As in all art forms, we take what we can from music. I mentioned last time out that disco music in particular either literally moves me or it doesn't. Some claim that the truest and highest art forms enhance the human condition and experience, bringing us closer to realizing our full potential. I don't know all about that - can't we just enjoy things without reading into them sometimes? Like today's disco extravaganza, which features a few familiar songs, a few familiar acts and a whole lot of new to me disco stuffs. Disco Exotica is the 14th installment in the sixteen volume Disco Discharge series and features twenty songs spread across two discs. All but seven of those twenty tracks are from the disco glory years of 1978 and 1979 so you know this vintage vinyl made for dancing. Let's take a loving look back at some of the vinyl artwork before we get down to the tunes with another really cool looking label:
Not bad, not bad at all. You probably recognized Toni Basil in the gallery of disco dames and thought to yourself "What the heck is the "Mickey" girl doing on a disco compilation?" I did the same thing and then immediately jumped to her track on the CD which is track 10 on the first disc. The song was instantly recognizable - as a Devo song! Then I pulled up Basil's debut album Word Of Mouth from 1981 (later released in the US in 1982) and there it was, the fourth track on the first side of the album, slightly transformed from the Devo original but still notable for having Devo perform behind Basil, as they did on two other tracks found on Word Of Mouth. Devo recorded the song as "Pity You" on their New Traditionalists album in 1981 and Toni Basil tracked it as "You Gotta Problem". Disco, though? Yeah, kind of. The song however is not one of the four Basil landed on the Disco chart. Other cover versions appearing on Disco Exotica are Iron Butterfly's "In A Gadda Da Vida" covered in a medley by Disco Circus; the blues classic "The House Of The Rising Sun" covered by HOT R.S. (wonder what that stands for?); and a gently sped up cover of Stevie Wonder's classic love ballad "My Cherie Amour" by Boney M. which at thirty years old is the newest track on Disco Exotica.
Sylvia Love appears for the third time in the Disco Discharge series - fourth time if you count her performance in the last installment of the video interview with Mr. Pinks and Alan Jones about the Disco Discharge project - with the instrumental version of of "Extraterrestrial Lover", a song which appears on Euro Disco, the third volume of the series. Other artists making an encore appearance on Disco Exotica include Who's Who, Pussyfoot, Disco Circus, Liquid Gold, Gino Soccio, Azoto, Passengers and Patrick Juvet. The Chaplin Band is only act to appear twice on the Disco Exotica album itself, with a track on each disc.
Another familiar name that appears on Disco Exotica is Bette Midler, who got her start singing in the Continental Baths of New York City with Barry Manilow accompanying The Divine Miss M on piano and producing her first album. "Hurricane" is from her disco-influenced fifth album Thighs & Whispers which features four charting Disco singles, three of which were released as twelve inch singles. "Hurricane" neither charted nor appeared as an extended single though its full-length album version runs 7:30, making it the longest cut on her album. In the context of the other disco songs on Disco Exotica, "Hurricane" is rather understated but nonetheless powerful disco song as Bette sings in a restrained, almost droning voice through nearly the entire song.
The most familiar song on Disco Exotica for almost anyone will be Patrick Hernandez's "Born To Be Alive" which went to Number One on charts in sixteen countries and number 16 in one country - the U.S. The song is presented here in its original 6:04 length rather than the single edit or the longer 7:27 Danae mix. The song is probably one of the Top 5 Disco songs here at The Hideaway if such a list were ever assembled and probably Numero Uno on the list of Top Roller Disco Songs if there was a such a thing. It is also highly memorable as the second song heard in Skatetown U.S.A. after Dave Mason's titular track. Mysteriously, Patrick and his life-affirming roller-skating jam are not included on digital version of the 1979 film's soundtrack album despite being on the original vinyl version I'm holding in my hands right now.
|year||title||artist||Billboard Disco Chart|
|1979||Dancin' Machine||Who's Who||5:49||-|
|1978||Madman's Discotheque||The Chaplin Band||6:29||-|
|1979||Lay Your Love On The Line||Pussyfoot||8:24||-|
|1978||In A Gadda Da Vida / Garden of Eden||Disco Circus||7:12||-|
|1979||Born To Be Alive||Patrick Hernandez||6:05||1|
|1979||The House Of The Rising Sun||HOT RS||14:35||-|
|1979||Extraterrestrial Lover (Instrumental)||Sylvia Love||6:53||-|
|1982||Dirty Talk (European Connection)||Klein & MBO||8:22||14|
|1981||You Gotta Problem||Toni Basil||4:33||-|
|1981||Dancin' The Night Away||Voggue||7:24||1|
|1978||Don't Say Goodnight To A Lady of Spain||Jeanette||4:21||-|
|1979||Dance To Dance||Gino Soccio||7:09||1|
|1979||I'll Be Standing Beside You||Passengers||7:50||-|
|1979||Swiss Kiss||Patirck Juvet||7:09||58|
|1985||My Cherie Amour||Boney M||8:55||-|
|1982||Il Velerio||The Chaplin Band||12:00||-|
|1979||Sentimentally It's You||Theo Vaness||7:18||3|