It is a huge honour to present the Disco Gospel 12”, curated and edited by Chicago’s Marc Davis and Sadar Bahar. Featuring two under-the-radar disco / gospel fusion tracks that have been given a new lease of life courtesy of these masters of their craft.
We first came to know Marc through his always on-point Black Pegasus record label, which he’s been running since 2006. As a renowned international DJ, record collector, and an integral part of Chicago’s underground music scene, we knew anything he sent our way was going to be serious and he didn’t disappoint. Joining forces with Sadar Bahar (Soul in the Hole), who is himself a gospel and disco legend and a DJ’s DJ favourite across the globe, they dug deep and put us onto two absolute gems from their beloved collections. As DJs who play a wide range of genres, their ability to spot the real heat within any sound has placed them at the top of their game. As Sadar puts it, “We are always digging for records and these fit the criteria of disco and happen to be gospel”.
First up is the feel-good joint ‘I’m So Happy’ by Fountain of Life Joy Choir Under The Direction of Kevin Yancy. Originally released in 1978 on a subsidiary label of T.K. Productions entitled Gospel Roots, the clue is in the title with this one. It’s an unadulterated, uplifting, joyous dancer. Marc and Sadar’s fizzing edit brings out the best elements of the song and extends them. Working the addictive vocal hooks and building the funky instrumental grooves produces a spirit-lifting mood that is bursting with enough energy to light a fire under any dancefloor.
‘Optical Illusion’ on the flip, takes the tempo down, but doesn’t let up on the vigour. It’s a driving, stomping anthem that features another lung-busting vocal performance. Working with a live recording of Rev. Charles H. Nicks and The Baptist Assembly Of Free Spirit Churches Mass Choir, this one proves to be the perfect accompaniment to the ecstatic vibe of the A-side. The duo has condensed and heightened the drama of the song and added some light-touch production elements to clean up and enhance the sound. We guarantee this will be filtering its way into the sets of discerning DJs worldwide.
Marc described the selections best when he succinctly put it like this, “We both knew these were two heaters on our first listen”.
We completely agree, and with recording and engineering contributions from Tone B. Nimble (Soul Is My Salvation) and Rahaan, here we have Chicago royalty creating an unmissable release that celebrates the crossover of dance music with the musical traditions of the church.