Classics: Sylvester – I Need You (Dim’s Maxi Disco Blend Mix) (Soul Source)
The touching ‘I Need You’ has to certainly count among Sylvester‘s quintessential gems. Strangely enough Fantasy Records who put it out as a part of his 1980 ‘Sell My Soul’ album only gave it a 3:40′ 7 inch release at the time. This being quite ironical considering the status of this artist already seen as a Disco icon back then. Although the genre had been all of a sudden considered as unpopular after the sady memorable Disco Demolition Night a few months before. With this resulting in ‘I Need You”s poor selling at the end. Meanwhile those who’d wanted to properly support it like Larry Levan would have to grab 2 copies of it to eventually edit it.
Something which Megatone Records fairly understood when they welcomed Sylvester. Eventually givin’ ‘I Need You’ an Underground mix 12″ version 9 years later. Ron Hardy gave it a rework under the form of an edit. But also Tom Moulton, back in 2005, as a part of a bootleg Fantasy 12″ Promo. Although its bad quality pressing somehow ruined his work. Meanwhile Japanese label Soul Source would release it with a mix courtesy of Dimitri from Paris the same year. This under the form of a limited 4-track sampler from their ‘Remixed Boogies’ album. With the latter brilliantly bringin’ it to the next level. And, in the meantime, signing its best revamp ever…
DJ Pope eventually covered it back in 2000 with Marty St. Michaels in charge of the vocal duties. And eventually givin’ it a new life 18 years later via a set of remixes. With one of them – The Sound Of Baltimore Vocal Mix – we welcomed as our Single Of The Week.
Born in Watts, Los Angeles, Sylvester James, Jr. first established himself as a child Gospel star through the choir of his Pentecostal church. He would leave the church after the congregation expressed disapproval of his homosexuality. And from then, he found friendship among a group of Black cross-dressers and transgender women who called themselves The Disquotays. Movin’ to San Francisco, he fronted avant-garde drag troupe The Cockettes. And while touring in New York, he set up his own group (Sylvester & The Hot Band). He soon after met Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes who became his background singers (also known as Two Tons Of Fun) in addition to Jeanie Tracy.
After two albums on Blue Thumb which went unsuccessful, he therefore went solo, signing a deal with producer Harvey Fuqua of Fantasy Records. He released 6 albums for the label between 1977 and 1981. There, he rose to fame with classics such as ‘You Make Me Feel’, ‘Dance (Disco Heat)’ which Louie Vega recently remixed, and ‘I (Who Have Nothing)’. But also ‘I Need You’ and ‘Give It Up (Don’t Make Me Wait)’, a Paradise Garage anthem, along with Jeanie Tracy. Not to mention his vibrant version of ‘Over And Over’. He then switched to Megatone Records, working with producer Patrick Cowley. This giving birth to the memorable ‘Do You Wanna Funk’.
The flamboyant singer, also known as The Queen Of Disco, sadly died on Dec. 16, 1988, aged 41, after a long battle against AIDS. (*) In 2005, he was posthumously inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame, while his life has been recorded in a biography and made the subject of both a documentary and a musical. (* Wikipedia)
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