Arthur Russell died in 1992. Myth-making being what it is, nearly two decades after his death, the artist is presently more well known than he ever was during his own lifetime. Typical. Over the past few months I’ve noticed an upward swell of folks writing about, and discussing, Russell’s music in a way I had not before (did the Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell documentary get added to on-demand cable this summer or something?). Whatever the case may be, it’s great, and with such an eclectic body of work it is certainly not surprising.
Beginning with 1994’s posthumous Another Thought, and really ramping up with the Soul Jazz Records collection The World of Arthur Russell, there is no shortage of Arthur Russell compilations for those looking to dig in — the most recent being Love Is Overtaking Me released last October (and now available on vinyl). Being that I’ve been spent a lot of time with the largely acoustic Overtaking Me collection since it’s release, here I want to focus on the other end of the Russell spectrum, the avant-dance side. Don’t let the word ‘dance’ frighten you here, as Russell’s version of ‘disco’ is very different from that of the mainstream (in the same vein and the New York Noise compilation).
“Kiss Me Again,” one of Russell’s first and most successful compositions aimed at the dancefloor, was originally released as a twelve-inch single by Dinosaur in 1978. Dinosaur was the name of Russell’s collaboration with Nicky Siano (featuring Talking Heads’ David Byrne on guitar). While presently unavailable on sanctioned Arthur Russell comps, the track can be found on Disco Not Disco, a collection of late ’70s avant garde, left of center, dance music.
Bit of trivia: Arthur Russell was invited to be, and almost became, a formal member of Talking Heads.
Previously: Wild Combination :: A Portrait of Arthur Russell
MP3: Dinosaur :: Kiss Me Again (Side A)