The Best of Butterfly Records 1990 Disco
Today I learned about Butterfly Records, an LA-based indie disco label that existed from late 1976 to 1980 that landed a solid bunch of hits high upon Billboard's dance chart throughout its unfortunately short tenure. And guess what? I don't have to come up with much more to set up this album because the liner notes do a pretty bang-up job of it for me already! Yay!
Butterfly Records was founded by A.J. Cervantes in the late seventies, in Los Angeles, California. They were the label with the erotic album jackets. Distributed by MCA, the first hit was "Chattanooga Choo Choo" by Tuxedo Junction [not a fan!], followed by Saint Tropez' string of hits, "One More Minute," "Fill My Life With Love," and "Je T'aime." Both groups were produced by W. Michael Lewis and Laurin Rinder of El Coco fame. From England came producer Blackwell with "Boogie Down And Mess Around." Also included in this compilation are Canada's T.H.P. Orchestra and Denise McCann who scored high on the dance charts. Lalo Schifrin's (of "Jaws Theme" fame) group Fire And Ice hit the charts with "Inferno." DJ Elton Ahi's group The Destination had a big hit with "Move On Up" as did Eloise Whitaker with "Don't Turn Your Back On Love." So here it is for the first time on one package: The Best Of Butterfly Records.
The elite disco production duo of Rinder & Lewis are on, like, half of this thing, and just about all their tracks are fantastic, except for two that try to be disco covers of super old-timey jaunts that end up sounding extremely cheesy to me. Also not mentioned in those liner notes is another production duo, Ian Guenther and Willi Morrison, two European guys who brought their Eurodisco knowhow to Toronto and started The T.H.P. Orchestra, an act that hit #1 in Canada with its cover of the "Theme From S.W.A.T.," and then signed to Butterfly to bring their music stateside. And I think the two T.H.P. Orchestra offerings on this comp might be my two favorites.
These liner notes are also selling Destination's "Move on Up Suite" short. It wasn't just a "big hit;" it's the only hit on this album to reach #1 on the Billboard dance chart. It's a medley of speedy Curtis Mayfield disco covers, featuring, of course, the iconic horn refrain from Mayfield's signature song, "Move on Up." It's produced by an Iranian disco guy named Elton Farokh Ahi, who also co-produced "Inferno" by Lalo Schifrin's one-off disco project, Fire & Ice, which also appears on here.
Speaking of Schifrin, the liner notes say that he's responsible for the Jaws theme, but that's simply false. The Jaws theme is by John Williams. Schifrin is responsible for a lot of iconic film and TV music though, probably most notably the theme from Mission: Impossible.
Anyway, with all that said about all of this excellent music, I still have a decently-sized bone to pick: The back cover of this album clearly states, "ALL FULL LENGTH EXTENDED VERSIONS," and that's simply not the case. Longer versions of a lot of these are on YouTube and none of these last any longer than a little more than six minutes. It's false advertising, plain and simple, and because of these odd and not full track lengths, I unfortunately can't find very many of these exact edits on YouTube, which explains the lack of links that are to follow 😩.
Still a great label retrospective though. Disco’s a huge blind spot for me and this helps to fill in a small piece of that huge gap with hits I knew absolutely nothing about beforehand 😊.
Saint Tropez - "Fill My Life With Love" Denise McCann - "Tattoo Man" T.H.P. Orchestra - "Two Hot for Love" Saint Tropez - "One More Minute" Bob McGilpin - "Superstar" Eloise Whitaker - "Don't Turn Your Back on Love" Fire & Ice - "Inferno" T.H.P. Orchestra - "Weekend Two Step" Destination - "Move on Up Suite"