Sylvester

Mighty Real: Greatest Dance Hits

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In 2013, Sylvester's five studio albums for Fantasy -- 1977's Sylvester through 1981's Too Hot to Sleep -- were released as digital downloads. Around the same time, the label issued this compilation as a download and as a filled-to-capacity compact disc. It leads with a previously unreleased mix of "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" from Chicago house pioneer Ralphi Rosario, but after that, there's no deviation, with most of the expected selections present. "Dance (Disco Heat)," "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" (the original mix of which closes the set), "I Need Somebody to Love Tonight" (possibly the sleaziest electronic groove recorded), "I Need You," and most of the other selections are essential. Serious fans can spot the unfortunate omissions -- "Down, Down, Down," "I (Who Have Nothing)," and "In My Fantasy," for instance -- but there simply isn't enough room to fit everything into one easy-to-digest anthology. The lone unrepresented album is Too Hot to Sleep, quite possibly because it was a significant stylistic departure into relaxed contemporary R&B -- though its "Give It Up" wouldn't have been out of place here. This is a fine introduction that showcases the grit and the gloss, as well as the aches and the pleasures, of a versatile dance music original.

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