There are two constants in the Disco Discharge selections: European tracks and Gay Disco (or HI-NRG as it morphed into during the early 80's). Whilst other selections struggle to find thematic consistency these two have provided a set from each batch of releases. "Midnight Shift" is the latest in the gay themed anthologies. There's no point in avoiding it, this is the music of the gay club. It's the sound that Stock, Aitken, & Waterman plundered to make their hit factory so successful in the late 80's - yes, it has a pop anticedent - and it is a dance sound quite its own.
If this were a boxed set this would be discs 7 and 8. Usually by this stage the formula could be running out of steam a little, and whilst the previous collection felt more filler than killer, this one manages to find works of surprisingly high quality. It also manages to sound a lot more HI-NRG than some of the previous outings. Here the sound really is deep into the sound of an 80's gay clublife and it has a curiously British club feel.
Musically this moves from the late 70's through to the mid/late 80's beginning with some disco influenced and rather camp tracks. Bette Midler's "My Knight In Black Leather" (which is a camp as the title implies) and Patrick Juvet's "Lady Night" which is another fine example of his work with the Can't Stop Productions (who also did The Village People and Ritchie Family stuff). These are followed by the epic and German disco production Lipstique whose "At The Discoteque" is long and quite episodic. Ian Levine's production of "Miami Heatwave" is one of his earlier production efforts and a lot more disco than its 1982 vintage might suggest. There is a very early HI-NRG cowbell break to hint that after this the music heads straight into HI-NRG territory and stays there through almost all of the rest of this disc and the second.
Most of the rest is tympani drums and shuffling handclaps and although its quite generic the songs are mostly of exceedingly high quality. Two offerings Mr & Mrs Lapage (aka Lime a track of whom is included in this number) are worth a mention, as is Suzy Q's "Can't Live Without Your Love" which gives a high count of quality from Canada. There's also another very good German cut from Lian Ross whose "Fantasy" is a spacey highlight which sounds just a little Eurovision and very anthemic. For a compilation of this type there's actually very few covers here although the Lonnie Gordon voiced cover of The Walker Brothers' "No Regrets" is a wonderful example of the kind of slightly overdone camp dance music missing from today. It manages to transform the song and neatly stays just the right side of excess and cliche. It's a great example of Ian Levine's production talents and a one-take wonder from vocalist Gordon.
The other cover is one of three tracks that steps outside the HI-NRG mould. The Boystown Gang were adept at putting medleys together and here their "Dance Trance Medley" takes a collection of anthems and makes something of a narrative to place them in. It's a little long but does mixh light and shade well. The other tracks which don't fit into the mould are Swedish duo Lili & Suzie's "Candy Love" (which sounds like what Kim Wilde would have sounded like if produced by Propaganda) and Kim Carne's excellent follow up to "Bette Davis' Eyes", "Voyeur" which really should have been another hit for Ms. Carnes.
There are two which miss the mark, both trying too hard to hit the right note and failing. The Tapps track is forgettable whilst the People Like Us One might work with another vocalist. The one here being best described as terrible...
This makes it 90% good and a big improvement on some of the more recent offerings from the Disco Discharge sets in that it does hang together when played out in its entirity. This is a genre where it is easy to cram it full of the forgettable and the merely novel. This set manages to sidestep this and give the listener a very good idea of what this genre was all about.
This review is for: DISCO DISCHARGE: MIDNIGHT SHIFT I've bought all 16 of the "Disco Discharge" series released so far. For me this CD was worth buying just to get the original 12" version of "Earthquake" by The Flirtations. Most compilations include either the Will Crocker U.S. remix or the later 1989 Sensurround remix. So to finally get the original 12" mix on CD I'd give this CD 5 stars for that alone. But the joy doesn't stop there, because we also get the wonderful 12" version of Kim Carnes "Voyeur", Patrick Juvet's "Lady Night", and Quartz Lock's "No Regrets". I had most of the other tracks already, but I'd never heard of Lisa Lougheed's "Run With Us". I'm pleased that was included because it's really good. I'm not sure what mix of Lili & Sussie's "Candy Love" this is here. Personally I prefer the original 12" mix (which can be found on "I Love Disco 80s volume 3"). One thing to also note here is Lian Ross "Fantasy" is superb quality. On previous compilations it is usually faded early or poor quality, but here it sounds bright and fresh. In fact, the whole CD is great because it features so many 80's Hi-NRG classics from Fancy, Tapps, Astaire, Lime, and People Like Us. These were the tracks you would hear in heavy rotation in gay clubs at the time. The Boys Town Gang medley is an essential if you don't already have that (it features powerhouse vocals from Sylvester and Two Tons Of Fun a/k/a The Weather Girls). I really appreciate what the people at Harmless are doing putting these releases together and I buy all the "Disco Discharge" CD's regardless because there are always gems on each release and they are always incredible value. Highly recommended series.
I have become an avid fan of the superb "Disco Discharge" series.. (big thanks to Mr Pinks for putting together these lovely disco gems). This latest offering has to be one of the strongest releases so far in the series and it contains a couple of my all time favourite HI-NRG tracks. "No Regrets" by Quartzlock was originally released in the latter 1980's on Ian Levine's dance label REFLECTIONS RECORDS. This is a superb track, with the added bonus of Lonnie Gordon on the vocals. An absolute gem and so good to finally have it included on a compilation CD! Another favourite is the killer HI-NRG anthem "Earthquake" by the fabulous FLIRTATIONS. This is one of those golden hits that refuses to go away, and it still sounds fresh and exciting today!
My second purchase from the same sellers within 2 weeks, from the Disco Discharge collections. Yet another excellent double cd of some well known and lesser known great hi-nrg dance tracks from the late 70's early 80's. Great value, great music and is it time we finally get an updated comeback of this genre of music!
Another excellent selection of disco and dance tracks from the seventies and eighties... some I've never heard before but very fantastic!!! Disappointed for the REMIX (not the original 12" version) of "Candy love" by Lili & Sussie... but I'm satisfied of the rest. Thanks again to Harmless and Mr. Pink for another great collection.
Another of these hard hitting disco albums reminding me of years gone by. Again not all tracks will be to everyones taste, but the good tracks are good and will keep you dancing into the night or reminising of the past.
DISCO DISCHARGE: MIDNIGHT SHIFT IAM SO HAPPY THIS HAS NOW ARRIVED, AND ITS ON ITS SECOND PLAY, SKIP THE BETTE MIDLER TRACK, MY KNIGHT IN BLACK LEATHER..JUST NOT THAT GOOD' I DONT THINK SO AT ALL. THEN YOU GO INTO PATRICK JUVET AND AS ALWAYS YOU GET A GOOD FOOT TAPPING TRACK FROM THIS CHAP, ALWAYS FILLED THE DANE FLOOR'S IN THE CLUBS THIS MAN, THE GOOD OLD DAYS...LOL.LIPSTIQUE AT THE DISCOTEHEQUE STILL SOUNDS GOOD TODAY, YOU THEN START TO MOVE INTO WHAT WAS NO LONGER CALLED DISCO MUSIC, IT WAS IN THE GAY CLUBS LONG BEFORE IT HIT THE UK, HI-ENERGY..., WAS PLAYING IN THE UK GAY CLUBS FOR A GOOD YEAR BEFORE IT HIT THE UK CHARTS, THE FLIRTATIONS AND THE GREAT TRACK EARTHQUAKE, WHAT A GREAT TRACK, INTO ASTAIRE..THE POWER OF LOVE, NOT THE TRACK YOU THINK IT IS,, THIS CD MOVES ALONG AT A STOMPING PACE AND YOU JUST CANT HELP MOVING ALONG WITH A GOOD 12 INCS AND HAVING A GREAT TIME WITH THE MUSIC, THERE ARE SO MANT TRACKS TO TALK ABOUT ON THIS DISCO---HI-ENERGY CD IT WOULD TAKE FOEVER, EVEN PUSSYFOOT DO A GOOD JOB AT LAST ON A TRACK, BUT THEY STILL ARE NOT FOR ME, STILL ITS ALL GOOD...DO GO AND GET THIS CD AND ADD IT TO THE REST OF THE DISCO DISCHARGE SET, PUT SOME GREAT MUSIC ON YOUR PLAYER AND ENJOY 12INCH'S OF PURE PLEASURE IN SOME GREAT TRACKS FROM THE GOOD OLD DAYS...........I CANT WAIT TO SEE WHAT THE NEXT SET WILL BE.......................ENJOY.