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Party Like It’s 1983

December 28th, 2023 Leave a comment Go to comments

The year 1983 marks the time when I set foot in a nightclub for the first time. I had turned 17 a few weeks earlier, and managed to pass for 18, and thus the legal drinking age.

I might have thought that I was big enough to drink, and with having experienced my first hangover at the age of 15½ years, I might have supposed myself to be an experienced imbiber of alcoholic beverages. Like most 17-year-olds, I was neither.

How many Rum & Colas I knocked back that night, I cannot remember – nor much else – but I suspect that my binge did not create a rum shortage in the club, or even in the bottle. It was not my last heroic confrontation with devil alcohol in a club setting, but that first encounter with Rum & Coke cured me of that particular concoction; an aversion that has retained currency even 40 years later.

This mix of dance tracks that came out in 1983 provides a partial soundtrack to those nascent days of clubbing. Two of them scored my experiences in early 1984: Weekend Special by Brenda (Fassie) & The Big Dudes is a stone cold South African classic. How it failed to become an international hit is difficult to understand, even allowing for the cultural boycott of South Africa and the associated lack of promotion.

Last Night The DJ Saved My Life reminds me of a club named Charlie Parker’s, which was not a jazz club but a disco whose popularity didn’t correlate with the music it played or its uninspired decor. In fairness, the club was aimed at an older crowd than my teenage self. I didn’t like the song much then; today I love it.

There is a lot of dance music from 1983 that has aged poorly, especially with the overindulgent use of stabbing synths and grating electric guitar that might have sought to attract (or at least pacify) the “Disco Sucks” constituency of idiots. What we have here represents the more timeless corner of 1983 dance music.

The mix also acknowledges the rise of Hi-NRG, the child of disco which, like a crucial strand of disco, emerged from gay clubs. An early star of the genre was Miquel Brown, whose song So Many Men, So Little Time was a companion piece to It’s Raining Men (the latter doesn’t feature here). A couple of years later Brown’s daughter, Sinitta, had a gay club hit with So Macho.

The mix opens with Love Town by Booker Newberry III, a singer we lost in April this year.

As a little bonus, all seven Any Major Funk mixes are available now in one package. Get it here! 

There are many previous Disco and Party Like It’s … mixes to revisit; I think all links are live. This mix is time to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home Rum&Coked covers, and the above in PDF format. PW in comments.

I hope your 2023 was great, or at least bearable, and that your 2024 will spectacularly joyful, peaceful and healthy.

1. Booker Newberry III – Love Town
2. Oliver Cheatham – Get Down, Saturday Night
3. Second Image – Can’t Keep Holding On
4. Skyy – Show Me The Way
5. Brenda & The Big Dudes – Weekend Special
6. Phil Fearon & Galaxy – Dancing Tight
7. Freeez – I.O.U.
8. Indeep – Last Night A DJ Saved My Life
9. Shannon – Let The Music Play
10. Miquel Brown – So Many Men, So Little Time
11. Toni Smith – (Oo) I Like The Way It Feels
12. Michael Henderson – You Wouldn’t Have To Work At All
13. D Train – Keep Giving Me Love
14. Midnight Star – Wet My Whistle
15. Earth, Wind & Fire – Fall In Love With Me
16. S.O.S. Band – Just Be Good To Me

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  1. amdwhah
    December 28th, 2023 at 09:18 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

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