SWS007 | Cowboys And Gangsters
Covering cult-classics from an era described as the ‘missing link’ in dance culture, Sweet Tooth T made a mark earlier this summer with NYC boogie cut, She Can’t Love You. Their second Super Weird offering delves into the epitome of New York hip, taking its cues from the 1979 Gichy Dan track, Cowboys And Gangsters – released via the much-celebrated no-wave label ZE Records.
Written and recorded by South Bronx born songwriter and session musician Ron Rogers, Cowboys And Gangsters failed to make much of a mark when it was released but Deputy Of Love – another Rogers’ composition issued the same year – gifted Don Armando’s Second Avenue Rhumba Band a US #1 Disco hit.
A school friend of Kid Creole & The Coconuts’ frontman, August Darnell, Ron Rogers made a considerable contribution to leftfield Disco (not Disco), via his work with acts like the Aural Exciters, Kid Creole and Don Armando, centred around ZE, which was at the peak of its powers during the early 80’s.
Launched in 1978 by Englishman, Michael Zilkha and Frenchman, Michel Esteban, the label soon caught the attention of Island Records’ supremo, Chris Blackwell, who licensed it in 1980, bringing the music to an international audience during the following years. To help promote ZE in the UK, Island mailed out the impressive Mutant Disco box-set of 12” singles to its DJ list at the time, Greg Wilson included – it’s sub-title, A Subtle Discolation Of The Norm, summed-up the package perfectly.
The Mutant Disco box set made a big impression on Greg; as did the ZE label in general – a definite inspiration for Super Weird Substance in two ways. Firstly, via its eclectic output, which refused to be categorised into neat compartments – it was music that bent the rules – and, secondly, the box set itself, which was the direct inspiration for the Super Weird Substance box set earlier this year.
In homage to Ron Rogers and ZE, Katherine Reynolds has incorporated Deputy Of Love into the club mix of this contemporary version – channelling the essence of the Fonda Rae original – with her sister Carmel taking the lead on the main track, Cowboys And Gangsters; with mentor Tracey Carmen joining in on bvox. Given the modern connotation of the words cowboy and gangster in contemporary Britain, it felt ripe for an update with a couple of Merseyside vocalists and a Mancunian (in Kermit Leveridge) taking the spoken section. An ambitious Greg Wilson production brought bang up to date via Peza’s expert programming / playing – the track is further accentuated by crack Bristol-based brass-section, The Longhorns.