Various Artists

Disco Juice [Counterpoint]

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As with the histories of rock & roll and R&B, disco's glorious past is riddled with underground legends that never got their due. Patrick Adams and Peter Brown are two such figures -- two arrangers, producers, and musicians who teamed up to run a series of independent labels during the late '70s and early '80s. Sounds of New York, Queen Constance, Sound of the Universe, Heavenly Star, Golden Flamingo, and -- most notably -- P&P were the names of some of the labels the formidable duo helmed. None of these label names prickle the ears of the average disco fan like Casablanca, Salsoul, or even Prelude or West End (labels for which both auteurs did exceptional work), but to hardcore devotees, these labels bring to mind low-budget (not necessarily lo-fi), raw, spine-tingling gems by the likes of Cloud One, Paper Doll, Clyde Alexander, and Johnson Products. Released by the U.K.-based Counterpoint, Disco Juice is the first in a multi-volume series dedicated to giving new life to the catalogs of Adams and Brown's labels. Since the producers were doing this work for themselves and were only answering to themselves, the freedom enabled them to try things they wouldn't normally do with their freelance work. The combination of their freed-up approach with the spirited drive of the uncommercial artists on their roster resulted in some brilliant, exciting, and occasionally wild-sounding dance music that stands up to this day. The obvious standout is Cloud One's mid-tempo "Disco Juice," a dizzy 1977 single that brims with giddiness throughout its duration. Based on a highly repetitive rhythmic structure and the uplifting melody that rides it, it's one of those songs that cloaks you in its joyous glow. The remainder of the disc follows suit with another dozen tracks that range from good to spectacular.

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