Fri. Oct. 22, 2021

10 essential Disco Funk tracks Part 2

10 essential Disco Funk tracks part 210 essential Disco Funk tracks Part 2… Like always, a selection is per definition limited, and God knows how Disco would definitely not have sounded the same without the regular experimentations which have paved its way… Such as when it came to integrate Funk, Jazz, Rock or Electronic along with analog synthesized sounds. Even though the line might be thin at times from a category to another. With this engendering inevitable debates between die hard fans and music lovers. As a result, many are the gems we couldn’t talk about here, even though they would definitely have deserved a mention.

No need to say how this selection is way from being exhaustive, most likely due to find an extension later when the right time comes. Nevertheless, you should find thereafter a pretty much illustrative sample of highly energetic jams where the infectiousness of the groove predominates. With the same applying to our Part 1 of the likes which ranks at #1 position in our most viewed 2017 features…

Wishing you’ll enjoy the ride as much as we did, while putting this together for you. With your feedback, and a mention of your favorite song more than welcome.

10 essential Disco Funk tracks Part 2 / Gwen McCrae – Keep The Fire Burning (Atlantic)
Gwen McCrae, but also her former husband (George) owe a lot to Betty Wright who discovered them back in 1967. Eventually helping them to secure their first record deal. She first found success in the charts with her cover version of Bobby Bland‘s ‘Lead Me On’ back in 1970. While her husband had a major success 5 years later with ‘Rock Your Baby’, she responded with ‘Rockin’ Chair’. Switching to Atlantic after the collapse of TK Records, she gained extra success with the Kenton Nix produced ‘Funky Sensation’ then the uplifting ‘Keep The Fire Burning’ along with producer Webster Lewis. French Twosome Cassius eventually sampling her vocals of her 1979 ‘All This Love I’m Giving’ single 20 years later on ‘Feeling for You’ [More…]
10 essential Disco Funk tracks Part 2 / Jimmy Bo Horne – Dance Across The Floor (Sunshine Sound Disco)
Miami producers Harry W. Casey and Rick Finch established a unique and instantly identifiable sound back in the mid 70’s. Be it under their K.C. & The Sunshine Band guise. As when collaborating with artists such as Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne. Blending stellar keys and firing horn parts over funk bass driven grooves. Their partnership givin’ birth to countless gems. From ‘Gimme Some’ back in 1975 to the boiling ‘Is It In’, his last hit, 5 years later. But also ‘Get Happy’, ‘Spank’ and ‘You Get Me Hot’. Not to mention the firing ‘Dance Across The Floor’ from his 1978 debut-album of the likes…
10 essential Disco Funk tracks Part 2 / C.J. & Co. – We Got Our Own Thing (Westbound)
Another illustration of the versatility of the Detroit, MI scene is without a single doubt C.J. & Co. The brainchild of producers, Mike Theodore and Dennis Coffey, they are mostly remembered for ‘Devil’s Gun’. The first cut played at the opening of NYC’s Studio 54 by Richie Kazcor. One of the particularisms of the band being their obvious penchant for Disco symphony compositions with big orchestrations. The infectious and uplifting ‘We Got Our Own Thing’ standing among their highlights as among our all-time favorite cuts.
10 essential Disco Funk tracks Part 2 / B.T. Express – Peace Pipe (Roadshow)
B.T. Express played a key role in the maturation of Disco. With thanks to his producer, Jeff Lane (Brass Construction). But also to the countless talents who contributed to their fame. From Billy Nichols to keyboardist Michael Jones, later known as Kashif to name a few. Among their biggest classics ‘Do It (Til You’re Satisfied)’.But also the infectious and so (sadly) up to date ‘Peace Pipe’, a protest song standing as an exception in the history of Disco. The band strengthening their legacy when switching to Columbia with extra gems such as ‘Shout It Out’, ‘Stretch’ and ‘Does It Feel Good’.
10 essential Disco Funk tracks Part 2 / Gary’s Gang – Let’s Lovedance Tonight (SAM/Columbia)
Behind Gary’s Gang, no one else but Joseph William Tucci. A multi-instrumentist, a singer. But also a producer who, under the Eric Matthew guise, has delivered some of the hottest gems in the history of club music. From Sharon Redd (‘Beat The Street’, ‘Never Give You Up’, ‘Love How You Feel’). To Toney Lee (‘Reach Up’). Not to mention Tracy Webber (‘Sure Shot’) or Status IV (‘Lovin’ You’) to name a few. As Gary’s Gang along with Gary Turnier on drums, he scored his biggest success with ‘Keep On Dancing’. Other tracks worth the mention including ‘Knock Me Out’ and ‘Makin’ Music’. Not to mention ‘Let’s Lovedance Tonight’ which saw him playing with Disco Jazz Funk vibes around a hook pretty much reminding of ‘Keep On Dancing’ [More…]
10 essential Disco Funk tracks Part 2 / Crown Heights Affair – Say A Prayer For Two (Delite Records)
NYC band Crown Heights Affair initially appeared as The Nue Day Express in the early 70’s. Getting their names from a district of their native B’Klyn they released a total of 8 albums. With 7 of them on Kool & The Gang‘s Delite Records label. The list of their classics is quite impressive too. From ‘Dreaming A Dream’ to Galaxy Of Love’ and ‘Dance Lady Dance’. But also ‘You Gave Me Love’ and ‘Sure Shot’ Not to mention the magnetic ‘Say A Prayer For Two’. The band went through a bunch of changes in terms of line-up. Eventually welcoming Bert and Raymond Reid who were to become in-demand producers. And teamin’ up with producer Bert DeCoteaux (Ben E. King) in the early 80’s [More…]
10 essential Disco Funk tracks Part 2 / The Players Association – I Like It (Vanguard)
A NYC studio band which comprised luminaries such as James Mtume, Steve Khan, Michael Brecker and David Sandborn around leader Chris Hills, The Players Association never got a recognition comparable to Kool & The Gang or Earth Wind & Fire. Although they released an impressive series of blowing gems. With thanks to their firing horn section and their aptitude to craft killer grooves. From ‘I Like It’ to ‘Ride The Groove’. But also ‘Turn The Music Up’ and ‘We Got The Groove’ to name a few. They released a total of 5 albums between 1977 and 1981 on Vanguard…
10 essential Disco Funk tracks Part 2 / Kwick – We Ought To Be Dancing (EMI America)
Not to be missed with… Quick, Memphians band Kwick initially emerged in the late 60’s as The Newcomers on Stax Records. Remembered for their early 70 hit, ‘Pin The Tail On The Donkey’, they most likely acted as a backing band for their labelmates. Eventually opening for The Bar-Kays, Al Green and The Emotions while on tour. After the dismiss of Stax, they signed a record deal with EMI-America, releasing a total of 3 albums. Makin’ quite a sensation on their eponymous debut-album with ‘I Want To Dance With You’ and ‘We Ought To Be Dancing’ As many gems which displayed a rare energy…
10 essential Disco Funk tracks Part 2 / Double Exposure – I Got The Hots For Ya (Salsoul Records)
This track has a special flavor to me. By the end of the 70’s, a friend of mine whose sister was livin’ in New York used to send him weekly tapes which she recorded while listening to WBLS. This being how I discovered this tune, although no announce could be heard as to who did it. I remained something like 20 years or so with its typical vocal hook in mind although without havin’ a single clue as to who did it. This until I came to visit my friend, Aldo at A1 Records in the Big Apple who ended up telling me about the whole thing. Makin’ me realize ‘I Got The Hots For Ya’ came from the same people who did ‘Ten Percent’, ‘My Love Is Free’ and ‘Everyman’
10 essential Disco Funk tracks Part 2 / Rhyze – I Found Love In You (SAM Records)
Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang, Crown Heights Affair, The Players Association… The competition for supremacy happened to be quite tough between the horn-driven bands. With Jersey band Rhyze briefly adding their name to the list back in 1980. From their ‘Just How Sweet Is Your Love’ debut-abum back in 1980 on SAM Records. Featuring gems such as its title track backed with the aforementioned and ‘Free’ which Louie Vega eventually remixed back in 2015. To their 1981 follow-up album – ‘Rhyze To The Top’ – on 20 Century Fox which completed the list along with its title track.

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