Starting a series celebrating the music based around the word Disco this first compilation from 1975 spreads its wings across three discs, plus sleeve notes written by Bob Fisher further highlighting the story. Of course the music’s roots can be readily traced a decade back but the sounds, styles and songs which congregate here feel like a melting pot in the making. As with all collections (they are subjective by default) it’s down to the sounds in the end and as far as I’m concerned the full length version of Harold Melvin & Bluenotes â€“ Bad Luck is worth the price of admission alone. Add to that Pick Up The Pieces and lesser known gems such as Rhythm Makers â€“ Zone and you’re a third of the way there.
The second disc feels more soulful in terms of De-Lite-Ful, Chuck Jackson and Pat Lundi’s sublime Party Music and you can still hear the echo of classic Motown float across the melodies, though equally the welcome evolution of Crown Heights Affair â€“ Dreaming A Dream and sheer exuberance of MFSB â€“ Sexy, Peoples Choice â€“ Do It Any Way You Wanna plus The Glitter Band â€“ Makes You Blind are still hard to beat in any decade.
The final CD again takes steps forward with its amalgamation of sounds like the James Brown referencing Jimmy James & The Vagabonds â€“ I Am Somebody, The Salsoul Orchestra’s supremely funky Chicago Bus Stop, capped off by the soaring harmonies of Archie Bell & The Drells â€“ Let’s Groove. It’s exciting to hear how all in one given year the record releases progressed the genre capturing influences far and wide alongside the subsequent development of invigorating rhythms as well as production values. Consequently this somehow seems more like an adventure rather than an exercise in plain nostalgia.