Various Artists

Disco Connection: Authentic Classic Disco 1976-1981

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This excellent collection draws on a variety of lesser-known disco tracks released through the Atlantic, Elektra, and Warner labels between 1976 and 1981. The producers of Disco Connection: Authentic Classic Disco 1976-1981 did a fine job of combing the vaults, resulting a consistently engaging set of songs that divides its time between legendary cult favorites from the golden age of discotheques and lesser-known tracks by some of disco's bigger groups. The best tracks in the former category are "You + Me = Love," an Undisputed Truth track that showcases powerhouse gospel-tinged vocals and a variety of instrumental hooks over an incredibly thick bassline, and Phreek's "Weekend," a sharp production from the legendary Patrick Adams that combines sleek vocal and string arrangements reminiscent of Chic with carefully layered synthesizer riffs. The best tracks in the latter arena are Deodato's "Whistle Bump," a glossy yet rhythmic instrumental that highlights a variety of jazzy guitar and keyboard riffs against a smooth, string-driven backdrop, and "Paradise," a track from cult disco outfit Change that contrasts hard-driving electronic grooves with a silky vocal arrangement. Disco Connection: Authentic Classic Disco 1976-1981 further benefits from thoughtful sequencing that makes the disc a consistently engaging listen and short but informative liner notes. As a result, the album is a quality primer on some of disco's lesser-known favorites and a must-have for fans of the genre.

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