Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A moment or two..



Mystery - Hold On To This Moment (Instrumental) (1981, Bump)

Here's a little something that I picked up recently.. A few weeks back, I had a nice sunny day to myself and while on a mid-morning walk, felt the urge to stop into the used record shop. Let's just say that with all the disco 12'' in their new arrivals that day, my wallet was a whole lot lighter once I got home..

Anyway, despite the water damage on the cover, this is undoubtedly one of my best finds lately. Although there is no specific producer credited on this record, the arrangements are credited to none other than ubiquitous Montreal super-producer/arranger Denis LePage who, of course, was one half of the duo Lime, along with his then wife Denyse LePage.

Along with Joe LaGreca (with whom he often co-produced, especially early on), LePage was undoubtedly one of the most prolific producers/arrangers to come out of the Montreal disco scene. Whether as a producer, arranger, writer or player, he must have contributed to dozens of notable records out of the Montreal scene over the years. Aside from Lime, some of the more prominent ones like Carol Jiani and Kat Mandu's "The Break" (both of which were co-produced with Joe LaGreca) come to mind.. In some ways, I'd probably describe LePage and LaGreca's sound as the Canadian equivalent of the sort of things that came out of Patrick Adams and Peter Brown's P&P labels. Although their respective sounds were completely different, one was rooted in R&B and funk, the other in a hybrid of Euro and American sounds; both camps often put out (or contributed to) records with a similarly distinctive indie, lo-fi quality to them (see Carol Jiani's "Hit N' Run Lover" for one example)..

Although on this particular record, LePage and LaGreca aren't specifically credited as producers (the production instead credited, rather anonymously, as a "Brothers United Music Production"), they might as well have been. With the combination of synths, punchy horn arrangements, their signature flat, crashing drums; not to mention that metronomic cowbell and beautiful string section, the track has their sound all over it. Overall, the whole thing ends up sounding similar to that early Lime sound; like a lighter, breezier, more melodic companion piece to Lime's amazing "Agent 406." Despite the fact that the once ubiquitous disco string sections seemed well on their way out by this point, the sheer drama of those string and horn sections are what really make this particular record stand out. Those two elements singlehandedly take the mood and feeling of this record to elegant, dizzying heights in a way that probably wasn't heard very often by this point in the early 80's..

While the instrumental is superb, the vocal version on the other hand (which is actually on the A-side), is unfortunately one of the most awful vocal tracks I've ever heard. Seriously. I'm not exaggerating, it's absolutely wretched... If you don't believe me, go ahead and listen to it for yourself... Just don't say you weren't warned...

Although the vocal may start off relatively decent at the beginning, it only gets progressively worse towards the end. By that point, it just reminds me of really bad karaoke, albeit without the amusement factor. I almost feel bad for the joker trying to 'sing', whoever the hell he is. He not only sounds downright awful, but practically ruins an otherwise good record in the process.. Perhaps in this case, it's a good thing no one was credited for them. Although I was tempted to suggest that maybe the vocalist is Denis LePage himself, it sounds nothing like how he does on the Lime records. LePage's vocals in Lime may have been at times shaky and a little 'rough around the edges,' so to speak, but this guy makes him sound like Elvis in comparison.. In any case, I can only guess that maybe they blew their budget on the string section and couldn't afford a half-decent singer afterwards..

Evidently though, in 1982 this track still managed to get a US release/remix on the then fledgling Tommy Boy label, being what appears to be one of the earliest Tommy Boy releases that I've come across..

The original Canadian release posted here was mixed by the late New York disco DJ veteran Bobby 'DJ' Guttadaro, who also contributed to other notable Canadian disco releases such as Montreal feat. Uchenna Ikejiani and the original 12" of Sparkle Tuhran & Friends' "Handsome Man" to name just a couple. The US Tommy Boy release, however, was remixed by the prolific Mark Berry, who had gotten his start as an in-house producer, mixer and engineer on the Vanguard label on records by Poussez!, Roni Griffith and Alisha to name a few. Although I haven't heard the US remix yet, judging from the reviews on discomusic.com, both sides of the US 12'' evidently kept the vocals on the mix. According to one of those user reviews, the popularity of the Lime sound at the time still managed to get this record some limited club play.

Anyway, vocal version aside, to me, this instrumental version (although fairly brief by disco standards) nonetheless remains a hidden, sparkling (can-con) disco diamond..

PREVIOUS RELATED ENTRIES:
DISCO DELIVERY #35: MONTREAL FEATURING UCHENNA IKEJIANI (1979, SALSOUL) (FEBRUARY 21, 2007)

LINKS:
MYSTERY - HOLD ON TO THIS MOMENT (ORIGINAL 12'') @ DISCOGS
MYSTERY - HOLD ON TO THIS MOMENT (US REMIX 12'') @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
MYSTERY - HOLD ON TO THIS MOMENT (US REMIX 12'') @ DISCOGS
DENIS LEPAGE @ DISCOGS
DENIS LEPAGE @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
DENYSE LEPAGE @ DISCOGS
DARIO'S LIME PAGE
JOE LA GRECA @ DISCOGS
JOE LA GRECA @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
DENYSE LEPAGE @ DARIO'S LIME PAGE
GIORGY'S PLACE- LIME
LIME @ DISCO MUSEUM


CATEGORIES: MINI DELIVERIES, CAN-CON DISCO

7 comments:

DungeonDJ said...

LOL:D
This vocal version is crackin' me up. Kinda reminds me of Bill Murray's portrayal of The Lounge Singer on Saturday Night Live (when it was good). Though, they give a nobel effort, all the reverb in the world doesn't help this guy. The lyrics aren't too hot either. I can't imagine this being Denis LePage singing. He's way, too, much better a singer, even on a bad day. Do you think the group is named "Mystery" by accident or, was it an afterthought? Anyway, the music is good. I like the Instrumental version but, that vocal is sooo bad that, I gotta add it to my collection, just for the novelty. BTW, it does sound quite Limely.
Thanks for this entertaining (in more ways than one) music.

Tommy said...

lol.. Thanks for the comment DungeonDJ! Yeah that vocal is absolutely atrocious. I just had to move the vocal link off the top of the post and into the text. That vocal version just doesn't deserve to be there haha.. Anyway, whenever I play it here, I'm always worried that my neighbours will hear it and think it's actually me trying to sing :P

As far as the name goes, I'd lean towards it being an afterthought; a way of distinguishing this as a side project, perhaps.. I suppose I also see it as perhaps a deliberate reference to some of the absent credits, (no vocalist or producer credited).

Broomfield said...

There is only one thing I can say about the vocal - "why oh why oh why...".

I just so appreciate the thought and effort that you put into your blog, as an ardent disco fan, I learn SO much as well as being introduced to 'gems', so THANK YOU! By the way, have you ever heard "Love is just a game" by Judy B? Another disco delight on a Canadian label!

Sotek said...

Yeah the vocal version is terrible. But it's a great record overall.

Thanks!

Tommy said...

Thanks for the kind words, broomfield! :) To answer your question, unfortunately I haven't heard of the Judy B. track yet. It shouldn't be too hard to find here though.. Thanks for letting me know about it! :)

No problem, Sotek.. Thanks for linking me on Filter27! I've been checking it out these past couple of days and it's been like a portal to all kinds of great new music for me.. Thanks again! :)

NEL said...

Let me tell you..you left me speechless when I found Montreal's "If you believe in me". It was my fav song when I was like 13 years old. Haven't heard it since then..you made my day..I can't stop playing it. Thank you very much, felt like it was a personal gift!!! Many blessings for your page and thanks for all the music you put in here!

Tommy said...

Hey Nel,

No problem at all! Glad I could help you solve that mystery :)

Anyway, thank you for the kind comments, I really appreciate it! :)

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