Various Artists - Too Slow to Disco, Vol 3 [How Do You Are? - 2017]Making Summer more wondrous for the third year in a row, How Do You Are? gives the world the fourth volume of Too Slow to Disco (can't NOT count their Ladies edition). Yet again, DJ Supermarkt culled the crates for slow, grooving, aural sunshine. Whether slow disco, or sun-drenched yacht rock, the tracks on Too Slow to Disco, Vol 3 bring about a bright, fun vibe that continues for eighteen smile inducing tracks.
Heavily focused on love affairs (whether for better or for worse), Vol 3 starts off with a bang and never looks back. Opening with the smooth jazz-cum-pop jam, "Is It You," Lee Ritenour brings the listener into a smooth, slow, R&B styled groove. Heartfelt vocals, horns, and slick, soft guitar work hammer home the vibe and set the scene for the rest of the tracks on the compilation. Upping the groove ante with a funky bass line, Bob Welch's "Don't Let Me Fall" adds a nice, slow, dance floor creeper to the table. Coupling soft vocals and a catchy backing number, "Don't Let Me Fall" showcases a different aspect of the grooves on hand. Capturing 70's lounge lizard essence, Pratt & McClain's "Whachersign" hits a slow disco home run. Channeling Rupert Holmes with their clever lyrical content, this song reeks of v-neck sweaters, no undershirts, and tinted glasses, and revels in every minute of 70's astrological excess. Part time Doobie Brother, Cornelius Bumpus and his quartet bring more sax glory to Vol 3 with a sunny "Inside You." Complete with a fun synth solo and very John Oates-esque vocals, "Inside You" is a total keeper. If dancing on a yacht is your thing, David Gates' "Silky" will get your legs moving. Restrained as far as a dance number would go, the Stevie Wonder-y number features some nice vocals and is invigorated by a tight sax line. Soft and sexy, Weldon Irvine's "I Love You" could get any ice queen into the mood. Funky bass, harmonic back up vocals, and a soulful lead tie this one together nicely. Featuring the one of two female vocals on the compilation, The Markley Band's "Fallin' In Love" brings back great memories of last year's The Ladies of Too Slow to Disco. Proving that smooth jams aren't just a man's game, this vocally driven number begs you to hit the floor with a partner and get your parts slowly bumping. Moving onto the more movie/TV themed end of the spectrum, Vapour Trails' "Do the Bossa Nova" almost begs to accompany moving images of a country mouse hitting the big city, wide eyed and innocent. A tad hokey, but fun and nostalgic. One of the most glorious parts of these compilations is the diversity and how well differing tunes are able to work together so well. Hot on the heels of the cinematic feel of "Bossa Nova," The Fifth Avenue Band hearkens back to Motown with their Smokey Robinson feeling "One Way or the Other." While a sonic oddball on the album, thematically, it fits right in with love, loss, and leaving. The backing harmonies and chorus really sell this one, and it's one of the biggest standouts on the compilation. Starting off with a blast of strings, "I Believe In Miracles" has Mark Capanni following the soft R&B vibe set before, and bringing on the sunshine. Soft vocals when needed, but ready to pipe it out on the chorus, "Miracles" is an upbeat number that'll bring a smile to any face that hears it. And while disco is often associated with drugs, it's not the same drugs that the next band is associated with. A strange one in their catalog, the Grateful Dead's "Shakedown Street" is a smooth groovin', light funk number. Driven by a boppy bassline and soft, Squeeze-esque vocals, this one definitely took me by surprise when I first heard it years ago, and still catches me off guard when it comes on. Borderline Chic but with a French seduction, the sax and bongo driven "Quand Tu Te Laisse Aller" by Dwight Druick adds an international appeal, and reminds you why speaking French makes the ladies melt. Popping out from the bongos and complementing the sax, the bassline is persistent and well played, making an nice addition to the track. Life's not all sex and loss, though, and Archie James Cavanaugh's "Take It Easy" is a bright reminder of that fact. A head nodder with a chorus that begs you to sing along, "Take It Easy" is highlighted by a fun auto-wah'd solo and mood altering horn stabs. This is the standout track for sure. After being thoroughly cheered, the seduction can now continue. Rob Mehl pulls a 9 1/2 weeks and adds food into the mix with "Taste and See." Soft and lightly funky, it's quite a departure from the upbeat groove of "Take It Easy," but plays very well into the follow up, Larry Carlton's "Where Did You Come From." Saddling up with an almost country guitar, this may be the only honky-tonk disco I've ever heard, but it works. Getting the females back into the mix, the sultry "Cool Breeze" offered up by The Jeremy Spencer Band couples laid back vocals, a slow, bent, bluesy guitar, and a simple keyboard and drum beat. Then, out of left field, comes Stars 'N' Bars with their sparse, spacey, synth driven jam. Kinda funky, kinda like a disco version of a Taco song, this oddball manages to wriggle it's way into your head and create a strong earworm. Closing out the number on a slower, softer moment, like the sun setting on a great day outside with your love, Billy Mernit's "Special Delivery" ties Vol 3 up in a nice bow of feelings and warmth. Flutes make an appearance and add to the softness of the music, which works well against the slightly cracking vocals.
From "Is It You?" all the way through to "Special Delivery," Too Slow to Disco, Vol 3 lives up to the high standards set by previous editions. Some times slow, sometimes sexy, but at all times smooth, this worthy entry is a welcome harbinger for Summer. If you have checked out previous installments of this series, grabbing this is a no brainer. If this is new to you, grab this release, love it, and crawl backwards through the previous releases and soak in the glory that is Too Slow to Disco.Paul Casey