BOMBAY DISCO VOLUME 2.

BOMBAY DISCO VOLUME 2.

1979 was a landmark year in the history of disco. Suddenly, after being the musical flavour of the month for several years, disco sucked. In the space of a year, disco went from hero to zero. Disco’s downfall started on Christmas Eve 1978, 

That’s when Steve Dahl was fired by Chicago radio station WDAI. It had previously been a rock station, but switched to disco. Steve wasn’t out of work long. He was hired by WLUP, a rival station. WLUP played rock, which suited Steve Dahl. He’d an inkling that disco wasn’t long for this world. 

Steve wasn’t a fan of disco, and took to mocking disco on-air. Openly, he mocked WDAI’s “disco DAI.” It became “disco die” to to Steve. Soon, Steve had created the Insane Coho Lips, his very own anti-disco army. Along with cohost Gary Meier, they coined the now infamous slogan “Disco Sucks.” The backlash had begun.

From there, the Disco Sucks movement gathered momentum. Events were held all over America. This came to a head at Disco Demolition Derby, which was Steve Dahl’s latest anti-disco event. Each one was becoming bigger, rowdier and attracting even more publicity. Disco Demolition Derby, which was held at Comiskey Park, Chicago on 12th July 1979 surpassed everything that went before. WFUL were sponsoring a Chicago White Sox game at Comiskey Park. if fans brought with them a disco record, they’d get in for ninety-eight cents. These records would be blown up by Steve Dahl. An estimated crowd between 20-50,000 people attended. Quickly the event descended into chaos. Vinyl was thrown from the stands like frisbees. Then when Steve blew up the vinyl, fans stormed the pitch and rioted. Things got so bad, that the riot police were called. After the Disco Demolition Derby, disco nearly died.

Following Disco Derby Night, disco’s popularity plunged. Disco artists were dropped by major labels, disco labels folded and very few disco albums were released. Disco was on the critical list, and suffered a near death experience. It took a long time to recover. After disco’s demise, dance music changed. 

No longer were record labels willing to throw money at dance music. Budgets were suddenly much smaller. Gone were the lavish productions of the disco orchestras of the seventies. This was epitomised by The Salsoul Orchestra and John Davis and The Monster Orchestra. Strings and horns were now a luxury. Music would have to go back to basics. Not in India, which was just discovering disco.

Somewhat belatedly, in 1979, India discovered disco. Bappi Lahiri had been caught up in the disco boom. However, it was the disco-lite diet of the Bee Gees, Abba and the dreaded Boney M that Bappi was weaned on. Some of this, would go onto influence him as a composer.

Bappi was a musical prodigy, who was born into a musical family. He grew up to become a songwriter, musician and musical director. Indeed, Bappi was the youngest musical director in India. He was a teenager when he started writing scores for Bengali films. His first success came with Chalte Chalte in 1975, when he was only twenty-two. Four years later, in 1979, Bappi got his big break.

By 1979, Bappi was twenty-six. He was already  prolific composer, with a successful track record. That’s why the producer of Surakksha Gunmaster G9 approached Bappi. He told Bappi: “I want you to give me music like in Saturday Night Fever.” That’s what Bappi delivered. Bombay Disco had just been born. 

Bombay Disco provided the soundtrack to just about ever Indian movie released during that period. Literally, Bombay disco provided the backdrop to dramas, historical epics, curry westerns and horror films. What had become known as Bombay Disco was disco, but given a unique, flamboyant twist. This meant disco that was funky, soulful and lavish, tinged with sitars, tablas and grandiose orchestras. Sometimes, the music was better than the film. Eventually, Bombay Disco became popular outside of India.

Crate diggers, DJs and record collectors discovered Bombay Disco. Before long, the music became not just popular, but collectable amongst discerning music loves. However, still, Bombay Disco, was regarded as one of music’s best kept secrets. Then in March 2014, Bombay Disco-Disco-Disco Hits From Hindi Films 1979-1985 was released by Cultures Of Soul Records. It featured thirteen slices of the finest Bombay Soul. Released to widespread critical acclaim, it’s no surprise that nine months later comes the followup, Bombay Disco Volume 2.

For Bombay Disco Volume 2, Brother Cleve has hit the crates again. He’s dug deeper than he’s ever dug before. Brother Cleve has dug deep into his record collection in search of forgotten classics and hidden gems. Eventually, Brother Cleve settled on a dozen Bombay Disco delights. This includes contributions from Sadhana Sargam, Ash Bhosle, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and the Godfather of Bombay Disco, Bappi Lahiri. These are just a few of the artists on Bombay Disco Volume 2, which I’ll tell you about.

Opening Bombay Disco Volume 2 is Sadhana Sargam’s Saat Samundar Paar. It featured on the soundtrack to Vishwatma, which was released in 1992. By then, music was changing in India. The “traditional” Bombay Disco sound was evolving. There’s an eighties electro influence admits the fusion of funk, pop and soul. Sometimes, the track sounds like a homage to the Pet Shop Boys, as the Bombay Disco era closes.

Asha Bhosle’s Pass Aao Na was released back in 1982. It’s a track from the Sumbandh soundtrack which the the Godfather of Bombay Disco, Bappi Lahiri cowrote. The arrangement in much more understated, with hissing hi-hats reminiscent of a seventies Blaxploitation movie. After that, the track becomes dramatic, funky, soulful and sultry.

The drama continues on Aaya Sanam Aaya Deewana Tera. It comes courtesy of TeraKishore Kumar and Chorus. Released in 1982, composer Rahul  Dev Burnam fuses Eastern, Indian and Western influences. To that, he adds a healthy dose of sound effects and sci-fi sounds. When all this is combined, the result is a cinematic track that’s variously dramatic, ethereal and orchestral.

Taqdeer Ka Badshah was the title-track to the 1982 soundtrack. It marks the return of the man who gave birth to Bombay Disco, Bappi Lahiri. Here, Bappi Lahiri and Chorus are responsible for a captivating eleven minute epic. It’s full of twists and turns. From an understated string laden arrangement, the track always threatens to explode into life. Having relentlessly teased and taunted the listener, this powder keg of an arrangement is unleashed, and explodes into life.

Five years after penning their first soundtrack, the Raamlaxaman partnership returned with the soundtrack to Tumhaare Bina. By 1982, Raam had died and had been replaced by Vijay Patil. Still, however, the Raamlaxaman name survived. Sweety Seventeen is a track from Behroze Chatterjee and Chorus, that featured on the Tumhaare Bina soundtrack. Jazzy, dance-floor friendly and with a nod to Abba’s Mamma Mia, Sweety Seventeen is a hidden, obscure Bombay Disco gem.

Disco, electro, funk and soul melt into one on Disco Music (Aka Are Dil Se Dil Mile). It’s a track by R D Burman, Chorus. R D Burman delivers what can only be described as a vocal powerhouse. His growling vocal sits atop a jazz-tinged vocal and is accompanied by braying horns. Then after two minutes, it’s all over. All you’re left with is the memory of this irresistible slice of Bombay Disco.

Just like the previous track, Hotel Mein Bottle, from the 1984 Pepi Petka Sawal Hai soundtrack, has a pulsating rhythm. It’s at the heart of the sound and success of this track from Sharda. Atop the arrangement, sits  a wonderfully over the top vocal which is a homage to alcohol. Proof of this are lyrics like “come on have a drink, what is your spirit, Martini, Campari, Hennessey, Vodka, Champagne, Rum Sherry, Cognac.” 

As Dance Music unfolds, Hridaynath Mangeshkar is responsible for an arrangement that wouldn’t sound out of place on a seventies Blaxploitation movie. Soon, it’s given a Bombay Disco twist. It’s disco, but not as we know it. Choppy drums, bubbling synths and percussion are added to the instrumental version of Idbar Aa Aa Bhi Ja. It was a huge hit single on its release in 1980. This instrumental is a genre-melting track, where Eastern, Indian and Western influences to create a dramatic, cinematic slice of Dance Music.

From the get go, Sharon Prabhakar, Parvati Khan and Ursula’s bursts joyously and melodically into life. Hooks certainly haven’t been spared. It’s taken from the soundtrack to Shart, which was released back in 1985. The pounding rhythm section, including an uber funky bass, drives the arrangement along. Searing guitar, stabs of horns and a Hammond organ join urgent harmonies from a trio of disco divas in creating one of the highlights of Bombay Disco Volume 2.

Asha Bhosle’s Jab Chaye was released back in 1980. It’s a track from the soundtrack Lootmaar. As the track unfolds, elements of classic disco and Bombay disco melt into one. Swathes of trademark strings dance sit above the rhythm section and bursts of scorching guitar. They provide the backdrop for Asha Bhosle’s diva-esque vocal, as she struts her way through the track.

Dramatic. That’s the only word that describes the introduction to Kumar Sanu, Jolly Mukherjee and Chorus’ Main Jaadugar. It sounds like the introduction to a Hollywood blockbuster. Instead, it’s from the Jaadugar soundtrack, which was released in 1989. After the dramatic introduction, neither the drama nor quality drops. Jolly Mukherjee and Chorus’ Bollywood soundtrack that’s up to Hollywood standards.

It’s fitting that a track from The Godfather of Bombay Disco, Bappi Lahiri, closes Bombay Disco Volume 2. He’s the man who founded the genre in 1979. Seven years later, in 1986, Bappi’s music was constantly evolving. He was determined not to produce formulaic music. Dance Music sees Bappi take advantage of the latest technology.  Synths and drum machines are at the heart of the arrangement. So are stabs of horns, la-la-la harmonies and later, funky chiming guitars. They drive this two minute track to its glorious, dramatic crescendo. 

Often, followups fail to live up to the first in a series. There’s often a good reason for this. The compiler has used their best tracks first time round. Not Brother Cleve, the compiler of Bombay Disco Volume 2. Somehow, Bombay Disco Volume 2 manages to surpass the quality of Bombay Disco-Disco-Disco Hits From Hindi Films 1979-1985. It was released back in March 2014. Nine months later, and Bombay Disco Volume 2 has been released by Cultures Of Soul Records. Quite simply, Bombay Disco Volume 2 oozes quality.

Bombay Disco Volume 2 is twelve tracks of hidden gems and long, forgotten Bombay Disco classics. Many of these tracks will be new to even the most dedicated and discerning fan of Bombay Disco. Compiler Brother Cleve has turned his back on the predictable and obvious tracks. That’s not for him. There’s a multitude of hidden gems awaiting discovery. It’s all just a matter of knowing where to dig, and having the patience and persistence. Brother Cleve has plenty patience and persistence. After all, many of the tracks on Bombay Disco Volume 2 have been long forgotten.

They were part of the soundtrack to dramas, historical epics, curry westerns and horror films. What had become known as Bombay Disco was disco, but given a unique, flamboyant twist. This meant disco that was funky, soulful and lavish. Songs were tinged with sitars, tablas and grandiose orchestras. Sometimes, the music was better than the film. Eventually, Bombay Disco became popular outside of India.

Eventually, crate diggers, DJs and record collectors somewhat belatedly, discovered Bombay Disco. Before long, the music became not just popular, but collectable amongst discerning music loves. However, still, Bombay Disco, was regarded as one of music’s best kept secrets. Not any more. 

That’s thanks to labels like Cultures Of Soul Records and the two Bombay Disco compilation they’ve released during 2014. Thanks to Cultures Of Soul records, Bombay Disco is no longer one of music’s best kept secrets. Far from it. Bombay Disco-Disco-Disco Hits From Hindi Films 1979-1985 and Bombay Disco Volume 2 are the perfect introduction to what was previously, one of music’s best kept secrets. 

BOMBAY DISCO VOLUME 2.

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