Is Al Kent's forthcoming record "the most disco thing around today"?
Matt Stancombe assesses some likely contenders (you can check the record and decide for yourself towards the bottom of the page).
Al Kent has been playing disco records, writing about disco records and even making disco records for a very long time. It’s fair to say he knows a bit about disco. He’s got a new disco record coming out, hopefully after the summer. The story goes he found some disco tracks by a producer. Done with real musicians and recorded properly. Then he forgot he had them. Then he remembered he had them and listened to them. They were really good. Reeaaallly good. So he mixed them down. Then he remixed them. Then he went to tape, and finally pressed them to vinyl. Al sold a few promo’s and when describing these he talked about them being probably the “most disco thing around today”. Which got me thinking; what was the most disco thing I have ever come across?
Was is the Xenon NYE club invitation pressed to a piece of red translucent vinyl?
Or was it the original 7” ‘Pop Your Funk’ by Loose Joints with the insane b-side in the red or green silk screened sleeves?
Or was it the books, ‘Disco’ by Albert Goldman, or ‘Dancer In the Dark’ by Andrew Hollerman, or even ‘Last Night’, by Martin Beck – a book with one track on each page played by David Mancuso at the last loft party held at the Prince Street Location?
Or perhaps the Paradise Garage invitation designed by Keith Haring and printed onto a handkerchief (actually, probably this is, but I’ve never seen one)?
But no. The most disco item I’ve ever come across is kept in the locked box of acetates, wrapped in cotton, padded and gently stored in a moisture free environment. (Slightly kidding). I’ve no idea if it’s provenance is true, but if it is to be believed it is quite the artefact. A 10 inch acetate cut at home by Walter Gibbons featuring himself and a lady called Diane Fields singing praise to god live over his own edit of “a tale of three cities” by the Salsoul orchestra. Phew. Now don’t get excited, I didn’t say it was any good. In fact, it’s terrible and I’d never dream of “playing it out”. But in terms of disco history, it’s kinda up there for me. The edit is great, typical Walter, groove, drums, Salsoul etc, you get the drift. But the singing it terrible, I mean, they’re clearly having a laugh, maybe a little bit drunk?
Walter’s conversion to Christianity and rejection of the “unwholesome” side of the nightlife is written into the discotheque lore and he was famously rumoured to have the ability to cut records at home (or at least live in close proximity to Sunshine Sound). So who knows, perhaps it is the real deal, but perhaps not. But anyway, it’s still the most disco thing I’ve come across. What about you, what’s yours?
Anyway, perhaps coming full circle, if you’d like to purchase Gibbons chronicler and admirer, Al Kent’s new record “the most disco thing around today”, well check it out here, and get your dollars ready… It’s really rather good.