Many of Donna Summer's American fans think that she didn't start recording until 1975, when the erotic "Love to Love You, Baby" became her big commercial breakthrough in the U.S. and established her as the Queen of Disco. But Summer actually started recording in Munich, Germany, a few years before that, although it wasn't until she joined forces with the production team of Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte that she became well-known. This collection, which Cleopatra released on its Golden Lane label in 2000, focuses on some of the singer's little-known pre-Moroder/Bellotte and pre-Casablanca work. The title Remixed and Early Greats is misleading because none of the material is great -- before hooking up with Moroder and Bellotte, Summer still had some growing and developing to do. Nonetheless, these recordings have historic value, and serious collectors will find them interesting despite their obvious shortcomings. The CD is fairly diverse, ranging from soul (including the funky "Back Off Boogaloo" and a cover of War's "They Can't Take Away the Music") to glossy Euro disco ("Shout It Out," "Fun Street"). Unfortunately, Golden Lane/Cleopatra's liner notes aren't very informative. The label provides a brief blurb on Summer, but reveals very little about these lesser-known recordings. Far from essential, Remixed and Early Greats isn't recommended to casual listeners. But again, the material will be interesting to collectors and historians.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson