Various - Extended Seventies: The Dawning of the 12" Era

The 12" single: one of the first gimmicks the record companies invented to convince fans to 'double dip' - basically buying the same item twice. No longer was it enough to lift a track from an album and stick something on the b-side for the 7" single, bands were required to scour the vaults for an additional bonus track or live recording to flesh out the larger format. And if you were really unlucky, some studio wizard would mess about with the mastertapes and create a largely instrumental 'extended' mix of the lead track. This was an era when slipping in a sample from a sci-fi film was considered some kind of bonus for long-suffering fans. At least that's what it felt like if your pocket money went on bad goth during the 1980s ...

Cynicism aside, it was on the dancefloor that the 12" really found its niche. When a track struck a particular chord with dancers, DJs would often simply play the record again for maximum impact (hence the cry of 'rewind' on the early jungle scene). Savvy producers saw the opportunity of capitalising on this phenomenon by creating extended versions of popular tracks that would keep crowds happy and on the floor.

Optimum Sounds' "Extended Seventies ..." comes on the back of a few other early 12" mix compilations, their naive charms re-igniting interest in those of a certain age. Three themed discs (Dance & Disco, Chart Pop & Disco and New Wave) take the listener back to the Mecca discos and the sounds of Donna Summer, Chic, Shalamar and ... The Flying Lizards?

There are enough classics here to appeal to casual browsers, with a smattering of obscurities (Hamilton Bohannon anyone?) to pique the interest of everyone else - although whether the diverse tracklist is actually a strength is moot. More of a mixtape than a satisfying compilation , "Extended Seventies..." is probably enough to keep a house party ticking over, leaving you free to hang out in the kitchen with the weird girl from the corner shop.

Overall

7

out of 10

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