Various Essential Italo Disco Classics 1977-85

A soulful tour of the influence of Italian DJs as a bridge to new versions of the American disco sound, this bass line- and beat-driven compilation includes some real disco gems. Keyboards, woodblocks and in some cases, cheesy-yet-groovy vocals still play heavily into this fun pack, though these are listenable tracks for those who like their deep handclap remixes and under-released treasures. Kasso’s "Brazilian Dancer (DJ version)” rocks along with triangles and trombones, and the likes of D.D. Sound’s "Burning Love” and Firefly’s "Love Will Be On Your Side” take the straight disco route, while the house and electro foreshadowing are obvious on Kano’s "Now Baby Now” and the good-time chants and steady swing of Red Dragon Band’s "Let Me be Your Radio.” And, as proclaims the chant at the top of the eight-minute track by Revanche, "1979 It’s Dancing Time,” complete with funktastic horn trills and the origins of step-clap polyester-conjuring grooves, one can’t help but smile and bump to it! Bonus: there are liner notes on the music and history from Last Night A DJ Saved My Life author Bill Brewster. (Strut)