Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ashford and Simpson - Set It

Ashford & Simpson

Ashford and Simpson, "Don't Cost You Nothin'" (YSI link)

Ashford and Simpson, "Send It" (YSI link)

Ashford and Simpson, "Bourgie Bourgie" (YSI link)

For those who have had a chance to listen to the first disc of the Larry Levan mix, you couldn't help but have been struck by the opening instrumental song, a beautiful, keys-driven tune that starts things out so perfectly and lushly. That tune comes off of Ashford and Simpson's Set It LP from 1977. Ashford and Simpson were Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, who actually originally made their name writing and producing hits for other artists, including Miss Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Chaka Khan. They worked at Motown working with a who's who of that label, but eventually left to make music on their own. Their names

This is their first album, one of many to come. This one is for the lovers in the audience, as Ashford and Simpson sing songs about love and sex in male-female duets. The music is mostly slower, soul-inspired stuff, not necessarily dancefloor burners. This is for those moments with your significent other, lying around the apartment, just hanging out together. In other words, this is grown folks music, not for the kids in their neon outfits partying to the latest electro remix. "Send It" was the only single to make the charts, a nice R&B slow jam featuring a flute, strings and piano that add up to something a little cheesy but still delicious. "Don't Cost You Nothin'" is a personal fav. It's all about this nasty bassline, gives the song a dirty, slinky feel that works perfectly with the back-and-forth male/female vocals. "Bourgie Bourgie" is the highlight, a perfect 6 minute instrumental that makes you feel like you are floating on a cloud.

No clue what we're going to be getting into this week coming up, so check in again soon and see what I'm feeling.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Larry Levan - Live At The Paradise Garage


Larry Levan, Live At The Paradise Garage Disc 1 (YSI link)

Wow, I killed Thanksgiving dinner, may have even eaten the plate in my gorging. Anyway, today is the day we give thanks for all that we have in life. I wanted to give thanks to all of my great readers, as you are the loves of my e-life. There's been an upswing in comments recently, which makes me so happy. I put comments right behind pastrami on rye on my top things in the world list, both of which are right behind sex and boobs.

I also want to give thanks for disco for saving my life. I can't think of more perfect musical statement of joy and giving thanks than this DJ set by Larry Levan at the legendary Paradise Garage. Throw this one on at some point this weekend and think of all the people you love, all of the great things in your life and all that is still to come. This is the soundtrack to those thoughts.

I've upped Disc 1 today for those who are newer readers. I promise to upload Disc 2 on Monday, as I had intended to do months ago. Celebrate! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

B Beat Girls - Hearts A Hurricane

Eye of the Hurricane

B Beat Girls, "Hearts A Hurricane (Vocal)" (YSI link)

B Beat Girls, "Hearts A Hurricane (Dub)"
(YSI link)

During the break, I've begun to dip my toe back into the hip-hop waters, although I still can't say I'm hearing much new stuff that interests me (get at me and let me know what I'm missing currently). However, my love for the early days has only gotten deeper, as I'm becoming obsessed with those late 70s/early 80s tunes when rap came into being. What's most exciting about is to hear the days when rap was so open to dance and electronic music, where it was trying to find its legs.

This B Beat Girls track, "Hearts A Hurricane," is a great example of this period, with the girls rapping over a classic electro instrumental complete with weirdo synths that give it that necessary futuristic sound. I really like the raps on this one, but it's the sung refrain that I love. Gives it a bit of a freestyle feel and makes things much catchier than you would expect. As always, you get the dub for those who favor less vocals. Yeah!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Massimo Barsotti - Whole Lotta Love

Massimo Barsotti - Whole Lotta Love

Massimo Barsotti, "Whole Lotta Love" (YSI link)

Massimo Barsotti, "W.L.L. (Another Version)" (YSI link)

Italo! Yeah! We're staying in Europe for some more disco goodies, finally digging into the Italo disco crates to see how the Italian twist on the disco sound. This one is pretty crazy (in a good way), as Massimo Barsotti does an Italo cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." Weirdly, thanks to AB, I have started listening to Zeppelin again and been loving hearing some of their classic tunes again ("Tangerine" is my personal fav). However, a disco cover of one of their songs? Yes, please. Pound for Pound dream shit.

Barsotti is another artist who came out of the ether, dropped two singles in the early 80s and then disappeared again. I believe that's the extent of his output, although please let me know if he changed to an alias or what. Anyway, this one has all the markings of a burning Italo track - sleazy vocals, synths!!!, barebones drum machines. While Robert Plant sounds like a dude who really needs to get laid, Barsotti sounds like that dude who got laid the night before, plans to get laid again that night and every night for the foreseeable future. So calm and sleezed up, love love love it. I picture him walking into the club, possibly in Miami Vice Don Johnson white jacket with sleeves rolled up, saying hi to some friends, when he sees a gorgeous brunette on the dancefloor. The song takes place from this moment on, as he takes to the dancefloor and puts his spell on this woman. Her name is Monica, but the vision gets a little cloudy at this point.

FYI, the instrumental is even sicker, with an extra minute and a half of synth magic. There's also the occasional vocal moment, but this one's definitely for those not loving the vocals. Oh, and remember to add my blog in the upper right hand corner, 20 followers and counting! Yeah!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cerrone - The Golden Touch (IV)


Cerrone, "Je Suis Music" (YSI link) 320

Cerrone, "Rocket In The Pocket" (YSI link) 320

Okay, I've got the computer back from the shop, I've finally come to terms with the fact that I am now living in a post-Obama, post-Phillies World Series Champions world. The time off has perhaps left many afraid that this blog would lose its way, no longer confident of its direction or what to post. Au contraire, these recent developments have only confirmed what I have always known - disco will save the world. Is it a coincidence that all of these great events happened once Pound for Pound made a disco turn? The answer is a resound "No!"

Let's jump right back into the deep end, heading to Europe to listen to one of its disco masters, Cerrone. Born Jean-Marc Cerrone in Paris, Cerrone would be one of the first to adopt the disco sound on the Continent. Dude was making music early, already signed to Barclay at aged 20. His late 70s, early 80s work has had a profound impact on all of the later French dance music like Daft Punk, who sampled the man.

Cerrone IV - The Golden Touch is one of those classic LPs, dropping on the Malligator label in 1978. Man, this one is so necessary, you will immediately imagine yourself in steamy, sweaty club, around 1 am, huge crowd dancing, music swirling all around you, balloons falling from the ceiling, nothing left to do but smile smile smile, yes yes yes. "Je Suis Music" is the highlight of the A side, an excellent slow-burning vocal track that is completely irresistible. A big, rubbery bass and solid beat holds it down, while the various horns and percussion take things to the next level of jublilation. I really love the vocals on this one; it's thing I miss most with all of the great recent cosmic and new disco stuff. "We all feel the pain, is it necessary?/ When we feel the pain better to stick together/Music is the way to relieve the pressure/Music all the way, do you get the message?" Love it. "

"Rocket In The Pocket" is about as subtle as the title, a nice rocking disco track. This one features some serious electric guitar jams, bordering on the cheese. I kinda like it, but I've never been a big fan of taking the guitar seriously (suck on that, rock critics!) You also get more female vocals, a heavier beat, less up-front horns and bass and even a rattler sound. Yeah! This one walks the line between real and cheese, rock and disco and it works for my ears nicely.

We're back people, all sucker blogs are warned.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dances With White Girls

Dances With White Girls, Burning Bridges and Making Paper (YSI link)

Yes, yes, we've been gone for much too long. Unfortunately, my computer has been in the shop for the past 3+ weeks, leaving me completely out of commission, out of music and out of luck. All of that is about to change, so be on the lookout for regular posting shortly.

In the meantime, I had to get word out about this special event in NYC tonight. Friend of the blog and one of Pound for Pound's favorite DJs Dances With White Girls, a.k.a. Frog, a.k.a. The Man Who What makes tonight's party at Bar 13 so special? It's celebrating the much-anticipated release of DWWG's first EP, New Crack Swing, the latest release on The Rapture's Throne of Blood Records and the record that will set the blogs on fire for the rest of 2008. Frog is taking over the Girls & Boys party tonight at Bar 13 (35 E. 13th Street), a full-on Union Square takeover. Thug house for the masses. He's joined by Andy Pry, Daisy O'Dell and a special guest, who I imagine may have some connection to the label. Head over to the Boys and Girls Myspace page for more info including RSVP link. For the record, there are already close to 1500 people interested in this one on I will be one of those people, you should too.

For those not in NYC tonight, I've included Frog's latest mix, which should both enjoy top listening status and convince you to purchase the EP. You hear me? Purchase the EP! We'll have more to say on this man and his music, but this is an adequate intro. Yes yes, good good.