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Now That's What I Call A Compilation


Now That's What I Call A Compilation

We have been very fortunate over the last 18 years or so to have been rewarded with some of the most superbly curated Disco albums that have ever been produced. Before such volumes were ever conceived by highly knowledgeable DJ's such as Al Kent and Joey Negro, the closest we ever got to understanding the music of the late 1970's New York scene without prior knowledge were those awfully pressed albums from the late 1970's from labels such as Ronco and K-Tel Records, that cramped in around 15 songs per side, and some of the tracks if not all were as far removed from Disco as possible. You know the ones I'm talking about. Boney M, Hues Corporation, Blondie, George Mcrae, Dr Hook etc etc.



Don't get me wrong, there were some classic tunes in there amongst the trash but these albums were solely created for the money making music machine during that period and yet only leave a small stain of truth as to how Disco music really was and how it has been remembered by the masses. In short to those outside of the Re-Edit and current Disco scene, the actual word "Disco" is often perceived as a dirty word associated with tacky Travoltaesque suits and cheaply produced rainbow wigs.
However you have to admit that even though the quality of the pressings and the music selection was generally very poor, the artwork was usually pretty cool. Way before the assistance of Photo-Shop they made a very good effort to design some of the funkiest and most vibrant looking sleeves of that period.








Rock n Roller Disco from Ronco Records was a not so wonderfully created concept where Rock met Disco with bands such as the Boom Town Rats, Dollar and even John Lydons P.I.L to name but a few. There are however other relatively successful Disco acts from that time such as The Gibson Brothers and Heatwave.
I cant imagine a more deceiving album title and artwork as it mainly consists of Rock and New Wave, why add the word Disco in there? Clearly using the popularity of the genre at the time to pimp out more Rock oriented flavours under the same umbrella perhaps.

Disco Fire from K-Tel Records is a double whammy of perfect pop Disco anthems designed for living room dancing, An absolutely fantastic sleeve design but yet the same old drone crammed on to four sides of heavily compressed vinyl.


                              

Disco Nights has some pretty impressive artists on there such as Foxy, Sylvester and Chanson. The artwork has the standard mirror ball to make the record stand out amongst the crowd, therefore not too much effort but the tracks make up for that, which is a rarity for this era.

Disco Super Hits  With the artwork which almost represents a Hed Kandi look and the list of artists at the bottom which comprised of Giorgio Moroder and the all time classic To Be Real by Cheryl Lynn this one has to be one of the more pleasing albums. A Taste of Honey and France Joli make it on here aswell. One can only assume a more credible consultant was behind this release.



So fast forward to a new era which thankfully by now has been researched and preserved in the correct manner with a new generation of music consumers and DJ's alike searching high and low for these rare pressings of the more underground Disco sound of the late 70's and early 80's. 
The 1990's saw a massive disco resurgence from both sides of the Atlantic with a host of U.K House and U.S Garage records being released on independent labels such as Strictly Rhythm and Henry Street from New York and here in the U.K labels such as Azuli and U.F.G and countless other independent labels sampling alot of these tracks making the originals have a new lease of life.

As the D.J mix album became ever more prominent within Dance culture from the likes of Ministry of Sound and Renaissance, the industry began to explore the history of the scene and with thanks to the ambassadors of Disco here in the U.K such as Joey Negro and B.B.E Records so many Disco gems have been unearthed and unleashed on a new generation.

So let me address some of those great albums that have been released for our listening and dare I say it Sampling pleasure.


Disco Spectrum "Real Disco For Real People"
Compiled by Joey Negro, this album came out in 1999 on B.B.E Records as a triple vinyl L.P. From the very start the album has been made in total consideration for the D.J in terms of the pressing quality of the vinyl. Each track superbly selected at a time when Disco House was at a peak here in the U.K with many tracks coming out from America, the U.K and France. Here are my stand out tracks from that album.




Disco Spectrum Volume One B.B.E Records 1999




Rare Pleasure "Let Me Down Easy"


This was where I  first heard the track by Rare Pleasure" entitled" Let Me Down Easy" which the year before was sampled by Dave Morales' for his summer anthem "Needin You" on Manifesto Records in 1998. A monster Piano riff that tears through your soul with full force.



Logg "You've Got That Something"

It also boasts one of Disco's legendary bands by Leroy Burgess with his LOGG project on Salsoul Records. The track "You've Got That Something" which is a sublime Boogie piece that should by law belong in any Disco Connoisseurs collection.  


                                    

Two Man Sound  "Que Tal America" 

Que Tal America by Two Man Sound is a fine slice of upbeat Latin flavoured Disco which was used that same year in 1999 by "Ministers De La Funk with Jocelyn Brown on vocals for their House rendition on Subliminal Records.



Revelation "Feel It"

My final stand out piece on this volume which was also sampled by a new generation in the late 90s Disco House era was "Feel It" by Revelation. This piece was originally written in 1980 and came out on the Handshake label. One of the smoothest almost Chic like vibes to come out around the height of the Nile/Rodgers Sound that complimented their sound rather than just simply imitate it. A solid lick indeed.


David Mancuso Presents The Loft


Another absolute master piece from the late 90's was the Loft Box Set compiled by the very man himself, the late David Mancuso. One of the original pioneers of the New York party scene with his underground attitude to creating a private party rather than a commercial enterprise via invite only making it a must go place for anyone serious about the music.Whilst this collection of tracks blend from the early days of the Disco scene into the emerging House scene with early recordings from Fingers Inc and Ten City. Here are my stand out tracks from this must have item.



Loose Joints. Is It All Over My Face

The all time sleazy classic from Arthur Russell on West End Records 1980. Remixed by Larry Levan and other various versions are around too but this is the killer version that just has so little instrumentation in it actually sounds full to the brim. A less is more approach used here to full effect. Timeless underground Disco Boogie at its finest.



Crown Heights Affair Say A Prayer For Two

One of Delite Records most funkiest of bands, Crown Heights Affair made a string of solid raw recordings from the mid 70,s until the early 80's. This one however has a most addictive riff and pounding drums along with a stunning Brass section that gives you no rest.



War City Country City

This record is not even Disco its a work of art. Funk, Country, Soul and Jazz all rolled into one epic master piece of live instrumental madness. A track from a band that made several other Funk, Disco and Rock Fused based compositions during the 1970's. But this piece is one of those records that could be played at the Loft as opposed to the more glamorous Studio 54 for its length and the journey that it takes you on, which by reading the stories about how David Mancuso worked his crowd from the decks at the Loft, just listening to this you can understand why. An absolutely stunning track and an absolute must for your ears if you have never heard it. 


Al Kent The Best Of Disco Demands.

Quite simply one of the grand masters of digging deep for rare underground Disco gems is Mr Al Kent. The lengths he has gone to in order to supply us with countless rarities is incredible. Hes done all the hard work for us to keep these records alive via new re-edits and sample based Disco House over the last 15 years or so. Here are my stand out tracks from this stunning album.




Omni From The Bottom Of My Heart "Disco Socks"

A fine raw but yet smooth as you like Disco four to the floor jam. Complete with Moog like synth lines and wood winds combining the acoustic with the synthesised. 
It has an almost Patrick Adams flavour to it with that wild noodling synth running freely throughout the break of this track, A solid piece.



Universal Robot Band Disco Boogie Woman

There would be no escaping writing this piece without the inclusion of Greg Carmichael and Patrick Adams. The two of these men are never far away from any Disco conversation worth its salt. Here is a solid full on instrumental piece from Carmichael and has that hi pitched lead line riff that stabs throughout amongst the Brass section. The track just keeps going and never lets off with its consistent no thrills beat that pounds through like a battering ram on a solid steel door.



Silver, Platinum and Gold Just Friends

A fine vocal track from a trio of girls that could easily have been performed by First Choice with its rough hi-hats and funky Piano licks throughout the middle section combined with a brilliant organ like synthesizer rhythm that just hangs so perfectly in the background. A great track that has an incredible bounce to it. 


So there were three of the finest compilations that have been released which clearly outline the real sound Disco during the height of the genre. Without these great compilations the average record buyer would still be thinking glitter wigs and dodgy flares. However we now know alot better than that. Below are other notable albums that have contributed to keeping the real history of Disco alive and passing on the baton of rare and killer tracks over to a new generation.

Rob Webster Feb 2017.

Other notable albums worth investigating.





























Now That's What I Call A Compilation Now That's What I Call A Compilation Reviewed by Waxadisc Music on 12:57 Rating: 5

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