mardi 13 février 2007

Disco Revival from Australian Divas

Give me a decade that hasn't had its disco revival full of cover versions sung by much or less talented vocalists than the originals, compilations trying to list the eternal disco classics and selling us always the same clichés, discoballs all over the TV shows and things like that...
There ain't a single one all around the planet and at the end of 2006, a Disco Revival Festival took place in Australia without a doubt!

In a couple of weeks have been released in these territories two incredibly good albums full of party anthems & disco stompers. The first one is by four girls from Real TV world, the "Young Divas", the second from a real disco queen coming back, Marcia Hines, and is called "Discothèque".

I won't try here to choose between the two of them as I like them both. They enlist good songs, the ladies can sing, the production makes them sound fine and they should both belong to every disco lover around the world collection for sure. That's said!
I will only try to give you more infos on these ladies and the songs they chose to re-do on their albums.

So first, there's the self-titled Young Divas album.

Who are they?
From left to right, they are Emily Williams, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Paulini Curuenavuli and Kate DeAraugo. They were all contestants on Australian Idol TV Show and all but Emily already have had solo album(s) released.

The story of their partnership is that Sony-BMG wanted to promote a summer tour of them all with a single and the "Young Divas" were born.

The song chosen is not a disco classic but a 80's hit by disco queen Donna Summer, the Stock Aitken & Waterman song that relaunched her career back in 1989, "This time I know it's for real". It reached #2 on the ARIA charts and the tour was a huge success so they decided to record a full album and here are the songs that matched the concept :

- "What a feeling", everybody knows this classic from the soundtrack of the 1983 film "Flashdance" but who does remember its original singer was Irene Cara and that it is a Giorgio Moroder song? (UK#2)
- "This time I know it's for real", I already said it : a Donna Summer song from 1989 written by UK Hit Machine Stock Aitken & Waterman (UK#3).
- "Right about now", this one is more edgy as it's a 2004 original song by german funky house producer Mousse T.
- "Gloria", the Umbertto Tozzi song that Laura Branigan immortalized in 1982 (UK#6).
- "Happenin' all over again", another Stock Aitken & Waterman hit from 1990 by house diva Lonnie Gordon (UK#4) and the second single off this album (ARIA#7)
- "Searchin' ", a hit of 1984 by Hi-NRG lady Hazell Dean (UK#6) and the third single off their album in Australia.
- "Woman in love", the 1980 classic by Barbra Streisand (UK#1).
- "It's raining men", the forever gay anthem of the Weather Girls, hit of 1983 (UK#3).
- "Let's hear it for the boy", another gay classic of 1984 by Deniece Williams, UK#2.
- "She works hard for the money", another Donna Summer single from 1983, a minor UK hit but a US #3.
- "Say I'm your number one", a soul ballad written by Stock Aitken & Waterman (again!) for Princess in 1985 (UK#7).
- "You'll never stop me loving you", #1 hit for Sonia in 1989 and the fourth Stock Aitken &Waterman song on the album, that must've been a tribute!
- "I will always love you", the Dolly Parton song that is well-known for being the #1 song from the Whitney Houston film "Bodyguard" from 1992. Note that this song, a solo from Emily, was not on the original release and has been included on re-editions of their album but is downloadable for free from their official site .

So what's up? Not that much of disco anthems on there. Considering the age of the ladies, it's more of a 80's tribute album and the songs go from Disco to Hi-NRG with some ballads too.
But I can't help but think there's a huge disco feeling spread all along the tracks that may have to do with the powerful mix of their four strong voices roaring like 70's disco divas...

Now comes the time to turn the interest to a real disco diva, a woman that started her career back in these days, released successful albums from 1975 to 1982 in Australia then came back to the music scenes in 2000.

If you remember the 1997 hit "It's alright" by Deni Hines, you may be interested to know that Marcia is Deni's mother, so talent is in the family for sure .

Here we get a full rendition of real disco hits from her time but none are unknown to our ears for they've already been covered by many peoples since their first release.

- "Disco inferno", a 1977 hit by The Trammps that's been covered by Tina Turner in 1993 for the soundtrack of the film on her life "Tina".
- "Never knew love like this before", the 1980 UK#4 for Stephanie Mills that's been covered by so many people since then that you know this song for sure, if not her original version.
- "Stomp!", the 1980 Brothers Johnson disco funk classic, Mr. Quincy jones himself did its rendition of the song in 1996. Deni Hines joins her mother on vocals here for a stompin' duet!
- "Right back where we started from", a 1976 disco UK#8 hit for Maxine Nightingale, that's been covered in 1989 to #4 by Miquel Brown's daughter, Sinitta.
- "Best of my love" a 1977 US#1 for The Emotions and co-written by Earth, Wind & Fire.
- "You should be dancing", nothing more to say for this one but two words : Bee Gees.
- "Shake your groove thing", a Peaches & Herb disco funk hit from 1979 that regained popularity when featured on the soundtrack "Priscilla, Queen of the desert".
- "Never can say goodbye", the Gloria Gayner eternal track (after "I will survive") that's been immortalized again by Jimmy Somerville & The Communards in the 80's.
- "Last dance", the Donna Summer disco anthem of 1978.
- "I can't stand the rain", the Eruption greatest hit that, then again, has been covered by Tina Turner.
- "You to me are everything", 1976 #1 single for UK group The Real Thing. Funny enough, it was covered in 1991 by the same Sonia the Young Divas are covering the "You'll never stop me loving you".
- "Blame it on the boogie", the Jacksons 1980 hit, UK trio Big Fun covered under the wings of producers Stock Aitken & Waterman back in 1989.
- "Let's groove", a 1981 hit for Earth, Wind & Fire.
- "I'm coming out", the forever gay anthem of Diana Ross written by Chic in 1980.

So to sum it up, on this one, there's a lot of funky roots added to the disco rhythms and the girl can touch soul too. But your feet will be moving all time the CD plays. "Discothèque" says it all !

In the end, two complementary albums, Marcia's covering the 70's to 80's while the Divas go from 80's to 90's, but with the same disco vibe and dance energy you can't help but get up and dance to.
So go have a listen at their offical site if you care : and
and a nice place to buy on line australian CDs is
and don't forget...
"We spent the night in Frisco
At every kind of disco
I just can't control my feet..."

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