Champion Sound: Mari Wilson, British Ideas Corporation, 2016

Champion Sound: Mari Wilson, British Ideas Corporation, 2016


The bit of the website where someone of sonic sophistication supplies a selection of serious dance-floor stompers.

Mari Wilson

“You’re The First, The Last, My Everything” ­– Barry White (1974)
“I’ve always been a huge fan, especially after Barry kissed me in the Albert Hall in 1975… so to speak. I first heard this when I was in a club called Superstar in Brooklyn aged 18. I was a nanny in New York at the time. I couldn’t wait to get on the dance-floor when this came on. Ed Greene’s drumming, which was on all of Barry’s records, is so crisp and groovy – that great snare sound. It also has a fantastic intro, which is the case with all my choices. Got to have a great intro.”

“Dr Beat” ­– Miami Sound Machine
“The Cuban percussion going on here is the business and another quirky intro – see, told you!”

“Happy” – Pharrell Williams (2014)
“I drove my daughter mad constantly playing this when it came out. I love that low keyboard at the start and his voice, sounding like Smokey Robinson – it’s lovely. But mainly it’s the melody and the message. It really does make you feel happy and want to dance for joy!”

“Shame” – Evelyn “Champagne” King (1977)
“You have to play the 12” of this. It’s interesting how the sax is constantly blowing together with her vocal, which is soft and effortless. There’s so much going on but it all works together beautifully.”

“Groove Is In The Heart” – Deee-Lite
“The video for this was fantastic. And, of course, Bootsy Collins is playing bass on this and makes an appearance in the video, which was so quirky and fabulous. Lady Miss Kier is divine and that constant tambourine, ooh yes please!”

“Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)” – The Jacksons (1978)
“It’s all about that keyboard riff, which is what drives it, and Michael’s percussive vocal.”

“Happiness Is Just Around The Bend” – The Main Ingredient
“Don’t let the intro fool you, it soon turns into a mega dance track pushed along with gorgeous [Fender] Rhodes [piano] playing. The lead singer is Cuba Gooding and I love it when he says, ‘I’m going where the fun is’. It takes you away…”

“Everyday People” – Sly & The Family Stone
“Very simple really, it’s all about the rhythm section, with piano, bass and drums working beautifully together and then Sly’s rich voice comes in with a great melody and message. Sly Stone was the Prince of his day.”

“I’ll Take You There” – Staple Singers (1972)
“Mavis Staples’ voice is one of the most distinctive and that incredible rhythm… how can anyone sit still to this? Impossible.”

“Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine” – James Brown (1970)
“I remember dancing to this at The Oldfield Tavern in Greenford thinking I was the bee’s knees! Nobody made records like James Brown and nobody has come close since, either! Woo the brass section!”

Just what we always wanted: Mari's on the road throughout the rest of the year

Just what we always wanted: Mari’s on tour from OctoberMari Wilson’s new album Pop Deluxe is out now. See Mari at Sunshine Music Festival, Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire (27 August), Liverpool 02 Academy (20 October): Birmingham Town Hall (21 October), Glasgow 02 ABC (23 October), Gateshead Sage (24 October), Sheffield City Hall (25 October), Manchester 02 Ritz (26 October), Bury St Edmunds The Apex (28 October), Basingstoke Anvil (29 October), London 02 Empire Shepherd’s Bush (30 October), London Teddington Landmark (9 November), Redhill Harlequin Theatre (11 November), Maidstone Pizza Express Music Room (12 November), Otley Korks (18 November), Barton-upon-Humber The Ropewalk (19 November), Cardiff Acapela Studio (25 November), London Victoria St James Theatre (1 December), Stockport The Plaza (8 December), Stockton-on-Tees Georgian Theatre (4 March 2017).