Category Archives: dance

World music classics #16


“Girl You Need A Change Of Mind” (1973) Eddie Kendricks

It would  have been Eddie’s 68th birthday today had he not died 15 years ago. “Girl You Need A Change Of Mind” is an example of what I would call proto-disco.

Proto-disco = disco before the twelve inch, disco avant la lettre.

See previous entries in this series.

World music classics #15


Juxtapoem: Sylvester James‘s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and Pierre Janet‘s reality principle. An interesting side effect of the common mental illness known as falling in love is the feeling of recapturing a sense of reality.

Nineteen years ago today, Sylvester died aged 40 of complications from AIDS.

See previous entries in this series.

I. M. Mel Cheren


Marty Thomas sings “I Was Born This Way” (Carl Bean)

Mel Cheren ( – December 7, 2007) was a New York gay entrepreneur and owner of West End Records. Mel was romantically involved with Michael Brody, the owner of the famous Paradise Garage club, for which Mel also provided financial backing. He died of complications of AIDS.

West End Records was co-founded by Mel Cheren and Ed Kushins in New York City in 1976 and published disco music. It was closely associated with the Paradise Garage and Larry Levan. Mel Cheren and Ed Kushins had met a few years earlier, when they were employed by Scepter Records. In 2002 Kevin Hedge (half of BLAZE) became Mel Cheren’s partner in West End, as well as the President of West End Records. Much of their music has been sampled for use in other dance and hip-hop tracks. The label employed musicians, mixers and remixers such as Larry Levan, Arthur Russell, Walter Gibbons, Tee Scott and Nick Martinelli.

They released such hits as:

Other notable tracks include

  • Inez Brooks Chillin’ Out(1981)
  • Taana Gardner – Work That Body (1979)
  • Ednah Holt – ‘Serious, Sirious Space Party (1981)
  • Taana Gardner ‘When You Touch Me’ 1979
  • Debbie Trusty – Searchin’ For Some Lovin’/1982
  • Raw Silk ‘Do It To The Music’ (1982)
  • Brenda Taylor ‘You Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It Too’ (1982)

I Was Born This Way (see Youtube clip above) is one of the most respected gay dance music anthems.

I’d like to …


“Fuck the pain away”(2000) – Peaches

Merrill Beth Nisker (born 1968 in Toronto, Canada), better known as Peaches, is an electroclash musician whose songs are concerned mainly with sex. She lives and works in Berlin. She has been called the Karen Finley of the 2000s. The song “Fuck the Pain Away” was used in a scene in the film Lost in Translation in which Bob and Charlotte, the two main characters, find themselves in a strip club.

World music classics #13

Runaway Love (1978) – Linda Clifford

Linda Clifford’s 1978 album, If My Friends Could See Me Now produced two of Clifford’s biggest hit and put her on the music map. The first single, Runaway Love became an R&B hit peaking at #3 for two weeks. It was released as a 9:44 twelve inch on Curtom Records, written produced and arranged by Gil Askey, mixed by Jim Burgess. The lyrics (in the twelve inch version, not on the album version) dealt with female liberation.

Guilty pleasures #3


Cargo de Nuit (1983) Axel Bauer

The clip is directed by French photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino (1983). It is an homage to the movie Querelle by Fassbinder. To us, in the early eighties, Querelle was the quintessence of the macho/gay sensibility and it was copied by musicians such as Luc Van Acker on the cover of The Ship[1] album. Jean-Paul Gaultier appropriated this seaman’s aesthetic and celebrated it all through the early eighties.

Querelle (1982) – Rainer Werner Fassbinder
[FR] [DE] [UK]

Fassbinder’s adaptation of Jean Genet’s novel features surreal sets that underscore the dreamlike quality and abstraction of the novel. It was Fassbinder’s final and, by his own words, most important movie.

Digression #1: Axel Bauer is not related to John Bauer:

John Bauer

John Bauer


World dance music classics #10


“Theme from S’Express” (1989) – S’Express

This is from the period when house reached the public consciousness in Europe. It was released one year after Coldcut’s Doctorin’ The House. Both tracks featured nervous “acid” bass lines. A similar track from that same era is Stakker by Humanoid.

See previous entries in this series.

Friendship on this day in history


Larry Levan plays his last weekend at the Paradise Garage in 1987.

Finding the Paradise Garage Classics 1976-1987 playlist in 1996, when I first gained access to the internet was the impetus for starting The song you hear Larry playing is by the first male disco diva: Sylvester. The song in question “You are my Friend” is surely the most beautiful ode to friendship ever confined to vinyl. 

If you would like to investigate Larry’s music further, I recommend the trilogy Club Classics & House Foundations (1995). Buy from Amazon here, here and here.