Producer Bob Shad’s Mainstream Records started out in the 1960s as a jazz label, then at the end of the decade branched out into rock before moving into soul and funk in the early ’70s. Mainstream was home to Alice Clark’s legendary classic “rare groove” self-titled album in ’72 and in the seventies released a stream of sophisticated soul and funk records by artists including the Chubukos, Afrique, Lenny Welch and Black Blood.

Mainstream Disco Funk gathers together twelve disco/funk tracks from between ’74 and ’76, a particularly fertile moment in R&B history as funk and soul artists, producers and musicians either adopted or adapted the disco innovations of labels like Philadelphia International Records. Most of the tunes contained here are located right in that disco-funk / funky-disco sweet spot, where intricate-yet-loose funk rhythms melded with cosmopolitan sweeping orchestration and the emergence of that insistent 4/4 disco pulse.

The compilation opens with a perfect summation of the disco-funk sound, the instrumental version of The Grand Jury’s “Music Is Fun To Me.” It’s a super-charged Bohannon-like jam, drawn from a rich, ornate musical palette, with sweeping strings, horns, organ, clav, electric keys, wah wah guitar and some spacey synth soloing, with plenty of raw swaggering funk in the rhythm section. It’s followed by the vocal version, and two versions are supplied for a couple of the other tracks too — a nice touch, because the quality of the playing and arrangement on Bob Shad records often make the instrumentals strong enough in their own right, as is the case here and with Crystal Image’s thematic “Gonna Have A Good Time.”

You also get some romantic sweet soul courtesy of the Dramatics’ Northern Soul favourite “No Returns On Love,” straight-up disco jam “(Don’t You Wanna) Get Down” from South Side Coalition and the comp finishes on “Nothing Between Us,” a gorgeous cosmopolitan soul instrumental from The Electric Ladies. Excellent round-up of Mainstream’s funky-disco period.

⚪️ Tracklisting

Various Artists: Mainstream Disco Funk (Wewantsounds / Digital + Vinyl)
1. The Grand Jury - Music Is Fun To Me (Inst) (03:38)
2. The Grand Jury - Music Is Fun To Me (Voc) (03:25)
3. South Side Coalition - (Don't You Wanna) Get Down Get Down (03:18)
4. Chocolate Syrup - We've Got To Get Together (Brotherly Love) (02:57)
5. Three Ounces Of Love - Disco Man (Pt. 1&2) (06:05)
6. Crystal Image - Gonna Have A Good Time (Inst) (02:51)
7. Crystal Image - Gonna Have A Good Time (Voc) (02:57)
8. Lenny Welch - A Hundred Pounds Of Pain (02:47)
9. Prophecy - What Ever's Your Sign (You Got To Be Mine) Pt. 1 (02:46)
10. Prophecy - What Ever's Your Sign (You Got To Be Mine) Pt.2 (02:21)
11. The Dramatics - No Rebate On Love (03:34)
12. The Electric Ladies - Nothing Between Us (02:45)

⚪️ Disclosure Statement

This record was submitted as a promo.


5 Mag Issue 206
Out Now

MOVE: This was originally published in 5 Mag Issue #206 featuring DJ, dancer, teacher and producer Coflo, Alland Byallo, Phil Kieran, DJ Rocca, Jeff Mills’ Metropolis Metropolis and more. Help keep our vibe alive and our shine bright by becoming a member for $2/month and get every issue in your inbox right away!


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