Here's the first in an occassional series of blurbs about records that helped to make Optimo what it is. All transcend time and space to have a very special place in our heart, and all have a certain something that is rare in most records played in discotheques.

10 OF 20 (in no particular order)


Another Optimo classic with a long history attached to it, so here's Twitch with another of his long and dull anectdotes.

"My first proper introduction to the world of nightclubs was also my introduction to djing. In 1985, a club opened in Edinburgh called The Backroom. I'd been to lots of club nights before but this was the first one that played 'my music' - a wild selection of electrobeat, noisy rock, hi nrg, reggae and er, goth. Myself and my friends went religously every week but after a year, I moved to Glasgow and couldn't afford to go through very often. One time I did go through, I noticed a poster saying that they were looking for people to do the first two hours of the night (no one really danced during the first two hours and I guess they were fed up doing this bit of the night). My friend Macky suggested that we 'audition' and I agreed thinking it would be a blast to get to play my favourite records really loudly (which is still my main motivation for djing to this day). So, a couple of weeks later, we went along for our audition - bear in mind that back then, I had never even heard of the concept of 'mixing' and thought the pitch control on the turntable was the volume control - and we had a riot. It really was the best fun you could have without taking off your clothes. They were trying out a few other people over the next few weeks and we were shocked when they finally offered us the job. So, for the next 18 months, I would travel through to Edinburgh every Saturday, play my favourite records, sleep on Macky's floor and get the princely sum of 15. But, hey, I would have gladly paid for the privilege of doing it. In the summer of 1987, Bill and Bobby who ran The Backroom started Edinburgh's first house music club and as I was back in Edinburgh for the summer, I would go along every week. Thus began a very long love affair with house music. By the start of 1988, we were all house mad and were fed up playing to Edinburgh's creatures of the night when there was a big day glo world out there for the taking. So, we turned The Backroom into an acid house paradise and within two weeks, the night went from being packed to having about 5 people there. And that was the end of that and also the end of my foray into djing. Or so I thought. Thanks Bill, Bobby and Macky for altering the entire course of my life!

So, you're thinking what the heck has this got to do with 'Baby's on Fire'? Well, quite a lot actually as it was one of Bill and Bobby's biggest records at The Backroom. For some unfathomable reason I never bought it at the time as I was too skint but my then girlfriend bought it and thus I didn't feel the need to own it. Doh! Shortly after Optimo started, I realised I was playing lots of records from my Backroom days and memories of 'Baby's on Fire' came flooding back. I managed to track a copy down and expected to be severely disappointed as no doubt my halcyon memories of the record would be misguided and it would have dated horribly. Thankfully I was wrong and it sounded beter than ever".

For those who don't know, 'Baby's on Fire' is a Brian Eno song form his 'Here Come The Warm Jets' album. The original is a fantastic song but doesn't really lend itself to filling a dancefloor. The Creepers thankfully came to the rescue. Originally known as Marc Riley and The Creepers, they were born out of Marc Riley being sacked from The Fall. He joined The Fall when he was 16 and was sacked in 1982 allegedly for having 'excessive pop inclinations'! So he formed The Creepers who made several records in the mid to late 80's. I can't really comment on the rest of their music as this is the only song by them I really know. I can tell you that today Marc Riley is better known as Lard as in 'Mark and Lard', those well known afternoon djs on Radio 1.

So, back at the song....The Creepers manage to condense it into two minutes of incredible intensity. Initially, the bass drum is on every second beat which makes the song sound quite plodding. I always notice people on the dancefloor who are hearing this for the first time looking like they're thinking 'what the hell is he playing?'. But then.......It crashes in, and then some. The drums go off, the guitar goes all sheet metal, the keyboards make some unholy noise, the strobes in the club go off and the whole place goes absolutely freaking pogoing ballistic - sometimes it's my favourite 30 odd seconds of the night. Then it all calms down before the last all too short reprise of the 'mad bit'. They could have made it a lot longer - there is plenty of spare space on the 12" - but its' brevity is part of the appeal.

I can't imagine ever tiring of this record but like all songs at Optimo, there comes a time when you put them away, only to be dug out on special nights. Not this one though. Every week I try to leave it at home someone will request it. In fact I can't remember a single week when it hasn't been requested - it is without a doubt the most asked for record I have ever known in my 16 years of djing. And, usually it is girls who ask but I have had boys literally begging me to play it. It's craaaaazy! As a dj, I will always try to play a record that is requested if I have it with me, so for those who think this gets played too often, now you know why. We tried to license this to reissue on Oscarr but have had no luck yet. Maybe one day.

Best Mix - There is only one mix

Also check

Brian Eno - Here Come The Warm Jets (EG)
The Fall - hey, The Fall are fab, just get as many Fall albums as you can afford.


hear an extract here

This was a tough one! The original total freaking no wave version is probably better - the first time I heard it, it electrified me like almost nothing else and along with a love for Lydia Lunch, helped kickstart a whole No Wave / New York obsession. However, I shouldn't really admit this but there is a difference between the music I love and the music I play in discotheques. I try to get the balance right and I would never play anything I didn't like, but at the end of the day, what works on the dancefloor counts for a lot. Optimo always tries to challenge what can be construed as a 'dance' record and the original of this has been played, but it is this version that works best in the confines of a disco.

Back to Mr. Chance - here's a brief overview courtesy of Trouserpress - " Arriving from Milwaukee with a saxophone on his knee, James (Siegfried) Chance/White/Black quickly became the linchpin of the budding New York no wave movement, appearing in Teenage Jesus and the Jerks with Lydia Lunch. More than any of his contemporaries, Chance turned harsh, abrasive music into an art form; at one time or another, almost everyone of any importance on the New York art-rock scene was in his band.

So, while he was a champion of the abrasive, he simultaneously indulged his lounge disco obsessions by releasing the sleaze masterpiece 'Off White' album on the mighty mighty Ze records. On this, 'Contort Yourself' is refashioned into a hi hat driven, female backing vocal enhanced 4/4 disco pounder (with the aid of Kid Creole's August Darnell). A spookily similar beat turns up some 25 years later as the backing on The Rapture's 'House of Jealous Lovers'. This version of 'Contort Yourself' has everything an Optimo favourite could possibly need - major oomph, sleaze, singalong potential and the bonus addition that it gave us one of our notorious Optimo slogans. My band Mount Florida did a cover of this at one of our first ever studio sessions but after listening back, we scrapped it as it just couldn't begin to compare!

Mr. Chance disappeared from view for a very long time but apparently he's back in the live saddle once again. A visit to Glasgow sometime in the future...????


Twitch has done a cover version of this which will be released on the reactivated Ze Records in October. Their first new release in 20 years!

Best Mix - All the versions rule

Also check

James White and The Blacks - Off White lp (Ze)
Contortions - Buy (Ze)
Various - No New York (Antilles)

Optimo Music


Scott Hartley-Drums, Percussion
Richard McGuire-Bass, Percussion
Sal Principato- Vocals, Percussion
Dennis Young - Marimba, Roto Toms, Percussion

So good we named the club after it. As die hard Optimoers will know, the club was initially born out of an obsession with an era in New York music history from the late 70's to the early 80's where there was a collision between many different scenes and artforms. That obsession continues, and today the Optimo music archive has probably one of the largest collections of music from this era in the UK.

Ed Bahlman's 99 records (named after its address at 99 MacDougal Sreet in New York's West Village) only released a dozen or so records but nearly every one was seminal and several of those artists - Bush Tetras, ESG, Y Pants and Liquid Liquid are constantly on the Optimo playlists 20 years later. ESG and Liquid Liquid are probably the best known and in April of this year (2002), we finally succeeded in our mission to get ESG to play Glasgow!

Sadly Liquid Liquid are no more, and for that the blame can mainly be laid at the door of Sugarhill Records. On the same EP as 'Optimo' is a track called 'Cavern' which became a huge hit in New York City in the summer of '83. It became so popular that Sugarhill artist Grandmaster Flash appropriated the bassline for his worldwide hit - the 'White Lines' single. Ed Bahlman at 99 felt that Liquid Liquid should be compensated as it's THAT bassline that made it such a hit. However, Sugarhill wasn't exactly renowned for paying its own artists let alone having to pay off some young turk from Long Island and thus ensued a battle that ultimately destroyed Bahlman, 99 and Liquid Liquid. Rumours abound of Bahlman receiving death threats and it is certainly true that this fragile man crumbled under the stress. 99 finally won the legal battle, but by then Sugarhill was bankrupt and couldn't pay. In the meantime, Bahlman had given up on the music business in disgust and Liquid Liquid had also called it a day under the stress - a tragic tale of wasted talent all round. The story doesn't quite end there. Years later, Duran Duran covered 'White Lines' and finally Liquid Liquid received the long overdue royalties they so richly deserved.

Anyway, back at the song -

'Optimo' (named after a type of cigar and a chain of New York cigar shops) starts off with a distinctive timbale roll and from there on in is three minutes of highly energetic percussion, bass, percussion, vocals and yet more percussion. Sal Principato's vocals are indecipherable - you think you know what he is singing but really you don't as it seems to be his own made up language. I could recount every syllable he utters but I don't think I could tell you a single actual word. It is a truly timeless song that would fit into a set of techno as much as a set of funk and still sound perfectly in place. Needless to say, it has been sampled and bootlegged endlessly over the years but nothing can come close to the original. I think it's really sad that Liquid Liquid called it a day after just one more single, but I suppose it means they left behind a lot of mystique and a flawless legacy as well as giving some freaks in Glasgow a name for their club.


So, dreams can come true - Liquid Liquid came and played Optimo on the 13th of July 2003 and it was amazing. That night will be with us forever and ever! They even played a special 'remix' of 'Optimo' just for Glasgow! It was also a delight to discover that they were four of the nicest human beings we have ever met. I am sure if they ever tour again, they will be back. Hopefully sometime soon, we'll get a web page up devoted to this historic night in the history of Optimo.

Also, Dennis Young from Liquid Liquid has a website here where you can hear some of his new music and he even mentions the club! He stumbled upon the Optimo website and we are now email buddies. Richard McGuire, now a renowned artist has a website here. Go look!

Best Mix - There is only one mix

Also check

Liquid Liquid - Liquid Liquid EP (99 12")
Liquid Liquid - Successive Reflexes (99 12")
Liquid Liquid - Dig We Must (99 12")
Liquid Liquid - Singles Compilation (Mo Wax / Grand Royal lp)
Anything on 99 records


download it here

...I heard it through the bassline...

Surely everyone in the western world knows the Marvin Gaye version of this song. Originally co written by legendary songwriter / producer Norman Whitfield who went on to cover it on his own Undisputed Truth project (also played at Optimo), we are going to go out on a limb and say that The Slits version is thee one.

So, who were The Slits then? They were four girls who embraced the punk ideal that anyone could start a band, only all the bands seemed to be boys so...Viv Albertine, Tessa Pollit, Palmolive and precocious 14 year old singer Ari Up got together to do it their way. At first they were better known for causing a ruckus wherever they went and indeed, Derek Jarman cast them as car wrecking urchins in his punk film Jubilee. Their reputation made it hard to secure a record deal but finally Island records stepped in. At the same time, Palmolive left and drummer extraordinaire Budgie (later of The Banshees and Siouxsie Sioux's future husband) joined in her place. They proceeded to record their first album with reggae producer Dennis Bovell and the resulting 'Cut' took many people aback with its depth and proficiency. It also caused quite an outrage with its cover art depicting the naked Slits daubed in mud.

Listening to 'Cut' today, it has aged far better than most of its punk contemporaries and well deserves its classic status.

Island wanted to release a single from the LP and picked the song 'Typical Girls'. At very short notice, The Slits had to record a b-side and as Budgie was away, they went into the studio with a friend drumming and a couple of 'dubhead' mates to record a cover of 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine'. When Island heard the results they insisted it be the a-side but the band refused. It's a shame really as for once the record company was probably right and The Slits would almost certainly have had a hit with it. It is a gigantic bass driven groover of a version that sounds incredible to this day. The point where Ari changes the lyric to 'I heard it through the bassline' is epic. I must have heard this hundreds of times over the years and have never tired of it and it's a joy that people at Optimo seem to like it too.

After falling out with Island, they went on to sign to CBS recording another album but by then their momentum had gone and not long after they called it a day. I don't know what happened to the rest of The Slits but Ari Up (who incidentally is now John Lydon's stepdaughter!) moved to Jamaica and seemed to disappear. Earlier this year I (Twitch) was dj'ing at a club in New York and when I finished my set, this dub dj called Kush took over to finish the night. He was great and made all the more so by the fact that he had a melodica player and this almost feral looking singer with an amazing voice playing with him. At the end of their set, I went up to say how much I enjoyed the set and particularly the singing. The singer stormed off and Kush told me not to worry and that she was a tad eccentric. I asked him what her name was and he said 'That be Ari Up'. Wow!


In June of 2003, Ari Up played in Glasgow - she was great! Later that night we had the pleasure of her coming to Optimo and seeing her dancing to this song - go Ari!

Best Mix - There is only one mix

Also check

The Slits - Cut (Island lp)
The Slits - Peel Sessions (Strange Fruit 12")
The Slits / The Pop Group - In The Beginning There Was Rhythm / Where There's A Will... (Rough Trade split 7")
The Undisputed Truth - s/t (Tamla Motown lp)

6) GLORIA JONES - TAINTED LOVE (CHAMPION 7" /AVI 12") 1968? / 1982

...Once I ran to you (I ran),
Now I'll run from you,
This tainted love you've given
I give you all a boy could give you,
Take my tears and that's not nearly all,
Oh...tainted love....

This song has a long and glorious history dating back almost four decades. It was originally written in the mid 1960's by Ed Cobb for garage rockers The Standells. They rejected it and it remained unrecorded until Cobb hooked up with soul singer Gloria Jones. Sadly, their version failed to set the world on fire and Gloria's career never really took off although she did co-write Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross' 1974 hit duet, "My Mistake," and Gladys Knight and the Pips' 1970 hit, "If I Were Your Woman." Gloria moved to the UK and joined T. Rex (which by that time was fading rapidly) as a keyboardist and backing vocalist. Becoming romantically involved with Marc Bolan, she also helped sway him into a more soul/dance-oriented direction and had a child with him - Roland Bolan. Gloria was in the car crash that killed Marc Bolan but despite surviving unscathed, she seems to have disappeared without trace.

However, her version of 'Tainted Love' became an anthem on the northern soul scene where it was heard by Marc Almond and Dave Ball. They recorded a version of it for the third Soft Cell single and the rest as they say is history! Their version went on to become number one in 17 countries and spent more weeks in the American top 100 than any record before it.

Soft Cell's version (especially the dub mix) is also an Optimo favourite but perhaps because of it's energy and the fact that it hasn't been as overexposed, Gloria's version reigns supreme. Originally only two and a half minutes long, it was extended in the early 80's to the stomping five and a half minute version that is played and sung along to at Optimo.

Best Mix - Extended 12"

Also check

Soft Cell - Tainted Love - Some Bizzare 12"
Coil - Tainted Love - Some Bizzare 12" (heart breakingly slow and mournful version and also the first ever A.I.D.S. benefit single)


listen to it and read more here

...under me sleng teng, me under me... way in my brain, no cocaine i dont wanna, i don't wanna go insane

Is this really 16 years old - wow! This song has been an obsession for a lot more years than I care to remember but from the moment I heard that bassline, I was hooked.

When this first appeared, it caused shockwaves throughout the reggae scene. Sure, there had been producers messing around with the new technology of drum machines before (Perry used really primitive beatboxes as far back as the early 70's) but when Prince Jammy created this backing track, it was probably the first wholly digital track to emerge from Jamaica. After this, reggae was never the same again as the digital revolution spread like a virus and dancehall became and remains king on the island (and around the world).

Purists hated it and to this day many reggae fans mourn the digitilisation of reggae, but really that is missing the point as Jamaican producers were always at the forefront of using new technology and inventing new recording techniques. Most of the music heard in clubs today owes an enormous debt to the techniques and innovations pioneered in Jamaica.

The core of this song is the Casio drum machine pattern based on Eddie Cochrane's 'C'mon Everybody' and that bassline which can only be described as pure hypnotic sex! So simple, yet incredibly effective. It is easy to see why it inspired a legion (literally dozens) of songs using the 'Sleng Teng' rhythm. Most from Jamaica including several by King Tubby, it also filtered over to the UK and was used by Renegade Soundwave on their 'Cocaine Sex' single and most famously by SL2 on their early nineties breakbeat rave anthem 'Way in my Brain' where they sampled a massive chunk of it.

Apart from all this, it is also just a fabulous song. Wayne Smith's words and vocal are superb and it has an inherent catchiness that locks in your head. Despite its age, this sounds as fresh as ever (if not fesher) and is undoubtedly one of the all time electronic dance greats. Controversial perhaps but to me, as important as Bambatta's 'Planet Rock'. One day we'll dig out all our Sleng Teng versions and do a 'Sleng Teng Hour' - will we drive you insane in your brain?

Best Mix - Original Jammy's.

Also check
Various Artists - 300% Dynamite (Soul Jazz LP / CD) (Under me Sleng Teng is on this compilation)
SL2 - Way in my Brain (XL 12")
King Tubby - The Firehouse Revolution - (Pressure Sounds LP)

and, strictly for the hardcore...

any of the literally dozens of tracks that came out using the Sleng Teng drums and bass.


listen to it here

....warm leatherette melts on your burning flesh...........join the car crash set

Where to start? Perhaps let Mr. Twitch bore you into submission with a long indulgent tale of how much this record has meant to him over the years....

"I always laugh when I hear people claim that the first record they ever got was something like 'Anarchy in the UK' by The Sex Pistols or something equally cool, because i know that they are almost certainly lying and rewriting their history. My first ever record was either some atrocity by Showaddywaddy or a dodgy pop compilation from 1978 called 'Action Replay' - but not long after that I got this. I didn't rush out to get it because I was a sussed 10 year old, rather it was literally thrust upon me.

Where I grew up was surrounded by open fields that over the years were filled with houses as my village grew into Edinburgh's suburban commuter zone. One of these fields was filled with Barratt houses and those with long memories may remember the TV ads that used to feature the Barratt helicopter. Anyhow, one Saturday afternoon, the show house was being opened and to mark the occassion the Barratt helicopter was going to fly in. All the local kids were out in force to witness this mammoth event and were also excited that a dj from the local radio station (Radio Forth) was due to get out of the helicopter and hand out goodie bags to the crowd. And so it passed and there was much aaahing and ooohing as we witnessed this legendary machine at close quarters and took delivery of our goodies. I was particularly excited as I was given a load of (presumably cast off) records and at this point only owned about three records. So I went home and listened to the pile of 7" singles but hastily discarded them as I was more excited by the AC / DC album that was there. Thus began a brief but passionate affair with heavy metal.

A couple of years later I returned to the 7" singles by a bunch of artists that had patently never had a whiff of radio airplay in their no doubt very short lived careers. Most were rubbish but two stuck out - one was an electro pop version of the 50's song 'Let's Dance' by The Silicon Teens and the other was 'Warm Leatherette' by The Normal. Both were totally unlike anything I had ever heard and I confess that at first I didn't really get them. But, something stuck.

Over the next few years, I got more and more into electronic / industrial music and 'Warm Leatherette' in particular stuck with me like a limpet. As I learned more about it, I found that The Normal and The Silicon Teens were actually the same person - Daniel Miller (founder of Mute Records) and the fascination grew. Sadly Mr. Miller only made a couple of other records before devoting his energies to production and running the monolithic Mute, home of (amongst others) Depeche Mode, Nick Cave and now Moby.

In 1987 I started 'djing' and 'Warm Leatherette' was one of the most popular records I played for a couple of years until house music took over my life for the next ten years.

And then came Optimo and along with a host of records from my pre house / techno days, out came The Normal again. At first I was convinced that it was too freaked out for today's dancers but was soon proved wrong as both it and the b side 'T.V.O.D'. became Optimo hits. Well I never! I wonder how my musical path might have changed had I been given a bunch of Elton John records?"

So, you all probably know this song, but if you don't - investigate! Inspired by JG Ballard's 'Crash' novel, this song is a dark electronic masterpiece that has inspired cover versions by Grace Jones (most people assume it is her song), Pankow, Sheep on Drugs, Chicks on Speed and DJ Hell amongst others as well as a bootleg version by Girls on Top with Missy Elliot's 'She's a Bitch' acapella laid on top.

There is something inherently sexual about this record and while it sounds of its time, it also still sounds incredibly futuristic and has obviously been a huge influence on current 80's inspired acts such as Adult. Expect to still hear this record in another 25 years.

For much, much more, check the Warm Leatherette Website

Best Mix - There is only one mix.

Also check

Silicon Teens - Music for Parties (Mute LP)

and, strictly for the hardcore...

Robert Rental and The Normal - Live at West Runton Pavillion (Rough Trade one sided LP)
Robert Rental (Daniel Miller alias) and Thomas Leer - The Bridge (Industrial Records LP)


Maggot Brain


Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time
For y'all have knocked her up.
I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe
I was not offended
For I knew I had to rise above it all
Or drown in my own shit.

Come on Maggot Brain
Go on Maggot Brain

Despite Funkadelic's fearsome reutation as freaked out funkmasters, this is most certainly not a dance record. However, it is frequently played in the first hour at Optimo when we delve a bit deeper and usually avoid music designed for making people shake their touche

This song starts of with a spoken word intro from Funkadelic eccentric leader George Clinton but from then on it is basically a ten minute acid drenched guitar solo

Before you switch off with bad mental images of posturing guitar heroes, give this a listen as it is in a different realm from that. George Clinton wanted to start their new album with an incredibly emotional instrumental so he asked guitarist Eddie Hazel to think of the saddest thing in his life. Eddie started to think about the recent death of his mother and let rip recording the whole thing in one take.

The end result is one of the most sublimely beautiful pieces of music ever recorded. The atmosphere it creates is almost overwhelming and completely tripped out. Astonishing.

The rest of the 'Maggot Brain' album is psyche funk of the highest order but nothing can quite follow on from the majesty of this. Funkadelic tried various versions of this adding the full band but really, they shouldn't have bothered.

Best Version - Maggot Brain original

Also check

Just about the entire Funkadelic / Parliament back catalogue is worth a listen.


contort yerself...

A bit cheeky this one as Mr. Twitch had a sizeable hand in this but it surely is an Optimo classic. This song started life following an obsession with an ESG drumloop. Twitch was messing about with the loop in Mount Florida's new sampler and out came the "ding..ding..?" noise that is used at the start. M.P. Lancaster (the other half of Mount Florida) started messing about on his synth and played in one take the cheesy synth melody that now sits over the top. Twitch demanded they use it and after adding a hi nrg bassline, they had the basic bones of the track which was beginning to sound very Optimoesque (whatever that is?).

Mount Florida tend not to sample very much from other people's records (honest!) but decided to keep the ESG loop with a load of programmmed drums over the top, and after a few weeks tweaking and editing they had 'Poptimo'. The night it was finished coincided with the now defunct Go Bang! night at Reds that Twitch and Wilkes sometimes played at. It was quite a quiet night and no one was really dancing so Twitch thought he would try out the CDR of 'Poptimo' that he had brought from the studio. And it worked - it got the dancefloor full.

From then on it became a staple at Optimo and though the vast majority of people who went had no idea what it was, it was quickly forced absorbed into everyone's conciousness.

It was decided to release the track on the next Mount Florida EP (Strut) and when it finally came out in September 2000, it sold more copies in Glasgow than the rest of the UK combined. Sadly (or more likely thankfully) it didn't become the global pop smash that would have brought Twitch and M.P. fame and fortune, but it became what it set out to be - a hit at the club it was written for.

Bizzarely, it appeared in an article in the Scottish Sun about the best songs ever to come out of Scotland!!!!! Various Scottish celebs were asked to nominate their all time favourite song from Scotland and Amanda from BIS nominated 'Poptimo' (thanks Amanda!).

It doesn't quite end there though. Mount Florida had written a song called 'Yo La Kinski' for their album that featured the incredible lyrical and vocal talents of Innes Smith from CNUT. With the aid of Roland, Twitch took the rant about 'Angry Germans' and stuck it on top of a rebuilt 'Poptimo' and 'Yo La Poptimo' was born. This went on to become another seminal Optimo song and each week the dj's would be hounded with requests for 'That angry german song'. With a few stellar performances of the song from Innes live at the club featuring his famed 'spank me!' routine, it's place in Optimo folklore was assured. It finally came out on the first O.S.C.A.R.R. EP, and sold out of its limited pressing superfast. Funnily enough, almost every German who has heard it has loved it and laughed heartedly (who says they don't have a sense of humour?).

Best mix - Mount Florida - Poptimo

Also check -

Mount Florida - Arrived Phoenix LP (Matador)
Various - Remember When We Used To Play? EP (OSCARR)


listen to it here

.....got me got me got me luv dancing ... luv luv luv luv luv dancing....... Is it all over my face?

This is a weirdy disco classic written by the sadly departed from our planet Arthur Russell and co-written with Steve d'Aquisto who also recently left us. Arthur was a musical maverick and in my opinion a musical god. He was a cello player, singer and composer who hung around in New York's most avant garde circles until he was lured out by a friend to a disco. He fell in love immediately with the atmosphere, the hedonism and most of all with the music. Almost right away he set about combining his old world with the new one and proceeded to make some of the most astonishing songs ever committed to vinyl.

This is probably the best known (at least at Optimo) and is 10 minutes of disco nirvana. I grew up thinking disco was perhaps the most banal, dumbest musical form ever invented (and, boy it can be!) probably due to over exposure to my mum's Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. It wasn't until years later that I began to hear the real deal - joyous movements of music crammed full of ideas: the blueprint for house music before the drum machine came along, and this song probably defines for me all that disco can be.

It's a very strange record. The male vocal part is so woefully bad that it becomes a joyous thing of wonder. And what is she on about? What's 'all over her face' - spunk, drug induced disco ecstacy? No, it's the sheer joy of dancing - genius! The melody has been sampled endlessly but it's the cello part that really gets me. Who can fail to be moved by the sound of cellos?

In this day of endlessly looped sample tracks, it's hard to imagine a record like this being made again (not least due to the cost of getting so many musicians into a studio). This is disco's swansong before the drum machine became all but somehow it sounds better today than it ever did and always solicits a cheer when aired at Optimo. Arthur would be proud.

Best mix - Larry Levan's Female Vocal Version

Also check -

Arthur Russell - World of Echo LP (Rough Trade / Upside)
Arthur Russell - Let's go Swimming 12" (Rough Trade / Upside)
Arthur Russell - Another Thought CD (Point)
Dinosaur - Kiss Me Again 12" (Sire)
Dinosaur L - Go Bang! 12" (Sleeping Bag)