NANA LOVE-DISCO DOCUMENTARY FULL OF FUNK.
NANA LOVE-DISCO DOCUMENTARY FULL OF FUNK.
Disco. Never has a musical genre caused so much controversy. It divided opinion back in the seventies. Even today, disco continues to divide opinion. That’s why disco has been described as Marmite music. People seem to either love or loathe disco. There seems to be no in between. Controversy even surrounds disco’s birth.
What was the first disco record is disputed. Ask a hundred music critics, and they’ll give you a different answer. Some critics believe disco was born in 1971, with Barry White and Isaac Hayes pioneering the disco sound. Other critics think 1972 was the year disco was born. They point towards singles like The O’Jays’ Love Train, Jerry Butler’s One Night Affair or Manu Dibango’s Soul Makossa. Even 1972 might be too early for disco’s birth?
It could be that disco wasn’t born until 1973, when the Hues Corporation released Rock The Boat. Some critics think George McCrae’s 1974 number one single got the disco ball rolling. However, it’s thought that disco was already celebrating its first birthday by then. The first article in the music press about disco was penned by Vince Aletti for Rolling Stone magazine in September 1973. Little did Vince know, he’d just written the first article about a true musical phenomenon.
Disco was born in America. Music historians have traced disco’s roots to clubs in Philly and New York. These two cities would play an important part in a disco. Philly and New York were where many of the most successful disco records were recorded. They were also home to some of disco’s top labels, Salsoul Records, SAM Records, West End Records and Casablanca. New York was also home to some of the top clubs, including David Mancuso’s Loft and Studio 54. Although born in America, soon disco’s influence was being felt worldwide.
Around the world, dancers danced to the disco beat. Disco crossed the continents. Soon, nightclubs in Britain, Australia, Canada and Germany danced to the disco beat. Before long, disco’s influence had spread to Africa.
Having succumbed to pulsating rhythms of funk, Africa was soon won over by disco. Swathes of lush strings, rasping horns and a pulsating beat were hard to resist. Africa was wonder over by disco. It then gave it a twist. Afro-beat and highlife were combined with disco. The music was funky, soulful and dance-floor friendly. That describes the music on Nana Love’s Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk, which will be released on BBE Music on 11th August 2014.
Nana Love’s Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk is the third instalment of BBE’s Masters We Love series. For the latest stop in BBE Music’s crate-digging adventure, they found themselves at the home of producer Reindorf Oppong. He produced Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk. It’s remembered fondly by crate-diggers, record collectors and connoisseurs of all things disco. Why? Well, Nana Love’s Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk is one of the most mysterious Afro-disco records of the late seventies.
When BBE Music met Reindorf, it transpired that he had the original master tapes to Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk. Even better, they were in good shape. Then BBE Music caught a break. They were getting the tapes restored when five previously unheard tracks were discovered. For everyone involved with the project, they couldn’t believe their luck. After all, the five tracks on the original version of Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk have everything.
The five songs on the original Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk were written by Nana. So were the previously unreleased songs. Then there’s Nana’s voice. She could’ve and should’ve been a disco diva. Especially with some hugely talented musicians accompanying her.
Recording of Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk took place in London in 1978. The rhythm section features drummer Tony Martin, bassist Grek Haywood and guitarists Harry Mosco, Les Forrest and Paul Pryce. They’re joined by Humphrey Okoh-Turner on horns, percussionist Ayindi, pianist Richard Reid and Adrian Bennett on synths. Producing Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk was Reindorf Oppong. Once Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk was recorded, it was released in 1978.
Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk was a private pressing. It was released on the San Diego label, Nestor Records in 1978. Unfortunately, like many private pressings Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk wasn’t a commercial success. However, since then, Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk has become a cult record. It’s a prized possession among crate-diggers, record collectors and connoisseurs of all things disco. You’ll realise why, when I tell you about Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk.
Opening Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk is I’m In Love, a twelve minute epic. From the get-go, the rhythm section get busy. Along with chiming guitars they provide an uber funky heartbeat. Stabs of Afro-beat horns and washes of synths sweep in. They provide the backdrop for the sweet, sultry and sassy sound of Nana Love. She struts her way through the track. Then when her vocal drops out, horns take charge. They’re joined by a tough, funky rhythm section. When Nana’s vocal returns, it’s a mixture of power and passion. Again, banks of synths unite with the rhythm section to create a tough, funky sound. In the background, a piano provides a contrast. After that, Nano returns. Harmonies answer her call as seamlessly, she and her band fuse elements of Afro-beat, disco, funk, jazz and soul.
Synths set the scene for blazing horns and the funky rhythm section on We Gonna Stay For The Party. Then comes the unmistakable sound of Nana Love. She makes the song her own. As her vocal drops out, the band take centre-stage. Their funk masterclass seems to spur Nana on. Her vocal is feisty and powerful. By then, her band are combining Afro-beat, funk, jazz and soul. Horns and the funky rhythm section unite. Banks of keyboards play their part. Later, a flute is added. When it drops out this glorious fusion builds and builds until it reaches a majestic crescendo.
As Talking About Music unfolds, Nana literally struts her way through the lyrics. She seems to draw inspiration from Eartha Kitt, Esther Phillips and Charo. Her vocal is a mixture of sass, power and attitude. This spurs her band on. They explode into life. Bubbling synths, percussion and the rhythm section unite. Nana hollers and roars, as if encouraging her band to greater heights. This works. They lock into the tightest of grooves. A flute and synths play starring roles as Nana’s band produce a funk masterclass.
Braying horns and a pounding bass open Disco Lover. Then Nana announces “it’s disco time.” Her vocal is much more tender. It’s also needy and hopeful. As for her band, they fuse musical genres, including elements of boogie, disco, funk, highlife and jazz. Again there’s a similarity to Charo. Enveloping her vocal is a myriad of percussion, a flute, blazing horns and keyboards. Anchoring the arrangement is the rhythm section. Thunderous drums and a slapped bass. Later, Nana’s vocal veers between joyous and sensual, as she dawns the role of disco diva.
Sahara/Chains Of Love closed the original version of Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk is I’m In Love. There’s a reggae feel to this laid-back, melodic tracks. As the arrangement chugs along, the rhythm section, braying horns and keyboards provide the backdrop for Nana. She unleashes a vocal full of hurt and heartbeat. Harmonies sweep in, as if trying to sooth Nana’s hurt. The finishing touch is a sultry, wistful saxophone solo. It tugs at your heartstrings, before the track heads to a wistful close. That isn’t the end of Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk. There’s still the bonus tracks to come.
Although Sahara/Chains Of Love was the final track on the original version of Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk is I’m In Love, there’s more to come. Five more tracks. Hang On Baby is a real find. Thunderous drums, funky bass and chiming guitars provide the backdrop for Nana’s vamp. She’s like a disco Shaman. Her raison d’être is to fill dance-floors. To do this, Nana and her band combine Afro-beat, disco, funk and soul. She hollers, shrieks and struts her way through this nine minute epic hidden gem.
There’s not drop in the quality as When The Heart Decides bursts into life. As usual, Nana encourages her band along. They burst into life, combining musical genres and influences. Elements of Afro-beat, disco, funk and soul shine through. Nana swaggers its way through the lyrics. All the time, the rhythm section, percussion and crystalline guitars provide a frenzied backdrop. Later, dusty Hammond organ sweeps in. It adds another layer to this irresistible fusion of musical genres.
Reach Out A Hand sees a drop in tempo. Sultry horns float and the rhythm section float along. They provide the backdrop for another heartfelt, soul-baring vocal from Nana. Stabs of Hammond organ drift in. Guitars reverberate, horns growl and flourishes of Hammond combine. Together, they provide the perfect backdrop for Nana’s heartbroken, soulful vocal.
Two different versions of Loving Feeling close Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk. The first version is the dance mix. It’s just under six minutes long and would’ve filled many a dance-floor. Furiously funky, incredibly soulful and dance-floor friendly, it features a musical masterclass from Nana Love and her band. The other version of Loving Feeling is a three minute instrumental version. Even without the vocal, the song works. It allows you to hear just how tight and talented Nana’s band were, as they mix a potent and heady brew of Afro-beat, funk and soul.
Thirty-six years after Nana Love released Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk on San Diego based Nestor Records, the album will be rereleased by BBE Music on 11th September 2014. Nana Love’s Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk is the third instalment of BBE’s Masters We Love series. This is the perfect addition to this series. After all, over the last thirty-six years, Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk has become a cult record. It’s a also a highly collectable record. Copies are changing hands for up to £360. That puts Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk beyond the reach of most people. Not any more.
BBE Music discovered that the producer of Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk, Reindorf Oppong still had the master tapes. So, BBE Music decided to rerelease Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk. It was long overdue a rerelease. Here was an album that had never before been released on CD. With the ever increasing interest in disco, now was the time to rerelease Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk. Before that the master tapes had to be restored.
They were thirty-six years old. It was during this laborious process that the bonus tracks were released. None of the five tracks had been released before. For everyone concerned, this was an unexpected bonus. Especially when you hear the five tracks. This makes the newly released version of Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk a must have for fans of Nana Love. However, it’s not just fans of Nana Love, the newly released version of Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk will appeal to.
Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk isn’t just a disco album. There’s elements of Afro-beat, boogie, funk, highlife, jazz and plenty of soul. So, not only will Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk appeal to anyone who remembers the heady, decadent days of disco, but fans of Afro-beat, boogie, funk, highlife, jazz and soul. Quite simply, Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk is a delicious fusion of musical genres and influences.
There no doubt about that. One listen and you’ll realise why crate-diggers, record collectors and connoisseurs of disco are always on the look out for a copy of Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk. Quite simply, it’s a glorious fusion of Afro-beat, funk, highlife, jazz and soul. It’s a heady, hypnotic and potent brew, one that should be tasted often. So, drink deeply from the cup that’s Nana Love’s Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk and you won’t regret it. Nana Love’s Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk is an intoxicating and heady brew, and one that should be tasted often.
NANA LOVE-DISCO DOCUMENTARY FULL OF FUNK.
- Posted in: Afrobeat ♦ Disco ♦ Funk ♦ Soul
- Tagged: Disco Documentary–Full Of Funk, Masters We Love, Nana Love, Reindorf Oppong