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4-5-6 august 2017 heerlen - the netherlands thenotoriousibe.com
the notorious ibe
Welcome to the fourth edition of Hot Stuff magazine! Thanks for the compliments on the third issue. A few months ago BBE issued a sampler with the title: The Men In The Glass Booth (Ground Breaking Re-Edits And Remixes By The Disco Era’s Most Influential DJs), the title is inspired by Vince Aletti’s article ‘The Men In The Glass Booth’, published in After Dark magazine in November 1976. I Provided 4 acetate edits from my collection on this sampler and in this issue of Hot Stuff you can read the complete vintage article from Vince Aletti. Also in this issue: The history of the TRAX label, Interviews with Peter Brown, Cash Money, Steinski, DJ Bobby Busnach ,Steven Goldstein and the 10 favorites of Gino and Frederico Grasso. For those who don’t know me yet, I have already collected many disco-related items, such as magazines, books, acetates and, of course, records! Like me, there are many other music lovers who have interesting stories to tell, know about the music’s history and have certain memorabilia. That’s why I thought it would be nice to share the disco, rap and funk knowledge we all have, so in this way we can share all of this info with the rest of the world. In my digging for records and acetates I have met many other interesting music lovers, which is why I have asked them to contribute to this magazine by writing articles. This magazine includes a wide range of interesting articles on disco, jazz, rap, hip-hop, funk, house, rollerdisco and the graffiti & breakdancing culture. Furthermore, you will find vintage advertisements and magazine articles mainly from the 1970’s to the 1990’s. I invite you to share your opinions, ideas and relevant news with me. Your correspondence will be appreciated and it will help me improve my publication the next time. All contributors and I hope to reach everybody and anybody who loves the music that makes you want to dance. Enjoy! Groetjes, Discopatrick
TEAM HOT STUFF
DESIGN - LAYOUT & COVER ILLUSTRATION CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Aiden d’ Araujo Skeme Richards Jason Armitage (Dr. J) Discopatrick Vince Aletti (Vintage Article) Stuart Baker
Discopatrick Aiden d’ Araujo Skeme Richards
Steven Goldstein DJ Bobby Busnach
© Discopatrick 2017
5 HOUSE HUNTING PRESENTS....HOUSE HISTORY CHAPTER #3 – HOUSE OF TRAX by Aiden d’Araujo
20 10 FAVORITES OF GINO & FEDERICO GRASSO
26 CASH MONEY interview by Jason Armitage (Dr. J)
36 DJ BOBBY BUSNACH Interview by Discopatrick
52 BLUE ELEPHANT Cover Art
8 THE LESSONS WITH STEINSKI by Skeme Richards (The Nostalgia King)
24 INTERVIEW WITH PETER BROWN by Stuart Baker
30 VINTAGE ARTICLE THE MEN IN THE GLASS BOOTH by Vince Aletti
42 STEVEN GOLDSTEIN Interview by Discopatrick
HOUSE HUNTING PRESENTS… HOUSE HISTORY by
AIDEN D’ ARAUJO
CHAPTER #3 – HOUSE OF TRAX
So after harkin’ back to the house foundations laid by Chicago’s chief architects Jesse Saunders and Vince Lawrence in the last edition of House History, it’s only right the next chapter is a love letter to Chi-house institution TRAX Records.
Founded in ’84 by cult Chicago figure (some may say crook) Larry Sherman along with Jesse Saunders and Vince Lawrence, the legendary label epitomises everything about Chicago house whether it’s the primitive sound, raw aesthetic or the Windy City wild mid-west politics rife with rip-offs, bootlegs and blank cheques. Anyway, Jesse approached Larry to press up his house hit (and arguably the first house record) ‘On And On’ at his Precision Records Labs pressing plant after growing frustrated with Vince’s Dad procrastinating over releasing their ‘Fantasy’ record as Z-Factor on his Mitchbal stable. Though he usually pressed up 7-inches for Blues artists, with the potential demand for the record he agreed to press up 500 copies for Jesse’s last 800 dollars. The record sold out it’s first run within days and Larry couldn’t believe that they were
back at the pressing plant ordering more as legendary record joint Importes Etc. were requesting reorders. Sensing an opportunity, he proposed that he’d press up the record for free in exchange for taking the cost of the record outta the profits also taking an additional percentage cut dependent on sales – giving you an insight into his early wax wheelin’n’dealin’ that’d he become infamous for. The record sold in the thousands with Larry’s deal proving a shrewd move so wanting to capitalise on the house craze that he was helping facilitate he set up his Streetfire stable with Importes Etc. head honcho Paul Weisberg to re-release Jesse’s next production ‘Funk You Up (Those Pretty Girls) which as receiving heavy rotation on WGCI and WBMX the track became the best-selling record in town even gettin’ into the billboard charts.
As well as Streetfire Larry had another start up in the form of Precision Records which was a vehicle for Jesse’s productions including Gwendolyn’s ‘Come To Me’, ‘Fresh’ as Dum Dum and his infamous rip-off of Jamie Principle’s ‘Waiting On My Angel’ – the story goes that Larry was so p***ed that Jamie signed to Persona instead of Trax that as well as blocking the distribution and sabotaging the record in any way he could he got Jesse to record and release a cover version. With Jesse’s deals Vince didn’t want to be left in the shadows so he proposed to Larry they release some basic productions and split the profits (naïve on that front) that could be produced, pressed-up and released quick’n’easy for the club kids who just wanted to hear these ‘tracks’ so this was the inspiration behind the name and Trax Records was born… At the time Vince was influenced by the industrial move-
ment with acts like Ministry who released records on the label Wax Trax! which with his artistic instincts (he designed Jesse’s Jes Say Records logo) inspired the bold, off-centre white TRAX text on black label design. They launched the label with ‘Wanna Dance’ by Le’ Noiz aka Jesse Saunders and Duane Buford of Dance Mania fame with the following releases being ‘Girls Out On The Floor’ by Jesse Velez (RIP) plus another Le’ Noiz 12” with ‘I’m Scared’. For Trax Records fourth release WBMX wizard Farley “Jackmaster” Funk was added to the roster with his ‘Jack The Bass’ EP – the first Trax release with the now iconic red-label that is synonymous with the stable. Farley releasing a record would prove to be beneficial as he was one of the Hot Mix 5 who with their ‘The Friday Night Jam’ and ‘Saturday Night Ain’t No
Jive’ mix shows on WBMX with a listenership of half a million could give the record and label further exposure. With Jesse’s house hit ‘On And On’ record selling by the thousands and having witnessed the lo-fi approach in laying down a track, Farley like many others felt they could do that and improve upon. Farley was already utilising a TR-808 when playing his sets at The Playground to ‘boost the beat’ on records like ‘Dirty Talk’ by Klein & MBO and ‘Let The Music Play’ by Shannon which became known as ‘Farley’s Foot’. Farley collaborated with Jesse Saunders on the Prince-styling of ‘Real Love’ and launched his House Records label which released Chip E’s house holy grail ‘Jack Trax’ featuring the jack anthem ‘Time
After Farley’s debut the next release (TX105) was by another member of the Chicago House hierarchy this time Marshall Jefferson. His baptism to house was listening to the Hot Mix 5 and getting christened by the late Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy in house sanctuaries such as the Music Box and The Warehouse. This initiation proved to be his awakening, and though ridiculed by his Post Office colleagues (yeah a Postman-turned-producer!) for rinsing nearly 10k on loads of hardware he didn’t know how to play including a Korg EX8000 module, a Tascam four-track recorder and an armada of Roland gear including the 707, 808, 909 drum machines, TB 303 sequencer plus the JX8P keyboard, this derision
To Jack’ plus his ‘No Vocals Necessary’ LP and of course his UK Top Ten hit ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’. However, it’s his early primitive productions on Trax that do it for me including his ‘Funkin With The Drums Again’ EP (choice cuts on this include ‘Jack’n The Trax’ and ‘Farley Knows House’), ‘Sensuous Woman Goes Disco’ as Jackmaster Dick’s Revenge (inspired Ron Hardy using the risqué accapella over Jesse Saunders’ ‘Funk You Up’) and the haunting ‘Give Your Self To Me’ which fellow house hero Sweet D lays down the stark synths and brooding bass that was later used by Master C & J for their ‘When You Hold Me’ record subsequently released on Trax.
fuelled his determination with him laying down his first track after just two days. His first record for Trax was ‘Ride The Rhythm’ featuring the late voice of house Kevin “Jack’n House” Irving on vox and he would release subsequent Trax anthems including the ominous ‘I’ve Lost Control’ by Sleezy D which Ronnie beat in the box (the dystopian acid-drenched rhythm an accident as Marshall couldn’t program his TB 303), his Virgo EP which features ‘Free Yourself’ (a precursor to his mystical masterclass ‘Open Our Eyes’) and House Hunting fave ‘R U Hot Enough’, his huge house hit ‘Move Your Body’ featuring THAT infectious piano and catchy Curtis McClain vox plus the timeless mysticism
of his Jungle Wonz joints with house poet Harry Dennis of ‘Donnie’ fame. Though a Trax mainstay Marshall wasn’t immune to Larry Sherman’s shady pressing practices when it came to releasing a record or being ripped-off – examples include not being credited on countless Trax cuts plus Larry pressing up the aforementioned ‘Move Your Body’ on Trax instead of Marshall’s ‘Other Side Records’ – house trivia you can still get copies of the record where the Other Side OS002 catalogue label was scratched out with the Trax cat number TX117 inserted in the wax by Larry. Fast-forward a few releases and TX112 proved to be one another huge house hit with Adonis’ ‘No Way Back’. Though best known for this ubiquitous house anthem, prior to laying down this classic Chicago cut Adonis’ roots were in soul and jazz as in his teens he played in various funk
and R&B bands – even rehearsing with heads like Larry Heard and Mr Lee who also went on to become Chicago house heroes. However, Adonis’ friends introduced him to Jesse Saunders’ ‘On and On’ as they thought he could compose a better production and, though not initially interested due to rehearsing R&B, he finally came around to the idea and was confident he could produce something better. This joint was none-other than ‘No Way Back’ which, with a phat 303 bassli-
ne at its core complete with the stuttering claps, snares and hi-hats of the 808, showcased Adonis’ deftness with the Roland TBs. Add to this the ice-cold dystopian delivery of Gary B and his debut production was destined to get heads jackin’: “Release my soul, I’ve lost control… Release my soul, I’ve lost control… Too far gone, too far gone, too far gone… Ain’t No Way Back.” Upon hearing it, fellow house visionary Marshall Jefferson wanted to include it on one of his EPs under his early Virgo guise and to entitle the EP ‘Virgo and Adonis’ with both of them laying down two tracks each. Subsequently, however, Adonis attended a party in which Larry Thompson (of House Jam Records fame) was playing and he handed him a tape which had ‘No Way Back’ on it. When Larry dropped the track the crowd lost their minds with everyone including the DJs wanting to know what the f**k that hot house joint was! Also in attendance was Larry Sherman who introduced himself and gave him his business card, inviting him to his pressing plant down on the South Side. Sensing he had further potential with the instantaneous reaction to the track and newfound attention, Adonis pulled ‘No Way Back’ and ‘The Final Groove’ (which ultimately never got released) from the Virgo EP. One of the last-minute replacements for the EP was ‘My Space’ which was co-produced by Adonis and has that dystopian feel akin to ‘No Way Back’ with the ominous bass and sinister synths that are definitely from another planet… So Adonis left Larry the tape recording of ‘No Way Back’ so he could listen and consider whether he would sign it. When he came back he was surprised that Larry was handing him test presses of the record – Larry loved the tape and recorded it from that straight to press. As well as ‘No Way Back’ also on the tape was ‘We’re Rocking Down The House’ which was released the same year in’86. On behalf of Adonis, Marshall Jefferson gave the tape of this to Ron Hardy and, with Ronnie droppin’ it at the Music Box, naturally it became an instant Chicago classic with its infectious bassline and catchy hook synonymous with the winning formula of
‘No Way Back’. As well as that there’s all his Jack Frost & The Circle Jerks joints on the Acid Trax series which are proper stone-cold jackers! Like so many before and after him, Adonis was another victim of Larry’s dodgy dealings that he became notorious for and were synonymous with releasing a record on Trax. Even though Adonis had his LP ready (‘Lost In The Sound’), disillusioned with Larry he left Trax and defected to DJ International and Jack Trax for his future releases. Still, he left a lasting legacy on Trax. Another legendary Trax 12” has to be Larry Heard’s jackin’ joint ‘Washing Machine’ which he released under his ‘Mr. Fingers’ moniker. Also on the EP is ‘Beyond The Clouds’ and the seminal ‘Can You Feel It’ which from its initial inception on a cold Chicago winter of ‘85 nearly 30 years later it still elicits euphoria when dropped on the dancefloor with that phat Roland Alpha Juno-2 baseline reducing grown men to tears – if you’re ever trying to articulate to someone what house is all about then no words needed just put this record on and it’ll all make sense… A few more Trax releases after this and Larry was also at the controls of Ro-
bert Owens’ anthemic ‘Bring Down The Walls’ with the straight-up jackin’ rhythm perfectly complimenting Robert’s etheric vox that soars into space… On a more obscure tip he later released the ‘Mr. Fingers 2’ EP on Trax offshoot Housetime Records in ’91 with four instrumental cuts that though lacking polish typically have that majestic Mr. Fingers flow (if it was him as Larry Sherman had a habit of crediting more high profile house heroes to rinse more records). Regardless, this was the
last release on Housetime so the perfect send-off. Later that year Trax released the influential ‘Acid Tracks’ EP by acid auteurs Phuture which gave birth to acid house, spawning the UK’s ‘Summer Of Love’ and subsequent rave scenes. Like many of the primitive productions of the era, ‘Acid Tracks’ proved to be a happy accident when friends Earl “Spanky” Smith, Nathaniel Jones aka DJ Pierre and Herb J were foolin’ around with a TB 303. Unable to find inspiration in the hardware at their disposal, Spanky scored a 303 at a second-hand shop for $40 and brought it home to see if could elevate their productions. When he fired it up though he could get a rhythm going he was unable to program it, so handed over to Pierre who instead of attempting to program it tweaked and twisted the knobs which created a low-end, squelching sound that was outta another dimension. They ran with this and recorded onto tape, taking it to Ron Hardy as they thought he’d be the only DJ bold enough to play it. Sure enough, he dropped it early doors which proved to be a floor-clearer. Undeterred, he played it again an hour later with the faithful halting their dance flow until the next track came on. At this point the Phuture posse presumed he wouldn’t drop a third time as there had been no reaction just confusion. With the club full now he plays it again, and this time the crowd keep on dancing so though they’re unsure they keep going putting their faith in the Music Box messiah. By the time he dropped it a fourth time the crowd had lost their minds and became known as ‘Ron Hardy’s Acid Track’ – the inspiration for the track title. As it proved a major Music Box hit, Pierre took a tape to the Power Plant where Marshall Jefferson’s group On The House was playing in the hope he could give to Marshall as at the time he was helping Larry do A&R at Trax. He couldn’t get Marshall’s attention but On The House vocalist Curtis McClain clocked he was trying to get his attention so took the tape for him to pass on for Marshall. To Pierre’s disbelief Marshall called up the next day to arrange a recording session and mix the track for them. He
tweaked the levels and slowed it down to a more club-friendly 120 bpm as the track was 128bpm which would be too fast for clubs outside of Chicago – no-one could rinse it that hard like Ronnie! After Marshall adding his Midas touch ‘Acid Tracks’ was released on Trax with ‘Phuture Jacks’ and ‘Your Only Friend’ – again Marshall advised them to drop Pierre’s voice on this one and get Spanky’s low voice pitched down so felt like that the cocaine was talking. As well as their debut EP they released the ‘We Are Phuture’ EP and under his Pierre’s Pfantasy Club pseudonym Pierre released the anthemic ‘G.T.B.’ aka ‘Got The Bug’. Get lost in an acid house haze here. Virgo Four are also worth giving a house holla with their consecutive Trax EP’s. Not to be confused with Marshall Jefferson’s records as ‘Virgo’ on Trax (although an easy mistake), Virgo Four comprises of Chicago duo Merwyn Sanders and Eric Lewis. As ever wanting to make a quick buck, the story goes that Larry Sherman adopted the ‘Virgo’ name for Merwyn and Eric to capitalise on the success of Marshall Jefferson’s earlier ‘Free Yourself’
12” as Virgo. Though their debut ‘Do You Know Who You Are’ EP on Trax has some distinction as they released it as ‘Virgo Four’ and their next ‘Ride’ EP was released with their initials ‘M.E.’, the tracks off these two EP’s formed their ‘Virgo’ LP under the name ‘Virgo’ when licensed to
Radical Records – you still with me?! Anyway, regardless of the horoscope hoo-ha and despite the LP comprising of their two Trax EP’s, all the tracks have an amazing synergy and are a constellation of ethereal yet haunting rhythms that have an otherworldly feel. As well as the two Trax EP’s, they later released the forgettable ‘Winter Days & Summer Nights’ also on Trax however for the hardcore housespotters keep an eye out as some copies you may clock ‘It’s Hot’ on the B-side which is a killer cut and is more in the vein of their early records – also available via the later ‘Lost Trax’ EP. So I think I’ve covered all the major Trax there. Fast-forwarding to the mid-nineties when the label’s direction went harder-edged a la Relief with releases by the late Armando, DJ Rush, K-Alexi, Mike Dunn and Mystic Bill. As well as the main stable there were loads of Trax subsidiaries too including Demand, HipHouzzz, Housetime, Maad, Macadjous, No Labull, Saber, Streetfire, Zig-Zag and Zoneaphone. Though I’ve already covered some of the Housetime hotplates, other records worth a shout include Gene Hunt’s ‘Living
with the label roster housing Armando, DJ Rush, DJ Skull, Peter Black and Steve Poindexter – choice cuts including the deep majesty of ‘Let Your Body Talk’ by Ace & The Sandman aka Merle Sanders and Eric Lewis of Virgo Four fame plus the B-side bliss of Marcus Mixx, Victor Blood and Gitano Camero’s ‘Sweet Nectar’. Talking of Marcus and Gitano (Marcus’ engineer) they also released the ‘Best of Ron Hardy Volume 1’ EP on Streetfire which houses the X-rated deepness of ‘Liquid Love’ (all about the New York Mix). Another of Marcus Mixx’s EP’s worth checking is the ‘Zig-Zag 2’ EP on Zig-Zag which wouldn’t sound amiss if housed in New York or New Jersey with joints like ‘Savoire Faire’ and ‘The Spirit In Me’. Steve Poindexter handed the A&R reigns to Marcus at the turn of the decade and Larry let him release his own records if he was selling the Trax catalogue well but, as many before him it was only a matter of time before he quit due to the standard practice of Larry not paying. Anyway, let’s get into those obscure Trax offshoots. So, he may have used recycled vinyl, pressed up records that sound like s**t, bootlegged thousands of records, not pay any royalties, rip off artists and screw over anyone he could, one thing you can’t deny is that if you took your tape to Larry he’d have it pressed up within a week with Trax launching a load of Chicago House careers in the process. The legacy still lives on with remastered represses released all the time for all the reissue renegades but y’know me I’ll stick to the checkered Chicago house history of the originals… Long live TRAX!
In A Land’ and Armando’s ‘Overload’ however for me all about the late James “Jack Rabbit” Martin’s ‘Let Us Have Love’ featuring Pam White – leave the vocal and flip straight for the fierce acid mix that only he could do! Another one of the more prolific subsidiaries was Saber
HOUSE HUNTING TOP TRAX
1. BORIS BADENOUGH – ‘HEY ROCKY!’ I ain’t forgot Frankie but I’ll leave his more obvious mixes and to be honest I prefer the Persona pressing of Jamie Principle’s ‘Your Love’ with Mark ‘’Hot Rod’’ Trollan’s more melancholic mix. Personally, I like some of Frankie’s more obscure allure including his mix of ‘Hey Rocky!’ by Boris Badenough aka Dean Anderson (leave the naff vocal and head straight for the more punchy instrumental) which is allegedly a dig at DJ International’s head honcho Rocky Jones – this one always proved a head-turner early doors on the floor.
2. DOCTOR DERELICT – ‘DANCE DOCTOR’ Doctor Derelict was an alias of Wayne Williams who founded Chicago’s Chosen Few crew and incidentally is Jesse Saunders’ cousin proving to be the catalyst in inspiring Jesse to take up his DJing craft. This joint got a bit of an Italo flow that just relentlessly builds and builds complete with schizo-synths and helium-induced vocals that is the perfect prescription for the dancefloor whether a warm-up weapon or peak-time primer.
3. JAMIE PRINCIPLE – ‘BAD BOY’ Though finding fame with ‘Your Love’ and following suit with hits like the sex, sleaze and sweat of ‘Baby Wants To Ride’ and the dystopian worldview of ‘Cold World’ with it’s haunting melody, glacial synths and stark serenade taking the dancefloor into a deeper void, for me it’s all ‘bout the B-side bomb ‘Bad Boys’. This was a reaction to heads labelling and stereotyping him so bit back with lyrics like “Well you might call me a queer, well you might call me a freak” complete with the chorus “You’re just a bad boy, beep beep” adding to the camp chintz.
4. SANTOS – ‘WORK THE BOX’ More Adonis acid ammunition under his Santos alias on ‘Work The Box’ with Ron Hardy which no doubt had been inspired by his formative years in the Music Box. Flip for the Frankie mixes with my choice cut being the ‘Beat The Knuckles’ mix which with its menacing bass and ominous synths takes you into a cavernous chasm that is deep for daze.
5. WILLIAM S – ‘I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO’ This William S wax one of my fave Trax records and features Chicago house heroes Sweet D and Lidell Townsell at the controls. Though I have a soft spot for the vocal side it’s all about that instrumental a proper otherworldly Balearic builder that gets the spine tingling
Deep in South Chicago, a band of four brothers raised on doo-wop and flea-market instruments made a record during the mid 70s that did not only mark a seminal point in their youthful careers, but would go on to become a true collector’s favourite. Open Soul is quite simply one of the best examples of raw, stripped down soul in its purest form, and for this reason has become a highly sought after rarity. The album has been carefully reproduced and is now officially available for the first time in 40 Years, this time accompanied by an interview with one of the original brothers, various Tomorrow’s People memorabilia and a number of other contributions from Melodies’ friends around the world.
Here’s a tasty Record Store Day 2017 record: Red Greg, on Moton, delivering a trio of edits of obscure cuts from his seemingly endless record collection. Ten-minute A-side “Movin” is an undulating disco treat built around a killer bassline, twinkling melodies, punchy orchestration and one hell of a female vocal. On the flip you’ll find the jaunty, horn-heavy disco-funk bump of “Desire”, a superb rework of a barely known, bilingual gem, and the spiraling Caribbean disco-funk insanity that is peak-time workout/ synthesizer wig-out “Trinidad Duke”. All three edits have been “secret weapons” for the dusty-fingered DJ for some time.
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The Lessons with Steinski (of Double Dee & Steinski) by
SKEME RICHARDS (THE NOSTALGIA KING)
Some things go hand-in-hand with the words Hip Hop like mural filled trains riding from borough to borough, conceived in the middle of the night by urban dwellers and all-day park jams with speakers towering above the masses like giant buildings. But the one thing that might have thrown you for a loop back then is the middle-aged white guy who has been involved in the scene since its inception. The gentlemen that I’m referring to is the legendary Steinski, of Double Dee and Steinski, the duo that created an eclectic mix of beats, rhythms and sound bites on 12” vinyl known as “The Lessons” and who effectively helped to pioneer the world of sampling in hip hop. Steve Stein, better known to hip hop aficionados as Steinski produced his first record in 1983 in response to a nationwide call for entries by Tommy Boy Records for the “Hey Mr. DJ Play the Beat Down” contest. He teamed up with Douglas “Double Dee” Di Franco to produce “The Payoff Mix”, the first of the series now known as “The Lessons”. Over the years, The Payoff Mix is still one of the most sought after and prized bootleg recordings in hip hop music. What transpires next is a brief encounter that I had with Steinski to find out a little of his previously unknown origins in the music industry before the era of social media and this phenomena that we call Hip Hop. Allow me to introduce to you, the legendary Steinski.
What year did you start DJing? ’79 or ’80 and it was just after disco. I was listening to a lot of New Wave and Punk music and there was a radio station in New York called WPIX, they had guest DJs on at the time and I taped the show because I was doing something else. When I came back to listen, the guest DJ’s were saying “We were at this great party in the South Bronx last night, so we borrowed all the records from the DJ and this is what we are going to play.” They started playing Funky Four + 1 More, they played a song by The Family and all this stuff, but they didn’t say what the records were. I listened to the tape over and over again then I thought, this one record has both to be by this group called The Family because they kept making references to “The Family”. I was doing a lot of record
shopping and collecting at that point, so I went to the one store I thought would have it. They had very little rap records, which seemed like a lot for the time period. I looked through it and they had The Family. When I went to buy it, the woman at the counter looked at the record and looked at me and said “This is a rap record”, I said “yeah I know” then she said, “well you can bring it back if you don’t like it” and I said, “that’s alright, I’ve heard it already”. I took it home and it was great, I later went back to the store and bought one of each of everything else they had. That was my introduction to rap and Hip Hop. I was at the same store when a bunch of kids came in wearing fur coats, one of them had a gun tucked in his waist, I mean seriously old school hip hop. They
said something to the guy at the counter and he took a box of records out and put it on the top of the counter, which I had never seen before. They had a turntable where you could listen to records. These kids took a bunch of the 7 inches out, put one onto the turntable and literally dropped the needle on it like “bam, bam, bam, bam.” Then they would come to a part of the song where there were some drums and they would go “Hmmm”, then they bought a bunch and left. So I said to the guy behind the counter, “What’s that box of records?” He said “Oh, that’s what those hip hop DJs use”. So I said, “Let me see those records. Now, tell me again how this works?” He said “Well, when they are playing, they mix the two records behind each other and they just take the one part, the break”. So I looked in the box and there was Rock Steady by Aretha Franklin and a bunch of bootlegs – I still have these records, there were bootlegs of The Funky Drummer credited to Yvette and the Kids, there were all these breaks and that’s when I started to see what was going on. When did you get into studio work? I started to experiment with it when I first met my partner, Doug Di Franco, the Double D in Double Dee and Steinski. I met him while he was working in a studio and we started hanging around and I took
him to The Rox. He started getting in to it and since he worked in a studio, there would be drum machines around and things like that. He had a state of the art 8-track studio and we would just experiment. We would put down some drum patterns and we would fool around with it. Then Billboard carried the ad for the Tommy Boy contest and we entered it. It took us a weekend to do the first record, “The Payoff Mix” and it was the first time we had ever sat down and did a record from beginning to end. We had a really good time over the weekend and six or eight weeks later, we won. When you were putting your bootlegs together, what were you digging for? Were you digging for the already popular jams or were you setting the trends and making things popular? As far as I’m concerned, when I had all of the popular Octopus records, that was all I needed. I know you are one of the big record collectors in hip hop. Well, not anymore. I may have been at one time but my collection stopped growing hugely years ago because of the amount of money involved and I got out of doing Hip Hop production. The time I phased out was about the time that
De La Soul, Tribe (Called Quest) and all those guys came in and started digging for old jazzy breaks and really interesting things. All I had in my head was James Brown and stuff like that, which is where I phased out of it. I certainly have some breaks that people haven’t found, but there are young guys who come into my studio with records and I’m thinking, “How’d you find that”? What was the feeling like being a person who was at the forefront during the early days of Hip Hop? It didn’t really feel like much, it just felt like
we were doing something cool. That’s a great way to look at it especially during that era where people were just living in the moment. Today it’s so much about “look at me and what I’m doing” which makes it feel less special. Thanks again for taking the time to give the readers a little insight on who you are and what you’ve done Excerpt from previous interview in the now defunct B-Informed Magazine.
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FAVORITES of GINO & FEDERICO GRASSO
‘We Know How To Boogie’ on BBE records is a sampler made last year by Italian DJ and purveyor of rare vinyl Gino Grasso and his brother Federico. They are collecting music for over 30 years and supplied the likes of Kenny Dope and Dimitri From Paris with obscure gems. A familiar face behind the decks in his hometown of Bologna and across Italy, Gino's music, passion and knowledge has seen him play underground clubs the world over, including Le Souk in NYC and the Bussey Building in London. Here is a selection 10 favorites of Gino and Federico.
Blair–Nightlife (Solar Sound 1978) For us this is our favorite records of all the time. In the middle of 80’s we had a tape of the Baia Degli Angeli discotheque, we had listened this incredible track, the strings in the beginning was hot and soulful, and when the voice started a light hit our hart. It took us 3 years to find it.
Louise Murray – Did You Notice (Land Of Hits) Before the P&P and associated digging period, my friend came back from USA and showed me this amazing record, an incredible modern soul vibe, on this amazing label, killer for the two step dancefloor.
Gregory Jolly– I Want To Clap My Hands For The Power/ What’ Em Doing Is My Business (G-K productions 1979) Found in a warehouse in Indianapolis, from Federico, he didn’t knew the track, but when you see Tommy Stewart on the label you have to always take the record, sure is ok. When we listened to it for the first time, we couldn’t stop dancing. One of the best record of our collection.
Queen Yahna – Ain’t It Time (P&P 1976) This is the track, you can’t stop to listen to it. Find in A1 in our first USA travel, For us the best P&P production.
Pratt & McClain – Whachersign (Reprise 1976) One of our favorite modern soul from 1976 of our collection, plays like 80’s modern soul stuff…..killer
Universe City – Can You Get Down (Midland International 1976) This track is very important because was in my first Paradise Garage mixtape record maybe with a walkman live……., when the track grow up in the mix , the people scream….. And one guy maybe close to the recorder scream Larry Levan Larry Levan…..what else!!!!
Starvue – Upward Bound (MIR 1980) What can we say? This is one of the best album of all time, All the tracks have something to say for DJ, collectors and Dancefloor. Find in USA a long time ago, more times we have put this on the turntable and listened all of this magic LP.
Roy Ayers – Running Away (Polydor 1977) When we listened a Warehouse mix by the master Frankie Knuckles, we understand what is different between a selector and dj, he plays the tracks from the half to the end , when the Roy’s vibraphone works, close your eyes and imagine the dancefloor.
Shining Star – Believe in Magic (Black Sun 1978) Classic Italian records from the roots, it was a classic in Italian discotheque as Cosmic and Baia Degli Angeli in 1978, was rare and always hard to find in Italy because not much copies were released. Listened in that period and found it a couple of years later.
Skyy – Here’s to you (Salsoul 1980) The classic of the classic , great Mid tempo 80, the roots of the boogie, listened and bought.
INTERVIEW WITH PETER BROWN by
Sounds of The Universe London
A short interview with legendary Harlem record producer and label owner Peter Brown who released 100s of singles across his 25 or so different labels (all owned by Brown) including some of the first rap records ever made as well as some of the finest disco ever recorded, often in collaboration with his long-term in-house producer and arranger Patrick Adams. Where were you born and brought up? I was born in Athens, Georgia in 1940. My mother was Maragette Brown and my father, John Billip Brown, was a minster in Alabama. I moved to Atlanta in 1949. When did you first get involved in music? My aunt had a big house, actually four houses on one block, where all the big singers would come to - Little Richard, Chuck Willis, Hank Ballard. I always made money as a child, shining shoes, cutting grass. Then they started to put me in juvenile homes - when anything bad happened in the neighborhood, the police would come and get me, or my crew, thinking I was guilty. They would call us the ‘beaver slide’, ‘cause we were so sharp. How did you start producing? I was in the Georgia chain gang, came out of it in 1960, moved up to the south side of Chicago. Each day I would go down to Vee Jay Records, sleeping in the bus station downtown. First I worked at
Vee Jay cleaning the office. I heard about a new label called Motown, so I went to Detroit. They were not a big operation at the time, just a little house. I met Berry Gordy’s dad, Pop Gordy. We would sit on the front porch everyday and talk. The only artists they had were Smokey Robinson and Mary Wells. I saw how they worked and figured I could do the same thing. After Detroit I moved to New York, went straight to Harlem. When I got to Harlem, everyone was sharp, beautiful. I went to the bars to see the girls and thugs. I felt right at home and became one of the main characters in Harlem. I became one of the crew. How did you start P & P Records? I met some guys called Sons of Darkness which later became GQ. Nice little kids, eleven, twelve years old. I found them in the Bronx in a basement, recorded a track by them ‘Solid Funk’ around 1970. Why did you have so many different record labels? I had so many ‘cause I wanted to be big, do something different. I had so many different artists, four studios going all the time, on stand-by 24-hours a day. How did you manage to release so many records? All of them were selling. I had eight pressing plants going at the same time. I had a
big plant in Long Island one of the biggest factories in New York. I would turn around a record from recording to in-hand in about three or four days. I had everyone on the payroll, from label makers to mastering, everybody. I would always get first priority at the plants, whenever I wanted. I had all the major labels wondering how I did it. Was your wife Pat involved in the record companies? Yes, she supervised. We started from nothing. How did you come to know Patrick Adams? I met a guy named Lonnie Johnson who asked to be my driver and do my paperwork. My wife liked him ‘cause we was smooth. He wanted to learn the record business. Lonnie said ‘I know a producer named Patrick Adams, a genius, but all the major labels don’t want to deal with him’. I met them both in 1974. Was Patrick Adams a partner or an inhouse producer? He is an in-house producer. You released disco and rap. Do you see them as separate or part of the same thing? All different, but at the same time it’s all music. I did blues, R&B, gospel, all kinds of music. It was all just music to me. Was Spoonie Gee the first rap record you made?
Yes, one of the first in the whole fucking world. I booked the studio for $25 an hour, it only took 20 minutes. I took it to the Music Factory, and that was it. I recorded Spoonie Gee and The Fatback Band, but didn’t have the money to press their records. When I got the money, the week before our releases were due out, ‘Rapper’s Delight’ came out. Did you feel an affiliation with New York disco labels like West End, Prelude, etc.? I knew them but never dealt with them. And they all knew me. Rap artists like Trouble Funk in DC were friends of mine, Boogie Down in the Bronx, TSOB, the Sound of Brooklyn, were friends ‘cause they all wanted to know how I did what I was doing. Who were the musicians on the rap records? Were they the same as those on the disco releases? Yes, most of them are the same. You seemed to wind things down around 1980. Why? I didn’t want to deal with the new rappers, I didn’t like their style, all the cussing, fighting. People don’t understand what major labels have done to the people. I come from a different school, we didn’t tolerate things the same way as they do now. I didn’t want to be part of it. Some rappers don’t like each other, they kill each other, and the majors knew that the violence sells records. And the radio stations are full of extortion so I did- n’t want to be a part of it. They do all of it just to sell records. I wanted to sell music. Stuart Baker interview with Peter Brown March 2017
SOUL JAZZ RECORDS
SPACE, ENERGY & LIGHT EXPERIMENTAL ELECTRONIC AND ACOUSTIC SOUNDSCAPES 1961-88
SOUL JAZZ RECORDS
L SOU 70 For the BEST SOUNDS Around
FIVE BESPOKE ORIGINAL 1970s SOUL 45s
“the music that makes you HAPPY”
SOUL JAZZ RECORDS S
ia er 70 r e g Ni l Pow Sou Y TON
SOUL JAZZ RECORDS PRESENTS
STUDIO ONE HI-FI SPECIAL THE ORIGINAL
ZR L JAZ
NO O PI GS ALD GER HE WIN CH T A OM FB M COL ERS ENG ELS SS E G BA M E AN ZIM ND TH O E A D TH RUCE N A B REY DON
The Leading Sound in Today’s Music
S TUDIO S
RIGHT AROUND THE WORLD TODAY’S SOUND TODAY
SOUL JAZZ RECORDS
CASH MONEY Interview by
JASON ARMITAGE (DR. J)
Jason Armitage (Dr.J) is owner of the Roots Forward Records label in Canada. The label, which started in 2011, releases rare and unreleased 80’s and 90’s rap music on vinyl and cassette. The label’s discography includes music from legends Marley Marl, Schoolly D and countless others. You can check out the label and upcoming releases here: www.rootsforward.com. Jason is also an avid collector of funk, disco and house music and has been deejaying actively since 1991. He hosts the “Expansions” radio show - one of Canada’s longest running programs devoted to classic rap and dance music.
JA: How did you get your start as a DJ? I started selecting & playing records at my Mom & Dad’s house parties. My uncles & my parent’s friends would encourage me to play the record player when my Mom & Dad would be screaming at me to go to bed. This allowed me to stay up later. JA: Describe the atmosphere in Philly as you were coming up as a DJ. People in Philly love their music. We have such a rich heritage here in Philly with the music scene. So much talent comes from this city. Our radio stations back then (WDAS & Power99) really did a great job with picking quality music to give to their audience. On the weekends you had live mix shows that broadcasted live from a club. There was this dj named Lawerence Lavon who could mix any song that wasn’t supposed to go together, he would find a way to blend them “INCREDIBLE”. I used to study his mixes. Then came college radio stations like WKDU. They were playing more of what was going on in the streets, so music has always been around me. We also had Bboy crews as well. It was just a beautiful time.
JA: How did you connect with MC Marvelous? Me & Marvelous lived around the corner from each other. We went to the same high school. JA: What sets you apart as a DJ? Well I don’t really like to call myself a dj. I consider myself an entertainer. I don’t just play records, I try to incorporate my showmanship into my dj sets. I think that is what separates me from a lot of the others. JA: Share a great memory from being on tour. I remember Me & Marv were be filmed for this TV Dance Show and we were in the middle of a great interview, then Marv decided to fart and boy did it smell! The cameraman’s face turned red and he yelled out “Jesus Christ” and walked away from the camera right in the middle of the set. Everyone else had stopped as well.I never saw a TV set clear that fast over a fart.... LOL...I had asked Marv “Dude what the hell did you eat”?? He just laughed. JA: Talk to me about the Doctor Funnken-
stein “Scratchin’ To The Funk” record from 1986. I had been in the studio doing some scratches for another artist. A guy came in the studio after I was done and told me he owned a lot of the Trouble Funk stuff. He said he would pay me $150 just to cut these records up. I said no problem, so that “Scratching To The Funk” record was all one take. Later I found out it was this huge hit on the radio. DJ Red Alert used to play it on the radio in New York. So I found out that the record was selling so I contacted the label about royalties. So instead of them paying me they just decided to take my name off of it where it now says Dr. Funnkenstein. JA: I understand you recently mixed “Fly
Fishing Vol. 4” for the highly regarded Chopped Herring record label. Discuss. Yes I did a mix of some unreleased 90’s boom bap hip hop music. It came out very good. Majority of the songs I never heard of before. Some of the best hip hop came out of the early 90’s, so go to Choppedherring.com and get your copy of that mix. JA: I never tire of watching the video of you winning the 1988 DMC DJ battle. Talk about that performance and how it changed the course of your career. Becoming the 1988 World DMC Champion was a testament of dedication & discipline. I had set out to be known as one of The Greatest DJ Ever and that competition would be my final battle to win to make
JA: I know your record collection is DEEP. What is your approach to collecting? I buy records almost everyday. It’s a never ending quest. Music & digging for collectible things is an education, you learn something everyday. My collection is very deep with all kinds of stuff that is rare. For example, I have 55 mint condition Boomboxes. Every holy grail boombox ever I have. So this how deep things are with me. JA: You’ve travelled the globe as a DJ. Are there any countries that surprised you with their musical scenes? me that. I had already won all the dj competitions in the USA. Well, when I arrived to London most of the competitors were asking me for my autograph. They knew so much about me but I had to stay focused to complete my goal. I remember before performing standing with Flavor Flav from Public Enemy. So DJ Allstar Fresh was performing and all of a sudden I hear him cutting up Cash Money is a Mother****er. Flavor Flav turned around to me and says “Whatcha Gonna Do G”? So my routine I won the competition with was not not the routine I had planned. I made that routine up right before I performed. The atmosphere was mind blowing. Imagine a full packed house at The Royal Albert Hall (where the Queen sees her opera shows) just full of hip hop, music industry folks and everyone had whistles. One of the best times of my life.
Yes I have been traveling around the world for 30 yrs and music is the same everywhere now. It’s like everyone has been programmed to listen to the same stuff. When I go to Japan I have so much respect for their culture because they want to hear music that is not on the radio.They know so much about the music that I collect. It’s a beautiful thing. JA: I love the 50’s/60’s DJ videos you have been posting on social media recently. The concept is fresh and unique. What inspired you to put these sets together? My latest DJ Cash Money vs. Records of 50’s & 60’s series has been getting such an amazing response. I really think I have opened another lane for myself. I am now getting inquiries to be booked to spin just that music. I was inspired to just do
something different, being creative & innovating. “You have heard these records but you never heard them like this”. When people see those videos of mine they immediately feel good all over. That is what music is supposed to do, give you that feeling. Make sure everyone checks out my website : www.therealdjcashmoney.com. Go to my youtube channel: DJCashMoney1200. Instagram: therealdjcashmoney JA: Briefly discuss the notion of DJs “staying in their lane”. The term “DJs staying in their lane” means a dj finding his/her identity, sound and music selection. I always try to do creative things that the masses don’t really see, so staying in my lane means staying true to what you are good at and giving your audience the best of your talents. Anyone could look at the top charting records and play them. Stop being a jukebox or a robot and playing the same songs & sets every other deejay is doing. JA: Any words of wisdom to young, up and comong DJs? Young dee-jays I want you to stay a student. Stay learning the history of the many great dee-jays that came before you. When you know the history of deejaying you will become deep with finding out about the music. Every day is a learning experience. I stay a student and have became a Master “Yoda”. I am always finding something new about an artist or finding a different way of creating a mix of some sort. Mix your records from your soul. Be a great selector , entertainer & crowd pleaser. If you’re in front of your crowd stop looking at your computer like your surfing the internet. Speak to your crowd and make them feel like they are part of the show. If you do not then they will be looking at their iPhones and surfing the internet while you are performing
VINTAGE ARTICLE The Men in the Glass Booth by VINCE ALETTI
The article “The men in the glass booth” was published in the magzine “After dark” from November 1976. This issue contains also four other articles: Disco Fever by William Como, Disco History-From Peppermint to Peppers by Craig Scott Druckman, Disco Stars by Craig Scott Druckman and Disco Stars-Optimistic Voices by Craig Scott Druckman. He’s there each night from ten to closing time with sights and sounds to help the crowd unwind and from his booth each night, he blows your mind with his mix and his tricks. Forget-for the moment at least-Donna Summer, Silver Convention, Brass Construction, Gloria Gaynor, Bohannon, Love Unlimited-that endless, ever-changing, slippery starstream of names shooting through disco heaven. The real stars of the seventies disco boom aren’t on records. They’re spinning them. Discotheque DJs are no longer mere human jukeboxes-they’ve become tastemakers, record-breakers (several have received gold records in recognition of their influence on sales), mood magicians, performers with personal styles. The new DJ doesn’t just change records, he creates a “total evening,” a musical “journey,” blending records into “one continuous song, one story.” As Tom Savarese, one of New York’s top DJs puts it, “From the moment I go in there to the moment I leave-that’s my canvas.” To conjure up this kind of vibrant, volatile aural landscape, the DJ has to be part artist (the medium: musical collage), part technician, part crowd psychologist. Some would say a total madman. You have to know your records inside out, they say: the intros, the fades, the breaks, the changes. Then maybe you’ll understand why disco DJs talk about “my music.” This intimate knowledge allows them to weave record into record, making one seamless tapestry. Like any artist, a talented DJ develops an individual, idiosyncratic style. One is famous for his drum collages-his hot, pulsing evocation of the urban jungle. Another has a trademark sound that’s cool, loose, and sweetly ecstatic.
The men in the glass booth are extremely pivotal in t Don Findlay, Vincent Cafleo, Jimmy Stuard, Nicky Si
the success or failure of a club. Among the most successful disc jockeys are (back rcw, from left to right Barry Leder, Tom Savarese, ano and (foreground) Tony Smith and Larry Sanders (Photo by Eric Stephen Jacobs).
Still another will purposely break the floor “like a billiard table,” shifting the crowd for a record he feels they should hear, nudging them into unfamiliar music. Others are abrasive or frenzied or cheerfully crowdpleasing, but they all stamp the music with their personal taste. The best inspire passionately loyal followings that trail them from club to club. (ln New York, where discos open and close at the drop of a Thorens tonearm, most experienced DJs can reel off a list of
pressings “For Disco DJs Only,” usually single long tracks on limited edition, high-quality twelve-inch discs. This past spring, a number of companies began commercially marketing these “disco discs”-the first new record format in decades-and found them selling briskly to people eager for the same full length and quality they had heard in the clubs. (Appropriately, the first “disco disc” in the stores, Double Exposure’s stunning “Ten Percent,” was “disco blended” by New York DJ Walter Gibbons, one of a small but increasing number of spinners crossing over to the production side of the music.) Not only was the disco DJ the impetus behind the creation of the “disco disc” but he was the key factor in the development of the entire specialized disco market that record and equipment manufacturers are now turning into a goldmine. Another necessary talent of the successful disco DJ is a subtle, spontaneous, sure understanding of crowd control. Even while he’s removed, often elevated above the dance floor, absorbed in the next blend, the next switching of knobs and flashing of lights, the DJ has to be simultaneously on the floor, in the midst of the crowd, anticipating its mood at the same time he’s channeling it. lt isn’t a matter of simply playing a hot record. Anyone can do that. The DJ must sense the moment when it
past jobs-Sanctuary, the Haven, Machine l, Machine ll, Tamburlaine, Limelight, the lce Palace, Le Jardin, Make-Believe Ballroomthat reads like an index to the city’s underground high and low life for the past ten years.) But if disco DJ-ing is an art, it’s solidly based on technology-not only on the mastery of elaborate systems of turntables, mixers, speakers, amps, filters, headphones, and lightboards but on a sensitivity to the technical pluses and minuses of the records. DJs quickly develop a sharp critical ear for the quality of a mix or a pressing, if only because disco equipment is sure to exaggerate flaws. When record companies realized that a muddy studio mix or a drastically reduced sound level was keeping their records off disco turntables, they snapped to with special
The DJ has to know how long to run them, when to ease up and smooth out, when to hit a peak and keep pushing, when to slip in something new so they’ll love it and not clear the floor. lt’s an intuitive science. David Mancuso, famous for the private disco parties at his Loft in New York, describes his approach this way: “l can’t program myself to do what happens because it all gets so spontaneous. I don’t plan it. I don’t feel I have any control over it. I’m only a part of the whole, a part of the dance.” Discjockey Bobby “DJ” Guttadaro has been lifting disco babies higher and higherwith his music at such clubs as Le Jardin, lnfinity, and Fire lsland’s the lce Palace (Photos page 38, left and below by Jeff Tennyson)
will have its greatest impact: when the crowd wants it the most and when they least expect it; when they’ll burst into delirious screams on hearing the first three notes.
DISCO, SOUL, FUNK, JAZZ, BOOGIE, GOSPEL, ELECTRO, HIP HOP & OLD SCHOOL DISCO RAP, AFRO, LATIN, BRAZIL, BREAKS & SAMPLES, EIGHTIES HOUSE CLASSICS. ALL VINYL 12 INCH, LP’S & 7 INCH MAIL-ORDER RARE RECORDS SINCE 1991, ONLINE SINCE 2001 USED & UNUSED ORIGINAL ISSUES.WE DON’T SELL ANY MODERN REISSUES OR BOOTLEGS.
DJ BOBBY BUSNACH Interview by
Bobby was there at the birth of disco, when, for him, the best djs were Nicky Siano at the old gallery, Walter Gibbons at Galaxy 21, Larry Levan at the Garage and David Mancuso at the Loft..... and he was there at the death of disco in the very early eighties, when he stopped djing and left the music industry. The 70s in New York were in his opinion the very very best. Here is my interview with Bobby were he shared his memories of that great time.
When did you discover disco music and how old were you? I was a runaway and on the streets of Boston at 15. I had just come out and in those days gay people would look out for one another. Before being gay became legal we were considered sexual outlaws and lived “underground”, kind of like one big family. On top of that, wed just come out of the hippie era, so it was all much
more communal. The bars then were safe havens where those not in “acceptable” society could be with friends and let their hair down. The bar that i found, or found me, was called the Other Side, in back bay Boston. It was wild, full of drag queens, pimps, hos, tricks, gays, lesbians and everything in between. It was rough and dangerous but it was home. This was around 1971, before disco. I had grown up with the sounds of Motown and James
Brown, as well as The Ronnettes and the Beatles. But in the bars they played soul: Aretha, Diana Ross, James Brown, Joe Tex, Little Sister, Sly and the Family Stone, Lyn Collins, Bobby Byrd, Pointer Sisters, Kool & The Gang, Jungle Fever, Spinners, Main Ingredient, Soul Makossa and one of my faves, Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys by the Equals (with Eddy Grant on lead). The first truly “disco” record i remember being played then was Stop & Think and then Zing Went The Strings of my heart by the Trammps in1972, on the dance floor of the Other Side. They were just so full and so immediate, still soul but much more lush and hypnotic. In 1973, when I was 17, my best friend Geraldine and I moved to San Franscisco where I worked as a dj for the first time, at the Big Basket, an after hours that you entered via a slide. A year later, in 1974, after I had moved to New York, I started taping on my cassette tape from my old record player and using the pause button for a seamless mix. Soon after I got two turntables and got pretty good at blending one record into the other smoothly. But once I got my GLI mixer there was no stopping me. There was a record store in queens where you could buy all the import 45’s like Disco Blood, and many were long versions. This to me was the birth of disco. Though there had been a few long promo versions released just for dj’s, Ten Percent by Double Exposure, a
Walter Gibbons mix, was the first commercial 12 inch remix to be released, which kicked off the disco explosion. I remember because i was working at downstairs records at the time. Disco was born! What made you want to become a DJ. Was it something you had wanted to do for a long time, or did it just “happen”? I always loved music. I grew up in the projects of Cambridge, Ma. Where music was everything. First it was the Platters, Flamingos, Johnny Mathis, then Everly Brothers and Connie Francis, then things really heated up with Motown, Supremes, Temptations, Mary Wells, Dionne Warwick, Shangrilas, Ronnettes, Marvelettes, James Brown , then the Beatles, the Rolling Stones,....music music music. Dance dance dance, twist, jerk, monkey, mashed potato.... My mother was always blasting the record player and having weekend long parties. It was the 60s. My dream was to be a dj, my transistor radio was my lifeline and i wanted to be a radio Disc Jockey. Which clubs have you played in? Can’t even remember alot of them. The Apartment and The Cage in the Bronx. The Abbey in Queens, Harrahs, Hip-
popotamus (I was Hippos last dj before it became a male strip club), Cachaca, The Big Basket in San Francisco, Peppermint Lounge 2, Bond in NY. Any favorite club of those? I liked Cachaca, it was a Brazilian nightclub and i started mixing up the music types at that time. Rappers Delight had just come out (the bootleg) and i started playing disco along with rap, new wave, and rock (Doors, Led Zeppelin, the danceable stuff). So i got a great mixed crowd, loved to mix it all up. Bond was great also, it was huge and had a great dj booth and sound system, but I was too “after hours” for Bond. Do you remember which was your best DJ gig ever?
One night at Cachaca i just wore myself out spinning. It was an industry party for Atlantic records. In fact it was for Chic (speaking of Rappers Delight). I just played my ass off. We kept the club open till 6 am. And it wasn’t an after hours. That was the night that Sugarhill went from a bootleg label to a legit label. I played Rappers Delight and someone from Atlantic came to me asking to see the record. Not long after Sugarhill was sued by Atlantic and then went legit. Walter Gibbons worked at Rock & soul, what are your memories with him? I worked with Walter at Rock & Soul, we were friends, I would hang out in the booth with him and Kenny Carpenter as he dj’d at galaxy 21 (Kenny worked the lights). I also went to a few of Walters private parties at his apartment in Queens. Walter became a jesus freak for a time (he used to trip alot) and this affected his music, he wouldn’t play certain records any longer, so he didn’t work in the clubs at times. My favorite mix of Walters was
his Love Is The Message with the Wizard of Oz. Walter was a great dj, but honestly, not very happy. I knew Walter for around 15 years and never really knew Walter.
I dont think Walter really knew Walter, its was as though he was being chased by his demons. But of all the dj’s he was my favorite. Nicki Siano of the Gallery was my second favorite. Before Paradise Garage was the Gallery. 95% black & Puertorican, the original on west 23 st between 6th & 7th aves had speakers that surrounded you. The floor would bounce. The punch was spiked with acid, as it would be after moving to a larger loft space on Mercer st. in 75 or so. It would get so hot sweaty, and so full of smoke, both cigarette and weed, and between the acid, the coke, the weed, the downs, the liquor, and the best music in the world, by the time you made your way out into the light, and onto the subways at noon that Sunday you could hardly walk, never mind, breath. Many nights in the middle of a song youd all of a sudden hear the song jump across the record. Sure enough Nicki had passed out on top of the turntables again. They set him asi-
de and the assistant dj/light person would take over. Before then though he’d make us all crazy with his mix of I Got It by Gloria Spencer, where he would break it over and over again, shut off the bass, boost the percussion… The peak of the night (and our heads) was always Love Is The Message mixed with the jet airplanes taking off, just as it broke. When you were in the Gallery (low low lighting) you were in another world. And when you left and entered into the daylight you felt like a vam-
pire: Totally foreign to the world around you. Nicki took us to a different place. You told me you worked at Downstairs Records, In what year did you start working there and how long did you worked there? I started working at Downstairs records around 1974. It was just before Ten Percent was released.I worked there off and on till maybe 79 or 80. Benji, Yvonne, Junior Vasquez, all worked there with me at one time or another. Benji being the longest and most knowledgeable person to stand behind the counter. All the dj’s, went to downstairs records. At times there would be four of us behind the long
counters waiting on and playing music for 20 dj’s at a time. And everyone wanted to get in good with us so we would give them (sell) the 12 inches, which were mostly all promos in the early days. Later, into the very early 80’s I worked with Benji and Walter Gibbons at Rock & Soul, which basically took over where Downstairs left off. Did most of the DJ’s buy their records at downstairs records before the record pools started? I also worked with Eddie Rivera and his brothers at idrc, the first major record pool in new york. also the biggest, until for the record arrived. The pools were great, a place to socialize with the other jocks. And they gave great parties. Loleatta Holloway, Taana Gardner, Teena Marie, all sang at one or the other of the parties in the loft at idrc. Before the record pools, downstairs records was the place to go if you were a dj. Even after the record pools downstairs was a must. You only got so much from the pools. Most of the djs got leftovers. The record companies would send 20 promos, sometimes 300. Depended on the company and how bad they wanted the record to hit. So only the top 15 or so djs got the best promos. Also, not every hot record was a promo, and the pools rarely if ever got imports, so all djs continued to shop at downstairs, long after the pools became powerful resources for them. Also, if you didn’t get the remix or promo at the pool, wed have them at downstairs more often than not. The record companies supplied us with promos and remixes, knowing our influence with the jocks. And of course we would play the record before you bought it. Sometimes you had to buy 3 copies to mix.... downstairs also had a great collection of hard to find records, oldies etc. What was the very first bootleg record or acetate you sold at downstairs? We never sold acetates at downstairs. We did sell test-pressings though, which were like acetates. Many times the test pres-
sing stayed just that, was never released. Also eventually the bootlegs were often made to look like test pressings. The first bootlegs at downstairs records were colored 45’s of hard to find oldies that downstairs booted themselves. Other than that i remember one of the first real boots as Rappers Delight. Thought i know i sold other bootlegs before then cause i wasn’t surprised that the record was a bootleg. What surprised me was that it became a huge seller. When downstairs opened the break store with Leroy, after rap and hip hop hit, a lot more bootlegs appeared on the scene. Including my own, Fusion Beats, the very first scratch/
beats bits & pieces, which I originally had pressed up at Sunshine Sound, along with my Eddie Kendricks, Girl You Need A Change Of Mind boot.
stairs crew was there and Nick said bring in some tapes and lets boot something. So i did and he heard Fusion Beats and liked it so we put it out in maybe 1979 or 80. I know it was around the time that Rappers Delight came out as a boot. I’m honestly not so sure which came first, Fusion Beats or Rappers Delight. We split the proceeds. I don’t know how many were printed but i do know we did a second printing. After Fusion Beats hit we did Eddie Kendricks, the Girl You Need A Change Of Mind edit. Fusion Beats was done with mostly all turntables (3), what little editing was actually done on a tape recorder. I did girl after i got a reel to reel, so there is alot of editing in Girl You Need A Change Of Mind, though still alot of mixing. There was to be a third bootleg with downstairs but the Loleatta Holloway-Love Sensation mix that was played at the Garage by Larry was never booted. They were breathing down Downstairs neck. I also did a remix of MFSB -Mysteries Of The World that was played a lot by Larry, Kenny and Walter. You know bootlegs were illegal, didn’t you get questions from the police or record companies?
When did you decide to make own bootlegs and sell them at downstairs? I was always taping my mixes. I had a big party at my apartment on 73rd and central park west, was djing and the down-
Nick (one of the brother owners at downstairs) was very careful. They stayed behind the counter in the early days, as did the promos. Every once in a while wed get raided by a record company and all the promos and boots would be confiscated, but that didn’t happen often. Fusion Beats was put out (my later, Girl You Need A Change Of Mind remix also) with nick at downstairs. My name on Fusion Beats was Ritchie Upstairs (Robert Downstairs). He printed them overnight at a printing plant in long island, when it was supposed to be closed. So at first they were only sold to djs and from behind the counter. After a few years that all changed and everything was in the bins on the floor with no fear, until the early 80’s when they moved to street level and cleaned up thier act. Did you know many of the other great DJ’s of the Disco era?
Between working at downstairs records, idrc, dance music report and being a dj myself i knew them all. I also did promotional work for a few record companies so would take the promos of their new releases to the dj’s at their clubs on a saturday night to play. I worked with Junior Vasquez for ages at downstairs records, when he had just staring djing. David Mancuso, Larry Levan, Bobby dj, Tee Scott, Kenny Carpenter, Francois K, I hung out with Walter at Galaxy 21, was a member at the old Gallery (the best), and later The Garage (Paradise), and Better Days. Was also there at the beginning of the end of disco with Saturday Night Fever and studio 54 (music sucked). There were so many great dj’s. Some of the best were starting out at that time in the playgrounds in the South Bronx and Harlem, where rap, scratching, break dancing and all of that was born. I was one of the few white boys to hang out in the south bronx. In fact my nickname was white Robert. The truth is that the birth of hip hop came about because the boys who played in the playgrounds didn’t always take care of their records. And theyd skip some times cause they were scratched. Every once in a while someone would use the scratch and let it play as a groove. Also as a dj we were always trying to extend a break to make it last longer. As for rap, theyd extend the grooves and to break up the monotony would start to talk, which soon led to rymin and rappin. Did you also go to Sunshine Sound? I loved Sunshine Sound, spent a lot of time there. Frank Trimarco the owner was a great guy. I can still remember the smell of the acetate as the song was burnt into it on the metal platter. I had my mixes printed up there, and sold some of them there. I also bought alot of other peoples mixes. I would hang out for hours watching him work. What can you remember from your visits at Sunshine Sound? All the dj’s used his services. And he sold a
lot of our mixes that way. Walter Gibbons used him a lot. One of the reasons he was such a great dj. Youd see everyone up there, Kenny Carpenter, Larry Levan, Nicky Siano, Tom Moulton. As a dj you only had so many hands, three turntables and a reel to reel and tape deck were more than enough to handle. So wed have acetates made of our favorite mixes or beats and then play over those during the night. It freed us up and layered our sound alot. At least that’s why we went to sunshine sound in the early days. But again, i think Walter made the best use of what Sunshine Sound had to offer to expand on his sound. Remember that in the 70s, the clubs were about music (and of course sex and drugs), so there was alot of competition to be the first with new mixes and to be the best mixer. Have you got a favorite remix from the ones you’ve made? Girl You Need A Change Of Mind, it is so much of its time. And brings back so many memories. It was a special time. I also really loved Love Sensation. It was a really good mix and was so uptempo, and with the tom toms becoming breaks unto themselves… it got people packed onto the dancefloor. As for my newer
mixes, there are many, Souvenirs brings back crazy memories of hustling on the floor of the old Hollywood, I also love the Disco Extravaganza mix, and Carol Williams- Love Is You. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done a couple hundred remixes.
You also mention you worked at dance music report magazine, what years did you work there and what was your part in it? I worked with Tom Silverman and Stephanie Shepherd at Dance Music Report for the first two or three years of its life and into the start of the new music seminar (think that was the name). I worked there while Tom started his label Tommy Boy records and released Planet Rock by Africa Bambata and The Soul Sonic Force. I ran the office, dealt with the subscriptions for the mag and did many reviews, which meant i got to go to the clubs and artist performances for free. I saw Grace Jones, First Choice, B-52â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, Loleatta Holloway, Donna Summer, and many others this way. What kind of music do you personally prefer? Today i love the old stuff remixed, reworked, and mashedup. First Choice, James
Browns.... I Also listen to a lot of ambient, trance, electronica. Do you still have all your records? I sold my 20.000 records (mostly promos, test pressings, bootlegs and acetates), 18 years ago in New York. It was very hard to sell the collection. Most of my records had my stamp on them (Robert M Busnach). I was sick of lugging thousands of records every time i moved and i needed the money Badly, Unfortunately. So if you come across an acetate or promo or 12 inch with Robert M Busnach stamped on it, you have a part of the bobby busnach collection
Steven Goldstein Former employee of The Sunshine Sound office Interview by DISCOPATRICK
When did you start working at Sunshine Sound and how did you get the Job? During the summer of ‘77, I was at a disco on Long Island with a few friends having a wonderful time enjoying the music and drinking a few beers. I was dancing with my friend Betty to a song that I’d never heard on the radio, but we both grooved on it a lot and had a great time dancing. Afterwards, we went over to the DJ booth and asked what it was that was playing and the DJ (I can’t recall the club or his name at the moment) showed me the label and told me that it was a mix of
several songs in one. I saw the Sunshine Sound Label and the address and recalled wanting to buy a copy. I called the next day and spoke with the owner, Frank Trimarco, who said I could buy one at the studio. I often traveled into the city and thought it was no biggie to stop by and pick up a copy. So one day, I went up to the office and met with Frank and told him how I had heard one of his discs at a club and was there to buy a copy. He was very engaging and we got into a conversation about the music business. He asked what I did for work and mentioned that he needed someone to work the front of the office while he performed all the technical functions of tape editing and disc cutting. I thought that this would be a great opportunity to work in an industry that was exciting and to get into the city each day and hopefully find a place of my own. Shortly afterwards, I began working at Sunshine Sound and I believe stayed on for two-three years. Were you a dj, or did you do something in the music? No, I was not a DJ and never really did anything in the music except for taking guitar and clarinet lessons during my teen years. I grew up with a baby grand piano in the house, but was always interested in popular culture music. Can you tell something about Frank, how did he started Sunshine Sounds? Frank was a stickler for detail, very metho-
dical, honest, punctual and sincerely loved what he did. He began the business with his friend Charlie Mellodge (sp) who was a silent partner whose day job was with the airline industry (He worked for Pan Am at the time as a steward). Frank was very easy to get along with and paid for classes I took at the Institute of Audio Research (IAR) on University Place in NYC. The school prepares students for careers in music production and audio engineering and audio recording. Frank also knew that I was looking to relocate to the city from Long Island and always allowed to me take time out during the day, during slow periods, to look at apartments. Who came up with the name Sunshine Sound or what does it stand for ? I believe the name Sunshine Sound came about because the studio/office was on the 9th floor (or maybe it was the 10th) with an unobstructed southern exposure. The entire place was flooded with direct sunlight, lots of plants and plenty of music. Hence the name Sunshine Sound.
Who Designed the label? I don’t know for sure, though I’m guessing it was a collaboration between Frank and Charlie who also dabbled in painting, so he had a visual/graphic design sense. Did you work from Monday to Friday or was it seven days a week open? The operation was strictly Monday - Friday 9am-5pm How many acetates were made each year? I cannot answer that question, but I don’t recall the numbers being extraordinary. The bulk of the business was providing tape editing and disc cutting services for many of the independent and local record companies in the area as well. Who decided to put a blanc label on the acetate or a sunshine sound label? I think I recall there were DJs who reque-
sted that the label be blank for whatever reason. Otherwise, we regularly used the Sunshine Sound label. Who typed the text on the label and was it always what the customer wanted? When I began working there, I typed the labels. If the music was of a particular mix and was given a name, we used that name, the name of the DJ who created the mix and the RPMs. The customer never had any objections to what was put on the label. There may have been an occasional request to add to so and so from so and so, Happy Birthday! There first was a mono acetate press, after a few years also a Stereo, can you tell something how many acetate presses there were (I saw two on the picture) and when the stereo was bought ? I don’t have the answer to this but I do know that Frank upgraded his equipment when the budget allowed. Did you become friends with the DJ’s: John Morales, Francious Kevorkian, Walter Gibons etc.? I never socialized with any of the DJs outside of work, although I recall all these names and met John Morales and Walter Gibbons in the office on many occasions. There was a bulletin board in front of the desk and by the front door with polaroids of many of the DJs and other people associated with the industry. When did Sunshine Sound close, or did you stop working there before it closed? Gee, that is a tough one to remember. I don’t actually recall whether I left voluntarily or the business was beginning to have a hard time financially or whether Frank began having health issues. But I was not working there prior to the business closing. I may have left sometime during 1979 and the business may have closed shortly thereafter.
I heard a rumor that there was a switch under the table that recorded each interesting track on tape so that Frank had a duplicate which he could reproduce on demand (without the mixer permission). If that was the case, I was not privy to such knowledge and Frank never discussed anything like that with me. If Frank liked someone’s music that they brought in on tape, I recall him asking if they would like to sell a copy, but I doubt that he ever took anyone’s music without permission. I do not think there was a switch under the table to secretly record anything. From many DJ’s I heared there was a list of which you can choose a title and after payment it was being pressed. Can you tell something of the list and do you have a copy somewhere? There was a typed list of each of the various mixes, the length of time, the DJs name. We collected monies and proceeded to make copies. The list was not very extensive, perhaps 20 or so selections; Magic Bird of Fire, In the Bush. I would have to wrack my brain to recall the various names of the selections. It is now some 40 years ago. Were there regular orders from: record Pool (Canadian-New York), Downstairs records etc? I know we provided a lot of services for Midsong Records, which had an office across the hall and SalSoul Records were a few blocks away and a few other labels which had offices in midtown. Orders from various DJs were often random and many would call to say there were coming up to place orders. Many Canadian DJs came to Sunshine Sound when they would visit the city. Didn’t you have “trouble” with major record companies for not having permission to press their records? Again, I was not privy to any legal matters. If there were any, I was not aware of
it. But in reality, Sunshine Sound was a relatively small operation. How many employees worked there during your work there? Two of us. Frank and I were the only employees during the time I worked there. Was it only acetates pressing or were there more services? We provided tape editing services and also made duplicate tape copies as requested, ie; demo tapes for aspiring musicians or from record companies. Which were the best selling acetate titles:-Hollywood-Francious Kevorkian mixes (Erucu-Magic Bird of Fire-I feel love)-Get on the funk train?
If Frank were here, here would be better able to answer that question. But those which you listed were quite popular at the time. In The Bush by Musique was also a biggie and other mixes off the Casablanca label. Can you tell something you see at the pictures (equipment, space, etc), and billboard articles? I recall buying a reel to reel TEAC tape deck when Frank was upgrading some of his equipment. I since sold it. I think I recall there may have been an article in Billboard Magazine during the time I worked there, which tried to discredit the business. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think anything ever became of it. The painting on the wall at Franks face was done by Charlie Mellodge
Duke University Press “Tim Lawrence connects the dots of a scene so explosively creative, so kaleidoscopically diverse, so thrillingly packed with the love of music and the love of life that even those of us who were there could not have possibly seen or heard it all! Now we can.” — Ann Magnuson
Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983 TIM LAWRENCE
115 illustrations, paper, $27.95
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BLUE ELEPHANT Cover Art
The success of the Blaxploitation-genre in the 70’s created offspring in another form of art; the design of record sleeves. Many companies who tried to be hip to the jive, stirred their art-departments to wrap their product in sleeves that idealised ‘black’ in colour and beautified culture.The sleeves being blessed with gorgeous black models plus a funky attitude and matching Afro-hairdo. On a smaller scale here in Holland the label Blue Elephant, a subsidiary of Pink Elephant Records, was active between 1968 untill the end of the 70s. Blue Elephant released mainly black music like soul, latin and softpop. Their most famous act on the roster was Dutch-Surinamese singer Oscar Harris and the Twinkle Stars. The label also represented international stars like Kool & The Gang, Ray Barretto, Prince Buster and Owen Gray. Local performers like Nico Gomez, Davy Jones and Chakachas found a warm nest within Blue Elephant Records
EARLY INDEPENDENT HIP HOP, ELECTRO AND DISCO RAP 1979-83
SOUL JAZZ RECORDS
BOOMBOX 2 ラジカセ
EARLY INDEPENDENT HIP HOP, ELECTRO AND DISCO RAP 1979-83
BOOMBOX SOUL JAZZ RECORDS 2017