Thursday, June 27, 2024

Disco Delivery Mix #15: Music You Can Ride On

Photo: Studio 54 Dancers by Bill Bernstein (1978)

Been holding onto this for a little while, since the end of January in fact, when I had recorded this. Wanted to make a mix using records I had retrieved from storage at the end of 2023, so there are quite a few of those here along with some things I had picked up at the time plus a couple of old favourites I had pulled off the shelf. Surprisingly, I've been DJing a bit more this past year and have a couple more gigs on the horizon, just in time for the final weekend of Pride.

First up, this Friday June 28th, I'll DJing back-to-back with Cyclist at Wax Candy Disco at The Piston, and on Saturday June 19th, Cyclist & I will be back-to-back again, DJing Midnight Message at The Little Jerry, so consider this a little taster!

As for the mix itself, I've included track lists and track notes below. Some of the tracks in the middle of the mix have been slowed down for beat-matching purposes, but either way, I hope you enjoy!

Disco Delivery Mix #15: Music You Can Ride On (Download)


Psychic - Take A Chance
Geraldine Hunt - Could We (12" Version)
Hemlock - Body Rhythm
The Average Disco Band - Michelle
Bohannon - Come Dance With Me
Mighty Pope - Sweet Blindness (LP Version)
Madleen Kane - Forbidden Love (12" Version)
Gregg Diamond - Danger
Marlena Shaw - Love Dancin' (12" Version)
Finished Touch featuring Harold Johnson - The Down Sound
Vivian Reed - Ready And Waiting (12" Version)
Luca D'Ammonio - Oh Caron

All the records used in this mix.

Track Notes:

Psychic - Take A Chance: A little one-off from Jimmie Haskell, a noted arranger that has appeared on numerous records, including some which have appeared on this blog. The A-Side, "Stinger," is a disco adaptation of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee, but it was the B-side, "Take A Chance," which really caught my ear. With spirited girly chorus vocals and all, it's right up my alley and to my mind, a lovely way to open things.

Geraldine Hunt - Could We (12" Version): A favourites from the late Geraldine Hunt. From the same album as her big hit "Can't Fake The Feeling," this is a lovely mid-tempo groover that gets me every time. Even though this mix runs a little shorter than the LP version, there's more room to groove on this particular version.

Hemlock - Body Rhythm: Another one-off that I purchased at Amoeba Records in West Hollywood back in 2009. (I recall, in part cause I still have the price tag on it). They didn't have a preview station there, but the fact that this was a Richie Rivera Midnight Mix was enough to pique my interest. I had honestly largely forgotten about this until I was looking through my 12" singles in storage and found the A-side to have quite an appealing groove, not to mention a catchy little chorus. A lovely little party starter!

The Average Disco Band - Michelle: One of several releases I have by the elusive disco producer John Ferrara, who had some hot moments back in the late 70s early 80s (and is recorded for posterity in the 1979 60 Minutes Disco piece which makes the rounds from time to time). Aside from hits like "Love Attack," he had done this unusual little disco project for H&L Records under the Average Disco Band moniker, covering Beatles songs in a disco style. I suppose it was part of the fever of the times, however aside from the single lyric "Michelle, ma belle," it actually bears only a passing resemblance to the Beatles' original. Either way, this version is a standout on its own, regardless of the gimmick attached.

Bohannon - Come Dance With Me: Hamilton Bohannon's late 70s albums on Mercury, both under his own name and the ones he produced for Caroline (AKA Carolyn) Crawford, are some of my favourites of his. By this time, he had basically perfected his signature sound of funk with finesse. This song, the opening track of his 1978 On My Way LP is a clear case in point. Propulsive grooves, lushly adorned and sweetened yet still unmistakably funky.

Mighty Pope - Sweet Blindness (LP Version): Originally released in 1976 by a Toronto band also called Sweet Blindness, which had been something of a disco hit in it's own right, I have to admit that I prefer this somewhat more polished remake by Jamaican-Canadian singer, Mighty Pope. Taken from his second LP, Sway produced by John Driscoll, Montreal DJ Robert Ouimet and arranged by Gino Soccio and the given the calibre of those names, the results speak for themselves. Though this version changes one of the chorus lyrics from "music you can ride on" to "music you can dance on," Mighty Pope still sneaks in a little nod to the original towards the end.

Madleen Kane - Forbidden Love (12" Version): Working at The Piston during Cyclist's Wax Candy Disco nights here in Toronto it's interesting to see, beyond the well-known standards, which songs capture the crowd. A crowd which is, by and large, at least a generation younger than me. This song is one of those. Well-known among disco connoisseurs but perhaps not as much among the general public, it has nevertheless become a signature favourite of the Wax Candy crowd. And it's no wonder, because this song has just about everything - drama, lushness, momentum, beat and tempo. When I saw that I had this 12" in storage, I had to take it back with me and include it here.

Gregg Diamond's Star Cruiser - Danger: Another record I retrieved from storage, this was a single-only affair by the late Gregg Diamond under his Star Cruiser moniker. I love the explicitly gay references which permeate this track, from the title of the project itself to the song lyrics referring to "danger, always looking for strangers, " and "finding an empty truck." Visions of cruising the piers in New York City and the trucks of the Meatpacking District. Bring your poppers!

Marlena Shaw - Love Dancin' (12" Version): One of the high points of the late song stylist Marlena Shaw's disco output, the John Luongo/Michael Barbiero 12" mix of "Love Dancin'" was also another one I had in storage. The joyful crescendo of this song is undeniable to me, particularly in it's extended version which is why I had to include it here.

Finished Touch featuring Harold Johnson - The Down Sound: A stand-alone single from the Motown studio outfit Finished Touch, which had put out an album entitled Need To Know You Better in 1978. The label on the single notes that this was from a planned second album, which evidently never came out. I had to retrieve this one from storage once I was reminded of this lovely stomper. Have to make mention of one of my favourite lyric couplets in a disco song from this time here - describing a sound that's "got conservatives enraged, it's giving editorial another page." Indeed!

Vivian Reed - Ready And Waiting (12" Version): Vivian Reed is perhaps best known as a Tony-nominated stage actress and singer in Broadway productions like Bubbling Brown Sugar and The High Rollers Social and Pleasure Club. Her recorded output, sorely underrated and mostly for the United Artists label, has some solid gems in it like this particular song. With a dynamite groove, matched measure by measure by her vocals, it's one that I take with me as often as I can.

Luca D'Ammonio - Oh Caron: I had found this in a local record shop earlier this year, initially taken by the sleeve and the label name, Disco Più. Upon listening, I found the A-side to be a relatively soft bit of romantic Italian pop which was pleasant enough though not particularly interesting to me. The B-side however, was another story. Oh Caron (not sure if that's actually what the vocalists are saying), was a surprising bit of fiery African influenced disco, which is ultimately what convinced me to get this. Not long after coming across this single, a intriguing compilation came out this past March on Four Flies Records called Africamore - The Afro Side of Italy (1973-1978), which includes this track among many other delights, shining some light on an interesting corner of the Italian musical landscape.

disco delivery interviews robert ouimet (saturday, may 24, 2014)


Monday, January 22, 2024

Disco Delivery Mix #14: Sign of the Times

Photo: Spadina Avenue & Queen Street W., Toronto (December 2023)

Recorded this at the end of 2023, basically a mix of records that were sitting out by the turntables - mostly things that I had pulled out for recent gigs and a couple of new buys at the time. This is by-and-large classic disco, with a few disco/boogie and Hi-NRG/House straddlers. Enjoyed listening to this as I was travelling during the holidays and hopefully some of you out there will too.

Tracklist and track notes below.

Disco Delivery #14: Sign of the Times (Download)


Ted Taylor - Ghetto Disco
The Bobbettes 1981 - This Ain't Really Love
Barbara Roy - If You Want Me
Sparkle Tuhran & Friends - Handsome Man (Bobby 'DJ' Guttadaro 12" Version)
Pure Gold - Hold On To Your Love
Barbara York - Tonight (Radio Version)
Cheetah - Ain't Gonna Waste No Time No More
John Davis & The Monster Orchestra - Up Jumped The Devil (12" Version)
Kikrokos - Life Is A Jungle
Ronnie Jones - Sign Of The Times
Home Wreckers - Jackin (Bass Mix)

All the records used in this mix

Track Notes:

Ted Taylor - Ghetto Disco: A T.K. Disco favourite of mine, produced by noted New Orleans producer/arranger Wardell Quezergue. Not included on any of Ted Taylor's albums, this is just a lovely, unpretentious disco groove where even the simplest lyrics speak to the refuge of the disco in hard times and hard places.

The Bobbettes 1981 - This Ain't Really Love: A later single by the girl group which first came to prominence in 1957 with their US Top-10 hit "Mr. Lee." Still at it in 1981, this was actually the B-side of the single, "Love Rhythm." This particular song, "This Ain't Really Love" was recorded and released by the group earlier in 1980 under the name Sophisticated Ladies. That version was recently reissued by Kalita Records in 2018. The Sophisticated Ladies version is much longer running 5+ minutes, for The Bobbettes 1981 single here, they used a 2.45 edit. A great track at either length though.

Barbara Roy - If You Want Me: One of my favourite of Barbara Roy's singles, this is probably her best release of the 1980s to my ears. Though credited to Roy and her old group, Ecstasy, Passion & Pain, its unclear if this is a reunion with old colleagues or just a branding exercise. Either way, one of those singles that bridges the gap between disco and boogie and a perfectly refreshed, updated showcase for the gutsy voice which graced early disco classics like "Touch & Go" and "Ask Me." A significant name in the credits, despite the semi-anonymous credit (as J.O.B.) is Jorge Omar Barreiro, who was involved on both this and other releases from the time on Brass Records/Roy B.

Sparkle Tuhran & Friends - Handsome Man (Bobby 'DJ' Guttadaro 12" Version): With a classic disco bassline that grabs the your ear from the jump along with a vocal that's both spirited and loose, this has been a favourite ever since I'd heard it on a Salsoul CD compilation of Larry Levan's mixes for the label. Evidently its only release in the US was through the 1983 compilation Larry Levan's Greatest Mixes, Vol. 2 (there was never a Vol. 1) on Salsoul. Before Levan mixed it, it was released in Canada on 12" mixed by another hot DJ of the New York scene, Bobby "DJ" Guttadaro. A French production and band led by the duo of Bernard Torelli and Jean-Pierre Masseira better known for things cosmic rather than funky, along with Americans John Brown III and Mike Felder, this is one which checks all the boxes for me.

Pure Gold - Hold On To Your Love: The sole album from the band Pure Gold is exactly that. One of the many quality boogie/funk releases from the Capitol label in the early 80s, this is one of the highlights of their album. Unfortunately, this band seems to have come and gone so quickly, there isn't even much in the way of prior or subsequent credits for the individual group members on Discogs. That being said, this is certainly one of several early 80s Capitol funk albums that's ripe for the reissue treatment!

Barbara York - Tonight (Radio Version): I had wrote a post about about this single on the blog back in 2007, one of the few times I had posted an outside submission. When I saw that this record was being reissued by Best Record in Italy, I jumped at the chance to get a copy. An early pseudonymous release by Italian singer Ivana Spagna, the lyrics are intriguing, even if they're somewhat lost in translation. That said, it doesn't detract too much from the sleek Italo-funk production from 1983, which I consider to be a very good year in terms of post-disco dance music, generally.

Captain Sky - Moonchild: Probably my favourite Captain Sky release, this song reaches the apex of disco/funk finesse to me. Cream of the Chicago acts released on the AVI label, this was produced and arranged by Daryl Cameron (Captain Sky, himself) and by Donald Burnside, whose name always piques my interest when digging. Well in line with other lush disco diamonds from the time and place, like Air Power (also produced by Donald Burnside, no less).

Cheetah - Ain't Gonna Waste No Time No More: More AVI Disco goodness, this time from Rinder & Lewis, the flagship of their disco operations. One of the anedcotes I recall from my interview with AVI's Ray Harris and W. Michael Lewis was that, when it came to Rinder & Lewis' output, there was very little that they left on the cutting room floor, so to speak. That certainly explains some of the rarer releases which made their way out on AVI sometimes as promo-only releases, like this particular album. Unlike most of those, Cheetah is less a collection of outtakes as much as a collection of retakes (likely a clue as to its title). Comprised of new vocals and lyrics on top of old musical backings, this is perhaps part of the reason this record gets decidedly mixed reviews. This particular song however, a re-take of El Coco's "Coco Kane" with a sassy new vocal and lyric, hits the spot for me though! So much so that I think I may even like this version just a little bit more.

John Davis & The Monster Orchestra - Up Jumped The Devil (12" Version): A favourite of mine from the late producer/arranger John Davis, this track packs so much energy it still goes down well. A favourite at work during the weekly Wax Candy Disco nights at The Piston here in Toronto, the dance floor always heats up whenever resident DJ Cyclist drops this one! Always worth putting in the bag whenever playing disco for the people.

Kikrokos - Life Is A Jungle: My favourite track from Kikrokos' Jungle D.J. & Dirty Kate album, I especially love the synth parts on this particular track. It certainly works in line with the sort of expansive French disco coming from the likes of Cerrone and Costandinos at the time. No wonder, since two of the members of Kikrokos, André Allet and Patrick Sesti were associates of Cerrone.

Ronnie Jones - Sign Of The Times: I had picked this one up on a 12" late last year. The A-side of this song is an electro cover of the Jimmy Ruffin classic, "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted," which had also been mixed by John Robie. Despite all that, it was this song on the B-side which captured my attention. Like most of Ronnie Jones' output, this was produced by Jürgen S. Korduletsch (along with Don Oriolo and Kristian Schultze) and released on one of their labels, Personal Records. I find that this particular track has something of a Bobby "O" feel to it, from the production on down to the harsh, urbane masculinity depicted in its lyrics. After previewing it in the shop, this had already become an earworm for me. Always a good sign!

Home Wreckers - Jackin (Bass Mix): A house project by Toronto producer/composer Allan Coelho and Hernani Raposo. Coelho's name may be familiar as the the main member behind Tapps, who had several club hits in the early-mid 80s. Bearing some of the familiar sonic signatures of those Tapps hits, but with less vocal and more bass, I find this one straddles the line between Hi-NRG and House quite deftly.

deadly disco: rinder & lewis - gluttony (friday, october 31, 2014)
tonight... (wednesday february 14, 2007)


Friday, September 01, 2023

Disco Delivery Mix #13: Sounds of '78 (Guest Mix for Sunshine After Dark )

A little over a year ago, my friend John Huck invited me to do a mix for his disco radio show, Sunshine After Dark, and just recently invited me to do another. We finally got to meet in person over the summer here in Toronto and had a lovely afternoon bonding over disco and record digging, so am more than happy to make a new one!

Over the last while, using Vince Aletti's Disco Files as a guide, John has been doing these Disco Time Capsule episodes, taking listeners on a chronological journey through the records of 1974-1978. It's been quite a lovely trip listening to him curate these shows chronologically, getting to hear how certain sonic signifiers in disco developed over time. I fully encourage other disco-heads out there to take a listen, all Sunshine After Dark shows are archived on his Mixcloud page.

John just finished a series of shows chronicling the disco from the Summer of 1978, and while I didn't organize this mix in a strictly chronological order, in keeping with the theme, the selections in this mix are all releases from 1978.

Sunshine After Dark broadcasts online and on the radio out of CJSR 88.5 FM in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada every Thursday at 7 PM Mountain Time (0100 UTC), re-broadcasting Tuesdays on CKXU in Lethbridge, AB and Wednesdays on CHMA in Sackville, NB.

As mentioned earlier, all episodes are also archived on Mixcloud, and you can listen to my mix on Episode 180, below.


Disco Delivery #13: Guest Mix for Sunshine After Dark (#180) (Download)


Le Pamplemousse - Do You Have Any? (Ya Know Where I Can Get Some)
Wilfried (Scheutz) - Johnny's Diskothek (12" Version)
Michele White - Sweet Innocent
Claudja Barry - Boogie Tonight (12" Version)
Three Ounces of Love - Star Love
Roy Ayers Presents Ubiquity - Starbooty
Stanley Turrentine - Disco Dancing
(Siduku) Buari - I'm Ready
Soraya - My Life
Midnight Rhythm - Workin' & Slavin' (I Need Love)
THP - Tender Is The Night

All the records used in this mix

Track Notes:

Le Pamplemousse - Do You Have Any? (Ya Know Where I Can Get Some): My favourite track off my favourite of Rinder & Lewis' Le Pamplemousse albums. A slinky, funky groove and one which hints at certain powdered disco pleasures. Written by a one Gil Carson who is also credited on a number of other Le Pamplemousse songs, including their signature hit, "Le Spank."

Wilfried - Johnny's Diskothek (12" Version): Came across this at a local shop recently, and there was something intriguing and catchy about this euro-disco schlager track that tickled my disco & pop sensibilities. By the late Austrian pop singer, Wilfried Scheutz, this was from a disco-flavoured album he recorded called Nights In The City, that I'm certainly looking out for after hearing this. Produced by Robert Ponger, who had also released a (recently reissued) album of his own with an instrumental version of this song.

Michele White - Sweet Innocent: A recent dollar bin find, released on the TK subsidiary, Sunshine Sound, and one which involves a lot of familiar names from the Miami recording scene of the time - Bobby Caldwell, The Sunshine Band's Rick Finch, KC and their backing singers just to name a few. The title track and standout of Michele White's album, which was alone worth the price of admission.

Claudja Barry - Boogie Tonight (12" Version): A lovely sleeper track from her I Wanna Be Loved By You album, which contained her big hit "(Boogie Woogie) Dancing Shoes." The Canadian-only 12" single of this song, which I used here has some lovely extended bits that enhance the song quite nicely.

Three Ounces of Love - Star Love: A favourite of mine from the Detroit sister group, Three Ounces of Love and their sole Motown album. It seems that after the demise of The Supremes the year prior, Motown was likely betting on two upstart female groups to fill in the gap, High Inergy and Three Ounces of Love. High Inergy were ultimately the ones dubiously crowned "the new Supremes," however the Three Ounces of Love album is, to my ears, closest to the sound that the latter-day Supremes had. Their album employed many of the same writers and producers that were also on those very last Supremes records, like this particular song, co-written and produced by Greg Wright who was also behind The Supremes' disco hit, "He's My Man."

Roy Ayers Presents Ubiquity - Starbooty: Continuing on the 'star' theme, one of Roy Ayers' greatest disco moments, in my opinion. Blown away by how ridiculously prolific he was around this time, this one has an ideal combination of disco and jazz-funk sensibilities, chugging and propulsive while capturing a freewheeling looseness that sets his work apart.

Stanley Turrentine - Disco Dancing: A little disco surprise (at least when I stumbled across it) from jazz saxophonist Stanley Turrentine and his What About You! album on the Fantasy label. I understand why disco-flavoured releases by jazz musicians weren't looked at especially highly, often seen as unfortunate compromises to prevailing trends. That's not to say that many of them didn't have a worthwhile moment or two, which is perhaps easier to say if you're not coming from a jazz perspective. This track stood out to me on the record, an original (among the covers on the album) written by Philly disco mainstays, Phil Hurtt and the late Richie Rome. Rome also arranged the entire album featuring the vocals of the Sweethearts of Sigma who are all over the record. At the same time, this track almost exactly anticipates the sound Rome would employ on the album he would produce for the model/singer Flower the following year.

Buari - I'm Ready: I had heard this lovely disco outing from Ghanian musician Siduku Buari, on an unofficial reissue 12" several years ago. Containing more than little hint of "You're Just The Right Size" by The Salsoul Orchestra, this song was on his recently reissued (thank you BBE!) cult album Disco Soccer.

Soraya - My Life: Taken from a one-off album from mysterious singer Soraya Kaci, which was arranged and co-written by French cosmic disco icons Bernard Torelli and Jean-Pierre Massiera, the same team behind records by Venus Gang and Herman's Rocket. I had first heard this one night at work recently, when Cyclist, the resident DJ of the Wax Candy Disco nights here in Toronto played this track off the album. Immediately after, I had to know what it was. When I logged onto Discogs to buy a copy, it noted that I had added the album to my wantlist some 14 years ago (likely due to the Massiera connection) and, it seems, promptly forgot about! Containing more than a few key hints of Earth, Wind & Fire's "Getaway," this track is perhaps one of the most instant and gratifying on this wonderfully strange and intriguing album.

Midnight Rhythm - Workin' & Slavin' (I Need Love): I had opined at length on this album on this blog back in 2007. Produced by Robby Adcock and Joe Long, I have long wanted to play this in a mix and here, I finally get the chance. The propulsive groove conjuring up the heady gay discos and backrooms of the time has been a favourite of mine for some years now. See Disco Delivery #37 where I relay some of my conversation/correspondence with the album's co-producer Robby Adcock, for some interesting background on this release.

THP - Tender Is The Night: A favourite from the Toronto-based production team of Ian Guenther & Willi Morrison, this track, from their third album of the same name, is perhaps the highlight of that particular record. Featuring The Duncan Sisters on vocals, this felt like an appropriately bright and tender closing number for this mix.

disco delivery mix #9: guest mix for sunshine after dark (thursday august 18, 2022)
disco delivery #37: midnight rhythm (1978, atlantic) (wednesday march 14, 2007)


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Love & Pain

Photo: Memorial Wall - Baldwin Street, Toronto (August 2023)

Last week, in the run up to the most recent INTERGEN night my partner and I played at The Little Jerry here in Toronto, I thought to record a little mix consisting mostly of house records I had acquired and enjoyed in the past few months. After listening to this mix on my own for the past week or so, I thought it would be a nice one to put up online.

Starts out in a deeper mood, before going into some classic era 80s-90s house, then coming full-circle again.

Included a tracklist and track notes below, hope you enjoy!

Love & Pain (Download)


Kemt - Asok
&Me, Black Coffee - The Rapture Part III
Shahrokh Dini - Dust (Instrumental)
N.Y. House’n Authority - Apt. 3A
Lisa Mitchell - Rescue Me (DJ Stomp Mix)
Monique - Love And Pain (Love Dub Pain Overdub)
Shinichiro Yokota - Do It Again
Marvin Springer - Lies (12” Vocal Mix)
Billie Ray Martin - Running Around Town (Extended Mix)
Modern Mechanical Music - Persia
East Coast Love Affair - Chicago
Swayzak - Fukumachi (2023 Edit)
Nic Joseph - Love Is Here

All the records used in this mix

Track Notes:

Kemt - Asok: I've been enjoying some lovely releases from the Bristol label Shall Not Fade these past few years, including this most recent one from French producer Kemt on their Lost Palms imprint. This track, side A of Kemt's Moony EP, had a moody airiness that struck me right away, one which felt right to use as a starting point here.

&Me, Blackcoffee - The Rapture Part III: This release has been my intro to &Me, Blackcoffee and the Keinemusik label. I didn't have much to go on when I first saw this release, but upon hearing it, I had to buy a copy. There's a melancholy about this track that drew me in, particularly in the piano which is so deftully and delicately deployed here.

Shahrokh Dini - Dust (Instrumental): I recently got a 12 year restrospective compilation of the Compost label, full of quality material, which certainly put it on the map for me. As I was looking through the label's releases, found that this single from 2021 was still in print. When listening, I was taken by the melancholy feeling here, which moved me in a similar way to the previous track. Not sure why I played the instrumental instead of the vocal here, nevertheless, the instrumental hits all the same emotional notes.

N.Y. House’n Authority - Apt. 3A: Got this classic in a recent online purchase. And while Nu Groove is one label I'm always looking out for, this marks an ideal introduction of sorts to the work of one of the label's principals, Rheji Burrell. All the tracks on the APT. 12"/EP are quality, but I thought this had some nice sonic motifs that worked well with the previous track.

Lisa Mitchell - Rescue Me (DJ Stomp Mix): Got this at a local record store recently, and the appropriately named 'Stomp Mix' had me spending a little extra time at the preview station! While this seems to be the sole release for singer Lisa Mitchell, the producer James Bratton had been the producer on a lot of Sybil's releases around this time, as well as others on the Next Plateau label, like Kelly Charles' "You're No Good For Me," which I'd first heard on one of the landmark House Sound of Chicago compilations.

Monique - Love And Pain (Love Dub Pain Overdub): Lovely classic sound from 1992 here, also one that I found recently at a local record store. Hits all the marks of bounce, depth and soul that I love, all given extra space in this particular mix on the single's B-side. Released on Mascot Records an imprint of MicMac Records, which in a little interesting disco connection, was established by Mickey Garcia and Prelude Records' founder Marvin Schlachter.

Shinichiro Yokota - Do It Again: Heard this on the recently re-pressed Soichi Terada compilation, Sounds from The Far East from 2015 on the Rush Hour label. One that I've been enjoying a lot recently and highly recommend. For me, this is one of the standouts!

Marvin Springer - Lies (12” Vocal Mix): A lovely Basement Boys production from 1999, which I also got recently at a local record shop. The soulful vocal and bounce of this track had me immediately hooked. There's an "LP Mix" of the track on the B-side, which I took to hint at a forthcoming album, which evidently never happened. That said, I'd be curious to know if The Basement Boys have anything else in the can on this vocalist.

Billie Ray Martin - Running Around Town (Extended Mix): I'm always on the lookout for Billie Ray Martin releases, and when I saw this 12" at one of my old Calgary stomping grounds on a recent visit, had to snap this up! Besides a vocal that I love, it has a certain trademark synth sound characteristic of some popular house records of the early-mid 90s (see Robin S. - Show Me Love), which seems to be coming around again these days.

Modern Mechanical Music - Persia: The title conjures Persia, but it's more like Chicago circa 1986 with this track, another one I found at a local record shop. This particular 12" has a roughness that appeals to me, one that other earlier house records from this time share. The synth motifs and chants here also seem to have one foot in the electro sound of the time too, which I have to say also appeals to me quite a bit.

East Coast Love Affair - Chicago: Keeping with the Chicago theme, the Athens of the North label has been on my radar now for some time, due to their reissues of rare soul/disco records, but some of their more current/original material has also been capturing my attention. Case in point being East Coast Love Affair - a duo consisting of label boss Euan Fryer and Nick Moore (AKA Linkwood). Their cover of this Roy Ayers track from 1983, translates so brilliantly and perfectly into a classic house groove. I had first seen this on a recent release list, but after hearing some DJs play this out one night at work, I had to purchase it straight away!

Swayzak - Fukumachi (2023 Edit): My partner, Andrew recently turned me onto Swayzak. When he saw that there was a 25th Anniversary reissue of their 1998 album Snowboarding in Argentina, he encouraged me to give it a listen. Loved it so much, I ended up ordering a copy. Am quite drawn to the deep, minimal sound on the album, which is among one of my favourite listens recently. Track C1 is one that I flagged early on as a favourite, so am glad to find a place for it here.

Nic Joseph - Love Is Here: A recent release on the Berettamusic label out of Detroit that I picked up earlier in the year. This particular track (the title track of the EP) moved me straight away, in large part due to the beautiful vocal (sample?) that's weaved throughout. The feeling of that vocal was the ideal motif to bring this mix to a full-circle close.


Wednesday, July 05, 2023

Disco Delivery Mix #12: Wheels Begin to Roll

Photo: Roller Boogie Boy by Stuart Reif, After Dark Magazine, year unknown.

On a bit of a roll with these at the moment, so deciding to just post this instead of holding it back for another time.

This one is more straight-ahead disco than the last mix I posted. Visited family recently which also gave me an opportunity to take more records back from storage, so a few of those appear here. At least one selection has been the subject of a past blog post, however all of them are songs that I've been enjoying re-discovering and grooving to for the last few weeks.

That being said, I hope that you, dear listener, enjoy as well!

Disco Delivery #12: Wheels Begin To Roll (Download)

Tracklist and track notes below.


Must - Sado Maso Disco (Instrumental)
Fern Kinney - Love Me Tonight
Macho - Roll
Mystery - Hold On To This Moment (Instrumental)
Love Robot - Slaves of Pleasure
Blo - Back In Time
Beverly Johnson - Don’t Lose The Feeling (12” Version)
Chuck Cissel - Cisselin Hot
Tony Rallo & The Midnite Band - Burnin’ Alive
Plaza - Let’s Do It
Champs Boys Orchestra - Tubular Bells
Gino Soccio - Rhythm Of The World

All the records used in this mix

Track Notes:

Must - Sado Maso Disco (Instrumental): A single I had retrieved from storage recently, one that I had bought some years back based on the cover and on the sheer notion of a song called Sado Maso Disco. Upon listening to it again, I found that the instrumental version on the B-side was much more to my liking. While the whips, chains and moans on the A-side are good for a little sado maso kitsch, the instrumental track is strong enough on its own and could sit alongside anything Cerrone was doing at the time. I suppose that's just as well, since the writers behind this - Célestin Ganou, Michel Gouty and Pierre Naçabal were involved in a number of French disco and pop productions in the 1970s and early 80s.

Fern Kinney - Love Me Tonight: From Fern Kinney's second album, Fern from 1981, this is perhaps my favourite track on the album. Produced by the same team behind her hit cover of "Groove Me" - Carson Whitsett, Wolf Stephenson and Tommy Couch, her coquettish high falsetto and the light and lovely synths make a perfect combination. This track was originally recorded by Malaco labelmates, Sho Nuff as "Tonite," the title track of their second LP from 1980. Fern Kinney's version here doesn't deviate too far from the Sho Nuff original, just with a little extra charm and finesse.

Macho - Roll: Taken from the second Macho album from 1980, sometimes titled Macho II, the same outfit which had a disco hit with a cover of "I'm A Man." Jacques-Fred Petrus turned much of this record over to Celso Valli, the man behind the disco projects Azoto and Tantra, where he goes for a more rock-disco sound, which seemed to have a brief moment in the turn of the 80s. While this second album is somewhat uneven, this track is to me one of the better ones. Like many other J-F Petrus and/or Celso Valli productions of the time, music tracks were recorded in Italy, and vocals recorded with American session singers in New York. Unfortunately the singers themselves aren't credited on this album, however, I can clearly hear the ever-reliable New York session vocalist, Gordon Grody as one of the leads on this particular track. On a visual note - if you thought the first Macho album cover was homoerotic, this second one is perhaps even more so.

Mystery - Hold On To This Moment (Instrumental): A track I had posted on the blog years ago (see A Moment or Two..). The combination of those pots-and-pans style drums and string arrangements place this squarely in that early 80s Lime-adjacent Montreal disco sound. It's perhaps just as well, since this was arranged by Lime's Denis LePage himself and has his sonic stamp all over it. As I recall, the vocal on the A-side was especially terrible, but thankfully the instrumental is good enough on it's own to redeem this single. Interesting fact, this was released in the US on Tommy Boy, one of the first releases on the fledgling label.

Love Robot - Slaves of Pleasure: From a curious album I picked up sometime last year called Love Robot. Frenchmen Gérard Salesses and TV producer/impresario Jean-François Porry (AKA Jean-Luc Azoulay) appear to be the principals behind this. This particular track, "Slaves of Pleasure" always seems to go over well whenever I play it. Add this to the list of curious disco songs about robot love - Dee D. Jackson's "Automatic Lover" being a prime example, with lyrics promising a future where "men are only a memory." My favourite line: "we are slaves of pleasure, a new kind of leisure, and your only program, is to love you madame."

BLO - Back In Time: Picked up a reissue of this single (on PMG) from Nigerian band BLO a few years ago. An acronym for the members' first names - Berkley "Ike" Jones (guitar), Laolu "Akins" Akintobi (drums) and Mike "Gbenga" Odumosu (bass), BLO was a rock band formed in the early 70s taking inspiration both from Afrobeat and American psychedelic rock. By this time, the lineup was Berkley Jones, Laolu Akintobi and Otu Lemmy Jackson and they were recording more straight-ahead disco tracks like this one. Though apparently the version of this song on the PMG reissue is shorter than the original release, I couldn't possibly pass up this groove once I heard it for myself.

Beverly Johnson - Don’t Lose The Feeling (12” Version): A solid disco single from supermodel (and first black woman to grace the cover of American Vogue), Beverly Johnson. Apparently the theme song from the 1979 action-adventure film Ashanti, which starred Michael Caine, Peter Ustinov and Beverly herself, it would also be the title track to her full-length album released the same year. Johnson may not be a vocal dynamo but with all the heavy-hitters involved here - like Betty Wright who co-produced this with Robert White, Michael Melvoin who is one of the co-writers, Horace Ott as arranger, complete with "Midnight Mix" by Richie Rivera, Johnson sounds good on this catchy little groover.

Chuck Cissel - Cisselin Hot: Oklahoma-born Chuck Cissel was a theatre performer in the 70s, landing plum roles in hit musicals like Purlie, Hello Dolly! and perhaps most prominently, in the Broadway production of A Chorus Line. His work on stage and in commercials led to various recording opportunities, the biggest of which was a record deal with Arista. This song is, for better or worse, one of the defining moments of his recording output. With a groove that's as hot as the title proclaims, I'm somewhat surprised this wasn't a bigger hit. Produced by Skip Scarborough and David Crawford (not to be confused with the Dave Crawford who produced hits for Jackie Moore, Wilson Pickett and Candi Staton) this groove is unstoppable, peak-1979 heat!

Tony Rallo & The Midnite Band - Burnin’ Alive: Guitarist and one of the most in-demand arrangers in France at the time, Tony Rallo appeared on many records by French luminaries like Dalida (including the one featured on the previous mix), Charles Aznavour, Sacha Distel, Catherine Ferry and others. Rallo also appeared on French disco productions like Madleen Kane's Rough Diamond and Theo Vaness' Back to Music under the alias Tony Lexter, reasoning that French audiences were more likely to buy disco product with an American name than with a French name, something that friend and arranger Raymond Donnez also did, under the alias Don Ray. Alec R. Costandinos, someone else who likely moved in many of the same musical circles in France, offered to record an album with him in London with top-flight British and American session players. This was the title track and the undisputed standout on that record. Love how this song packs a lot of dancefloor energy, yet still has enough room for the session players to add some jazzy solos to the mix. Probably one of Costandinos' best outside productions, this one still lights up dance floors.

Plaza - Let’s Do It: I had long wanted a copy of this elusive (at least to me) album by the disco project, Plaza. Finally got a copy of it late last year - recorded in the UK but only ever released in France and Venezuela (according to Discogs). Produced by Mike Thorne and ex-Soft Machine members Karl Jenkins and Mike Ratledge, vocals by an uncredited Claire Torry, the album is chock full of elegant, hyper-delirious disco goodies like this one.

Champs Boys Orchestra - Tubular Bells: An early mash-up of sorts, this record is ostensibly a cover of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" combined with the bassline of Donna Summer's "Love To Love You Baby." Produced by Patrick Bocéno with yet another well-travelled French arranger and conductor, Hervé Roy, it's an intriguing and clever disco combination.

Gino Soccio - Rhythm Of The World: From Gino Soccio's second album S-Beat from 1980 which to me was a bit of a mixed bag. Many of the tracks saw him incorporating elements of new-wave which was increasingly making itself heard on disco dancefloors by the turn of the 80s. It didn't always work to my ears but sometimes it did, like on this song. Somehow sounding slower than it actually is, the combination of ambient-style synths with rock guitar touches and an "I Feel Love"-style bass-line comes together quite sublimely.


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Lost in the night

Photo: Nona Hendryx by Nick Sangiamo, 1984

Posting a little overdue mix for the start of summer...

Some years back I had made a little tradition of putting a mix up for Pride season, so am coming back to that partial sort of way. At the same time, this particular mix isn't exactly the straight-on celebratory disco that I'd usually have on tap for the occasion. Decided instead to go in a few different directions this time, using various selections of post-disco, and/or disco-adjacent material this time. Still, quite heavy on female singers, as is my tendency. Most of the songs on here are just under or just over 100 BPM, so I suppose this one's perhaps more for walking than dancing.

Most of the records I used for this mix were also ones that I brought the last time my partner Andrew and I played our INTERGEN night in May. As it turns out, we'll be doing another INTERGEN night this coming Wednesday June 28th, a kind of post-pride recovery through records, if you will. Starting at 9PM at The Little Jerry in Toronto. If you're in the area, do come by!

Lost In The Night (Download)

Tracklist and track notes below... Enjoy!


Terry Crawford - Chocolate Candy
Hot - Just ‘Cause I’m Guilty
Lucio Battisti - Un uomo che ti ama
Maxine Nightingale - Get It Up For Love
Alfie Silas - Put The Freeze On
Nona Hendryx - Soft Targets
Costas Charitodiplomenos - Lost In The Night (12" Version)
Barbara Fowler - Come and Get My Lovin’
First Love - It’s A Mystery To Me
Linda Clifford - I Want To Get Away With You
First Choice - Pressure Point
Dalida - Helwa ya baladi
Martha Velez - There You Are
Paula Moore - On The Edge
Liza Minnelli - If There Was Love

All the records used in this mix

Track Notes:

Terry Crawford - Chocolate Candy: A favourite of mine from Canadian singer Terry Crawford (sometimes called Terri Crawford) and one that I had happened upon quite by accident. Back in 2006, when I was living in Calgary, my favourite record shop had a back store room full of records. The owner noted how much disco I was buying, so let me into his store room, telling me that anything I found in there was $2 bucks a pop. I didn't have a portable record player with me, nor did they have a preview station, so I was going largely on instinct. While this wasn't exactly the disco I was perhaps half-expecting, I consider it one of the gems I found in that particular expedition. Written and originally recorded by American singer-songwriter Cheryl Dilcher in 1973 (who herself has a little disco connection), there's something about the bass in the groove here, and Terry's vocal approach that cinches this as my preferred version. Some years later, I figured out this was a fairly sought after record when someone from Europe messaged me on Discogs offering to pay me an amount of my choice for a .wav file of this song. As of this writing, the promo-only 12" is still going for upwards of $200 USD on Discogs, though I will say, for the intrepid diggers out there, copies still show up once in a while in Canadian dollar bins.

Hot - Just ‘Cause I’m Guilty: This group, comprised of Gwen Owens, Cathy Carson and Juanita Curiel put out three albums, all of which were helmed by the Muscle Shoals production duo of Clayton Ivey & Terry Woodford. I first heard Ivey & Woodford's work on The Supremes 1975 self-titled album. Not long after their time on Motown, they had one of their biggest hits on this group with the song "Angel In Your Arms," later covered by Millie Jackson, Barbara Mandrell and Reba McIntyre, to name a few. While that was the hit, the funkier sass and swing of "Just 'Cause I'm Guilty," the last track on Hot's self-titled album, remains my favourite. In any case, both songs summarize that intersection of soul, funk, and country that Ivey & Woodford covered so well.

Lucio Battisti - Un uomo che ti ama: First heard of Lucio Battisti through the Italian diva, Mina, who sang many of his songs. One of his many successful collaborations with the lyricist Mogol, his 1976 album (which this song is from) is among my favourites. Called Lucio Battisti, La batteria, Il contrabbasso, eccetera (The drums, the double bass, etcetera) it's one I had discovered from my partner, Andrew's collection, and shows Battisti incorporating ever more elements of American funk and disco into his sound. Recently, Sony Music Italy reissued the album on vinyl with a bonus CD which included the Spanish version of the record. This song, (which in English means, "A Man Who Loves You") and the entire record remain a wonderful listen in either language.

Maxine Nightingale - Get It Up For Love: I don't think I've heard a bad version of this song, which is a good thing, because there seem to be quite a few out there. I first heard this song when Táta Vega covered it as a disco song on her Try My Love album in 1979, which I had written about on this blog some years back - see Disco Delivery #41: Táta Vega - Try My Love (1979, Motown). This version, from 1977 on Maxine Nightingale's second album Night Life (sometimes titled Love Hit Me after its lead single) cuts closer to Ned Doheny's original. Though Táta's version will always be tops for me, I'd rank this up there as a favourite also.

Alfie Silas - Put The Freeze On: Alfie Silas-Durio has a long list of credits to her name as a session singer, as well as three albums of her own from the early 80s. This one's from her first, Alfie on RCA in 1982, which had a number of good tracks (I've found 1982-83 to be particularly good years for post-disco R&B/Boogie records). Ended up buying the album largely on the appeal of this song. Its melancholy synths conjure up spacey themes and metaphors, as do the lyrics. From that description one would think the whole thing could fall into gimmicky and/or cheesy territory, but it all comes together in quite a sincere, soulful and innovative way. Pitched down slightly for a little extra depth.

Nona Hendryx - Soft Targets: One of my favourite songs from her underrated 1984 LP, The Art Of Defense, the lyrics conjure up thoughts and images of vulnerability and uncertainty with a groove that's minimal but powerful. Pitched this one down also for beatmatching purposes and to impart a little extra power. In my opinion, a highlight of the work she did with Material/Bill Laswell in the early 80s.

Costas Charitodiplomenos - Lost In The Night (12" Version): Italo-Disco from Greek singer/songwriter Costas Charitodiplomenos. I had discovered Costas' songs on YouTube, and was intrigued at the Italo sound some of his work had. The connection clearly wasn't lost on the Italians either, as this ended up on the Many Records label in Italy, remixed by Mario Flores and Romano Bais (who put out a number of Italo records as R. Bais). Lyrically and melodically solid, I thought it worked well with the theme and feeling of the previous Nona Hendryx track and many of the other selections here.

Barbara Fowler - Come and Get My Lovin’: Stellar boogie from the Radar label and singer Barbara Fowler, who had been a vocalist in the disco/boogie projects Sinnamon and Sparkle. Don't always get to play this one, but am glad to find a place here for it. From the extended dubby synth effects to a killer soulful vocal, this has so many of the things I love about early 80's boogie. Produced by Eric Matthew (AKA Joe Tucci), the man who brought you Gary's Gang, Sure Shot by Tracy Weber and many of Sharon Redd's hits.

First Love - It’s A Mystery To Me: I've covered this group here before, when I posted their 1980 disco single Don't Say Goodnight/Love Me Today. Until recently, their sole album, Love At First Sight, on their producer, Donald Burnside's label, Chycago International Music, remained elusive for me. When I finally picked it up at a recent record fair, this song was one of the standouts for me. From 1982, one of those golden years of boogie, much like the previous selection - a funky groove, with lovely synths together with charming, soulful harmonies.

Linda Clifford - I Want To Get Away With You: One of my favourite disco divas, and a highlight from one of my favourite albums of hers, I'm Yours from 1980. That album was mostly produced by Isaac Hayes, and this song in particular has his stamp all over it. Personally, I think it's too bad this wasn't a single. I love hearing Linda sing in her lower register here, and all of the little classy touches on the production, from the elegant pauses to the guitar hook that gets you right from the top.

First Choice - Pressure Point: Another one I've covered here before - see Disco Delivery #29: First Choice - Breakaway (1980, Gold Mind/Salsoul). This was from the group's last album, and while this song wasn't among their hits, it's definitely among my personal favourites of theirs. Produced by the ever reliable Norman Harris and mixed by Tee Scott, from those strings at the intro, to all of the sharp, teasing breaks and edits, am glad to finally place this one in a mix!

Dalida - Helwa ya baladi: Changing gears into a signature song from the late icon of French pop, Dalida. I picked up a Canadian pressing of the album this was from, Dédié À Toi/Monday Tuesday some years back. However it wasn't really the disco tracks that captured me but this one, the last song on Side A. Sung in her native Egyptian Arabic, the title evidently translates to "Oh Sweet, My Homeland." Something of an evergreen patriotic song in Egypt these days, it's easy to hear why this became one of Dalida's most beloved songs in Egypt and across the Arab world.

Martha Velez - There You Are: I had bought Martha Velez' album Escape From Babylon at my favourite Calgary record store back in 2005. At the time, I didn't really have a great deal of knowledge of all the great names involved, but it intrigued me nonetheless. Between that and the fact that it was sealed and had a song called "Disco Night" on it, how could one go wrong? Beginning her recording career as a folk singer, she recorded this reggae album in 1975 with Bob Marley and Lee "Scratch" Perry in Jamaica. While this album still seems to get mixed reviews, it's one I personally love and go back to again and again, with a much fuller appreciation these days. This song, written by Marley, is to my ears, one of its high points.

Paula Moore - On The Edge: One of the big record fairs here in Toronto had room of $5 records that I used to love going to. It's a frenzy, but one never knows what one will find there. This particular album, titled High and Low in most territories, retitled Valparaiso in Canada after its hit single, is one case in point. Produced by super-producer and Daft Punk dad Daniel Vangarde, it's not quite like the hits he made for Ottawan and The Gibson Brothers, opting instead for a more subdued synth-centred sound here. While the album is perhaps not consistent enough in my ears to to be a classic, there are nevertheless, several remarkable songs on it, this being one of them. Combining the synth sound of much of the album with a reggae beat on this track, the result actually sounds much more interesting than it seems on paper.

Liza Minnelli - If There Was Love: From Liza's 1989 Results album, produced by the Pet Shop Boys. I probably needn't say much more, but to my mind, one of the great producer-artist pairings of that moment. I remember as a young gayling, Results being presented to me as a key part of my education in queer culture. The drama and resonance of Liza's voice in this song and the Pet Shop Boys' production and notably Neil Tennant's sharp personal lyricism here summarizes, to my ears, why that partnership worked so well. One of the song's key verses: "Men of affairs, women with power, satellites talking, to clutter our lives. Banks of predictions, policies made, prophecies broken, violence deranged..." Words which feel perhaps truer now than they did then. Culminating with a recitation of Shakespeare's Sonnet 94, while there are a number of great songs on the album, this is perhaps the one I go back to the most.


Search this blog