Song of the Day: James Mason “Nightgruv” and “I Want Your Love”
James Mason (not to be confused with the English actor of the same name) is an interesting and obscure figure in disco, boogie and jazz fusion circles. He was ostensibly known as a sideman and staff writer for a number of record labels. He pops up here and there on a number of recordings. He managed to record one record as a leader entitled, Rhythm of Life, a boogie inflected jazz fusion classic that is now widely coveted by record collectors but initially didn’t move many copies outside of Japan. Mason also managed to release 4 12″ and 7″ dance singles, of which “Nightgruv” is the b-side to the equally catchy “I Want Your Love” (also included below).
“Nightgruv” is a great electro-boogie number. It features a 4 on the floor drum beat (which has a slight House vibe about it), a slightly jungle feel and light synths. The song is certainly minimalist but that is not mark against it. “I Want Your Love” has a similar vibe to “Nightgruv” but also includes an infectious soulful vocal track by an unidentified singer. Both songs are great examples of electric boogie at its absolute best. According to the liner notes, neither was originally intended for release, with Mason noting that he recorded them as a record industry demo to try to get a recording contract. On the strength of these demos alone (as well as his brilliant Rhythm of Life LP), it is a real shame that Mason didn’t get to record more.