Thursday, February 02, 2006

get up and boo-gie!

Just a little side delivery before Friday.. I got some email requests recently and thought I would post a couple of them up here, plus one other great track that I just came across..

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ABBA - If It Wasn't For The Nights (1979, Polar/Atlantic)

One of my personal favourite ABBA songs. This one was taken from their 1979 "Voulez-Vous" album, their most disco-influenced album and possibly the best single of theirs that never was. Many disco purists outright deny ABBA's "serious" disco viability. Too commercial, too campy, too white/european (ie. soulless) and so on.. Often put in the same category as the Bee Gees, Boney M etc.. Usually by the same people who would be biased against euro-disco in general. I'd certainly disagree with them, even though I'll admit they were more pop than disco, I'd say they still had legitimate disco credentials. Aside from the obvious (their hit "Dancing Queen"), "Voulez-Vous," "Summer Night City," "Gimme Gimme Gimme" (as sampled by Madonna recently) and "Lay All Your Love On Me" (which had a lot of club play back in the day) to name a few are all excellent disco songs with great pop-appeal. This one probably isn't straight-ahead disco but definitely disco-influenced with those guitars, that wonderful string section and a great melody as per many of ABBA's best..

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Silver Convention - Get Up And Boogie (12" Version) (1976, Midland International)

A great slice of early euro-disco from their self-titled second album. They were probably best known for their 1975 hit "Fly Robin Fly" which hit #1 in the US and I'd imagine would be something of an early disco cross-over hit. This one follows in a similar vein, short on lyrics for sure, but with a great string section and a funky groove, not to mention also a big hit in the US (peaking at #2 in the Hot 100 in 1976). Silver Convention were a group put together by Munich-based producers Sylvester Levay and Michael Kunze, part of a group of Munich-based producers like Jürgen Korduletsch (Claudja Barry, Ronnie Jones) and not to mention Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte (behind none other than Donna Summer) to name a few who were making waves in the US at this time. Many of the earlier disco productions by these producers were similar to this, with a very dominant US funk/R&B influence but with a certain European pop aesthetic, creating something of a distinct "Munich Sound," which, at least in the case of Moroder/Bellotte and Korduletsch, became more electronic and rock-influenced towards the late '70s..

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Brenda & The Tabulations - Let's Go All The Way (Down) (1976, Chocolate City/Casablanca)

Some great Philly disco that I've come across lately by the late Brenda Payton, who with the Tabulations had hits in the '60s and early '70s with songs like "Dry Your Eyes" and "Right On The Tip of My Tongue." This is from one of their later albums from 1976 on the Casablanca subsidiary label Chocolate City. Love those ad-libs, that signature Philly-style beat and that long breakdown. Apparently something of a classic in New York back in the day. After hearing this, I'm definitely on the look out for the LP this came from -"I Keep Coming Back For More," there were some real great producers on hand like John Davis, Norman Harris and Bobby Eli, who all have impressive disco credentials in their own right. I found an interesting thread on the wonderful Soulful Detroit forum where Bobby Eli, the producer & arranger of this song talks about working with Brenda & The Tabulations and how this track came about:

"Brenda and Gilda loved the song and thought that it would be a nice change of pace for Brenda.
I had no idea that it was an NYC Disco Classic.
We were just "piddling around" one day ane Brenda was trying those ad libs and worked.
I loved Brenda.She was such a sweet person, and left us much too soon.

(source: Soulful Detroit: Brenda & The Tabulations - A Fine Philly Soul Act)

'til next time...

(great discography site)




Tommy said...

Glad you both liked :)

I'll be sure to do more indepth entries for all three acts in the future..

JMG said...

Another great post Tommy!

Tommy said...

Thanks Joe :)

Chris Krakora said...

Thanks for giving love to Voulez Vous-era ABBA (Another song from that album "As Good As New" is a favorite of mine) and the awesome "Let's Go All..." by B&TF!

Tommy said...

No problem Chris! :)

"As Good As New," love that song!

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