Amoeblog

Oh Bondage!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 21, 2009 12:22am | Post a Comment





Of the hundreds of ideas I have for blog themes, bondage has been a fairly simple one to fulfill. There are plenty of people who use the imagery, whether sexual or just in a general corporal restraint sense.





It's amazing how prevalent S&M imagery was in the 70's. Over half of the covers are from that decadent decade. Hell, even Bowzer is flirting with it! I know, I know, I know it's a stretch. 
Then again, it was the 70's...




TECHNO IS BLACK!

Posted by Mike Battaglia, February 2, 2009 11:00am | Post a Comment

              

Even five short years ago, many clubbers, ravers and dance music fans would be hard pressed to recognize the names Ron Hardy or Larry Levan (above, R-L), let alone acknowledge African American influence on the music they get freaky to on the weekends. Even in the black community, whole generations seem completely oblivious to this part of their musical heritage. Thankfully, that's changing. With a renewed interest in disco, 80's uptempo R&B aka boogie, techno and early house music over the past few years, knowledge of dance music's history and the role blacks (and gays and latinos) played in its inception is growing. Nightclubs where the music was allowed to evolve, like Levan's Paradise Garage (right) in New York, Hardy's Music Box and Frankie Knuckles' Warehouse in Chicago (the latter being where the name House Music was coined) and Detroit's Music Institute remain legendary not because of the venues themselves or the people who owned them, but due to the DJ's who made those places immortal by performing an aural alchemy that transformed the American soundscape.

In honor of Black History Month 2009, I plan on taking a look at these legends so that they might gain a foothold with a new audience. People like The Belleville Three, legendary innovators of techno music from Detroit, or DJ's and producers like Tony Humphries at New Jersey's Zanzibar, that bridged the gap between disco's firey, racist and homophobic "death" and the birth of house and techno. I'd like to visit the lives and careers of people who changed the face of music forever, as well as ask a few questions. Questions like: Why is it that DJ's like Tiesto, Sasha & Digweed, Paul Oakenfold or Paul Van Dyk remain the most recognizable faces in mainstream dance music while Theo Parrish (left) remains an "undiscovered talent," or that popular knowledge of its history seems to go no further than the 90's, when white folks finally caught on en masse to what black folks in Chicago, Detroit and New York had already known for years? Or that the most popular strains of dance and electronic music seem to have erased all trace of African American influence? In a press release for a 2006 conference on techno's black origins at Indiana University, author and professor of folklore and ethnomusicology Portia Maultsby said:

"It is interesting how the music migrated from Detroit to Europe, and...became associated with rave parties, and then migrated back to the U.S., and Americans became involved...and the African American identity became invisible. Music can be appropriated and re-appropriated, and history can be distorted as a result of that ...Very few people associate techno with its African American origins."

                     

(The Belleville Three, L-R - Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson)

I may not even have answers to these questions (but would love to hear people's ideas in the comments), but I think raising them is almost enough. Questioning the status quo has never been a popular idea in dance music, but it's something that skeptical ol' me is hardwired for.

Now, obviously things are changing. These men have been regarded as gods in the underground for nearly 20 years and as new generations discover this music for the first time, it seems that it's the essence they immediately attach themselves to; the music's late 70's and early 80's beginnings are attracting the kids and new artists alike, such as Hercules and Love Affair or New York's DFA label, headed by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. These artists either consciously or unconsciously are realizing a concept-- that house/dance/electronic music (whatever you want to call it) has lost its way and needs to step back a bit to reflect, to capture what made it great in the first place. To remember the groove.
 

Continue reading...

TEN DISCO CLASSICS FROM 30+ YEARS AGO

Posted by Billyjam, January 8, 2009 10:48am | Post a Comment

Of all genres of popular music from the 1950's up til the present day, disco is perhaps the most discrimated against and unfairly hated upon Ironically, the hate is oft times spewed by the very same people who will be the first to dance to or sing along with said disco hits. Of course, karaoke nights and wedding DJs have only helped make some songs less enjoyable than perhaps they should be due to over exposure and bad sing alongs. A prime example would be Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," which is still a great song even 31 years later but might be more enjoyable if we had only heard 3 million fewer times in our lives. The video for that song, along with nine other disco classics, is below. 

The videos include Lipps Inc.'s "Funkytown" from 1979, A Taste Of Honey's "Boogie Oogie Oogie" from '78, Anita Ward's "Ring My Bell" from '79 and, from that same year, Sister Sledge's second biggest hit "He's The Greatest Dancer" (their biggest hit was the eternally popular "We Are Family," which was also released that same year). 

Also included is what I consider to be the greatest and most influential disco record of all time, the Giorgio Moroder-produced Donna Summer song "I Feel Love" from her 1977 album I Remember Yesterday (Casablanca) and released as a single. So innovative was Moroder's futuristic production on this track, according to the liner notes of his Sound + VIsion box set, that, in 1977 while David Bowie was recording with Brian Eno in Berlin, "Eno came running in and said, 'I have heard the sound of the future'...he puts on 'I Feel Love' by Donna Summer…He said, 'This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.'"

THE "GAY MYTH" THAT STILL HAUNTS DONNA SUMMER

Posted by Billyjam, July 22, 2008 09:00am | Post a Comment
Donna Summer's new album Crayons
At a recent music event in San Francisco, where a guy was busily handing out flyers promoting the upcoming Bay Area concert appearance by Donna Summer, I overheard a short but slightly-heated conversation between the guy handing out the flyers for the disco diva and someone walking by.

"Has Donna Summer been fully forgiven for allegedly been homophobic and......?" the passerby began asking, innocently enough it seemed. But before he could even fully finish his question, the street promoter, sounding jaded at still fielding this seemingly recurring question on a long dead topic, had cut him short: "It's not true. It never happened. It was a rumor based on a myth."

Known as the "gay myth" this nasty slice of misinformation has haunted Donna Summer for the last 25 years and, apparently, seems like it will never fully die. The rumor started in 1983, back when the disco bubble had popped and Summer's career along with it. She had also recently gotten divorced, gotten into a mental funk, and consequently become dependent on anti-depressant medication. Because of all of this, the singer, who had topped the charts with songs like "Bad Girls," had found God and become aDonna Summer born again Christian. More importantly it was when the AIDS crisis was tightening its frightening choke-hold on the gay community -- long Summer's core dedicated fan base.

Continue reading...

Welcome to Casablanca Records

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 29, 2008 12:30pm | Post a Comment


1980 saw the Casablanca release of Tony Joe White's The Real Thang album, which contained the amazing track "I Get Off On It", in which he discusses various individuals and their predilections--  junk food, trannys, trenchcoat flashers, bondage. Combine with a couple of other album highlights "Disco Blues" & the disco-ized version of "Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll", add copious amounts of cocaine and you've pretty much 'crystallized' the Casablanca Records story. 1980 was also the year that Polygram final squeezed Casablanca's founder out of the picture.  Neil Bogart went on to put together Boardwalk Entertainment, signing Joan Jett.  He also signed Get Wet -- if anyone out there knows what the Lou Reed connection is with them, please chime in. Anyhow, Mr. Bogart's body gave out on him 2 years later. 





Under the name Neil Scott, Bogart (born Bogatz) cut his music biz teeth at Cameo Parkway- talk about a crash course in the reality of the biz! He released a few records before they got shut down for Stock fraud.  He then moved on to Buddah and was crucial in the rise of Bubblegum, something he stuck with throughout his career- think T-Rex, Kiss, Joan Jett etc...Joining forces with fellow Brothers in Buddah Cecil Holmes, Larry Harris and Buck Reingold, he created Casablanca Records.







An early overpressing of the Johnny Carson double record (believe me, there are still way too many of them around, haunting me daily upstairs in vinylandia) put the label in a serious bind, but young Eugene and his bandmates scored an impossibly huge hit with their low budget masterpiece in tape splicing KISS Alive and really shot the label into the stratosphere... (btw Eugene, please get that f**king sex tape destroyed- I hate to see larger than life types brought down to mortal-dom. Nothing does that faster than inviting the world to watch you get sloppy in the bedroom.)









Anyhow, the rest is history.  Donna Summer, Village People, Scatt Brothers (the best Casablanca release PERIOD), Flashdance, Steve Allen "Funny" Fone Calls and on and on.  As above mentions, Neil was out of the pic in 1980, but the label kept on at it till 85, bowing out with A Chorus Line. Yet another major overpressing...Anyhow, here's a nice collection of Casablanca (and related labels) artwork and such.  Next Blog will be a quite stunning label gallery...Check out Tony Joe doin his thang live at the bottom...Motolla's Lindsey Lohan relaunch of Casablanca has no relation to the real deal, sorry pal- I know you gave Dr. Buzzard and crew their big break, but I just can't give a crap about Lohan...worst...Marilyn...ever... Yaaaawn.......



































 
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