Tuesday, April 11, 2017

That's right! More emergent disco from 1976

March 1976's Top 40 saw a couple of absolutely ferocious disco tracks you may not have have heard make an appearance - one instrumental, one nearly so.

Isaac Hayes is a good example of established soul muscians taking the disco trail. Even to people who mainly know him from the title music to Shaft (that would be me, for my critical sins) Disco Connection sounds intensely Hayesian. So, it's propulsive funk with brass, bongos, strings and some great squelchy synth, given a disco makeover and shot through with a surpassing sense of tension and melancholy. Why it's not better known I have no idea.

As an aside, I think this might be Hayes' last chart entry until South Park's Chocolate Salty Balls in 1998. How the mighty had fallen.

In contrast, recognisable to my generation at least as the source of the vocal sample from The Bucketheads' Got Myself Together is Movin' by Brass Construction. It's an extended instrumental workout of surpassing cheerfulness, led by the horns and keys, underpinned by supple bass and chakka-chakka-chakka punctuation guitar.

From the sublime to the ridiculous

Very different from the sophistication of Isaac Hayes and Brass Construction is the fevered children's TV theme disco of Silver Convention's Get Up And Boogie. Featuring repeated chanting of the title, punctuated by shouts of 'that's right!' and no other lyrics, backed by squelchy walking bass and the cheesiest strings this side of a kid's lunchbox - it's everything critics of disco levelled at it: superficial kitsch with nothing whatsover to say. 

Other than of course, boogie! 

The trouble is, it's also really rather good Eurodisco. Not Summer/Moroder good (what is?) but highly enjoyable and sneakily admirable in its relentless simplicity.

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