70s Disco Pioneers The Gary Toms Empire


Who, I hear you ask? Well, some background info for sample spotters! When I was in the studio recording ‘Hooked’ (all those years ago), one of the tracks I took in to sample was ‘On The Cut’ from the 1988 debut album, ‘Into
The Dragon’
by UK sample pioneers, Bomb The Bass.

The disco loop in ‘Hooked’, “feel that funky groove right now…” is the sample in question. Bomb The Bass actually lifted the loop from the 1975 track ‘Feel That Funky Groove’ by the Gary Toms Empire.

Gary Toms and his “Empire” of musicians were one of disco music’s early success stories. One of the earliest groups to record “disco-only” records, their first Pickwick Records/P.I.P release “7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (Blow Your Whistle)” sold 40,000 copies in NY within the first week of sale. “Feel That Funky Groove” appeared on the same album but never appeared as a single.

You can hear the sample from the original source here and if your curious to hear more from one of the unheralded disco pioneers check out the 2003 compilation (on Canadian label Unidisc) ‘7654321 Blow Your Whistle: Best Of Gary Toms Empire’. Amazon usually has copies.

The same sample appeared later on Tidy Trax release Untidy Dubs Vol 1 a side project for engineer/producer Paul Janes and became a minor hit for Manifesto Records (then A&R’d by Judge Jules).

Co-incidently, Paul Janes worked as engineer on Tony De Vit’s later material after his ‘split’ from original co-writer Simon Parkes. Tony and Simon, of course, were the original remixers of ‘Hooked’.