Various Artists

Sounds of the Seventies: '70s Dance Party 1979-1981

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The '70s Dance Party subset of Time-Life Music's Sounds of the Seventies series concludes with this volume, appropriately enough, since it has actually run out of the '70s proper and incorporates half-a-dozen tracks from the early '80s. The late '70s have been well covered, however, with a previous volume spanning 1978-1979 and another devoted to 1979 alone. So, this one is really a round-up edition, featuring the few major dance tracks not heard on the earlier discs. And the '80s recordings that have been included fit in stylistically with the late disco selections from 1979. Diana Ross' "Upside Down," for example, may technically be a 1980 recording, but, written and produced by Chic's Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, it is a quintessential disco record. The compilation is dominated by Chic's sophisticated sound, which is also heard in Sister Sledge's "He's the Greatest Dancer," and by Donna Summer's Eurodisco, which is evolving in more of a rock direction on "Hot Stuff," while Irene Cara's "Fame" and Cher's "Take Me Home" ape her older approach. Several tracks look forward to a less overtly disco-styled dance approach, including Olivia Newton-John's aerobic/erotic anthem "Physical," Rick James' funk workout "Super Freak," and the synth-laden "Funkytown" of Lipps Inc. All of these songs, from 1980-1981, show the disco formula, having lapsed into self-parody (the Village People's "Y.M.C.A."), beginning to give way to new directions in dance music. This collection captures the sound of that transition, making a fitting end to an excellent series of compilations.

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