Various ‎’Too Slow To Disco, vol. 3′ 2LP/CD/DIG (How Do You Are?) 4/5

For those unfamiliar with the concept, dance music sub-divides into multiple smaller sub-categories, one of which is a cross-pollinating style that is just a tad too slow on the BPM to warrant dance floor action, but still with a strong melodic beat. Which is where the third volume of the ‘Too slow to disco’ series offers a refreshing overview of disparate and lesser known artists among the more familiar, if in unexpected musical settings and compiled by DJ Supermarkt. Who for example would expect the Grateful Dead to turn up on a compilation that purports to be related to the disco genre? Yet appear they do on, ‘Shakedown street’, that dissects the roots of the disco groove.

Some of the more successful attempts here are those that aim at a laid back west coast sound, and that is certainly the case for David Gates, who is surely inspired by mid-1970’s Boz Scaggs on, ‘Silky’. Cult band the Cornelius Bumpus Quartet offer one of the most sought after numbers in, ‘Inside you’, and the soulful vocals of Archie James Cavanaugh impress on, ‘Take it easy’. Overall influences hint at Steely Dan, but elsewhere the sound of Earth, Wind and Fire permeates, especially on the jazz-fusion guitarist Lee Ritenour’s excellent, ‘It is you’, that sums up that early 1980’s groove to perfection. Another instrumentalist, the rare groove keyboardist par excellence, Weldon Irvine, contributes a hidden gem in, ‘Fallin’ in love’, with vocals by Sheila Lowe and this has a marked indie Philly Soul flavour. French Canadian disco seemed to evaporate with Patrick Hernandez, but re-emerges here with the the unlikely name of Dwight Druick and, ‘Quand tu te laisses aller’.

Not everything is essential, but the informative inner sleeve notes help shed useful light on each individual song and artist and crate diggers will find this an invaluable source in order to dig deeper on the musicians. Roll on volume 4!   

Tim Stenhouse