Various, Johnny D Presents Disco Jamms: Volume One

Peter Shapiro

By Peter Shapiro

on 03.20.12 in Reviews
A near-perfect snapshot of post-disco New York

While disco is undoubtedly in Johnny D’s DNA, Johnny D Presents Disco Jamms is, despite its title, a near-perfect snapshot of post-disco New York. Johnny “D” DeMairo co-founded, with Tommy Musto, the crucial New York house music label Henry Street Music in 1993: Together, they released such undisputed dancefloor classics as The Bucketheads’ “The Bomb!” and Armand Van Helden’s “The Funk Phenomena.” A Brooklyn native, Johnny’s formative years were the early ’80s when the Big Apple music scene was ruled by the eclectic tastes of Shep Pettibone, Frankie Crocker, Tony Humphries and Larry Levan, and when disco, Italo disco, boogie, hip-hop, Latin freestyle and Talking Heads all shared space on the same dance floor. Disco Jamms neatly encapsulates this glorious era (minus Talking Heads) with a nifty track selection that includes trad disco (Ultra High Frequency’s foundational “We’re on the Right Track,” The O’ Jays’ “This Time Baby”), what can only be called “Guido Disco” (Klein & MBO’s New Order-inspiring “Dirty Talk,” Lafleur’s rather more obscure “Dub Til We Drop”), electro (B-Beat Girls’ strangely disembodied “For the Same Man”), and slamming blends of disco and Minneapolis funk (Skyy’s “Call Me”). While the presence of real oddities like Spencer Jones’s “How to Win Your Love” — a Dutch disco-boogie record that sounds somehow like a blend of every single record released between 1983 and 1986 — is enough to set Disco Jamms apart from its peers, Johnny D seals the deal with his “Continuous Disco Jamms Mix”, a flawless, utterly infectious mix that conjures the platonic ideal of a Brooklyn house party.