Let’s go back now, to the period after Disco was purged from the airwaves but before House Music was born. Musicologists have dubbed this urban musical outpost “Boogie Music”, dominated by the Funk and Soul artists of the era including Foxy, Slyck and WAR.
For many frustrated fans, Boogie Music has been relegated to something that one knowledgeable observer called “music for people who still wanted to party but weren’t sure if it was safe outside.” But no more. DJ Spinna – whose roots in Hip-Hop, House and Soul have made him one of our generation’s foremost musical archeologists – has put together a fantastic double CD of underground Boogie called The Boogie Back. I interviewed Spinna in November 2009 to talk about it.
What’s your affinity for this genre of music and why did you want to put this collection together?
I love this era of dance music because it takes me back to my early teen years in New York. Roller skating anthems were born during this time, I was really starting to learn my craft as a DJ, and it was a fresh, new sound coming out of the Disco era that ended in the late ’70s.
How would you describe the sound for someone – maybe a younger cat who wasn’t alive then and knows only Disco and House?
Boogie is exactly the period after Disco and right before House Music. It has elements of Funk, Soul and R&B much like House but it’s not always a four on the floor beat. It’s feel good music you can dance to.
How many of these tracks did you remix for the project?
I only remixed one song: “I’m Your Superman” by Jan Leslie Holmes.
You’ve got a mixed CD for the fans and an unmixed CD for the DJs, and a lot of these have never been released in digital format before. Is your intention to spread this around and try to bring about a resurgence among your fellow selectors?
That’s usually why these compilations are made in the first place, to reintroduce the music to people that never had access to it, and also to provide the tracks in a digital format for DJs and collectors wishing to preserve their vinyl.
Were these songs you’ve featured in your sets or did this take some serious work to track a lot of these songs down?
I own all the records that are on The Boogie Back. Compiling mainstream classics defeats the purpose of doing a comp. If you can just download the songs from iTunes, then why bother putting together a compilation? The overlooked rarities are more appealing. There are some selections that are more common than others on here but for the most part the idea is to pick underground tracks and make them all accessible for the DJ and collector.
You picked one of my favorite WAR tracks, “The World Is A Ghetto”. Do you think WAR is getting more appreciation these days as more than sort of the “funky novelty act” they’ve been lampooned as for the last few decades?
If you’re really into WAR you could never consider them a novelty act. They’re catalogue is too big and they have an abundance of hits. “Slippin’ Into Darkness”, “Galaxy”, “Why Can’t We Be Friends”, “Baby Brother”, “City Country City”, “The Chase” – all massive jams. For those in the know, WAR has always been appreciated.
So what’s coming up next?
I’m about to hit the studio with Nona Hendryx! She wants to work on a House record!