This is....

Andy Kahn

Andy Kahn

Andy Kahn came to know his later-to-become # 1 hit single vocalist already in his pre-teen years at a family Hanukkah party. Never would he believe that that girl sweeping him of the piano chair would sing his song "Hot Shot" some 20 years later and the success they would get together.
The girl was of course Karen Young and in this interview he share his memories and the ups & downs and how he became the first one to record the Gipsy Kings...
You'll also get to listen to a previously unreleased Karen Young track from 1979, "Rendezvous With Me" which was scheduled to be the follow up to "Hot Shot".
It's time you get to know...
Andy Kahn !

Andy Kahn Andrew "Andy" Kahn was born July 23, 1952 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He grew up and already at young age he was a very skilled pianist who used to entertain his family with his playing and over the years he become an acclaimed Jazz pianist. Besides this he used to compose and produce music and in the early 1970's he opened up the Queen Village Recording Studios together with his brother in their native Philadelphia.
Andy has always had a flair for creative arts and together with his life-partner he owns the Southwark Decorating Company, which is an interior design company.

Discoguy; So, Andy, I know you're a Jazz pianist, you're also a writer and producer, besides that you're also an interior designer and consultant as well as co-owner of Southwark Decorating Company in Philadelphia...
Andy Kahn and Bruce Cahan "Yes, my partner and I have been together for 30 years and we bought a business that belonged to my family. It's a 90 years old business and it has to do with distribution of paint, architectural finishes, house paint and we also specialize in treatments and interior decorating. He has a great flair for that and I'm very good with technical things, so about 25 years ago, we found ourselves falling into that business. Trying to keep my family business alive, I'm the third generation in there. We wanted to work together, so we ended up buying this business and we still have it, but over the past couple of years I kind of edged back towards music production and writing again. I had gotten away from the music production end for about ten years as I was performing mostly with my Jazz group or doing solo piano performances for benefit concerts or in concerts with other people. Then I decided it was time for me... I kind of sensed that the music was leaning back towards the 70's again. I got this feeling after having taken a number of trips, the 70's Disco music was really becoming popular again. The whole 70's thing was happening in fashion and style, I see it all over the place and I thought it was a perfect time for me to go in and finally do a remix that was worthy of 'Hot Shot' and that's kind of how it happened."

Karen Young - Hot Shot single cover

You seem to span over many different and especially creative areas, which is your favorite occupation? Is it the writing and producing part, or more of the interior parts?
"Well, doing interiors is creative, but it's also very difficult work dealing with a lot of fine arts and a lot of different personalities and the wait times is very very annoying and irritating. It can be lucrative though, so it was something that we decided, especially with the whole record industry going through an alteration over the past 25 years with the digital revolution. It seemed like a good alternative for me to get into that, to maintain my lifestyle. Because we like to live a very very nice lifestyle and it sort of helped us through that.
But I never gave up my passion or my interest for both performing or playing and writing. And I missed being in the studio. A very very good friend of mine, who is like a lifelong friend, who I helped to get into the recording business about 35 years ago when he wanted to start a recording studio. I had my own studio that I was getting out the ownership of at the time. I helped him start a studio that ended up becoming a very big studio in Philadelphia, one that he ultimately sold to the group Boyz II Men and then he opened up a private studio in his home which he still has. His name is Mitchell Goldfarb and the name of his studio is Rock Dog studios.
It's a studio for hire but a private studio, it's not one that's merchandised publicly and he does private productions and it's a fantastic environment to work in. It's out in the country and I live in Philadelphia, in the center of the city which is very congested, very lively and quite a big metropolitan area, it's always great for me to get in my car and it's about almost an hour away but it's such a pain in the ass to get all the way out there, but once I'm there it's beautiful, it's trees, woods and it's clean. It's a wonderful environment when one is working.
Hot Shot Reheat remixes He has been trying to get me into the studio for at least ten years saying; 'You should be back in the studio!' He finally convinced me to get back in the studio and I said to him; 'I want to do a remix of "Hot Shot", so let's go back into the studio.' And that's what we did. We started it in June of 2006 when I went back in the studio for the first time in maybe 15 years to do dance music and production. And our remixes of 'Hot Shot', with the Ralphi Rosario & Craig J's remix and the other ones by Paul Goodyear and Wayne G are all the result of that production."

Yes, it's good, new and up-to-date remixes!
"Have you heard all of them?"
No, I haven't heard all of the new remixes, sadly.
"What I'd like to do is, I will e-mail you links to all the remixes."
Yes please. Thank you!
"I will give you everything, you may have some of it, you may have heard some but I want you to have it all. I'll send you all the remixes. We also did a re-worked re-issue version of the original 1978 where we sped it up from 120 to 126 BPM...
The original was 120 and the new one is 126 and we put a new bottom on it. 'Cause all the Disco records from the 70's are very weak in the bass and the kick because we didn't have all those subwoofers and the audio equipment in those days that we have today. So I created a new bottom on it that we called the '1978 Bottoms Up Mix' and I'll send you a link for that also."

Thank you, I sure appreciate that!
For more information on these "Hot Shot" remixes, make sure to visit the MaxRoxx web-site.

You mentioned the studio you were getting out of, that was the Queen Village Recording Studios in Philadelphia...
"Yes, at the time that I did 'Hot Shot' I was a co-owner of Queen Village with my brother Walter Kahn, who was in the recording business and ultimately moved to California, producing other artists. He and I were partners for many years and we started that studio together. It was about ten years in the making, we started around 1970 and he and I were partners in it all.
We did a number of independent productions for record companies, but also we found artists and then we would go trying to pitch them directly to record companies. In those days you could do things like this very easily. And if you had a good group, the record companies bought your masters and you were off and running.
We put about 29 records out together. Most of them were not commercial successes, one that was though, was the Dixie Hummingbirds doing Paul Simon's 'Loves Me Like A Rock'. We recorded that with them and produced it and actually won a Grammy for that. We got that back in the mid 1970's, but I can't remember exactly."

That's great!
Walter and Andy Kahn worked on many projects together and were sometimes simply referred to as the Kahn Boys, with Walt taking care of the production side of things while Andy being in charge of the arrangements.
Kurt Borusiewicz Andy continues; "But it wasn't until I met up with a DJ in Philadelphia during the ascent of Disco in the mid 1970's, when I met my collaborator at that time - Kurt Borusiewicz (pronounced Bora-shevitz).
Kurt was an amazing DJ in Philadelphia. I can't even begin to describe to you how special and extraordinary he was. He has passed away though. He passed away in July 6, 1994 and he died from AIDS. And he was playing at a Club in Philadelphia called the DCA in Camac and St. James in Center City. DCA was like Philadelphia's answer to Studio 54 in New York. In fact the people from Studio 54, when '54' was closed on Monday nights in New York, they used to come down in bus loads, like 50 or 100 at a time, to come to DCA in Philly. Because there was no better music, no better light show and no better vibe in a Club. To me it was better than '54'. I loved '54', but the DCA to me, personally, was the ultimate dance Club ever. And Kurt was the DJ there.
Someone had told me about him, I didn't really know him and... I'm assuming that you know at this point that I'm gay and this was a gay Club. I was just coming out, I was 25 years old at the time and I kind of was just coming out to be who I was as a person. I was hanging in different Clubs and someone told me I that I should really go to this Club. It was kind of all maturing at the same time that I was. So I went to the DCA which was primarily a gay Club and I listened for four or five nights to Kurt playing music and Claes
[Discoguy], I can't even begin to describe to you the feeling of watching him handle the group like he did. I never experienced that in my life and he just was the finest mixmaster, he understood so much about what made people go crazy. I went there five nights in a row intil three or four o'clock in the morning and I finally walked into his booth and I introduced myself. I told him I owned a recording studio and said; 'You have to come with me! You have to come with me right now, because we're gonna make records together!' Haha! [Both laughing]
Kurt and I sat there in the studio until very very late the following morning when the studio opened up to jingles and advertising and the other things it was doing besides music, and we were still sitting in there. I played him a rhythm track of a song that I had done for a group called Calhoon. I had written a track for them that never was released and Kurt and I listened to it and he said; 'This sounds like a hit record!' and we re-wrote it and it became 'Hot Shot'."

Calhoon - Soul Man

Oh, right! I know you had worked with Calhoon earlier.
"Right. My brother Walter and I did. My brother Walter produced the group Calhoon and I was the arranger. He handled the production and I did all the arrangements for that. And they had a single or two out on the Warner Spector label, but they never picked up the album. Had they picked up the album, they would have probably had the track that I worked on with Kurt for 'Hot Shot'. It was a song of a different title, but it was the beginning of the rhythm track that we worked out.
Kurt and I were convinced that that had a tremendous groove to it and it really had THE groove to it. I mean, of all the stuff that I played him that night and when we started working and re-wrote it, we both realized that we knew a female artist in Philadelphia that both of us envisioned being the perfect singer for it. Now I didn't know he knew her and he didn't know that I knew Karen. I knew her really from the studio and Kurt knew her from playing in piano bars around Philadelphia, she played at a lot of Gay Clubs and she was very well known as a performer in a number of restaurants and Clubs in the Philadelphia area. But we both were thinking of her and found out we were talking about the same person.
We called her up, and she was in Florida at the time. We sent her a demo of me singing the record, which is something no one ever should have heard. Haha!
[Both laughing] She loved the song and we flew her up to Philadelphia and she recorded it and we took it around to a number of record companies.
Casablanca wanted to release it but they would not give it a schedule until the Fall period of 1978. It was after the Summer and we were convinced that this really was a record that needed to come out in the Summer. It just starts so hot, feels so strong, it felt like a Summer record to us. And inasmuch as they had a very big roster of artists at the time they couldn't guarantee us and couldn't give us a time slot until let's say... this was like in February or March of 1978 and they couldn't give us a commitment 'till like September.
So we took it to WestEnd and they flipped out for it and Mel Cheren said to me; 'I have to have this record!' And I said; 'You can have this record if you can put it out in time for Memorial Day weekend!', which in the United States is the end of May. He talked to his partner and said; 'We can do it! We'll press it and put it right out. It has to be in New York, it has to be in Fire Island, it has to be in Philadelphia', which it already was... Philadelphia had already been exposed to the record at DCA, they were aware of the record already. And that's how it happened.
They put that record out and thank God they did, because it was clearly THE Summer record, Summer hit - that was just no doubt about it."

Right! No doubt about it... That's a great story.

Karen Young - Hot Shot 12-inch single

Karen Young - Hot Shot album You followed up the "Hot Shot" single with "Bring On the Boys" and then the successful album.
"Right. The album was not as successful as we would have hoped and 'Bring On the Boys' and another song called 'Baby You Ain't Nothing Without Me' they were released as a 12". They did pretty well, I mean, they did alright. I can't say they really were all as successful as 'Hot Shot'. Because 'Hot Shot' was clearly the winner of that, it remains one of those great special records today that everybody still enjoys from that day and that their children have been exposed to. I know kids whose parents are my age and they know 'Hot Shot' because their parents would play it enough. I'm meeting 20 year olds to 25 year olds who say; 'I know that song because my parents played it all the time.' You know, that's what it has become!
'Bring On the Boys' was successful but it just wasn't as successful as 'Hot Shot' and there also were the usual problems, and you know... I have no problems talking about it because it's part of life in the music business. There were major problems, because we were managing Karen too, in addition to having production contracts with her. And we had big problems with her parents, big problems with people coming from other sides who were whispering all kinds of things in her ear, making her promises and she was very very loyal to Kurt and me at that time, until those people got to her parents. They managed to get through and made all kinds of promises. It happens a great many times in the industry, the old 'I'm gonna make you a great star', that kind of thing. We were on tour with her when she became virtually unmanageable and it was a shame because it disrupted and hurt and ultimately ended our personal relationship.
Karen Young performs As a result of that Kurt and I went off and on to something else and we pretty much abandoned working with Karen, because she just could not... she couldn't handle it. She just couldn't handle working under that pressure. And of course all the promises that were made to her and all the riches that were supposed to be going to be heaped upon her and her parents never occurred. Which is very common in this business, and therefore she became a one hit wonder! It's a shame because Kurt and I had another record that we wrote for her and it's finally about to come out in a few months from now...
No one has heard it, I had it in my tape vault and I never finished it with her. She recorded her vocal track over it, but we never completed the track because I wasn't gonna work with her any more. And she became not only unmanageable, but WestEnd became unmanageable, they decided that we weren't handling her right or they wanted other DJ's like Jim Burgess and other people in New York to make the mixes or to do a better job on her next record and we felt very very slighted that they did not give us a chance to do a second album, to do a follow up to 'Hot Shot' using the same formula. And they really got to her, they made it so that she was just very difficult and impossible to work with and we backed out and unfortunately never finished that song.
I believe that if our second song would have come out, Karen would have had a second hit record. As it turned out she came out with a number of records with both my brother Walter, and other producers after us, but all of them were mostly unsuccessful."

Many people tried to produce Karen over the years, but no one ever managed to really get her back into the spotlight again. Actually Andy & Kurt's second 12" release with Karen; "Bring On The Boys" backed with "Baby You Ain't Nothing Without Me", was the most successful of the 'post-Hot Shot' releases as it reached # 2 in the Billboard Club Play charts.
Karen Young singing Of Karens later (early 1980's) releases were it only "Deetour" and "Dynamite" which made a little stir in the charts. But other releases like "Expressway To Your Heart", "Hot For You" and "You Don't Know What You Got" had no luck at all - chart wise. All of these 5 tracks were in fact produced by Walter Kahn for his Sunshine Group and for the "Dynamite" release he even brought in the famous Paradise Garage DJ Larry Levan as a mix consultant.
Walter sometimes also goes by the name Kandor and is famous for his work with, for example, Skee-Lo's "I Wish".
In 1984 we got the last Karen Young release. She was now back on WestEnd Records singing "Come-A-Runnin'", but in this release there were no involvement what so ever from the Kahn Boys. This release also happened to become the very last release for WestEnd, which ceased its business within months after this single.

How come your brother continued working with Karen after all that had happened?
"Well, my brother continued to work with her because he believed in her and I think that he saw her as an opportunity and he managed somehow to please her parents. And he managed somehow to keep them satisfied with the hope that he would be able to continue on with WestEnd and with her and releasing other records.
WestEnd in the mean time was starting to have all kinds of financial issues when they grew. You know, we were WestEnd's first Number One record and we were their first Gold record. And they became a little greedy too. I still have very good feelings about Mel Cheren and if you've seen anything I've written about him, that will testify to that. I think that Mel was a major force and a major influence and important person in Disco, but his business partner had no scruples. He was a real asshole and he had a lot of influence on Mel and I think they threated us incorrectly driving us away from Karen and from the label. I think they had been cheating us and Kurt and I decided at that point that we just didn't want to continue with WestEnd or Karen.
This also broke me away from my brother. My brother and I stopped our partnership together in the recording studio, Queen Village, as well as our partnership in Sunshine Productions, which was the name of our production company and I basically divorced myself from him with my 30'th record. I had 29 records out with him, my 30'th was 'Hot Shot' and the rest is sort of history."

Oh, I see...
"But now my brother and I are friends. Actually we're better friends now than we ever have. If you wait long enough in life, these things come back together. He and I started involvement in 'Hot Shot' through the publishing company, because the publishing company is still an interest that I maintain and the publishing company was something we owned together. It had the copyrights to all the songs that Karen had out. And also all the songs on the AKB album. So we still have some business together but we don't produce together and of course the studio is no longer there. And Kurt and I did our AKB album and then after AKB, which is another story altogether, the whole Disco backlash you know went through. They pulled the rug out under it and it all started in the States in 1979, about a year after 'Hot Shot'."

AKB - Stand Up Sit Down

Let's get into AKB. You had a big hit with "Stand Up, Sit Down" which is considered a Disco classic these days...Can you tell me a little bit more about AKB and this release?
Kurt and Andy behind the grand piano "Kurt and I had this vision of doing a duelling piano thing with a big orchestra. You can picture two grand pianos in the front and a big orchestra behind this. This was our dream and vision of what AKB was all about. And AKB was formed from the letters AK for Andy Kahn and KB for Kurt Borusiewicz and that's how we came up with that.
It was basically a studio orchestra, it was like the SalSoul Orchestra or any one of the others like MFSB, you know, the kind of thing like the Philly sound. It was all constructed that way in the studio. These were songs that I had written with Kurt and then I arranged them for our production company and there were 74 musicians on that recording date. We used real live musicians, it was a HUGE production. I mean it was over the top, very very lush and luxurious and very sophisticated.
Because I'm a Jazz musician, even 'Hot Shot' had a lot of Jazz harmonies and Jazz type voicings in it. So did the whole AKB album. It was more than just 'Stand Up, Sit Down', it was a whole album of five other songs we recorded, all which when I hear them today, they were way way way ahead of their time I think and were just beautiful... I'm not saying this because it's mine, but when I listen back I'm amazed that I did that. The sound that I came up with, such a beautiful, gorgeous production that that was. We were given free hands by the label, the label was RSO Records, which was the same label that had the Bee Gees and they basically gave us a healthy budget to produce that record with almost 75 musicians. There was almost nothing electronic on there, we had a string section with over 35 players, that's unbelievable."

Yes, it's a great record.
"It was like conducting an orchestra for Frank Sinatra. It was an amazing experience and one that I must tell you I have never forgot and never will."
AKB - Rhythmic Feet album The AKB album was called - Rhythmic Feet - and it featured the Billboard Top Ten hit single "Stand Up - Sit Down". As Andy mentioned, he and Kurt used a very large live orchestra with over 70 musicians in order to create the incredible sound of the LP. The album also became one of the very last big Disco Orchestra releases.
The LP opens up with "Stand Up - Sit Down" followed by the title track "We Got Rhythmic Feet", both in long 'Disco versions'. The second side is a Medley of four tracks; "When We're Alone", "Goin' Downtown", "We Love A Celebration" and "I'm In Heaven With You". Both "We Got Rhytmic Feet" and "Goin' Downtown" got their share of Club play, along with "Stand Up..." of course.
So, Rhytmic Feet was released on RSO because you didn't want to work with WestEnd any more, right?!
RSO logo "Well, we didn't even offer it to WestEnd, we took it back to Casablanca and some of the people at Casablanca were interested in it, some of them said they really wanted to have a developed artist and they didn't feel we had that with our studio orchestra. So we took it to RSO and one or two other labels I can't remember, but RSO snapped it up right away.
There was a guy who was head of A&R in the RSO Disco department, he was somebody that Kurt knew from record promotion days, and he basically took it to Al Coury who was the president of the company and said; 'These are the guys who did "Hot Shot", they're gonna deliver a second record and we should have this record.' And basically there was very very little negotiation, they pretty much gave us everything we wanted.
In fact, I'll tell you this little side story, they gave us a budget of 80000 dollars to do that record, which back in 1979 was a very substantial budget. And we brought the record in at about 68000 dollars including all the musicians, including paying all that personnel and in the end we didn't bill the record company for the extra 12000 even though that was the very standard procedure to do so. If anything, most people go over their budget and they're asking for more money. And I remember Al Coury called me himself on the phone and said; 'How come you're only at 68000, do you feel you might have cheated the record and you should spend the extra 12000?' I went; 'We haven't cheated this record, wait 'till you hear the sound of this record. It's an unbelievable wall of sound that we've created.' And he said; 'Why didn't you bill us for the extra 12000?'. I said; 'Because we didn't spend it.' And he said to me; 'All these years of doing records...', and he's a veteran of the record industry for years, '... I never once ever had a production company ever come in under budget and not billing us for the difference! It never happened!' And he said he could not believe that we did such a thing. My reason for it was that that was 12000 dollars we wouldn't have to pay back to the record company against records you know, to get our royalties.
They were very very eager to promote it. I mean 'Stand Up, Sit Down' was a Top Ten record, it was definitely a classic record and DJ Abel in Miami tells me that I should have been in Miami when that record came out. 'Stand Up, Sit Down' was like the theme song that summer in Miami. He says everybody in Miami just played this, it was like Miami's theme song and it was certainly a very very good record and it got a lot of response, but unfortunately that was right at the time that the cracks were starting to appear in the industry. It was when the whole 'Disco Sucks!' campaign was starting, all the negative talk, the negative promotion and it was right after we put that record out.
And I mean, within four to five months the whole industry had just like totally collapsed. By the end of 1979, it was really over. Going into 1980 - Disco was done. I don't mean done, people were dancing but I mean the record companies. No more budgets, no more anything, everything dried up and it's the old saying 'The shit hit the fan', it really did!"

Yes, it sure did. Sadly!


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CLICK to hear some Andy Kahn songs...

Baby you ain't nothin' without me
Karen Young

Bring on the boys
Karen Young

Hot shot
Karen Young

Where is he
Karen Young



CLICK to hear the unreleased Karen Young track...

Rendezvous with me [Original 1979 Vocals]

Rendezvous with me [Original 1979 Rhythm & Horns]

Rendezvous with me [MaxRoxx Mix]

Rendezvous with me [Paul Goodyear Vocal Dub]



CLICK to hear the Karen Young
Reheat
remixes...


Hot shot [MaxRoxx Remake]

Hot shot [Ralphi Rosario & Craig J Remix]

Hot shot [MaxRoxx Dub]

Hot shot [Daddy's Cool Dub]

Hot shot [1978 Bottom's Up Mix]

Hot shot [Wayne G & Porl Young Atlantis Remix]

Hot shot [Paul Goodyear Remix]



CLICK to hear some related songs...

In the navy
Village People

Y.M.C.A.
Village People





Karen Young - Hot Shot reheat...
Click to buy from
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Hot Shot (MaxRoxx Remake)
Hot Shot (Ralphi Rosario & Craig J Remix)
Hot Shot (MaxRoxx Dub)
Hot Shot (Daddy's Cool MaxRoxx Dub)
Hot Shot (1978 Bottom's Up Mix)
DOWNLOADS:
Hot Shot (Ralphi Rosario & Craig J Remix - Club Edit)
Hot Shot (Wayne G & Porl Young Atlantis Mix)
Hot Shot (Paul Goodyear Remix)


Karen Young - Hot Shot, the Best of... CD
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BUY Karen Young - Hot Shot, the Best of... CD from the US BUY Karen Young - Hot Shot, the Best of... CD from Europe
Hot Shot
Bring on the Boys
Baby You Ain't Nothin
Dynamite
Dee Tour
No Turn
Expressway to Your Heart
Don't Say Goodbye
Hot for You
You Don't Know What You Got
A Change Is Gonna Come
Ain't Gettin' Better
Desperately
One Sure Way
Don't Bite the Hands That Feed You
If This Ain't Love
Love Me Like a Man
God Bless America


"Yes! At the time, Kurt and I were producing the very first album by the Gipsy Kings. That's a record that never came out by the way. I'll tell you about it, but it's something that never was released. It was made six years before they had their giant hit 'Bamboleo'.
They came to Philadelphia while we were recording the AKB album. The big big Disco owner of the international Jet-Set Disco Regine's, Regina Zylberberg, had heard about Kurt and me through Jacques Morali from the Village People. She wanted Jacques Morali to do this group that they found in the South of France and he told her; 'Baby I'm too busy, but go see my friends Andy and Kurt in Philadelphia'. So the next thing I know we agreed to do it and then they stayed with us for four weeks in Philadelphia and they were the most musical guys I have ever heard in my whole life. You know, that's what it's all about - their music is so great.
We produced dance music for them with the same orchestra that I was working with AKB, a very large orchestra, about 40-50 musicians we used on it. Strings, horns, the whole thing and putting their music into a very very strong disco oriented production and unfortunately... they weren't our group, we were just hired as the producers and arrangers to do it but we actually wrote a couple of songs for this also.
After they went back to France it seems like Regine and her husband were unable to make them a record deal because of what had happened in the industry and they basically lost all their investment and they also lost their contract with the group, which they held onto for a couple of years. It wasn't until another producer, Claude Martinez in Paris, France picked the group up like around 1984 and they put out 'Bamboleo' and of course the rest of that is history.
I've maintained contact with the guys by the way. There was a chance about three years ago, it seemed like they wanted me to come to Arles in the South of France where they live and to write with them on another album. And it was back and forth, back and forth, and a lot of negotiations but unfortunately it never came to be, but I've had many phone conversations with them and perhaps some day I will get the chance to record with them again, because they always told me that Kurt and I were the only people who ever treated them fairly and treated them with dignity and treated them with respect and did not try to take advantage of them. They're an amazing group. Their talent is extraordinary."

Karen Young - Live on Stage

Let's get back to "Hot Shot"... when you wrote it, did you know immediately it would become a hit, could you feel it?
Kurt and Andy "Kurt and I sensed it right away. The night that we were in the studio that I played him this other song that was the first, I mean, it was called something else, it was not called 'Hot Shot'. The track was originally titled 'Stop Sign'. It wasn't the same song. You understand, what we ended up using was the basic rhythm track that we had created for Calhoon and that became the base for 'Hot Shot'. I mean, we totally re-wrote it, I mean, new orchestration, new strings and horns, new arrangement, new everything, but the groove, just the groove of the original song, which became the basis of 'Hot Shot' - we knew that there was something there!
Kurt said to me; 'This sounds like a hit record. This has got the groove, this record could be a hit and is really worth working on.' And once we recorded Karen's voice on it and started to layer on all the other tracks and did the arrangements... I mean, we just knew this was happening!
Because we had tested it too. We brought it to DCA, we brought it to straight clubs, gay clubs, mixed clubs. We took it to New York, we had it in so many places and everywhere we took it, right out of the box before people had ever heard it, they were on the dance floor dancing to it. We knew, we just knew that this record had it going. In my heart, inside, you just know that this record had IT!"

I guess you can when you write a song as great as "Hot Shot".
"And what's more... Karen did an incredible performance, I mean, there aren't many performers on any Disco records that could do what she did. And the other song... The other song that we recorded with her that was never released, the one that I'm finishing up now in the studio. I've got several months of work on it and Paul Goodyear is doing a mix on it for me and it's gonna be ready soon. We're gonna basically unveil it on a cruise we're taking. So I will for the first time bring it out. No one has EVER heard this other song. I've kept it in my tape vault, I never played it for anybody and it wasn't until about six months ago that I decided, after the success with the remix of 'Hot Shot', the one we just released last year, I decided it was time for me to pull this song out. The name of the song is 'Rendezvous With Me'."
When did you record this song with Karen?
"Well, I recorded it with her in the end of 1979 and the beginning of 1980. It was after 'Hot Shot' and it was after we had been on tour with her. We recorded several tracks with her and she loved this song. I wrote it specially for her and she just adored the song and then our relationship just went totally into the toilet. I mean she became completely unmanageable and I refused to put this record anywhere and as a matter of fact, my brother who was managing Karen at the time did not even know that I had recorded this song. I kept it very secret from everyone for the past 29 years. I've kept it hidden away."
What kind of song is it? Is it a dance song or?
"Oh, absolutely. It's definitely a dance record. There's no doubt about it. And she is scatting, screaming and carrying on on this record like she's poured her heart into all the things she did, which she was so good at. I mean, she's totally Karen. She's being Karen Young herself on this record. I assure you."
That's lovely. I look forward to hear it.

Karen Young - Hot Shot cover "Hot Shot" has been remixed and sampled and everything many times, for example in Daft Punk's "Indo Silver Club". How does that make you feel to have created one of these really 'Hot Shot Records'?
"There are so many ways that I can answer that, I'll give you the must recent...
The most recent answer is - two nights ago I was out in a Club in Atlantic City. It's a small Club in Atlantic City were we go to dance on Friday and Saturday nights when they have a great DJ who has been around for a number of years and he's a bit of friend of mine. And he was playing 'Hot Shot', one of the new remixes, I think he was playing the Wayne G remix...
Anyhow, there were this young guy on the floor who was basically about 20 years old and he's dancing on the floor with two other people and he's mouthing every word of 'Hot Shot' and I'm looking at this guy. I know he's young, I'm thinking he's like 25 to 30 years old, and he knows every word and he even knows all her scatting, when she went into her scat he would be scatting. I just couldn't handle it so I went over to him when he sat back down at the bar and I didn't tell him anything about who I am and I said to him; 'How do you know all the words to "Hot Shot"?' And he looked at me and he said; 'Oh my God, are you Andy Kahn?' and I said; 'Come on, you're flipping me out here. Someone must have told you who I am, like some personnel or something.' He says; 'I've seen pictures of you in articles written about you.' And he said; 'It's my favorite song. It's part of my whole life. I wouldn't be who I am if "Hot Shot" wasn't part of my music.'
So how do you think that makes me feel? At first it absolutely flipped me and this was not the first time this has happened. I'll tell you one other story about how I met Ralphi Rosario...
Ralphi and I were on a cruise together in 2006. We were on a cruise and I didn't know Ralphi, I had never heard him play, I had never seen him, I didn't even know what he looked like. I had never been on his web-site and Ralphi and I somehow, by accident, totally by fate, were thrown together in a taxi in Sicily, in Italy...
I wanted to go to Taormina from the ship which was an hour or so away and my partner was on the ship because he didn't want to go. Ralphi wanted to go obviously. So I find myself out looking for someone to share a driver with and he was looking for someone to share a driver with. We found each other just totally by accident outside at the dock. So we said; 'Let's share a taxi together!' I still don't know who he is and he has no idea of who I am. Let me tell you, he's a big star right now and I'm just somebody from history, you know. And this is before we did the remixes of 'Hot Shot'. We're talking in the car and I ask him; 'What's your name?' And he says; 'Ralphi, I'm one of the DJ's on the ship!' So I said; 'Oh, so you are Ralphi Rosario.' I said; 'Well, you've got to know one of my songs that I wrote, called "Hot Shot"!' And he looked at me and he says; 'Are you Andy Kahn?' And I say; 'Yeah!' And he says; 'You're my mentor. All your music... AKB, Karen Young... These were all the things when I was growing up, they influenced my spinning when I was getting into House music because of all your arrangements.'
Then he started to sing to me, my piano arrangements on 'Stand Up, Sit Down'. I've got to tell you Claes, I'm so caught up. I just can't believe it. I'm in Sicily and I have never been there before, I never met this man before, he's telling me that I'm his mentor. It was really... I'm trying to tell you these stories to give you an idea of how it really feels to be... when I see the excitement that this song still creates 30 years later. It blows my mind! It makes me very very proud, it makes me cry, it makes me... it just takes me over, it's a very emotional thing for me and I can't tell you that it doesn't make me feel good, it makes me feel fabulous!"

Yes, I understand so. You should feel fabulous about it.
"It does, it just makes me feel... First of all Karen is dead. Kurt is dead. I feel like I have a mission or a message to continue on. You know, it feels like it was time for me to put 'Hot Shot' out there because the memory of her, the memory of Kurt and the memory of us working together and creating this amazing song - it was time for that to happen."

Karen Young - Hot Shot cover In late February 2009 the Karen Young "Rendezvous With Me" track was released. As told above the track itself was recorded back in 1979 and has been kept in Andy's vault ever since. But now it's finally out in 6 different mixes; two MaxRoxx Mixes (one extended and a radio edit), two Zathan Radix remixes (a Club Edit and a Club Anthem mix) and after the success with his "Hot Shot" remixes, Paul Goodyear have made the Vox Mix and the Vox Dub mixes.
The song and remixes are all very modern Dance tracks with a pumping bass underneath the magic vocals of Karen. It's definitely a hit now and it would have been back in 1979 if it would have been released... I guess we all would have loved to hear the "original" 1979 Disco version as well - AND as the only site in the world you'll get to hear parts of the 1979 versions here in Disco-Disco.com...
Andy sent me the tracks, yes - it's actually two tracks and told me the following;
"As promised, here are the original 1979 'Rendezvous With Me' tracks. There are two audio files. One is the rhythm section with Karen's original vocal track. This is the vocal performance of hers that was used for our current release. The other is the rhythm section and the original horn section tracks.
It gives me goosebumps hearing it again, reliving the experience of teaching Karen the song, producing her session that recorded her outrageous vocals over the rhythm demo tracks, writing the horn arrangements, then conducting the horn section, laying down their exciting parts on the new 24-track machine... all of this gives me the chills!
The rhythm and vocal tracks were originally recorded on 16-track 2-inch tape. We later recorded the rhythm and horn tracks on our new 24-track 2-inch tape machine, creating two separate masters for this project. I then decided to hold back releasing 'Rendezvous With Me' as explained earlier in this interview. Karen's vocals were never bounced to the 24-track master and the whole project was postponed indefinitely.
I restored these tape masters last Spring so the analog audio could be extracted. That was the first time Karen's vocals and the horn section were ever synched together into new digital tracks that became the foundation for the new MaxRoxxMix."

As a personal favor Andy has agreed to let me put up parts of the original version for you to hear what the 1979 versions sounded like. Check the files to the above right and ENJOY!

Karen Young - a Hot Shot

About Karen. Can you tell me a little bit more about her? How she was as a person, how you met her and so on?
"I met her early... I'm Jewish so we celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas and we would have a Hanukkah party with my very very large family. We get together every year for that holiday and at one of these Hanukkah parties, maybe I was 10, 11 or 12 years old, when a cousin of mine brought Karen in. Karen also played the piano, I don't know if you knew but she was a fantastic piano player. She was amazing, she used to rock out on the piano like you could not believe. She was an amazing talent.
Karen Young Anyway, she comes into this party and I'm used to be the highlight of my family's parties. I used to sit down as a kid and entertain everybody and play the piano and I was the big-shot. I was the big star of the family. She comes in and she says; 'Move over!' Right off the chair. And she was a big girl, Karen, and when a big girl like that says move over - you move over. She says; 'Let's do a duet together.' I say; 'Who are you?' She says; 'My name is Karen Young.' And I say; 'Well, how did you get here? You're not one of my cousins.' She says; 'Your cousin Joel brought me here and he tells me that you play the piano. But how about if I show you how to play the piano!?'
And as it turned out she and I became very good friends and years later when Walter and I opened up the studio, like seven-eight years later when I was around 20, we built the studio and we hired Karen for background vocals for our productions. And that's how Karen like joined and came up in our family. She sang on a lot of records on backgrounds and she sang with jingles for radio commercials for advertisements and she always was great.
You know, Karen was a white girl, she was not black, everybody thinks that she was black. She was a white Jewish girl from the suburbs of Philadelphia and clearly had a black woman inside of her body just trying to get out. She was like Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald all molded to one. And then she could play the piano. She was unbelievable. She was so super talented. I mean, I was crazy about her and I want you to know that before Karen died we were friends again."

That was good.

"But there were a number of times over the years that Karen would call me on the phone and she'd say; 'Let's get together. Let's forget about what happened.' Because her career, you know, took a nose-dive, she went back to play in piano bars in Philadelphia and Florida and places like that. And she wanted to get back there, so she said; 'Let's go back into the studio like you, Kurt and I and put the old team back together.'
I wasn't very happy about what had happened and also I don't think the memories of that time of all of us doing it, I didn't know what to do with her and I kind of started take another direction with my interior decorating and my family business and I'd sort of taken a new route in my life. And even though I was playing Jazz concerts and performing and other things, it wasn't my full-time career anymore and I definitely was not in the studio. I mean, I was not working in the studio at that time so it never really happened.
Then my partners' mother died in 1990. When she died I decided two months later to do a memorial concert to honor her. A big Jazz concert in a big theatre in Philadelphia as a benefit for an AIDS support organization in Philadelphia that's a charity of mine. And I've already done several benefits for them, so I did a benefit concert for them to raise money for their organization in a memorial service to my life-partners mother.
Karen Young singing Right about that time Karen called me and she had heard I was doing this big big concert and she had heard that I gonna have a lot of Jazz musician people sitting in, like do special guest spots and she says; 'I'd love to come and sing in that. Would you let me come?' So I thought to myself; 'You know what, this would really bring the house down. If I brought Karen Young up at the end and did "Hot Shot" live on stage with her in front of about 2500 people. These people would go out of their mind.' And that's exactly what we did. Brought her up on the stage. It was in September or October of 1990, it was the fall and she was the last performer. The place erupted and I'll never forget this, I mean, people were standing in the isles, they were screaming, they were carrying on, it was unbelievable and it was an amazing concert.
She and I even made plans to work together in the future with Kurt, who at that point had already been diagnosed of AIDS. Kurt wanted to go back into the studio, we thought that maybe we could go back in and try our production together. And four months later she was dead."

Yes, sadly.
"She died in January. Actually she died on Kurt's birthday. Which was very ironic, she died on January 26, 1991 which was Kurt's 39th birthday."
Karen Young never even got to celebrate her 40th birthday. She was born on March 23, 1951 and died much too early and unexpectedly in January 26, 1991 of a bleeding ulcer.

Finally... About the Disco era, is there something more you wanna share? Did you like Disco music during the era, I guess you did but...
"Ah, of course. Yes! Beside being a Jazz musician, Disco was the first music on commercial level that I totally related to.
I understood R and B and the Motown sound because it had a groove and was something I grew up with. And the whole Gamble & Huff and Philadelphia Sound was coming about and I was part of all that. I'm not saying that I invented it or they invented it. We were all there while that was happening. It sort of all occurred during the time that I had my studio, at the same time they were working at Sigma Sound putting their sound together. All the musicians that were on my dates, like Don Rinaldo with his string section were the same guys who were all on the Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International records. We all used the same session musicians, so, you know, a lot of what we were all doing created that sound together at that time. And it became a very very strong part of my karma and my whole musical thing besides my Jazz playing.
My Jazz playing leans very heavily towards BeBop, Swing and the standards, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, all that stuff from the late 40's and 50's is the kind of where my head is there. That, with me, is a very very strong part of my core and part of my heart. That's really were my heart is in music more than anything, it's in Jazz.
But I took my Jazz and I put it into Disco. My Jazz arrangements are clearly in AKB. If you've heard the whole AKB album you'll hear it's a lot of Jazz harmonies, Jazz influence. I believe it's an inter-mingling style, I like that as a paradox. I like to be eclectic in my music where I think it match up. My partner and I do that in our design. In a design house we're working on, we mix and match all the new contemporary classics, all kinds of things, we love to blend in the eclecticism in design.
That's the way I am with music. I love to blend styles together so as much as Disco is very much in my heart, and very very very much a part of my whole personality in music, it's my Jazz roots that I have injected into my Disco music. And that's what really really drives me..."

That's wonderful and a great end to this interview.
"OK, great! Terrific! By the way, I think your site looks great, the site looks terrific!"
Thank you! I have had it for a couple of years now, so it's expanding all the time.
"Good. That's good and it's always nice to know somebody's there keeping the music alive, the music we love so much. That's for sure."
Thank you and huge Thanks for taking your time with me. I really enjoyed talking to you and I can't wait to hear "Rendezvous".
"Thank you! It was my pleasure."

Andy Kahn Andy still performs occationally for various charity events and in 1995 he recorded a collection of musical compositions called Solo Duet, compositions he had created spontaneously at his grand piano.
He also serves as music director for Boyds, a Philadelphia fashion retailer.
Mr. Kahn is also an ardent philanthropic supporter of the lifework of Dr. Wilhelm Reich and does annually performances to benefit the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust. In 2002, he presented an original paper entitled 'Wilhelm Reich's Record Collection: Orgone Energy and Music'.

It was a great pleasure to get to speak to Andy and learn more about him, Karen & Kurt and the creation of one of the greatest Disco records of all time - "Hot Shot".
He taught us to "Stand Up - Sit Down" and invites you to a "Rendez-Vous" with Karen Young about 30 years after it was originally recorded and close to 20 years after her passing.
An exciting man... with still lots more to give...
He's for sure a man with "Rhythmic Feet"...

Andy Kahn




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Andy Kahn

BIG THANKS
to Andy for participating and making this page possible !!!
and to Pete Denis for putting me in contact with Andy !!!

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