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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Gary's Gang - Keep On Dancing

Name: Gary's Gang
Album: Keep On Dancin'
Year: 1979
Style: Disco
Similar Bands: Musique, Bee Gees, Of Montreal
One Word Review: Straight-Up-Disco
Based Out Of: Queens, NYC, NY
Label: SAM, Columbia
 Keep On Dancin'- Cover & Record
Keep On Dancin' - Back & Record
Keep On Dancin' (1979)

  1. Showtime 5:15
  2. Party Tonight! 6:00
  3. Do It At The Disco 5:48 /
  4. Let's Lovedance Tonight 6:42
  5. Keep On Dancin' 7:12
  6. You'll Always Be My Everything 4:39
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Gary Turnier - Drums, Backing Vox, Associate Producer (Front Page, Bettye LaVette, Raindolls, )
Eric Matthew (Joe Tucci) - Guitar, Lead Vox, Arranged, Producer, Mixing (Status IV, Tavares, Sharon Redd, Secret Weapon, State of Grace, Day-O, Nervous Gang, Shy Boyz discogs page)
Bill Catalano - Percussion, Backing Vox (Disco Four, Sharon Redd, Stan Keton & his Orch)
Al Lauricella - Keys
Rino Minetti - Keys, Backing Vox
Bob Foreman - Sax, Flute
Jay Leon - Trombone (Sharon Redd)
Gene Grief - Cover Concept & Design
Janet Pear - Cover Concept & Design

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this band. But from the cover images and background neon lights, I’m guessing it is a new wave album. The feet remind me of Joe Jackson’s cover (which came out a year later), and the neon reminds me of something OMD might do. The one drawback is that there is a song called Do it At The Disco, and a lot of disco themed songs are of self-referenced dancing. Also the songs are almost all over 5 minutes, which seems to be a pro in the Disco category. But still, the art work screams new wave to me.

Album Review: This is definitely a disco album. 100% Disco. The duo of Joe and Gary created the band, and initially it was just the two of them, until they sold their single, Keep On Dancing to a label, and formed the group after, playing in a garage in back of Joe’s house. …Dancin’ was a big dance floor hit in both the US & UK.

“Showtime” gets the party started with some horns, and a crowd cheering, offering a live atmosphere to hear a funky beat. This is far more analog than digital or synthesized instruments, and feels like a big band jam session, complete with individual solos, if it weren’t for the shuffling drum beat and throbbing bass. There is a squeaky, swirling synth keyboard section that anchors the song heavily in disco. The band members, also in live party atmosphere, announce each member as if it were the end of the show. Which I find to be a little weird for the opening track.
“Party Tonight!” is a great song, which basically consists of two very catchy sections molded together to form one song that is both fun to dance to and catchy on its own. It starts off with lots of swizzle and wood block action, with the jammy guitar and bouncy bass beat Of Montreal likes to incorporate in their songs. The song begins with the catch shouty “Hey Hey Hey Party Tonight,” and transfers to the sooth and catchy as hell disco groove, which is full of all positive, fun vibes. Only critique is that it is a little long, and not completely dancey, should they be going for a strictly dance groove. The song is a little ahead of its time, incorporating jumping, fist shaking party rock into a dance number. There are some embarrassing stereotypical disco elements to the song, but they only generate smiles, and add to the enjoyment.
“Do It at the Disco” was a single. It begins with bongo tribal/drum dance rhythms and shouts. A funky bass line joins the fray, and pulsating keyboards. High pitch Bee-Gees-like vocals begins, and they line dance their way across the flashing dance floor. This is definition disco dance. The song is mostly instrumental, allowing for a dance circle to form, and individuals to showcase their stuff by advancing to the middle. Repetitive drums and a whistle in the background are the ending instruments before the song launches into the vocal section.

“Let's Lovedance Tonight” was a single, reaching top 50 in the UK. Swirling beats and strings start this shuffling mo-town influenced disco song off. The vocals are harmonic, non-threatening, and all over smooth. Underneath the glitter, synth xylophone and drug haze is a solid doo-wop number. The song drags out, getting caught in a 5 note rising and resetting melody loop. Just as you think the song is going to wobble to a halt, the falsetto vocal chorus takes over with the xylophone hook, and squeaky spacecraft synth.
“Keep On Dancin'” was a chart topping song, reaching #8 on the UK Singles chart, and #41 on Billboard Top 100. A toe tapping drum beat and bongos starts the song off, adding one element at a time. It feels like it is picking up from the previous song, perhaps as a reprise. It is a smooth R&B disco song, complete with a stereotypical repetitive xylophone hook and lifeguard whistle. The head bobbing groove sets in over the lengthy instrumental, with minimal lyrics of “dancing.” A few other breakdowns and synth effects are used to break up the repetition that can bog down a 7+ minute song.
“You'll Always Be My Everything” is a delicate love ballad. Horns and a slow tempo create this lofty, fog machine inducing romantic song. Like a vocal group from the 60’s the lead vocals are supported by a harmonic backing group, occasionally joining up to completely harmonize. I could see the lead standing out in front of the backing vocalists, and all in matching suits. The drum beat behind gives it a little more energy than a straightforward ballad, so there is a little disco jazz involved to this song.

Stand Out Track: Party Tonight!


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