The Carstairs ‘It Really Hurts Me Girl’ U.S. Red Coach Records 7”
No apologies for including this, because it is simply The Greatest Record Of All Time. I even created a MySpace page for it - www.myspace.com/greatestrecordofalltime. This is of course, only my opinion. However if you like early 70's New York dance with a full orchestra and string section with a brilliant song and the vocals reaching the pinnacle of soulful expression, then this one's for you baby! Check the link and tell me I'm wrong…….
Frankie Knuckles feat Satoshi Tomiie & Robert Owens ‘Tears’ U.K. FFRR Records 12”
If ever there was the perfect combination of a House rhythm with a brilliant song and exceptional vocals, then “Tears” is the one. Frankie Knuckles and Satoshi Tomiie excel on a superlative production and Robert Owens is in spine-tingling form as he soulfully wails over a track that was made and mixed in heaven. Whilst I prefer Frankie Knuckle's Classic Vocal Mix, the David Morales Def Mix is also a work of art. They don't come any better than this - believe!
Gwen Guthrie ‘Seventh Heaven’ U.K. 4th & Broadway Records 12”
Talking of mixes, I believe that Gwen Guthrie's “Seventh Heaven” is truly one of the most awesome mixes ever cut. This was of course, mixed by Larry Levan at the height of his powers, taking chances which no other remixer would have dared at the time. “Seventh Heaven” inspired a plethora of 'dub' mixes in its wake but few would ever match this exquisite slice of dance music history. Larry can rest in peace with “Seventh Heaven” as his epitaph!
T. Connection ‘Do What You Wanna Do’ U.S. TK Records 12”
If you want a 'height of the night' record to peak the dance-floor, then T. Connection's “Do What You Wanna Do” is impossible to beat in my opinion. I've aired this so many times over the years that I've worn out 4 copies! I've also seen numerous dancers either pass out or have an orgasm at the point where the ascending synth scale peaks over the relentless percussion break. It's pretty much impossible to follow with another record that can match the intensity of this - you have to switch gear, in order to give 'em time to remove the bodies from the dance-floor!
The O'Jays ‘I Love Music’ U.S. Philadelphia International Records 12”
This is a beautiful combination of the Philly Sound firing on all cylinders. A brilliant Gamble and Huff song, a relentless percussive driving production, the full might of the Philly session players and the O'Jays in top-notch vocal form with Eddie Levert's soaring vocal chords being the cream on the top. Naturally when you have a song with a chorus that states “I Love Music” it's easy to see the roof blown off with the energy from the dancers! As with “Do What You Wanna Do”, “I Love Music” is a very difficult record to follow.
The Trammps ‘That's Where The Happy People Go’ U.S. Atlantic 12”
From the golden age of Disco (i.e. several years before 'Saturday Night Fever'), “That's Where The Happy People Go” is a brilliantly uplifting slice of fierce Philly that beautifully encapsulated the optimistic mood of the early days of Disco. I'm biased because the Trammps are pretty much my favourite band from this era anyway, but having had the pleasure of hearing this as a new release in 1975, I'm pleased to say that I love as much now as when I first heard it some 32 years ago. And the disco IS where the happy people go!
Roberta Flack ‘Don't Make Me Wait Too Long’ U.K. Atlantic 12”
This is a superior Stevie Wonder song, sung to perfection by Roberta Flack and produced in heaven by Roberta Flack and Eric Mercury. It's such an infectious dance-floor groover that I generally play this alongside the previously mentioned “Seventh Heaven” by Gwen Guthrie in order to achieve the full sonic effect. I can't believe they missed this off the Roberta Flack anthology - the compiler should be hung, drawn and quartered! It's like a forgotten gem and I always have a trail of people enquiring as to what it is whenever I play it out these days.
Eddie Holman ‘This Will Be A Night To Remember’ U.S. Salsoul 12”
Most people will notice that I tend to favour mid 1970's Philly productions and they'd be absolutely right! This really was the period for full productions with real musicians in the early days of Disco perfection. “This Will Be A Night To Remember” is the mighty Salsoul label at its creative zenith with veteran vocalist Eddie Holman wailing his heart out over a MONSTER production from the cream of the Philly sessioneers, who were impossible to beat when they were on this run of form. Perfection!
Ian Dewhirst 2007
‘Vintage Grooves - Old School Hip-Hop Vol.1’ is out now on Seamless Recordings.