Category Archives: Disco

Biddu & The Orchestra – Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon (1977)

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I wanted to post this track yesterday, but Monday is no time for disco. Tuesday’s much better, sure. I recently heard this track in a hillside restaurant bar in Istanbul. I could not believe my ears… is it bird, is it a diamond, no… it’s Biddu. There was me thinking that Neil Diamond’s ‘Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon’ found a second life when the cover by Urge Overkill appeared on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. But no, how could anyone overlook this 1977 disco version by Bangalore-born, London-based producer Biddu Appaiah? Biddhu was no slouch; he knew his disco rhythms. In 1974, he produced the multi-million selling ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ by Carl Douglas, he launched the career of Tina Charles and scored the soundtracks the cult movies The Bitch and The Stud. All very unexpected for a man from Coorg.

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Dump – NYC Tonight (2012)

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Dump was a solo home-recording project from James McNew, better known as the bassist of Yo La Tengo. Although it came into being as early as 1991, the project’s output was intermittent throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Its crowning glory (IMHO) came from an unexpected but magical set of ingredients. ‘NYC Tonight’ is Japanese inspired disco-style cover arrangement of the classic by G.G. Allin, the “most spectacular degenerate in rock & roll history”. The only version on Youtube is a further permutation… a collaboration remix of the song by Shintaro Sakamoto. Enjoy… back on Monday.

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Chaka Khan – Like Sugar (2018)

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Last year, Chaka Khan teamed up with the Major Lazer producer Switch and his partner Sarah Ruba. The immediate result was the hi-energy single ‘Like Sugar’, Khan’s first recording in a decade. The choice of sample – a mix of The Fatback Band’s ‘(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop’ from 1982 – is a fitting shout out from the queen of funk, now in her late 60s.

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of Montreal feat. Janelle Monáe ‎- Our Riotous Defects (2012)

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Some blog gremlins today… sorry about that. Nitzer Ebb will have to wait for another day, but I can’t take back of Montreal. Consider it a cotton-candy wrapped gift, in which founder and singer-songwriter Kevin Barnes tries to win over a girl only to discover she’s a fish-murdering crazy girl. The song was the second track on the band’s 2012 long player False Priest. I am not sure what part Janelle Monáe had to play in all…

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Ed Wizard & Disco Double Dee – Straight Up (2012)

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Dave Allison (aka Ed Wizard & Disco Double Dee) has been a prolific producer of funky, disco cuts for the last decade or so. ‘Straight Up’ is an edit of Benjamin Latimore’s classic ‘Let’s Straighten It Out’. The piano disco refresh and vocal makeover gives it a beach vibe for a sunny weekend.

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Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover (1979)

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Good morning folks. Completing a run of posts from the late 1970s, like so many times before, my attention is drawn to Prince. In 1979, disco was eating itself, funk was in transition and drum machines were about to conquer all. Enter, stage right, Prince Rogers Nelson from Minneapolis. His breakout single ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ would tear up the dance floor jam and leave the world of pop music better. It would feature on his self-titled sophomore album. Have a great week.

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Payfone – I Was In New York (2019)

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Together, Phil Passera and Chieka Ononye are Payfone, the new-wave-funk-disco duo from East London. Their electronic sound has created a seriously funky bassline in the track ‘I Was In New York’. It’s a 10-minute burn…. stay with it.

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The Todd Terry Project ‎- Bango (To The Batmobile) (1988)

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Before we leave the wonderful world of Arthur Russell, my real introduction to his work was at the skilful hands of Todd Terry. In 1988, as a compliment to the classic Russell single ‘Go Bang’ by Dinosaur L, Terry mixed and released the seminal house track ‘Bango (To The Batmobile)’ on Fresh Records.

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Loose Joints – Tell You (1983)

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Arthur Russell has had several guises… and in the early 1980s he collaborated with DJ/producer Steve D’Aquisto. In 1980, Russell had already worked with D’Acquisto to co-produce his single ‘Is It All Over My Face?’, one of the dancefloor’s defining singles of that era. Three years later came the strangely infectious ‘Tell You’.

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Sub Sub feat. Melanie Williams – Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use) (1993)

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Good morning! Before a fire destroyed most of their recording equipment, Andy Williams, Jez Williams and Jimi Goodwin had been producing dance floor hits as Sub Sub. They broke the UK dance scene in 1993 with the ubiquitous single ‘Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use)’. The track lifts its hook from Revelation’s little known 1979 disco track ‘Good Morning Starshine’; it was a great find. The success and subsequent studio fire was a case of creative destruction; it spurred the trio to start afresh as the Doves.

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Nature Boy – Tobago (1992)

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Ooops… premature post (such is the excitement about this track). As I have shown through much scientific testing, 1992 was the annus mirabilis for house music. Away from the techno, ambient and progressive standouts, the likes of Doc Livingstone, Joey Negro and DJ Nature were shaping the sound of the the disco/house crossover half a decade before the French Touch. DJ Nature (AKA Milo Johnson) was a founding member of Bristol’s legendary Wild Bunch soundsystem that generated Massive Attack. In 1989, Milo moved to New York to get closer to the work of Larry Levan, Louie Vega and Tony Humphries. His early productions were under the Natureboy moniker on his own Ruff Disco Records. On ‘Tobago’, he deconstructs disco into something punchier and darker. This pearl features on his compilation Ruff Disco Volume One.

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1Gnition ‎- Secret Sunday Lover (2007)

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In the mid-noughties, disco house saw another revival. This time it was labelled Nu Disco and it did not get much better that Greg Wilson’s remix of 1Gnition’s ‘Secret Sunday Lover’.

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Phonk D ‎- Darlin’ Playa (2018)

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Dirk Bretträger (aka Phonk D) is a producer/DJ and Darmstadt resident. After a few years of DJing a few klicks north in the clubs of Frankfurt, he founded his own label Footjob in 2014. This freedom has allowed him to develop his own deep disco sound. His single ‘Darlin’ Playa’ is a standout  example, particularly so for another classic sample find. This time it’s jazz guitarist Steve Khan and his cover of The O’Jays’ ‘Darlin’Darlin’ Baby (Sweet Tender Love)’. ‘Darlin’ Playa’ features on recent Disco Goodies EP, released by online channel Nu Disco Your Disco (NDYD Records).

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9 of the best – disco bombs of all time

Christmas must be a time for disco. This was a hard choice, but will continue to review over the next few days. I bring you the 9 best disco tracks of all time:

Elkin & Nelson – Jibaro (1974)

Donna Summer – Love to Love You Baby (1975)

Silvetti – Spring Rain (1976)

Ecstasy, Passion & Pain – Touch & Go (1976)

Grace Jones – La Vie En Rose (1977)

Instant Funk – Got My Mind Made Up (1978)

Chic – Good Times (1979)

Odyssey – Inside Out (1982)

The Salsoul Orchestra – Ooh, I Love It (Love Break) (1982)

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Very honourable mentions also go to: MFSB and The Three Degrees ‎for ‘TSOP’ (1973); Claudja Barry for ‘Love For The Sake Of Love‘ (1976); Double Exposure for ‘Ten Percent’ (1976); Marvin Gaye for ‘Got To Give lt Up’ (1977); Cerrone for ‘Supernature‘ (1977); First Choice for ‘Let No Man Put Asunder’ and ‘Doctor Love‘ (both 1977); Loleatta Holloway and The Salsoul Orchestra for ‘Runaway‘ (1977); Gary’s Gang for ‘Let’s Lovedance Tonight‘ (1979); Rose Royce for ‘Is It Love You’re After‘ (1979); Daft Punk for ‘Lose Yourself To Dance‘ (2013).

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Cerrone – Love In C Minor (1976)

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‘Love in C Minor’ has been sampled numerous times over the years by all sorts, including The Avalanches and Neon Indian. But it’s another track that I’ve shown  some blog love that revels in its orchestral string arrangement – Lifeforce’s ‘Dancin’ In The Key Of Love‘. Inspirational dancefloor sounds from Cerrone.

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