Past>Forward Vol. 5 – The 50 Pound Note Disco Mix

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Disco Circus by Martin Circus
Can’t Live Without Your Love by Tamiko Jones
Is It All Over My Face by Loose Joints
Let’s Dance by The Bombers
Star Cruiser by Gregg Diamond
How Much, How Much I Love You by Love And Kisses
Mama Rue (C’est Moi) by The Queen Samantha
San Francisco (You’ve Got Me) by Village People
Love In C Minor by Cerrone
High On Mad Mountain by Mike Theodore Orchestra
Good In Love by The Ritchie Family
Souvenirs by Voyage
Magnifique by Magnifique
Dancing Is Dangerous by Nöel
Dance (Disco Heat) by Sylvester
Devil’s Run by Peter Jacques Band

“Freaky scenes of pure delight…”

Disco is hard.

I learned to DJ in the late ’80s, when turntables were the norm, and most dance music was created with drum machines and sequencers so a song would keep a consistent beat. Most disco music was created using session musicians with real drums, real percussion, real strings – real everything, so the tempo is going to vary because of the human element. Beat matching disco music is hard.

I think I did a pretty good job. I’ve been planning this mix for a while for a couple of reasons. The first is that we’re coming up on the annual Remember The Party dance at San Francisco’s legendary Trocadero Transfer. The other reason is my friend Bruce. For those of you familiar with the discography restoration projects I’ve been involved with elsewhere, Bruce is the genius behind the vinyl transfers. His ability to take a vinyl platter and massage the sound to near CD quality is unrivaled. Bruce’s passion is for authentic OOP ’70s disco albums and singles – in fact, 13 of the 16 tracks presented here are his work. He’s recently mastered some albums for CD re-release, and is beginning to get the recognition he deserves. Bruce will be here for Remember The Party (arriving tomorrow, as a matter of fact), and will finally get to experience real disco music in a real legendary disco. This mix is for him.

I discovered a few interesting things while working with these tracks. Let’s Dance was sampled by Lee Douglas for a remix of The Juan Maclean’s Happy House in 2008. Star Cruiser borrows a musical theme from Hey Jude. A keyboard riff in Mama Rue (C’est Moi) was used by Bronski beat on their Eartha Kitt collaboration Cha Cha Heels, and Devils’ Run also seems to have inspired their Hit That Perfect Beat. Finally, Pet Shop Boys may have had a huge hit with their cover of Village People’s Go West, but they also lifted a horn riff from San Francisco (You’ve Got Me) and used it in New York City Boy.

I hope this mix puts a smile on your face. Bruce has certainly caused me to re-evaluate what I always assumed was cheesy disco music – tracks like Dancing Is Dangerous and High On Mad Mountain have found a permanent rotation in my DJ sets. I also hope to see you at Remember The Party on Sunday night. Wear white!

For further reading, may I suggest Vince Aletti’s excellent book The Disco Files 1973-78.