Hi everyone, it’s your faithful editor, David Moore here. I’m excited to introduce you to a new contributor on the site, Andrew “Mr. Groove” Tonkin! Mr. Groove is a Southern California-based DJ and will be coming at you on a semi-regular basis with a new column entitled Disco Lab. Take it away, Mr. Groove!
Disco Lab #1: Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King – ‘Shame’ (1978)
The Disco Lab is where we chemically dissolve, analyze, and reverse-engineer some of disco’s biggest hits, focusing mostly on the extended remixes that made them club smashes. Your host Mr. Groove is a guest here at Cherry Stereo and will try to keep things clean and (not too) quiet.
Evelyn “Champagne” King – Shame (6:26) (September 9, 1978)
In which Evelyn “Champagne” King feels lust for her lover, admits that it’s a “shame,” yet refuses to be a-“shame”-d. The record is full of nervous, sexy energy; along with the great sax and (Rhodes?) keyboard work, the dueling guitar lines (both rhythm and lead) twitch along nicely. The 7” single jumps quickly (0:15) into the trademark “dying fall” sax note that underscores the title in the chorus. This tasty remix, though, teases us for a full 0:44 until rendering its signature honk.
The remix uses what I’d call a “part 1/part 2” structure, part 1 being the song proper and part 2 a largely instrumental exploration of the basic groove. Hence the first half of this fine extended version is more or less the radio edit. At about 3:40 Evelyn ad-libs nicely (“low down dirty dirty”) against the sax. 4:08 offers a spectacular 30-second breakdown of just lead guitar and percussion; this leads into a blazing sax solo and then, at 5:19—another breakdown!
Many disco records (I’m looking at you, Brothers Johnson “Stomp”) merely repeat their chorus ad nauseum in the second half; to its great credit, this record never reprises the title or chorus past that first breakdown at 4:08. It’s a real cork-popper from Evelyn Champagne!