Saturday, 31 October 2009

Disco Discharge series

Right then, there was some confusion previously about release dates, otherwise at least one of these four albums would have gotten reviewed in iDJ. However as it goes they got sadly overlooked a few months ago when first released; now they're getting a re-issue as a whopping eight-CD boxset, so this seems like a good time to have ’em on TIWWD.

The Disco Discharge series, then, consists of four two-disc collections, each of which is fairly self-explanatory from its title (Disco Ladies, Euro Disco, Classic Disco and Gay Disco & Hi-NRG). The best thing about these albums is the spotter-friendly content: there are a few well-known tracks (the likes of More More More, Magic Fly and Got To Be Real), sure, but they're in the minority. Mostly this is far more obscure bizniss, so you can rest assured any of these albums is a cut above those £3.99 'Disco Party' CDs you see in Tesco's, and then some.

Other good things: 1. All the tracks are full-length 12" versions, and unmixed for your disc jockeying pleasure. 2. Each album comes with pretty thorough sleevenotes from Alan Jones: as per his book Saturday Night Forever, his writing style can irritate (way too many exclamation marks! Sometimes several in a row! Even when you don't need them!) but the man knows his disco onions all right. 3. Easy Going's Fear (from Euro Disco) sounds like a disco record made by Hawkwind. Which is a good thing.

If there's a criticism, well, the mysterious 'Mr Pinks' who's compiled these clearly has a penchant for big fem-vocalled stompers, which predominate throughout, with orchestral stabs and soaring strings abounding. The more esoteric or experimental sides of disco don't get much of a look in (with one or two exceptions). That said, right now the nu-disco boom has led to to a kind of musical revisionism whereby you could be fooled into thinking early ’80s leftfield synth epics from Italy were all disco was about, so this set redresses the balance nicely in that respect. Oh, and the 84 tracks also include Keep On Dancin' by Gary's Gang, which can proudly boast that it is officially My Least Favourite Record Ever.

All told, these albums will appeal most to those with extensive disco collections already. For hits you can see the 1001 budget comps sold in supermarkets; for an introduction to more obscure/underground disco, try the Disco Spectrum comps on BBE, Harmless's own Jumpin' series, or pretty much any compilation with Dave Lee's name on it. But if you've already got those bases covered and you STILL haven't got enough cowbells in your life, then Disco Discharge is a worthy investment.

About the label: The Disco Discharge series come from Harmless, which along with Strut and Soul Jazz is one of the best respected reissue imprints around. They did the Pulp Fusion and Life:Styles series, among others… see their website for more info.

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