Instant Disco History #9 - Morning Music
In the halcyon, glittery, mirror-balled days of long ago, before crystal meth invaded the scene and turned every dance event into a nonstop Vietnamesque explosion factory of endless crescendos and drumrolling climaxes, before every party had another party beginning immediately afterwards, doors open at 6am, doors open at 10am, waaaaay back before the most common question at a gay dance party was "Where are you going after this?", there was a time when that question wasn't asked... because at some point, the party actually ended. And people went home. In the daylight, oftentimes, yes. But they really did go home. And not just for a costume change and a (sniff) freshen (sniff) up before the After/Morning/Survival/Recovery Party.
And hours from the end, but not too many, the DJs would slowly, softly, sometimes imperceptibly, prepare the dancers for that inevitable close, by tap, tap, tapping on the BPM (beats per minute) brakes, easing the tempo, softening the vibe, smoothing out the edges....so that by 4am, by 6am....you were sometimes almost at a dead standstill. But. You were still dancing, as the DJs trotted out their silkiest sounds.
And we called it Morning Music.
Some liked to call it "sleaze", in deference to the fact it was often the accompanying soundtrack of hasty sexual decisions made on a thinning dancefloor, spurred by evaporating options. I always preferred "morning", myself. Morning music wasn't from any particular genre, the only requirement was slow, lovely, heartfelt. No screaming divas, ever. Morning sets would include sultry r&b, new wave, spare Italo, proto-disco, whatever, as long as the mood was lovely. I even heard Susan Morabito play Dolly Parton and Kenny Roger's Islands In The Stream around dawn at a Saint party...and it totally worked.
Some DJs almost hung their entire creative hat on their morning music sets. Robbie Leslie, at Fort Lauderdale's Copa, to whose morning set I once dragged my roommate around the dancefloor by the ankles, during Nights Over Egypt, by the Jones Girls. Michael Fierman, whose morning sets at Fire Island's Pavillion were legendary. Warren Gluck at the Morning Party. Buc at the Winter Party. Neil Lewis at Pleasuredome. And the above mentioned Susan, whose Black Party 2002 morning music set literally brought me to tears.
Which brings me to DJ Jerry Bonham, whom you'd all know if you follow JMG at all, is my very favorite DJ in the world, and who will be spinning at San Francisco's homage to its gay disco roots this Sunday, at the Trocadero Transfer reunion event, Remember The Party. That's me, to the left, hangin out my office window yesterday in my way cool Trocadero t-shirt. (Thanks Chris & Richard!) I have a vested interest in mentioning this event for the third time, as I want it to be a huge success, so that they'll have another one, and THAT time, I can attend.
I'll add in some artist/bio information later, but for now, here's an album's worth of downloads for you, culled from my own personal "best of morning music" playlist. I'm sure some of y'all will contest the morning-ness of one or two of the tracks. Hell, that's sort of the hallmark of morning music fans...the arguing over what is and what isn't morning music.
Now hand me the baby powder and right-click, my lovelies, and let me slow it down for you.
Grace Jones - La Vie En Rose (1977)
Thelma Houston - Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (1979)
David Ruffin - Walk Away From Love (1975)
Godley And Creme - Cry (1985)
Hi-Gloss - You'll Never Know (1981)
Jean Carne - Was That All It Was? (1979)
Miquel Brown - Close To Perfection (1985)
Sharon Ridley - Changin' (1978)
Gazebo - I Like Chopin (1983)
The Jones Girls - Nights Over Egypt (1978)
Took such a long time to convince me
You could fill that empty space
But Saturday night is shining
On my Sunday morning face
And what's your favorite morning music track?Previously on JMG:
Instant Disco History #1: Voggue
Instant Disco History #2: Luther Vandross
Instant Disco History #3: Skatt Bros.
Instant Disco History #4: Karen Finley
Instant Disco History #5: Disco Orchestra
Instant Disco History #6: On Broadway
Instant Disco History #7: New York City
Instant Disco History #8: Disco Lucy