Monday, 20 September 2010

Various Artists - G.I. Disco - 2010 - BBE

Compiled by Kalle Cuts and Daniel W. Best, BBE Records serve up a platter of 80s Club music that served as the backdrop to the US forces who served in what was then West Germany in the 1980s. Clubs such as 'Chic' in Berlin and the 'Cinderella Club' in Stuttgart and the notorious 'Labelle' Club which was the victim of a terrorist attack in 1986. An interesting concept, this, and a much less interesting cover as far as artwork goes BUT it's the songs that stand up to scrutiny and all twelve tracks are set to please if not revive many a memory for those who loved and bought the Club Soul music of the 1980s. From 1986 I was so pleased to see the excellent Timex Social Club with "Rumors" - rare to hitherto find on CD we have here the full version in all it's synthy excellence and - for me - worthy of a purchase for this song alone. From a few years previously there is Cashmere with the timeless "Let The Music Turn You On", complete with jazzy muted trumpets and freaky 80s synths. Fans of Randy Muller will be pleased to see that Skyy's "Show Me The Way" is included here and boy does it still sound fresh.

THe UK's John Rocca and Freeze's "IOU" is here too, and in full-length version too, but for me the 12" version of "Riccochet" by the wonderful BB&Q Band is far, far superior. talking of 12" versions, the remix of The O'Jays 1983 classic "Put Our Heads Together" is also included. Myself, I found this a rather messy mix and nowhere near as solid as the album version which rates as Keni Burke at his uptempo best. The Valentine Brothers are, of course, the original artists who recorded "Money's Too Tight To Mention" - not that most of the record buying / radio listening public knows it or even cares - but this, too sounds great and at almost 30 years old certainly stands as social commentary in today's tough financial climes as it did when dear Old Ronnie was the incumbent at the White House. Classics such as Barbara mason's "Another Man" and Surface's "Falling In Love" also set the scene for this collection of musical and military social history. Not a radical collection by any means, but this isn't the point. It shows us how much classier the dancefloors were back in the 870s and what good taste the G.I.'s had. Well, it was either that or Kraftwerk!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe