In recent years, we've become accustomed to disco compilations appearing at a furious rate. While many of these compilations are undoubtedly worthy of attention, the volume of releases can sometimes be bewildering. This 15 track selection from Al Kent, the second in his Disco Love series, ticks all the right boxes, however. Even by the highest crate digging standards, these tracks are pretty obscure; many won't have had much of an airing since their original release. Those into the rich, soulful side of disco - that brand of string-laden dancefloor material most associated with the Philadelphia International label and studio -will find much to enjoy. Perhaps the most noteworthy is Scarborough's delightfully sweet "Make Love To You", an epic of biblical proportions that lasts longer than most drunken one night stands. See also Valerie Simmons' supersweet "I Can't Make It On My Own" and the rousing orchestral manouvres of "I've Got The Need". An impressive DJ mix featuring album highlights by Kent is also included.
Long before disco-digging and needless re-editing became the pastime of a generation, Glaswegian graphic designer-turned-DJ Al Kent was doing both. For proof, check his acclaimed, illicit Disco Demands series. Originally launched in 2000 as an outlet for his obsession with barely-known 1970s dance music, it quickly became a conduit for his painstakingly faithful re-edits of long-forgotten disco records. Having seen his stock rise of late, BBE have decided to re-issue each of the five volumes in one bumper box set. For those with a love of disco's stranger fringes, The Best Of Disco Demands should be required listening. With 45 stonking cuts - some re-edits, others original studio versions - across five discs, it's an essential indulgence for disco heads everywhere.
Disco aficionado Al Kent of Million Dollar Orchestra fame is back with the third tour of his colossal record collection, sorry, compilation of rare funk, soul and disco gems. As usual the material featured here is of the lushly orchestrated, organic variety, but this time there's amorous theme to the selection too. Highlights include his own subtle edits of Mighty Gents and Disco Unusual as well as the lo-fi voicebox funk of "Oh! Baby/Get on Down", the driving 4/4 wah-wah banger "Something About You" and the spacey bonkers freakout of "Disco Fever".
As someone who briefly escaped 70's Glasgow and got a taste of the golden age of NYC Disco, Al Kent is a perfect choice to lead you through a classy selection of some choice and rare Disco treats. Having used his huge collection in the past for re-edits and originals, he also took the bold step of forming his own band in 2007 under the name The Million Dollar Orchestra.
The selections here reflect the point at which Funk and Soul mutated into Disco, with most of the tracks capturing that pre-Moroder organic sound. Lee Alfred's Rockin-Poppin Full Tilting for example has a laid back vibe similar to Curtis Mayfield's more uptempo tunes. New Ghetto Express's version of Standing On The Verge of Getting It On (originally by Funkadelic) up's the tempo on the wigged-out classic, again combing the Funk with a Disco groove.
Lypso Disco by Smile Street People, as you'd guess from the title, has a playful Calypso lilt and bounce to it. Cosmic Disco by Patricia White on the other hand doesn't sound like something that Todd Terje or Lindstrom got their cues from, but it is a fun song with some brilliantly random thumb-piano playing in the background!
Anyone looking for samples will have a field day among these tracks, Sweet Daddy Floyd's I Just Can't Help Myself for example has a break in the middle to die for. You could loop up 4 bars practically anywhere and have something pretty damn funky to work with. For that reason alone, it's well worth having a listen and broadening your horizons.
It many ways, Stilove4music and Al Kent is a match made in heaven. The latter's deep love and knowledge of disco, coupled with his impressive scalpel skills, are a good fit for the label that first brought us the essential edits of Rahaan. "Disco Crazy" is in many ways typical Kent - a long, driving, building tweak of a crazy, dancefloor-friendly disco obscurity that's never less than sympathetic to the source material. "Disco Party", a loose, bass-heavy party jam featuring copious amounts of reverb, is equally fuzzy and funky. "Mystic Merlin", meanwhile, is a rock solid, floor-friendly tweak of disco-funk classic "Just Can"t Give You Up". While it has been edited on numerous occasions, rarely has it sounded this good.
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