Album Remarks & Appraisals:
2009 UK collection from the Disco icon. In the heady days of Studio 54 and other nightclubs, as long as the slinky Euro-rhythms kept pumping, the night would never get tired of Donna Summer, Grace Jones and Sylvester. Signed to Fantasy in 1977, Sylvester came out of the closet with the advanced, snaky synthesizer parts that kicked "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" and "Dance (Disco Heat)" into the Top 40. Thanks to 'You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)' being featured in the soundtrack to Sean Penn's multi-award winning film Milk, Sylvester has enjoyed another day in the sun and this new compilation is the perfect release for fans and novices alike! 11 tracks. Universal.
Personnel includes: Sylvester (vocals, piano); Tip Wirrick, George Victory, John Tropea (guitar); Eric Robinson (piano, keyboards, sythesizer); Louis Small (piano, electric piano, synthesizer); Michael Finden (electric piano, Clavinet, organ); Patrick Cowley (synthesizer, special effects); Bob Kingson, John Dunstan, Norman Durham (bass); Randy Merritt, Woody Cunningham, Kelvin Dixon (drums); David Frazier (percussion); Hodges, James & Smith; Ella Mitchell, Cookie Holt, Jeanie Tracy (background vocals).
Two Tons O' Fun: Izora Rhodes, Martha Wash (vocals).
Includes liner notes from Gene Santoro.
The paradox of being a disco star is that while the role requires a certain kind of glitzy flamboyance, the rigors of the style itself demand that the artist also give up a large measure of his or her personality. No one exemplified this dilemma better than Sylvester, the San Francisco dance artist who broke out with two nation-wide hits, "Dance (Disco Heat)" and "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," and who also introduced the Two Tons 'O Fun powerhouse singers, Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes (a.k.a. The Weather Girls.) Indeed, while Sylvester possessed a fine falsetto gospel voice that he could employ to great effect, it is near impossible to pick him out of the Two Tons vocal mix on a track like "Dance (Disco Heat)." He could be as anonymous as they come.
Still the gospel strain is perhaps the most important. For all the drag queen aspect of this singer's persona, he was his greatest as the most prominent member of a shouting, praising community. Extended, beat-driven tracks like "Stars" and "Body Strong" only give him (and his singers) ample room to shout and praise to his soul's content.