Sunday, 6 November 2011

Disco! A mix from 2004

This set was put together for a mix CD back in 2004. It contains some of my favourite vinyl of the time, mixed, as usual with some utter madness. The intro is by the Christian Astronauts who I discovered through the show and tell website (check it out if you haven't before). Listen out for the crap pretend rocket engines and a terrible robot voice. 

Also included are snippets from ‘How To Speak Hip’ by Del Close & John Brent. This is a 1959 comedy album that gets into the Beat Generation thing. I love it.

The voice over the top of the 'Good Times' instrumental is George Melly reciting a homage to Kurt Schwitters' 'Ur Sonata', which is a Dada sound poem. Its on the "Miniatures" album (put together by Morgan Fischer in 1980), which had 51 one minute avant-garde tracks by a host of interesting artists. Superb stuff. Mad, I did warn you. 

 The Ultrafunk track, "Kung Fu Man" has been in my sets since I began pretending to DJ back in the mid 1980s. I used to play it at Maximus in Leicester Square (for Mark Carter's "All Tomorrows Parties" nights which ended up at Madame JoJos in Soho). I still love the track, I only discovered recently that 'Mr.Superbad' (Freddie Mack) had been a radio DJ in Manchester for many years. He died fairly recently in 2009 (R.I.P.), I wish I had heard his show, by all accounts it was top notch. 

There is a scratchy version of Dexter Wansel's "My Favourite Disco", this the man who did the magnificent "Life On Mars". Superb production and musicianship. I often use one of Dexter's tracks as a reference point when setting up a PA as the balance and quality of sound is immaculate.

Although I have labelled the set as "classic disco" most of the tracks aren't that obvious. Granted, you have "A Fifth Of Beethoven" which appears in Saturday Night Fever, and a version of "Good Times", but tracks like "Why Leave Us Alone" and "Here We Go Again" are a little more unusual. I had found "Devil's Gun" by rummaging in jumble sales and second hand shops, and for a while it became a staple in my sets.

DJing this stuff in 2004 was not that trendy, and, where I was, I had to work hard to convince people of the merits of disco. Nowadays its a lot easier to get away with as disco has become more mainstream in clubs again. I still love the elements of this kind of disco, and it is (and probably always will be) an important part of all my creative musical activities.

This set finishes with "Free" by Denise Williams. Finish with a slow one, just like discos did back in the 70s. I love this song. If you play guitar or keys you should perhaps try playing the chords for this song, they are gorgeous.

I hope you enjoy it.

Simon x

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