Various Artists A Complete Introduction to Disco 1970 – 1980 Review

Released 2010.  

BBC Review

An essential addition to any collection – amazing barely begins to cover it.

Ian Wade 2010

In the last couple of years consumers have been treated to several very good disco compilations and mixes, such as the fine Disco Discharge and Horse Meat Disco sets. This has coincided with an upswing in the general perception of the music, with contemporary artists like Aeroplane and Lindstrom opening the genre up to new ears. It has earned the right to be taken seriously. But how did we get here? This release provides the answers.

These 64 tracks detail the journey of the magic, the development of disco’s journey from its roots in funk and soul, from its imperial phase of the late-70s through to the 80s. It’s lovingly compiled by Mark Wood and features new interviews from key artists such as Candi Staton, Giorgio Moroder, Tom Moulton and Patrick Adams, as well as commentary from a host of DJs and fans such as Arthur Baker and Luke Howard. It’s utterly glorious.

Disc one includes tunes every self-respecting DJ should fill a floor with: the Philly soul of The O’Jays’ Backstabbers, The Temptations’ Law of the Land, the Commodores’ Machine Gun and Rare Earth’s Get Ready. These appear alongside early crossover hits, such as the first disco chart-topper Rock You Baby. Disc two sees the stars of the genre emerge, collecting cuts from KC and The Sunshine Band, Gloria Gaynor and Kool & The Gang beside classics from Linda Lewis, Tavares and The Trammps.

Disc three compiles top-notch tunes as Chic’s Dance, Dance, Dance; Bohannon’s Let’s Start the Dance; Thelma Houston’s Don’t Leave Me This Way; and Donna Summer’s genuinely life-changing I Feel Love. Disc four has Teena Marie, Shalamar, Dan Hartman and – oh my – Casanova by Coffee and Slick’s Space Bass. With everything in its original single or album version, this set offers over five hours of ecstasy for the ears. Plus it’s one of the few box sets you could happily play each disc of again and again.

A Complete Introduction to Disco is the key text of what was an incredible period of music’s history and should really be on the national curriculum – it’s that good. This is an essential addition to any collection. Amazing barely begins to cover it.

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