Tuesday, 22 March 2011

T-Connection - Do What You Wanna Do (1977/ No. 11/ 8 weeks/ TK)


Disco-funk! Now there's an enticing prospect!

A tricky one too, though, if you think about it, especially in 1977 when attempting such a fusion was an expedition into pretty much uncharted musical territory. The triumphant success of the obscure T-Connection (from Nassau, 'Funky Nassau'!) in combining the muscle of the one and the gleam of the other resulted in a real evergreen Billy favourite, one of the handful of singles that I have been playing continually over the last 15 years.

You couldn't really describe it as much of a song, more a series of occasional carpe diem phrases to drape around the hooks;

You've only got one life - So live it COOL! (Heh!)

In this world of strife - You can't be a FOOL!

The chorus cleverly doubles as a message of personal empowerment, and a lascivious invitation;

Don't let nobowdy tell ya what to do -

Ya gotta be ya judge and jury too!

(Doo Doo Duh Duh Doo Doo Duh!)

Don't let nowbody tell ya what to do -

Uuuh! -

Ya gotta be ya judge and jury too!

(Da Doodah! Doodah!)

All right...

Do what ya wanna do!

I'm gonna do, yeah...

Judge and tha jury too!

I'm gonna do, yeah...

Do what ya wanna do!

Judge and tha jury too!

Its one of those adorably long records that feels as though it could stretch out infinitely and provides a real test to dance to. It takes a few listens for you to remember how it progresses and think through appropriate moves for each bit. Its based around some crisscrossy geometric patterns in the form of some basslines where the tempos quicken and quicken and get more and more exciting to follow, the listener in a state of tense wonderment at how time is being stretched. The spacious-seeming pattern allows all sorts of teasing deviation to happen underneath it though, like crossing over an iron bridge and seeing the ripples of the river through the parallel struts. Over the seven minutes of the T-Connection journey the listener passes through a wuzzybuzzy wah-wah guitar solo, a squelching moog, an overwrought electric piano, a tappytoppy drum solo, even a swarm of bicycle bells.

With so much occurring over seven minutes, its quite a challenge to dance to this - but you feel compelled to keep on moving once its started. Like going on a run, you realise that the process of physical response to this record might be quite punishing, but will give you a real rush of endorphins that builds and builds the further and further you get through it. Also note the orgasmic moment when the music gives way to a collective exhausted "WOOOH!"

As with so many great singles, the draw of 'Do What You Wanna Do' is down to a series of paradoxes. The geometric arrangement is both harsh and very attractive, bold and detailed. The glacial line that runs through the thing guides the listener along an experience of tremendous spirit and yearning. The combination of glitter and sweat offers an intense and ecstatic experience for any listener prepared to submit themselves to T-Connection's spell.

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