Albums Compilations Dance

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.

Albums Compilations Dance

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!”


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…


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.


K-Tel Soul Series

Goddamit, I’ve been after that Super Bad elpee for ages, for no other reason than I want to complete the set, reuniting the record with it’s younger brothers Souled Out (NE 508, 1975) and Soul Motion (NE 930, 1976).



War – Deliver The Word

If I could just return to the subject of, y’know, vinyl for a moment…


One of the great things about this random method of music procurment is the way that you can stumble across records that you never knew you needed, or perhaps never even knew existed, and fall instantly in love with them. As happened to me this weekend with War’s 1973 album “Deliver The Word”.

I try not to pay more than a quid for my records, but stumped-up the extra 50p for this as it’s in virtually mint condition and, on the strength of their later hits “Low Rider” and “Galaxy” alone, I had a really good feeling about it.


Sure enough, it’s a beauty: a sweet selection of funk and soul cuts with “Me And Baby Brother”, the phat Moog riffs on “In Your Eyes” and the extended hypno-groove of “Gypsy Man” being sky-highlights to these ears.


Andy Fairley – System Vertigo (ON-U LP61)

Lovely find for 50 new-pence this lunch time in Crewkerne.  Have piles of ONU stuff on the shelves here – dating right back to the first releases and spanning all the Tackhead, Dub Syndicate, Mark Stewart releases and associated Pay-It-All-Back compilation etc – late 80s I was seriously into that stuff …   so damn nice to find something I have not heard before from this period.

The backing band is the normal suspects – basically Tackhead/DS with David Harrow on programming duties – and of course Sherwood on the desk.  What you get is a very funky/dubbed out racket – quite extreme in places and damn damn nice.  I am familiar with Fairley through the copious use of his sampled vocals on numerous other ONU releases – in particular all that late 80s Gary Clail stuff – and in fact sort of remember seeing him along with Mark Stewart live in Brighton sometime or other – man how memories fade !!

The house is currently under dub-attack – and very welcome it is too !!



Following on from this and this, my extraordinary run of good fortune with Average White Band albums reaches it’s zenith with this, allegedly their finest long-player…



I hadn’t even intended to go thrifting that day;  I simply needed a pound coin for a shopping trolley at Tesco’s, so slipped into a nearby charity shop for a quick look on the off-chance there might be something worth breaking a fiver for, and hey presto, there she was right at the back of the pile.

These are the moments that make life bearable.

12 inchers

More Disco Twelves




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…

12 inchers

Second Image – Better Take Time


Never heard of this bunch of under-achieving Brit-funkers, but I was attracted to this one by the Tron-like computer graphic sleeve, which seemed to suggest the contents might be a bit synthy-futuristic in a retro ’83 stylee. Unfortunately it’s a rather pedestrian slice of pop-soul, though the instrumental b-side is quite enjoyable in a sub-Shakatak jazz funk kinda way. Maybe if I’d taken a closer look at the group photo on the rear sleeve I might’ve been a bit more suspicious…

Incidentely, a quick bit of research reveals that one of these guys – Christopher Heaton, who I assume is the one on the far left – had previously been a member of synth-poppers Landscape, who I have a bit of a soft-spot for. Tragic, really…