Yesterday I bought yet another disco compilation record at a vinyl record swap. It had a few good hits, the rest sounded respectable, and the artwork was good, but when I got home and put it on, it sucked shit. I was immensely disappointed, just like I have been by almost every disco compilation I’ve checked out.
I think part of the problem here is that, incredibly, my introduction to disco was the very best of the best: Don’t Walk, Boogie.
I was working at Salvation Army as a 20-yr old when I first encountered Don’t Walk, Boogie. I thought the cover looked cool so despite not having any experience with or love for disco, I brought it home, gave it a listen, and was shocked. It was awesome. Well, by the first side, anyway. The second side was hit and miss but the first side was 30 straight minutes of upbeat, energetic, cocaine-fueled grooves and good times.
I loved that record so much that on New Years Eve 2007, I brought it to a house party where a friend was DJ-ing and spinning records. I gave it to him and assured him everyone would lose their minds when he put it on. He was skeptical but eventually played it, and the dance floor completely cleared within a few seconds. Absolutely no one but me enjoyed it, and I was so shocked, brokenhearted, and embarrassed that when I left the party I didn’t even bother asking my pal for my record back. Only the party gods know what happened to that copy of Don’t Walk, Boogie but I imagine my buddy threw it in the trash in short order.
But my dismay over what transpired that night didn’t last long, and I was soon kicking myself for leaving it behind. I still loved it and wanted to listen to it even if all those goons at the party didn’t like it, and now I didn’t have it! I looked for it in various forms online over the years but could never find the same edited versions of the songs, so last year I finally bought another vinyl copy of it off of ebay for what I consider too much money.
When that record finally showed up and I put it on, I realized I had been right all along, and all those jackoffs at the News Years party didn’t know shit about good music — Don’t Walk, Boogie is as amazing as I remember, and I won’t accept any other opinion. The songs are all great hits, they’re all driving and full of energy, and they’re all edited down to 3 minutes and 30 seconds so that there is no time wasted with anything that is not a killer hook. And after revisiting side B and paying more attention to it, I see the value in it too. It’s not as immediate or rollicking as side A, but I don’t think it’s meant to be. It has more of a warm afterglow kind of vibe, like the winding down at the end of a wild party, which is of course very fitting. Despite probably being thrown together as just a dumb compilation, I think the record is actually a surprisingly valid piece of art.
So there ya go. In my opinion, Don’t Walk, Boogie is by far the best disco compilation every made. Second place goes to an unreal Christmas disco record, aptly titled Christmas Disco by The Mistletoe Disco Band. The arrangements and musicianship are insane. I like it so much that I even listen to it outside of the holidays. The musicians are not credited anywhere and it’s a fucking shame because these people nailed it.
There really isn’t enough love for genuine disco these days. I need to start a disco band and start promoting the genre again. Just picture all the empty clubs we would play to. It would be even sadder than New Years Eve 2007.