Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Disco continued

My fascination with disco continues to grow. Back in the '70's, playing in punk bands, working in record stores, hanging out at Max's and CBGB's, I was never a member of the Disco Sucks crowd. But I never embraced disco either, never went to disco clubs, never even saw Saturday Night Fever. Working in records stores, I was aware of what was going on with mainstream disco. At Sam Goody's, we sold a shitload of Thank God It's Friday soundtracks and the latest disco one-shot hit, from "Ring MyBell" to "Boogie Oogie Oogie."
Listening to both modern disco, like the Sorcerer out of Oakland, and Johan Agebjorn/Sally Shapiro, and classic stuff from the 1970's I love how the rhythm is the engine that propels the gorgeous arrangements and (very often) amazing technical performaces by singer and muicians. The best disco feels very spacious, without every threatning to degenerate into hippy-ish (or even free jazz-ish) jamming. The rythmic underpinning keeps things under control.
Disco Mix

Guilty Pleasure - Mandy Moore

Mandy Moore began her professional life as a Britney Spears/Mouseketeer clone, but in 2003 she released an album called Coverage that pretty definitively separated her from the other teen idols. The album was full of really well-chosen covers (Mandy said they were songs her parents had played for her when she was a kid) sophisticatedly arranged and produced by John Fields and sung confidently and with feeling by Moore. Among the songs she chose were several gems, particularly, in my opinion, XTC's "Senses Working Overtime," and the Waterboys' "Whole of the Moon."
The thing that amazed me when I first heard the album was the sense that Mandy Moore, who was then barely out of her teens, seemed to comprehend what songwriters like John Hiatt, Joe Jackson and Andy Partridge were writing about. Now I'm not so sure - it may be that she had a really good producer and that she is a much better actor then she's had a chance to demonstrate in her movie and television roles.
Whatever the case, I love the album, I love the choice of covers and I love her voice.
Mandy Moore - Senses Working Overtime
XTC - Senses Working Overtime

Mandy Moore - Umbrella (Rihanna cover)