April 12, 2011 Demand Deeper Dance Music (Love and Happiness)
Clockwise from top: Al Green, Rick Wilhite, the girls from First Choice, Ron Hardy.
When music is really hitting the spot, when it’s truly sinking through the thick callus built up from over exposure, you might agree it feels like it materializes out of thin air the first time it reaches your ears. The feeling experienced when hearing something unexpected is a rare one and although it feels like you were blind sided with originality, most all music takes a long and arduous path through the bowels of musical lineage to reach your ear.
Deeper dance music: it’s about history; it’s a vocal cut, a guitar riff, a drum track, a classic groove that moves people in its original form and is then re-envisioned to move people in an entirely different way. It may sound corny but an old saying that was never intended to describe dance music really gets the point across:
something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
Think back to a favorite song or memorable DJ set you’ve heard. Something old is thrown in: an original classic. Something new is mixed in: a freshly released piece of original material. Something borrowed is cut up: a drum loop/guitar riff/bass line/vocal track. Then you’re offered contemplation, the blues are brought in: the song breaks, winds up or down with a break, intro or outro.
It feels damn good when these pieces come together and reach you at the right time. It’s harmony, simple as that. So here is too digging deep and uncovering the goodies!
Music comes full circle, again and again… here is just one example
Al Green needs no introduction, he is the beginning point in this case. In 1972 Al creates this timeless piece…
Al Green – Love and Happiness
…only a year later (1973) First Choice does a cover…
First Choice – Love and Happiness
…undoubtedly the first ever edit of First Choice’s cover is cut by perhaps Ron Hardy (around ’83 to’87)…
Unknown – Love and Happiness (Smacko’s Cover Version)
…fast forward to June 2010 and Rick Wilhite under the pseudonym The Godson samples First Choice’s version to great effect…
The Godson – Analog Love
Imagine you’re on the dance floor and Wilhite’s Analog Love comes through the speakers, imagine you’re like me with a generation and culture gap in respect to this music. I hear Wilhite’s version for the first time. It sounds brand spanking new and sends tingles down my spine, I’m unaware of the fact that the lyrics were written by a classic funk/soul singer, redone by a talented female vocalist group a year later, turned upside down by the dance music culture surrounding the infamous Music Box, and then picked up for another spin by the second generation Detroit producer Rick Wilhite. I loved the song the first time I heard it. It didn’t matter that I was unaware of the the history behind the song. It registered with me because the original feel was delivered to one degree or another despite its journey through time. And although it felt like the sound took only a split second to reach my ears that moment was actually around 40 years in the making. Now that is what I would call deeper dance music.
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