The word “boogie” has all kinds of meanings, but for the subjects of this week’s City Paper cover story, the Future Times DJs, it’s the Britain-born term for the club music that was produced after the term “disco” became toxic but before more city-specific genres like Chicago house and Detroit techno reached wide audiences. “It’s really only in the last decade that the term has achieved serious currency as a record dealer and collector buzz-word,” critic Simon Reynolds wrote for The Guardian a couple of years ago. Andrew Morgan, owner of D.C. label People’s Potential Unlimited boiled it down for me this way in an email: “BOOGIE is post disco add synth add funk.”
These days, boogie is particularly prominent at the Vitamin C parties that Future Times co-owner Mike “Mondo” Petillo and Chris “C-Rob” Robinson host monthly at U Street’s Dodge City. I asked Robinson, who has become a bit of a boogie connoisseur, to recommend a track. He decided on 1984’s “Sarah Love” by the Jupiter Band, anchored by the Lukatas brothers from Belgium. “Extremely funky Belgian boogie winner, with great lo-fi synthwork and a nice rhythm guitar arrangement, subtle Nigerian vibe, and a very positive energy,” Robinson wrote in a detailed, fact-filled riff on the song and the band.
My first thought was that it wouldn’t be out of place in a weekend mix on WHUR-FM, next to Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam or New Edition. Robinson noted that “Sarah Love” has the same “ecstatic quality” as “Swimmers Groove,” the now-classic Future Times cut by the Beautiful Swimmers.* Amid our nerding out, Robinson seemed most enthused, though, about the song’s emotional effect. “They alternate between one brother singing about his love for Sarah to the other rapping about rhythm and dancing,” he says. “When they come together to declare that ‘everything’s so fine,’ I always feel that they’re right and everything is.”
* When L.A. DJ/producer DāM-FunK—-who calls himself “the Ambassador of Boogie-Funk—-spun “Swimmers Groove” at the 9:30 club a few years ago, he did an improvised vocal over the song. “It was way better. I wish we had that version,” says Ari Goldman, one-half of the Swimmers.