For nearly three years, Al Kent, disco’s international man of mystery has been missing in action. Nobody has heard from the Glasgow-based DJ and remixer. There’s not been as much as a postcard home. That’s not surprising. Al’s not had time. He’s been busy looking for the fifteen tracks that became Disco Love Volume 4-More Disco and Soul Uncovered. which was recently released by BBE Records. It’s the result of three years spent create-digging .

Al Kent is a veteran crate-digger and record collector. He’s been collecting records for longer than he cares to remember, and has takem crate-digging to a new level. Like a crate digging superhero, Al Kent digs where other DJs dare to dig..

His mission in life is to seek out rarities and hidden gems. He’s journeyed to small towns in search of backstreet record shops. Other times, he’s clambered down into dusty basements. Even though the owner passes a striking resemblance to Norman Bates.  It could be worth it he keeps telling himself. There could be piles of long-forgotten, unloved music.

That’s what Al keeps telling when he’s searching through damp, dark warehouses crammed full of ageing vinyl. Maybe, just maybe, there will be long-forgotten private press that somehow, has escaped other crate-diggers’ attention. That however, is the life of a veteran record collector and crate-digger. 

They’ve many a tale to tell. They can tell stories bagged bargains in thrift stores. Then they remember finding vinyl gold in second hand shops full of commodes and three-legged chairs. These are the crate-digger’s equivalent of war stories. Instead, of Basra and Kabul, they’ve survived trips to back-street record shops,  thrift stores and dusty warehouses. During these trips, Al Kent employs his sixth sense for vinyl. 

He knows if its in the vicinity, and is soon on the scent. he’s a bit like Scooby Doo with a series case of the munchies. Soon, Al’s off in search of thrift stores, flea markets and second hand shops. There’s always the possibility that some hidden gem may be lurking in the bargain bins? That could be how Al Kent found the fifteen slices of sou or disco that features on Disco Love Volume 4-More Disco and Soul Uncovered?  It’s the latest, and as you’ll soon realise, a welcome addition to the Disco Love series.

Opening Disco Love Volume 4-More Disco and Soul Uncovered is an Al Kent edit of Clear featuring Lee Edwards’ single Equal Love Opportunity. This is a real rarity, that was released in 1980 on the Detroit based DT Records. Equal Love Opportunity was written and arranged by Robert Evans, who produced the single with Vera Jenkins. They’re responsible for soulful, sultry and jazz-tinged dance-floor friendly single.

Barbara Jean English wrote If It Feels This Good, which was the B-Side to her single House Of Strangers. It was released on Royal Flush Records in 1976. By then, Barbara’s career was well into its second decade. She had been releasing singles since she signed to Roulette in 1962. Fourteen years later, and Barbara was jumping onboard the disco bandwagon with If It Feels This Good. Arranged by Phil Medley and produced by Buddy Scott, Barbara Jean English is transformed to disco diva on this soulful hidden gem.

In 1981, Genobia Jeter released her sophomore album Things ‘Have’ Got To Get Better on Savoy Records. It was the second of a trio of gospel albums Genobia Jeter released. Accompanied by backing vocals from gospel group The Modulations, soulful slice of anthem gospel unfolds. It’s a real find from Al Kent, crate-digger extraordinaire.

Another release on DT Records was Emanuel Laskey’s I’d Rather Leave On My Feet. It was released in 1980, just after the disco bubble burst. As a result, the soulful delights of I’d Rather Leave On My Feet passed many people by. It was penned by Chris Milton; who co-produced the single with Bob Dennis and Dennis Talley. The version chosen by Al Kent, is the six minute Full Length Disco Version. Soulful, jazz-tinged and dance-floor friendly, it’s also irresistible.

Hazel Rambaransingh will be a new name to even disco diehards and dedicated crate-diggers. She released her one and only single I Want To Give You Everything, in 1978 on the HIR label. It’s a slice of tropical disco which was edited by disco don, Al Kent for Disco Love Volume 4-More Disco and Soul Uncovered.

Always check on B-Side of a single. Every crate-digger knows this. Occasionally, they’ll find a track of the quality of Mary Mundy’s Love Is Gone, which was the flip-side to Mary’s 1983 single Those Were The Days. It was released on Laurie Records in 1983. It’s  another track edited by Al Kent. In his hands, this piano driven disco track is extended to four minutes, and is a delicious fusion of disco, funk, gospel and soul.

Marva Hicks’ Looking Over My Shoulder was released on Infinity Records in 1978. By then, disco was at the peak of its popularity. Former soul singers were reinventing themselves as disco divas. This included Marva on Looking Over My Shoulder. Her vocal is augmented by stabs of horns and swirling strings as the one-time soul singer is reborn as a disco diva.

Old (M) Pressions only ever released the one single, Let Me Know. It was released on the Brooks Brothers’ label in 1978, but sunk without trace. Tucked away on the B-Side was  Right On, a Richard A. Brookes composition. It was produced by Art-Rich Productions. Their arrangement fuses funk and soul with the merest hint of disco. The final addition to the mix is a raw, impassioned and uncompromising vocal. 

When Lee Edwards’ came to record I Found Love, he didn’t head to a studio. Instead, his cousin’s kitchen became a makeshift studio. The pair pushed their aunt’s eclectic organ into the kitchen, and pressed play on the cassette recorder. By 1981, I Found Love was being released as a single on DT Records. Again, it’s written by Robert Evans, who produced the single with Vera Jenkins. Straight away, there’s a hint of boogie, before elements of disco, funk, jazz and soul melt seamlessly into this ghetto disco production.

Symbol 8’s Call Me has a similar tough, street sound to the previous track.There’s almost a hint of P-Funk on what was the B-Side to Symbol 8’s single I Thought You Wanted To Dance. It was produced by Michael R. Birzon and Richard H. Royal and released on the Shock label. It’s another example of ghetto disco, and shows how broad a church disco was.

Joe Casey And Fresh Heir only ever released one single. That was I Found A Lady, which was released on GMI Records. Just like the rest of the singles on Disco Love Volume 4-More Disco and Soul Uncovered, it failed commercially. However, Al Kent’s edit of I Found A Lady revives this long lost single. String-drenched, with a hustle influence, it owes a owes a debt of gratitude to the theme to the Love Boat. 

Perfect Touch only ever released three singles and an album. Their swan-song was Keep On Loving You, which Al Kent edited. It was written and arranged by Leonard McDonald, and produced by Odell Bailey. Together, they create a soulful slice of post disco.

Betty Everett is without doubt, the biggest names on Disco Love Volume 4-More Disco and Soul Uncovered. Even she jumped onto the disco bandwagon with the Lamont Dozier penned Prophecy. It was the B-Side to Secrets, which was produced by Archie Russell, and released on the Sound Stage 7 label in 1977. Nineteen years after releasing her debut single, Ain’t Gonna Cry in 1958, Betty Everett was still relevant, having reinvented herself as a disco diva.

Skip Mahoaney and The Casuals released Running Away From Love on the Abet label, in 1976. It’s a real find, which Al Kent edits and extends to five magical minutes of disco. They can only be described as joyous, soulful and anthemic. So much so, that Running Away From Love is one of the highlights of  Disco Love Volume 4-More Disco and Soul Uncovered.

Closing Disco Love Volume 4-More Disco and Soul Uncovered is Fresh Fruit’s A Song For You. It was penned by Carl Smith, and produced by Martin and Berlunstien. They create a song that’s very different from the rest of those on the compilation. There’s neither strings nor horns. Instead, the bass is to the fore in what’s an almost minimalist, but soulful and funky arrangement. Although very different to the rest of Disco Love Volume 4-More Disco and Soul Uncovered, A Song For You shows that Al Kent digs deeper and digs where other DJs dare to dig.

Proof of this is Disco Love Volume 4-More Disco and Soul Uncovered, which was recently released by BBE Records. It’s the first instalment in the Disco Love series since 2013. Glasgow’s disco don seems to believe in quality, rather than quantity.  That’s the way it should be. 

While other compilers release a volume of their disco ‘delights’ annually, Al Kent rations his output. He’s determined only to release compilation containing the finest soulful and disco cuts. To do this, Al Kent has to head on crate-digging expeditions.

These crate digging expeditions have taken  Al to dusty basements, warehouses and backstreet record shops have all been scoured.  So too, has Al’s extensive record collection. He’s decided to share some of the soulful and funky disco delights, that, until now, have been tucked away in his arsenal of secret disco weapons. No wonder.

Many of the tracks onDisco Love Volume 4-More Disco and Soul Uncovered are almost too good to share. However, Al Kent is a generous guy, and is more than willing to share his music secrets on the latest instalment in the Disco Love series, Disco Love Volume 4-More Disco and Soul Uncovered.












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