Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Greg Diomond and Bionic Boogie - Hot Butterfly - 1978 - Funky Town Grooves

It's fair to say that everyone reading this will know and love this album. Not that it's the most amazing album, but it contains one of THE most brilliant recordings to be born out of the late 70s disco boom. "Hot Butterfly" remains a modern classic, resurrected by Urban Records in 1988 on 12" and on their Urban Classics series, this song has constantly remained a favourite on quality radio. the album itself is a delight for disco lovers and those who dig the styles of Luther Vandross and David Lasley at that time will definitely find this set appealing. The original album contained 6 tracks - as did the 2005 Japanese Polydor reissue - but the good guys at Funky Town Groove have added four mighty remixes that were around back in the day. The disco remix of "Hot Butterfly" is a mighty 8 minutes 16 seconds and not at all of a cheesy, flare-flapping kind. A gorgeous extension of the original, packed with strings, summery harp and endless, deep soul courtesy of the much-missed Luther Vandross. This song is legendary and is one of THOSE feel-good songs that makes life completely and utterly worthwhile.

Of course the album version is essential but the Jim Burgess mix takes it to a higher plane. Thank goodness it's included on this CD or else we're trawling - if need be! - for crackly old vinyl. Gregg Diamond may have had his roots in disco but he certainly knew that romance and soul was a powerful thing - the depth of feeling in this song, the sheer weight of instrumentation and positioning of strings in all the right places makes this something totally on a different plane. We''l be loving this song in another 35 years. Timeless, ageless and sublime. "Chains" is another song that remains popular and the backing vocals / harmonies definitely precede Change and gave a flavour of the greatness to come for Mr. Vandross. This is more disco than "Hot Butterfly" but not at all crass. It's a far cry from the overtly disco "When The Shit Hits The Fan (Pocket Rocket) which doesn't stand up to the test of time, but it has it's place in time and when listened to impartially, one can hear a lot of texture, light and shade. that alone stands it apart from much of the material of the day.

David Lasley - another Legend - delivers his great tenor soul and passion on "Paradise" and I have to say that this groove still sounds pretty darn good, as does the evergreen Mr. Lasley! Urban Classics also breathed new life into the funky "Cream (Always Rises To The Top)" which is a very worthwhile effort, though I can do without the spacey synths that sound like something out of Star trek! However the era was infused with cosmic influences so this is not to be too much of a surprise! Funky Town Grooves have not rested on their laurels with their liaisons with Sony Music and Universal...the goods are being delivered and there is much more goodness to come! watch this space!!!

Barry Towler

The Vibe Scribe