Saturday, March 15, 2014

Various - Island Disco (Soca Fusion, Cadence Explosion & Steeldrum Grooves - 2014)

01 - safi allah abdullah - afrika is burning, and black man is doing the freak
02 - kassav - lague moin
03 - lord kitchener - sugar bum bum
04 - original tropicana steel band - spanish hustle
05 - the checkmates - disco groove
06 - calypso rose - have mercy
07 - colleen grant - latin parang (12inch - barbados island disco - 1980)
08 - ed watson - ain't no stopping us now
09 - wagadu gu - easy dancing
10 - original tropicana steel band - el prompompero
11 - merchant - instant funk
12 - bobby raven - soca fusion
13 - les aiglons - es zot tende (skit)
14 - nelson family - gimme love
15 - basso - socaland

Two weeks ago Tippa Irie & his Selecta JB Bakers came all the long way to perform in Chengdu/China. Really good night, great crowd, irie vibes all over… Tippa Irie delievering a stellar perfomance, riding some sweet Reggae & Dancehall riddims - and getting everyone excited. And the crowd returned the vibe… They were only booked for 90 minutes - but after their live show Tippa Irie & his Selector kept spinning 45's till 5:30 in the morning… Playing classic Reggae & Dancehall tunes from the 60ies - 10ies… Sweetness Galore! Don't get that in Chengdu that often. So I initially wanted to take this as a motivation to share a Reggae mix/compilation (which I will definitely do sometime soon!). But I am still flying high on the Disco/Balearic vibe - so here is ''Island Disco'' - some favourite tropical jams from the Caribbean...

I am opening this ''Island Disco'' compilation with the Disco Not Disco song Afrika Is Burning - And The Black Man Is Doing The Freak by Safi Aallah Abdullah. A song which is basically an attack on disco, on disco's hedonism: ''Under screams of a boiling overdose systematically controlled by idiots of the White House with twisted grins and stale peanuts. Africa is burning, and the Black Man is doing the Freak.'' It goes on to point a finger at party-goers and their ''tight jeans and Elton John sunglasses, Pierre Cardin sneakers and a bag of smoke.'' While the sermon is delivered in the finest Gil Scott-Heron tradition, ironically the music which is a glorious mix of reggae, calypso, funk, highlife and much more makes it a pretty unique disco classic itself." (via Your Heart Out). Great song which I got from the Soca compilation Rebel Soca. My father used to play this a lot when I was a kid - and my sister and me would hum along in the back of the car ''Africa is burning - and the black man is doing the freak...'' - not really understanding the lyrics - but definitely enjoying & feeling the groove. This rather ''grim'' opener is followed by Kassav's Lague Moin from their 1980 album of the same name. Sweet & uplifting grooves from the French West Indies with hypnotic keyboard loops & great discoid percussion. Parisian duo Jupiter did a electro-pop edit of this song a while ago: Kass Limon. Not bad - but I prefer the original. On track #7 we have got Colleen Grant - Latin Parang. Massive Barbados Island Disco CHRISTMAS song from 1980 with fat bass, handclaps, spacey female vocals, consistent synths... Dancefloor bomb! Track #8 keeps the heat with a killer Island Disco version of McFadden & Whitehead Ain't No Stopping Us Now: Ed Watson's very own Reggae-tinged Ain't No Stopping Us Now. I love every version of this song. On track #9 we are leaving the Caribbean for a short trip to Africa via London. London 1979 - that's where Wagadu Gu's delightful Easy Dancing was recorded - mixing highlife and soca elements. Feel Merchant's Instant Funk on track #11. Originally to be found on the super-rare LP Merchant’s Pilgrimage (1981) - this song luckily saw a re-release on Guts and Mambo's über-sweet compilation BEACH DIGGIN’. Go and get your own copy. The whole compilation is great! Let me share some info on Merchant and his song ''Instant Funk'' from the liner notes of BEACH DIGGIN: ''Orphaned at a young age and then caught up in drugs, shady affairs, prison and then more drugs. Then AIDS. And RIP. Total chaos. Yet in the midst of all these shocks, Dennis Williams Franklyn, the one-man band behind Merchant, learnt to play the guitar by ear along with the art of transcribing the songs he composed in his head for its six strings. He had no training to write or read music, only feel. And here there are brass, percussion, strings and a free bass, while a guitar revolves like a worm screw around a pulsing beat. In sum, a blazing disco-funk construction with something going on on every floor''. I am ending this compilation with Basso's edit of a secret Island (!?) gem named ''Socaland''. Get it on Blackdisco #8. Powerful edit which gets better every time I play it. Make sure to play it loud! Basso is one of the members of the blog The Growing Bin. Great blog which not only introduced me to a lot of amazing music - but also opened up new musical worlds to me which I didn't even know existed. Make sure to check it out - and you might even able to buy some rarities in his online shop Growing Bin Records - where he sells all kinds of great under the radar music. Prices are super fair. Well - back to ''Socaland'' - is it groovy now...?!

Enjoy! DubMe