The Disco Box / Disc Three

Disco Box

The Analysis:

Shake Your Groove Thing [Peaches & Herb]—-This husband and wife team managed to score a few top 40 hits..all inside the Disco genre and the top 40 pop genre. Although this is steeped with many of the classic characteristic Disco sounds, I more consider this to be a more Urban release than a simple Disco song. This has survived time and changes…and still sounds wonderfully fresh even today.

Y.M.C.A. {The Village People]—-This studio manufactured group has managed to outlast the disco era, the AIDS era and the general trend away from dance music with incredible energy. Still touring with different members, but the same energy, this is a mainstay of the memories of the excess and innuendo of the Disco movement. This is about as gay as you can get, but managed to capture the attention of the entire world…nuff said.

Le Freak [Chic]—-I hardly consider this song to be a Disco song per se…instead, this was a worldwide phenomenon that captured the music audience form edge of the world to the other. Chic…stteped in a rather deep bass funk sound managed to incorporate the waning Disco sound with the new invigorated Urban sound and created a hit that encapsulated Worldwide Domination. This is still fun and listening back to it now brings a huge feeling of euphoria and fun, This was not necessarily disco, but the beginning of a real Dance movement.

I Will Survive [Gloria Gaynor]—-Perhaps one of the defining songs of this entire genre, this song still plays incredibly well today and still manages to be relevant. Gaynor delivers a vocal that is just incredible…full of all the necessary emotion and mood…telling an actual story and in extended play delivers a dance rhythm that will keep you dancing for a nice 165 minutes or so. The piano adds to the depth of the song and the build up is magnificent. This is pure Disco…a song that still defines the genre and manages to stay alive despite it!

Livin’ It Up [Friday Night] [Bell & Jaymes]—-This is another of those miscellaneous jams that literally defines Disco. Steeped in  the full urban feel that also includes many of the Disco characteristics, this is still a really nice song to listen to. The orchestration that lies underneath the heavy synth beats must have been expensive to produce, but the result is another timeless classic.

Instant Replay [Dan Hartman]—-A classic song that has been remade numerous times since we lost Hartman to the AIDS crisis. This is superb…full of energy and a classic dance floor element that helped to define this moment in time. Hartman managed a really nice vocal that was so accessible…I miss that vibe…although Irather adore the version by Bros……Thanks Allan!!!!

You Make Me Feel [Mighty Real][Sylvester]—-Perhaps a defining movement in moving the whole disco movement into a Gay movement, Sylvester hit the scene with this song…combined with Patrick Crowley’s  synth lines to move the entire thing from the mainstream into a club thing. This song is so full of energy and enthusiasm…synth heavy and accentuated by the remarkable vocal of Sylvester…you will remember this forever.

I Want Your Love [Chic]—-Another of those songs that really served as a crossover hit on the American charts, Chic set a standard and never faltered from their vision. Nile Rodgers and his bass became a trademark for many of the future Urban bands that were to come after this masterful song. This is brilliance and the standout fact is how wonderful it sounds to me now…all of these years later.

Knock On Wood [Amii Stewart]—-I almost had forgotten about this song until it surfaced on this compilation. Stewart had a magnificent voice that seemed really out-of-place in the Disco movement but found a wonderful home in this song. This is brilliant…the synths, the energy and the vocal all add up to a bona fide hit!!!

Disco Nights [Rock Freak] [GQ]—-Joyful, spirited and full of every Disco synth that you could find, this is a sure listen if you are seeking nostalgia. The vocal is so smooth and full of funk that you are sucked in from the onset. When the whole group joins in on the vocal, you are lost in the wonderful enveloping of the song. This is magnificent…a pure lost classic.

Love & Desire Pt. I [Arpeggio]—-For me, this falls into that cliché  sound of 70’s Disco…full of gang vocals that trade back and forth from male to female…without ever going anywhere. To me this was a waste of time…the female vocal is downright annoying.

He’s The Greatest Dancer [Sister Sledge]—-Really one of the first all girl groups…later they would  permeate the 80’s sound, Sister sledge had that nice combination of funk and disco that plated very well on FM radio. This still sounds fairly fresh today…all of these years on. This  reminds of so many things…mnost of them really good…thanks to you Sister Sledge!

Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now [McFadden & Whitehead]—-One of my very favorite songs from this genre, this track includes classic Disco sounds and swirls with a feel good music that took over the airwaves in the early 80’s before New Wave became the phenomenon. This is full of breaks and rhythms that would later permeate our musical history. This still sounds as remarkable to me now as it did when I first heard it!

Ring My Bell [Anita Ward]—-Distinguished my the mechanical bell sound…supplied by a drum program and a remarkable less than conventional vocal, Ward scored a HUGE hit with this song. It still sounds magical and fun to me…this is Disco personified!

Bad Girls [Donna Summer]—-By the time this single emerged, Summer and moroder were the King and Queen of disco music…this only further cemented the reputation as the duo produced yet another single that was full of sexual innuendoes and a classic synth line that would define the careers of these artists. this is classic, unforgettable and comfortable.

Born To Be Alive [Patrick Hernandez]—-This song is so full of classic disco sounds…the song travels at an amazing speed. The sentiment that is displayed in the lyrics makes this song one of the most powerful Gay Anthems that has ever been recorded…I find it a bit distressing that it has been forgotten so easily. This should be blaring from the stereos of every State Legislature as we battle for HIV funding and marriage rights…this is a true anthem!!!!

Good Times [Chic]—-Yet  another song that I personally don’t think belongs in the whole disco genre, this song capitalized on the burgeoning funk movement of the early 80’s, Chic appealed to mass audiences everywhere…not just those who were dancing at Studio 54 style clubs. This is slow, seductive and displayed mass appeal…perhaps displaying the genius of Nile Rodgers and his staying power in the stream of popular music.

Don’t You Want My Love [Debbie Jacobs]—-This is nice and fast….Sylvester type fast disco…full of low and seductive lyrics and a fun sexy style that inspires hedonism and abandon. The vocal is classic…full of back drop singers that beef up the feel of the song and adds layers of sexiness to the already seductive feel of the song. The synth swirls around your head and brings a euphoria you thought impossible…the true mission of Disco Music!!!

H.A.P.P.Y R.A.D.I.O [Edwin Starr]—-This is just slop……..

 I Shoulda Loved You [ Michael Narada Walton]—-A name that turned up in the later 80’s as a production credit, Narada delivers a song that is steeped in classic funk/disco sounds that played very well in the later part of the 70’s after the crowds began to abandon the dance floors of Club 54 in search for a more real Urban sound…Narada delivered this with a playfulness that still appealed to the Disco mad audience that DID NOY burn their records at the infamous I HATE DISCO  rally.

We Are Family [Sister Sledge]—-This is a true anthem for the Gay community that still plays very well and pronounced at rallies to this very day. this speaks of unity and the need to come together ad one…you cannot deny the underlying meaning of the song…tis was meant as a battle cry…one that we need to shout to this day!!!!

**** out of 5


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