20 November 2016, No. 214, Orange Krush, ‘Action (Disco Version)’

No. 214 brings to mind one largely and one entirely dissimilar song. Maybe it’s because I live in Athens, Georgia, now, home of REM, but I can’t see this band name, Orange Krush, without thinking of the REM song “Orange Crush.” We are agents of the free, after all.

The other thing I think of when I hear Orange Krush doing “Action (Disco Version)” is the bassline from Keni Burke’s “Risin’ to the Top,” specifically as rearranged by Posdnuos from De La, which we covered at No. 74. Just the bassline, though, since “Risin’ to the Top” has an easy modern soul vibe while “Action (Disco Version)” is more of a party starter. Listening to the two back to back, it sounds almost like Pos had “Action (Disco Version)” in mind when he was cutting up the Keni Burke bassline for “Crosstown Beef.”

But we’re on Orange Krush, a group about whom I know nothing except that I have this single of theirs, “Action,” from 1982, that has ill open drums and credits one Russell Simmons with production and writing. Simmons would go on to cofound Def Jam with Rick Rubin the next year. Adding a little more faded star power to the (re)mix, the B side, which is the disco version we’re highlighting here, lists John “Jellybean” Benitez as creator of the dance mix.

The lyrical content of “Action (Disco Version)” (and the title, I suppose) brings to mind one more song, and since like REM’s “Orange Crush” the song likely won’t appear on the list otherwise, I’ll mention it here. Matty C’s “Action” is a great nu-disco adaptation of hairspray-era Poison’s “I Want Action.” There are some nu-disco tunes on this list, but I have another crate chock-full of those (though it ends in 2015; been busy doing other stuff and not collecting a lot of new music, clearly), and that’s where the Matty C tune is recorded for posterity. Maybe forever from now, when I finish this disco jams list, I’ll start on the nu-disco jams.

For now it’s No. 214, “Action (Disco Version)” from Orange Krush. And if you need a little more action, the first book in the Warm Glow Record Show series, Warm Glow Record Show 1: Your Self-Conscious Substitution, went live today. Get one now for $1, or wait and claim your free copy on Thanksgiving or on the black Friday that follows.