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)


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