Rare Grooves

One last dance collection from 1987, this one totally focused on looking over its shoulder to the recent past for inspiration. Released on the little known Jam Today label, thankfully featuring just three tracks per side, and promising ‘all tracks in original and untouched form – ABSOLUTELY NO REMIXES OR EDITS’ this is obviously meant to appeal to the cash-strapped purist who like his/her rare grooves untarnished by contemporaneous production techniques. So no bolstering with drum machines, no stuttering samples or carelessly applied James Brown grunts here.

The time period covered is 1979-1982, and the style is instrumental disco, with Atmosfear’s “Dancing In Outer Space” a strong opening track; its uptempo groove laced with pleasingly kitsch Moog frills. Also from ’79, Stop’s “Iauwata” combines energetic percussion with cocktail piano vamps – you can hear Shakatak coming around the corner – whilst Powerline’s “Double Journey” from the following year strips the format back with space-inducing lashes of dub-echo and some furiously tight slap-bass noodling.

But then when you think you have this compilation pegged, along comes the proto-electro vocoder funk of “Inside You” by Contact-U, and finishing with a mellow funk jam from little-known Brit saxophonist Dave Chambers and his ensemble.

To be honest, most of this stuff sounds suspiciously like groovy elevator music, rather than smokin’ hot dancefloor rarities, but perhaps that is actually part of this collection’s curious appeal today.

Published in: on December 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dance Mania – Full Length 12″ Extended Or Remixed Versions

Yet another dance collection from 1987, but by contrast with the previous post, Needle Records’ decision to cram ten full-length mixes onto a single platter (not an uncommon practice back then) sacrifices sound quality in the name of ‘value for money’. It’s probably short-sighted sales tactics like this that allowed CD to dominate the market so quickly.

Content-wise, this collection keeps one eye firmly on classic funk and disco sounds that evoke the feeling of previous eras, reminding us that, despite the wave of new House and Hip Hop sounds crossing the Atlantic, there was still a big appetite for ‘rare grooves’ in the UK, typified by the subtly tweaked ‘club mix’ of Maceo & The Macks’ 1974 classic “Cross The Tracks”, and the ‘House Mix’ of Philly disco number “Let No Man Put Asunder” by First Choice.

Most contemporaneous styles are represented, with the harder-edged House grooves of T-Coy  and House Master Boys, mellow rappin’ and go-go funk  from Kool Chip and Black Britain respectively, both sides finishing with syrupy, anodyne eighties soul from Lanier & Co and 52nd Street. A somewhat confusing blend, but as the sleeve notes say “Mash It Up!”

Published in: on December 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Grace Jones – Nightclubbing

Finally found a copy of this record in tip-top condition. Shame about the slight blemish on Grace’s face, but that’s only the sleeve, right?

“Pull Up To The Bumper” was the big hit on this album, but the whole thing is an exercise in seemingly effortless in-the-pocket grooves, held down by the Sly & Robbie rhythm section and luxurious, but never over-cooked production from Mr. Whiteworst Blackwell and his team.

This will sit very nicely in the collection, nestled in-between previously thrifted “Warm Leatherette” and “Living My Life” albums. Although I might keep an eye out for another copy with an unspoiled sleeve…

Published in: on June 14, 2011 at 11:47 am  Comments (2)  
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Thrifty Boogie

Whilst others might take a more scholarly look at the origins of the term ‘boogie’, a quick search of this blog will reveal such gems as this, this, this, and even, erm, this. Such is the scope of our vision.

Yes, ‘Boogie’ can mean many things to many people. It means several things to me too, though my strongest affection is for that brief burst of fashionability around 1977-78, when ‘boogie’ was a catch-all term for funky-disco-pop, duly exploited and rendered virtually meaningless by the likes of Ronco on their muddled compilations of the time…

Even a ‘respectable’ label like EMI got in on the act, with this collection which features a reasonable amount of boogie-pop from the likes of Tavares, Sheila B Devotion and La Belle Epoch, some top notch tunes from Taste Of Honey and Sylvester, whilst also drifting into Marshall Hain’s “Dancing In The City”, Clout’s “Substitute”, some unexpected reggae from Matumbi and, somewhat desperately, T-Rex’s “I Love To Boogie”.

So, there you have it:  ‘Boogie’, in a nutshell.

Published in: on May 12, 2011 at 8:47 am  Comments (1)  
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Disco Erotica

“20 sensual disco greats, including a selection from the original soundtrack of the exciting new film “Erotica” from the undisputed king of erotic entertainment, Paul Raymond.”

Released by Warwick Records in 1981, this is a nice mixture of Top 40 smasheroos and somewhat less successful but no less charming cuts from the likes of UK Players, Voggue (sic), Debbie Raymond and Bob Saker.  They also slipped-in that decidedly pre-disco but no less erotically stimulating classic Je T’aime by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsburg, even though it’s not on the soundtrack. In fact, a quick look at the small print reveals that only four of these tracks are actually from the soundtrack. But with a sleeve like that, who really cares?

“As advertised on T.V.”, natch.

Published in: on October 13, 2010 at 3:47 pm  Comments (2)  
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Superman and other Disco Hits – A Disco Trip with Doc Powerhouse

Picked this up yesterday along with a bunch of prog from the likes of Camel and Barlay James Harvest.  Not expecting much from this one – but man – what a bleedin surprise.  Hidden behind this lo-budget sleeve are a collection of slammin disco tunez all loosely based around movie themes ofthe period.  The period in question being 1978 no less – this is the original German pressing on the Europa label – it seems it was later picked up, repackaged and bunged out on the uber-budget label Pickwick a year or so later.

About half the stuff on this thing is throw-away formulatic disco-by-numbers, but heck it is worth the price-tag (70 new pennies) for the simply amazing 2001 (Also sprach Zarathustra) funktastic workout – which must be a contender for the most laid-back-grooving bassline of all-time (trust me on this one pop-pickers).   And….   by the time you have let the needle reach the side 1 closers of ‘Close Encounters’ followed by the grinding ‘Mountain Funk’ – your wig will well and truly be ON!!

Classic !!

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 9:35 am  Comments (1)  
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SARR BAND – DOUBLE ACTION

Well – obviously I had to buy this slab of 12 inch plastic – due to the lady on the sleeve..  Something about the pose I suppose !!

But stuff the sleeve – this is a friggin disco-funk monster in danger of thrashing this entire house – demolishing walls – and making me clean forget about logic – and strut my aging body like there is no tommorah !!

Seriously – this a supa-find – a classic – previously unknown disco pisece of gold – and quite a rare one at that so I gather..

Bleedin classic !!

Published in: on June 15, 2010 at 5:18 pm  Comments (8)  
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Disco Dynamite!

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By rights, this anonymous album (on the notoriously mediocre Stereo Gold Award label) should be dreadful.  It’s a confused and confusing blend of early disco hits ( “The Hustle” , “Fly Robin Fly”)  and Santana-like salsa grooves (“Oye Como Va”, “Dippin’ Wet”) and yet…and yet…somehow these jaded session players sound…possessed. The grooves are stone cold in-the-pocket, the organ and clavinet riffs are smokin’ hot and even the occasional vocals are of an acceptable standard.

We may never know who the performers were, but I salute them!

Published in: on May 13, 2010 at 8:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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Deco Disco with Camp Galore (1976 DML-2)

Ha – take that you slime-bags – did not see that one comin did ya..   Another 50p buy today – and what a bleedin thing it is to behold ….

The sleeve seriously defies description – I think the look on the chicks face says it all – this must be one if not THE bestest crap sleeve on these shelves – and man – I have loads more contenders !!

The music is slick-70s-NY-disco – very reminiscent to Disco-Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes (if that means anything to you) – big orchestral scores – tight production and Ray Coniff style harmonies – make a fine listen – if you like 30s swing hits – made into disco-stompers – and who doesn’t …

Worth every penny for the second track alone – which will be played out repeatedly  – should any fool ever need my DJ services – Ballin’ The Jack – sort of says it all really – CLASSIC !!

Published in: on February 24, 2010 at 3:00 pm  Comments (9)  
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More Disco Twelves

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As you might’ve gathered I’ve had a bit of a run on 12 inch singles recently. Here’s another three from near the top of the pile, all from that beautiful period in time that I like to call ‘the late seventies’, for your visual arousal. And now, with half-term rapidly approaching, I will bid you adieu for a week or so…

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 5:36 pm  Comments (1)  
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