Joey Negro / Sean P.

Destination: Boogie

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If you've wondered if there happened to be a number of little-known independent singles, released during the phase between the mainstream's abandonment of disco and the rise of house, that touch the same pleasure receptors as Padlock's "Seventh Heaven" and Evelyn King's Kashif-produced hits, the answer is yes. Many of them are given new life on Destination: Boogie, a two-disc package of obscure post-disco R&B put together by the same duo -- Joey Negro and Sean P -- that provided a similar service for disco and left-field dance with the multi-volume Soul of Disco and Disco Not Disco compilations. In the liner notes, Sean P says early-'80s post-disco R&B (also referred to as boogie) has "largely been ignored, or regarded as disco's poor cousin -- too slow, too electronic, too R&B...too black, even." While much of that is completely true, the style was also dismissed by many for its departure from soul and funk, its extensive use of synthesizers and drum machines -- it's clear that these songs, even without the benefit of hindsight, tend to be much closer to pop than any Funkadelic or Zapp hit of the time. Speaking of hits, there aren't many on these discs. Only a couple touched Billboard's club and R&B charts, and when they did, the stay wasn't long; W.A.G.B. Band's "I Can Get You Over," likely the most successful inclusion, spent the late spring of 1982 bubbling up to number 81 on the R&B chart. Remarkably, it doesn't rival at least six of the other cuts here. Some of the greater highlights: Mid Air's gloriously woozy, dubbed-out "Ease Out"; Samson & Delilah's buoyantly King/Kashif-like "I Can Feel Your Love"; C-Brand's charmingly sexed-up and slightly silly "Wired for Games" ("You don't need a quarter, I'm already turned on"); Colors' Inner Life-indebted "Am I Gonna Be the One"; Kerr's "Back at Ya," a blend of Positive Force spunk and Lisa Lisa sweetness. Nothing here could be termed compulsory, but anyone who has gotten off on this type of thing -- as exemplified throughout series like Thump's Old School and Tommy Boy's Perfect Beats, as well as Leroy Burgess' The Anthology, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and Journey into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story -- will find much to enjoy, even if it has been years since you last laced up your roller skates.

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