10 essential Halloween party jams… It’s that time of the year when some of us are getting themselves ready to celebrate the All Hallows’ Day. A tribute to all Saints, but also in memory of our beloved departed (although this should be on Nov. 2 for the latter). Meanwhile, the day before (on Oct. 31), we’ll be attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’lanterns… Playing divination games, telling scaring stories. When not watching horror films. And eventually participating to the religious obervances of All Hallow’s Eve. From attending church services to lighting candles on the graves of the dead. In the meantime, some of us will abstain from meat. Then go for apples, potato pancakes and soul cakes for the occasion. With all of this as a part of the Halloween festivities…
(*) Halloween, or Hallowe’en is a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening). Also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve… It’s a celebration we observe in a number of countries on Oct. 31. In other words, during the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day.
The word “Halloween” or “Hallowe’en” dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin. The word “Hallowe’en” means “hallowed evening” or “holy evening”. It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows’ Eve (the evening before All Hallows’ Day). In Scots, the word “eve” is even, and is contracted to “e’en” or “een”. Over time, (All) Hallow(s) E(v)en evolved into Hallowe’en. Although the phrase “All Hallows'”, as we find it in Old English (“All Hallows’ Eve”) has itself not appeared until 1556 (* Wikipedia).
So here we are, ready to celebrate and eventually party with a bunch of selected tracks. Like usual, our selection is far from being exhaustive. Meaning that we most likely have got enough for a part 2 of the likes on of these days.
With thanks to Gary Van den Bussche for sharing the duties. Wishing you all a happy Halloween!
History and therefore arts are full of references to reputedly abnormality. Such as magic, fantasmagoria or whatsoever. Not to mention the darkest side of the things. This showing up as to how the supposedly irrational has always fascinated humanity. As many things which Michael Jackson has perfectly recaptured in the atmosphere of ‘Thriller’ as enhanced by its video clip directed by John Landis. One of the biggest successes ever with writing work by the the likes of the late Rod Temperton. A song which was initially suggested with different titles which Jackson refused on his will to appeal to kids…
Whodini stand among the first groups to have generated a high-profile national following for Hip-Hop. Formed in Brooklyn, NY back in 1981 by the reunion of lyricist Jalil Hutchins, co-vocalist John Fletcher aka Ecstasy and turntablist artist DJ Drew Carter aka Grandmaster Dee. Under the management of Russell Simons, they signed with Jive Records in 1982. Eventually releasing their eponymous debut-LP the year after featuring the memorable ‘The Haunted House Of Rock’.
From ‘Escape’, their second album, the Larry Smith produced ‘The Freaks Come Out At Night’ sort of takes on where ‘The Haunted House Of Rock’ left. It stands among their biggest classics along with ‘Magic’s Wand’ and ‘Five Minutes Of Funk’.
The first Hip-Hop album to chart in the U.S. top 40, ‘Escape’ heavily contributed to the group’s rising to fame during the following years.
Unlike what many of us may think, the Peter Green penned ‘Black Magic Woman’ was first sung by Fleetwood Mac. It saw the light as a single by the beginning of Spring 1968 and features in their ‘English Rose’ album. It would nevertheless get to higher recognition 2 years later and eventually become one of Santana‘s most popular cuts ever. Taken from their ‘Abraxas’ album which they conceived as a medley, it’s has been built in a way different approach. Integrating parts of Gábor Szabó‘s 1966 instrumental ‘Gypsy Queen’. Therefore making the perfect transition between ‘Singing Winds, Crying Beats’ and ‘Oye Como Va’. With Gregg Rolie‘s vocal performance standing as the icing on the cake.
Lookin’ back at her career, Chicago, IL native Yvonne Gage did more of backing vocals than things under her own banner. Remembered for her collabs with luminaries such as Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald and Kindred The Family Soul… She released what would be her one and only album – ‘Virginity’ – back in 1984 on Indie label Chicago International Music. This is where we catch her along with this hit answer back version that used to mix into Michael Jackson‘s ‘Thriller’ at the time…
Yvonne Gage is also remembered for her debut-single – ‘Garden On Eve’ which saw the day back in 1981 on RFC/Atlantic.
Released back in 1977, ‘Supernature’ is the title track of Cerrone‘s ‘Supernature (Cerrone III)’ album. Written by Lene Lovitch although she didn’t get credited for this, it got Cerrone to top the US Disco/Dance charts early in 1978. It explored some environmental matter way before we started receiving alerts in regards to our enviroment. Evoking a future in which the use of artificial chemicals in agriculture has caused creatures down below to emerge and take their sweet revenge against mankind.
‘Spooky’ first originated as an instrumental on American Jazz saxophonist/flautist Mike Sharpe‘s 1967 ‘The Spooky Sound Of Mike Sharpe’ album. British Blue-Eyed Soul singer Dusty Springfield gave it a vibrant cover version 3 years after which featured prominently in the Guy Ritchie ‘Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels’ 1998 film. She would be among the numerous artists who’ve integrated this song in their repertoire (ie. David Sanborn and Stanley Turrentine among others).
Strange as to how this song presents a lot of similarities with ‘It’s You’ which David Axelrod penned for Lou Rawls back in 1969.
A Native American Rock/Cajun group originating in the early 70’s, Redbone scored one of their biggest successes ever with ‘The Witch Queen Of New Orleans’ back in 1971. From their third album – ‘Message From A Drum’ – it evokes the story of Marie Laveau. A 19th-century practitioner of voodoo from New Orleans referred to in the song lyrics as “Marie la Voodoo veau”. Blending influences from New Orleans’s R&B and Louisiana’s Swamp Pop, transient Disco act Witch Queen gave it got given a cover version 8 years later with production work by the likes of Gino Soccio.
A Toronto, ON native, Richard Dean Taylor is most likely one of the most underrated acts ever to have recorded under the Motown umbrella. Best known for his chart-topping 1970 hit ‘Indiana Wants Me’, most of his works only met regional recognition though.
Written and produced by Holland, Dozier, Holland, the 1967 released ‘There’s A Ghost In My House’ also failed to chart Stateside. It nevertheless came to higher recognition 7 years after. Thus receiving some heavy play in Northern soul clubs in Britain such as the Blackpool Mecca and Wigan Casino. And, a a result, getting to position #3 on the UK Singles Chart.
British bands such as Yacht, B.E.F. and The Fall covered it during the 80’s.
Not to be missed with New Yorker homonym remembered for his collaborations with Patrick Adams, Blue Island, IL native Peter Brown. A man who made himself a name with classics such as ‘Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me’, ‘Dance With Me’ and ‘Crank It Up’. Promised to a bright future – The 1978 Record World Magazine Disco Awards named him Outstanding New Performer – his career went thru ups and downs though. Most likely because of management problems. Taken from the 1984 released ‘Snap’ (his final) album, ‘They Only Come At Night’, with mixing work courtesy of John Jellybean Benitez would be his last track worth the mention. He ironically co-wrote the memorable ‘Material Girl’ for Madonna the year after. A cut which became one of Mudge‘s biggest hits and a signature song.
Most likely the most famous cut from this American female fourtet. Produced by Lonnie Johnson and intitially released on his Skyview Records label, Morgan Khan contributed giving it a wider recognition when Licensing it on Streetwave in the UK. In some NYC Soul vein blended with heavy Funk, Ian Dewhirst included it as a part of his 1993 ‘Classic 80’s Groove Mastercuts vol. 1’ compilation.
What was cool when playing this out was the dance the crowd used to do – like a kinda Skip dance – which they also did to Lisa Lisa‘s ‘Wonder If I Can Take You Home’.
Royalle Delite released a couple of extra singles on Streetwave in the mid 80’s before disappearing from the radars…
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