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Disco Heat--the Fantasy Years 1977-1981
  • Artist: Sylvester
  • Label: Real Gone Music
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • UPC: 848064015345
  • Item #: 2560162X
  • Genre: Dance
  • Theme: Fantasy
  • Release Date: 6/2/2023
Price: $29.35
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Disco Heat--the Fantasy Years 1977-1981 on CD

When the self-described "disco queen" known as Sylvester stepped on a New York stage opening for Chaka Khan, the local press was entranced. One newspaper approvingly noted that he made "David Bowie look like Lawrence Welk." Nothing was too outrageous for Sylvester. But at his core, he was serious about music and about breaking down the walls of identity. In appearance and demeanor, the unapologetically gay San Francisco star challenged the gender binary long before such discussions were in the mainstream, going far beyond androgyny to create a striking persona all his own. Now, Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records celebrate the late trailblazer with the release of the first comprehensive anthology of his seminal recordings for Fantasy Records. Disco Heat: The Fantasy Years 1977-1981 features 25 tracks on two CDs drawn from all six of his albums for the label, as well as the rare 12-inch Disco Versions that kept the dancefloors burning. In addition to versions of every hit Sylvester scored for Fantasy featuring crossover smashes like "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" and "Dance (Disco Heat)," the collection offers an array of remarkable covers including his moving live version of Patti LaBelle's "You Are My Friend," a smoldering medley of Barry Manilow's "Could It Be Magic" and Leon Russell's "A Song for You," Leiber and Stoller's dramatic "I (Who Have Nothing)," Ashford and Simpson's "Over and Over," the Peggy Lee standard "Fever," and Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "I Took My Strength from You." Featuring the vocals of Izora Rhodes and Martha Wash, later known as The Weather Girls, Disco Heat traces Sylvester's Fantasy career with an emphasis on the bold dance music he made, underscoring the significance of black and gay artists to the creation of disco itself. Joe Marchese of The Second Disc provides detailed new liner notes placing Sylvester's music into the context of the era, while the audio has been newly remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision. Disco Heat, released in time for Pride Month 2023, is a striking tribute to the enduring and ahead-of-his-time diva. "Sometimes folks make us feel strange," Sylvester told a New York audience in 1978, "but we're not strange. And those folks - they'll just have to catch up." The world has finally caught up with The Fabulous Sylvester.