Claudja Barry – Sweet Dynamite (1977) (Salsoul SRZ-5512)

Claudja Barry
Sweet Dynamite
1977 Salsoul Records SZS 5512
US Pressing

A1 Love For The Sake Of Love 7:53
A2 Sweet Dynamite 7:22
B1 Dance, Dance, Dance 6:43
B2 Live A Little Bit 3:28
B3 Why Must A Girl Like Me 7:21

Phonographic Copyright (p) – Salsoul Record Corp.
Manufactured By – Caytronics
Distributed By – Caytronics
Mastered At – Frankford/Wayne Mastering Labs


Backing Vocals – Claudia Schwarz, Roberta Kelly, Stefan Zauner
Bass – Dave King, Gary Unwin
Drums – Keith Forsey
Keyboards – Thor Baldursson
Percussion – Jorg Evers, Jurgen S. Korduletsch
Saxophone – Pepe Solera

Arranged By – Jorg Evers
Mastered By – Jose Rodriguez
Mixed By – Tom Moulton
Photography By – Michael Doster
Producer – J. S. Korduletsch
Written-By – Evers, Korduletsch
Engineer – Jurgen Koppers, Peter Ludemann

An original Lolilipop Recording.
Manufactured and Distributed by Caytronics Records.
A Cape Music Company.

1977 Salsoul Record Corporation

Deadwax inscriptions:

Salsoul SZS 5512 vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; AUdioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on very light settings, manually auditioning the output, and often turned off for large sections of this record; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.

Forgot protest music, forget Eminem – disco is the best weapon against your classic-rock / “new” country-listening Trump supporter neighbor and his or her dreams of a white ethnostate. It has all the right elements to churn their schizo-paranoid, alternate fact-fueled persecution complex – this music was a conspiracy of people of color, The Gays, women, and Europeans to threaten their hegemony and prevent bands named after notorious concentrations of normative whiteness, like Boston or Kansas, from reaching the top of the Billboard charts.  Absent an explicit political message, it espoused an ideology of equal parts tolerance and hedonism, of the pure physicality of getting everybody off their sofas and away from watching the squares on Hollywood Squares, commanding them to get up and mix all their sweaty limbs together in one gelatinous mass of grooving, gyrating joy over the simple gratitude of still being alive after Vietnam, surviving Nixon, and paying obeisance to unrelenting 4/4 beats and the deliverance of music.  Sure, the Khmer Rouge was committing genocide with the complicity of agents of “Western Democracy” and the CIA was preparing itself to try and crush the Sandinistas, but for a few hours every night, in cities around the world, DJs would spin records like this almost defiantly funky debut album by Claudja Barry – a Jamaican-born, Canadian raised singer, professionalized in London before winding up in West Germany, where she married this album’s producer and principal songwriter, Jurgen Korduletsch.

And what a hard-hitting debut record this is, thanks in no small part to the aggressive mixing of Tom Moulton, who worked closely with mastering engineer Jose Rodriguez. Their work is a great example of judicious and creative use of compressors and limiters to create records where everything seemed crisp, loud, and punchy but without squashing everything to bits, still leaving room for the dynamics to breath.  The way the mix on a song like “Love For The Sake Of Love” is built up layer by layer is very satisfying.  Not especially innovative, but satisfying – it could be a didactic example in an audio production class of how to make  music that is as pleasurable  for listening as it is dancing. It is notable that the US pressing has a different track sequence from the European release and is missing several songs found there, such as the questionable cover of Steely Dan’s “Do It Again.”  I don’t know what the story is but I can imagine Donald Fagen litigating against Salsoul or something. Surely a disco-funk version of his song drove him nuts, and they even messed with his lyrics!  It was released as a single, so without knowing the chronology I suppose it could have been added to those Euro releases later (I don’t think it was mixed by Moulton, either), but given the 31-minute running time of the US version, it sure feels like it was cut.  In my personal opinion, you’re not missing much.  The first four tracks on this album are all monsters, with the solid and steady drum work of Keith Forsey (who worked with Giorgio Moroder among others) laying down the bedrock.  The instrumental track “Live A Little Bit” seems to be intentionally reminding us of Claudia’s island roots.  It’s pleasant but doesn’t really go anywhere.  “Why Must A Girl Like Me” is the weakest cut here, eschewing the hard edge of the earlier tracks for a more pop sound.  Mileage may vary and I would forgive you for stopping the record and putting on something else at this point.  And hey, if anybody knows who played guitars on this record, leave a comment – the rhythm guitar work here is excellent, as are small tasty but tiny lead lines on the album’s opener.  The band (as credited on reissues, no personnel is listed on the LP jacket) is comprised of a hodgepodge of US and Berlin-scene musicians as well as Italian sax player Pepe Solera.

The CD format in general has not been kind to Tom Moulton – most of the Salsoul catalog has recently been manhandled by reissue labels who brickwall the shit out of everything they release.  This album may have been spared the so-called ‘loudness wars’, at it seems it was reissued once in 1993 (before everything began to be mastered for iPods or car stereos) and then only in Japan in 2014, where people still care about sound quality.

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  1. “your classic-rock / “new” country-listening Trump supporter neighbor and his or her dreams of a white ethnostate”
    Thanks for your blog, your posts, and your music reviews, but is a mean-spirited comment like that really necessary?

    • if the objection is to lumping in those genres with Trump, in a #notallrockfans spirit, then hey, I’m not happy about it either. I listened to a Bad Company album earlier this week. And I’ve personally collected autographs from Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, and Dwight Yoakum’s guitarist over the years. Unfortunately the unchanging FM ‘classic rock’ format and “pop” country is increasingly the nostalgic soundtrack to reactionary bigotry for a certain portion of the public who see changing demographics and tastes as an existential threat. And the virulent anti-disco hysteria, revisited brilliantly in this short history lesson about the “Disco Demolition” event in Chicago from Redbull Music Academy , had undeniably racist, misogynist, and homophobic tendencies fueling it. People are free to like or dislike whatever they want, including disco (or jazz, or country, or metal) but anytime you find an entire genre being demonized and met with visceral HATE, there is usually something bigger at stake. Now if the objection is to linking Trump to white nationalism and fascism, then I doubt we have much to say to each other. The guy is literally broadcasting his allegiances to fascist and neo-Nazi groups on a weekly basis, including the day of this blog post.

      • What is mean-spirited is asserting that Trump supporters… ordinary people… dream of a “white ethnostate”. If you don’t like Trump himself, fine. If you think he’s a white nationalist, fine. But that’s not what you said. You denigrated his SUPPORTERS as being racist totalitarians. That’s what I am objecting to. Besides being offensive and wrong, it was unnecessary. You could have made your point equally well without disrespecting tens of millions of people.

        • Yep, nobody WANTS to be called a racist, right? But if his supporters don’t want to be tarnished with the same brush, perhaps they should stop supporting somebody who is openly embracing white nationalists, neonazis, and fascists. The word is “complicit,” look it up. Lots of nice “ordinary people” throughout history have supported tyrants while denying or ignoring their abominable behavior, because it suited their self interest in some way to put on blinders, believing such tyrants had ‘the best interests of the country’ at heart. I’d cut some slack for people who voted for this fascist in a moment of delusion or despair, but anybody still supporting this petty tyrant in December 2017 is tacitly endorsing his racism, misogyny, and BLATANT FASCISM. How much more evidence do you need? I don’t “think” these things, he is openly signalling it, every day. Disrespect? Mean-spirited? Your toddler on Pennsylvania avenue regularly disrespects MILLIONS of people with a far larger megaphone than I have on this blog. After Charlottesville, after endorsing Britain First, you’re STILL in denial? There are not “two sides” to fascism, or “good people on both sides. You are completely free to never visit this blog again, I don’t owe Trump supporters a damn thing.

  2. Damn right, Dr Vibes. Everybody needs to take a stance on Trump and everything he represents, and I am glad you made your opinion clear. Didn’t expect anything less from the owner of a great blog that champions great music made by and listened to people Trump (and many of his supporters, yes) despises and whose lives are at stake as long as he is in power. Thank you.

  3. hello, thanks you for all the work, i appreciate a lot of albums from here.
    It seems that the links doesn’t work for claudja barry, or is it me ?
    thanx very much

  4. Hello dr.. vibes, thanks you for your answer, it’s ok for me now.

  5. Obrigado.

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