Saturday, August 23, 2014

Disco Musings

I'm watching a TV show about disco on BBC 4. I was surprised to see the date of The Beegees Jive Talkin': 1975.
I thought back to working in Sherry's night club in Brighton in the late 1970s and actually did a search to see if there was anything about it. Yes; and there was the name of the resident DJ who worked there, Kenny Lynn.
I had got into a frame of mind that Chic invented disco but of course they didn't. Donna Summer's Love to Love you was released in late 1975 and I don't think Chic hit the charts till 1977.
There were so many songs that fell under the genre title of disco and its easy to forget how many different songs were played at Sherry's. That was the first place I heard Dr Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, which was a really unusual record.
Later on, after punk had started (probably 1977) I bought a lot of 12" disco singles because they sounded so huge and fabulous, even on my little portable plastic record player. A lot of punk records sounded thin and tinny and I like the sound of the bass and the groove of disco basslines (which is why I wrote 24 Hours).
Even before that, there used to be a great DJ in the Art College Basement. I wish I could remember more of the tracks he played but I often didn't even know what it was he was playing. Low Rider by War was a great one to dance to, and I think he used to play The Fatback Band who were an absolutely amazing band that seemed rough round the edges in a really cool way.
I always found Chic tracks too stiff to dance to, somehow. I thought of them as great pop records rather than dance records; there were other songs with much better grooves. Anyone remember Let The Music Play by Charles Earland? I had to play that one every night before going out, with my little budgie Toby gripping on to my finger for dear life as I bounced around the room.
I'm not sure about The Village People: great sparky tracks that make all the right noises but too jerky [sic] to wiggle your hips to. McFadden and Whitehead, Ain't No Stopping Us Now, I liked that one. and Heatwave, Boogie Nights. And Funky Nassau but I can't remember who that was by. That was a really early one!


Stephen Drennan said...

Hi Helen - Funky Nassau was by Beginning Of The End, predated the '74 disco boom by three years but got reissued in '74 or '75 and was a minor hit. Viv Stanshall played it on one of those very recently repeated (BBC 4 Extra) Radio Flashes shows. To me singles like George McCrae's Rock Your Baby were the beginning of disco, summer '74. There's a very good book by The Wire mag contributor Peter Shapiro, Turn The Beat Around, a history of disco.

Helen McCookerybook said...

Thanks Stephen- I thought I was going to have to rummage in my olds vinyl singles boxes to answer that question.
And of course there was Barry White!

Helen McCookerybook said...

Will look at the book too!

DISCO STU' said...

I used to go to The Royalty Ballroom in Southgate every Friday night dancing & loving the evening away. And back to work at McDonalds the next day. Those were the days!