The latest compilation from Ace imprint BGP is an intriguing look at the US dance music scene in the early 80s. By then disco had run its course, at least in the classiest, more underground, more discerning dance clubs. The clubbers who’d embraced the birth of disco were by the late 70s/early 80s embarrassed by its crass, mainstream acceptance. When artists as diverse as stage star Ethel Merman and clapped out pop rocker Rod Stewart were churning out disco tunes, the serious hard-core clubbers, especially in New Yok knew it was time to move on. They wanted something different. So, New York clubs like The Loft and the Paradise Garage decided to supply that something different – hence the title of the new BGP album, ‘LOFTS AND GARAGES’… a selection of cuts that did offer something quite different to mainstream disco.
Specifically, BGP/Kent have dipped into the archive of New York indie label Spring and its subsidiary Posse to offer ten tracks that became popular on the NY underground club scene in the early 80s. Taking centre stage is Spring long stayers, the Fatback Band. Led by drummer Bill Curtis, the Fatbacks played regularly throughout the New York area and their ears were always tuned to the latest musical trends. It’s generally accepted the Fatback Band recorded the first commercial rap record – 1979’s ‘King Tom (Personality Jock)’ and here their offering is a rolling 8 minutes worth of ‘Spread Love’. Vocalist, by the way, is a certain Evelyn Thomas.
Amongst the other artists on ‘Lofts And Garages’ are Fonda Rae and Blaze (not the later New Jersey outfit) who offer a P Funk pastiche, ‘We Come To Jam’. Soul collectors will also recognize the name Lonnie Youngblood whose ‘Sing A Song’ typifies the post disco, hypnotic, electro-tinged dance sound.
‘LOFTS AND GARAGES’ is out now on BGP