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Phil's Previous Disco Grooves

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26 April 1999

Blood Hollins - Don't give it up

Released in December 1976 on the marvellous Strangefruit label, Blood Hollin's epic 8 minute 12" mix of Don't give it up is an essential disco track for any serious disco collector.

03 May 1999

Paul Mauriat - Love is still blue

Pop instrumentalist Paul Mauriat scored a hit in the 1960's with Love is blue. A decade and a discofication later, Paul re-recorded it as a funky hustle. The sought after rare groove track was named Love is still blue, and was released in October 1976 on the Free Spirit subsiduary of Salsoul records.

10 May 1999

Sil Austin

A rare-groove b-side, this week, with the fabulous Disco Music from Sil Austin. This track was written by Tommy Stewart of Bump and hustle music fame, and was released in September 1976 on the Jerri label. Gimme some of that disco musik, gimme some of that funky musik! The a-side is a cover version of Johnnie Taylor's Disco Lady.

17 May 1999

Heart & Soul

Hustle to this! Do the walk was an early 12" released on P.I.P. records in 1976, and was written by Lou Gallo. Soon after this, the Heart and Soul Orchestra migrated to Casablanca records under the guidance of New York radio DJ Frankie Crocker, where they released two albums.

24 May 1999

Duane Clark

A Gregg Diamond classic! In the 1970's, Gregg wrote for many disco artists, including Andrea True Connection ("More, more, more"), Bionic Boogie ("Hot Butterfly"), Star Cruiser ("Fancy dancer") and Caress ("Fill me up heart to heart"). Duane Clark is the vocalist on this track which has all the character of a great Gregg Diamond record. So put your Diamond in the groove and boogie down...

31 May 1999

Michele

From arguably New York's greatest disco label of the 1970's, West End Records, came vocalist Michele who released Disco Dance (mega mix) in 1978. Produced by Pierre Jaubert and Tom Moulton, the a-side of this 12" single is mixed by Patrick Cowley, better known in the 1980's for Menergy.

07 June 1999

Vaughan Mason - Bounce, rock, skate, roll

On the Brunswick label, a much sought after 12" single by Vaughan Mason. In contrast with many disco records produced as '79 turned into '80, this record has a thumping BPM of under 120, but it's still highly danceable and very funky. Bounce, rock, skate, roll was of course designed for the roller-disco, and it still works.

14 June 1999

Joanne Spain - Elevator

The bizarre subject of this record is surely some reference to the wide use of drugs in the late 1970's. Joanne Spain's Elevator was released on the small Casino label (a sub-label of GRT) in August 1976 and features a bouncy bassline characteristic of many disco records of the time.

21 June 1999

Roundtree - Get on up

Written by disco producer Kenny Lehman in late 1977, Get on up (get on down) sounds great even today. It's a hustling chunk of disco funk, and features a pounding disco beat and sliding violins. Kenny Lehman also wrote for another disco group in the 1970's - they were called, of course, Lemon.

28 June 1999

Sassy - Theme from Disco 77

One of the great disco producers to come from Miami's T.K. records, Ray Martinez had previously produced an album with Ish Ledesma for Foxy. The following year, Ray's own project, Sassy, produced this typical Miami sounding disco record. Ray later went on to write for Amant, and record "Lady of the night" under his own name.

05 July 1999

Karma - Funk de mambo

The first 12" single ever to be released on the A&M label (under the Horizon sub-label), Karma's Funk de mambo is a happy jazz-funk record and the 12" mix sounds great. Although released in 1976, it's got that driving beat typical of many later disco records, but at the same time retains a hustle quality lacking in the soulless Hi-NRG records of, say, 1980.

12 July 1999

Five Easy Pieces - Too hot to stop

On Claridge this week, this was the first 12" disco disc to be released on this label way back in September 1976. With a firm bassline and groovy, streaking violins, it makes for a great disco-funk track which set underground discos alight at the time. The chanted vocals complete the atmosphere.

19 July 1999

Brooklyn People - Boogie man

Although the Cheri label is best known for Rare Pleasure's Let me down easy, here's another little gem. The Brooklyn People's Boogie man was never released on 12", but don't let that bother you. Three years later they were on the Avi label, recording as The Opec Family. They re-issued this track, speeded up, as "Get up and do the boogie" and it is the b-side of the 12" of "Love account".

26 July 1999

Etap - Did you mean maybe

From Warner Brothers records in 1977, comes Etap's Did you mean maybe. To me, this record sums up the music of the 1970's. Popular in London's underground disco scene in May 1977, it sounds almost like one of those groovy 1970's film themes, but there's more to it than that. With its funky backing and unusual vocals, it's a great funky disco record.

02 August 1999

Sweet Potato Pie - Take it for what it's worth

From the West Coast of the USA, the American Variety International (AVI) label was launched in 1975. Producers Laurin Rinder and W. Michael Lewis were the backbones of this label, and had immediate successes with their disco groups El Coco and Le Pamplemousse. However they also recorded on this label under a great variety of other guises, and here's one of those early gems. Take it for what it's worth by Sweet Potato Pie is a little known, but very funky and danceable Rinder and Lewis production from 1976.

09 August 1999

Chubby Checker - Move it

"Twist" legend of the 1960's Chubby Checker released just one 12" in the 1970's, and this is the b-side to it. Move it is a funky disco track and is the b-side to the more soulful The rub. Released on Amherst records in 1976, the original release comes in a groovy Amherst / Gold Plate disco sleeve.

16 August 1999

Touch - Energizer

The b-side of soulful Me and you, Energizer (Discotizer) was released in February 1977 and was written by disco legend Tony Valor. It's a great funky disco track and was an early 12" on the Brunswick label. Tony also recorded two eponymous albums, one on the Brunswick label, and also produced Soccer on the Salsoul label.

23 August 1999

Sounds of Inner City - Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

"Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman!" This is the call of one of the first records released on New York's West End disco label in 1977. Inspired by the USA's TV show of the same name, this is the only record ever recorded by Sounds of Inner City. Arranged by Vince Montana of the Salsoul Orchestra and mixed by Tom Moulton, it has a Salsoul flavour in common with other early West End releases.

30 August 1999

Devoshun - No, no, no my friend

This is a great track. Originally recorded by Devoshun on the SMI label, this track was later re-issued on the AVI label and the group's name changed to Free Style. It was written by Will Crittendon who later worked with the group Mantus. No, no, no my friend (you're wrong so do it again) was released in Spetember 1976 and we particularly like the funky introduction.

06 September 1999

D-R-U-M - Lalabye

D-R-U-M's Lalabye has those irresistible disco flutes to die for. The instrumental version is the best, and was released in March 1977. The label is also of interest - it's a small sublabel of Salsoul, Tom n' Jerry. In fact this is Tom Moulton's own label and he mixed every record on this label. This track is considered to be one of Tom Moulton's best mixes.

13 September 1999

Body Shop

Now very difficult to find, this early 12" was released on the Buddah label in mid-1976. It's a funky, hustling disco track and although the mix is just over 5 minutes it seems a lot longer. Strangely the name of the track and the artist are the same. Body Shop returned on the Buddah label three years later with the disco track "Never".

20 September 1999

Power Play - Do it all the night

Originating on the UK's Pye label, this was a hot 12" import to the US in 1976 and was one of the last records released on the US's own Pye label before it folded in early 1977. If you like streaking violins, you'll love this one - we dig the guitar scratching too. This record comes in a silly "Piece of the Pye" disco sleeve.

27 September 1999

Gentlemen and their Ladies - ...Like her!

"...Like her!" was written by Johnny Melfi, who also wrote tracks for Ja-Kki and Cameo amongst others. It's a great disco track with the fluttering wah-wah guitar and violent horn stabs. When released in June 1976, DJs and engineers were still experimenting with different ways of remixing short, 3 minute recordings into longer tracks for 12" DJ use. This particular track was obviously mixed by splicing a tape, and at certain points in the mix you can actually hear where the tape loops!

Shown above is the promo-only release, although it was also issued a few weeks later as the commercially released b-side of Four Below Zero's My baby's got ESP.

04 October 1999

Light of the World - Midnight grooving

This high BPM disco track with a very bouncy bassline helped launch the Brit-funk sound in the early 1980's. Released in 1979, it was mixed by London disco DJ Chris Hill (who also worked with The Player's Association). Although the follow up single to the group's debut track "Swingin'", this is the superior disco tune.

Released on the UK's very own disco label, Ensign.

11 October 1999

Cameo - Post Mortem

Taken from Cameo's first album, this one-sided 12" promo of "Post Mortem" offers the full length mix of the classic 1977 funky disco track and was written by Larry Blackmon. This record also features the disco track "Good times". One sided records like this were regularly released on the Casablanca label and its sublabels like Chocolate City. The theory is that these one-sided records can be pressed with deeper grooves to improve audio fidelity.

18 October 1999

Tony Valor Sounds Orchestra - Gotta get it

This must be one of the best overlooked funky disco tracks of the 1970's. "Gotta get it" was recorded by Tony Valor in 1976 (the label has a typo and the song is shown as "Gonna get it") and this long 12" mix makes it one of the best Brunswick 12". However the bassline has been stolen from an obscure 7" only track of the previous year - Rozaa and Wine's "Disco boogie woman". It's used to good effect though; it's an extremely danceable track for true disco freaks.

25 October 1999

Jeanne Napoli - Let's make love

Another Tony Valor record this week! "Let's make love" was Jeanne Napoli's best disco track and this 12" includes the full length disco mix. With its characteristic bumpin' bassline and those subtle wah-wah guitars, the three minute introduction seems a lot longer. This record was released on Vigor records, a sub-label of De-lite.

01 November 1999

Cassiano - Central do Brasil

Bus stop to this! A funky, bouncy disco number with chanted vocals, "Central do Brasil" by Cassiano is the b-side of the more soulful "Onda". Released on Polydor records in 1977, the label designer forgot to give it a catalogue number!

08 November 1999

Archie Bell - The Soul City Walk

Archie Bell and the Drells had been recording since the 1950's but they reached the peak of their career in the disco era of the 1970's. After signing to Philadelphia, the group recorded early dancefloor fillers like "Here I go again", but this is the best. The Soul City Walk is the ultimate Philadelphia disco track and this special 12" promo provides the full length version. Love those wah-wah guitars!

15 November 1999

Cloud One - Atmosphere Strutt

The heavily synthesized and spooky sounding Atmosphere Strutt was certainly ahead of its time when released in 1976. Produced by Patrick Adams, the full 8 minute version can be heard on the first record to be released on the cult P&P label (above). Patrick had already successfully worked with groups like Black Ivory and went on to produce many more great disco acts like Musique, Sine and the Universal Robot Band.

22 November 1999

Brothers Johnson - Ain't we funkin' now

Produced by Quincy Jones, The Brothers Johnson did session guitar work for many artists in the 1970's and 1980's, perhaps most famously on Michael Jackson's 1979 album "Off the wall". From their third solo album comes the extended mix of disco classic "Ain't we funkin' now", with a drum break in the middle.

29 November 1999

Eastside Connection

"You're so right for me" was not the first or only record released by this disco group, but it is certainly the best known. It's a great track and has all the hallmarks of a classic disco song - flutes, violins, disco beat and so on. Incidentally, all the 12" singles on the Rampart label were on coloured vinyl - and copies on black vinyl are very rare!

06 December 1999

Ripple - The beat goes on and on

Salsoul magic this week, written by Floyd Smith. This well-known 12" disco mix became something of an anthem in New York discos in the late 1970's. Listen for the trademark bouncy bassline and the groovy wah-wah guitars.

13 December 1999

Loleatta Holloway - Catch me on the rebound

"Catch me, catch me baby on the reeeebound"... That's the message from the disco queen with one of the most powerful voices of the disco world. (Loleatta apparently drinks hot Vick's Vapour-rub before each concert!) This superb, long 12" disco mix was written by Conway & Felder - who also wrote for First Choice and some other groups on the Gold Mind sub-label of Salsoul).

20 December 1999

Francine McGee - Delirium

Never released in the US, this record is available on both a UK and Canadian issue as a b-side of "Feelin' good". "Delirium" is a jazzy, funky instrumental disco track. It's very danceable even today and was sampled many times in the 1990's. The a-side is the vocal version - and all disco experts are in agreement that Francine has an awful voice!

27 December 1999

Karisma - Got you dancing

From New York's wildly mixed up Sound of the Universe record label this week comes an early Jocelyn Brown vocal disco record. Now difficult to find, the original of "Got you dancing" was produced by Peter Brown - co-founder of the P&P label with Patrick Adams (and not the same Peter Brown who recorded "Do ya wanna get funky with me" the previous year). Much in demand and recently re-issued, the original of this record has no date on the label; the 1999 re-issue is dated 1976.

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