It can be a fine line between the uber-Balearic and the utter tat (just ask my long-suffering partner) and I’m not sure which side of the divide today’s track stands on. But as it’s Eurovision night, I’ll give this one the benefit of the doubt…
Ah…the joys of a summer cold: a recent attack of “man flu” has halted blogging activities, but boosted local sales of Lockets. My sorry condition made me think of this delightful obscurity from Labi Siffre – though listening to the (slightly misogynistic) lyrics, his doctor wasn’t dispensing cold remedies…
Sticking with the cassette-ripping action, I’ve got a few tapes on the mid-80’s New York label ROIR (Reach Out International Records), a casette-only imprint that released original material, such as the harmalodic funk of Alfonio Tims & His Flying Tigers as well as reissues of out-of-print titles by the likes of Prince Far I & The Arabs.
Today’s selection is from a great one-hit-wonder of early hip-hop, Brother D. His classic How We Gonna Make The Black Rise Nation Rise originally came out on the Clappers label in 1980 (and got a UK Island release the same year) but didn’t come to my attention until it was included on the excellent Mighty Reel cassette, given away with the New Musical Express in 1982. As a young political firebrand, the strident militancy of the lyrics appealed to me, and as a latent disco-phile, the Cheryl Lynn sample made my loins feel funny.
To think that the same sample (Got To Be Real) is now used in a Marks & Spencer TV advert. Enough to make one want to storm the barricades again…
So back to the music, first up is the live version on the ROIR cassette, Brother D & Silver Fox – Up Against The Beast. The album – a live collaboration between D and a reggae MC – promises much but only really comes alive on Brother D’s “hit” (note that Silver Fox doesn’t appear on this):
This (ahem) bootleg compilation – Idi, igraj!: Funk, soul, jazz funk & disco from ex-Yugoslavia 1969-1987 compiled by DJ Funky Junkie – blew me away when I found out about it from Slobodon Jovanavic’s blog, where it can be downloaded in full.
Like most people outside the former Yugoslavia, my knowledge of the local soul/funk/disco scene is limited to say the least. But on this showing, it produced some gems to rival the rest of Europe, or indeed the USA. Here (in English) are some words on the making of the compilation, presumably written by DJ Funky Junkie:
“At the beginning, I would like to emphasize that I am not getting any financial or other benefit out of this project. Inspired by the work of the great Željko Kerleta and DJ Chile who are pioneers of digging some forgotten and hard to find records from ex-Yugoslavia, I’ve decided to make this bootleg compilation. Beside Mr. Željko Kerleta’s Cosmic Sounds label no one from this area or else payed much attention to these gems. I think that funk, soul, jazz funk, fusion & disco funk records from this great period deserve to be presented to a much wider audience both in ex-YU countries and all around the world.”
As a taster, here’s a lovely – and slightly weird – slice of YU disco-funk:
I mentioned this comp to my other half – Lady Muck – and it turns out she went to Rovinj (on the Istrian peninsula) back in 1987. One evening she went to “a night club shaped like a pyramid” and danced the night away to what she remembers as being euro-popbut presumably was actually cutting-edge Yugo-Cosmic sounds. Or possibly euro-pop.
Anyway, lots of white jeans, ultra-violet lights and fibre-optics – but sadly no photographic evidence…
Ee, ‘ow time flies – it’s Yorkshire Day again! To mark this joyous annual celebration of all things Yorkshire, here’s a cheeky little number from the Leeds-based Lunar Jam boys (must ask them if they mind me posting this). It’s from last year’s excellent Lunar Jam Edits Vol. 2, which at time of writing is still available from Juno:
Welcome to 500 Miles High: tracks, mixes, edits (and the like) from all points on the disco compass.
To kick things off here is a great disco-tinged track from the early 80’s LP, “Red Cloud in Dub” by Red Cloud (sometimes credited as The Red Cloud Band). Sadly this selection is vaguely topical as the engineer, Sid Bucknor, passed away in May.