Joey Negro

Disco Not Disco 2

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The Strut label and two of their trusty compilation assemblers, Joey Negro and Sean P., return for a second installment in the Disco Not Disco series, two years after the inaugural edition. Like its predecessor, Disco Not Disco 2 offers should-be classics from the underground disco vaults, focusing on dance tunes -- some of which came from unlikely sources -- that were spun by New York club DJs in the late '70s and early '80s. While the stuffiest dance music fanatic might sniff at the fact that the Clash's "This Is Radio Clash," Yello's "Bostich," and Alexander Robotnick's "Problemes D'Amour" haven't exactly been tough to locate throughout the years, the songs in question have hardly been as ubiquitous as the average classic rock staple or new wave chart smash. More importantly, the three above-mentioned songs were as crucial to the scene/period being documented here as their harder-to-find counterparts, and they act as fine signposts for curious novices who wonder what they're getting into with a compilation like this. The highlights amongst highlights: the electro zap and tickle of Laidback's brilliant "White Horse," with its cautionary anti-drug sentiment (see Monifah's "Touch It" for one example of the song's lasting value); Material's fat-bottomed funk in "Ciguri," which showcases New Yorker Bill Laswell's revolving-door supergroup at their early best; the Coach House Rhythm Section's "Timewarp," which is little more than an infectious rhythm extended ad infinitum by its sole creator, Eddy Grant; and then there's Arthur Russell's "Let's Go Swimming," a delightfully odd twist of psych-disco refracted through a cracked fun house mirror. Despite all the advances made in dance music in the decades that followed the greatness featured here, the lasting value is undeniable. If you want the picture to become more complete, it would also behoove you to track down Larry Levan's Live at the Paradise Garage, another priceless snapshot from this great era released by Strut.

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