Joey Negro

Disco Not Disco

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Is it disco? Well, not completely. Just look at the title -- it sounds confused. And the title was inspired by one of the groups featured here, and that group, Was (Not Was), was not disco. Most of these songs came from the post-punk era, and like the material by a lot of the bands that easily fit in that category, they blur the line between punk (in attitude) and dance (in rhythm). But only one or two of the artists here could honestly be classified as post-punk. Furthermore, how could anyone say with a straight face that a compilation with the Steve Miller Band's 17-minute long "Macho City" is a post-punk one? So what is it then? It's Disco Not Disco, a compilation of songs suitable for the dancefloor. Less ambiguously, what binds these strange bedfellows together is the fact that they were popular on the dancefloors of New York City clubs in the late '70s and early '80s. Disco Not Disco digs deep -- real deep -- into the play lists of DJs like Larry Levan, who kept club patrons moving with oddball choices from the likes of pub rock icon Ian Dury ("Spasticus Autisticus"), leftfield jazz legend Don Cherry ("I Walk"), and Yoko Ono ("Walking on Thin Ice"), along with relatively expected fare from Liquid Liquid ("Cavern") and the wild mind of producer/auteur Arthur Russell, who was behind a handful of the key selections found here (including Dinosaur's "Kiss Me Again" and Indian Ocean's "Tree House/School Bell (Pt. 1)"). Ably compiled by noted house producer Joey Negro and Kiss FM DJ Sean P., this compilation seemingly does a great job at conveying the spirit behind this era of cultural collisions. Not only does the music stand on its own (there's a reason why thousands of young DJs and vinyl hounds collapsed in confoundment upon finding out that these rare gems were being issued together), but the liner notes provide a story behind each song, only adding to the mystique.

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