With Just A Hint Of Amelia

Archive for the ‘Disco’ Category

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Dearest Princess Amelia, I know that you have been learning about the Great Fire of London and that you have been to a firework display and as Saturday is Bonfire Night. I also want to say very well done for winning the pumpkin competion with your 1666 pumpkin!

I thought I would share some fire related songs with you. Here is a fire top ten, I hope that you enjoy them.

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hustleDear Princess Amelia I must apologise for November’s blog post not appearing until December. But I will make sure that your Christmas blog post arrives before 25th December! I thought that I’d give you a post about a dance craze because we haven’t done one of those for a while. I have chosen a classic disco hit from 1975 called “The Hustle”. It’s a mostly instrumental track recorded in 1974 by Van McCoy  and the Soul City Symphony for his album ‘Disco Baby’. I have played it hundreds of times in my days as a mobile DJ (perhaps more about mobile DJs in another post one day). The song was number one in both Canada and the USA and it reached number four in Holland and number three in the UK. I have a very strong feeling that it was a very big hit in Godderwil. Why do I have such a strong feeling? Mostly because I taught your Grandpa how to do the Hustle at your Mummy’s birthday party a few years ago. I’ll teach you the same moves next time we meet. But the fact that I made all those dance steps up myself when I taught your Grandpa, well we’ll just keep that to ourselves ok?

how-to-do-the-hustle-280x210I have put two videos into this post; the first is a quick lesson in how to dance the Hustle and the second is from some of the dancers on a wonderful old American TV show called Soul Train.

Granddad dances the Hustle with Deborah

Grandpa dances the Hustle with Deborah

Dearest Princess Amelia there is a day every year that celebrates love. It is known as St Valentine’s Day and it happens on February 14th. In honour of that day, which is celebrated in most kingdoms across the world, including Godderwil I thought that you might like me to use your February blog post to bring you a different love song each year. I have chosen one of my favourite love songs to start with.

It’s a story about a letter, but not just any old letter. This one is a stawberry letter, but not just any old strawberry letter. This one is Strawberry Letter 23. The title doesn’t really sound like a love song though does it? But it is very much a love song. It was written in 1972 by Shuggie Otis about his girlfriend at the time. She used to write him letters on strawberry scented paper. By the time you can read this for yourself you may not know what a letter is, well it’s like an e mail where the keyboard is actually your hand and a pen and the screen is a piece of paper. The song is about how much Shuggie is looking forward to receiving the 23rd strawberry scented letter from his girlfriend.

Shuggie plays guitar

It appeared on Shuggie’s album ‘Freedom Flight‘ which was released in 1972. That was way back in the olden days when I was a new teenager, your Daddy was still in short trousers, your Mummy was just starting school and Aunty Catherine was learning to speak Welsh. Sadly Shuggie’s version of the song was never a big hit. The Brothers Johnson recorded a cover version of the song in 1977 and they did have a hit with it. Their version reached number 35 in the UK (including Godderwil) and number 5 in the US charts. It was also a chart topper in the US R & B charts. They found the song when George ‘Lighnting Licks’ Johnson (one of the brothers along with Louis) was going out with one of Shuggie Otis’ cousins. He loved the song and persuaded his brother to record it with him. They even had Shuggie play the guitar solo on their first recording of the song, although sadly on their hit version Shuggie’s solo was replaced by one from Lee Ritenour.

The Brothers Johnson

Shuggies name is actually Johnny Alexander Veliotes, Jr. he was named after his Daddy Johnny Otis who was a very famous musician who sadly passed away at the grand old age of 90 earlier this year. So we can see where the Otis part of his name comes from, but what about Shuggie? Well according to his Mummy Phyllis Shuggie was short for sugar, because he was a sweet baby I presume.

The Brothers Johnson Again

The song has been sampled by many artists including Beyonce on her song “Be With You” from her 2003 album ‘Dangerously In Love‘. But my favourite use of a sample of the song is in Outkast’s fabulous song “Ms. Jackson” another one of my all time favourites. I will leave you for now to continue living happily ever after in Godderwil and until next time I hope you enjoy Shuggie Otis’ version of the song followed by the Brothers Johnson’s version. I reckon you might just do a little dance to that one. As a special Oncle Bill bonus you can also hear Outkast performing “Ms Jackson” along with the Brothers Johnson’s other two US R & B number ones; “I’ll Be Good To You” from 1976 and “Stomp” from 1980.

Remember to always dance like nobody’s watching and even if e mail is easier always write some things down 🙂

Dearest Princess Amelia it was a pleasure to spend some time with you at the weekend. You are a very beautiful princess who is a credit to the Kingdom of Godderwil. I’m sure that King John, Queen Caron and all of the rest of the Godderwil royal family are very proud of you. As one of your ‘Odd Parents’ I certainly am and I know that Aunty Catherine is too.

It’s time again for your monthly music lesson and this month I shall focus on a specific song. Not just a random song but one of my favourites that also has a far reaching influence. It was first released in 1979 when I still had traces of shaving rash, being a young whippersnapper of just twenty years young at the time. In those days I still had my mobile DJ partnership with my good friend Glen. Can you guess what we called ourselves? It was ‘Bill and Glen the Disco Men’. Do you like that?

The song was written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards who first played together in a band called New York City who had one massive hit in 1973 called “I’m Doing Fine Now”. Although I suspect that they probably weren’t doing as fine as their song suggested as they never had another hit. For a time Nile and Bernard were not sure what they should do next, they wanted to make good disco records, but they also wanted them to be a little different from everyone else. Nile had been listening to Roxy Music and loved their early free form electronic sound. Both he and Bernard Edwards had also played with many very talented jazz musicians. So they decided to combine those influences along with a very slick production and smooth orchestration and that is how their classic group Chic were born.

I will tell you a bit more about Chic another time, for now let’s learn about that wonderful feel good song that is “Good Times” It really is a fantastic song in it’s own right but it’s main riff has reached across the musical spectrum. The instrumental track was used as the backing track to the first rap hit; “Rappers Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang. Nile and Bernard successfully took the Sugarhill Gang to court over the use of that sound and are now credited as co writers of “Rappers Delight”. A year or two later the “Good Times” sound or something very similar to it could be heard in Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust”, “This Is Radio Clash” from my favourite band of all time ever and “I Need You Tonight” from INXS among others.

George Michael covered the song in concert when he was still a part of Wham back in 1983. It has been sampled a lot since the Sugarhill Gang picked it up. Including Michelle Gayle’s 1995 “Happy Just To Be With You” The original Chic version of the song was available in both 7 and 12 inch vinyl versions that were 3 minutes 24 seconds and 8 minutes 13 seconds long respectively. As a mobile DJ with obvious good taste I in fact owned both versions, although I only have them electronically these days. The song also featured on Chic’s album ‘Risqué’ which included two other hit singles among its total of just seven songs. Those other hits were “My Feet Keep Dancing” and “My Forbidden lover”.

I have copied all the words to the song at the end of this post so that you can sing along to it with the Royal Mummy and Daddy. Really it’s only you that is allowed to call them that though! I said earlier that this is a real feel good song and you can tell it is just by reading some of the lyrics; ‘Leave your cares behind’ and ‘put an end to this stress and strife’, for example. Then there is the mention of boys and girls, you should listen carefully to the girl’s part, which goes ‘Girls will be girls cute pony tails and curls’ so now you know how to do your hair. I would love to say that I have curls and a pony tail, but that would be a little untrue wouldn’t it? Also any song that mentions roller skates has to be pretty cool doesn’t it?

“Good Times” is also an excellent dance song and I hope that you will enjoy dancing to it. All you have to do whenever you dance is to do it as though no one is watching. That’s my philosophy anyway! So follow the instruction in the song ‘Let’s cut a rug, a little jive and jitterbug’ shake your hips and get dancing!

Good times These are the good times

Leave your cares behind

These are the good times Good times

These are the good times

Our new state of mind

These are the good times

Happy days are here again

The time is right For makin’ friends

Let’s get together How ’bout a quarter to ten

Come tomorrow Let’s all do it again

Boys will be boys Better let them have their toys

Girls will be girls Cute pony tails and curls

Must put an end To this stress and strife

I think I want to live the sporting life

Good times These are the good times

Leave your cares behind

These are the good times

Good times These are the good times

Our new state of mind

These are the good times

A rumour has it that It’s getting late

Time marches on Just can’t wait

The clock keeps turning

Why hesitate

You silly fool You can’t change your fate

Let’s cut a rug A little jive and jitterbug

We want the best We won’t settle for less

Don’t be a drag Participate

Clams on the half shell And roller-skates Roller-skates

Good times These are the good times

Leave your cares behind

These are the good times

Good times These are the good times

Our new state of mind

These are the good times

 


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