Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The Keedz are Not Alright

The Unabombers spent 13 years rocking the savvier end of Manchester clubland with disco, hip hop, deep funk, Detroit techno and acid house at their Electric Chair night, before finally shutting up shop late last year.

As a parting shot, their third compilation is out on Tirk in October, and perfectly captures the combination of raw funk, sweaty soul and northern futurism that made the parties what they were .

But one track that stands out from the rest of the tracklisting at the moment is the the Joubert Singers “ Stand on the Word”, a gospel favourite that’s long been known as a Paradise Garage / Loft classic, but has now turned up as a French electro-pop cover version from the mysterious Keedz .

The story behind the record starts with Walter Gibbons, the NY disco DJ turned producer who found god in the early eighties, and a new job at the 8th Avenue Rock and Soul Shop as the disco boom ended. Becoming an enthusiastic gospel record collector, he would blast a limited pressing of his own church choirs’ anthemic “Stand on the Word “ out to incoming Djs, with the record quickly becoming a favourite at Zanzibar / Garage / the Loft .

Eventually Tony Humphries remixed the tune for a full release on Next Plateau in 1985, but it’s Larry Levans’ bootleg edit / mix from the same year that still gets played today.

If you’ve ever wondered about the apparent contradictions between a song extolling the power of the Lord and a room full of black and latino queens doing drugs and going mad to Larry Levan, it’s known that choir leader Phyllis Joubert was pretty unimpressed with the after life of the record she helped create, and has since refused to have anything to do with the record , or the many journo's and writers that have wanted talk her about it since.

Also unimpressed have been the many diehard fans of the original ( Levan version ) of the song, who’ve not responded kindly to the Keed’z French electro version, currently being pushed by Universal France .
(http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mG_eIDMOvfM )

Rumours that it was Justice in disguise were obviouisly based on the similarity of the remake to the Justice hit ‘D.A.N.C.E, and can probably be discounted, but it seems Universal have done little to dispel those rumours, and so have managed to piss off the Justice fans, Ed Banger, disco heads and probably Phyllis Joubert into the bargain.

We’re sick of the Keedz version already, but we can see the irony in anyone trying to claim cultural ownership of a song who’s own parents have long since abandoned it to the denizens of the night.

Last tune at the Electric Chair ( not SOTW ! )

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