‘TRIBAL RITES OF THE NEW SATURDAY NIGHT’ is a rather grandiose title for a new collection from Ace Records. Cut through that verbosity, though, and you have a wonderful soul compilation offering music that was big on the US dance scene in the mid-70s.

First that title. ‘Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night’ is the title of a novella written by acclaimed writer/musicologist Nik Cohn in 1976. (If you haven’ read it give it a go and  do also check out his era-defining book ‘A Wop Bopaloo Bop Alop Bam Boom’) . When ‘Tribal Rights’ was published “real”  disco was music’s  dominant force and the book was set against the disco scene in New York – more specifically in Brooklyn and Queens. Anoraks will know that Cohn sold the film rights and the subsequent movie became a little known thing called ‘Saturday Night Fever’!

Step in another acclaimed musicologist, Bob Stanley. Stanley is probably best known in the mainstream via his indie band St Etienne but he’s also a DJ, broadcaster and music and football  writer. His various books on pop have all been widely acclaimed! Which brings us back to this ace Ace compilation. Bob (via his connection with the nice people @ Ace) has complied the album to reflect what was actually played out in the Brooklyn discos during the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ era – and his crate digging and research have come up with a tremendous 22 tracker.

Bob’s cast his net far and wide and come up with a set that mixes the familiar and obvious with the less known. What the tunes have in common is that they were all played out regularly in the discos of Brooklyn and Queens  in the mid-70s.  So amongst the better known items are Blue Magic’s ‘Welcome To The Club’, Margie Joseph’s ‘I Can’t Move No Mountains’, Ben E King’s ‘Supernatural Thing’ and Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes’ ‘Wake Up Everybody’ – a low key closer to the set by the way. Amongst the lesser known cuts (lesser known in the mainstream that is) are Gloria Scott’s ‘Just As Long As We’re Together’ (a Barry White production) and the Moment Of Truth’s album opener, ‘Helplessly’.

Being a “disco” collection, the vibe is predominantly Philly, but Detroit is represented by people like Popcorn Wylie (Georgia’s After Hours’), Eddie Kendricks’ (‘Date With The Rain’), Jimmy Ruffin (‘Tell Me What You Want’) and Ronnie McNeir with the always welcome and still wonderful ‘Wendy Is Gone’. Another really welcome cut is John Gary Williams’ Stax outing ‘The Whole Damn World Is Going Crazy’.