A 11 track disco album (33m 19s) — released August 11th 2023 on Wewantsounds

Funk and Soul in the early 70s were mutating to a new sound spearheaded by such labels as Philadelphia International Records (PIR), Scepter and Salsoul: Early Disco was taking off and Its sound was earthier and more urban, mixing the nascent Disco beat with strong funk and soul elements. New York was at the epicentre of the phenomenon, thanks to its thriving club scene and also to a new wave of DJs from the Bronx who started playing the music at block parties along with James Brown and Mandrill. bubbling under was a cohort of small independent labels that released some great music on 7" singles to meet the growing demand. Industry veteran Bob Shad and his label Mainstream Records started investigating this new scene and asked his circle of independent producers to bring him their latest production for release. For the occasion, he set up two sub labels, IX Chains and Brown Dog.

Among the producers who'd heard Shad's call were Tommy Stewart who came up with The South Side Coalition's funky '(Don't You Wanna) Get Down Get Down' in 1975 and Prophecy's 'What Ever's Your Sign' a year later. Seasoned arranger/producer Bert DeCoteaux (Patti Austin, Maxine Brown, The Main Ingredient) brought Lenny Welch's soulful 'A Hundred Pounds of Pain' and the superb mid-tempo instrumental 'Nothing Between Us' by The Electric Ladies. Arranger Jimmy Roach came with his latest single with The Dramatics ('No Rebate on Love') whom he'd worked with at Volt and with Three Ounces of Love on their aptly titled single 'Disco Man,' whose unissued long version merging Side 1 and 2 is released here on vinyl for the first time. The sister group would go on to sign with Motown in 1978 and release their sole album self-titled 'Three Ounces of Love.'

Other highlights on 'Mainstream Disco Funk' include The Grand Jury's 'Music is Fun To Me' with its languid funky rhythm arranged by Ted Bodnar, a producer and studio engineer who'd work with Sir Joe Quarterman, Blair and Al Johnson. Also featured on the set is Crystal Image's superb 'Gonna Have a Good Time (part 1 & 2) which typifies the blend of urban funk, glitzy strings and metronomic beat that were signature elements of early Disco.

The style would keep getting more commercial over the years and reach overkill in the late 70s but the block party scene which more than embraced this breakbeat-filled genre would soon morph into hip hop in the second half of the 70s with the help of a few key industry figures such as Sylvia Robinson (Sugar Hill Records). By that time, Bob Shad had ceased releasing records and relocated in Los Angeles but he left behind a small treasure trove of superb obscure singles which are now making their LP debut on 'Mainstream Disco Funk' for the delight of all funk and disco lovers.

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