Sunday, January 20, 2008

The distant sound of New York

UPDATE: I thought the original title of this post was a bit lame - so I changed it!

Me and the better half and some good friends are off to New York in a couple of days time to do the sightseeing city break thing. In anticipation of the trip I felt it only right that I should feature something that emanated from New York.

The track here immediately came to mind due to its label for some reason being indelibly imprinted on my memory. Why would that be so, I wonder? I suppose I like the simplicity of it, a home made quality that is somehow incongruous sat in the middle of a 12” single. What’s in the grooves of this single also has a raw edge. You get the impression the whole venture was produced on a shoestring budget and came direct from the street to your turntable. (Incidentally I get the same buzz about so many of the Reggae 12” singles that emanated from London back in the Seventies). All other scans I’ve seen of this label show it as yellow – except for this one at Popsike which is a charming shade of purple!

Chain Reaction released “Dance Freak” in 1979. The label states that it is "promoted by Peter & Patricia Brown & Tony". Peter Brown was one of the P's in P&P Records, the other being Patrick Adams. Patricia Brown wasn't the only Patricia to be named as a producer on the P&P stable's output. I wonder were these Patricias in fact Patrick Adams? Also the dead wax has the magic letters F/W NYC HP scratched in. That, I suspect, will be Frankford/Wayne - Herb Powers, so you know the sound quality is assured. “Dance Freak” was soon followed by “Sweet Lady/Changes” an early example of a “Jellybean” Benitez mix that appeared on the Jam Sessions label. Another label design that I love, it has an all together more professional look but has a great motif and use of colour.

The dreaded syndrum makes some appearances on “Dance Freak”, on the intro and in mid track breakdown. But grit your teeth and wait for the blast of the horns to kick in and then let the whole mess of bass guitar, choppy rhythm guitar and percussion get into your brain and you are powerless to stop those feet moving.

A version of “Dance Freak” is included on Kenny Dope vs P&P Records. You can also listen to another re-edit of this over at Another Night On Earth. If you are particularly averse to syndrums you will be pleased to know this re-edit has banished them to the recycle bin. But somehow I can live with them on the original, they somehow help magnify the power and energy of everything else that is going on. They also clearly mark out this track as a period piece.

Chain Reaction – Dance Freak 1979


Scholar said...

What a fun song---and as you know, your writing always strikes a chord with me.

Hope you've been well lately. Been meaning to stop by and say hello since your Otis Clay post, but 2008 has started out with quite a bang. Haven't had nearly enough free time lately, but I always find my way back here eventually.

Respect as always, my friend...

Darcy said...

Thanks Scholer, respect reciprocated over at Souled On.