Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Love Me For Real  

The Bay Area is a transient place, DJ's, record collectors and normal decent people come and go from all over the world. Waves of them turn up, fresh faced to replace the bitter burnouts that are on their way out, feeling they have more chance of making it in one of the bigger cultural nexus shangri-la's of the East coast or mainland Europe. They will get more work done there, make their record, write their book, finally finish highschool, despite following up with the bars being open later and it being a much better place to party hard, and also now the even more common remark, that the record shopping is better in said hip catchall destination, because "..the Bay Area has given me arthritis in my fingers and cancer in my ears from all the Hi NRG records I have had to dig through over the years." .

Well, there is some truth in criticisms, especially with regard to the disproportionate amount of Hi NRG 12"s that look and smell like they might be disco until you put the needle on them, but then what do you expect in the town that invented it, and it could be worse, country and bluegrass independent releases from the 70's and 80's also have all the same hallmarks as the funk records of the era for some reason, no picture of a cowboy hat on the label or anything, same print, similar names and titles, imagine living in a state where you have to deal with that disappointment every time you went digging. Puts things in perspective doesn't it.

Anyway, the every day top shelf disco 12"s may be a bit thin on the ground compared to other famous party cities when shopping these days, but the Bay produced plenty of great and storied dance records, and most can be found easily in collections the world over, but there are also some that can't that are rarely seen outside of the area. Small, private pressings that were a product of a dancehall musical heritage that goes back to the blues era, that go for big money in Europe and Japan, but that from time to time, if you are lucky, may turn up in an Oakland thrift store. Stuff that keeps you flipping through all the Sylvester singles. Like this one for example, Rim an Kasa's Oakland produced Too Tough EP.

Rim Kwaku Obeng was a migrant to Oakland from Begoro, Ghana, where at 26 his traditional drumming skills saw him brought over as a session player for (I believe) a recording Fela was doing in the States. He stayed on in the US and produced a now sought after '77 deep afro disco LP named 'Rim Arrives', that has a track on it named something like 'Brushing Is Making Love' that is highly sweated. He did more session work, then produced this second afro boogie EP as a band leader named 'Too Tough', in 1981 using the name Rim and Kasa on Sum Sum records. I have one more locally produced recording by Rim Obeng, under the band name Rim And The Believers named 'International Funk' from 1986, after that I have no record of what happened to him.

Here is the most famous and hard hitting track from the Too Tough EP, that has themes of female empowerment and mutual respect between sexes throughout all it's songs, sort of done in a quirky not too preachy super hard disco afro boogie funk sort of way..

Posted by Black Shag | 10 comments

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hands Off Don't Touch  

It is sweltering hot in Southern California today, time to sit by the pool and suck down some rum and coconut water. The early 80's island disco sounds of Casual T might just be the perfect soundtrack.

Casual T - Hands Off

Posted by Magnum | 7 comments

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Just Want To Know  

Rarity has no direct correlation with quality, naturally, and Sugarhill was a well distributed label with music videos and radio smashes on it's books, but for some reason the less they printed of something the better it tended to be, to my ears at least, and the 12" version of The Sequence's 'I Just Want to Know' is no exception.

I think this track is probably my favorite 'boogie', or non rapped vocal cut Sugarhill ever put out, and it's found on the B side of a nondescript slow burner named Where Are You Tonight, which I tried to record but it put my record needle to sleep.

The Sequence were sort of an early hip hop culture version of the Supremes, and former member Angie Stone is still big and putting records out, she is doing the whole neo-soul thing.

Shame there was never an instrumental or dub version of this, even though the vocals are the tracks strongest element, but one listen to the synth stabs on this and your hooked.. 'DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DAAAAA!'

The Sequence - I Just Want To Know

Posted by Black Shag | 1 comments

Friday, September 10, 2010

Move For Me Baby  

 I closed out with this one at the epic BeatElectric Dance Show and someone asked me to ID the tune from some video footage of the night online, so I thought I may as well post it up. I didn't choose a picture of a baby listening to music because the song is titles Move For Me Baby, thats just an unfortunate coincidence, no doubt helping speed along Google's internal proceedings to have us shut down. I wish I could even claim to be the copyright holder of the image, and that this was infact a picture of me at age 3 listening to a young parent's funk collection through a tube driven pair of sick looking cans, but as any of you who have actually met me would immediately notice this obviously isn't me, as I would never emphasize a little pot belly by wearing horizontal stripes.

 Output was the vehicle producer David Reeves, aka later to become early hip hop pioneer Davy DMX, would use for the vocals of the talented Jerome Prister, who had just had a moderate hit on Prelude under the Secret Weapon moniker with the excellent 'Must Be The Music' (which for some reason I cannot find my copy of right now, otherwise I would post that too, if we haven't already). Output had another club hit later in the eighties with the catchy 'Say You'll Be', and I think Eddie Ski White's band may be the same band as Output just with Eddie on vocals, I'm not sure, but he appeared onstage with them on a bootleg live recording I heard.

downloads removed by request of Tuff City, who still sell some Output releases on their webiste.
Output - Move For Me Baby
Output - Move For Me Baby (Instrumental)

Posted by Beat Electric | 6 comments

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Shake Your Body 2010  

It's been a slow summer for Beat Electric in terms of posting but I assure you we have been making moves on some other levels. Between our East Coast DJ Jaunt, Black Shag's drug overdose, my relocation to LA and staging the Beat Electric Dance Show, it has been a crazy couple of months. This week is our 3rd anniversary and while I am not trying to mark the occasion with too much fanfare (we are just a music blog after all), I have been saving this track for all of the die hard boogie nerds that have been so supportive of Beat Electric these last few years.

This holy grail by Manujothi was South Carolina based producer Johnny Haywood's only release. Recorded and released as a very limited 7" on his own Manujothi imprint in 1980, Shake Your Body is an absolute definitive disco-rap banger. I probably waited 5 years and spent way too much coin to acquire a copy of this epic track but it is all worth it, life is short and sharing the music is quite good fun.

If you are in the LA area this weekend, I am spinning with the one and only Casual Touch in the back room at Trousdale in West Hollywood. Should be a blast, I have hired my own paparazzi to follow me around for the evening.

Manujothi - Shake Your Body
Manujothi - Shake Your Body (Instrumental)

Posted by Magnum | 4 comments

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Reach Out  

Debra Laws comes from a prominent musical family. Her siblings include jazz-funk proto-smooth jazz pioneers Ronnie Laws and Hubert Laws. This 1981 record, Very Special has some funky synth boogie mated to the smooth flute and sax work of her brothers. I have included two of the funkiest and most upbeat jams on the record. They were also released on a UK only 12".

Debra Laws - On My Own

Debra Laws - Long As We're Together

Posted by Joel Brüt | 3 comments

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