Ultimate (1st album, 1979)
1. LOVE IS THE ULTIMATE / DANCING IN THE NIGHT / TOUCH ME BABY (Medley) 14:29
2. RITMO DE BRAZIL 4:51
3. MUSIC IN MY HEART 6:25
4. TAKE ME TO CHINATOWN 5:03
5. LOVE IS THE ULTIMATE MEDLEY (Remix) 8:07
6. LOVE IS THE ULTIMATE MEDLEY (Remix) 10.36
Ultimate II (2nd album, 1980)
7. THIS TIME I'M IN LOVE 3:57
8. FEEL SO FINE 4:49
9. GET TO THE TOP 4:04
10. SECRET AGENT MAN 3:52
11. BACK TOGETHER 5:26
12. NOW AND FOREVER 4:12
Another release in the exciting Disco Recharge series, this single CD contains both Ultimate albums and features 2 remixes of the only real hit from the group, "Love is the Ultimate."
The sound is at the excellent level now expected from the Harmless gang, with terrific lows and sparkling highs. The music and vocals are clean, clear and crisp.
Ultimately, any CD is about the music, and Ultimate was never more than a serviceable studio creation that temporarily sated the voracious late 70's club and radio disco beast. Beyond the swirlingly memorable first track, the remaining 3 songs on the initial album epitomize mindless disco, meandering through various musical styles, and not very convincingly or enthusiastically at that. The two remixes of "Love is the Ultimate" offer wonderful variations on the main track. They were originally available paired on a Casablanca Records Promo-only 12" single, and feature revamped string and synth arrangements and reverb-ed instrumentation and vocals.
Ultimate II was the group's wholly forgettable follow-up effort. The (almost desperate) post-disco pop/r&b/rock sound is completely different from the Euro-disco aspirations the first record held and the songs are not distinctive, and often fade unexpectedly to their ends. ("Secret Agent Man" and "Back Together" are perfect examples of this shortcoming. Each enters a seeming musical break, and rather than crescendoing and returning to a logical vocal conclusion they simply fade away. Perplexing.)
Still, this is an admirable package, nicely bringing together and preserving Ultimate's albums and two 12" remixes. It's a mini history of disco, change and evolution, even if those efforts at adaptation failed. The presentation is, as always, fantastic, and the liner notes provide thoughtful and thorough insight and background on the "group" and its production, though tending to be overly adulatory. The excellent sound and 2 rare remixes do make this CD an essential addition to any serious disco library. It's unfortunate the music is not up to the level of the restoration.