The term "sleaze" as applied to disco goes back to the mid-70s, and was used to describe the slower, often vocal-lead tracks that DJs would spin toward the end of a party, in many cases in the early hours of the morning. The always informative Horse Meat Disco guys used the sub-genre as an inspiration for one of the discs on their third compilation with us, and there is of course an ongoing and healthy debate taking place online as to what technically is and isn't bona fide "sleaze."
As Dennis Citizen Kane (the man behind the Disques Sinthomme / Ghost Town labels, one of our favorite DJs in New York, and another great source for disco history and information) is launching a new club night at the Soho Grand this Friday featuring some authentic sleaze sounds, we thought we'd take the opportunity to have him share some of his favorites.
Says Kane: "These songs are not ranked in any specific way, they are just 10 great sleazy jams, they all have tremendous atmosphere and great sonic palettes. All of them convey such an intense mood and intimacy, elegant, erotic, exotic, and modern."
Sleaze to Please - 10 sleazed-out jams selected by Dennis Citizen Kane
10 Pino Presti - Disco Shitan
9. Shock Taktix ~ Morocko
8. Puccio Roelens - Northern Lights
7. Jo Dassin - Le Jardin Du Luxembourg ( TeeTwo Mariani Edit )
6. Night Creatures - That's the night
5. Crystal Bird - Tunnel
4. Francis Lai - #1
3. Marti Cane - Love the way you love me
2. Bob Chance - Jungle Talk
1. Double Fantasy - Food for fantasy
Ashley Beedle is one of those incredible DJs who has most likely forgotten more about music than most of us will ever know. Hyperbole aside, it's a thrill to hear him speak about his early nightlife experience, the transition from soundboy culture into early club days, and the music that soundtracked the different times of his life. We're honored to have Ashley on the line-up for our Christmas Party this week, and hope you can join us for what promises to be an incredible evening!
You used to talk about soul clubs in North London that you went to when you were young. Can you tell us about those days?
Yes, I was 16 or 17 when I was going to places like Bumbles, which was either in Tottenham or Palmers Green, and the Royalty in Southgate. I actually saw Marvin Gaye perform there. At the time, I was dabbling with sound systems and I was involved with Stateside which was a sound up in Wembley. My cousin Ricky Bushell hooked me in and I travelled around with them. Already at that stage it wasn't just about being a pure reggae sound - 2-step soul had started to come in since reggae was a very male phenomenon at his height. The DJs had realised that they had to appeal to the girls and it was soul tunes like Natalie Cole's 'This Will Be' that worked and got them onto the floor. Norman Jay was doing that too with Joey on his sound.
My first club experiences were really during my last year at school when London's West End was big. Clubs like Crackers and Obie J's. Where I was living, Harrow (North West London) had a big club scene at the time - there was a big Asian and black population there and the soulboy thing was big. Places like Harrow Leisure Centre, the Kings Head at Harrow On The Hill, Circles in South Harrow, the Headstone in Harrow & Wealdstone and the Co-Op disco which was very influential. There was a white guy, Dave, who ran a sound system called Channel One - not the reggae one we know today - and he played big reggae hits next to tracks like Fatback Band 'Spanish Hustle' and 'Going To See My Baby', then Elton John's 'Philadelphia Freedom', Mass Production - 'Cosmic Lust'. I went to Wembley too - the Hop Bine. The dancers from Crackers used to go there and they moved around different clubs and cut each other up. It was a really interesting time. Hammersmith Palais did a Sunday gig where Kelly's Roadshow played . The biggest tunes were The Real Thing's 'Can You Feel The Force' and GQ hits like 'Standing Ovation'. I remember there was a turning point when jazz funk became too insular - you'd be paying £20 for a rare album with just one playable track on it. Then kids got into Slave, Freeez, the Brit funk wave which was massive during the early '80s. There was crossover with the punk scene too as punks took elements of Soulboy fashion like mohair jumpers and plastic bag tops while studded belts and winkle pickers crossed into the soul crowd. That doesn't often get mentioned.
Which were your favourite clubs during the heyday of electro and boogie around '83-'85? Any life-changing club moments at that time? Where did you used to buy your records back then?
This was a strange time for me - I opted out a bit during this period. I was checking bands like The Clash, A Certain Ratio, Orange Juice and Siouxsie And The Banshees. At the same time, Rob Mello and I used to go to Bentleys where Derek B was the main DJ. I first started to hear electro and boogie there, all mixed up, just as the B Boy thing was coming through. Then there was Spats in Oxford Street where Tim Westwood was the resident. He'd play that US remix of Tears For Fears with the big break, Ryuichi Sakamoto 'Riot In Lagos'. It all changed so quickly. Boogie was big and I got totally caught up again after being an indie kid for a while! I had blue plastic brothel creepers, a quiff, the lot! There was a lot of crossover with electro and boogie. A seminal record back then was Terence T 'Power' which was a big record when pirate station LWR first started up. Rumour had it that it was Terence Trent D'Arby behind it but it wasn't! It came out and I remember that you could only get it in Tower Records in Piccadilly. We had no mobiles so it was all word of mouth at that time - a collector called Rajan tipped me off that they had copies. I got there and the queue was round the block! I used to go to obvious small shops like Groove Records in Soho but HMV and Tower used to have some good records back then too. Groove would sometimes even buy their copies there. Reggae shops too - Hawkeye in Harlesden brought in UK boogie tracks and soul to broaden their selection.
How did you find the transition from sound system DJ to club DJ back in the day? Or was it a natural move for you? Where did you first cut your teeth as a DJ in clubs?
I started to make my name when I was with Shock sound system. When we started that, it was just before acid house. Rare groove was really going on but then these proto house records started to appear. I went to Meltdown one night, a club run by Jonathan More and Norman Jay at The Crypt in Brixton. They were playing proto house records mixed in with Fela and James Brown and then eventually all these other house records appeared and they played them too. There was a 12 called 'JB Traxx' by Duane & Co. - a massive record. That was the vibe, then Trax came in. We were then given our own room at Clink Street and that was the first time that we did longer sets, playing 2-3 hours. None of us really went to Shoom at the time but the Shoomers came to Clink St after Shoom had finished. We were playing the black end of house which was very different to their sound and we still played soul too staying tru to our suburban soulboy roots. Then Phil Perry, who had Queens in Windsor, approached me to play there - that was the first time I saw Phil, Breeze (God rest his soul) and Weatherall. They played odd records but I adored them and I kept going up to booth asking 'what's that, what's that!' Tracks like Les Negresses Vertes 'Zobi la Mouche', 'Oh Well' by Oh Well, Belgian new beat. All coming in at different angles.
You're in Manchester now? How are you finding life there... and music?
It's one of the best moves I've ever done. London was good but personalities had started to outstrip what the music was about. I found that none of them talked about music - it was all about their careers. I met with T. Williams and listening to his stuff buzzed me up again. Julio Bashmore too. Floor-edged UK funky house that references the older stuff we played but in a great new way. I did my 'Yardism' EP in response to that (which is doing well, may I add!). So, I moved to Manchester partly to get out of London and my partner is also studying here. There are so many little scenes here - everyone knows each other and everyone is really helpful. There's some really new stuff up here and, dare I say it, it may be a bit ahead of London! Wet Play is a great night, Red Laser Disco, Hot Milk playing bashment (which Eoin Mcmanus who is connected to the Oi Polloi store is involved with). Another lot called New Bohemian, Irfan Rainey flying the flag for black house music - he runs a night called Community. Then the Electric Chair crews influence is here everywhere. They really were the forerunners of a lot of stuff happening in Manchester now.
At the Strut party, we're looking forward to you getting back to the original vinyl. Do you get a chance to spin the rare older tracks as a full DJ set these days?
I do and I don't. I try and keep a balance, making sure that I'm playing new material but bringing in old tracks too. I mix it all up. If you've been DJing as long as me, you start to know what your records are about. DJ Harvey said that you start to understand that when you hit 40! I'm looking forward to the Strut night - it should be great fun.
We love throwing parties in London: the incredible DJ talent, the lovely people, and, in the Tamesis Dock, an incredibly unique floating venue. We're particularly excited about our holiday party this year, which sees us returning to the Dock with a cracking line-up that is sure to make your Yuletides bright.
It's a pleasure to be linking up once again with Ashley Beedle. One of the most talented and adventurous selectors we know, Beedle goes way back with Strut. His Grassroots mix is one of the first releases on the label, and he has continued to share incredible sounds with us, through his Inspiration Information collaboration with Horace Andy in 2009. For the holiday party, he'll be laying down a set of classic soul and boogie. We asked him to give us a rundown of some of his all-time favorites to get you in the spirit. Here are "ten killers definitely shaking my tree this Xmas!" courtesy of the man himself.
1. Logg - You've Got That Something
2. Terrance T - Power
3. Average White Band / Ben E. King - Star Of The Ghetto
4. Slave - Spice Of My Life
5. Steve Arrington - You Meet My Approval
6. D Train - Keep Giving Me Love
7. GQ - You're The One For Me
8. Gwen Guthrie - Outside In The Rain
9. Gwen McCrae - Keep The Fire Burning
10. Sahara - Love So Fine
Ottawa's Souljazz Orchestra does not mess around. One look at the band's rigorous tour schedule makes it clear that this is a group of musicians on a mission. The super-group's dedication shines through the music as well of course, a distillation of a variety of Latin & African styles with a solid vocabulary of funk, soul and jazz. Check out the new track "Cartão Postal" which fuses Brazilian samba with Angolan semba, with lyrics (in Portuguese, of course) contrasting the generic "post-card" conception of the Tropics with the reality of poverty that pervades many of these idealized areas. The band's new album Solidarity will be out September 18th. For further information on these tour dates, visit the band's site.
Sep 22 - Ottawa, ON - Babylon
Oct 10 - Paris, France - La Bellevilloise
Oct 11 - Pau, France - Showcase Time
Oct 12 - Marseille, France - Cabaret Aléatoire
Oct 13 - Lille, France - Bal à Fives
Oct 14 - Chalon-sur-Saône, France - La Péniche
Oct 17 - Lyon, France - La Marquise
Oct 19 - Bordeaux, France - BT59
Oct 20 - Montpellier, France - Le Jam
Oct 22 - Antwerp, Belgium - Trix
Oct 23 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - MC Theatre
Oct 24 - Vienna, Austria - Fledermaus
Oct 25 - Bratislava, Slovakia - Bratislava Jazz Days
Oct 26 - Prague, Czech Republic - Agharta
Oct 27 - České Budějovice, Czech Republic - South Bohemia Jazzfest
Oct 28 - Dornbirn, Austria - Conrad Sohm
Oct 31 - Cologne, Germany - Stadtgarden
Nov 01 - Athens, Greece - Gazarte
Nov 02 - Athens, Greece - Gazarte
Nov 04 - London, UK - Jazz Cafe
Nov 09 - Toronto, ON - Wrongbar
Nov 10 - Kingston, ON - The Mansion
Nov 15 - Québec, QC - Le Cercle
Nov 16 - Montréal, QC - Le Belmont
Nov 17 - Gatineau, QC - Petit Chicago
Nov 28 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground *
Nov 29 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall *
Nov 30 - New York, NY - Webster Hall *
Dec 01 - Washington, DC - Jammin Java
Dec 02 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live *
Dec 04 - Buffalo, NY - Nietzsche's *
Dec 05 - Detroit, MI - The Crofoot *
Dec 06 - Columbus, OH - Woodlands Tavern *
Dec 07 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle *
Dec 08 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock
* w/ Zongo Junction
As savvy listeners return to the joys of classic Acid House, revelers with their fingers on the pulse are taking inspiration from the energy and spontaneity of the late 80s warehouse / underground scene for a fresh run of quality events. Accordingly, a mere one day after our NYC celebration Richard Sen will be joining the absolutely killer line-up of A Little Summer Of Love to celebrate the golden age of UK House Music. Feel the love!
Saturday June 30th @ Westbourne Studios (242 Acklam Road, London)
A Little Summer of Love w/ A Guy Called Gerald, Noel Watson, Richard Sen + more
7:00 PM - 2:30 AM
It wouldn't do to put out a record like This Ain't Chicago without adding a live DJ experience, would it? For the lucky folks in New York City, Richard Sen will spinning classics from the early days of the UK Acid House movement at Cielo, home of one of the best sound systems in the city. And if for some reason you needed more incentive to come party with us, he'll also be joined by Dennis "Citizen" Kane, of Disques Sinthomme fame. If you were there for the original days of Acid, this should be a welcome return. If you missed out, now's your chance to turn that frown upside down!
Friday June 29th @ Cielo (18 Little West 12th St. NYC)
This Ain't Chicago Release Party w/ Richard Sen & Dennis "Citizen" Kane
Ottowa's finest, afro/jazz/cosimic/funk collective The Souljazz Orchesra are marshaling their troops for a series of North American shows this winter. This will be their first major American tour, and our first chance to see them since releasing their amazing Rising Sun album in 2010. They're going to be joined by some excellent acts on certain dates, including Zongo Junction, The Funk Ark and others. Full info on the band's site. See you at the shows!
January 21st - Ottowa, ON @ Mavericks
February 15th - Providence, RI @ Fete
February 16th - Boston, MA @ Scullers Jazz Club
February 17th - Burlington, VT @ Nectar's
February 18th - New York, NY @ Webster Hall
February 20th - Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
February 21st - Washington, DC @ Rock N Roll Hotel
February 22nd - Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
February 23rd - Kalamazoo, MI @ The Strutt
February 24th - Chicago, IL @ Double Door
February 25th - Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
April 21st - Ottowa, ON @ Babylon
"Our Latin Thing" is one of those classic films (like "Wild Style," "The Harder They Come," etc.) that captures a place and time that can only be returned to in memory, and in original documents like these. Centered around an incendiary gig at one of promoter Ralph Mercado’s fantastically popular Thursday night jams at the Cheetah in New York in August 1971, the film documents the raw Nu Yorican Latin sound at its zenith. Starring certified legends including Willie Colon, Ray Barretto and “El Cantante” Hector Lavoe and directed by Oscar-winner Leon Gast (‘When We Were Kings’), the footage is spliced with atmospheric street scenes on rubbish-filled stoops and crumbling bodegas in Spanish Harlem.
To celebrate the film’s first official release on DVD by Strut / Fania, Shook and Strut present an exclusive London screening at La Bodeguita, a vibrant restaurant and venue in Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, on Wednesday 30th November at 8.00pm. Come have some drinks, eat some rice & beans, and celebrate an essential cultural document.
OUR LATIN THING (NUESTRA COSA)
+ DJ Duncan Brooker (Strut)
Wednesday 30th November 2011
Doors: 7.00pm / Film: 8.00pm
La Bodeguita • Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre • London SE1 6TE
Tickets: £5 door / £4 in advance at www.ticketweb.co.uk
Info: Jez Smadja at Shook: firstname.lastname@example.org / Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=186683444749323
Mulatu Astatke has had a fairly breakneck touring schedule of late, and that shows no sign of letting up too soon. This November he'll be heading south of the Equator with his band for a series of shows in Australia and New Zealand. The legendary Ethiopian composer and vibraphone player will be joined on each date by the Black Jesus Experience.
19/11/2011: Melbourne - The Arts Centre
20/11/2011: Perth - Freemantle Festival, Freemantle Town Hall
25/11/2011: Auckland -The Power Station
02/12/2011: Sydney - The Factory Theatre
It's been some time, more than eight years, since we got the Strut crew together in London for an evening of fine music and revelry. The time has come once again, and we're going to do it up in proper style! We'll be taking to the decks on the deck of the Tamesis Dock, moored at Albert Embankment, with a crew of label friends and family, and some special guests. This will our grand re-entrance into the London nightlife, so look for more events on the horizon. Come raise a glass and give summer a final hurrah to the finest sounds in disco, soul, afro-funk, and everything in between!
STRUT RECORDS BOAT PARTY
The Tamesis Boat Dock, Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TP
(between Lambeth Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge)
Sunday 25th September 2011
DJs Duncan Brooker, Toni Rossano, Christine Indigo, & special guest Bill Brewster
4.00pm to 12.00am
Tickets: £5 all night – on the door. Book online at www.ticketweb.co.uk
It feels really great to see deserving people get their due, and it's difficult to think of many people more deserving of recognition when it comes to Detroit music than Dennis Coffey. On April 15th, the day before Record Store Day, The Detroit Music Awards will be honoring Dennis with a Distinguished Achievement Award. He'll be joined on stage by Mayer Hawthorne, to perform the track "All Your Goodies Are Gone," which appears on the new album. Dennis is also nominated for the video for his cover of Cee-Lo's "F**k You," which features a host of notable Detroit folks. If you're in the area, you can catch the show at The Fillmore Theater.
Breakestra returned in 2009 with their long-awaited sophomore set exploring all colours of the funk spectrum. Built around the vision of “Music Man” Miles and Mixmaster Wolf (as well as producing, recording and writing the tracks, Miles performs bass, drums, guitars, cello, keys, percussion and vocals on the record), the trademark Breakestra touche remained intact: Wolf fronted tough breakbeat jams ‘Dark Clouds Rain Soul’ and Stones Throw single ‘Low Down Stank’; Miles himself brought his soulful vocals to ‘Need A Little Love’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Wait’ and amazing new female vocalist Afrodyete recalled the heyday of JB’s Funky People on the terrific ‘Come On Over’.
Now you can join Breakestra on their Summer Tour 2010!
We had so much fun on the last Horse Meat Disco mix that you know we had to do it again! If you can't make it to their legendary weekly London gig (and we highly suggest you make it a priority) this is the closest you can get to the balls out disco insanity you're guaranteed to encounter there. These guys have the record knowledge to put many disco obsessives to shame, yet manage to sidestep the dry and joyless collector scene in favor of a party that gets to the heart of the original disco spirit. Check out a short promo mix and the tracklist for the album below. Horse Meat Disco II will be out June 22nd.
Horse Meat Disco II Tracklist
1. EL COCO - AFRODESIA
2. LEONORE O’MALLEY – FIRST TO BE A WOMAN
3. STEPHANIE MILLS – YOU CAN GET OVER
4. TEMPEST TRIO – DO YOU LIKE THE WAY IT FEELS
5. SCHERRIE PAYNE – I’M NOT IN LOVE (GIRL, YOU’RE IN LOVE)
6. KASSO - WALKMAN
7. CYCLADES – FIRE TO DESIRE
8. FIRST LOVE – DON’T SAY GOODNIGHT
9. MADLEEN KANE – CHERCHEZ PAS
10. LAURETT RUSSELL GRANT – HOT TO TROT
11. ELECTRA feat. TARA BUTLER – FEELS GOOD
12. BRAVO – TOUCH ME NOW
13. NIGHTFALL – NIGHTIME BOOGIE
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