Various Artists: A Complete Introduction to Disco

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Posted June 15, 2012 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0
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Deluxe box set proves to be a heavyweight in boogie wonderland

Assembling all the greatness of disco – from its humble underground beginnings to its last-minute Top 100 climbs – into four discs is a feat that sounds virtually impossible to pull off. But it’s one that Universal Music pulls off with A Complete Introduction to Disco. Just like the title says, the box set covers all the bases for those willing to take a course on the glam, the funk and the boogie of disco. What sets this collection apart from the endless train of disco party packs in the marketplace is that it goes for rarities and overlooked gems like Carrie Lucas’s “Dance With You,” Coffee’s “Casanova,” Tamiko Jones‘ “Can’t Live Without Your Love” and Slick’s delightful futuristic “Space Bass,” which appears here in its seven-minute 12-inch version. The first disc also focuses on funky soul records that were inspired by James Brown’s loose jams (Bobby Byrd’s “Hot Pants”); covering territories from Stax to Motown to Loft classics like Eddie Kendricks’s “Girl You Need a Change of Mind” and Manu Dibango’s “Soul Makossa.”

There are a few faults here: Choosing The Trammps’ “Happy People” over “Disco Inferno” is a curriculum blunder and unearthing bad mixes of Chic’s “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah! Yowsah! Yowsah!” and Shalamar’s “Take That to the Bank” seem unforgiving. But with chunks of disco glory like Dan Hartman’s dancefloor suite “Vertigo/Relight My Fire” and Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel Mighty Real” aboard and thirty-eight pages of marvelous liner notes scribed by the disco stars and the ones that made them (Tom Moulton, Patrick Adams, John Morales, Leroy Burgess), the goods outweigh the bad.

J MATTHEW COBB

HIFI DETAILS

  • Release Date: 20 September 2010
  • Label: Universal UK
  • Producers: Various
  • Spin This: “Casanova,” “Can’t Live Without Your Love,” “From Here to Eternity,” “Space Bass”

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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