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Party Like It’s 1983

December 28th, 2023 1 comment

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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Party Like It’s 1982

December 27th, 2022 3 comments

 

 

As every year since 2016, I see out the old year with a mix of old-school dance tracks which may move you to, as the kids say today, shake your tailfeather. Since 2018, these mixes are themed to cover the corresponding year 40 years previously. So this year, we’re partying like it’s 1982.

By 1982, disco was dead and yet still very much alive. Only, nobody called it “disco” anymore. Rap was starting to make inroads into the genre formerly known as disco, as was the sound that would become known as HiNRG, though not on any of the present tracks.

And while some of the dance music carried echoes of disco, some of it anticipated the future. On this collection, the most interesting example of that is Nasty Girl by Prince-protégées Vanity 6. A trio of female singers, the group anticipated Destiny’s Child by more than 15 years. 1982’s Nasty Girl — written and produced by Prince, though songwriting credit was given to Vanity — sounds like it could have been a Destiny’s Child song in the year 2000. And on her 2016 tour, Beyoncé mashed up the song with her song Blow.

Nasty Girl closes the CD-R length playlist, but there are seven bonus tracks to carry your New Year’s Eve party — be it with booty-shaking guests or just you and your loved one in the kitchen cooking a supper — for two hours. There are many previous Disco and Party Like It’s … mixes to revisit; I think all links are live.

And with that, I wish you a good slide into the New Year, and a 2023 marked by peace, exultations and absurdly good health.

1. Imagination – Music And Lights
2. Gwen Guthrie – It Should Have Been You
3. Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King – Love Come Down
4. Shalamar – A Night To Remember
5. Sharon Brown – I Specialise In Love
6. Fat Larry’s Band – Act Like You Know It
7. Linda Taylor – You And Me Just Started
8. Aretha Franklin – Jump To It
9. Stevie Wonder – Do I Do (Single Version)
10. Patrice Rushen – Number One
11. Skyy – Let Love Shine
12. Alicia Myers – I Want To Thank You
13. Sharon Redd – In The Name Of Love
14. Tony Sherman – Ellovee-Ee
15. Vanity 6 – Nasty Girl
BONUS TRACKS
16. Gap Band – You Dropped A Bomb On Me
17. Carrie Lucas – Show Me Where You’re Coming From
18. Shades Of Love – Keep In Touch (Body To Body)
19. Candela – Love You Madly
20. Melba Moore – Mind Up Tonight
21. Montana Sextet – Heavy Vibes
22. Third World – Try Jah Love

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Any Major Disco Vol. 10 – Party Like It’s 1981

December 30th, 2021 1 comment

I call this mix “disco”, but by 1981, we are really in the post-disco era. The “Disco Sucks” movement thought it had vanquished disco, and as a commercial force in the US charts, disco had indeed virtually disappeared. Kool & The Gang’s Celebration was the only song of a disco heritage to top the US charts (one might, on a quibble, add Blondie’s Rapture). Even Nile Rogers was virtually in hiding.

But the genre wasn’t dead; it just kept evolving, and in different directions, with a growing emphasis on keyboards, synth, and drum machines, as well as a greater influence of hip hop. And it wasn’t called disco. Within a year or three, the brothers, sons and daughters of disco — Michael Jackson, Prince, Lionel Richie, Madonna, Whitney Houston — were the world’s biggest stars. And Nile Rogers would bounce back, producing mega hits for the likes of David Bowie, Madonna and Duran Duran.

Disco was dead, but for dance music, 1981 was a mighty year, and one that set the scene for all dance music of the 1980s.

The closing track, Heartbreak Hotel, is by The Jacksons, who had ridden the disco wave to good effect. And Heartbreak Hotel was at the centre of one of my favourite articles about music and journalism, from 1980 by English writer Danny Baker, writing for the New Musucal Express. Titled “The great Greenland mystery”, it concerns a press conference held in LA by The Jacksons to promote their Triumph album (the one with the soaring Can You Feel It). The subject matter lends itself to the bizarre, of course. For the most part of this pretty lengthy article, the Jackson angle is at once central and peripheral.

From experience, I know that Baker’s portrayal of the presser is hilariously accurate — especially so in the context of entertainment writing, as I experienced during a brief excursion into the field in the ’90s. And I suppose every entertainment hack has met guys like the hapless Yoshi, who takes centre-stage in Baker’s very funny piece

Here are the pertinent excerpts, transcribed for your reading pleasure. The whole lot is also in the illustrated PDF which is included in the package with the CD-R length mix and home-shaken-up covers.

Danny Baker, back in the day

I LOVE press conferences. Nobody says anything for the first ten minutes and then, when someone does, questions fly about in little spurts. In the gaps, hungry hacks eye up and down their comrades’ columns to see if someone is going to ask a question a split second before they open their own cake-holes, thus shutting down their own effort in its first syllable.

Then there’s the all-out strain to see who can project the best image of the seen-it-all pressman. Never admit it’s your first PC. Also sort out where the majors are present. No one wants to admit they’re from the Basildon Non-Ferrous Metals Weekly when you’re sandwiched between the Times and the Telegraph.

It’s wonderful to spot potential questioners. You can see their lips moving as they run over and over the question, ironing it out a full quarter-hour before popping it. And worse! If some bastard creep gets in your query first, they usually get approving nods from all around and you feel like screeching, ‘But I was going to ask that!’

[pre-PC preparations]

Then there’s the well-used but still fresh-looking notepad that on every page has the standard four lines of shorthand at the top. You have to rattle a pencil around your teeth — never chew it! — until you get an ‘idea’. Then you add another half line of shorthand culminating in finally slamming your notebook shut with a disturbing air of confidence. Then you just sit back, arms folded, surveying the lesser hacks who’ve yet to complete the preliminaries.
[…]
Once the artists enter you’re treated to a stampede of photographers — forming tight bundles like mating-crazed frogs. […] All the smudges yell ‘This way please, Cecil’ even though Cecil never does. They usually nick a glance from somebody else’s successful bid.
Before photographers do all this, they pick straws to see who will be the one who goes around behind the artists and takes a shot or two of All The Other Photographers Taking Photos of Cecil. The runner-up gets to be the essential smudge who stands firm snapping away after the others have retreated. He carries this on until a bouncer leads him away.
[…]
If you meet someone you know at a press conference, you always ask each other what you’re doing here. The you both decide ‘It’s a giggle’, the subject is only fit to be sent up, and ask who was that berk who asked such and such a question halfway through. Then you destroy the berk’s paper.

Michael Jackson and his brothers have entered, “all sporting huge jamtart sized sunglasses”.

The questions are real tat. ‘Ven fill hue be wisiting Sweden, Michael?’ ‘Are you a close family, Michael? (to which the family Michael showed a keen drollery in snapping back ‘No Sir’), ‘Can you give us information about your new record?’ It was pretty bleak until this one poor wretched Japanese-looking bloke committed the cardinal sin of any press conference — he tried to crack a joke. Oh, but he did. Y’see, there’s a track on their new LP called “Heartbreak Hotel” and this bloke — who had little command of English anyway — thought he had cooked up a real zinger.

‘Ah, Michael’, he stuttered, seizing his chance. ‘Ah if you had not been a hit with your LP, ah, would you have gone to, ah, Heartbreak Hotel?’

In the ensuing silence, the wind blew, crickets chirped and you could hear the guy swallow hard as the apologetic grin froze on his chops. It turns out nobody understood him. Tito asks him to repeat the ‘question’. ‘Ah, Michael, i-if your LP had n-not been success…w-would you have, ah, have gone t-to Heartbreak Hotel?’

By now most of us hacks have caught on to what’s being said and the less valiant turn away and clear their throats. The guy is still grinning although he has stopped blinking by now and is wobbling perceptibly.

A Jacksons aide steps in. ‘Er, Yoshi, what do you mean?’
‘Ah Michael. If your album h-h-had not been su-su-success wouldyouhavegonetoHeartbreakHotel?’

Michael shakes his head and Jackie tries. ‘OK, I got Heartbreak Hotel but that was on our LP — what’s it got to do with Michael?’

Poor Yoshi is drenched in flop-sweat. He is darting his eyes around looking for an ally. His neck has gone to semolina and his palms perspire like the Boulder dam.

‘I-I-I’m playing with words you see.’
Nobody sees and Yoshi’s grasp of the lingo falls an inch short of the word ‘joke’.
‘P-P-Playing with words…words.’

The eyes of the world are burrowing deep inside that tweed jacket of his. He’s trembling like a sapling in monsoon and smoke is starting to belch out of his ears. Then a voice at the back ends the torture. ‘I think the guy’s trying to make a funny.’
‘Yis! Yis! That’s it!’ babbles the released spirit. ‘I’m making funny! Funny!’

As he begins to appeal for clemency, the final cruel blow sounds. Amidst the unnecessary sighing the aide says: ‘Hey Yoshi. This is a press conference, man. Save the funnies, huh?’

The dumb questions resumed but I couldn’t take my eyes from the broken Japanese. Ruined, he never heard another word all afternoon. Today, I suspect he sits in a bathchair in some far off sanatorium, grey-haired and twitching, mumbling to anyone who will listen: ‘The words. Playing with words you see…is funny.’

______________

Pity poor Yoshi. Personally, I reckon he bounced back. So, here’s what people danced to on New Year’s Eve 40 years ago — if they had a good DJ.

So, from me, HAPPY NEW YEAR! May your 2022 be corona-free and  filled with good health, good fortune and much love!

1. Bill Summers & Summers Heat – Call It What You Want
2. Carl Carlton – She’s A Bad Mama Jama (She’s Built, She’s Stacked)
3. Earth Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove
4. Cheryl Lynn – Shake It Up Tonight
5. Brothers Johnson – The Real Thing
6. Patti Austin – Do You Love Me
7. Melba Moore – Take My Love
8. Sister Sledge – All American Girls
9. B B & Q Band – On The Beat
10. Change – Hold Tight
11. Southern Freeze – Freeez
12. Odyssey – Going Back To My Roots
13. Champaign – Can You Find The Time
14. Chaka Khan – What Cha’ Gonna Do for Me
15. Grace Jones – Pull Up To The Bumper
16. The Jacksons – Heartbreak Hotel

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Any Major Disco Vol. 9 – Party Like It’s 1980

December 27th, 2020 10 comments

 

As every year, here’s a collection of disco tracks from 40 years ago. Normally I’d recommend these mixes for New Year’s Eve parties, at least those attended by people of a certain age — though if you played this kind of stuff to young people, they might be surprised to find that this is where Bruno Mars got all his inspiration from. More music of that kind is on previous disco and funk mixes.

This year is different, if you are a sentient human being. There should be no big New Year’s Eve parties at which that virus can be spread, so this year do not party like it’s 1980, unless you did so in a small circle, 40 years ago (I have no memory of my New Year’s Eve 1980, but I recall that 1981 was a great year). Where I live, parties are no option, because the government has imposed a night-time curfew that also (and especially) applies to December 31, as a measure of curbing the spread of the coronavirus (or Trump Virus, as I like to call it, after its most enthusiastic ally). So here the festivities will be kept to a small circle of people who will sleep under the same roof.

But that need not be a dull evening. Spend the evening with those around you, if you have such people, and groove to the music while cooking a meal, frying donuts, mixing cocktails. Dance around the kitchen with the one you love. If ever there was a reason to celebrate the end of a year, it’s now! Kick out 2020, and bring in 2021, which surely — surely! — cannot be any worse than the year that is about to expire.

So, from me, HAPPY NEW YEAR! May your 2021 be filled with great health, good fortune and much love!

As always, CD-R length, home-shuffled covers, PW in comments.

1. Bobby Thurston – Check Out The Groove
2. Raydio – It’s Time To Party Now
3. Mtume – So You Wanna Be A Star
4. Norman Connors – Take It To The Limit
5. S.O.S. Band – Take Your Time (Do It Right)
6. Average White Band – Let’s Go Around Again
7. Billy Ocean – Stay The Night
8. Skyy – Here’s To You
9. Positive Force – We Got The Funk
10. Locksmith – Far Beyond
11. Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out (Extended Mix)
12. Leon Haywood – Don’t Push It, Don’t Force It
13. Change – A Lovers Holiday
14. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Taste Of Bitter Love
15. Odyssey – Don’t Tell Me, Tell Her
16. The Jacksons – Lovely One
17. Rodney Franklin – The Groove

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Any Major Disco Vol. 8 – Party Like It’s 1979

December 27th, 2019 1 comment

 

As every year, we anticipate New Year’s Eve with a disco mix. Like last year, the theme is the stuff the people boogied down to 40 years ago. So put on your best satin trousers, say goodbye to the heady 1970s and dance into the 1980s.

Some of the songs have run on previous disco and funk mixes.

And so I wish you a good journey into the 2020s. May it be a year and decade of fulfilled dreams, good fortune, excellent health and always good music for us all!

As always, CD-R length, home-shuffled covers, PW in comments (which are also useful for saying hello)…

1. Amii Stewart – Knock On Wood
2. Edwin Starr – H.A.P.P.Y. Radio
3. The Gibson Brothers – Que Sera Mi Vida
4. Earth, Wind & Fire and The Emotions – Boogie Wonderland
5. Al Hudson & The Partners – You Can Do It
6. Deniece Williams – I’ve Got The Next Dance
7. Isaac Hayes – Don’t Let Go
8. Roy Ayers – Don’t Stop The Feeling
9. The Neville Brothers – Sweet Honey Dripper
10. Jackie Moore – This Time Baby
11. Ashford & Simpson – Found A Cure
12. Shalamar – The Second Time Around
13. Sister Sledge – We Are Family
14. Chic – My Feet Keep Dancing
15. Diana Ross – No One Gets The Prize
16. Narada Michael Walden – Tonight I’m Alright
17. Inner Life – I’m Caught Up In A One Night Love Affair
18. Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer – No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)

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Any Major Disco Vol. 7 – Party Like It’s 1978

December 27th, 2018 1 comment

As every year, we close the year with a disco mix for that New Year’s Eve party — and it’s good even if it just involves you dancing in the kitchen, cooking up a good meal to see out the old year to greet the last year of the current decade (yeah, I know!).

This year you can party with the halfhearted dude like it’s 1978: every track here was released or was a hit in that year, 40 years ago. It’s fair to bet that a good number of the people who partied to these tunes back when they were new can still shake their booty in an appropriate manner, dodgy hips and inflamed joints be damned.

Some of the songs have run here before, particularly in the Any Major Funk series.

And with that I wish you a good slide into 2019. May it be a year of fulfilled dreams, good fortune and excellent health for us all!

As ever, CD-R length, home-downboogied covers, PW in comments.

1. Thelma Houston – Saturday Night
2. Cheryl Lynn – Got To Be Real
3. Earth, Wind & Fire – September
4. Sister Sledge – He’s The Greatest Dancer
5. Gloria Gaynor – Anybody Wanna Party
6. Eruption – I Can’t Stand The Rain
7. Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
8. Gibson Brothers – Cuba
9. Chic – Le Freak
10. Chanson – Don’t Hold Back
11. Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne – Dance Across The Floor
12. Gene Chandler – Get Down
13. Third World – Now That We’ve Found Love
14. Con Funk Shun – Shake and Dance With Me
15. Instant Funk – I Got My Mind Made Up
16. Diana Ross & Michael Jackson – Ease On Down The Road
17. Stargard – Theme From ‘Which Way Is Up’
18. Hi-Tension – Hi-Tension
19. Taste Of Honey – Boogie Oogie Oogie
20. Donna Summer – Last Dance

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Any Major Disco Vol. 6

December 28th, 2017 5 comments

It is becoming something of a tradition here to close the year with a disco mix to see out the old year and in the new. So don your boogie shoes and shake that booty like it’s 1978.

One track here is quite remarkable: the Boney M. song here was recorded before there was a Boney M. Schlager singer and producer Frank Farian recorded Baby Do You Wanna Bump, basically a remake of Prince Buster’s Al Capone — doing all the vocals himself, the deep voice and the falsetto. But because Farian was having as string of hits as a Schlager singer he couldn’t really release this thumping disco number under his own name, so he borrowed the title of an Australian TV series popular at the time in West-Germany, and stuck a meaningless M to it, because, he reasoned correctly, it sounded good. Odd thing is, Frank Farian isn’t the guy’s real name either; it’s Franz Reuther.

Baby Do You Wanna Bump was a hit in Belgium and the Netherlands, inspiring Farian to keep Boney M going with real band members. He’d still do the voices of two of those members, including dancer Bobby Farrell. And that is the amazing thing about Boney M: half of it was a pallid German guy pretending to be a black woman and a black dancer.

It was widely known that Farian was the voice of Bobby and Maizie Williams; the greater deception came a decade later with another Farian act, Milli Vanilli.

On the Minnie Riperton track (co-written by Stevie Wonder), check out the proto-house piano groove, played by the multi-instrumentalist and producer Sonny Burke, who also played on the albums which the tracks in this mix by Lenny Williams and Harvey Mason come from. I couldn’t ascertain that he played on those particular tracks. Let’s just imagine he did.

As always, CD-R length, home-bootyshaken covers, PW in comments. And have a Happy New Year!

1. Empress – Dyin’ To Be Dancin’ (1981)
2. Minnie Riperton – Stick Together (1977)
3. Peter Brown feat. Betty Wright – Dance With Me (1978)
4. Harvey Mason – Groovin’ You (1979)
5. Cerrone feat. Jocelyn Brown – Hooked On You (1981)
6. Deniece Williams – I’ve Got The Next Dance (1979)
7. Fat Larry”s Band – Looking For Love (1979)
8. Linda Clifford – If My Friends Could See Me Now (1978)
9. Debbie Jacobs – Don”t You Want My Love (1979)
10. Musique – Keep On Jumpin’ (1978)
11. Ritchie Family – American Generation (1978)
12. Gary’s Gang – Do It At The Disco (1978)
13. Boney M. – Baby Do You Wanna Bump (1975)
14. Carl Douglas – Run Back (1977)
15. The Choice Four – Come Down To Earth (1976)
16. Lenny Williams – Shoo Doo Fu Fu Ooh! (1977)
17. Crystal Grass – Dream On (1975)

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Any Major Disco Vol. 5

December 29th, 2016 15 comments

any-major-disco-vol-5

As last year, we are seeing out December with a mix of disco songs, especially for New Year”s Eve. After the annus horribilis we have had “” 2016 cannot piss off soon enough “” we are going for pure nostalgia with the obvious classics of the genre. Even some which back in the day some of us night have thought of as naff (but how wrong we were about Boney M!).

This mix is set up for dancing “” I”ve even sequenced the thing to roughly account for the BPMs “” whether in a big group, or with your partner or by yourself. Just put on your dancing shoes and shake your booty to the boogie.

And if you need more to dance to, get multiple fixes of the previous four Any Major Disco mixes and the eight-volume Any Major Funk (which really was mostly disco as well). The whole lot can be found in one handy repository. As far as I can see, all links are still live.

By the way, check out which acts Germany’s Bravo magazine chose as their disco groups of 1978.

And so I wish you, as the Germans say, a good slide into the New Year. May 2017 give us respite from the ceaselessly obnoxious 2016, and may it bring you personally much to be joyful about.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-bootyshaken covers. PW in comments.

1. Kool & the Gang – Ladies’ Night (1979)
2. Sister Sledge – Lost In Music (1979)
3. Chaka Khan – I’m Every Woman (1978)
4. KC & the Sunshine Band – Shake Your Booty (1976)
5. Rose Royce – Car Wash (1977)
6. Chic – Dance Dance Dance (1977)
7. The Jacksons – Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) (1979)
8. Alicia Bridges – I Love The Nightlife (1978)
9. Anita Ward – Ring My Bell (1979)
10. Gibson Brothers – Que Sera Mi Vida (1980)
11. Amii Stewart – Knock On Wood (1979)
12. Patrick Hernandez – Born To Be Alive (1979)
13. Boney M – Ma Baker (1977)
14. Amanda Lear – Queen Of Chinatown (1977)
15. La Bionda – One For You, One For Me (1978)
16. Donna Summer – Bad Girls (1979)
17. Andrea True Connection – More, More, More (1976)
18. Shirley & Co – Shame Shame Shame (1975)
19. Silver Convention – Fly Robin Fly (1975)

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Any Major Disco Vol. 4

July 14th, 2016 9 comments

Any Major Disco Vol. 4

Tuesday, July 12, saw the 37th anniversary of the notorious “Disco Demolition Night” at Chicago’s Comskey Park, a night I have discussed with Any Major Disco Vol. 1, and touched on Any Major Disco Vol. 3 (which focussed more on disco as a vehicle for the assertion of gay identity and driver for later black dominance of pop). To mark the anniversary, here is a seriously funky mix of disco tracks — the sort of disco the more discerning of the mob at Comiskey Park might have appreciated, had they opened their hearts and ears.

So, in memory of all that was good about disco, put on your dancing shoes and shake those hips — Travolta moves not required.

As always, CD-R length, covers. PW in comments.

1. Splendor – Take Me To Your Disco (1979)
2. The Whispers – It”s A Love Thing (1980)
3. Teena Marie – I Need Your Lovin’ (1980)
4. Debra Laws – On My Own (1981)
5. Gene Chandler – When You”re Number One (1979)
6. The Isley Brothers – It’s A Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop) (1979)
7. The Miracles – Love Machine (1975)
8. Sex O’Clock USA – Get It Up Baby (1976)
9. The Real Thing – Can You Feel The Force (1979)
10. Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King – I Don’t Know If I’s Right (1977)
11. Gwen Guthrie – It Should Have Been You (1977)
12. LaToya Jackson – If You Feel The Funk (1980)
13. Front Page feat. Sharon Redd – Love Insurance (1979)
14. Crown Heights Affair – Your Love Makes Me Hot (1982)
15. Heatwave – Too Hot To Handle (1976)
16. Bill Brandon – We Fell In Love While Dancing (1977)

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Any Major Disco Vol. 3

December 28th, 2015 4 comments

Any Major Disco Vol. 3 - front

And in time for your New Year’s Eve party, or preparation for one, here”s the third Any Major Disco. Of course, if you take the seven Any Major Funk mixes as well, you could take over DJ duties — provided your fellow guests are of a certain age and disposition.

In Any Major Disco Vol. 1 I discussed how the “Disco Sucks” movement was a reaction not only to the music but also to the impact of disco on culture. Now, to be clear, I am not suggesting that those who didn’t dig disco — the music or its scene — were reactionary bigots. But if you chucked a Bill Withers LP into the Comiskey Park bonfire, I might just call you out. Hell, if you blew up a Chic record, we ought to have words.

Disco certainly had an impact against which your average bigot might wish to act. Disco changed things. In fact, it was more revolutionary in the US than punk was in the UK. But where punk was angry and uncompromising, disco was all about finding refuge in joy (and don”t we need that today?).

Disco brought black music and, to some extent, the gay scene into the mainstream. The genesis of disco can be condensed to black music being played in New York gay clubs. This was in the early 1970s, just after the Stonewall riots. Two men dancing together had been illegal in New York — now there were clubs playing great, dancable music and running vibes that were hot and free. The thing spread, and concurrently sexy music was being produced in Philly, NYC, New Orleans that fit these vibes.

In disco music “” even if it wasn’t called that yet — women could be not only sassy but also sexual. Previously few women in mainstream pop had expressed their sexuality; Tina Turner blazed a trail. Now, in the mid-1970s LaBelle were directly inviting sexual encounters, and former porn star Andrea True wanted More More More. A little later, Grace Jones defined a whole new kind of sexy, and Donna Summer climaxed on a 12 inch.

And Summer”s records were part of the final piece to the disco scene: the Munich Machine/euro disco type of synth-driven dance music — the birth of electronica — produced by the likes of Giorgio Moroder and the unlikely pair of Sylvester Levay and Michael Kunze, who created Silver Convention (Fly Robin Fly, Get Up And Boogie).

So disco empowered black musicians (even if the media traded a white band, the Bee Gees, as the “Kings of Disco”), and women in pop, and brought the gay scene not only out of the closet but into the heterosexual world. It was when the countercultural was absorbed into the mainstream — think Ethel Merman singing disco — that disco lost some of its power. The “Disco Sucks” movement succeeded in killing Disco — as a concept, as a thing.

But there was no turning back. Disco didn’t die. It didn’t only survive but went on to thrive, as Michael Jackson”s Thriller showed. By the mid-’80s, black musicians were mega stars: Jackson, Richie, Prince, Houston. By the ’90s, black music set the pop agenda — not under a white guise, as had been the case with rock & roll, but as the driver, in the form of Dr Dre, R Kelly, Janet Jackson and so on.

Thanks to disco, women in pop had become self-aware. Madonna, a direct product of disco, has been followed by many women who will grind their groin not only to turn on the boys but to express their sexual power.

And with disco, homosexuality emerged from the cultural shadows (though the AIDS crisis that coincided with the “death” of disco created some new barriers). Where Liberace had to hide his sexuality, Boy George and Bronski Beat followed in the footsteps of Sylvester, the first out pop star — at least in Britain and Europe. Of course, for all the advances that have been made over the past four decades, the fight for gay rights goes on, especially in the US. But disco helped to bring that fight out into the open.

And with that, here’s the mix to get your feet shuffling and hips shaking, with a bit of everything from the disco buffet, drawing mainly from the glory days of 1977 to the late disco era.

And a happy 2016 to you!

1. Al Hudson and The Partners – You Can Do It (1979)
2. Sharon Redd – Can You Handle It (1981)
3. Earth, Wind & Fire – September (1978)
4. Ozone – Walk On (1980)
5. Kool & The Gang – The Force (1977)
6. Karen Young – Hot Shot (1978)
7. Don Ray – Garden Of Love (1978)
8. Salsoul Orchestra feat. Loleatta Holloway – Runaway (1977)
9. Double Exposure – Ten Percent (1976)
10. Jermaine Jackson – Let’s Get Serious (1980)
11. Bionic Boogie – Risky Changes (1977)
12. Evelyn Champagne King – Shame (1977)
13. Jean Carn – Was That Was All It Was (1979)
14. Anita Ward – Ring My Bell (1979)
15. Sheila B. Devotion – Love Me Baby (1977)
16. Lipps Inc. – Funkytown (1980)
17. Supermax – Lovemachine (1978)
18. Meco – Star Wars Theme (1977)
19. Edwin Starr – Contact  (1978)
20. Sylvester – Dance (Disco Heat) (1978)

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