The first things that stood out to me while perusing the liner notes of Disco Fever USA were the names in the songwriting, production and even artist credits; names like Cole Porter, King Floyd, Johnny Mathis, just to name a few. Not names I would have associated with disco but last time out we had Andy Williams so I guess anything is possible. The tenth volume in the Disco Discharge series, Disco Fever USA features many well-known R&B if not necessarily disco acts like Teddy Pendergrass, Cissy Houston, Marlena Shaw and Earth Wind & Fire. There were also familiar disco and dance music names like Meco, Jacques Morali, John Luongo, Gloria Gaynor, Tom Moulton, Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero. Before we get down to the music, here's the photo gallery of some of the source materials for Disco Fever USA.
After giving Disco Fever USA some quality playtime over the past 48 hours, I may have caught the titular fever - this is good stuff. There's a tinge of funk to most songs courtesy of bubbly bass lines that you don't often hear in disco tracks and as usual there are more hooks than you'll find in the lair of a maniacal serial killer. I was initially skeptical of the inclusion of the instrumental version of "Boogie Wonderland" rather than the full-blown more than nine minute Special Disco Version but you know what? Despite the lack of those pretty cool vocals, the backing track shines bright on its own as its not a pure instrumental - the backing vocals of The Emotions are present.
|year||title||artist||Billboard Disco Chart|
|1979||Baby Let Me Kiss You||Fern Kinney||8:19||-|
|1979||Like An Eagle||Dennis Parker||8:35||47|
|1978||Sunshine Hotel||Richard T Bear||6:09||41|
|1977||Two Hot For Love||THP Orchestra||6:44||3|
|1977||Why Must A Girl Like Me||Claudja Barry||7:29||-|
|1980||You're The Fire||Cissy Houston||5:58||24|
|1979||Love Dancin'||Marlena Shaw||7:56||49|
|1979||Boogie Wonderland (instrumental)||Earth Wind & Fire||6:17||14|
|1979||Holler||John Davis & the Monster Orchestra||6:03||5|
|1980||Cisselin' Hot||Chuck Cissel||5:32||55|
|1984||Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday||Boys Town Gang||5:14||-|
|1978||Life Is A Song Worth Singing||Teddy Pendergrass||4:12||-|
|1982||Step On Out||Double Discovery||4:03||-|
|1977||One Love||Celi Bee & the Buzzy Bunch||8:02||3|
|1979||Beign The Beguine||Johnny Mathis||8:29||-|
|1979||Duke's Train||Area Code (212)||6:53||-|
|1979||Ritmo De Brazil||Ultimate||4:49||6|
|1979||Love Is Just A Heartbeat Away||Gloria Gaynor||7:27||81|
|1978||If My Friends Could See Me Now||Linda Clifford||7:56||1|
|1979||Nighttme Fantasy||Vicki Sue Robinson||9:25||21|
The second thing that caught my eye in the Disco Fever USA liner notes was the word "Nocturna" which shows up on two of the last three tracks on the second disc. Nocturna or Nocturna: Granddaughter Of Dracula was a 1979 film with a couple of past their prime known stars. The movie is reportedly so bad even lovers of cheesy and campy films do not care for it though it shares a more than a few similarities with Love At First Bite, also released in 1979. (Given the opportunity to view Nocturna for the sake of this post, I chose to use the 85 minutes more productively by taking a walk around the park.) Noctunra was a vanity project for former belly dancer and Kardashian of her day, Nai Bonet who wrote, produced and starred in the disco vampire comedy horror flick with $350,000 she raised from generous benefactors. As the film's plot was built around disco music, Nai reportedly spent a third of her budget on the film's soundtrack, released on MCA as a double album with just eight tracks, including the two featured on Disco Fever USA by established disco acts Gloria Gaynor (who is on record as saying she recorded her song as a favor to her manager and she knew it was horrible) and Vicki Sue Robinson. Scanning the credits on Nocturna yields another familiar name for fans of dance music: Irene Cara is listed as providing backing vocals.