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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Paris Latino

Que bueno que rico que lindo
Paris Latino
Que bueno que rico que lindo
Paris Latino
Bandolero rock
Bandolero shock
Bandolero rock
Bandolero shock

Paris Latino was just one of those hits that you had to sing along to.  In 1983 in Europe it was everywhere.  In Italy it was the 11th biggest record of the year peaking at #2.

In the U.S. it was picked up by Sire, Seymour Stein's seminal synth-pop and new wave label. 

Bandolero a French act featured a pair of brothers and another guy.  They were basically one-hit wonders.  But like Disco Duck it's one of those one hit wonder songs that are absolutely unforgettable.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cheryl Lynn was a Super Talent

From her discovery on the Gong Show, national touring member of The Wiz cast, to the background vocals she did for Toto, Cheryl Lynn remained a severely under-rated talent.  Oh the notes she could hit (a 4.4 octave vocal range)!  You gotta know she came from the church choir.

After earning a perfect 30 on The Gong Show for her rendition of "You are so Beautiful" she had the record companies come calling.  But that doesn't mean that she was able to become the superstar that she deserved to become.

I'm gonna have to say she suffered from the big girl syndrome, like Patti Austin, Martha Wash, Randy Crawford and many other huge talents.  Record companies did not know how to market them and ended up marginalizing the careers of many a full-bodied woman.  Adele has had the last laugh by becoming the biggest female vocalist of our time, but back then when Cheryl was releasing super high quality singles it wasn't easy.

Though her only huge pop hit was her debut single "Got to be Real" immortalized in the film Paris is Burning.  It rode up the U.S. pop charts peaking at #12 and was the first of two #1 hits on the R and B charts.  It took until 1984 with Encore for her to hit the peak again.  1981's smash "Shake it Up Tonight" produced by Ray Parker Jr. was another of her most memorable hits.  It also proved her best showing on the Billboard dance chart peaking at #5.

Star Love from her debut album went on to be a classic at The Saint.  I think of that one as a real Robbie Leslie record.  While You Saved my Day is a legendary gospel tinged disco record that didn't get much play and was brought to  my attention on a wonderful Frankie Knuckles compilation.  It went on to become my very favorite Cheryl Lynn song.

Great Zip of Cheryl

On her 9 albums she worked with a lot of talents including Jimmy Jam and Terry lewis, Ray Parker Jr. Teddy Riley and Luther Vandross to name a few.  She also sang background vocals or duets with the likes of Luther Vandross, Richard Marx and Teddy Riley.  If this World were Mine her duet with Luther Vandross peaked at #4 on the R
and B charts in 1982.

To me she's the quintessential underdog.  9 album releases and if you asked the typical person if they've ever heard of her they'd probably say they hadn't.  She deserves so much more.  She's a true songbird of legendary status like the Gwen Guthrie's, the Minnie Riperton's and the Patti Austin's.  They may not have had the hits but they got the respect, at least in the industry.

By 1990 she no longer hit the charts again, but people like me remember her fondly and hold her in the highest esteem.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Columbus Circle If you read my mind

Paradise Garage classic If you read my Mind by Columbus Circle, was actually a one man does all act.  His name is Scott Yahney and weren't the crowds shocked when they discovered he was a white man!  Nevertheless the record went on to become a boogie favorite a nice mesh of the Synth Pop sound popular at the time mixed with the ass shakeable disco that was still proving influential and well-loved in many a club.

I am providing this post by permission of his brother the illustrious DJ Jeff Yahney.  Here he is pictured with industry legends DJ Jay Negron and Andrew Klein.

There was even a special unreleased mix done by Scott himself.  The label at the time insisted it be mixed by a famous DJ remixer and they brought in Tee Scott of Better Days and Zanzibar.  

It proved to be a Billboard Dance Chart hit shooting all the way up to #10 in 1982.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

LIFE WITH YOU an italo disco masterpiece

I'm posting this again because I'm adding the instrumental.  It's just as eerie and italo disco magic as the vocal version.
From the intro. which is clearly inspired by Trans Europe Express to every moody italo disco beat The Expansives Life With You, Leader Records Italy 1982 is just the type of dance record that I give ten's across the board.  So sublime it's impossible for me to listen to it only once but on repeat over and over again.

Anybody with a copy knows that they are sitting on gold, just like Sensitive's Driving the collectors never give up on trying to track this one down.
Francesco Rago has been part of a few of my favorite italo disco acts including lectric workers, cariocas, atelier folie, message from future and Wanexa.  His partner GianLuigi Farina was in the same acts and even had a solo 12 inch with Sailing in a dreamboat listed as Sola Farina which was released in 1984.

Life With You
Life With You instrumental

Friday, March 3, 2017


Brooklyn trio Newcleus were the definitive Electro act.  Though they only released two full albums.  They had a nice string of seminal electro/freestyle hits. Block party favorites they originally started in 1977 as Jam-On Productions.

I'm surprised that I haven't blogged about them before because I was so into them.  Their sound really touched my soul.  I'm kind of surprised that they weren't much huger chart successes then they were because it seemed to me that their music was so ever-present at the time.  The idea that they had to speed their vocals to resemble the Chipmunks in parts was definitely part of the magic.  Their biggest pop hit "Jam on It" took it up to #56 on the U.S. Top 100.  Though several of their songs made the R and B Top 40.

I also think that their sound has held up very well.  It certainly makes me want to shake my tail in 2017.

Their first release Jam on Revenge was in 1983 which I've mentioned before is the legendary year for me and my going to the disco youth.  Their sound certainly mixed in very well with the Italo Disco which I hold so close to my heart and for which most of my blog is dedicated.

But with a vocoder and Jonathan Fearing on the mix how could they go wrong anyway?

Their songs have also been used in a few video games including Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX, Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 2 and DJ Hero 2, the latter even featured a newly re-recorded version.

By the mid 80's they still had a few releases but their sound was sort of on the decline as that hot new genre "house music" was making for the greatest impact on the dance floors.  I will thank my friend DJ Chris Baron for turning me on to Cyborg Dance and Space is the Place.  He even did a genius edit of Cyborg Dance.  In 1985 I was in D.C. and heard an awful lot of Hi Nrg and early House so progressive Electro like this wasn't on my radar and my trips to New York City were few and far between because I was studying.

Cyborg Dance and Space is the Place
The debut single Jam on Revenge

I have to admit I also love this sound because it reminds me of Shaun of the Dead, a film I really love and featured Electro obsessed characters.