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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Feb 15, 2016

BroBoogie

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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 

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Feb 4, 2016

Bowie-Owie-Owie

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Despite having called for disco kingpins such as Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers and Arif Mardin, the Dame only ever danced around disco, stopping for only the briefest kiss as he flirted with young America’s Philly soul in 1975. The result—a 12-inch single reworking of “John, I’m Only Dancing”—was somewhat stiff but still managed to earn entrée to Soul Train. The Philly sessions paired him with disco vocal stalwart Luther Vandross, whose “Funky Music” Bowie morphed into his own “Fascination.” Vandross is joined by David Lasley and Staggering Harlette Ulla Hedwig as vocalists for Mascara with their dancefloor take on Bowie’s own disco-leaning “Golden Years.” During this time, Bowie also managed to piss off James Brown who claimed he was being ripped off, and so he decided to rip off the riff from Bowie’s “Fame” for his own “Hot.”

Bowie and the Chic Organization would forge Dance Oriented Rock with “Let’s Dance,” ushering in the boom-bap-whap of ’80s dance music. It was a style Bowie would fall back on with some frequency, often to supply music for films.

The remaining tracks come from hand-picked Bowie fellow travelers including Queen, Mick Jagger, the Pat Metheny Group, the British Electric Foundation who single-handedly revived Tina Turner’s career and dipped into the Bowie songbook on a couple of occasions, Klaus Nomi, ex-wife Angela Bowie and Space Oddity off-ripper Peter Schilling.  (Bowie likely wouldn’t welcome these last three to his own celebration, but—hey!—my podcast, my guest list.)

Disco Dave was not the best Bowie (that would be the incredible run from The Man Who Sold the World to Station to Station IMHO), but respect must be given as he certainly left his imprint on modern day dance music.  Pretty much as he did for modern day everything.

The Myth – Giorgio Moroder with David Bowie ’82 / When the Wind Blows – David Bowie ’82 / Hot – James Brown ’75 / Golden Years – Mascara ’79 / Underground – David Bowie ’86 / Funky Music – Luther ’76 / John, I’m Only Dancing (Again) – David Bowie ’75 / Fun It – Queen ’78 / The Secret Life of Arabia – British Electric Foundation with Billy Mackenzie ’82 / This Is Not America – Pat Metheny Group with David Bowie ’85 / 1984 – Tina Turner ’84 / Real Cool World – David Bowie ’92 / Obsession – Angela Bowie ’89 / Major Tom – Peter Schilling ’82 / Ding Dong – Klaus Nomi ’82 / Dancing in the Street – David Bowie and Mick Jagger ’85 / Absolute Beginners – David Bowie ’86 / Bring Me the Disco King – David Bowie ’03

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Jan 25, 2016

Carry On: Post-Disco Modern

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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

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Jan 11, 2016

Woozy

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Do It in Slow Motion - Larry Page Orchestra ’77  ( Mr. Mumbles - Joe Thomas ’78 ( Summer Rain - Babu Silvetti ’76 ( Slow Hot Wind - Henry Mancini ’75 ( La Nuit Pour Nous - Cristal ’77 ( Touch Me Where It’s Hot - Erotic Drum Band ’80 ( Quiet Village - Ritchie Family ’77 ( Yours - Salsoul Strings ’78 ( Lady Lady Lady - Boogie Man Orchestra ’75 ( Fleurette Africaine - Luv You Madly Orchestra ’78 ( Grass - African Suite ’80 ( Malaguena - 101 Strings Orchestra ’79 ( Camel in the City - Quartz ’79 ( Comin’ Home Baby - Herbie Mann ’75 ( Tony’s Theme - Giorgio Moroder ’83

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Dec 28, 2015

Emasculation

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Are You Man Enough? - Four Tops ’73 # Virgin Man - Smokey Robinson ’74 # I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down - Ann Peebles ’74 # Casanova Brown - Gloria Gaynor ’75 # Wrapped Around Your Finger - Ollie Baba ’78 # You Wouldn’t Know a Real Live True Love if It Walked Right Up, Kissed You On The Cheek and Said Hello Baby - Odyssey  ’78 # Another Man - Barbara Mason ’83 # Endicott - Kid Creole & the Coconuts ’85 # If It Wasn’t for the Money - Nanette Workman ’76 # Are You Man Enough? - Four Tops ’73 # Ain’t Gonna Waste No Time No More - Cheetah ’81 # If All We’re Going to Do Is Dance - Hott City ’79 # If You Don’t Want to Be in My Life - Mascara ’79 # Speak Well - Philly USA ’77 # Casanova - Coffee ’80 # You Killed the Magic - Arpeggio ’80 # Playboy - Frances Joli ’79 # The Runner - The Three Degrees ’79 # Think I’m Gonna to Break Someone’s Heart Tonight - Roberta Kelly ’76 # I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair - The Weather Girls ’83 # Casanova  - Loleatta Holloway ’75

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Dec 13, 2015

Does Your Mother Know?

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During the peak disco years of 1977 to 1979, seems more recording artists had a go at the dance floor than didn’t. Old hands Fred Astaire and Cab Calloway—who had been sensations during the swing era—tried to translate the old magic into new, with Cab updating his big hit “Minnie the Moocher” and Fred having a go at Carly Simon’s “Attitude Dancing” (perhaps the most cringe-worthy thing here, although it has grown on me). John Travolta had his first go at disco during his Sweathog days when he recorded a celebrity vanity album that featured the mildly dance-y “A Girl Like You;” after the success of Saturday Night Fever, the track got a full-on 12-inch epic treatment, although I think it’s still more Vinnie Barbarino than Tony Manero. “Comin’ Home Baby” has the co-credit distinction of jazz cool cat Bob Dorough (the man behind Schoolhouse Rock and so much more) who wrote the lyrics. The song was an early breakthrough success in 1962 for flautist Herbie Mann, who made it over twice for disco—once in 1975 and again in a distinctly different version in 1979. If that isn’t enough, disco act Mascara made third cover of it that sounded nothing like either Mann version.  Dora Hall was the wife of a mid-western disposable drinking cup industrialist who indulged/underwrote her singing ambitions and gave her records away free to his customers.  (They’ve become a kind of Dixie-cup holy grail for crate diggers; fans of faux-celebrity kitsch should check out her TV specials on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KGL6gbhlD0 Only in America, folks). Finally, the fabulous Freada. Ms. Wallace released a handful of small-label r&b singles in the late ’60s—which routinely find their way into the repertoires of drag performers—before becoming a radio personality, a church secretary and a rib-restaurant entrepreneur. She also recorded a souvenir album for the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair that includes the discofied Jackie DeShannon heard here.  You can learn more here: http://www.bhamwiki.com/w/Freada_Wallace

Loves’ Theme –101 Strings ’76 # Speak Low – Cy Coleman ’76 # I Remember Yesterday – Tony Orlando ’79 # A Girl Like You – John Travolta ’76 # You’re Mine – the Osmonds ’79 # I Go to Rio – Peggy Lee ’77 # Waitin’ on the Robert E. Lee – Dora Hall ’7? # Comin’ Home Baby – Herbie Mann ’79 # Make Love to Me Helen Reddy ’79 # Put a Little Love in Your Heart – Big Freada Wallace ’82 # Tonight – Paul Anka ’77 # Love Is in the Air - Tom Jones ’79 # That Old Black Magic – Johnny Mathis ’79 # Any Fool Can See – Wayne Newton ’79 # Minnie the Moocher – Cab Calloway ’78 # Attitude Dancing – Fred Astaire ’76 # Love Is Alive – Nancy Wilson ’77

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Nov 27, 2015

Deep Discount

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Crate diggers know the joy of the discount record bin, where under-loved oddities get sold for a quarter. Often relegated to the floor under the regular stacks—forcing diggers to get on their hands and knees—these crates are home to certain artists and genres:  anything smacking of adult contemporary or easy-listening (Mancini, Ferrante & Teicher, Conniff, Faith, 101 Strings, etc.) and yesterday’s flavors that are hopelessly uncool until they’re retro-chic again (Streisand, Styx, Newton-John, Manilow, etc.). Disco has its own special circle in this Purgatory, reserved for dance instruction records (New York Hustle Inc., the Hustle Factory), sound-a-like knock-offs (Dynamic Sound, Studio ’78, Mirror Image), kiddie records (Kids Stuff Repertory Co.) and vanity pressings (the Perfect Circle, Gino Dente & the Family and Chicago Blackhawks organist Frank Pellico). The aforementioned joy comes in discovering and/or reclaiming this stuff:  Kids Stuff Repertory “butching-up” Sylvester for the pre-teen crowd, the Perfect Circle deconstructing Vicki Sue Robinson like a doctoral thesis in lounge singing, Percy Faith treating an intentional sow’s ear as a symphonic silk purse, non-hipsters like Henry Mancini, Ferrante & Teicher, Peter Nero and Cy Coleman making it work against all odds….

American Hustle–New York Hustle Inc. ’76; Malaguena–Ferrante & Teicher ’79; From East to West–Les Reed Orchestra ’78; Dance Disco Heat–Kids Stuff Repertory Co. ’78; Turn the Beat Around–The Perfect Circle ’78; Abana–Olatunji ’62; Baretta’s Theme–Ray Conniff ’76; Do You Want the Real Thing?–Studio ’78; Sun Goddess–Henry Mancini ’75; Superstition–Peter Nero ’75; Which Way Is Up?–Dynamic Sound ’78; Love Is Blue–Myron Floren ’77; Peter Gunn–Deodato ’76; Pink Panther–Guy Delo & His Orchestra ’78; If I Were a Bell–Broadway Brass ’76; Non-Stop Disco Dancing ’75 [edit]–James Last; Dance, Dance, Dance–New 50 Guitars ’78; Positively Positive–the Hustle Factory ’76; El Bimbo–Percy Faith ’75; Supernature–Mirror Image ’79; The Party’s on Me–Cy Coleman ’76; Bubbling Brown Sugar–Shaw ’76; The Mad Russian–Enoch Light ’77; Get Down Tonight–Gino Dente & the Family ’76; Loves Theme–Frank Pellico ’76

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