WORK IT OUT
curtis mayfield – love me, love me now
jo boyer – isabelle & the rain
willie hutch – brother’s gonna work it out (joey negro mix)
patti labelle – music is my way of life (joey negro mix)
crown heights affair – say a prayer for two
chilly – for your love (psychemagik rework)
janet jackson – say you do (LNTG rework)
michael jackson – burn this disco out (reflex revision)
archie bell – anytime is right (DJ apt one edit)
rose royce – still in love
poussez – come on and do it
yambu – sunny
light of the world – time (koko paradisco edit)
harold melvin & the blue notes – the love i lost (dimitri edit)
Groove On Down – Dunn Pearson Jr aka “The Black Beethoven” is a pianist, composer, arranger, and producer. He’s worked with everybody: Grover Washington, Freddie Hubbard, Patrice Rushen, Stevie Wonder, D’angelo, Teddy Pendergrass, & Mtume – to name just a few. He’s also done a lot of scoring for television, most notably the theme to NY Undercover (that god awful cop show with all the weird colored gel lights everywhere). This came out on 1978 on Shyrlden Records.
Love Me, Love Me Now – A lesser known swan song of the disco era. This was released in 1980 on Curtis Mayfield’s “Something To Believe In” LP – best known by diggers for it’s “Trippin’ Out” break. It may not be Curtis at his Superfly peak, but it’s just nice to hear him sing so clearly and sweetly.
Isabelle & The Rain – a rare groove of the cosmic disco variety – which is a category that record nerds came up with to label instrumental disco that uses a lot of spacey synths and dubby reverbs. The Fender Rhodes solo is by Mike Lang, who came up under Lalo Schifrin, so you know he knows how to make shit funky. Jo Boyer was a composer, arranger, and band leader in Paris going all the way back to the late 40s. He even recorded with Django Rheindhart and Dizzy Gallespie.
Brother’s Gonna Work It Out (joey negro mix) – I am often on the fence about Joey Negro’s disco edits, because he tends to introduce a lot of new stuff to classic records that alters them a bit too much for my tastes. But sometimes it works out great, and his beefing up of this Willie Hutch classic from 1973’s The Mack does just what it needs to do.
Music Is My Way of Life (joey negro mix) – Another recent Joey edit from the same compilation as the Willie Hutch above, his “Remixed With Love Vol. 2” on Z Records. I will admit I grew up with a skewed perspective of Patti Labelle: Unaware of how funky her early stuff is, and in both awe and fear of her 1980s hairdos and somewhat cheesy later stuff. But once I started digging, I realized just how amazing she is / how much DRAMA she can bring with just one song. That is a rare talent, and her influence every vocal diva that followed cannot be overstated.
Say A Prayer For Two – This Crown Heights Affair track is a favorite of one of my personal heroes, David Mancuso. I heard on a dance floor for the first time at The Loft. I have not yet reached David’s purist ethos of not even mixing records, just letting them play in full, but I do think I am getting there slowly.
For Your Love (Psychemagik rework) – This whole mix was made for two of my dearest friends, Ben Cruz & Andreas Berner, who are celebrating a birthday in Nicaragua this week. I fly down on Thursday to DJ the big bash. One half of this birthday duo grew up in Austria, so I felt compelled to offer one solid euro-disco track to get Andreas’ booty shaking. This Chilly track from 1978 is just the fire to light that fuse.
Say You Do (LNTG rework) – Without even trying, this entire mix seems to be living in the 1978-1982 range, which was a good time for disco, no doubt. This was the third single from Janet’s debut album. Remixer and editor Late Night Tuff Guy really knows how to put some umph in an old track, while leaving most of it intact.
Burn This Disco Out (reflex revision) – My go-to disco editor as of late has been The Reflex. His take on MJ’s “Off The Wall” sleeper cut is yet another arrow for his quiver. And if you’re a true fan, I must insist you see Spike Lee’s MJ documentary. It takes you through “off The Wall” song by song, and it’s fucking awesome.
Anytime Is Right (DJ apt one edit) – Soul legend Archie Bell did delve into disco in early 80s, releasing one solo album “I Never Had It So Good” in 1981. This edit from DJ Apt One removes most of the song and just focuses on the groove. And sometimes that’s all you need. But I do recommend checking out the full cut.
Still In Love – The strings and arrangement on this 1982 Rose Royce banger are to fucking die for. Not to mention the vocal harmonies. Just let it wash over you n shit. Rose Royce actually started out as an LA group called Total Concept Unlimited. Later they became Magic Wand. Norman Whitfield worked with them for years, eventually getting them slated for the soundtrack to Car Wash, which was when they changed their name one final time and launched as Rose Royce. That soundtrack is one of the first where the songs were actually composed based on the working script.
Come On And Do It – Speaking of that Euro-Disco sound, this 1979 song was a mega hit on the continent. And yes, it’s pronounced PUSSAY! The chick having an audio orgasm is Linda Le Desma, the wife of band leader Alphonse Mouzon, who played Jazz-fusiony drums for cats like Larry Coryell, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, and Miles Davis – to name a few.
Sunny – Since I played Chilly for the Austrian, I had to play something for the Bronx-born Puerto Rican. It’s an afro-cuban cover of Bobby Hebb’s 1972 hit of the same name. If you don’t know it, check out the beautiful original HERE. This is from Yambu’s 1975 debut album. From what I understand, Yambu was basically a studio band put together by Al Santiago, a Puerto Rican band leader who owned the landmark 1950s Bronx record store & record label Casa Alegre – credited with introducing a lot of Latino music to the states. He worked with damn near everybody – Eddie Palmieri, Mongo Sanatamaria, Willie Colon, Celia Cruz. The list goes on.
Time (Koko paradisco edit) – UK funkateers Light of the World were contemporaries of late 70s / early 80s Jazz Funk acts like Pleasure and The Blackbyrds. Members of this band later went on to form Incognito, who carried this style well into the 80s and beyond. They took their name from the Kool & The Gang album Light of Worlds, and you can definitely hear their influence in the horn arrangements.
The Love I Lost Dimitri edit) – If you ever want to see me lose my shit, just play this in the club at 5am. It doesn’t get more epic than this. Harold Melvin & Teddy Pendergrass were just dynamic together. And Dimitri knows how to squeeze every last drop of juice out of a disco edit. His remix is incredible, and a great way to end this mix. Thanks for listening.