When the mainstream turned its back on disco in the early 80s, it allowed dance music to once again choose its own path. As an artist, Arthur Russell routinely chose the paths less travelled. The original male vocal mix true to Russell’s vision, is an organic piece that recreated the atmosphere of David Mancuso’s Loft. The story goes that the recording sessions occurred during a full moon and included individuals that would often party at the Loft. An exercise in creating a vibe, the male version of the song reflects the complexity of Russell’s arrangements and a maximalist wall of sound that would become a signature component in his dance productions.
Although the record received some critical acclaim, it wasn’t initially a commercial success. That came in a little later when famed a DJ remixed the song without permission from the label. According to some, Larry Levan snuck in to the West End offices to “borrow” the multi-tracks to make an edit for himself to play at the Paradise Garage (also owned by West End’s Mel Cheren). After getting positive feedback at the club, Larry decided to properly remix it with the aid of Francois K (who opted not to be credited because of his contract with Prelude).
Larry Levan’s remix now known as the “Female Vocal Mix”, although more structured is still pretty out there. Melvina Woods, a dancer from the Loft, slurs and misses notes as if her own loose joints were dusted, but the animalistic groove is so undeniably in-the-pocket that this actually got local radio play back in the day and remains in constant cult club rotation today. Of the two versions, Larry’s mix is the one that went on to influence early Chicago House DJs who over the years have sampled those exact same drums countless times. Now that is some real freaky stuff.
1) Is It All Over My Face
1) Is It All Over My Face (Female Vocal)