Congratulations North Carolina! You passed an amendment to ban gay marriage, making it the second amendment in your state to limit marriage rights. In case you were wondering, the first was in the 187s0, when you banned interracial marriage.
I don’t know about you, but news like that makes me want to dance to some incredibly gay disco as an act of defiance. I hope this post can serve as a soundtrack to a giant gay dance party in North Carolina, preferably one outside a church run by closet-case homophobes who all secretly want to drop the bibles and vamp out to “It’s Raining Men.” Specifically, I’m posting tracks from an album called 12 x 12. It’s a compilation of dance tunes that were produced by Patrick Cowley, a dance legend who passed away from AIDS in 1982, leaving behind a brief but vitally important legacy of amazing electronic disco that served as a huge influence for synthpop. Even if you don’t like disco, give this stuff a chance, you might be surprised.
And if you did, or would, vote to ban gay marriage, I hope you get outed as the closet case hatemonger you are. Fuckers.
Don’t Stop (Remix)
Be With You (Holland Remix)
Sylvester was one of the absolute queens of disco, never mind the fact that he was a man. My only experience with him before I bought this LP was his megahit “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” and he’s downright manly on that tune compared to his vocal delivery on these tracks. His voice caught me so off guard on “Sex” that I double-checked the linear notes to make sure I was listening to the right song and that it was indeed a man singing. If you like these tunes, then be sure to check out “Do You Wanna Funk” on iTunes or Amazon, the greatest track that Cowley and Sylvester made together. It’s epic.
Megatron Man (Remix)
Want to know where the Pet Shop Boys got their sound? Listen to this remix of “Megatron Man” and you’ll find out. As for “Menergy,” that’s the second-gayest disco song of all-time, to find out about the first, keep reading.
One Night OnlyScherrie Payne is Freda Payne’s little sister, and was in The Supremes for most of the 70s. This song is a remake of a track that was originally in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls. That version is a torch song ballad (geez that musical has a ton of those doesn’t it?), this version is a disco-tastic bit of fabulousness, it’s way better. I wonder if Cowley ever crafted his own version of “I Am Telling You I Am Not Going”? That would have been intense.
Last CallJolo were Jo-Carol Block Davidson and Lauren Carter. I think they primarily served as vocalists for Cowley, but they did get a writing credit for this song, so they were perhaps more involved in the creative process than a lot of other singers of the era. This track is a typical “I hope I can find someone to go home with before the bar closes” number, but it’s still fun and has a great beat. The synthesized string interlude is excellent.
Modern Rocketry & Jolo
Cuba Libre (Remix)Modern Rocketry have another track on this compilation, a discofied cover of The Monkees’ “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” that really has to be heard to be believed. You can get it on Amazon. As for who Modern Rocketry is, I’ll let their Last.FM profile speak for them:
“They’re not very well known – in fact they’re downright obscure – but what little fame they enjoyed was probably due to their 1985 release, best described as the gayest disco song ever. ‘Homosexuality,’ with its b-side of ‘Thank God For Men.'”
Shocking that a song like that didn’t have crossover appeal.
Don’t Leave Me this WayThelma Houston’s version of “Don’t Leave Me This Way” is one of the very few non-electronic disco tracks that I can appreciate at all, so finding this synthesizer-happy cover was a gift from the gods. Because if there’s anything the original version was missing, it was extraneous laser sound effects.
Jeanie Tracy was a big member of the Cowley camp, and she released several singles for Cowley’s Megatone record label, even after he passed away. She was also a very close friend of Sylvester’s, and reportedly cared for him as he lost his battle with AIDS in 1987.
La Cage Aux FollesLe Jeté released one single, and this is it. I know nothing about them, so if anyone wants to chime in that would be great.