Various Artists

Disco-Trek

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This is a compilation of 1972-1975 singles from Atlantic and its related labels. Despite the title, the lengthened tracks, added congas, and other sound effects, most of the tracks were cut before disco was even a viable genre. That being said, Disco-Trek is an accurate set that spotlights Philly produced songs as well southern R&B, two styles partly responsible for disco's success. The Philly sound, of course, gets the nod for its rhythmic innovations. Blue Magic's "Look Me Up" with Norman Harris producing and Vince Montana arranging, has a melodic, smooth, and effortless sound. It's a track that was made for another musical interpretation, but the Spinners; "I'll Be Around" might have been even better. Disco-Trek also has a few of the more obscure tracks to come out of Philadelphia. Compared to the standard set by Blue Magic, the tracks from Sons of Robin Stone and early Sister Sledge are less of the same. Oddly enough, the song that benefited most from the re-edit and exposure was Clyde Brown's "You Call Me Back." A perfect match of standard-issue lyrics and anonymous but competent vocals, it's likable despite the fact that Brown sings both the title and "Thank ya" over 20 times. Side two features the Southern dance music style from producers like Dave Crawford and Brad Shapiro. Jackie Moore's "Time" and the Sweet Inspirations' cover of "This World" both have more languid rhythms than their Philly counterparts. But again, they aren't "disco," either, despite the remixing. Atlantic meant serious business with this effort. All of the eight tracks were skillfully mixed and edited by Tom Moulton and remixed at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia and then mastered at New York's Media Sound. While the tracks here are more like prized finds in someone's B-plus singles collection, Disco-Trek is one of the best and earliest albums to cash in on the disco craze.

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