1 February 2017, No. 232, Empress, ‘Dyin’ to Be Dancin’’

The intro here in No. 232 is everything one wants in free disco drums. “Dyin’ to Be Dancin’” from Empress has got a nice clap, a little guiro, and a slight phaser effect on the cymbals. Not to mention that ill bouncing basketball sound stacked up with the snares and claps on two and four. Somebody help me.

When the bass guitar kicks in, all I can think is “The Bubble Bunch” by Jimmy Spicer, a Spicer at least an order of magnitude better than the Sean who’s been trying to manipulate the news of late. He’ll never never get enough.

Another thing I like about the intro is the tension between the guiro’s sixteenth notes, which are very straight, and the tambourine’s, which are swinging all over the place. Through the rest of the song the sandpaper blocks try to strike a balance, and eventually the tambourine straightens up a little.

This tune features strong horn lines and sexy whispers, as well as a number of funky breaks. It’s also free from strings. A string synth comes in and lays down some pad-type lines, but you can tell it’s not a studio orchestra, and that helps sell it to me.

I have this on a compilation from the now-defunct 98.7 KISS FM New York called 98.7 Kiss FM Presents Shep Pettibone’s Mastermixes. The compilation introduced me to D Train, The Nick Straker Band, and most importantly, the Jeanette “Lady” Day “Come Let Me Love You” version with “Spasticus Autisticus” cut in. Oh so good. If only everything with Pettibone’s name on it were quite so satisfying.

For now we’re listening to bouncing ball sounds and a balloon-like bassline. Empress will have you dyin’ to be dancin’ too.