat ’76 ¥ Do You Speak French? - Nite School ’78 ¥ D.I.S.C.O. - Ottawan ’79 ¥ Flight from Versailles - The Grand Tour ’77 ¥ Sea Sex and Sun - Serge Gainsbourg ’78 ¥ Disco Magic Concorde – Michel Legrand ’78 ¥ Love Affair - Claudia Cardinale ’77 ¥ Femme - Dalida ’83 ¥ The Gay Paris/French Pillow Talk - Patrick Juvet ’79 ¥ Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Abbe Lane ’80 ¥ Singing in the Rain - Sheila + B. Devotion ’77 ¥ Can-Can - Stainless Steal ’78 ¥ The Night They Invented Love/Au Revoir - Noël ’79

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Jan 16, 2017

Love Saves the Day: A Tribute to David Mancuso

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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

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Nov 15, 2016

Outliers

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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

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Aug 13, 2016

Chatterbox

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“We want Pigmeat!” Pigmeat Markham for president—sounds better than any of our current choices.  I’d cast a vote for Brother D as well, whose “Agitate, educate, organize!” sounds like good advice for our times. The organization principle for this episode is talking disco, be it rap,recitation or smarmy Euro-mumbling. From time to time I forget that Loleatta Holloway is the undisputed fierce ruling diva. One listen to “Dreamin’” and it all comes back again.  Her finest moment? Pado is a Cerrone joint and Sumeria is Alex Costandinos. Finally, since I started out on my soapbox,I’ll end up there as well.  The shooting in Orlando was an unspeakable tragedy; a side effect was a reminder of just how little the mainstream media knows about gay bars. I kept hearing Pulse described as a safe space in terms that made it sound as if everyone inside did nothing but hug each other, rock back and forth and sing “We Are the World” between affirmations of diversity and visions of prancing unicorns.  I counter with “Twisted,” which I’ve always found to be an accurate aural equivalent of a gay bar.   

Want to Talk to You – Pado & Co. ’78 * I Wanna Be With You – Texico ’77 * Ms. Fine Brown Frame – Syl Johnson ’82 * How We Gonna Make the Black Nation Rise? – Brother D with Collective Effort ’80 * Dreamin’ – Loleatta Holloway ’76 * Freedom to Express Yourself – Jimmy Jackson ’79 * King Tim III – Fatback ’79 * Way OutWest – Kurtis Blow ’80 * Dance and Leave It All Behind You – Sumeria ’77 * You’re the First, the Last, My Everything –Barry White ’74 * Child of the Wind – Caesar Frazier ’78 * Get Dancin’—DiscoTex & His Sex-o-lettes ’75 * Twisted – Twisted ’98 * Here Come the Judge –Pigmeat Markham ’68

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Jul 27, 2016

Singularity

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The common connection here is that all cuts come from vinyl singles—be it 7-inch or 12-inch—and most were spinning at 45 r.p.m., making this one of the bumpiest rides I’ve put out as a podcast, given the range of sonic quality. Never a fan of patriotism, I took an immediate dislike to “American Music,” but I’ve come around to it thanks to the middle section. Let’s face it, I’m s sucker for disco hokum (banjo, harmonica….)  I wasn’t too keen on David or Freddie either given how little regard I have for ’80s canned-drum gallop, but I’ve warmed to both especially Bowie intoning “Slap That Baby.”  The Streisand comes from a very rare 12-inch CBS promo-only pressing.  The sound quality is abysmal.  Guess it took them some time to figure out the genre and the media.  The Mighty Gents was written by Ran Dante (Barry Manilow’s bud) for a Broadway show. Great lost classic, don’t you think? Gangster of Love is a bit of Chicago local magic:  registers as barely more than a chant, but a funky one.

The Mighty Gents – The Mighty Gents ’78 ♠ Disco Queen – Rudy Love and the Love Family ’76 ♠ American Music – Dooley Silverspoon & Jeanne Burton ’76 ♠ Magic Dance – David Bowie’86 ♠ Wax Attack – Wax ’80 ♠ Do a Dance for Love – Sweet Cream ’78 ♠ Shake Me,Wake Me – Barbra Streisand ’75 ♠ Bourgie, Bourgie – Gladys Knight & the Pips ’80 ♠ Something’s Up —Wayne St. John ’78 ♠ Gangster Love – Chicago Gangsters ’76 ♠ Phonic – Cristol ’77 ♠ Let’s Turn It On – Freddie Mercury ’85 ♠Get Up and Boogie – Freddie James ’79 ♠ Space Rock – Rockets ’77

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Jul 8, 2016

Gentle Persuasion

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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

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Mar 27, 2016

Between Heaven and Hell

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Z Records in the UK has released Overdose of the Holy Ghost: The Sound of Gospel Through the Disco and Boogie Eras and it’s been essential listening in my house and car for some time now. Six cuts here come from that, and I added some Satan just to spice things up a bit. Key cut here, Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark’s “Awake, O Zion” which sounds unlike anything else I can name and is funky in ways I’m not sure we’ve heard before.  Heavenly!

The Devil’s Disco - Sins of Satan ’76 ~ Overdose of the Holy Ghost – the Clark Sisters ’81 ~ Old Time Religion - Nat Townsley Jr. ’75 ~ All I Gave Him Was My Heart - D.J. Rogers’82 ~ Heavenly Father - Shirley Caesar ’78 ~ Rejoice, Rejoice - NYCC ’78 ~ Up Jumped the Devil - John Davis & the Monster Orchestra ’77 ~ The Devil’s Gun – C.J. & Co. ’77 ~ Everything’s Gonna Be Alright – the Clark Sisters ’79 ~ I Need You - Ricky Womack & Christian Essence ’83 ~ God Said, “Love Ye One Another” – Alton McClain & Destiny ’78 ~ Jesus Christ, Superstar - Thunder & Lightning ’78 ~ Awake, O Zion - Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark ’81 ~ Oh Happy Day / To My Father’s House / My Sweet Lord – Roberta Kelly ’78

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Feb 24, 2016

Sax & Violins & Pianos & Flutes

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Tunes with lead lines or extended breaks from the aforementioned instruments. Dante’s Inferno is the disco outlet for Ron Dante, writing and producing partner of Barry Manilow, who in a previous life was the Archies. Papa John Creach is best known as a session fiddler with the Jefferson Airplane/Starship and Hot Tuna.  “Joyce” was remixed by Tom Mouton and, in its promo form, is believed to be the first 12-inch disco single. (It was never commercially released in that format.)

Nothing Has Been Proved - Pet Shop Boys w/ Courtney Pine  ’89 ^ Shine- Lemont Dozier’74 ^ Blue Moon – Alexander’s Discotime Band ’76 ^ Shame, Shame, Shame – Boots Randolph ’76 ^ Disco Sax - Houston Person ’75 ^ Dangwa - Manu Dibango ’ 72 ^ Walk on the Wild Side - Herbie Mann ’79 ^ Rhapsody – Eddie Drennon ’78 ^ Life Is Like a Samba – David Benoit ’79 ^ Sister James – 5th Ave. Sax ’74 ^ Could It Be Magic? - Dante’s Inferno ’79 ^ Joyce – Papa John Creach ’75 ^ Wow - Andre Gagnon ’75 ^ Comin’ Home Baby - Mascara ’79 ^ Lovin’ Is Really My Game - Brainstorm ’77 ^ Extended Nicities – Love of Life Orchestra ’80


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