The Norman Wisdom Disco Break


Way back in 1995 the original version of ‘Hooked’ (the ‘Bouncy Shakedown’ to be precise) appeared on legendary rave promoter Fantazia’s triple CD compilation, ‘The House Collection Vol 2’. The album had three discs, one each, mixed by Boy George, Tony De Vit and Jon of the Pleased Wimmin. The cover of the CD featured ‘glamour’ model (and minor UK celeb) Joanne Guest and I remember Fantazia running a competition at the time of the album’s launch to win a night out with Jo.

Anyway, I was reminded of this album, firstly because it was a bit of a landmark for the 99th Floor Elevators, being the first compilation appearance and secondly because I stumbled across a blog post that claimed that the disco break in ‘Hooked’ (mentioned coincidentally in an earlier post here) sounded like “I’m going to grill Norman Wisdom, right now”.

Of course, I was outraged (cough), as any fool knows it actually says quite clearly, “Feel that funky groove right now”. Well then, imagine my shock when I discover the blighters are actually right on the nail with this one!

That Gary Toms Empire sample will never sound the same again.

I’m Going to Grill Norman Wisdom Right Now MP3

For readers not from the UK, Norman Wisdom is a much-loved slapstick comedian and actor whose films were at the peak of popularity in the 1950s and 1960s.

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’.