Sunday, September 17, 2006

Disco Delivery #25:
Rinder & Lewis - Warriors (1979, AVI/Quality)

Rinder & Lewis - Love Potion #9
Rinder & Lewis - Blue Steel
Rinder & Lewis - Willie and the Hand Jive
Rinder & Lewis - Arabella/Home
Rinder & Lewis - Harlem Shuffle

File links updated 10/26/08

Finally, it's here..

I've been wanting to showcase something from these guys for a while now. Laurin Rinder & W. Michael Lewis were, in my opinion, one of the best disco production duos of the disco era. Probably not one of the most recognizable as far as the mainstream goes, but certainly one of the most prolific and popular among disco enthusiasts. Rinder and Lewis were pretty much the principals behind El Coco, Le Pamplemousse, Saint Tropez, Tuxedo Junction, Discognosis as well as the soundtrack to the TV show "In Search Of.." (which I used to love as a kid) among others.. According to a 1980 article (see links section), by then they had apparently been involved in some twenty nine albums. Laurin Rinder admitted in a recent interview with Discopia, that they pretty much lived in the studio during the late '70's, in his words: "we really had cots, beds and the whole thing, we were just pumpin’ them out. 7 days a week, 3 different projects at the same time. I played drums on everything but had to play a little differently. I had to ask the engineer 'What’s the name of this group?' " Not surprisingly cocaine figured quite prominently in the madness of those days. Another thing Laurin Rinder admitted in that same interview was: "The amount of coke we did to do all this you can’t even imagine. $300 a day. I had to have plastic inserts in my nose so I could do more." I wonder if ol' Rick James needed plastic inserts..

What makes their output even more remarkable is that they played the majority of the instruments themselves. Despite that, as musicians they didn't credit themselves on some of their earlier works, instead giving false names to false musicians on the back of their records; In part I guess to give the appearance of being a real group. One other reason, as Rinder admitted in his interview, was to remain fairly anonymous, so as not to tarnish their reputation as "legit" rock and jazz musicians. In recent years, Laurin Rinder has been the most forthcoming with tales of the day, having done at least two interviews with disco websites in recent years. Prior to disco he already had a long history as a session and journeyman drummer, having played on countless records since the 1950's, including a stint as a session player at Motown, often without credit.

"Warriors," as mentioned earlier was their second album as Rinder & Lewis, and is probably among some of the best stuff they've released. Even the cover they used, an actual picture of their fathers on a fishing trip, made a clever statement. Overall, I love the sound they went for on this LP, with great musicianship coloured with some amazing, lush, smooth synthesizer effects. The cream of the crop as far as the tracks on this album goes, and as good as everything is, is probably the closing track "Blue Steel." Forget Zoolander (please), this track is, to me, the culmination of that excellent balance of synthsesizers and live musicians that they achieved throughout the album. Those amazing, equal parts calm and crazy synths at one point blending seamlessly with the violin solo is, for me, one of the best things about this track. Dark, haunting and sexy at the same time, it's one of the most atmospheric disco instrumentals I've yet to hear. It almost recalls one of their standout tracks, "Lust" from their "Seven Deadly Sins" (1978, AVI) project. So much so that one internet review even described this track as "Lust, part II." One of those tracks that one just needs to luxuriate in to really appreciate..

The two covers on the album are also well worth listening to. The LP opens with a synth driven cover of Johnny Otis' "Willie & The Hand Jive," which as I recently learned is actually about an innocent 1950's dance/clap game, not that other kind of hand jive, but I digress.. Opens with a great I-Feel-Love-esque robotic beat which by the middle of the track becomes a kind of dark, crazy, paranoid synth workout.. It would be this song paired with "Love Potion #9" that would chart at #20 on the Billboard disco charts in 1980.. Their other cover, a Lieber & Stoller song (they'd been known to cover a few in their time) "Love Potion #9" opens side 2. Equal parts playful and sexy, with a great hypnotic beat to it, the cheeky lyrics make an interesting contrast with the dark soundscapes that colour this album.

According to a 1980 interview with Rinder & Lewis, "Arabella/Home" (or at least the 'Arabella' part) was originally done eight years prior to this album as a rock song, recast as a disco track for this project. Great string section on this one, also love that pounding bass drum on the "Home" section of the track.

The lightest, most playful track on the album is probably "Harlem Shuffle" with guest vocalist Carmen Twillie up front. Not quite as dark in mood, no crazy synth effects and much more vocally driven than any of the others. It probably comes closest to recalling the vibe of many of the El Coco projects.

Anyway, for this one I put the entire album up. It's a pity (as usual) but much of the AVI label's disco output, particularly Rinder & Lewis' productions are pitifully underrepresented on CD.. Aside from a recent Japanese reissue of El Coco's "Let's Get It Together" (1976, AVI) album, there is one budget CD of El Coco hits and a now out of print CD called "Disco 54: The AVI Collection," which most notably contained the nine minute version of "Lust." I'd hope that Universal, who owns the AVI catalogue, will give much of Rinder & Lewis' classic AVI output proper reissue treatment one day. Until then, vinyl hunters will keep on hunting..

Not surprisingly, after disco, Rinder & Lewis burned out. All that coke had to take it's toll sometime, I suppose. Much of their post-1980 AVI output has been considered largely sub-par by many disco fans (though personally, I haven't heard too much of the post-1980 stuff, but I'm curious to).. In addition, they had started to focus more on TV music composition after getting tired of dealing with record labels in trying to get their proper royalties. After doing an album for Eloise Whitaker, Laurin Rinder would leave the music business, while Michael Lewis would continue on.. Despite, at least in the beginning, not really being familiar with disco, doing it based on their record label's suggestion; they managed to build up an excellent and impressive canon of disco material under their many guises...

Also, for those who are interested, be sure to check out the links below to the interviews with Laurin Rinder and Rinder & Lewis together..

Next week: another taste of something sweet and smooth..





Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm new on your blogg, I'm a Disco music fan and I have a request; isn't possible to put on your page full Disco albums? Or do you know some other blogg adresses with full Disco albums? I found a lot of bloggs with a lot of full albums (I mean: a lot!)but you are the only one who bloggs about Disco music?! Thanks for your time and work, Sandu

Anonymous said...

Sorry, now I saw this week's album is a full one; remain the request with other bloggs... Thanks again, Sandu

Tommy said...

Hey there..

So far the only other blog devoted exclusively to disco music (that I've come across) is First Choice ( So far they haven't put up any albums, but they've put up some great track selections.. Joe.My.God ( also has a series of great disco postings called "Instant Disco History," lots of good stuff there.. Some of the other blogs on my mp3 blog link list have some disco music on their blogs from time to time as well..

As far as why I haven't put full albums up, it's really that I've been hesitant to just 'give it all away' so to speak on here.. On an album, I generally post the tracks I feel most strongly about; Also, I'd like to leave a little something for the listener if they should ever decide to dig a little deeper and look for the album.. That said, lately (as you may have noticed) I have been putting up more full albums. This posting, the Love & Kisses, Beautiful Bend and Hott City postings have all been full albums. I put the full albums up those times simply because I either feel so strongly about the whole album that I can't decide, and/or that the album is out of print anyway and posting the whole thing wouldn't be taking away from anyone's royalties..

Hope this explains things.. :)

chris keys said...

I have been loving your blog, I am a total disco nut, but also enjoy more contemporary stuff, u can check out my blog and see what i go for. I dont know if u do requests, but a friend and I are mad about El Coco stuff, but we havent been able to find too much by them, we're out in South Africa. please posts some of their tracks, would be greatly appreciated and maybe i can do something for u in return.

Tommy said...


I'll add your blog to my links..

I do take suggestions. I probably won't post them right away (I had something else in mind for the next post), but I will put some El Coco stuff up in the near future, for sure.. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your answer; from now, I will be your faithful visitor, even I don't put here a comment, be sure I will be always here. If you want to know some more about me, look at: rateyourmusic hook
Have a nice day, Sandu

Anonymous said...

Nice delivery :)

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

i've been reading your blog for a few months now, and i have to say it's fantastic! great work. I was dying for the last 6 weeks with nothing new up!

but that just made me go out shopping to find my own gems! (Regina's "Je Survivrai" for example!)

please let all your readers know if YOU are ever looking for something. maybe we have it!

thanks again for the effort you put into this. please don't stop!

Anonymous said...

keep up the good work this is a awesome site shame ive only just got 2 find out about this site the rindler & lewis release was pur magic shame all your older releases are no more. im after a track by el coco called koko kain meant to be very rare if you have it or alan costdaninos paris connection, winds of change, sphinx and golden tears also any more rindler& lewis tracks like the 1 you posted keep up the good work.

Tommy said...

Thanks again for the kind words!! :)

Congrats on your finds, Terry.. I haven't even heard of those lol.. Again, I apologise for my absense.. I can't guarantee I'll be posting on a set schedule anymore, but I'll be posting more frequently than I did in that little while, that's for sure.. So far I haven't ran out of records, but if I do feel the urge, I might put forth some requests to the readers sometime :)

Thanks for the suggestions anon.. Give me an email (there's a link on the "about disco delivery" section), I can send you a file of El Coco's "Coco Kane".. great track lol!..

Anonymous said...

excellent post, as always !

Anonymous said...

could you repost this ?

Disco Lover said...

Thanks for reposting. I had only been able to find a couple of the tracks from the LP. :)

Anonymous said...




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