THP Orchestra ‘Disco Recharge: ‘Early Riser’/’Two Hot for Love’ 2CD (Harmless) 4/5


Disco had its all-time classic anthems and one of the biggest underground hits to go public was the THP Orchestra and the fifteen and a half minute extended version of ‘Two hot for love’. This magnificent opus to dancefloor mania is included here along with no less than five other versions, with two 12″ takes including a Pete Waterman nine minute plus edit and the original UK disco which weighed in at just under seven minutes. The original divides up into four parts, possibly modeled in this respect alone on John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ album with climax and resolution seeing the lengthy song out. The number features an elongated percussive intro that sets the scene for what is to follow and some tasty brass and flute that Canadian producers Ian Guenther and Willi Morrison tastefully put together.

The first CD focuses on the ‘Early Riser’ album and there are echoes of the ‘Shaft’ main theme in ‘Theme from S.W.A.T.’ which is end of era blaxpolitation movie sound material. In Canada 60,000 copies of the single were sold in the first week alone. More jazz-inflected grooves abound on the flute led instrumental ‘Dawn Patrol’ while ‘Crazy, Crazy’ is something aking to the underlying rhythm to ‘Car Wash’ theme meets the Stax horn section head-on. One feature of the disco era was the ability and willingness of producers to rework seemingly alien music to the dancefloor into an altogether groovier setting and the Archies ‘Sugar, Sugar’ was an obvious example. Here the innocent children’s song is given a complete makeover complete with vibes and collective female vocals. Even more unlikely a contender for dancefloor action is the Brazilian bossa nova number ‘Shadow of your smile’ which has a false ballad intro that immediately leads into classic disco terrain led by rhythm guitar. A plethora of 7″ and 12″ variations stretch out the original album tracks.

The second CD is dominated by the aforementioned anthemic ‘Two hot for love’, but elsewhere a revisiting of another Brazilian classic, ‘Black Orpheus’ receives the uptempo treatment as does a slightly more discofied ‘Manhã de Carnaval’. Authenticity was the key to the very best of disco and the album cover typified the hedonistic era with a diva dressed in lycra in front of a 1970s New York-style red bus with mist rising up from the ground. The detailed inner sleeve notes also include vinyl covers of the 12″ alternatives and back album cover. Tim Stenhouse

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