This ΔY Funk Collection is all about “minimal disco” records with a summer sound.
I am labelling the records in that way because the focus lies mainly on a few key instrumental elements here: the funky drums and the smooth bassline. Add to that some trumpets and synthesizer sounds and we have ourselves a bunch of funky tracks. The vocals on top are just the icing on the cake, in my opinion!
Stephen Encinas – Lypso Illusion (1979)
This old record is on the B-side of the classic record ‘Disco Illusion’ by Stephen Encinas. This record has been applauded by contemporary artists like Gilles Peterson and Joey Negro. Stephen Titmus wrote a nice part about the record for Resident Advisor, diving into the history behind the music. To quote, “The single was recorded in 1979 in Trinidad & Tobago by a group of local musicians, and released on the obscure Kalinda label. It was a rare blend of R&B vocals and weighty West Indian bass backed with a cosmic instrumental vamp that lifts the track into the stratosphere midway through. There was only one problem: the record failed to get distribution so no one ever heard it. Until last year, that is, when someone found a box full of copies in a Trinidadian warehouse. The folks at Invisible City Editions then reissued the record and here we are today.”
It might be surprising to discover that this record is the only one Stephen Encinas ever made. It has been a lost jewel for the longest time.
Tru Tones – Dancing (1980)
There is not much to be found on the interwebs about the Carribean band Tru Tones, apart from the fact that they started out in 1960s and had a significant following in the UK in the seventies. Tru Tones was a real family band, mainly led by Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, a Saint-Lucian jazz guitarist. You can definitely hear the Carribean influences in this very summerish track. Just listen, let it in and start ‘Dancing’!
Bileo – Let’s Go (1979)
Another B-side of a classic disco record. This one got very hyped after DJs like MCDE started playing it on their Boiler Room sets. It pushed this record to a legend status, especially the song on the A-side called “You Can Win”. The lowest selling price for the record on Discogs as of today is €168.65. Damn Son! It is an extremely funky record though. The use of the short trumpet pieces to spice up the rolling bassline definitely has its effect in as well “Let’s Go” as “You Can Win”.
Lobo – Caribbean Music (The Reflex Edit) (1981)
This track is the youngest in the selection. We already talked about a Caribbean band, but this time we are talking about “Caribbean Music”. Not really though. Lobo was actually a Dutch singer with a summer craving! The Reflex edit focuses on the tribal elements and almost fully strips the vocal away, except for the ‘Dance’ chants.
The Dramatics – Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get (John Morales Edit) (1971)
The last one is a personal favourite of mine! I first got in touch with the original version of this track by watching the second season of the Netflix original series “Fargo”. This season takes place in the seventies and next to having a great storyline, it also has a great soundtrack.
The Dramatics is a soul band from Detroit founded in the year of 1964. It took a while before people got to know the band as ‘The Dramatics’. On the first releases that were put out, the band was wrongly labeled as ‘The Dynamics’. Awtch, not good for their marketing. Nonetheless, they definitely got their deserved attention when they released ‘Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get’ in 1971. I mean it’s impossible not to with dance moves like this!
The Bronx DJ John Morales made the track a bit more interesting by making an edit to bring out the drums!
That’s all for now! Craving for more? Check out the earlier ΔY Funk Collections …
ΔY Funk Collections #10 ~ Influential soul records
ΔY Funk Collections #9 ~ Romantic disco gems
ΔY Funk Collections #8 ~ Rare disco edits