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Thursday, January 7, 2016

A super early version of ambient music, a classic of Morning Music, Ozo's Anambra

The first place I heard this was at The Loft.  It blew me away.  It sounded so cool and it gave such a refreshing break to the evening.

Certain songs have become Morning Music classics.  It's hard to know why.  A few years ago I did a big run-down listing many of them and some opinions about the difference between sleaze and morning music.  But the links are mostly dead and I don't have the patience to compile them all again.

But I will give you this one in a zip.  It even includes a more recent edit, and the original from 1976.  I think you'll agree that this is a special record.  HOW ETHEREAL IS IT?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Maybe This Time the ultra scarce Debbie Jacobs version, and the common Norma Lewis and Viola Wills versions


In the early 80's Viola Mae Wilkerson (Viola Wills) had two big disco hits Gonna Get Along Without You Now and If You Could Read My Mind. Both remakes of old pop songs. Her third discofied remake in a row was released on a new label called Sunergy, Stormy Weather.

It's follow-up was to be Viola's remake of Maybe This Time. But unfortunately they offered her a shit contract and she, tired of being dicked around by labels and getting the short end of the stick put up a stink. She didn't sign it and they couldn't release it. So they quickly tried to capitalize on the success of Stormy Weather by bringing in Debbie Jacobs to re-record Maybe This Time. 50 test pressings were sent to key d.j.'s and it became a hit at The Saint in New York.

When Viola got wind of this she brought in the big guns and the lawyers stopped the release of Maybe This Time by Debbie Jacobs.

The Sunergy fiasco made Viola decide to start her own label RVA. On this label her Space l.p. was released which included her own new recording of Maybe This Time. But at this point the momentum was lost as the Norma Lewis version had already been released on ERC Records. Viola's hot moment had passed.


Here's a zip so you can mix and match the versions and get your hands on the impossible to find, even on Ebay, Debbie Jacobs version.  There's even a version by the Glee cast in there!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Louella would like to be rapt

"I don't want to dance, I don't like the disco
I love the people who say the truth
tell me why do you use drugs? why do you always look for pleasures
you know it's all illusions,  don't you feel it's from the life?"

Just a little forgotten italo disco number from 1983.  Catchy and quirky at the same time Rapt by Louella.  I actually didn't even know what Rapt meant.  But it means to be carried away with what your hearing or doing, like carried away to the heavens.


Friday, January 1, 2016


I'm refreshing a couple links here.
a couple Kirlian Camera gems

Formed in 1980 in Parma, in the North of Italy, (think parmesan cheese), Kirlian Camera are at the forefront in the experimental synth sound. They are actually still together and releasing material from time to time. Their first gig was at an Italian Gay Pride party.

Considered the fathers of the Italian electronic music scene the group had a volatile career often spent fighting record labels that wanted to exploit their more commercial side. Blending new wave, dance, minimal, synth-pop, goth, and post-punk they were not easy to peg and they liked it that way.

The main member is Angelo Bergamini, the other members have changed over the years. Their first release was entitled Dawn in 1980 followed quickly by a self titled e.p. in 1981. Incidentally they were never big in Italy but very much appreciated abroad. They are now touring in support of a special 4 cd retrospective box set including just about all their releases.

I just sold my 1988 l.p. Eclipse (Das Schwarze Denkmal) to a very enthusiastic Dutch guy. It featured a more dark minimal sound then some of their earlier material which could have been more easily classified as Italo disco.

Angelo was also a member of Hipnosis who had a massive Italo disco hit with Pulstar which became a Top 10 pop hit around Europe. Anfrando Maiola (Koto) was also involved with this release. This Vangelis written tune is another of the all time classic italo disco releases. It can be found on the old site to download if I remember correctly.

Angelo remained active with Kirlian Camera despite his success with Hipnosis, 1983's 12" Communicate was released on the seminal italo disco label Memory Records and is in fact also an Italo Disco classic.

The 1983 l.p. featuring Edges and Communicate, It Doesn't Matter, Now is considered their best. It's moody to say the least and introspective and dark. We already know that I have a penchant for unusual English pronunciation. It was their most successful commercially too.

1984's big Kirlian release was Edges followed by 1985's Blue Room again they were able to come up with Italo Disco Classics.

They have been incredibly prolific averaging a new release every other year for the past thirty years. I'm attracted to the way they present themselves. But I have to admit I don't know a ton about their music.

By the 1990's their releases became more avantgarde and lesser known. So they are considered more of a cult type attraction in retrospect. Definitely highly collectible. Many of their releases fetch a pretty penny.

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Sun Shower one of Larry Levan's last mixes along with a mini Mark Kamins tribute

*refreshed links by request, for the moment only 2 of the mixes are in it.  I may eventually update this again.
In September and October 1992 Larry Levan had a triumphant D.J. tour of Japan. Even though The Paradise Garage had closed five years before his star was still shining bright around the world. On that tour he played amazingly to rabid crowds but he was suffering physically due to his deep drug addiction.

One of his last remixes was Sun Shower by Nami Shimada. This deep house mix of a song by an 80's Japanese pop star was released in 1991 on Columbia records Japan. The 12" also featured a Mark Kamins dance mix. Danceteria legend Mark Kamins and Paradise Garage star Larry Levan enjoyed a particularly elevated status in Japan and could easily fill dance floors as often as they were willing to play in clubs like Gold, and EndMax.

When Mark Kamins came back home from this tour he made sure to bring me a few copies of this soon to be rare record and the cd too.  We both lived in Tribeca and he often walked down from North Moore to my loft on Chambers Street to hang out.  I will also associate my years in New York City to Tribeca and my great friendship with Mark Kamins.

Though I sold my white label 12" on Ebay a few years back. I do have a copy on mp3 of my cd version of it which I will provide here. It features the same mixes as the 12".

A few years ago on a visit to the city I attended The Loft,  David Mancuso played Sun Shower and it came as such a surprise to me.  I was dancing my heart out next to several Japanese couples and my shirt started to get wet.  Nope I wasn't sweating I was crying.  DAMN!  It sounded so wonderful and brought back so many memories flooding back.

As an added treat here is a minute of Larry Levan in the booth at the closing party of The Paradise Garage in September 1987.

Unfortunately Larry Levan died of heart failure on Nov. 8, 1992 just a few days after returning from his tour in Japan. Of his spinning on this tour Francois K. is quoted as having said, ‘It was so emotional because the message of all the songs said he was really hurting. We all felt it at the time, but I think he pretty much knew he was dying and all the songs he played were so deeply related to how fast life goes. He played Jean Carne’s ‘Time Waits For No One’ and The Trammps’ ‘Where Do We Go From Here’, and I realized that this was one of the best moments of greatness that I had ever witnessed in my life. It was so obvious, so grand, such a drama to it that you just knew.’

As usual I invite you to take a look at my Ebay store. Just click above on this blog title and it will take you right there. I've got several hundred vinyls offered at the moment, with new stock arriving every few days.
Lots of Paradise Garage and Loft classics too.

Special thanks to Welsh DJ Darren Stewart who provided the image of the cd cover up top. I sold it to him a while back and being that it's so hard to find I could not track down this image anywhere. Thanks Darren for making this post more complete.

On a final note Mark Kamins has left the stage.  He like Larry Levan died of heart failure on February 15, 2013 in Guadalajara, Mexico.  He had been working as the Dean of a music school.  He was a dear friend and a fantastic DJ.  An extremely successful tribute party in his honor was recently held at Santo's House Party in Manhattan.  I wish I could have been there but as per usual I was in Rome with my students.

As a special treat I'm including some videos from the Larry Levan tribute party May 2014 on King Street right outside the location of the original Paradise Garage.  Hopefully this street will soon be known as Larry Levan Way.

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One of the greatest groups bring DISCO into the 80's was Skyy, also known as N.Y. Skyy in the U.K. Randy Muller EX Brass Construction wizard is one of the reasons the group is so brilliant.
One of my favorite Skyy tunes is also the rarest one for collector's.  It's called Here's to You and on 12" it was only released as a white label PROMO.  It's not even as danceable as some of their most catchy tunes like Let's Celebrate or First Time Around which were huge at The Paradise Garage.  But I really enjoy it's funky downbeat message.
I'm including a wonderful edit Chris Baron did a few years back.  I'm sure you'll agree he treated it respectfully and actually improved on the original.  Something that I don't find true to a lot of the countless edits of disco that come out every week.

They were quite the snazzy dressers too!

STARKNIGHT is this really English?

Refreshed Links from a 2010 blog
O.K. so they gave this guy an English sounding name (Bob Salton), but clearly English is not his mother tongue. If his pronunciation wasn't bad enough it also happens to be garbled. What is a Starknight anyway? Something medieval? Something dark? Surely something made up.
But once again in classic Italo Disco form their making up is our pleasure. This 1982 release on Blood Records is one more example of how clearly funky and electronic and danceable Italo Disco can be.  The D.J.'s at WBMX in Chicago found it and played the hell out of it.

One very interesting thing to note is that Alredo Riccini who also happened to co-write this tune also happens to record with the aliases Joe Yellow, Bandanna, Bob Salton, DelanuĂ , Joe Yellow, and Sylvi Foster. After knowing that it also begins to make a lot more sense. Though I'd have to wonder if he took English lessons or something cause by the time Lover to Lover and Take my Heart came out he certainly had much better and clearer enunciation.

I'm going to have to out myself here. I'm an English as a second language teacher living in Rome so it's a topic I come in contact with daily.