In this weeks show we will explore the history of remixes and contemporary re-edits. It’s amazing stuff – old boogie pants with new shoes.

In the clubs the sounds currently enticing you onto the floor, whether you recognise them as such or not, may well be re-edits. Records, both familiar and obscure, culled from the disco era, or in some cases even earlier, are being rearranged and presented, via the aid of modern technology, as something fresh.

“It’s become the main genre we sell,” says Simon Rigg, manager of London dance music specialist Phonica Records, who guesses that up to 40% of his current vinyl stock comprises reworked versions of older music. The same tale comes from Alec Greenhough, who runs distributor Toko and All Ears Ltd.

“A lot less imagination seems to go into new dance music these days,” says Danny Webb, dance music purchaser at Manchester’s Piccadilly Records, where re-edits account for a similar percentage of dance vinyl sales. “I think DJs would rather spend their money on older records that may have been re-edited as these have, [and] in many cases been tried and tested on dancefloors by DJs over many years.”

The acts constructing the re-edits, names like Lovefingers and Nitedog, have become familiar to the cognoscenti. Alongside peers like Danny Krivit, Idjut Boys, Prins Thomas, Yam Who?, Theo Parrish, Ashley Beedle’s London Heavy Disco Review, Mudd, Erol Alkan’s Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve and labels such as Moxie, Bear Funk, Noid, Soft Rocks, Supreme Edits, Mindless Boogie, Automan, Lobster Disques and Ugly Edits, these contributors are changing the face of dance music, yet receive little fanfare.

“Most of these re-edits only come out on limited edition vinyl runs,” says Rigg. “You can’t buy them as downloads, so the audience is restricted to the dedicated few.” And perhaps it’s best that way. Reworkings of tracks by high-profile artists such as Stevie Wonder, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones would surely land some of these producers in hot water were their work any more visible.

In the United States re-edits have been part of a DJ’s armoury since the days of 1970s . Originally a simple re-arrangement of an existing piece of music, the intros or percussion breaks often extended, or fey-sounding bridge sections omitted, they were made purely for the enjoyment of the clubber or for the DJ to show off. Today, things have changed, producers choosing to add extra percussion, or even getting hold of the original multi-track recordings of the source material in order to create a more radical reworking.

The majority of such activities are unlicensed and some wonder whether the major labels, who own the rights to much of this material, are complicit in this burgeoning trend, or are at least turning a blind eye. “I think for quite a while now, because it sells in relatively small numbers, vinyl has been viewed as a marketing tool,” reckons Greenhough. It is now also a huge portion of music sales, and last year for the first time in decades, physical sales of music are outgrowing digital sales.

These rejigged products certainly have the capability to reinvigorate forgotten back-catalogue stock, and it’s totally understandable why these re-edits should be surfacing now. Easy-to-use computer programs are the enablers for those bored with standard house music and are instead searching a world of older music via the internet before ultimately representing it in a dancefloor-friendly format. The sounds contained in the edits, often a dark and slowed down take on disco, marry perfectly with the punk funk of DFA Records, the midtempo grooves of Hot Chip, the leftfield dance music of Hercules and Love Affair and peers.

Trailblazing DJ Frankie Knuckles once stated that house music was “disco’s revenge”. But via the medium of re-edits, disco seems to have returned to compete with its offspring. The playlists of much of current UK clubland – disco re-edits, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, early European electronica, Talking Heads, Compass Point productions, DFA, Ze Records and NYC punk funk – bear a closer similarity to the glorious melange Ron Hardy was spinning in Chicago’s proto-house club The Music Box than anything we’ve heard in house music clubs this past decade. Maybe disco didn’t require retribution after all, perhaps it just needed time?

 

Super Mega Music Mix:

Chic (currently known as Chic featuring Nile Rodgers) was a pioneering all-black disco band with a hard funk underpinning first made critically famous when their third single “Le Freak” (1978) hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. Chic was widely regarded as the slickest and most talented musicians on the New York disco scene. because of their unerring sense of style, belief that disco was a glitzy escape from reality and their impact on not only the disco music of the 70s but 80s music as a whole.

The Origins of Chic

Guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards founded Chic in 1976. Inspired by a concert for Roxy Music, an English glam rock band, they attended, Rodgers and Edwards began sourcing talent to form a group that would present an immersive experience with influence by the glam rock style of bands like Kiss. Tony Thompson joined the band in 1977 as a drummer and recruited Raymond Jones as a keyboardist. Norma Jean Wright joined the band as their lead singer and the group recorded “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowzah, Yowzah, Yowzah)” with a fresh-faced recording engineer Bob Clearmountain.

Despite the high quality of the two-sided pressing of the single, Chic nevertheless found themselves rejected by every major label. However, an independent named Buddah released the 12 inch, and it became so popular in dance clubs that Atlantic soon signed them to a deal. Edwards and Rodgers’ minimalist, funky take on disco proved perfect for the last half of the genre’s era, and they soon found themselves in high demand, with Nile and Bernard also finding lots of side work as producers and songwriters for acts like Sister Sledge and Diana Ross.

Chic’s Commercial Success

In 1977 they released their self-titled debut album “Chic” on Atlantic Records, which featured later hits “Dance, Dance, Dance,” and “Everybody Dance.” After a conflict with her solo career, Wright left the group in 1978 and the band replaced her with Alfa Anderson and Luci Martin for their subsequent albums.

It wasn’t until their 1978 release of their second studio album, “C’est Chic,” that the band truly took off. Featured on the album, “Le Freak” went on to become one of their most played tracks, smashing records on the Billboard Music charts. The album itself also went on to be their only #1 album, hitting the top of the R&B chart after its release.

Chic’s Best Known Songs

It’s pretty much impossible to reach the adulthood without being exposed to Chic’s two biggest hits “Le Freak” and “Good Times,” usually in the context of some party-rock atmosphere. But the groove of “Good Times” was consciously recreated for the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” which means Chic helped birth classic old-school hip-hop as well. “Le Freak” is now shorthand for any wild party, whether it be in “Gossip Girl,” “Glee,” “Nip/Tuck,” Shrek 2 or Toy Story 3.

Chic’s Later Years

Unfortunately, the anti-disco backlash soon swept Chic into the bargain bin, but Edwards, Rodgers, and Thompson arguably found even greater success afterward. Rodgers went on to produce David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance and Madonna’s “Like A Virgin LPs. Edwards produced Robert Palmer’s “Riptide” breakthrough album and formed the Power Station.

(Thompson played drums on all these projects!) The band reunited with its female leads for a mildly successful comeback in 1992, but sadly both Edwards and Thompson have since passed on. Original singer Norma Jean Wright occasionally performs Chic classics live with Anderson and Martin.

Many great acts went on to cover their work, most notably late-’80s dance diva Jody Watley had a minor hit with her version of “I Want Your Love.” “Good Times” has also been sampled by Grandmaster Flash, De La Soul, and the Beastie Boys. Wham! and Duran Duran, both big Chic fans, often covered “Good Times” in concert.

 

Hello Groovers,

Today in the Liquid Sunshine Discotheque it’s an all salsoul disco dance special.

(A copy of the show will be available soon – in the meantime, enjoy the special music mixes available on the Liquid Sunshine Sound System Mixcloud page – https://www.mixcloud.com/sasmancometh/)

 

Operating out of NYC, SalSoul was one of the foremost and influential disco labels of its time. Having dabbled in latino music through their Mericana imprint, the Cayre brothers, Joseph, Kenneth and Stanley, founded SalSoul in 1974 taking the name from a Joe Bataan album previously licensed to CBS. Salsoul was literally a combination of ‘salsa’ and ‘soul’ and in an inspired move, the brothers immediately put together a house band known as the SalSoul Orchestra. Drummer Earl Young, bassist Ronnie Baker, guitarists Norman Harris and Bobby Eli, keyboard players Bunny Sigler and Ron Kersey, vibes man Vince Montana Jr and conga player/band leader Larry Washington had all played on Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia productions and would provide SalSoul’s signature sound. Unable to secure a major label distribution deal, the brothers managed to get legendary DJ Frankie Crocker to support the debut single ‘SalSoul Hustle’ and the label was up and running.

A succession of disco classics followed, including the first commercially available 12” single, Double Exposure’s ‘Ten Percent’ and recordings by First Choice, Candido, Carol Williams, Inner Life, Skyy and Loleatta Holloway. The label was unable to ride the disco backlash, although it continued until 1984. In 1992 the label was revived and interest in its catalogue bloomed when Holloway’s ‘Love Sensation’ was sampled and became an integral part of Black Box’s ‘Ride On Time and Mark Mark & The Funky Bunch’s ‘Good Vibrations’. Particularly popular throughout Europe, the SalSoul catalogue has since been sampled and remixed on numerous occasions. The SalSoul master catalogue was acquired by BMG in 2015 as part of the Verse Music Group, which also includes Salsoul Orchestra, Joe Bataan, Double Exposure, Loleatta Holloway, First Choice, Carol Williams, Skyy, Silvetti, Jimmy Caster, Charo, Aurra, Eddie Holman, Candido, Funk Deluxe, Bunny Sigler & Candido

To finish up, here’s another sweet taster.