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)


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