This ΔY Funk Collection starts soulful and progresses into a variation of real disco gems. The central theme is LOVE and all its aspects, from the first passions to a lack of it. Enjoy!
Bobby Womack – Woman’s Gotta Have It (1972)
Whenever I hear Bobby Womack sing, the opening and ending scene of the 1997 Tarantino movie ‘Jackie Brown‘ appear into my mind. It features a diva air hostess on the road, along with the Womack track ‘Across 110th street‘. But long before Tarantino started making movies, the track functioned as a title track of a 1972 crime drama movie. This movie also shared the name ‘Across 110th Street‘.
Bobby Womack has had a dazzling career of more than 60 years of music making. In this carreer, he also played the guitar for the likes of Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, George Benson, Sly & the Family Stone and Janis Joplin.
I chose the 1972 hit ‘Woman’s Gotta Have It‘, a song stressing the importance of keeping doing efforts for your loved ones. It was based on a personal experience of one of the band members.
The Fashion – Love Shadow (1982)
This track I picked up while listening to the Boiler Room Collections featuring modern funk pioneer Dam-Funk. In this session he gives an exclusive look through his record collection from the city of Los Angeles. Dam-Funk entertains us with great songs by artists like Oliver Cheatam, the Sunburst Band, Kenix and Fashion.
Fashion was a short lived British New Wave band active in 1978–1983. The band rose at the end of the punk era and brought a new more funky sound. Fashion toured together with hot shot bands like The Police and U2 (even before U2 was a thing).
In 2009 the band reformed to release a new album called ‘Stairway to Nowhere‘. Al “Luke Sky” James, the original singer/guitarist, also wrote a book with the same name. In this book he describes the story of the band and how they rose to fame from rock bottom.
Jimmy Ross – First True Love Affair (Larry Levan Mix) (1982)
Larry Levan was an American DJ who was best known for his decade long residency in the infamous club Paradise Garage in New York city. Larry Levan was on the forefront of modern club music, introducing drum machines and synths in his productions and mixes. In this way he created a post-disco sound which would lay the groundwork for house music as we know it today.
Larry had a very outspoken personality, he was openly gay and had an overly diva character. He had a lot of influence and actually developed a cult following who referred to his sets as “Saturday Mass”.
On the flip side, Larry had a very unstable life filled with drug related problems and health issues. At some point it even got so bad he started selling his valuable records for drug money. Larry died in 1992 and in September 2004, he was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame for his outstanding achievement as a DJ.
I chose to include this specific mix for Jimmy Ross because it really showcases the signature Levan sound.
Kenix feat. Bobby Youngblood – There’s Never Been (1980)
This is another track included in the Dam-Funk Boiler Room Collections. It was released on West End Records in 1980. West End Records was a very influential disco label during the late Seventies and early Eighties. Actually no one less than Larry Levan worked closely with the label helping them to create their sound. Kenix, short for Kenton Nix, doesn’t have a lot of releases explicitly on his name, but he has worked in the background on disco classics as ‘Funky Sensation‘ by Gwen McCrae and ‘Heartbeat‘ by Taana Gardner.
‘There’s Never Been‘ was a real Paradise Garage classic and always been a popular and sought after 12″ among Disco/Boogie/Funk collectors. A true classic!
Låpsley – Operator (DJ Koze’s Extended Disco Version) (2016)
Fastforwarding almost 40 years in time, we arrive at the year 2016 in which DJ Koze made a Disco version of the song ‘Operator‘ by Låpsley. Låpsley is an English singer, songwriter, musician and producer. DJ Koze is a DJ/Producer from Hamburg. The readers of Germany’s trend-setting SPEX magazine voted DJ Koze the ‘DJ Of The Year’ for 1999-2004. DJ Koze actually came from a Hip Hop background. As a live DJ, Koze nowadays builds his sets on house and disco tracks and uses his well-honed Hip Hop skills blending it all together in a furious mix.
I like this particular Disco version a lot and it really blends in well with the old school disco songs.
The cover picture was taken by Chris Barbalis in a random public spot in Brooklyn, NYC.