Once again, drug sory for the delay in postings — work stuff has been seriously kicking my ass this past few weeks, try plus some trips outta town have eaten up some of my time.

SYLVESTER – 12″ collection (198?-?)

Sometimes, you just gotta hit up the gayest possible thing you can think of. No — not Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”. Even gayer.

I first heard of Sylvester when I was a young kid, watching daytime television after coming home from school. “The Joan Rivers Show” was one of the coolest things I’d ever seen as an 8-year-old (don’t ask me why I wasn’t watching Nickelodeon instead. I had a penchant for daytime talk shows and “Divorce Court”.) One of Joan Rivers’ more outrageous guests that I caught once upon a time was Sylvester:

Sylvester James (September 6, 1947 – December 16, 1988), better known as Sylvester, was an American disco and soul singer, and a gay drag performer. He is considered to be one of the first Hi-NRG artists. Sylvester was sometimes known as the “Queen of Disco”, although this moniker has also been bestowed on some of the ladies of the disco era (i.e. Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer).

On that episode of “The Joan Rivers Show”, Sylvester lip-synched to one of his tracks, and later sat down for an interview. I was transfixed — not because I was into the music, but because the whole thing was so damned silly.

I still am transfixed by the utter banality of early Hi-NRG, and Sylvester’s music happens to be the apex of that flatly ridiculous genre (I would cite The Communards/Bronksi Beat instead, but even I can’t take more than 30 seconds of that stuff at a time. The Sylvester tracks go down much easier, pun or no pun intended.)

Sylvester – 12″ collection (ZIP file)

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698 Responses to SYLVESTER

  1. FrF says:

    Thanks for this, Brett, although you’re selling Sylvester far, far below his actual artistic worth by reducing him to the field of Hi-NRG. Heck, I don’t know much about this genre and still have the hunch that you’re unjust about it!

    What I do know, is that I absolutely love Sylvester’s version of Ashley/Simpson’s “Over And Over”*:

    * According to it’s from Sylvester eponymous 1977 album which is “more like an upbeat- frenetic soul /blues / rock and roll album”.

  2. Ian says:

    thanks for posting this. i’m a big Sylvester fan. and if you want a laugh, track down “you make me feel xtc.”

  3. Smoggo says:

    no such thing as too gay! wondering if you have any early house, stuff that sounds like “Shari Vari”?

  4. Mr Phreek says:

    The Communards are considered Hi-NRG? Ugh. My girlfriend and I have a good laugh over them occasionally. Check out their performance of Abba’s “Disco Queen” on YouTube. It’s absolutely wretched!

    But really, as far as I’m concerned, the best Hi-NRG was by Patrick Cowley (look him up on Wikipedia). He was actually an innovator of electronic music and he did some really cool stuff. Look for a CD called “The Ultimate Collection.” He made music for the gay disco crowd, so it’s as gay as you can get (check the song titles “Megatron Man” and “Menergy”). There’s an awesome electro-disco cover of The Seeds’ “Pushin’ Too Hard,” as well as Sylvester’s “Do You Wanna Funk?” which Cowley produced.

    I found the CD on a blog (can’t remember which), so it’s probably still floating around. If you can’t find it and you’re interested, let me know. I’ll upload it for you.

    Thanks for the Sylvester collection! Sure beats RuPaul!

  5. Jebediah Morningside says:

    Patrick Cowley “Ultimate Collection”

  6. Eric says:

    Speaking of totally gay music… I’ve always wanted to get a copy of the song “Beautiful Black Man”, which I heard used in Isaac Julien’s film “Looking for Langston”. I hardly remember it now… but I do recall being amused and tapping my toes despite myself.

    Great blog – keep ‘em coming!

  7. Mr X says:

    Mr Phreek, Abba never made a song called Disco Queen – they did do one called Dancing Queen though. Hope this helps.

  8. Mr X says:

    I wouldn’t like to argue with anyone whos dancing their tush off to Sylvesters high energy rhythms whether he was HI-NRG or not – would you!?

  9. I have always loved Sylvester and hope sometime in the near future someone will make a made for TV movie or the big screen.

  10. I heard his song Shadows of the Heart, and fell in love with it. I cannot find it, but understand it is on the Rock The Box CD. Can someone help me to get it.