Album Review: Johnny D Presents Disco Jamms Volume One - Various Artists

Johnny D's Disco Jamms is a rapid fire disco assault that manages to cram in 18 classic disco tracks from across the years into an extravagant 77-minute long celebration.

And basically it's brilliant. The mixing may be a little rudimentary, but that was the way things were back in the days of disco anyway and this set really doesn't suffer as a result. The selection of music on offer shows that at its best disco can be glorious. It's a genre that still gets a bad rep in certain quarters, not helped by the fancy dress theme parties and some overly commercialised artists that rode the sound all the way to the bank whilst simultaneously leaving the true spirit behind. For the record I truly believe the Bee Gees and Abba are two or the worst acts to grace the planet. Ever.

But there is nothing of that insipid shiny thin pop here. Cerrone's beautiful 'Look For Love' has a warm shimmering chorus that rides a rainbow unicorn to a string backing before a full two-minute percussive break. It's inventive and extravagant and soulful and real and ridiculous all at the same time. As disco retrospectives go this one isn't in the least bit precious either, so sure, you'd got the O'Jays, but you also have Klein & MBO's electro masterpiece 'Dirty Talk' followed by the large bassline heavy 'For The Same Man' by B-Beat Girls. There are moments of glorious electronic disco from the eighties that run away with my heart here. The System's 'It's Passion' is glossy funk with a fantastic spoken word jogging-on-the-spot synth heavy bridge combined with a simply massive chorus.

Most of all though disco was always about getting on up and over - triumph in the face of adversity, less showing off, more celebrating what you should to be thankful for. And that is what comes through on this album, whether on the enthused 'We're On The Right Track' by Ultra High Frequency or Lafleur's instrumental 'Dub Till We Drop'.

Don't fight it, feel it.

Johnny D Presents Disco Jamms Volume One is released on BBE on 5 March, available to pre-order from Amazon.co.uk on CD and MP3 [affiliate links].