Various Artists

Land of 1000 Dances: The Rampart Records 58th Anniversary Complete Singles Collection

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For the better part of three decades, Rampart Records was a Los Angeles institution, shaping the sound and style of the Eastside. Eddie Davis founded the label in 1961 and four years later, they scored their one national smash when Cannibal & the Headhunters took their pounding cover of Chris Kenner's "Land of 1000 Dances" into the Billboard Top 40. The hit helped define the label -- indeed, it provides the title to this four-disc box, released in 2019 when the label celebrated its 58th Anniversary -- but it only hinted at what Davis achieved with this imprint. With Rampart, the recordman helped create a space for Mexican-Americans in rock & roll, R&B, soul, and funk, an evolution that's effectively traced over the course of these four CDs. Land of 1000 Dances: The Rampart Records 58th Anniversary Complete Singles Collection opens with the dreamy sway of doo wop by Phil & Harv and closes with DiDi Scorzo's dual-language quiet storm readings of Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting." In between those two ballads lie a lot of livelier sides, ranging from garagey R&B ravers, trashy teenbeat instrumentals (the Atlantics' "Beaver Shot"), and a bunch of funk and disco. Most of this isn't especially well-known outside of the East Side of L.A. or collectors' circuits -- an exception to the rule, the wildly cinematic funk of the Village Callers' "Hector," is only known because it was on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood the same year this set came out -- but the great thing about this box is how it explains a sound and attitude that belong to a very specific time and place. Davis didn’t steer Rampart out of the East Side but the high-octane dance music here demonstrates a generosity of spirit, a wild sense of humor, and an eagerness to satisfy. These instincts could lead the musicians and Rampart into corny territory, particularly during the disco era, but that willingness to be simultaneously silly and sexy remains equally ingratiating and invigorating. Plus, the fact that Rampart released singles that targeted the trends of the times as much as it influenced them helps make this a useful historical document in addition to being a good party: there are few better places to trace the evolution of Los Angeles R&B and soul during the '60s and '70s than this box.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 02:33 Amazon
2 02:28 Amazon
3 02:53 Amazon
4 02:44 Amazon
5 02:33 Amazon
6 02:13 Amazon
7 02:31 Amazon
8 02:39 Amazon
9 02:54 Amazon
10 02:31 Amazon
11 02:50 Amazon
12 02:42 Amazon
13 02:29 Amazon
14 02:34 Amazon
15 02:14 Amazon
16 02:27 Amazon
17 02:22 Amazon
18 02:22 Amazon
19 02:01 Amazon
20 02:25 Amazon
21 02:42 Amazon
22 01:23 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 02:19 Amazon
2 02:41 Amazon
3 02:07 Amazon
4 02:29 Amazon
5 02:19 Amazon
6 02:06 Amazon
7 02:10 Amazon
8 02:17 Amazon
9 02:22 Amazon
10 02:06 Amazon
11 02:01 Amazon
12 03:04 Amazon
13 02:07 Amazon
14 02:06 Amazon
15 03:08 Amazon
16 02:53 Amazon
17 02:03 Amazon
18 03:01 Amazon
19 02:21 Amazon
20 02:43 Amazon
21 02:37 Amazon
22 02:38 Amazon
23 01:53 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 03:06 Amazon
2 02:58 Amazon
3 02:55 Amazon
4 02:34 Amazon
5 02:40 Amazon
6 02:29 Amazon
7 02:41 Amazon
8 02:58 Amazon
9 02:14 Amazon
10 02:42 Amazon
11 03:36 Amazon
12 02:35 Amazon
13 03:32 Amazon
14 02:08 Amazon
15 03:06 Amazon
16 03:15 Amazon
17 03:46 Amazon
18 03:25 Amazon
19 03:32 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick