Jan 16, 2017

Love Saves the Day: A Tribute to David Mancuso


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


Aug 13, 2016



“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


Jul 27, 2016



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


Jul 8, 2016

Gentle Persuasion


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


Mar 27, 2016

Between Heaven and Hell


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


Feb 24, 2016

Sax & Violins & Pianos & Flutes


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


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 


Feb 4, 2016



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


Jan 25, 2016

Carry On: Post-Disco Modern


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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