Monday, 31 August 2009

On shaking groove things

I suppose this is a song that gets played a lot in September (and we're nearly there...or there...depending on when you're reading this). I can't stay up till midnight to post this so it may just reach you in August. And it's funny to be a person who goes to bed so early now...I used to get up at midnight in the old days! Anyway, here it is. It's not very subtle.



Back in 1978 I loved the band Earth, Wind and Fire with a passion. I was 12 and had this album



and listened to it over and over again. This was before their other huge hit 'Boogie Wonderland' came out (and that one crops up in some odd places now...those pesky penguin dancers in 'Happy Feet' for a start) and I never liked that one (or indeed anything they did after 1978) quite as much as all the fine stuff on 'Vol 1'. Disco has kind of a bad name these days but like any genre there is some excellent music in there and certainly some of my early loves were disco-funk all the way. Some of you will know that I have a poem that references Sister Sledge (my first postcard in fact) but probably not so many of you will have read a prose piece I wrote about a record by the band Chic for writer Laura Hird's website back here.

As well as the bass and the production and the vocals a lot of what attracted me to good disco records was the accent on hedonism and dancing and just having the best time ever (at least once a week...if not more often). I am (and always have been) a good-time girl (at least half of the time anyway...the other half I'm miserable as sin...) and I haven't given it all up entirely either - just this Saturday I was out dancing the evening away, for example. OK, it was wild, random ceilidh dancing this time (to this band) but it's all part of the same thing...the beat goes on...and a' that. And the more I learn about the miseries of the world the more I know how important it is to hear that beat sometimes and dance to it when you can (and in time if you can manage it but I'm not that fussy). You might remember I have a dancing poem (that's here) but to finish this thought, here's another Earth, Wind & Fire track called 'Saturday Nite' (and yes, you do have to spell it like that – it's official disco spelling...and if you don't do it right the 1970s fairies will come to haunt you...very noisy fairies...platform shoes...). Here it is:




x

15 comments:

gleaner said...

LOL - now you've got me singing KC and the Sunshine Band and trying to remember that disco song from Sean Cassidy.

Titus said...

Had to be "Le Freak"!
I loved disco, and there was one of those lovely, seedy, police/criminals/nurses clubs in Bristol whose name mysteriously eludes me that serviced us with solid disco. Sister Sledge enormous favourites (all that girly "We Are Family" with my mates) though I was also very fond of Salt n' Peppa (can't remember how to spell them).
Heart still in heavy rock though, and I dream of dancing at "The Cat House" in Glasgow (is it even still there?), but in my head it plays Zep, Purple, Sabbath, Rush, Heart whereas it'll probably all be death metal.
But yes, yes, yes: Let's Dance!

hope said...

Good choice! Sadly, they don't make groups like that any more....well, except for the costumes but it was disco.

I've got music in my head currently, thanks to you...I'm reading "Billy" and I'm at his learning to play the bango and do jokes years. :)

gleaner said...

oh, Titus, yes, Le Freak....
le freak, say chic

Selma said...

I adore Earth, Wind & Fire. I love 'Shining Star.' Those boys are so funky it hurts!

Rachel Fox said...

Gleaner I wasn't quite such a KC fan but looking at this clip they seem to have a similar line in well-dressed dancing brass sections! And Sean Cassidy - never heard of him. Who is he? I've heard of David Cassidy...

Yes, Titus...the piece on Laura Hird's site is about 'le Freak' and my first trip to a school disco. I still love that record.
It's Salt'n'Pepa by the way...and they came much later and sampled a lot of old songs. Still very good and danceable though. 'Push it' and all that.
It's funny...I like the good heavy rock and the good disco in similar ways (though they are so different). Fell in love with them about the same time, I suppose.

Hope - the bango? Are you sure?

Selma - good to know you're on the same dancefloor (though so far away!).

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Rachel Fox said...

And Titus...the seedy clubs...ah, yes, I remember them well. I used to go to one in Middlesbrough when I was...too young (maybe 14, 15...so that would make it 1982 or so). It would have made some people's hair stand on end (probably not yours though). I don't think it was even a legal establishment (you had to knock on a door to get in). I remember a lot of 'Rock the Boat'. Some of my friends liked the high street clubs but I liked the seediest place I could find! It was called the Speakeasy ('Speak' locally). I used to hitchhike home at 2 am! It's a wonder I'm still alive...


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Rachel Fenton said...

It's so funny - I read this and thought 'i don't know any of their songs' and then I listened and realised I do...there must be loads of bands out there I know but don't!

Rachel Fox said...

It's quite a blissful ignorance, Rachel! My head is full of record label details and remix credits from my time as a DJ/record shop assistant. Well, it's not quite as full as it used to be but there's still quite a bit in there. Sometimes it would be nice to have some other stuff in there too!
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Eryl Shields said...

I never get to dance these days and I miss it badly. I find it difficult to dance to most disco tunes though, much prefer bands like Massive Attack, Gorillaz, Radiohead etc.

I was 17 in 1978 and heavily into punk and, rather contrarily now I think about it, Fleetwood Mac and Elton John.

Rachel Fox said...

I know what you mean about disco a bit...it is more a music of the past for me now too. For example I was at a wedding last year and I felt really big and clunky dancing to disco records (compared to when I was younger!) and of course they played all the crap ones ('Billie bloody Jean' - never liked that). Plus I did feel a bit like a sad old person...and all the Bridget Jones stupid women connotations.

So yes, these days I'm probably happier dancing to something else. And as for contrary music taste...that's the best way. Who wants to fall into a neat marketing slot?

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gleaner said...

Rachel, Shaun was David Cassidy's brother and had a couple of 70s disco hits like "da do ron ron" and "thats rock 'n' roll" - its funny to think of 70s disco now. Thanks for the reminisce.

Rachel Fox said...

How have I never heard of him? I suppose I was more an Osmonds girl back at that time. Handy pub quiz info though.
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hope said...

Yep, Banjo. Evidently he fell in love with it first, then later switched over to the guitar. There's even a passage where he's jealous of comedian Steve Martin because Martin was recording a song with some group Billy admired. Ironically, Steve Martin JUST came out with an album [yes, my age is showing] of BANJO music.

Rachel Fox said...

Going to a folk club regularly these days I hear a lot of banjo! It even made it into my Radiohead poem. I think that's what they're missing in Radiohead too. Some banjo. Then they might really hit the big time.

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