Words & selections by Balearic Mike.
This week I have been mostly listening to … some Library Music vibes, and then went a bit DISCO!
Starting with some mellow Saturday afternoon sounds…
Discodor – Wonderfulsound 2021
This little beauty popped through my letterbox this week – not literally you understand. I’ve yet to convince Balearic Wife that a letter box big enough to stuff an album-sized mailer through, would actually be a good thing! I know very little about this band, except that they’re an Anglo-French duo consisting of Pierre Duplan and Lee Skelly, and they’re probably really into library music – it even looks like a library record. This is a lovely LP of laidback, balearic-flavoured, lounge-funk and library inspired grooves. The closest thing I can compare it to is the equally gorgeous sounding album that Smith & Mudd recorded for KPM a couple of years ago. Something for fans of all things library music, Claremont 56, and Air. Wonderful sounds indeed! I must treat myself to their 7s as well.
Keeping the library music vibes going …
Jay Richford & Gary Stevens – Feelings – Be With Records 2021
This gorgeous little thing also – not literally – popped through my letter box just this morning! A beautiful official reissue of perhaps the greatest library music LP ever made? Well, according to Shawn Lee’s excellent Library Music Film it is! Jay Richford & Gary Stevens is the alias of Italian library legends Stefano Torossi and Puccio Roelens, and this album is just flawless from start to finish. The problem with a lot of library music is that often there’s only 1 or 2 great tracks on an album – resulting in an awful lot of trawling through. That’s not the case with this. Rob at Be With has, as usual, done a stellar job with the pressing of this reissue, so treat your ears.
It’s cocktail hour now, so me and Balearic Wife are getting a bit ‘dancey’!
Jesus Loves You – After The Love / Generations Of Love – More Protein 1991
My favourite mix of this beautiful Balearic house track from Boy George is the Naughty Norman Normal’s Nightie one – which George remixed himself under his Angela Dust alias – and has those lovely Spanish guitars in it. The mix of Generations … on this 12 is great too – plus it has this amazing promo only sleeve where George spoofs the rather controversial Outage ‘outing’ campaign of the time. George looking and sounding absolutely gorge! Right on sister! We’re gonna whack on Bow Down Mister next!
Well, the cocktails kicked in pretty quick! Meaning I was too squiffy to keep typing! Things got pretty hardcore, real fast at balearic Mansions, Hove, last night. Before we knew what was happening Balearic Wife and I were going for it big time, hitting a dangerous mix of margaritas, Salt & Vinegar crisps and Guardian crossword puzzles! Crazy times! Anyway, I thought you’d like to know what sound tracked our sit-down dancing extravaganza, so here goes….
Disco Madness – Salsoul Records – Remixed by Walter Gibbons – 1979
A lovely US double pack promo pressing of these stunning and essential remixes from one of disco music’s true geniuses – Walter Gibbons. Dubbed-out, percussion heavy remixes of Double Exposure’s Ten Percent and My Love Is Free, First Choice’s Let No Man Put Asunder, The Salsoul Orchestra’s Magic Bird Of Fire and It’s Good For The Soul, plus Loleatta Holloway’s Catch Me On The Rebound. What’s not to love!
Just prior to this – sometime in 1978 I believe – Walter found religion, and decided he could no longer play, or remix any tracks which were sexually suggestive, or had drug references, or any other fun shit, etc., which pretty much ruled out 80% of the disco canon and signaled the beginning of the end of what was far too short a career – although he did still go on to produce and mix some amazing music. These Salsoul double 12” promos are fucking fantastic, and I’m lucky enough to have a couple, so more coming.
After the Walter Gibbons double pack of delights, there was only one thing we could follow that with… Balearic wife and I getting on it pretty hard by this point – definitely onto the second crossword by now…
Larry Levans Greatest Mixes Vol.1 – Salsoul Records 1980
Another superb Salsoul DJ promo double pack – all killer no filler. Larry’s superb remixes of First Choice`s Double Cross, Loleatta Holloway`s The Greatest Performance Of My Life, Salsoul Orchestra`s How High – no drug references there!, Skyy`s First Time Around, Sparkle`s Handsome Man – Moonboots once said this was about me – and saving the best until last, Instant Funk`s I Got My Mind Made Up. Rumour has it that Walter Gibbons was remixing Instant Funk for Salsoul in 1978, and it was during the sessions that he found God! Fuck knows what God was doing hanging out in a New York recording studio, but anyway, he refused to finish the mix due to its lewd content – “I got my mind made up, come on, you can get it, get it girl, anytime, tonight is fine” – I mean really, it’s so innocent – so Larry was drafted in to complete the mix. I hope that story is true.
I dug this out to play for the first time in probably more than a decade over last summer, and Balearic Wife quickly became a bit obsessed with it…
Norma Jean Bell – I’m The Baddest Bitch (Moodymann Mix) – F Communications 1996
What can you say? Is this one of the finest vocal house tracks of the `90s? Is this one of the finest vocal house tracks ever made? Killer house meets disco fusion, with a heavy dose of off kilter Detroit funk from Kenny Dixon Junior. My wife is definitely the Baddest bitch in our house, no question! I used to have a US pressing of this, but must have sold it at some point. We’ve been playing the original French release, which has some nice mixes, although I never get passed the Moodymann one. Bumpin’!
From Norma Jean Bell to Norma Jean…
Norma Jean – Saturday (Remix) – Bearsville 1978
Balearic Wife is proving she’s the baddest bitch and is calling ALL the shots now! This is one of her favourites – no doubt about it – probably sparking memories of her and close friend, Mary, raving around Manchester’s gay village in the `90s. A stunning vocal disco anthem from the former Chic vocalist, written and produced by Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards. This just sounds like a Chic record and is as good as anything released under that moniker. Something seems odd listening to a record about living for the weekend while we all live through this hellish lockdown, where let’s face it, weekends don’t really exist right now. It`s a reminder of better times behind and ahead of us. I have the UK original 12” which is 42 years old.
I managed to get one of my choices on the decks this time…
Belle Farm Estates – Puddin – Private Pressing from who knows when?
Still disco, but a bonkers, leftfield take on the genre from this group out of Baltimore, Maryland, who never released another track. I think this was privately pressed. I was put onto this wonderful oddity by superb DJ, excellent producer, dangerous record pusher, and rather lovely human being, Mark Seven. Its sounds like a disco record that went seriously wrong somewhere. Maybe the band got spiked with angel dust or something, becuase they ended up producing something quite marvelous which reminds me of ZE Records output like Kid Creole, Material, etc., meets Prince. I now had to go and make pizza. Had to soak up the booze.