Dance, Dance, Dance, (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah) sang Chic in 1977, on what became one of their classic tracks. That track became one of the classic tracks of the disco era. However, Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah is also the title of an excellent compilation of 70s New York Disco released as part of the Backbeats series. The Backbeats series now thirty compilations and is the latest in a long line of successful compilation series released by Harmless. Previously, I’ve written reviews of several of the Backbeats’ series, including their Philly Soul and Southern Soul compilations. On Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah Backbeats takes us to destination 127 Disco heaven. This was the tempo of many of the great tracks of the disco era. On the compilation are eleven tracks, a combination of classics, familiar faces and hidden gems that I’ll now tell you about.

One of the best tracks on Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah is Lucy Hawkins Gotta Get Out of Here, released in 1978 on Sam Records. It’s just under six minutes of classic disco, with a stunning vocal from a diva of disco. Add to that an arrangement full of energy with a funky bass line, blazing horns and backing vocalists augmented by percussion and you get the idea. Lucy vamps and struts her way through the horn heavy track. This track alone, almost makes buying the compilation worthwhile. 

A true diva of disco who features on the compilation is Loleatta Holloway, with one of her Salsoul classics Hit and Run. Released in 1977 on Salsoul, Hit and Run features the sound of the Salsoul Orchestra. They were formed when M.F.S.B. left Philadelphia International Records to form the Salsoul Orchestra. With the Baker, Harris and Young rhythm section gracing their recordings, they went on to record some of the best tracks of the disco era. Along with Dreaming, Runaway and Hit and Run, Loleatta Holloway was the greatest diva of the disco era. Here, her powerful and sassy vocal along with the multi-talented Salsoul Orchestra, make this one of the greatest tracks of the disco era, a track that’s still a staple of many a DJ’s sets.

First Choice contribute The Player to Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah. This was originally released in 1974 on Philly Groove and is a track that straight  away, bursts dramatically into life, the arrangement sweeping along, before giving way to fantastic ballsy vocal, augmented by some sweet backing vocals. The track is arranged by Norman Harris guitarist in M.F.S.B. and later the Salsoul Orchestra. He Co-produced the track with Stan Watson. This is just one of the many great tracks that came out of Philadelphia during the seventies.

Another track from the Salsoul label is Eddie Holman’s This Will Be A Night To Remember released in 1977. It’s produced and arranged by Ron Baker in both M.F.S.B. and the Salsoul Orchestra. This is the fastest track on the compilation, at 136 beats per minute, but has really catchy string laden arrangement, with flourishes of piano accompanying the Baker, Harris and Young rhythm section. Atop that arrangement sits Eddie’s joyous vocal. Together, they combine to create another great track from the Salsoul label.

Other tracks that deserve a mention include The Players Association great track I Like It, which was the B-side of a 1977 single Love Hangover, on Vanguard. Add to this Jackie Moore’s 1979 percussion heavy track This Time Baby on Columbia, which also features a fantastic vocal and you realize just how much quality is on the album. One last track that I must mention is from the Tom Moulton, often credited as the godfather of the twelve inch mix. Here, using the guise of TJM he contributes Am I Dreaming, released on Casablanca in 1979. This eight minute epic features a lengthy introduction full of percussion, sweeping strings and a funky rhythm section, gives way to an dramatic vocals, augmented by swooning backing vocals. It’s a hugely catchy track laden with drama throughout the eight minutes.

These are just a few of the highlights of Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah, an excellent compilation of 70s New York Disco. As you can see, it’s a mixture of some real classics including Loleatta Holloway’s Hit and Run. Although that track may feature on other compilations, this is the original 12 inch version, not a remix. You hear the track the way it was meant to be heard. Indeed, none of the eleven tracks are anything other than the original album version of original 12 inch version. This is quite refreshing, as usually, you get a remix, often from a DJ you’ve never heard of, who ends up ruining a classic track. Not here, where the tracks can be heard in their original form. Apart from Loleatta Holloway, other divas of disco feature here as well, including Lucy Hawkins and Jackie Moore. Tracks like Eddie Holman’s This Will Be A Night To Remember, The Players Associations I Like It and Ultra High Frequency’s We’re On the Right Track are a trio of welcome additions on Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah. Overall, this an album full of classic disco music, from the heyday of disco. Compiler Ian Dewhirst deserves credit for managing to compile an album full of such great music. He resists the temptation to resort to including some of the predictable choices that you find on many similar compilations. Indeed rather than resort to these predictable tracks that everyone has heard so often, he compiles an album where classics sits happily next to hidden gems. When taken together, this a an excellent combination, that makes Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah a disco compilation that deserves to find its way into your collection. After all, at less than £4, it’s some of the best value for money you’ll come across. So, treat yourself, and enjoy some excellent 70s New York Disco on Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah. Standout Tracks: Lucy Hawkins Gotta Get Out of Here, Loleatta Holloway’s Hit and Run, First Choice The Player and Eddie Holman’s This Will Be A Night To Remember.


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