Music Stunt 2009

Stunt 2009: Week 9 – Disco

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

One of the problems with disco music is that there tend to be about 8,000 different versions and remixes of each song, so it’s hard to get hold of the definitive version. Still, here’s an incomplete Spotify playlist which hopefully comes close.

1. **Law Of The Land** The Temptations – the obligatory “historical significance” entry in the playlist, this one starts quite promisingly but goes downhill when you realise it’s just going to squat on a C chord for ages, with no direction or dynamic. There’s a cute little breakdown at about the 3 minute mark but it only lasts for 20 seconds.

2. **Ten Percent** Double Exposure – this one was relatively hard to get hold of, and isn’t on Spotify. It is on YouTube though. The version that I’ve been listening to all week is a thrilling 9:45, which has impacted my view of it somewhat. The version on YouTube is just over 4 minutes long, and much more bearable. Atrocious sound quality though. Anyway, to the song – all of the disco cliches are in evidence here – the brass stabs, the slow strings with the fast run in the chorus, a very funky bassline. Adds up to a very fine disco song.

3. **Don’t Leave Me This Way** Thelma Houston – words cannot describe how much I love this song. Utterly fabulous bassline, and the build up to the first chorus is so perfect that it makes me cry. If your only experience of this is the Communards’ version then you really are missing out.

4. **You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)** Sylvester – again, the original is far superior to the Jimmy Somerville version that you are more likely to be familiar with, but the difference is not so pronounced as with the previous song. That said, it feels a bit busy – I think there are some bongos in there, along with a palm-muted electric guitar (or something that sounds a lot like it) that just don’t let up, and it leaves the song without enough room to breathe. It’s also a bit long – a 3-minute version of this track would be far more listenable than this 6-minute version, but perhaps a bit less disco-friendly.

5. **Weekend** Phreek – the version that I’ve been listening to all week is shorter than the one on the Spotify playlist, provided. Which is the definitive version? I do not know. Anyway, this song is another hit, in my opinion. It takes the best part of a minute to get going, and you have the feeling that there’s something great about to happen. And indeed, there is. There’s a great melody here, with a most appropriate slap bass line.

6. **I Feel Love** Donna Summer – I think you probably already know this one. Very memorable, it’s a song that you think has been rendered lame and cheesy through overexposure, until you actually listen to it and realise the depth in the arrangement.

7. **I Will Survive** Gloria Gaynor – what do you mean, you’ve never heard the Shiny Tight Stuff version?

8. **Disco Circus** Martin Circus – this seems like a fairly dull house track. Not sure what it’s doing in a disco playlist. Maybe I’ve accidentally picked up a remix or something, but it’s all I could find with this title.

9. **Vertigo/Relight My Fire** Dan Hartman – okay, so I will try to put this as unconfusingly as possible. The song on Spotify is eleven minutes long ((it is referred to on Wikipedia as the Full Length Version)). The first half is *Vertigo* which is a sort of instrumental thing that’s rather groovy, and builds up the suspense nicely, and the second half is *Relight My Fire* but it’s a version that doesn’t seem to have verses. It’s too long, and fairly dull. However, the song that I’ve been listening to all week is less than four minutes ((I think this is the one referred to on Wikipedia as the Radio Version)), and is just *Relight My Fire* but with verses. So much more akin to the version that Take That did. Having explained all of this, I’m bored of the subject and can’t be arsed to bother reviewing it. Which is a shame, because if I *could* be arsed to review it, I’d actually have some positive things to say about it. TOO MANY REMIXES! TO THE BACK TEETH I AM SICK!

10. **Go Bang #5** Dinosaur L – another rather boring dance song, this one has delusions of artiness. It just comes off as pretentious and clumsy. Again, it doesn’t seem to belong on this playlist.

God, I love disco.

The next week’s playlist

Random number: 233
Only one playlist on this page – Natalie Merchant & 10,000 Maniacs. And yes, that’s on the facing page to Memphis – I’m starting to wonder about whether this random number generator is really random. The book says:

> The Maniacs were a quintessential college-rock band, yoking good-time party-boy musicians to a solemn singer-songwriter… who finally took off for a solo career.

I could only find half of the songs on Spotify, but here’s the playlist anyway.

My Bands

Shiny Tight Stuff

*Much of the information here is redundant, since I’ve already written one extensive blog post on this subject, but I’m rewriting it here so as to follow the structure established in the first post in this series.*

Who were we?

* **Craig** played guitar and wrote songs. As time went by, he also developed a role as vocalist.
* **Nathan** played keyboards and sang backing vocals. He also had occasional turns as songwriter and lead vocalist.
* **Jim** was the drummer.
* and I played bass, wrote songs and sang vocals. Initially I did all the singing, but my role gradually decreased as Craig gained confidence, and when Nathan joined the band.

How did we meet?

Craig, Nathan and I all went to secondary school together. The story of how I met Craig is chronicled elsewhere on this site, but we didn’t become good friends until five years later, and we formed the band quite soon after that.

For a brief period, the band also included a friend of Craig’s called Martin. He joined us for a couple of gigs (second and third) and an album, but the less said about that, the better.

Nathan was a good friend of mine who I had known since I was 11 years old. Once the band had been going for about a year, he joined us as an occasional live musician, and eventually became a full-time member. Craig met Jim at college, after we’d all left school – the band had been going for about two years at that point.

My Bands


Who were we?

* **Ajay** played lead guitar and wrote most of the original songs. He came from a wealthy family, and was the only one of us to ever drink so much alcohol before a gig that they could barely keep their eyes open.
* **Chris** was the drummer, and had “the classic drummer physique”.
* **Scott** played acoustic guitar and was the lead singer. When I met him he had fairly long, curly hair, though these days he is a lawyer and has a shorter, more conservative trim.
* and I played bass and performed backing vocals. I also sang the lead vocals on *Belinda*, which was a song that I wrote.

How did we meet?

I met Scott on my first day at University, as we lived on the same corridor in first-year accommodation (Rootes J, ground floor). We learned of each others musical talents early in conversation, and my initial impression was “he has long hair. I have never had a male friend with long hair before. Therefore we shall clearly be incompatible.”

At some point in the second term, he approached me and said “I’ve hooked up with a few guys through BandSoc and we’re looking for a bassist. Interested?” and I said “Yeah, why not.”

Originally we were a five-piece, but the guy called Nick (who played guitar) only showed up sporadically and so we booted him out.


The Best Days

I used to think that the best days of my life were behind me. I would look back on carefree times, knowing that I’d never be able to get them back. I’d never again make a nuisance of myself on a University campus, and [Shiny Tight Stuff][] would never again spend an entire summer drinking beer in the afternoons and making music.

[shiny tight stuff]:

Yesterday morning, while lying in bed and listening to Bernard making silly gurgling noises, I realised that these are the best days. Right now. Maybe there will be some more best days in 20 years, when Bernard has left home, and Karen and I can let our hair down at last, but I’m not going to make any assumptions about what the future holds.

The best days can’t be captured and preserved. Photographs can remind you that you were there, but you can’t retrieve the emotions that you felt. Photographs of good times just make me weepy and nostalgic.

Words can remind you what the emotions were, but not how to reconstruct them; just like how the word “skyscraper” doesn’t contain sufficient detail to tell you how to build one.

Wisdom can be very depressing, can’t it? I’m looking forward to spending some time with someone who doesn’t have any of it.

About Me My Bands

A brief history of Shiny Tight Stuff

Foundation (to 9 months)

Shiny Tight Stuff is the name of the band that I formed with my friend Craig at the end of 1997. A few months earlier I had bought my first bass guitar, after years of listening to music and imagining that I was up there on stage. I realised that there was no reason why it shouldn’t be me, and so I took the plunge. It was only a matter of weeks later that Craig, motivated by my own bravery, decided to get a guitar and join the fray. It was on the 27th December 1997 that I was idly flicking through a video games magazine in Craig’s bedroom, and I remarked “I wish I had a girlfriend so that I could make her wear shiny tight things.” Craig responded “Shiny Tight Things would be a good name for a band.” Hold on, we thought – we’re a band… kinda. In fact, the only thing stopping us from being a band at this stage was the fact that we didn’t have a name. Literally within minutes, we realised that by giving ourselves a name, we could legitimately claim to be in a band, and impress the girlies. Initially Shiny Tight Things, we took a poll amongst our friends and agreed that Shiny Tight Stuff was marginally catchier.

Music Original Music


You may have noticed a phenomenal number of Shiny Tight Stuff songs slipping into my audioscrobbler playlist lately. This is because we have our next recording session coming up soon, and this time I am determined to do it right.

As our sessions have become more and more spread out, I have spent less time playing the bass. Until the session is a week away, I will generally forget to play, and so by the time we get round to the actual session, my hands are weak, relatively unco-ordinated, and my endurance is severely wanting.

This time, I’m making at least an hour available every evening for playing through the songs that we are in the process of recording or re-recording. This way, when it comes to the session, I hope to be tight and able to play through the songs without my hands getting tired. I’ve noticed a marked improvement in the quality of my bass playing over the course of the last few days – it’s much more relaxed, more groovy, there’s definite potential for it to slip really smoothly amongst the other instruments and provide a foundation that I can be proud of.

Karen, in the meantime, is neglected.

*Originally posted here*