39 Steps, 12 inches

rich invite_2_2Back in the 00’s, Walker and I used to put on a party about once a year at bar called Positively 4th Street (sadly now gone). It was an interesting venue, with a long bar upstairs a bit like something out of Wong Kar-Wai’s In The Mood For Love and a candle-lit sweatbox downstairs where the dance floor was. We had some good nights there, and there was always some drama. The two drunkest Swedes ever to walk the earth (quite an achievement) showed up once; a crazy Scot tried his hand at cab-surfing outside; there were occasional tears on the dance floor; and one party culminated in a giant bout of whipping, using bamboo switches conveniently placed around the dance floor. But most importantly, lots of people from back in the day would turn up to drink and dance, and it was always great to see them.

Saul and I always DJ’ed, occasionally joined by McDisco, Robin (see below), Tom or Jankster, playing mainly funk and disco. For these sorts of nights – when it’s a party crowd rather than punters there just for rare 45s/jazz, and the sound system usually leaves a bit to be desired – I always think 12″s work best (praise be to Tom Moulton for his 1974 discovery that the sound is louder and richer when spread over more than 7″ of vinyl). Disco is an obvious choice, but what I really like are funk 12″s, the tracks that sneaked into the new format before the 4-to-the-floor beat took over and the sound became more ‘produced’. I felt this approach was vindicated when someone (Lorraine?) shouted, “Liked your music…much better than that fucking Harry Potter!”

To me, the ultimate record in this category is Catch A Groove by Juice, which has a monster breakdown that only appears on the 12″, but I put this in an earlier mix so haven’t included it here. Similarly, Jim Burgess’s 1978 remix of Herman Kelly’s Dance To The Drummer’s Beat would probably also be there if I hadn’t already put it in an earlier mix, as would The Bar-Kays’ Holy Ghost (in this mix). There were plenty of others to put in though, and it’s always fun working out how to put them together (the complex arrangements and unclicked beats limit you to a few bars for beat matches and/or quick cuts/fades).

In_The_Stone_EWFThe first mix is from a while back and was made to highlight just this sort of 12″. T-Connection’s Groove To Get Down has a monstrous break for a 12″ single and always sounded to me like the funk record Crosby, Stills and Nash would have made (Dark Star notwithstanding). The intro to EW&F’s Africano you’ll recognize from countless sampled records, and maybe it’s sacrilege but I prefer Platinum Hook to George Clinton. If Tony Rallo (thanks Neil) doesn’t make you tap your feet, you have no soul (or at least no rhythm). And remember Dazz = Disco + Jazz,  Cameo weren’t Chic, and Timmy Thomas wasn’t James Brown. Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne’s Spank rounds off the mix, the track that would provide the basis for the warehouse classic Sixty-Nine by Brooklyn Express.

  1. I Get Lifted – Sweet Music
  2. Groove To Get Down – T-Connection
  3. Africano – Earth, Wind & Fire
  4. Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On – Platinum Hook
  5. Holding On – Tony Rallo & The Midnite Band
  6. In The Forest – Baby ‘O
  7. Dazz – Brick
  8. Say A Prayer For Two – Crown Heights Affair
  9. We Got The Funk – Positive Force
  10. Good Times – Cameo
  11. Stone To The Bone – Timmy Thomas
  12. Get Off – Foxy
  13. Spank – Jimmy “Bo” Horne


SAH0360-300x300The second mix is a new one. It’s in a similar vein and again all 12″s. It starts with a cover of Roger Troutman and Zapp’s More Bounce To The Ounce.  Next there’s a Roy Ayers promo (I don’t think this ever got a commercial release as a 12″) and Eddie Grant showing with The Equals he could do much better than Electric Avenue. The Equals track is actually a bit of cheat because it’s an 80’s 12″ (there wasn’t an original 1976 studio 12″) but I had to include it for that fade. Then Barry White shows his original is infinitely better than Robbie Williams’ derivative and the UK’s Armada Orchestra improve on the O’Jays. Esther Williams is the pick of the bunch – a rare Friends 12″, first comp’ed by Louis Flores on Ultimate Breaks & Beats (how I first heard it) in the mid-80’s and 20 years later reissued by Gerald Jazzman (Mark at Resolution Records made me an offer I couldn’t refuse for the original, so now I make do with a Friends repress/bootleg). The Brothers Johnson and Gaz tracks are two other 12″s that later made it onto Ultimate Breaks & Beats.  The mix ends with Jimmy Castor’s classic B-Boy break remixed for the 80’s. The 1972 original is probably my favorite (included in this mix), but Larry Levan still did a great job updating it for 1983.

  1. More Ounce – Bobby Demo
  2. Love Will Bring Us Back Together – Roy Ayers
  3. Funky Like A Train – The Equals
  4. It’s Ecstasy When You’re Next To Me – Barry White
  5. For The Love of Money – The Armada Orchestra
  6. Getting Down – East Harlem Bus Stop
  7. Last Night Changed It All – Esther Williams
  8. Spaced Out – Cloud Nine
  9. Nights Over Egypt – The Jones Girls
  10. Is It In – Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne
  11. Sing Sing – Gaz
  12. It’s Just Begun (Larry Levan remix) – The Jimmy Castor Bunch






~ by ricardosevere on 07/12/2014.

7 Responses to “39 Steps, 12 inches”

  1. http://baiaboyisback.blogspot.fr/2014/11/the-jones-girls-nights-over-egypt-1981.html

  2. […] Funk On Up came out of Cambridge and samples Earth, Wind and Fire’s Africano (heard here) and Get On Up by Jazzy Dee. For some reason, it always reminds me of a wild-eyed El Grito rapidly […]

  3. […] to repeat Ain’t We Funkin’ Now and Last Night Changed It All (also UBB 510) from earlier mixes, also sampling Theme From The Planets (UBB 510). Then Public Enemy contribute one of the most […]

  4. […] mix starts with Began Cekic’s rework of Jimmy Bo Horne’s Spank (heard here), which I first heard on Tel’s Warehouse Rave tape. That’s followed by a Jazzy Dee tune […]

  5. […] much more well known tracks follow: Spanish Hustle was a favorite at the Positively 4th Street parties; as I said in my earlier long post on disco, Can You Feel The Force was the soundtrack to trips […]

  6. […] of the music in this imaginary soundtrack (reality of course was much drearier) is from 12″ singles. Although these first appeared in the 70’s, they came into their own in the 80’s with […]

  7. […] year Saul and I reprised the old Positively 4th Street parties once again – this time in a sweat box out East. There was supposed to be a repeat in my honor in […]

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