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“You Better Work!”
Underground Dance Music in New York
Kai Fikentscher


2000 • 176 pp. 26 illus. Fig. 2 charts. 6 x 9"
Music / African-American Studies / Gay Studies

$19.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6404-7

"New York City readers will surely enjoy his tales of a thousand and one club nights at the Tunnel, Mars, Twilo, the Garage, and the Palladium, where we find such dominant turntable masters as Junior Vasquez, David Morales, Little Louie Vega, and Danny Tenaglia working and creating."Boston Phoenix

The first in-depth study of underground dance music.

"You Better Work!" is the first detailed study of underground dance music or UDM, a phenomenon that has its roots in the overlap and cross-fertilization of African American and gay cultural sensibilities that have occurred since the 1970s. UDM not only predates and includes disco, but also constitutes a unique performance practice in the history of American social dance.

Taking New York City as its geographic focus, "You Better Work!" shows how UDM functions in the lives of its DJs and dancers, and how it is used as the primary identifier of an urban subculture shaped essentially by the relationships between music, dance, and marginality. Kai Fikentscher goes beyond stereotypical images of club and disco to explore the cult and culture of the DJ, the turntable and vinyl recordings as musical instruments, and the vital relationship between music and dance at underground clubs. Including interviews, photographs, and an extensive discography, this ethnographic account tells the story of a celebration of collective marginality through music and dance

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

"Fikentscher understands the historical importance of disco as few writers do. He guides you effortlessly through the evolution of the DJ from spinner to mixer to remixer to producer. He offers insightful and pathbreaking connections to the black church and to gay expressivity. And he is able to translate the emotional language and transformative experience of music and dance into engaging, readable prose. It's the next best thing to dancing itself!"Reebee Garofalo, author of Rockin' Out: Popular Music In the USA

"'You Better Work!' is not just the only serious book about underground dance music in the U.S. It is also a very good book. Fikentscher documents several crucial music scenes before they mutate into the night."Andrew Ross, Director, American Studies Program, NYU

KAI FIKENTSCHER holds degrees in jazz performance and composition from Berklee College of Music and Manhattan School of Music, as well as in ethnomusicology from Columbia University. When not teaching music courses and lecturing on topics in expressive African American culture, he works in New York City as a music producer, freelance guitarist, audio consultant, and sound technician.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:52:26 -0500