International Women’s Day feels more poignant than ever this year. Since my recent relocation to Los Angeles, it has been incredibly heartwarming to see a worldwide collective consciousness that has arisen in response to the outrageous political regime in the US, each women's march the world over serving as the best example of this powerful unity. It is crucial for us to not only continue shining a light on the inequalities and prejudices that still exist, but to also ensure that the past and present achievements of women are celebrated so that the momentum we need to progress and make changes is maintained with optimism.
In light of the disco theme of this playlist, I wanted to ensure I featured a variety of empowering badass artists inaugural to this sound, from the legends like Grace Jones to unsung heroes who are often more known for their behind the scenes songwriting and vocals than hits in their own right (Syreeta and the DJ/ Producer The Black Madonna are wonderful examples of this) I of course also had to throw in a Vanity 6 edit for all the Nasty Women/ Girls out there too. Enjoy!
Gwen Guthrie - Peanut Butter (Long Vocal) (Larry Levan Remix)
Known as ‘The First Lady of the Paradise Garage’, Gwen Guthrie was a singer, songwriter and backing vocalist who penned hits for the likes of Sister Sledge and Roberta Flack, as well as a back up singer for everyone from Aretha Franklin to Madonna. She also wrote and produced her biggest hit ‘Ain’t Nothin Goin On But The Rent’ which featured the iconic lyric ‘No romance without finance’ - basically a total power babe. Peanut Butter was part of a series of collaborations with the Compass Point All-Stars (including Sly & Robbie) and Paradise Garage resident DJ, Larry Levan.
Grace Jones - Pull Up To The Bumper (Joey Negro Bumper To Bumper Mix)
I couldn’t really make a mix for women’s day without Queen Grace. Apparently the lyrics were so racy that a lot of American radio stations refused to play it, although Grace claims it was never meant to be interpreted as sexual…. whatever Grace.
New Paradise - I Love Video (Gilbert Cohen & Vidal Benjamin Edit)
I don’t know a lot about this track, I just randomly discovered it on YouTube when it automatically played after another song and I couldn’t get it out of my head. This edit is taken from a great compilation of 1980s French synth pop and disco called Disco Sympathie that came out a few years ago on Versatile Records. I really love the vocals.
Cerrone - Hooked On You (Kon Remix)
More from France with Cerrone, but this features Jocelyn Brown on vocals and is an amazing edit by Kon. Jocelyn Brown basically sings on all of the best disco songs ever.
Knight Action - Single Girl (Vocal Mix)
I rediscovered this recently and it’s pretty much my anthem at the moment… I got it from a Clone Cuts compilation some time ago but it was originally a hit in the Chicago club scene in 1984 around the beginning of house music. The conversation intro is amazing.
Syreeta - Can't Shake Your (Larry LevanMix)
Another from the great Larry Levan Genius of Time compilation that came out last year. Syreeta was briefly married to Stevie Wonder, although their professional collaborations as songwriters continued and she produced some of tracks including ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ and ‘If You Really Love Me’.
Vanity 6 (Bill & Ted edit) - Nasty
Prince’s girl group Vanity 6 (the number refers to how many breasts were in the group) had a hit with the original ‘Nasty Girl’ in 1982, following their first similarly excellently titled track ‘He’s So Dull’.
The Black Madonna - Stay
The Black Madonna is the queer, former punk, mixmag DJ of the year who, despite being told she was unmarketable, is finally having the huge moment she deserves. An incredible DJ and producer, this tune is built around samples from "Hands Off" by Casual T and "Don't Go Away" by Affinity, but what she does with it is all her own.