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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