(Buy “Devotion” on Amazon mp3.)

Much of what we now call “EDM” (barf) originated in the sweaty basements of Chicago and Detroit in the mid Eighties. I’m too young to have experienced any of this firsthand, but I am old enough to know that proper credit isn’t often given to these pioneers.

TencityHouse music was the most direct offshoot of disco-not only because of its original audience (black and gay) but because of its sound. Perhaps the most direct line can be found in the Chicago trio Ten City. They were fronted by singer Byron Stingily, whose falsetto vocals were a very clear descendant of the Original Disco King (and Queen,) Sylvester. Ten City broke onto the national scene with the single “Devotion.” I was 12 when it came out, and would’ve been unable to even get into teen clubs (if they had those in Brooklyn) but I can imagine the rapture that dancers would get put into upon hearing those opening notes.

I realize some of you reading are probably unfamiliar with the catharsis that the dance floor provides, but take it from me. Something like this…on a booming sound system…with a floor full of gyrating bodies-probably the closest thing to a religious experience there is.

Ten City released several albums in the late ’80s and early ’90s, at which point Byron Stingily set off on a solo career that saw him making repeated trips to the top of the dance charts. I’ve heard rumors that he’s now a school principal in Chicago, but he also still does shows, bringing that glorious falsetto to the masses.


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