Various: ‘Disco Giants 9’ (Vinyl Masterpiece/PTG)

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Aficionados of ’80s soul will find a lot to savour here on this 2-CD compilation that contains twenty full length 12-inch mixes of killer dance floor tracks from the era of leg warmers, shoulder pads, big hair and even bigger drum sounds. It opens with Meli’sa Morgan’s 1987 floor-buster, ‘If You Can Do It I Can Too,’ which was helmed by Hush Productions’ Paul Laurence, who was also responsible for Stephanie Mills’ ‘(You’re Puttin’) A Rush On Me,’ which is an even better cut and appears near the end of CD1. From the Hush stable as well comes Melba Moore’s infectious ’82 dancer, ‘Mind Up Tonight,’ which is driven by one of the best bass lines ever and an incredible groove. More invitations to boogie come from Gwen Guthrie (her anthemic ‘Ain’t Nothing Goin’ On But The Rent’), The Whispers (‘Rock Steady’), Loose Ends (‘Magic Touch’), Klique (‘I Can’t Shake This Feeling’), and ex-Family man (and current fDeluxe member) St. Paul, whose sinuous, string-laden beat ballad ‘Intimacy’ still sounds mighty fine.

CD2 is just as enterprising, opening with girl group Krystol’s propulsive pounder, ‘Passion From A Woman,’ and closing with John Adam’s ‘Strip This Heart.’ In between are sandwiched some terrific ’80s club tracks; from Body, a soulful west coast sister act whose driving ‘Middle Of The Night’ originally came out on MCA, as did ‘Out For The Count’ by forgotten UK soul man, Ian Foster. Another underrated UK act, Total Contrast, are represented by the terrific Steve Harvey-penned-and-produced track, ‘What Are You Gonna Do About It,’ which is propelled by a brilliant bass-heavy groove. Top-notch tracks from the likes of vibraphone meister Roy Ayers (the funked-up vibes-jam ‘In The Dark’), Sybil (‘Falling In Love’), Ashford & Simpson (‘Outta The World’), and Evelyn King (‘Back To Love’) round out what is an excellently curated collection of ’80s grooves that confirms that the guys at Vinyl Masterpiece really know their stuff.

(CW) 4/5