Disco. It conjures up so many varying definitions all dependent on who you ask. I’ve purposely written in present tense because Disco is still alive and in refined health in the 21st century. However for some, it’s something that happened 40 years ago. Delivered with swirls of strings, conga bells, fetching flares and more glitter than a Christmas card factory.
If that’s your version of Disco who am I to argue? However I must admit there is an element of concern when professed House heads show a little distain towards one of the most powerful music genres in history. You may only have to acknowledge that Frankie Knuckles was the architect of this fledgling movement to understand in hindsight where it all began to take shape. Disco is unmistakably the foundation and influence on which our House was built. If you can’t agree with that, please indulge me for a moment and consider these monumental tracks that were created in the Disco era of the 70’s and early 80’s but are very much House.
Visual – The Music Got Me (Dub) (Prelude Records 1983)
Co produced by Boyd Jarvis and Timmy Regisford, this 8:27 masterpiece was given to Tony Humphries to remix. Like all great House records the Dub version is full anticipation and climax, snapping snares, a tasty kick and a bassline that just makes you want move
MFSB – Love Is The Message (Mr. K Edit) (TD Records 1999)
Don’t confuse the version I want you to hear with the original from 1974. No, we are talking about doing a fast forward to 1999, and this Danny Krivit edit. Hold on I hear you say… Bare with me here because what he did with this edit is to effortlessly fuse together the best bits of the Tom Moulton mixed original with another beauty from that 70’s era by the Salsoul Orchestra. Remember I’m drawing your attention to the influences that created house. Ooh I Love it!
Peech Boys – Don’t Make Me Wait (Dub) (West End Records 1982)
Wow what a record! Turn it up and just feel this…sorry I need to calm down. But this really is amazing. All the elements of house are in there. Produced by none other than Larry Levan and Michael Benedictus… if this doesn’t convince you nothing will.
Donna Summer – I Feel Love (Casablanca 1977)
Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2017 I Feel Love was the introduction of a more electronic sound to the Disco revolution of the 70’s. Prior to this majestic Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte production, Disco was a funky bass, a horn section and possibly the swirling strings I touched on earlier. This was something on a whole new level. Not just the use of the latest sequencer technology but the blueprint busting arrangement too. Look deep into the 8minute 15secs of this masterpiece and you will discover the very building blocks of what would become House music!
First Choice – Let No Man Put Asunder (Salsoul 1983)
Originally from the Delusions album in 1977, it wasn’t until 1983 that it really became a building block for House music when Salsoul released it as a 12”. If Ms Summer’s I Feel Love was in the heart of Studio 54, this slow burner was most definitely the heart and soul of Levan’s Paradise Garage by 1983. Now blessed with mixes from Frankie Knuckles and Shep Pettibone and that all important acappella, you can feel the total connection to what we know as House music today…and let’s not forget at this moment the much sampled, street savvy vocals of Rochelle Fleming…. I Can See Your Suitcase At The Door!