DJ Andy Smith Presents Reach Up Disco Wonderland Volume 2.

Label: BBE Music.

During the last three decades, Andy Smith has been a familiar face in DJ boxes at home and abroad, and has entertained dancers with his eclectic sets which can feature anything from boogie and disco to funk and hip hop, right through to Motown, Northern Soul and even on occasions, Australian rockers AC/DC. It’s a case of expect the unexpected when DJ Andy Smith steps behind the wheels of steel and digs deep into his trusty record box. Dancers know that the next couple of hours are going to be a musical roller coaster, with surprises a plenty in store.

It’s a similar case with the various compilations that DJ Andy Smith has compiled over the last three decades. Just like many within the DJ-ing fraternity, DJ Andy Smith is a self-confessed and unapologetic crate-digger, who dares to go where others fear to tread. Backstreet record shops, dusty basements and warehouses and thrift stores. That is the natural habitat and has led to DJ Andy Smith collaborating with Portishead and becoming their international tour DJ. He’s also provided samples for the Prodigy, and spent the best part of twenty years releasing mix albums and compiling compilations.

The first mix album that DJ Andy Smith released was The Document in 1998, which showcased a truly talented and creative DJ. After that, DJ Andy Smith released two further instalments in The Document series, and later, released mixes  of Northern Soul and reggae. DJ Andy Smith was also asked to compile funk and reggae compilations which was the perfect excuse to embark upon a crate-digging expedition, where he went looking for new music. 

By then, DJ Andy Smith was one of Britain’s best DJs, and was spending much of his time DJ-ing, across Britain, Europe and as far away as Australia. Part of his success was down to his mixing skills, which set him apart from the majority of DJs. However, what made DJ Andy Smith stand out from the crowd was the music he played. He had the patience and ability to unearth hidden gems and long-lost musical treasure during his regular crate-digging expeditions. Some of the hidden gems and musical treasures find their way into DJ Andy Smith’s DJ sets or onto the various compilations that DJ Andy Smith has compiled over the last three decades. 

This included DJ Andy Smith Presents Reach Up Disco Wonderland, which was released by BBE Music in November 2017. Now, just over two years later and DJ Andy Smith Presents Reach Up Disco Wonderland Volume 2 has just been released as a two-CD set, three-LP set and as a digital download by BBE Music.

Just like the first instalment in the series, disc one of  DJ Andy Smith Presents Reach Up Disco Wonderland Volume 2 is a mix CD and features fifteen tracks. Andy Smith’s mixing is seamless and unhurried, as he puts over three decades of experience to good use during what’s a seamless mix. He works his way through fifteen tracks on disc one while the second disc which is unmixed only has thirteen tracks.

The mix opens with Ted Taylor’s Ghetto Disco which was released on Miami based TK Disco in 1977. It’s a funky slice of disco that was arranged and produced by Wendell Qezerque, and sets the bar high for the rest of the compilation. 

You’re The Best is six soulful sounding minutes of music from The Emotions which was mixed by John Morales and released in 1984. It’s one of the two tracks that doesn’t make it onto disc two which is unmixed. The other is Chain Reaction’s genre-melting Dance Freak which was penned by Brown and where disco, funk and jazz funk melt into one resulting a memorable dancer and another welcome addition to Andy Smith’s mix.

Another track that was released by TK Disco in 1977 is The Armada Orchestra ’s cover of The O’Jays’ For The Love of Money. They take this Philly Soul favourite in a  different direction  combining funk, jazz, disco strings and drama to totally transform the track.

New Jersey Connection’s Love Don’t Come Easy was produced by Eddy Saunders and released in 1981. It combines elements of disco, funk and boogie with a soulful vocal to create a track that nearly forty years later will still fill a dancefloor.

Three years after the supposed death of disco, Ronnie Jones released  Laser Love as a single on Lollipop Records in 1982. Tucked away on the B-Side was You and I, which  is another disco track, albeit with a hint of boogie. You and I is a hidden gem that is proof that disco didn’t die in July 1979.

Cela’s I’m In Love was released by the Best Record Italy in 1979. It’s  an oft-overlooked Italo Disco anthem that was popular back in 1979.

Greg Henderson ’s Dreamin’ was released on Sam Records in 1982. It’s a killer dancefloor filler that combined boogie, disco funk and soul to create a track that’s stood the test of time.

Disco Circus’ Get Up and Dance was originally released in 1978 on Columbia. Forty years later, it was edited by Dominic Owen, and his  Bad Bikini Re-Edit features on DJ Andy Smith Presents Reach Up Disco Wonderland Volume 2.  It’s an edit that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face and fill a dancefloor.

Quite different from the other tracks is Serious Intention’s You Don’t Know, which was released on Easy Street in 1984. Back then, it was a groundbreaking fusion of disco, electro and garage house from producer Paul Simpson. However, it’s the Crissy Kybosh Remix that features on the compilation.

Claudja Barry released a string of disco singles during the seventies and eighties. Sweet Dynamite was one of her earlier singles and was released on Lollipop Records in 1976. It’s a tough funky, dancefloor filler that features a vocal powerhouse from Claudja Barry, soaring harmonies, stabs of rasping horns and dancing strings. It’s a truly timeless track and one of the highlights of DJ Andy Smith Presents Reach Up Disco Wonderland Volume 2.

Lost Without You is a track by Will Sessions and Amp Fiddler feat. Dame Brown that features on their forthcoming album. The version on the compilation is the DJ Andy Smith Reach up Disco Wonderland Re-Edit. It’s a track that combines the music of the past and the present with elements of house, funk, soul and disco  playing their part in the song’s sound and success.

Full Intention and Reach Nick Reach Up feat Jazz Morley contribute the Nu-Disco floorfiller Night Of My Life. It was released in 2018 and since then, has been a favourite of DJs and dancers

In 1978, Gregg Diamond released Star Cruiser, which is another genre-melting track. Elements of funk,  disco and  jazz-funk melt into one on this hook-laden floorfiller.

Closing DJ Andy Smith Presents Reach Up Disco Wonderland Volume 2 is The Gibson Brothers’  Heaven. This funky slice of disco is a hidden gem that will be familiar to anyone who flipped over to the B-Side of their 1977 UK hit Que Sera Mi Vida. 

In what’s an overcrowded market, too many compilations are competing for the pound, dollar and Euro. Sadly, these compilations vary in quality. However, some labels have a reputation for releasing quality compilations and this includes BBE Music. They’ve done it again with DJ Andy Smith Presents Reach Up Disco Wonderland Volume 2 which is another lovingly curated compilation of quality music.

Disc one is a seamless mix of fifteen tracks which showcases Andy Smith’s DJ-ing skills. He puts all his years of experience to good use as he digs deep into his enviable record collection for what’s a stellar selection of tracks. 

Then on disc two there’s thirteen full length tracks. They’re mostly disco with the occasional excursion into boogie or a hybrid of the two genres. Other tracks also incorporate elements of electro, funk, soul, jazz and jazz-funk.  However, what all the tracks on  DJ Andy Smith Presents Reach Up Disco Wonderland Volume 2 are guaranteed to do is fill a dancefloor. That’s the case throughout DJ Andy Smith Presents Reach Up Disco Wonderland Volume 2 which features floorfillers aplenty and is sure to become a favourite of DJs dancers and anyone interested in what’s regarded by many as the golden age of dance music.

DJ Andy Smith Presents Reach Up Disco Wonderland Volume 2.

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