Al Kent

Disco Love, Vol. 2: More Rare Disco & Soul Uncovered

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Al Kent's Disco Love: Rare Disco & Soul Uncovered gets a sequel, and the format is similar to that of Vol. 1: a mix of obscure, low-budget 1975-1979 disco on disc one, with most of the selections provided unmixed on disc two. None of the artist names is bound to jump out for the typical disco freak; however, in a few instances, known figures were behind the scenes. Lenny Bailey's grainy “Do It with Me,” which appears on the second disc only, was co-written by B.T. Express' Billy Nichols. Scarbrough’s “Make Love to You,” somewhat akin to Lenny Williams' solo material from around the same time, boasts a rhythm arrangement from Gene Page, Barry White's right-hand man (and occasional Williams collaborator). The most refined selection, Sandy Barber's “I Think I’ll Do Some Steppin’ on My Own” -- featuring a graceful lead backed by an attitudinal, Pointer Sisters-like trio of vocalists -- was co-written and arranged by Nat Adderley, Jr., who worked closely with Luther Vandross. While the tracks are, for the most part, compositionally solid, often filled out with horn and string arrangements and played with finesse, odds are that nothing would have been a parallel-universe smash. As with the first volume, the package is geared toward those whose thirst for rare disco can never be quenched, and it will also appeal to those who simply prefer grit to gloss. All of it deserved to be unearthed and put back into circulation. Kent’s liner notes are typically entertaining, unsurprisingly scholar-level and self-effacing, though “Do It with Me,” as he imagines, could not have possibly been “recorded by pimps and hustlers in a crack house on stolen equipment.” That type of establishment didn’t exist until the mid-‘80s.

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