Various Artists - One Way Glass- Dancefloor Prog, Brit Jazz, & Funky [RPM/ Cherry Red - 2017]When one thinks of dance floor or club music from the nineteen-seventies, you normally think of the 'love-or-hate it' disco genre. This three-disc set celebrates the time before & during the explosion of disco in the Uk (between 1968 & 1975). And as its subtitle suggests we get a host of ‘dance floor prog, Brit Jazz, and funky folk’, but I'd add into this list groovy rock, jiving pop-rock, and jazz-rock crossbreeds. And on the whole, it’s an enjoyable, at times surprising, and varied collection- and as we’ve come to expect from one of the family of Cherry Red linked labels, we get a nice, informative, & classy looking set.
The three discs each come in their own card slip sleeves, and these come in a glossy flip side box. This takes in on its front a cool ‘n’ sleek black & white illustrations of two conjoined tower blocks- which is finished off with black, blue, and red texts- which nicely mirrors the color scheme of the RPM logo. We also get a great, fat, and glossy inlay booklet- this takes a forty-five-page, and features a three-page write-up about the compilation, fairly lengthy write-ups about each of the fifty-eight tracks featured here, and a feast of reproduced cover pictures, band pictures, ect. So a really nice looking bit of packaging.
Over the fifty-eight tracks you get a few more known names from the period such as: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Pentangle, The Spencer Davis Group, and Soft Machine. But most of the tracks here are from lesser known bands/acts; so I’d imagine most of the stuff will be new to most folks. And for the most part, each of the three discs tracks listing runs with a good feeling of both variety & surprise.
As for personally highlights I'll now go through each disc mentioning a few of my favorites, and hopefully, this should give you an idea of the scope & what to expect with-in it. So starting with Disc One we go from the cool blues-rock stutt ‘n’ jive of “Man From Afghanistan”( which is about waiting for your dealer) from Curtiss Maldom. The taut & kooky jazz/rock groove of Second Hands “Something you got”, with it's thick organ sound, quirky-spiraling-to- twisting percussion, and manic vocals. Onto hippy & haphazard busking vibe & wavering semi soulful vocals of Knocker Jungles “Sunburnt Virgin Trousers”.
Moving onto Disc Two, and we open in great form with Melanie’s “I’ve Got Mojo Working”- which is meeting between swinging folk vibe & funk. With the track featuring soulful electric Clavinet groove, funky guitar strut. Along side white women folk singing & swinging violin playing. Onto the flute-led acoustic guitar strum 'n' jive of “Skin Valley Serenade” from Skin Valley. Though to the angular groove of “Drinking My Wine” from Hardin & York, with it’s off-key strutting guitar & organ blend, and some spiral ‘n’ manic brass embellishments.
And lastly, of course Disc Three, and a few of my highlights come in the form the scuzzy rock-meets groove of “The Rock” by Atomic Rooster, with its blend of chugging ‘n’ distorted guitar riffing, playful lHammond groove, and swinging horn edges. Through to the quirky upbeat-folk- meets-sun-shining-Caribbean jive of Bridget St John's “Some Kind Of Beautiful”. Onto wah-wah pedal landed up-beat rock-funk vibe of Hansons “Travelling Like A Gypsy”.
So in summing One Way Glass- is a very well put together, mostly consistent, and varied compilation. That looks into the more grooving, jiving & dance floor side of the late 60’s/ mid 70’s music, with out dipping into the disco side of things