As the fans of this gen­re know, dis­co did not “die” at the end of the 1970’s.  Instead, it moved back into the under­ground sce­nes from whence it came and mutat­ed into new­er, dif­fer­ent­ly styled forms that kept the beat alive while rework­ing the over­all sound.  One of the best and most suc­cess­ful dis­co muta­tions was the “boo­gie” sound.  This rhyth­mi­cal­ly insis­tent vari­a­tion of dis­co worked in a lot of elec­tron­ic ele­ments as it pro­gressed and thus formed a bridge between dis­co and the syn­th-dom­i­nat­ed sounds that would dom­i­nate dance music from the mid-1980’s on.

So what exact­ly does boo­gie mean?  It’s a descrip­tive term that was once applied to “boo­gie woo­gie” piano music, a style where the bass line played by the left hand is just as impor­tant to the song as the melod­ic line played by the right.  In dis­co, it refers to a dis­tinct vari­a­tion of the gen­re where com­plex, melod­ic bassli­nes dri­ve the over­all sound as strong­ly as any the oth­er ele­ments of the instru­men­ta­tion.  The melodies also tend to be very busy with funky yet melod­ic hooks that give it unique blend of sweet­ness and grit, even when the instru­men­ta­tion is pre­dom­i­nant­ly syn­th-based.

The new Disco Boogie vol­ume of the Disco Discharge serves up a nice primer in this style for the unini­ti­at­ed, start­ing with its late-1970’s gen­e­sis and con­tin­u­ing through the mid-1980s.  In the late-1970’s area, Carte Blanche whips up a delight­ful con­fec­tion with “Do You Like It Like That” that lay­ers its pul­sat­ing bass core with airy rhythm-gui­tar hooks, ethe­re­al synths and thor­ough­ly ingra­ti­at­ing chant vocals and Toto’s dis­co ever­green “Georgy Porgy” blends beguil­ing­ly jazzy piano licks and a sub­tly insis­tent beat with hyp­notic vocals at cho­rus time from diva Cheryl Lynn.  On a sim­i­lar tip, Average White Band’s “Let’s Go Round Again” is a win­ner from 1980 that brings 1970’s-style Philly Soul orches­tra­tions into the boo­gie era with a thump­ing bass line.

There is also plen­ty of the syn­the­siz­er-lay­ered melod­i­cism that asso­ciate with the genre’s ear­ly 1980’s hey­day.  For instance, D-Train’s “Keep On” is one of the all-time boo­gie gems, a grandiose elec­tro-opus where per­cus­sive vocals sell a mes­sage of pos­i­tiv­i­ty over an ele­gant blend of care­ful­ly-arranged synths and live instru­men­ta­tions.  It’s inclu­sion here is all the sweet­er since it’s includ­ed in Francois Kevorkian’s stel­lar 12-inch mix, which real­ly makes the most the record’s melod­ic twists and dense lay­er­ing.  Skyy’s “Call Me” is a pro­to-elec­tro clas­sic that has echoes of the S.O.S. Band as it lays out a sparse but mem­o­rable groove built on a syn­th-dou­bled bass lick.  Even the pre-rock clas­sic “Autumn Leaves” gets a sleek syn­th-update from the Illusion Orchestra (a.k.a. new wave pro­duc­tion auteurs Steve Jolley and Tony Swain).

And that’s not all — cura­tor Mr. Pink adds plen­ty of delight­ful rar­i­ties and lesser-known tracks, like the Belgian jazz-dis­co gem “Switch” by Benelux With Nancy Dee (dig that lead flute!) and Maxine Singleton’s stomp­ing syn­th-funk opus “You Can’t Run From Love,” which comes from the same writ­ing and pro­duc­tion team who cre­at­ed “Holiday” for Madonna.  Everything includ­ed is mas­tered skill­ful­ly in either its album-length or 12-inch ver­sions and Alan Jone’s wit­ty and infor­ma­tive notes seal the deal.

In shout, Disco Discharge: Disco Boogie lives up to its title by deliv­er­ing a hard-groov­ing good time from start to fin­ish and is anoth­er win­ner from Mr. Pink and Harmless Records.