Posts Tagged ‘Disco’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #59– Manu Dibango: “Soul Makossa” b/w “Lily” – Atlantic 45-2971 (S6/T6)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #59– Manu Dibango: “Soul Makossa” b/w “Lily” – Atlantic 45-2971 (S6/T6)

Hailing from Cameroon, Africa, Manu Dibango established himself as an in-demand saxophone player working with acts as diverse as Fela Kuti, Don Cherry, The Fania All-Stars and Sly and Robbie.

“Soul Makossa,” Dibango’s signature disco smash, was originally released as the flip side to the 1972 single “Mouvement Ewondo” (a song about the Cameroon national football team) on the French independent Fiesta record label. The song probably would have sunk without a trace if it had not been for Manhattan socialite David Mancuso.

Mancuso was known for throwing exclusive invitation-only loft parties in New York City that served as a precursor to the city’s thriving Disco scene of the 1970s. Mancuso found a copy of the record and gave it a spin at one of his parties where it was heard by DJ Frankie Crocker, who in turn played it on WBLS, New York City’s highest rated urban radio station at the time.

The song became very popular, but the single was so rare that nine cover versions sprung up to fill the demand for the record before Atlantic Records could rush-release Dibango’s original recording in 1973. As a result of the cover versions, Dibango’s recording only climbed up to #35 on the Billboard singles chart; however the chart position didn’t realistically reflect the enormous popularity of the track.

Later, the song’s “ma-ma so, ma-ma-sa, mako-mako-sa” refrain was featured prominently in Michael Jackson’s single “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” the lead track from his Thriller album which went on to be the biggest selling album of all time. It was used without Dibango’s permission and he later settled handsomely with Jackson for use of the lyric.

Dibango released an updated version of the track in 1994, and then again in 2011 under the title “Soul Makossa 2.0.” The flip of today’s jukebox classic is “Lily,” another soul groover written by Dibango that is also from the Soul Makossa album.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: July 29th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #28 – Average White Band: “Pick Up The Pieces” b/w “Work To Do” – Atlantic 45 RPM Single 45-3229 (Q3/R3)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #28 – Average White Band: “Pick Up The Pieces” b/w “Work To Do” – Atlantic 45 RPM Single 45-3229 (Q3/R3)

“TSOP” by MFSB, “Love’s Theme” by The Love Unlimited Orchestra, “Space Race” by Billy Preston, “Frankenstein” by Edgar Winter Group, “Popcorn” by Hot Butter,” “Joy” by Apollo 100, “Rock And Roll” by Gary Glitter, “Dueling Banjos” by Eric Weissberg & Deliverance, “Hocus Pocus” by Focus, “The Hustle” by Van McCoy, “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango, “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione, “Scorpio” by Dennis Coffey and “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield – the 1970s had its share of some of the greatest instrumental hits of all time. While many of these tracks are truly not instrumentals because they either have wordless singing or minor vocal parts consisting of the title being shouted out several times over the duration of the song, they are still rightly classified as instrumental hits.

Today’s jukebox classic stands taller than most on the above list of ‘70s instrumentals. With its propulsive disco beat and infectious horn part, “Pick up the Pieces” managed to set throngs of dancers into motion on disco dance floors around the world.

But it wasn’t always that way…When “Pick up the Pieces” was originally released as a single in the U.K. in 1974; it sank without a trace, completely failing to chart. Three months later, the single came out in the U.S. where it sold a million copies and climbed to the top of the charts. It was then rereleased as a single in the U.K. and it rose to the top five. Not to dis our friends across the pond, but what were they thinking the first time around…

The song crossed over into the disco charts and also spawned an answer record recorded by James Brown’s backing band The J.B.s, called “One By One.” On the record, the J.B.s are credited as AABB, or the Above Average Black Band in homage to AWB. It was also sampled by the likes of The Beastie Boys, TLC, Too Short, Ice Cube, Eric B. & Rakim, Nas, Arrested Development and A Tribe Called Quest.

The Average White Band originated in Scotland in 1971 and consisted of Allan Gorrie (bass, guitar and vocals), Malcolm Duncan (tenor sax), Onnie McIntyre (vocals, rhythm guitar), Michael Rosen (trumpet), Roger Ball (keyboards and sax) and Robbie McIntosh (drums) and Hamsih Stuart (guitar, bass and vocals).

Even though one of the group’s earliest gigs was as a support act to Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert in 1973, when their debut album Show Your Hand was released on MCA Records the same year, it sold poorly. For their second album, the group relocated to Los Angeles and signed with Atlantic Records.

The album, titled AWB was produced by Arif Mardin and ultimately topped the U.S. album charts on the heels of its chart-topping single. It was also known to AWB fans as The White Album as it featured stunning graphics on a white background that gave the band its memorable logo.

At the height of their initial fame, tragedy struck when drummer and founding member Robbie McIntosh died of a heroin overdose at a party in 1974. Allan Gorrie also overdosed at the same party, but Cher kept him conscious until medics arrived and he survived. Such was the “swinging” party scene of mid-70s Los Angeles. As a result, McIntosh was replaced by Steve Ferrone.

The band continued to release albums well into the 1980s (including a duo album with Ben E. King on vocals), and scored several hit singles including “Cut The Cake” (#31/1974), “Queen Of My Soul” (#23/1976) and “Let’s Go Round Again” (#12/1980). By the early 1980s, Ferrone left the group to work with Duran Duran, while Hamish Stuart went on to tour and record with Paul McCartney.

The group still exists today with McIntyre and Gorrie still on board. Their last album was a live album called Times Squared, released in 2009. The flip of today’s single is an exceptional cover of The Isley Brothers’ top twenty R&B hit “Work To Do,” which was also covered by The Main Ingredient and Vanessa Williams.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: May 12th, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #3 – Isaac Hayes – “Theme From Shaft” b/w “Café Regio” – Enterprise 45 ENA-9038 (E1/F1)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #3 – Isaac Hayes – “Theme From Shaft” b/w “Café Regio” – Enterprise 45 ENA-9038 (E1/F1)

Call him “Shaft”…call him “Black Moses”…call him “Chef”…but one thing is for sure, he was responsible for some of the funkiest and smoothest hot-buttered soul ever committed to wax. Today’s Song Of The Day inhabits the E1/F1 position in my jukebox and it is Isaac Hayes’ first chart-topper from 1971. “Theme From Shaft” also won the Academy Award for best film score that year, making Hayes the first African American to win an Oscar in the composer category.

Hayes initially agreed to write the score for the Shaft film only if he was given the chance to try out for the lead role. And while he did have a bit part in the film as a bartender, he was never afforded the opportunity to audition for the lead. Fortunately he decided to fulfill the agreement anyway. When film director Gordon Parks approached Hayes about writing the score, he described the character of Shaft as a “black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks” and Hayes picked the description up verbatim for the song.

“Theme From Shaft” was initially not intended to be released as a single, however once the soundtrack was released, the song received extensive club play where it gained popularity. Two months after the album’s release, the single came out and went on to be a great influence on 1970s disco. The song could have been credited to “Isaac Hayes & Dawn” as the background vocalist who says “Shut Your Mouth” was Telma Hopkins, who along with Joyce Vincent Wilson (the other background vocalist,) were both members of Tony Orlando’s backing group Dawn. The band backing Hayes on the track was The Bar-Kays.

In the days before sampling, the high-hat cymbal on the intro was picked up from an Otis Redding single that Hayes arranged: “Otis Redding’s ‘Try A Little Tenderness,’ I had a hand in arranging that. At the end, Al Jackson was doing some stuff on a hi-hat, and I thought if I sustained that kind of thing on a hi-hat, it would give a relentless, dramatic effect, and it worked.” (songfacts.com) The wah-wah guitar part played by Charlie Pitts was originally intended for an unfinished song hanging around the STAX vaults.

Hayes started out playing sax for The Mar-Keys before becoming the keyboard player for the STAX Records house band writing classic songs with his partner David Porter like “Soul Man,” “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby,” “Hold On, I’m Comin’” and “B-A-B-Y.” He also wrote the not-so-classic “Chocolate Salty Balls” for South Park where he provided the voice for the Chef character before falling out with Trey Parker and Matt Stone over the content of an episode that poked fun at Scientology.

Hayes’ brand of symphonic soul was perfect for love making, and numerous children were no doubt conceived to the strains of his extended recordings of “Walk On By,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and “Never Can Say Goodbye,” from classic albums like Black Moses and Hot Buttered Soul.

The flip of the single is the breezy instrumental “Café Regio” which featured musical backing by members of STAX groups, The Bar-Kays and The Movement.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over fourteen years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: March 8th, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #59– Manu Dibango: “Soul Makossa” b/w “Lily” – Atlantic 45-2971 (S6/T6)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #59– Manu Dibango: “Soul Makossa” b/w “Lily” – Atlantic 45-2971 (S6/T6)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Hailing from Cameroon, Africa, Manu Dibango established himself as an in-demand saxophone player working with acts as diverse as Fela Kuti, Don Cherry, The Fania All-Stars and Sly and Robbie.

“Soul Makossa,” Dibango’s signature disco smash, was originally released as the flip side to the 1972 single “Mouvement Ewondo” (a song about the Cameroon national football team) on the French independent Fiesta record label. The song probably would have sunk without a trace if it had not been for Manhattan socialite David Mancuso.

Mancuso was known for throwing exclusive invitation-only loft parties in New York City that served as a precursor to the city’s thriving Disco scene of the 1970s. Mancuso found a copy of the record and gave it a spin at one of his parties where it was heard by DJ Frankie Crocker, who in turn played it on WBLS, New York City’s highest rated urban radio station at the time.

The song became very popular, but the single was so rare that nine cover versions sprung up to fill the demand for the record before Atlantic Records could rush-release Dibango’s original recording in 1973. As a result of the cover versions, Dibango’s recording only climbed up to #35 on the Billboard singles chart; however the chart position didn’t realistically reflect the enormous popularity of the single.

Later, the song’s “ma-ma so, ma-ma-sa, mako-mako-sa” refrain was featured prominently in Michael Jackson’s single “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” the lead track from his Thriller album which went on to be the biggest selling album of all time.  It was used without Dibango’s permission and he later settled handsomely with Jackson for use of the lyric.

Dibango released an updated version of the track in 1994, and then again in 2011 under the title “Soul Makossa 2.0.” The flip of today’s jukebox classic is “Lily,” another soul groover written by Dibango that is also from the Soul Makossa album.

Edited: January 15th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #28 – Average White Band: “Pick Up The Pieces” b/w “Work To Do” – Atlantic 45 RPM Single 45-3229 (Q3/R3)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #28 – Average White Band: “Pick Up The Pieces” b/w “Work To Do” – Atlantic 45 RPM Single 45-3229 (Q3/R3)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

“TSOP” by MFSB, “Love’s Theme” by The Love Unlimited Orchestra, “Space Race” by Billy Preston, “Frankenstein” by Edgar Winter Group, “Popcorn” by Hot Butter,” “Joy” by Apollo 100, “Rock And Roll” by Gary Glitter, “Dueling Banjos” by Eric Weissberg & Deliverance, “Hocus Pocus” by Focus, “The Hustle” by Van McCoy, “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango, “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione, “Scorpio” by Dennis Coffey and “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield – the 1970s had its share of some of the greatest instrumental hits of all time.  While many of these tracks are truly not instrumentals because they either have wordless singing or minor vocal parts consisting of the title being shouted out several times over the duration of the song, they are still rightly classified as instrumental hits.

Today’s jukebox classic stands taller than most on the above list of ‘70s instrumentals. With its propulsive disco beat and infectious horn part, “Pick Up The Pieces” managed to set throngs of dancers into motion on disco dance floors around the world.

But it wasn’t always that way…When “Pick Up The Pieces” was originally released as a single in the U.K. in 1974; it sank without a trace, completely failing to chart. Three months later, the single came out in the U.S. where it sold a million copies and climbed to the top of the charts. It was then rereleased as a single in the U.K. and it rose to the top five. Not to dis our friends across the pond, but what were they thinking the first time around…

The song crossed over into the disco charts and also spawned an answer record recorded by James Brown’s backing band The J.B.s, called “One By One.” On the record, the J.B.s were credited as AABB, or the Above Average Black Band in homage to AWB. It was also sampled by the likes of The Beastie Boys, TLC, Too Short, Ice Cube, Eric B. & Rakim, Nas, Arrested Development and A Tribe Called Quest.

The Average White Band originated in Scotland in 1971 and consisted of Allan Gorrie (bass, guitar and vocals), Malcolm Duncan (tenor sax), Onnie McIntyre (vocals, rhythm guitar), Michael Rosen (trumpet), Roger Ball (keyboards and sax) and Robbie McIntosh (drums) and Hamsih Stuart (guitar, bass and vocals).

Even though one of the group’s earliest gigs was as a support act to Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert in 1973, when their debut album Show Your Hand was released on MCA Records the same year, it sold poorly. For their second album, the group relocated to Los Angeles and signed with Atlantic Records.

The album, titled AWB was produced by Arif Mardin and ultimately topped the U.S. album charts on the heels of its chart-topping single. It was also known to AWB fans as The White Album as it featured stunning graphics on a white background that gave the band its memorable logo.

At the height of their initial fame, tragedy struck when drummer and founding member Robbie McIntosh died of a heroin overdose at a party in 1974. Allan Gorrie also overdosed at the same party, but Cher kept him conscious until medics arrived and he survived. Such was the “swinging” party scene of mid-70s Los Angeles. As a result, McIntosh was replaced by Steve Ferrone.

The band continued to release albums well into the 1980s (including a duo album with Ben E. King on vocals), and scored several hit singles including “Cut The Cake” (#31/1974), “Queen Of My Soul” (#23/1976) and “Let’s Go Round Again” (#12/1980). By the early 1980s, Ferrone left the group to work with Duran Duran, while Hamish Stuart went on to tour and record with Paul McCartney.

The group still exists today with McIntyre and Gorrie still on board. Their last album was a live album called Times Squared, released in 2009. The flip of today’s single is an exceptional cover of The Isley Brothers’ top twenty R&B hit “Work To Do,” which was also covered by The Main Ingredient and Vanessa Williams.

Edited: November 13th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #3 – Isaac Hayes – “Theme From Shaft” b/w “Café Regio” – Enterprise 45 ENA-9038 (E1/F1)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #3 – Isaac Hayes – “Theme From Shaft” b/w “Café Regio”  – Enterprise 45 ENA-9038  (E1/F1)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Call him “Shaft”…call him “Black Moses”…call him “Chef”…but one thing is for sure, he was responsible for some of the funkiest and smoothest hot-buttered soul ever committed to wax. Today’s Song Of The Day inhabits the E1/F1 position in my jukebox and it is Isaac Hayes’ first chart-topper from 1971. “Theme From Shaft” also won the Academy Award for best film score that year, making Hayes the first African American to win an Oscar in the composer category.

Hayes initially agreed to write the score for the Shaft film only if he was given the chance to try out for the lead role. And while he did have a bit part in the film as a bartender, he was never afforded the opportunity to audition for the lead. Fortunately he decided to fulfill the agreement anyway. When film director Gordon Parks approached Hayes about writing the score, he described the character of Shaft as a “black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks” and Hayes picked the description up verbatim for the song.

“Theme From Shaft” was initially not intended to be released as a single, however once the soundtrack was released, the song received extensive club play where it gained popularity. Two months after the album’s release, the single came out and went on to be a great influence on 1970s disco. The song could have been credited to “Isaac Hayes & Dawn” as the background vocalist who says “Shut Your Mouth” was Telma Hopkins, who along with Joyce Vincent Wilson (the other background vocalist,) were both members of Tony Orlando’s backing group Dawn. The band backing Hayes on the track was The Bar-Kays.

In the days before sampling, the high-hat cymbal on the intro was picked up from an Otis Redding single that Hayes arranged: “Otis Redding’s ‘Try A Little Tenderness,’ I had a hand in arranging that. At the end, Al Jackson was doing some stuff on a hi-hat, and I thought if I sustained that kind of thing on a hi-hat, it would give a relentless, dramatic effect, and it worked.” The wah-wah guitar part played by Charlie Pitts was originally intended for an unfinished song hanging around the STAX vaults.

Hayes started out playing sax for The Mar-Keys before becoming the keyboard player for the STAX Records house band writing classic songs with his partner David Porter like “Soul Man,” “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby,” “Hold On, I’m Comin’” and “B-A-B-Y.” He also wrote the not-so-classic “Chocolate Salty Balls” for South Park where he provided the voice for the Chef character before falling out with Trey Parker and Matt Stone over the content of an episode that poked fun at Scientology.

Hayes’ brand of symphonic soul was perfect for love making, and numerous children were no doubt conceived to the strains of his extended recordings of “Walk On By,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and “Never Can Say Goodbye,” from classic albums like Black Moses and Hot Buttered Soul.

The flip of the single is the breezy instrumental “Café Regio” which featured musical backing by members of STAX groups, The Bar-Kays and The Movement.

Edited: October 9th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 10-4-13 – “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango

Hailing from Cameroon, Africa, Manu Dibango established himself as an in-demand saxophone player working with acts as diverse as Fela Kuti, Don Cherry, The Fania All-Stars and Sly and Robbie.

“Soul Makossa,” Dibango’s signature disco smash, was originally released as the flip side to the 1972 single “Mouvement Ewondo” on the French independent Fiesta record label. The song probably would have sunk without a trace if it had not been for Manhattan socialite David Mancuso.

Mancuso was known for throwing exclusive invitation-only loft parties in New York City that served as a precursor to the city’s thriving Disco scene of the 1970s. Mancuso found a copy of the record and gave it a spin at one of his parties where it was heard by DJ Frankie Crocker, who in turn played it on WBLS, New York City’s highest rated urban radio station.

The song became very popular, but the single was so rare that nine cover versions sprung up to fill the demand for the record, before Atlantic Records could rush-release Dibango’s original recording in 1973. As a result of the cover versions, Dibango’s recording only climbed up to #35 on the Billboard singles chart; however the chart position didn’t realistically reflect the enormous popularity of the single.

Later, the song’s “ma-ma so, ma-ma-sa, mako-mako-sa” refrain was featured prominently in Michael Jackson’s single “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” the lead track from his Thriller album which went on to be the biggest selling album of all time.  It was used without Dibango’s permission and he later settled handsomely with Jackson for use of the lyric.

Dibango released an updated version of the track in 1994, and then again in 2011 under the title “Soul Makossa 2.0.”

Edited: October 3rd, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/2/13

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Lose Yourself To Dance” by Daft Punk

So Daft Punk has released a straight-up ‘70s Disco album and everybody is going nuts.

Daft Punk fans are going nuts because there are real instruments and, gasp, real voices on this record. Critics are going nuts because the group has made a ‘70s disco album, and a ‘70s disco album stands out because it’s the antithesis of the loud-soft dynamic of today’s EDM. This gives critics something to write about, which in turn makes them excited, resulting in amazingly positive reviews. Mind you, these are some of the same critics who back in the ‘70s, wouldn’t have been caught dead listening to a disco record.

That said, although Random Access Memories is indeed a departure for Daft Punk, the ‘70s disco left turn works well for them. Under all of the vocodered voices and electronic rhythms, the songs really have heart and emotion. It’s the clash of heart and transistors that is the key to this record, and you really can’t beat the rhythm section of Nathan East on bass and Omar Hakim on drums laying the groundwork for the guitar dynamics of Nile Rodgers funky-Chic style combined with the lighter, jazzier leanings of Paul Jackson Jr.

The record’s power will be in its ability to blend generations of fans, appealing to today’s dance music aficionado and the disco generation alike. This is probably why the record will end up not only being a multi-hit, multi format smash, but also one of the biggest records of the summer.

Nile Rodgers’ fingerprints are all over several of the album’s best tracks including the album’s lead-off track “Give Life Back To The Music,” “Get Lucky, which is sitting at the #4 position of the pop charts this week, and today’s Song Of The Day, “Lose Yourself To Dance,” which no doubt will also climb the charts in weeks to come. (Note: “Lose Yourself To Dance” and “Get Lucky” feature vocals from producer and Neptunes’ member Pharrell Williams.) The influence the man behind “Le Freak” and dozens of other Chic hits from the ‘70s and early ‘80s brings to this album humanizes Daft Punk’s mechanistic sound, as it harkens back to the production sheen he provided for David Bowie’s Let’s Dance.

Along with “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself To Dance,” the album’s centerpiece is clearly the Broadway disco showcase, “Touch,” featuring the dramatic vocals of Paul Williams. The song begins as a dark ruminating electronic soundscape and then bursts alive into Technicolor disco with Williams’ dramatic vocals. I can see this track crossing over big time and sending this album into the stratosphere.

“Georgio By Moroder” pays homage to the disco producer behind Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” with a nine minute moto-disco track that features Moroder talking about his craft over the music. Other cameos include Julian Casablancas, whose co-written track “Instant Crush” is not too different than the direction The Strokes have taken on their latest record, except that his collaboration with Daft Punk has a great hook which is something his own band has been lacking for a while. Elsewhere, Panda Bear lends a Beach Boy’s flavored vocal to “Doin’ It Right.”

I had the pleasure of seeing Daft Punk at Lollapalooza several years ago, and at the time their act relied heavily on spectacle more than songs. That’s not a slam. I love dance music and have for many years, but their live presentation was amazing complemented the music sending the audience into a literal frenzy. (I should know, I was up front for a good portion of their set and it was a crush.) Musically however, they were sonically closer to Kraftwerk than Giorgio Moroder or Nile Rodgers.

So who cares if the French duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter have a penchant for wearing robot disguises and appearing before audiences in a pod, their new musical direction has resulted in a record for the ages from this group, and one I’ll be coming back to again and again.

Edited: June 2nd, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/24/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls

The duo of Martha Wash and Izora Armstead were originally called Two Tons O’ Fun for obvious reasons before they took on the moniker of The Weather Girls. The song was written by producer Paul Jabara and “Late Night with David Letterman” band leader Paul Shaffer. The group also provided backing vocals for the likes of Bob Seger, Sylvester and Aretha Franklin. Martha Wash later went on to sing lead vocals on Black Box’s “Everybody Everybody” and C&C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now).” Over the years, this song has become a gay anthem…just in time for Pride Day!


Edited: June 24th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 3/5/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” by Lou Rawls

Records don’t come any smoother than this one! Frank Sinatra once said that Lou Rawls had “the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game” and you can certainly hear why in the grooves of this late 1970s Philly Soul million selling hit. Rawls’ career began in the 1950s singing Gospel in groups that also included his friend Sam Cooke. He sang background vocals on numerous records including Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me.” In the 1960s Rawls recorded a whole slew of popular albums on the Capitol label and scored with a string of Chicago jazz hits including “Stormy Monday,” “Love Is A Hurting Thing,” “Tobacco Road” and “Dead End Street.” The early 1970s saw Rawls win a Grammy Award for his MGM hit “Natural Man.” But it wasn’t until the late 1970s that Rawls underwent a career renaissance resulting in his biggest hits on the Philadelphia International record label under the tutelage of writers and producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. While some might dismiss this record as a kitschy pure cabaret concoction, Gamble and Huff created a smooth and soulful masterpiece featuring silky strings and an infectious disco bed for Rawls’ vocals to lie down in.

Edited: March 5th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 11/10/11

Song Of The Day – “Din Daa Daa” by George Kranz

Here’s one for the crate diggers. You may not know this by its title, but if you listen to it you probably will. Kranz was a German-born dance artist and a true one hit wonder. It might not sound like much now with its dated ‘80s production and such, but if you were in a club circa 1983 this song signaled some serious bizness on the dancefloor.

Edited: November 10th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 10/18/11

Song Of The Day – “This Is The Right Time” by Lisa Stansfield

Stansfield first appeared on Coldcut’s dance floor classic “People Hold On” and followed it with her 1989 debut album, “Affection.” She wrote and scored several sophisticated Barry White-inspired disco hits off of the record and then seemingly disappeared. In reality, she did release several follow-up albums but failed to reach the heights of her debut.

Edited: October 18th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 10/15/11

Song Of The Day – “I Love A Man In A Uniform” by Gang Of Four

By 1982′s “Songs Of The Free” album, bassist Dave Allen left Gang Of Four for the greener pastures of Shriekback to be replaced by Sara Lee. This found remaining members Andy Gill and Jon King trading in their agit-Punk for a more dance-oriented sound creating a bona-fide Gay anthem in the process. After the initial shock, fans shut up and danced…

Edited: October 14th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 9/10/11

Song Of The Day – “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer

Certainly the most cutting edge dance track of 1977 and perhaps one of the greatest of all time. The brain child of German producer Giorgio Moroder and the Queen Of Disco herself, it was the first disco hit to use totally synthesized backing tracks paving the wave for techno. Its robotic energy took the sound that fellow Germans Kraftwerk pioneered to the top of the charts.

Edited: September 9th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 7/5/11

Song Of The Day – “Cherchez La Femme” by Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band

Before going on to form Kid Creole and The Coconuts, August Darnell established himself with this 1976 disco era outfit.  Their fusion of 1930s Cab Calloway-inspired big band sound and state-of-the-art disco resulted in this top-30 hit.

 

Edited: July 5th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 6/5/11

Song Of The Day – “Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward

Whoever said “Disco Sucks” wasn’t listening. Sure she was a one-hit wonder, but that one hit out-sold Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” and Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls” going all the way to number one on the charts in 1979. All these years later, this song still rings my bell!

Edited: June 4th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 4/22/11

Song Of The Day – “Do It (‘Til You’re Satisfied) by B.T. Express

I actually purchased this album back in 1974…and I still like it today. Brooklyn’s B.T. Express had a clutch of hits in the mid-seventies with this song, “Express” and “Give It What You Got” and then they stopped coming until a brief comeback in 1980 with the monster hit “Give Up The Funk (Let’s Dance).” I’m satisfied…

Edited: April 23rd, 2011