K-Tel Disco (Not Disco)

I’ve already gone public with my secret devotion to K-Tel compilations, though one must call into question their somewhat dubious attempts to ride the disco bandwagon…

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This example, from 1976, called ‘Disco Rocket’, does indeed feature some songs that one would call ‘disco’, including, Donna Summer‘s “Love To Love You Baby” and Tina Charles‘ “Love Me Like A Lover”, along with War‘s “Low Rider” and tracks from Jimmy James, Barry White and KC & The Sunshine Band, yet how could they justify inclusion of Pussycat‘s “Mississipi”, Randy Edleman‘s “Uptown Uptempo Woman” and other distinctly un-disco tunes from the likes of Smokie, Bay City Rollers and Manfred Man’s Earth Band? Could it be that the definition of disco was different back then? Did it merely indicate music that might be heard in a mid-seventies British night club? Or did the suits at K-Tel genuinely have no idea what they were doing?

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From the following year, “Disco Fever” follows a similar course, with some genuine disco hits from acts like Baccara, Space, Rah Band and Heatwave rubbing shoulders with Brotherhood Of Man, Showaddywaddy and The Boomtown Rats (first murmerings of the New Wave creeping in there). But at least this collection did reacquaint me with Meri Wilson‘s “Telephone Man” and Joy Sarney‘s supremely bonkers duet with Mr.Punch called “Naughty Naughty Naughty”, for which I am eternally grateful.

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And so to the following year, 1978, “Disco Stars” capitalises on post-Stars Wars sci-fi madness with the sleeve design, as well as kicking-off with Meco‘s discofied version of the Star Wars theme. Genuine disco is also represented by Chic‘s “Dance Dance Dance” plus the surprising inclusion of Giorgio Moroder‘s “From Here To Eternity”. But then we have 50’s revivalists Darts plus (once again) Showaddywaddy, Smokie and the Boomtown bloody Rats. And, in terms of sound, structure and sentiment, David Soul‘s “Let’s Have A Quiet Night In” must surely be the polar opposite of a disco tune.

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From the same year, the “Disco Double” at least offers a package that is worthy of the title, collecting up most of the genuine disco cuts from the earlier compilations, and adding plenty more from such as Andrea True Connection, Silver Convention and Odyssey. Nice to see the inclusion of Hi-Tension‘s eponymous overlooked Brit-funk classic, and The Michael Zager Band‘s “Let’s All Chant” has aged remarkably well. I was also reminded how inherently strange and experimental Hot Chocolate‘s “Put Your Love In Me” sounded….there was a lot more to that group than just “You Sexy Thing”.

Interesting sleeve image: a firm American butt about to make contact with a pert British arse, against a Manhattan skyline. Well, I guess we always did have a special friendship with the Yanks.

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Published in: on November 10, 2009 at 10:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. http://www.gavinunderhill.co.uk/FATJ1.htm

    great minds think alike?


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