I actually planned to ad this weekend more stuff from ZE Records but twists of faith have persuaded me to do otherwise (Someone was asking me for Was (Not Was)… it’s coming, don’t ye worry).
Now, what changed my mind was the fact that I’m currently deeply involved with ‘everything Cuban’.
1. I’ve just finished reading a biography about Anacaona, a legendary all female Latin band from Cuba which coloured the international scene from the thirties up to the late fifties.
2. I also just watched Walter Salles’ Diarios De Motocicleta or The Motorcycle Diaries about Che Guevarra’s trip around Latin America as a doctor/student that changed his life and let him to take up arms for the divided and repressed people of the continent.
3. And what a coincidence, on Wednesday it will be 40 years that Che Guevarra was captured and executed without trial in the Bolivian jungle.
4. On top of that, I also just recently find out about some great 60’s and 70’s Chicano Rock from… yes Cuba on a compilation album called Si, Para Usted - The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba Vol. 1, so there’s more to come, nice!
5. And finally, to finish things off, I’ve got a friend who just recently married a guy from Cuba and now she’s fighting the well nurtured offspring of Kafka’s legacy to get her husband over for Christmas or if not Eastern.
But does that mean I’m a fan of Ché and I’ll be posting Latin music for him? No, that’s for next week.
The magic word for today is Salsoul because the weather forecast still spells Disco. UK DJ legend Greg Wilson from ‘Hacienda fame’ is coming to the Make-up next Friday so I’d better prepare myself. And besides that, going through al those ZE Recordings made me come across various other Disco outfits.
In the booklet accompanying the Mutant Disco CD’s, the reviewer in charge, Kevin Pearce starts his story with a reference to a specific song to state his brief outline about ZE’s subtle dislocation of the norm. The song in question is a cover version of For The love Of Money by The Disco Dub Band. I knew I had this song somewhere but I couldn’t find it right away until yesterday. I found it back a compilation album called Jazz-Funk Sessions in the Sessions series (It turns out it's on Spaced Out on Disorient as well).
Now, I still don’t quite understand why he make’s a reference to this song, I’ve got an idea, but it’s off course always a nice occasion to bring this little gem into the spotlight ‘cause it simply brilliant.
A small search on the web reveals that the Disco Dub Band was actually a reggae band who recorded this cover of Gamble & Huff's For The Love Of Money back in 1975 in NYC. The arranger was Davitt Sigerson who later recorded 2 albums for ZE Records.
Formed for one session the reggae outfit cut a seminal slice of dance history. The producer Mike Doraine was one of the first UK reggae producers to experiment with the dub sound embellishing the drums with a deep backbeat roar. Recorded in half an hour the group filled their bass drums with… CONCRETE, to create that heavy bass rolling sound. Using a Rickenbacker bass they were able to reinterpret the O'Jays Phillysoul classic and give it a dub/funk edge.
The new version was an unique blend of funk, disco and dub, hence the name Disco Dub Band. It has since achieved the status of cult record and rare groove anthem with it's groundbreaking production and dub sounds, a foretaste of things to come in the early 80’s.
One blogreviewer stated that … Until recently this song topped my "I heard it at a club but I don't know what it's called" list… the same goes for me. It took me a few years to figure out what it was until I heard on the Sessions compilation album and bingo! Another fav’ in the pocket (still a zillions minus one to go though).168 Disco Dub Band – For The Love Of Money 1976
The main roots of Disco are Philly Soul, funk and Latin and what better way to symbolize that fruitful marriage than the Salsoul Orchestra. It was formed in 1974 in NYC and disbanded in 1982. Led by Vincent Montana, Jr it included up to 50 members with instrumental section, arrangers and conductors. It was the house band of Salsoul Records founded by the Cayre brothers. From 1974 to 1985, Salsoul released about 300 disco 12-inch singles, and a string of albums. The Salsoul Orchestra provided backing tracks for many of the label’s artists. Instant Funk, Loleatta Holloway, Carol Williams, Jocelyn Brown, Double Exposure, First Choice, Joe Bataan, Inner Life, Skyy, and Charo were at one time part of their roster.
The label's name was conceived by Joe Bataan, who recorded some of the earliest sessions for the Cayre brothers (predating the label's formation). "Salsoul" was street lingo for the musical culture of urban Latinos in the Barrio who were absorbing African-American popular music and infusing into their own culture, as well as vice-versa. Bataan had chosen the name for an album he made for the Cayre brothers.
Ken Cayre admired the era’s sound of Philly soul and hunted down the genre's best session musicians. He was lucky finding the key players, behind Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International Records label, home of Philly soul, in dispute with Gamble and Huff over business matters, and Salsoul quickly put them under contract.
The key musicians among these Philly soul artists tapped for Salsoul were Vince Montana (orchestral arrangements and vibes), Norman Harris (lead and rhythm guitar, arrangements, songwriting and production), Ronnie Baker (bass guitar, arrangement and production), Earl Young (drums and percussion), Bunny Sigler and others.
Baker and Young are now widely credited for being the rhythm section that crystallized the sound and structure of a disco record. Young's insistent use of the Hihat cymbal made it easy for DJs to mix records in noisy clubs, as the high frequency of the cymbal stood out over the background noise and could be easily heard in the headphones of the DJ. Baker would plant his key bass notes on top of the kick drum of Young, making for a solid and thunderous bass sound.
This prime Disco big band was a big influence in inspiring club music (and later on house music). They where the first to fuse Philly Soul, Funk and Latin Music in a danceable disco sound. Their widely-imitated signature style is best heard on the record Love is the Message with MFSB. MFSB, short for Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, was a loose conglomeration of other studio musicians from Philadelphia soul recordings who later released other successful singles and albums as a stand-alone recording act.
169 Salsoul Orchestra feat. MFSB – Love Is The Message (Danny Krivit re-edit)
The Cayre brothers also chose to record at the top-notch Sigma Sound studios in Philadelphia (one of the earliest facilities to install 24-track equipment and in possession of one of the most admired live rooms for accommodating small orchestras). This is why it is virtually impossible for the untrained ear to tell an MFSB recording from a Salsoul Orchestra recording (the key players, arrangers, and recording facility were mostly the same).
170 Inner Life & Jocelyn Brown – Ain't No Mountain High Enough (Larry Levan mix)
171 Loleatta Holloway & Salsoul Orchestra – Hit and Run (Walter Gibbons 12 inch)
172 Instant Funk – I Got My Mind Made up (You Can Get It Girl) (dance mix)
173 Joe Bataan – Rap o Clap Proto hip-hop
174 Vincent Montana Orchestra – Heavy Vibes (Salsoul Club Mix)
175 Loleatta Holloway & Salsoul Orchestra – Dreamin' (original Salsoul 12 inch mix)
176 Rafael Cameron – All That's Good To Me (12 inch)
177 Ripple – The Beat Goes On (Salsoul 12 inch)
178 Salsoul Orchestra – Keep on dancing
179 First Choice – Armed and Extremely Dangerous (1973 version)
180 First Choice – It's Not Over, Let No Man Put Asunder
181 First choice – The Player (Tom Moulton long version)
182 First Choice – Hold Your Horses (Tom Moulton mix)
Baker, Harris and Young had the girl group First Choice under contract, and brought them along to Salsoul. Led by Rochelle Fleming, the group had moderate success on the Philly Groove label with Armed and Extremely Dangerous (which Salsoul acquired and would re-release amongst its classic catalogue in the 1990s - leading to the misconception that it was a Salsoul recording). For Salsoul, First Choice would record a string of classic disco anthems, most notably Dr. Love and Let No Man Put Asunder.
Salsoul Records is off course not the only brand of genuine classic Disco. Here are some other random and/or Salsoul related classics pointing in various directions like electro and house music.
183 Philly Cream – Fun Fun Fun
184 Philly Cream – Motown Review A sentimental, melancholy number reflecting on how many of the cultural and political things that defined the 60’s were long gone during the disco era.
185 Philly Cream – Jammin' At The Disco
No, not the cream cheese, but Philadelphia’s cream of the crop on the Fantasy label. Fantasy didn't have a lot of major disco stars but it’s contributions to disco in the late '70s and early '80s are embodied in one of disco's true heavyweights: Sylvester, whose Fantasy singles Dance (Disco Heat) and You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) went down in history as textbook examples of exuberant gay disco-soul.
186 Ingram – Mi Sabrina Tequana (My Sister's Daughter)
Ingram was a self-contained group of sisters and brothers from Camden, New York, deeply rooted in gospel.They came out as the Ecstasies before becoming just Ingram. Barbara Ingram sang backing vocals at Sigma Sound Studios in the early '70s, most notably for Thom Bell and Gamble & Huff projects, but nearly every producer in town employed her at one time or another. They got a deal with Excello Records, a label more noted for blues than rhythm & blues, and cut an album. After that, they signed with H & L Records in 1977, which resulted in a second album, That's All, which achieved its greatest popularity in the UK with Mi Sabrina Tequano. H & L went belly up resulting in a long inactive period because the bankrupt label owned their surname Ingram for recording purposes.
Norman Ingram started producing others artists including Philly Cream, Barbara Mason, Stylistics, Blue Magic, David Simmons, Brandi Wells, and Ronnie Dyson. Ingram resurfaced in 1983 for one last shot, spawning two albums on Mirage Records. Streetwise Records licensed the tracks in the UK where they received again more recognition than in the States. James Ingram resurfaced with the classic club track Yah Mo B There.
After Andrew Hamilton, All Music Guide
187 Love Unlimited Orchestra – Welcome Aboard (12 Inch)
188 Raw Silk – Just in time
189 Ashford & Simpson – Stay Free
190 Archie Bell And The Drells – Let's Groove (12 inch)
191 Archie Bell And The Drells – It's Hard Not To Like You (original version)
192 Babe Ruth – The Mexican (long version)
193 Charles Earland – Coming To You Live
194 Powerline – Double Journey
195 Powerline – Shake Your Groove Thing
196 Gino Soccio – Dancer (original 12 inch)
197 Charlie – Spacer Woman (vocal edit) some spaghetti dance / Italo Disco
And the wonders of youtube: one video leads to another fav' oldie...
Sheila & B.Devotion - Spacer1979 Extended Version
This song was inspired by Harrison Ford as Han Solo,according to Chic’s Nile Rodgers: 'We saw Sarah Brightman and Hot Gossip do some silly thing in Britain - 'I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper' - so we thought we'd use a little Sarah Brightman, a little 'Star Wars', and a little Ziggy Stardust. So we took the character of Harrison Ford as Han Solo flying around and made it a romance'.
Sheila & B.Devotion - Love Me Baby
There’s a Madonna link in here somewhere. Madonna spent her time dancing with Patrick Hernandez on Born to be alive in the late seventies so maybe she met French disco star Sheila ... and heck, Madonna must have remember this one when she did her latest disco queen reinvention... they even looks a bit the same, don't they?
Since the Disco Dub Band was a reggae band playin’ Disco/Philly soul, which sounds like a strange combination, I’ve added some more soulful and danceable stuff from Jamdown.
198 Third World – Now that we've found love (Baia Sound 12'' extended mix)
199 Peter Tosh – Buk-In-Hamm Palace
200 Ken Boothe – African Lady