Saturday, 17 January 2009

My Disco Top 150: (101-150)

101. Archie Bell & The Drells The Soul City Walk (1975 Philadelphia Int.)
Early 12 inch release on Philadelphia International, this is a bone-fide Philly classic written by the crack team of McFadden & Whitehead with Victor Carstarphen and arranged by Bobby Martin.

102. The Players Association I Like It (1977 Vanguard)
Remake of an original Chris Hills composition that featured on the rare Madcliff album on Guinness Records. This later version has superior production and killer clavinet marking out the classic Players Association sound.

103. Joe Simon Love Vibrations (1978 Spring)
Veteran soulster Joe Simon hooked up with Philadelphia's Disco legend: guitarist Norman Harris - for this classic chugger.

104. Donald Byrd Loving You (1978 Elektra)
From jazz to fusion to Disco. Trumpeter Donald Byrd released this self-produced uplifting gem in 1978.

105. MFSB TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia) (1973 Philadelphia Int.)
Early blueprint for the soulful style of Philadelphia Disco. Arranged by Bobby Martin and written and produced by label-owners Gamble & Huff themselves.

106. Queen Yahna Ain't It Time (1976 P&P)
Raw early Disco from the Peter Brown camp. Typically stripped down production with thin, edgy strings and diva vocals. Tough.

107. Mass Production Welcome To Our World (1976 Cotillion)
Super-charged Disco from funk outfit Mass Production. Belongs to the funkier side of Disco along with B.T. Express, Brass Construction, etc.

108. The Independent Movement Slippin' Away (1978 Polydor)
Soulful disco from a Chicago team led by producer "Tom Tom 84" Washington and co-written by veteran Gene Chandler.

109. Phreek May My Love Be With You (1978 Atlantic)
A major-label funded Patrick Adams project - this release benefits from excellent engineering from no less than Bob Blank, Bob Clearmountain and Neil Dorfsman. Written by Adams and Richie Weeks, this uplifting mid-tempo groover features the great vocals of Donna McGhee. From an album better known for the original of Class Action's "Weekend".

110. Sister Sledge He's The Greatest Dancer (1978 Cotillion)
Needs a re-appraisal outside of it's common appearance as a 'wedding party' classic. This classic slice of sophisticated Disco by Chic producers Edwards and Rodgers tells the ultimate tale of high fashion and the Disco lifestyle. Superb production with thumping drums and thrilling strings.

111. Ecstasy, Passion & Pain Touch and Go (1976 Roulette)
Classic Philadelphia Disco featuring vocalist Barbara Roy. Produced by MFSB member and arranger Bobby Martin, the vocal has been often sampled in House music. Mixed by the great Tom Moulton.

112. Phyllis Hyman You Know How To Love Me (1979 Arista)
Mid-tempo Disco released towards the end of the main Disco era and the onset of slower tempo boogie. Written and produced by the great Mtume-Lucas team, responsible for so many soulful Disco classics.

113. Sweet Thunder Everybody's Singin' Love Songs (1978 WMOT)
Soulful Philadelphia Disco produced by "Fat" Larry James for Fantasy/WMOT.

114. Ultrafunk Indigo Country (1976 TK Disco)
Lesser known, mid-tempo, early instrumental Disco groover on TK Disco. Tucked away on the B-side of "Gotham City Boogie."

115. Bombers Let's Dance (1979 West End)
Purist Disco on West End. Track really kicks off during a lengthy percussive break mid-way through.

116. Cloud One Disco Juice (1977 P&P)
Patrick Adams production outfit Cloud One released several, typically raw tracks on the P&P label, co-run by Adams with Peter Brown. With it's catchy female vocals and hypnotic groove Disco Juice is the pick of the bunch.

117. Al Wilson Count The Days (1979 Roadshow)
Veteran soul-singer Al Wilson of "Show and Tell" fame, teamed up with veteran Philadelphia songwriter and Disco pioneer Allan Felder and others for this soulful classic.

118. Sparkle Disco Madness (1979 Jam)
Independent label Disco - Harold Sargent, the producer behind Sparkle appears on various New York based releases by Chain Reaction, Wood, Brass & Steel and others.

119. El Coco Let's Get It Together (1976 AVI)
An early Rinder & Lewis project - this El Coco release has beautiful chord changes and an uplifting feel.

120. Brainstorm Hot For You (1979 Tabu)
A surprisingly purist Disco track from producer Jerry Peters. The earlier soulful release "We're On Our Way Home" is perhaps more typical of Peters jazzy style, but this storming, fast-paced track is a classic. 

121. Frisky You Got Me Dancin' In My Sleep (1979)
Disco is littered with short-lived pseudonyms acting as artist fronts for various producers. Frisky was the Disco project of producer team Dillard & Boyce for Vanguard.

122. Eugene Record Fan The Fire (1979 Warner Bros.)
Lead singer of The Chi-Lites, Eugene Record enjoyed solo success with a couple of driving Disco tracks in the late seventies. Rising above them all was this gem - available on the "Welcome To My Fantasy" album. Later covered by The Impressions.

123. Dunn Pearson Jr. Groove On Down (1978 Shyrlden)
Dunn Pearson Jr. is an unsung hero of soulful Disco and boogie - behind several superb releases, either as composer, producer or both. Here he gets his own showcase on the small Shyrlden label - a subsidiary of Red Greg. Such was the rarity and demand for the original, I included this on my Soul Of Science compilation series some years back.

124. Archie Bell & The Drells Let's Groove (1975 TSOP)
Veteran soulsters The Drells got a new lease of life with their mid-seventies soulful disco productions by Gamble & Huff - and in this case - McFadden & Whitehead. Too early for a 12 inch release this was released on a rare small hole promotional 'Special Disco Mix' 7 inch which ran for 6 minutes.

125. Lucy Hawkins Gotta Get Out Of Here (1978 SAM)
Well produced Disco-diva track, written and produced by John Davis of Monster Orchestra fame.

126. Sammy Gordon & The Hip Huggers Making Love (1976 Greg)
Mid-tempo heavyweight disco chugger, with huge toms and arranger Patrick Adams' trademark lead synth lines. Co-produced by Greg Carmichael on whose label it was released.

127. Linda Evans You Control Me (1978 Ariola)
Powerful Disco duet - dominated by the diva-ish vocals of Linda Evans. Great production and a storming breakdown with driving strings. Sometimes overlooked, it was also released on 12 inch.

128. Laura Greene Manhattan (1979 Sound Trek)
Disco may well be a global phenomena but it's difficult to not conjure up images of Manhattan night clubs and mid-seventies skyscrapers when thinking of the archetypal Disco landscape. This track - released on a tiny independent at the tail end of Disco's dominance - sums it all up.

129. John Gibbs & US Steel Orchestra Trinidad (1978 Jumbo Caribbean)
Calypso-Disco hybrid, with a heavy funk influence. Sweeping strings and restrained steel drums make an infectious combination.

130. Made In U.S.A. Melodies (1977 De-Lite)
It takes a while to take off, but once it does.. it turns into one of Disco's great breakdown's. A particular favourite of Chicago DJ and House music pioneer Ron Hardy.

131. B.T. Express Peace Pipe (1975 Roadshow)
The early B.T. Express releases were an important part in the forging of the true Disco sound. With mixes by Tom Moulton and the stretching out and stripping down of the large funk ensemble sound into trippier arrangements and 'breaks'. Peace Pipe is still a House music classic today.

132. Inner Life I Want To Give You Me (1979 Prelude)
An album only track and in the 12 inch dominated culture of Disco, therefore somewhat overlooked. Featuring Jocelyn Brown and produced by Greg Carmichael.

133. Joe Thomas Make Your Move (1979 TK Disco)
Great Disco track by jazz-flautist Joe Thomas, who had previously paid tribute to early Disco club 'Plato's Retreat' and had featured on various Disco sessions. The latter half of the track is dominated by a killer breakdown with phased claps and congas.

134. Norma Jean Saturday (1978 Bearsville)
The ultimate expression of a well-worn theme within Disco - that of escape from the weekday drudgery. Immaculately produced with an aloof sheen by the masters of sophisticated Disco - Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of Chic.

135. Rhythm Makers Zone (1976 Vigor)
Moody instrumental jazz-tinged Disco from producer Billy Terrell. Featured alongside the killer funk track Monterey on the album "Soul On Your Side" but also made it on to a rare 12" release.

136. Shalamar Take That To The Bank (1978 Solar)
Shalamar had so much commercial success that it's easy to under-estimate the impact of this early hit. Pure uplifting Disco with the superb vocals of Howard Hewitt and Jody Watley.

137. Imp. Express 8-1 (1976 Imp. Express)
An obscure little Disco 7 inch, thankfully more widely available due to Kon and Amir's "Off-Track-Vol.1" compilation. I'm not sure if 8-1 should actually be the name of the artist rather than the title.

138. Chicago Street Player (1979 Columbia)
From protest rock to soft-rock to Disco - Chicago were an eclectic band. This upbeat club classic has been often sampled by the House music fraternity... "street sounds blowin thru my mi-i-ii-i-ind."

139. Pam Todd & Love Exchange Let's Get Together (1977 Shyrlden)
One of those mid-tempo groovers - with hi-hats as thick as pea-soup - that can still be classified as Disco. Produced and co-arranged by "Red" Greg Carmichael. As with other small independent New York productions, the slightly lo-fi sound quality and minimalist vocal all add to the appeal. The original release is a rare and in-demand album.

140. Billy Nichols Diamond Ring (1980 West End)
Producer Billy Nichols follow-up to his earlier West End release "Give Your Body Up To The Music" is a slice of tough Disco. Released at a time when the tempo's were slowing rapidly, this may have been why it was somewhat overlooked. Paradise Garage DJ Larry Levan is credited as "consultant".

141. Crown Heights Affair Dreaming A Dream (Goes Dancin) (1977 De-Lite)
This 12" Special Disco Version incorporates Crown Heights Affair's best early Disco hits "Dreaming A Dream" and the Shaft-inspired "Dancin'" from their debut album.

142. Deodato Whistle Bump (1978 Warner Bros.)
Brazilian arranger Eumir Deodato manages to give this Disco classic the feel of the perfect samba - melancholic and yet simultaneously uplifting.

143. Rose Royce Is It Love You're After (1979 Whitfield)
Immediately recognisable due to it's acid-like synth opening and only slightly dated by it's syn-drum effects, this uplifting classic was another huge hit for recently deceased producer Norman Whitfield.

144. B.T. Express Energy To Burn (1976 Columbia)
The moment when the Jeff Lane/Randy Muller proto-Disco style of B.T. Express and Brass Construction became true Disco. Still retains the funk despite the breakneck speed.

145. Love Unlimited Orchestra I'm Falling In Love With You (1976 20th Century)
Album only, fast-paced string-laden Barry White production. Intense and uplifting with a short, slightly cheesy section that somehow works.

146. Thelma Houston Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (1979 Motown)
A perfect early hours club-night closer - especially of course, on a Sunday morning. Uplifting sing-a-long classic.

147. Clyde Alexander & Sanction Got To Get Your Love (1979 Heavenly Star)
Slightly crazy, chaotic feel-good Peter Brown production. Still quite rare and collectable - has been seen with various different label designs. The occasionally wayward rhythm section and barely on-key horns and vocals all add to the charm of this epic release.

148. David Williams Come On Down, Boogie People (1977 AVI)
Produced by legendary Disco pioneers Rinder & Lewis and one of their most soulful releases.

149. Caroline Crawford Coming On Strong (1978 Mercury)
Tough, no-nonsense Detroit Disco. Produced by Hamilton Bohannon this fast-paced stomper was especially popular with Chicago House pioneer DJ Ron Hardy.

150. Harvey Mason Groovin' You (1979 Arista)
Fusion drummer - best known for his outstanding playing on Herbie Hancock's "Headhunters" - goes Disco. A House DJ favourite - the famous descending bass-line and vocal 'bom bom bom' being 'homaged' many times. 

1 comment:

soulie said...

Good choice really glad to know i had them all here at home ,supprised that some tuneage did'nt make it in but that's your choice,were're all different.
good post though.
You should apply to join Disco Connection,a private blog where we all post disco,funk,jazz funk etc.

'feet don't fail me now'