Monday, August 17, 2009

Montell Jordan, Disco Divas & Kraut Rock

Could it have been that wise to own a parrot during the cocaine excess of the disco years?

In 1999, Kappa Alpha Psi frat brother and R&B superstar Montell Jordan took a trick from the Puff Daddy toolbox, sampling Claudja Barry's Love For the Sake of Love for his chart-topping single Get It On Tonite, the video of which featured an early example of text-message infidelity, making a case for the zeitgeist-anticipating qualities of the R&B genre. In 1980 was there a rock band with a track as prescient as Ronnie Jones' Video Games? (Incidentally, that song was also produced by Claudja Barry's pet-producer, who I discuss later). Not likely!

David Shaw is one-half of the Loose Joints duo here in Montreal, an incredibly talented graphic designer, and an extremely nice & hilarious guy to boot. He's also associated with the international DJ & production cartel Attitude City. For whatever reason, David & Davey Lahteenma (the other 1/2) are one of Montreal's best kept secrets - mixing & mastering for years and earning them the righteous love and appreciation of everyone who ever manages to catch their set, as well as bringing in Hercules & Love Affair, Brennan Green, Mike Simonetti & countless other guests before their big moments in the blogspotlight. Hopefully I'll have some other edits to post in the next little while, but in the mean-time, here's a live-set of David Shaw recorded last year entitled Disco's Dead. (Full-disclosure, I had the great privilege to DJ with him this past Saturday at Pop Montreal's Italo Disco Bike In and it was awesome.)

And now to our diva... Jamaican-transplant turned Torontonian Claudja Barry left Boney M in 1976 to pursue her own singing career, and thank God, because it gave us many great & fine songs, not the least of which is the simple and strutting song Love For The Sake of Love, the b-side to 1976's Sweet Dynamite. Production duties on this (and many other Claudja Barry tracks) were handled by German producer Jurgen S. Korduletsch, who prior to this was working with kraut-rockistes Amon Düül II.

Kraut-rock & disco are not mutually exclusive, which is where Can's I Want More comes in. Also released in 1976 (on the album Flow Motion), the seemingly disparate worlds of the dancefloor & Deutschland find themselves in perfect union here, and thus became their only Top 40 hit in the UK and earned them a slot on Top of the Pops. The guitar-work & full-group vocals on this song are amazing, and the organ-stab anticipates the same stab on Diana Ross' My Old Piano.

No comments: