A compilation of the highest order from one of 80s disco’s most important and musically diverse groups.
To stand tall amongst the plethora of sounds inspired by the dancefloor during the early 1980s, you really had to have a special sound going on. Certain clubs around the world were pushing new sounds, inspired by DJs who broke trends and conventions in terms of mixing and blending genres. This gave birth to the dubby side of disco, the pumped up Chicago stylings, and the fast paced side of 80s disco, that was aided by genres such Italo and HI-NRG. Many bands and groups experienced these changes and got to work in the studio, looking to tap into this almost boundless morphology that was occurring, to harness the energy and keep the smiles on peoples faces. These records would in turn turn the heat up, keep the clubs moving til the early hours, and continually add to dance musics rich evolutions during this time period.
Weeks & Co. certainly had that in spades. Lead by the singer song writer Richie Weeks, a former member of the Jammers and Hot Cargo amongst others, the band continually evolved their sounds to reflect or move forward the heartbeat of the floor. Weeks was well known for his dabbling in genres such as boogie and electro, and this certainly showed within the groups diverse and varied outputs of the 1980s. Not to mention that Jocelyn Brown and Melis’sa Morgan were singers in the band, you had a truly all star line up. This compilation truly does bring together their best tunes, highlighting their forward thinking approaches to not only more traditional disco music but their incorporation of sounds that were being developed in clubs such as the Garage and the Power Plant and Warehouse. We see the use of electro sounds, early Chicago house, alongside the stylings of more full disco sounds that helps to complete a wonderful overview of their outputs. From their outputs on Salsoul, to Prelude and Unidisc, this comp has you covered on all fronts. So lets take a dip!
Up first we have ‘If You’re looking for fun’, from their 1983 single release on Salsoul. A proper beauty, with the synth work of particular note. The tune incorporates numerous standard stylings of 80s disco, with guitar riffs paired back to simple licks rather than full bodied riffs, choral vocal depth, and the synths leading the way. This tune throws in a lot of proper different styles, as the bass line is paired down but acts as this beating heart of the track. It works perfectly with the synth chords, and as the lead vocals come in for the verses, this is where the magic is contained. The interplay between backing vocals, as they chant ‘if you’re looking for fun’ and ‘I’ll be the one’, is fantastic, over the sparseness of the bass line and keys. It contrasts so nicely to the full bodied chorus, where the deep pads come back into play with horns to boot. The little intricacies, such as the final lines in each verse, the claps, and the guitar solo followed by fantastic backing vocal work, just add to the richness of the track. ‘Go With The Flow’ comes next, that begins out in the futuristic jazz club. Then it moves through into the drum beat, beautiful bass lines, a wonderful muted guitar riff chugging away, alongside cosmic riffs. Horns ablazin’, playing alongside sparse vocals, before the full as fuck chorus comes in, joined by the guitar. The first verse follows, that seamlessly moves through all the compositional elements on display from the previous parts of the tune. It just continues on in the same vein, displaying such richness, particularly within the synth work, but its the transitions that occur between the various compositional elements that remain this songs greatest strength. You just cannot not join in with the chants on this most excellent of tracks! Up next comes ‘Rock Your World’, and it begins off with the most well crafted of synth lines ever! The drums and the groove begin off proceedings, as the intro continues on with its never ending journey. This gives the tune such momentum, as the chants of ‘Rock your world!’ permeate through, and continue through into the verse. Little is left behind during this transition, but then comes this beautiful break, as the groove breaks down to provide a proper emotive moment. The tune then just picks itself up from there, with some additional horn work the icing on the cake of a beautiful up tempo disco groover, with some surprise thrown in for good measure. Delightful!
If the first three tracks were a sign of Weeks’ disco outputs, then the next couple of tracks are proper excursions into the more dancy side of 80s disco. ‘Knock Knock’ kicks this off, with a repeating vocal sample, proper Chicago style drumming work outs, its all here. Some little conga beats thrown in there, as the keys jump in for good measure, its a beaty vocal work out. The melodic elements come in hard, groovy guitars and keys abound, jumping around between the beats, creating an impossibly funk workout. It sounds so fresh, a proper incorporation of all kinds of styles and genres, bringing together the best of all kinds. The song evolves wonderfully too, not too sharp, but just smooth as hell. A brilliant tune. Next comes ‘Tunnel of Love’, that begins with some more big and deep vocal work. Before the drums kick in, joined by some deep bass lines and synths. The paired back stylings is on point, allowing so much room for every instrument to sing as loud as they want. Fucking glorious groove! The tune takes a break from its never ending groove to break it down a bit, before it slips right back into it, the drums pounding hard as hell, bringing the groove straight back into the hearts and minds. This is a masterclass in creating sparse, dubby yet fucking emotive disco music. Every inch of this track feels so perfect, the composition so on point. You just can’t not move! ‘Rockin’ It in the Pocket’ comes next, and what begins with some proper vocoder work transcends into this beautiful series of synths, a perfect blend of tone and emotion. The vocals come in and just add that extra little something we all needed, but the synth work remains the star of the show here, as it moves between lines and pads effortlessly. Next comes ‘Rock Candy’, and oh yes we feel this one hard. The keys, catchy and uplifting, are joined swiftly by bass lines and drums that provide this beautiful under lay to it all. The vocals again play along with it all, coming in at all the right places, as they add some extra cuteness to the proceedings. The intrusmentation in this track is off the chain, it just keeps getting better and better, more and more evolved, more and more dense. But it then moves to these sparse moments of reflection, where we just get lost in the groove rather than the keys. A wonderful contrast, and executed perfectly. Towards the business end now, up next comes Shep Pettibone’s edit of ‘If you’re looking for Fun’. The cosmic levels come up a level here, with more of an emphasis on the backing vocals, along with the contrasts between the chorus transitions, making for a more hands in the air experience, and oh what a beauty it is. Its pure dubby aesthetic shines through, the experience a smokescreen of the club, where the dancers create their own narratives between the chants, the chorus lines, the spaces between grooves. Its a wonderful edit, and compliments the original amazingly. Pure disco energy. Finally, we have one final groove! ‘Good to the Last Drop’, that brings in the cheer at the end of this fantastic compilation. Keys and drums begin us off, as the chorus line jumps in, before it moves into the vocal almost instantaneously. The vocal work floats on top of a deep seated groove, with all the layers set back to give the vocals their moment to shine. And its beautiful blend, production and level of depth give this tune all the goods as a stand out 80s disco classique. All killer, no filler on this one!
Weeks & Co. did absorb all around them during the 80s, taking bits from here and there to create a body of work that really stands out. But that would be a slight discredit to the originality and talent of the band. Richie Weeks was a visionary, who had a fire in his heart that was passionately injected into each tune. Every track on this comp displays an intrigue of dance music and disco, but often deconstructs these genres only to build them up in his own image. He saw potential and space, adding in little quirky elements and unusual blends of styles to create really compelling and diverse tunes, that only add to the already impressive slew of 80s disco. This is a comp for those who love their disco groovy, deep and emotive, but also for those who wanna take a dip into the unknown (slightly), to really dive into the richness that the early 80s had to offer. Check it out! pure real shit!
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