Monday, July 02, 2007

Strange Passion

Strange Passion - Desire (1976, RCA)

It's been just a little over two weeks since my last posting, and quite frankly I've been so exhausted from work that lately I haven't had the energy to write about disco records or really do much of anything else, to be honest. With the Stampede fast approaching here, things have gotten insanely busy at work in the past couple of weeks, it's got me pretty much all used up.. In past years, I've had the luxury of passing it all by for the most part, but since they're the ones paying me again this year, I don't exactly have that choice anymore.. Last year this was the time when I took a bit of a hiatus for pretty much the same reasons, but so far this year hasn't been nearly as stressful as last so I'll try to keep up with the postings as much as I can in the coming weeks..

Anyway, with that out of the way, I figure since today, July 1st, is (or perhaps was, by the time anyone reads this) Canada Day, I might as well put on some Can-Con disco on here.. This particular single is a little something I picked up back in October when I went on something of a 12'' shopping spree at a local used record shop.. I remember I bought it based on, first of all: the fact that it was cheap, and second: the fact that it was produced by Montreal disco producer Tony Green, best known for his success with France Joli and her biggest disco hits. Also, aside from all that I was somewhat intrigued by the Side B label which had the name and address of a long defunct local discotheque called 'Bianca's Disco' stamped on it, making it something of a local historical artifact as well..

After listening to it and looking for some info on it (and finding next to nothing), I can only say that track, "Desire" under the guise Strange Passion is another one of Tony Green's many disco obscurities. For every one of his well, or better known productions for the likes of France Joli, Carolyne Bernier, Cindy Valentine, Geraldine Hunt and her son Freddie James, along with the act Kebekelektrik; it appears there were also a good number of obscure efforts like this one and others from the 70s and into the 1980s under guises such as Colorblind, Metal Weeds, U.N., Black Star and for artists like Goldie Alexander, Sharon etc. in his discography. Although there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of information out there about Green himself, with the number of things he's been associated with, both well and not so well known, he's definitely another one to add to the list of highly prolific, exceptional Canadian disco producers based out of Montreal..

Overall, while this particular single may not be his very best work, it's still got a pleasant, mid-tempo, sexy little groove to it. As well, it's also one of the earliest Tony Green disco productions I've come across. Entirely instrumental, the track starts off with a sly, sensual bassline backed with some great percussion which is complimented further with some wonderful gliding, elegant orchestration. The strings eventually move into a nice melodic climax after going through a few rounds of engaging instrumental tension/interplay..

Although Green himself wrote and produced this single, interestingly enough the record was also mixed by Michel Daigle (the only other name on this record), who along with Dominic Sciscente would later produce some great disco records under guises such as Space Project, The Black Light Orchestra and for Montreal singer Alma-Faye Brooks, to name a few..

As a producer, Tony Green evidently remained active well into the late 90's and even into the early part of this decade. Although it doesn't seem to have been updated in a while, the website for his own record company, Tony Green Organization, is still up and running. Although aside from some of the more well-known ones, there isn't really much info there on his disco projects, although there is quite a bit on his later projects.

Hopefully later on in the week, I'll be able to make some much needed updates on some past postings (ie. Midnight Rhythm) and maybe post a re-upload as well..




M.E. Grant said...

Good to have you back. I wasn't sure if you took a vacation or a powder. There's nothing as uplifting as a pay cut, is there?... Don't you just love those cheesy, generic sleeves? I imagine this cut as a big hint, letting disco dancers know they don't have to go home, but they can't stay at the club!
I see that you've linked to ARIA your page. Check out the review of my latest project there.

BoogieMan said...

Very nice selection. Hey, speaking of obscure discotheques, have you ever heard of a places called Peaches Disco on Pears Avenue in Toronto? I have a double LP set "Disco Heat" that's a continuous mix, apparently a live recording from that place. Can't wait to get all my LP's converted. Too bad about the pay cut. They're always a balloon popper. Just make sure they don't try to take any blood. That's where I draw the line!
P.S. Don't let 'em bring you down Tommy. God knows, they'll always try their hardest, to do just that! Thanks for the post.

Tommy said...

Hey M.E. Grant and Dungeon DJ.. Thanks for the comments, I'll be sure to check out the review in ARIA... Just to clarify though; when I said they were 'cutting my paycheque', I meant it in the sense that they're the ones paying me, not as in cutting my salary :P.. If anything, it's actually the opposite..

With the crazy job market in Calgary these days, I don't think anyone is (or should be) getting pay cuts in this town lol. Without going into too much detail, I have to admit that in spite of the hectic summer, they do pay me well enough to stick around ;)

About Peaches Disco, no unfortunately I've never heard of it.. Maybe someone from Toronto BITD would have.. That disco mix album does sound interesting though! :)

Mudhooks said...

Peaches on Pears.... I went there back in 1978 or so when my boyfriend of the day fancied himself the next John Travolta (had a white suit and everything which he wore with cowboy boots --- seriously).

Peaches on Pears (always called Peaches on Pears, not Peaches Disco, as long as I was in Toronto) was a disco meat-market. The serious dancers didn't ask anyone to dance until they had seen them dance with someone in the lower ranks ("losers"). Of course, if a woman got up to dance with a lower rank guy at the outset it was to show her stuff in hopes of being asked by a guy in the upper ranks. Some women never got asked to dance even by the "losers" and some "losers" no one would get up to dance with.

Those who did get up to dance were scrutinized by both men and women.

Non-"losers" often left together at the end of the evening.

The music? Disco.

My boyfriend was one of the people who no one would get up to dance with and I, apparently, wasn't good enough for him to be seen dancing with. I got a lot of chance to be an anthropologist on the wall.

Apparently it became a jazz lounge after disco died.

Tommy said...

Thanks for the interesting look into Peaches on Pears, Mudhooks. A demanding dancefloor and an interesting subculture, allright.. Must have been fascinating to witness, but I would have hated to deal with all of that on a night out dancing.. Definitely not for the insecure.

Thanks again!

BoogieMan said...

Wow, sorry I missed this response to the Peaches "on Pears" response. I don't doubt the name but, it's not the name listed in the credits on my album. As a matter of fact, I'm looking at the album right now. I don't know much about it's making but, it says "TeeVee Records, Inc. 1979 Manufactured in Toronto, Canada and, Distributed by/Tee Vee Records 60 Bullock Drive Markham, Ontario L3P 3P2" All the licensing dates on the album (6 of them) all say 1977, 78 or 79. Interestingly, there must've been an accompanying film to this because additional sleeve notes say, "Filmed at Peaches Disco, Pears Avenue, Toronto". It's a 2 LP set of continuous mixes from the discotheque and the album title is "Disco Heat". As far as her description of the class system with the "dancers" clientele, she's pretty much on the money with what I've experienced here in the New Jersey area. My wife is a retired dance instructor who used to own a popular, local studio. She has appeared in a "El Debarge" music video, an (Off Broadway) play, "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue" and has choreographed for Lime, 2 In A Room and another (one hit wonder) dance group of the early 90s. She has also made early appearances on MTV's "The Grind" from where she got her connections to choreograph for the afore mentioned groups. I never considered myself a great dancer but, I must've been pretty good based on how my wife described me. I do remember seeing and, quietly, envying some really, really, GREAT "Hustlers". But, according to my wife, if I wasn't a good dancer, I never would've landed her. So, I must've been in the upper categories. Our categories were subdivided from three main: The Drinkers, The Watchers and, The Dancers. The Dancers (even the least of them) were the elite when classified among all three. However, from there, the dancers themselves were subdivided according to their abilities though, not quite so harshly. As far as a meat market, I've been to a lot of clubs and, they're all meat markets to some degree. Definitely not the place to look for a serious relationship though, my wife and I are exceptions so, I guess it's not entirely impossible. I would surmise that "Peaches on Pears" was a soubriquet derived from the club's actual name and, it's location. May even have been what their sign read. This album appears to have originated in Toronto, around the height of Peaches' popularity, according to it's earliest copyright date of 1977/1978 (Quality Records -Toronto). Anyway, this album has received some minor water damage from a flood in my home earlier in 2007 but, I don't think it's beyond repair. The album sleeve, unfortunately, didn't fare so well with the front picture, now, distorted. Thanks for the update Tommy and, the insider info Mudhooks. It's been very insightful. Sorry for the late reply.

ryan said...

Hey Guys.. So me and my buddy used to listen to a dusty U.N.record we found over and over.. It was good times.. SO now I am trying to figure out what are some of the best recordings or productions Tony Green is associated with? Perhaps you could put up a 'must-have' list of Tony Green associated hits and albums?? That would be epic for me and my crew of disco wannabees. I am so eager to know what are some of the hotter tracks he has done, because Discogs says that U.N. is good but certainly not his best... So that leads me to the question, what is his best stuff??

ryan said...

I should add that I am young.. and so I havent even heard of France Joli!!

dancin'fool said...

I'm a youngn' I suppose. I went to Peaches on Pears Disco in Toronto as an 11 or 12 year old boy! 1978 or 79. A girl in my grade 6 class had this amazingly awesome birthday party there. Her mom arranged for limos to take our grade 6 class to that disco during the day on a Saturday or Sunday. It was great! My first glimpse into what an actual dance floor at a disco was like. Damm I wish I had some photos to share. Anyhow, that's my two cents. I was actually searching for "peaches on pears" and landed on this page.


Calgary said...

What a tremendous find.
"Bianca's Disco" on 7th Ave with the small entrance around the back was my favourite hangout in the late 70s.
And yes - the music sounds all too familiar. :-)

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