Hey everybody, a new dance has just been born
Before there was House and Garage, there was Disco. And before there was disco, there were dance crazes. Hundreds, maybe thousands of them, dating as far back as the turn of the century, in some cases. Documenting them all would be a formidable, not to say virtually impossible, task for even the most intrepid list-maker. But few would deny that Ace has 'done good' at collecting some of the biggest of the 50s and 60s dance crazes across its Land Of A Thousand Dances" series. This month that series takes a slight diversion and makes an appropriate one-off label change, to Kent, for a special "Soul And Funk Edition" that covers pretty much the whole spectrum of 60s and 70s dance music in nearly 80 minutes of listening and dancing time.
"That beat and that rhythm just keep moving up"
Kicking off, in the eye of the dance craze hurricane, in 1963 and bringing the story up to the last days of the craze in 1975 - just prior to the international disco explosion that virtually obliterated dance crazes while, ironically, bringing more people than ever onto a dancefloor - this special edition is unique in this series in that it highlights mostly dances that had their origins in the black neighbourhoods the USA. It would be a lie to say that these were the only dances to originate thus, but the tracks here offer a superlative cross-section that runs from the Matador through the Sissy to the Bus Stop. For your amusement, the CD also includes a smattering of quite ludicrous dances that were probably originated for the purposes of filling up some studio time - step forward, the Greasy Frog and the Push, Push, Push - rather than for making any long lasting contribution to the dance genre. Dancing may be a serious business, but it's also fun, right?...
"Four to the front, and four to the back"
Some of the biggest names in 60s and 70s soul take their turn at extolling the virtues of a masterpiece of terpsichory here. Many, like the Olympics and Rufus Thomas, virtually built their careers around whatever demonstrations of dancefloor power happened to be current. Others, for instance William Bell and Albert Collins, are represented by their sole contributions to the genre. Still more, such as the Fatback Band and Mr James Brown, only occasionally needed to hang their grooves around a dance craze - they usually just made the people dance whatever they did, and that was that. You can hear them all here, alongside Billy Butler, Major Lance, Harvey Scales, Garland Green, Donald Byrd, Parliament (fronted by Detroit soul hero Steve Mancha!), Don Covay, the Whispers and loads more soul heavyweights. Some line-up, then - and then some!
"If there's a brand new dance that you've been looking for, people don't look no more"
The vast majority of these tracks have never been on CD before - even some of those that have, have never been on CD in these versions. For example, this will be the first Ace CD to use the original Event single master of the Fatback Band's (Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop. And the tight single edit of Donald Byrd's anthemic Change (Makes You Want To Hustle) Part 1 has been painstakingly re-created by the boys of Sound Mastering from the longer, less-focused album mix. All in the name of greater dance power, and all the better for it, too!
"Dancing is a part of life"
If you believe Jimmy Conwell aka Richard Temple - whose That Beatin' Rhythm was a "must-include" on this package from day one. And for the millions of people around the world who go clubbing on a week-in, week-out - and often night-in, night-out - basis, this is as much the case now as it was back in the 1960s and 1970s, when hundreds of dancin' fools crammed into a sweaty discotheque in their local neighbourhood to workout to the Monkey, the Boomerang, the Skate, the Philly Dog, the Broadway Freeze and most of the other dances covered by this CD. However you take your dance, you feet will move when you hear these grooves. See you at the Go-Go!
by Tony Rounce