Sunday, 10 October 2010

Bobby knows what Dick likes

Bobby Knows what Dick likes by gibletsounds
This mix is inspired by the work of creationist homophobe disco svengali Bobby Orlando, and by a magazine called G.E.M(Gay East Midlands). It was published in Nottingham between 1982 and 1983, when AIDs was 'gay cancer', homophobic attacks on the street were commonplace and gays huddled together in dingy basements and listened to disco music driven by an energy so anxious it verged on hysteria. Listening to this mix in one go may induce a mild feeling of nausea. 

Most of the songs were taken from the playlists and reviews in G.E.M's monthly music column, written by the Dj 'Queenie' from Nottinghams gay disco 'Part II'. You can read all nine issues of G.E.M on their archive website here and get a feeling for how claustrophic and terrifying the gay scene in a provincial English town was 30 years ago.

Eastbound Expressway - Primitive Desire

Like a lot of Hi-NRG 'groups' Eastbound Expressway didn't really exist, the name was just a front for English producer,and Heaven dj, Ian Levine's songwriting and production. The vocals were provided by three session singers, Norma, Shirley & Dee Lewis. Queenie says "Rough, raunchy jungle beat - ideal for popper sniffers!"

Waterfront Home - Take a Chance on Me

Another fictional band, Waterfront Home were one of the many names used, and discarded, by Bobby Orlando to release records in the early 80s. Queenie says "Drooling undertones of synthetic sound seem to be his speciality, but anything that has his label on it seems to be a sure- fire hit."

Karen Finley - Lick It

Karen Finley is a performance artist, writer and musician from New York. Her music became an extension of her performance monologues in the 80s, setting her maniacal ranting to a tinny disco beat.

Jessica Williams - Queen of Fools

Now I'm not here to judge you
You know wrong from right
What you do in the nighttime
Will come out in the light

Jessica Williams has been singing since she could talk! Queen of Fools is a more conventional disco song with the bpm and the tension racheted up a few notches. Love inevitably leads to dissapointment, there are hardly any happy fags.

Norma Lewis - Maybe This Time 

 One of Ian Levine's session singers, Norma Lewis scored a few hits under her own name, including this gorgeous disco version of Maybe This Time.

The Flirtations - Earthquake

 "We'd reach up to 10 on the richter scale
If love could be measured that way" 
The Flirtations are a real group. They started out in the 60's singing RnB, before dabbling in torch songs and Northern Soul. In the 70's they went through their disco period and then in the early 80's they jumped on the Hi-NRG bandwagon and released Earthquake. Unbelievably they're still together and looking eerily young for women who've been at it for more than 40 years. Ones of the members is called Pearly Gates.

Corruption - Show Me Yours

A very coy song by a mysterious group called Corruption, I can't find anything out about them, but sadly this seems to be the only record they released. 

Sylvester & Patrick Cowley - Menergy

Patrick Cowley's one of my favourite producers on all time. This song, released in 1981, celebrates all the 'boys in the backroom, loving it up'. Perhaps it is possible to be happy as a gay man, so long as you don't form any emotional attachments.

Bizzy & Co. - Take a Chance

Slightly demented Hi-NRG/Italo crossover, with one of the most beautifuly surreal Italian TV videos I've ever seen. I wish my reality could be this glamourous.

Patrick Cowley - Megatron Man

Classic San Francisco high energy from Megatone Records. Cowley died of 'gay cancer' 8 months after the song was released.

Tapps - My Forbidden Lover

Tapps were Canada's contribution to the gay Hi-NRG scene - it went global.

Rofo - Flashlight on a Disco Night

Released in January 1983 I like to imagine this as the soundtrack to my birth. It's a little bit ravey, in a Belgian way.

Divine - Shake it Up (instr)

Bob Orlando's collaboration with Divine was a marraige made in gay heaven. Rumour has it that they stopped making records together because Bobby tried, unsuccessfully, to convince Divine to renounce homosexuality.

Karen Finley - I'm an Ass Man

Finley celebrates the joy of bum sex.

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