Of all the disco labels active during the genre’s golden age, very few match Harlem’s P&P records for cult status and obscure collectability (you see, I’m not immune to wanting great music!)
Founded by NYC in the late 70s by Peter Brown and Patrick Adams (hence the name P&P), the label was responsible for some of the era’s biggest dancefloor hits, songs that still get played out today, and have formed the backbone of many a modern track, even thirty years later.
P&P had a distinctive sound that is almost instantly recognisable. Very heavy on the drums and percussion, their productions were a direct progression from the raw funk of the early 70s. This was music that came from the street rather than the nightclub, and while it was rougher and tougher and a lot less slick than the bigger labels like Salsoul or Prelude, in terms of pure dancefloor funkability it matched them step for step.
P&P worked with many different artists, under many different aliases and with a dizzying array of off shoot labels, but the core songwriting (and playing) was always down to Adams & Brown, who would often knock out the work of entire band on their own, overnight, in the studio. To this day, Patrick Adams is one of the most respected back-room technicians (and commercial songwriters) working in the biz.
There have been a few different compilations of the P&P catalog before (most notably the Disco Juice compilations on Counterpoint Records, and an introduction to the label compiled the respected NYC DJ Danny Krivit) but this one is different. It is basically the ENTIRE output of P&P and associated labels, and stretches to an incredible 15 CDs. And, most surprising of all, at roughly $40/£20, it’s nowhere close to busting your wallet! That’s a hell of a lot of bang for your buck.
The set comes in MP3 download format, a 15 CD box set, and a deluxe box set that is a bit more pricey but includes bonus materials like liner notes, original promotional material, and two special 12"s for use with Serato or on normal turntables. UK readers can find the box set at decent dance music retailers like Phonica, while Stateside it seems like the MP3 and deluxe versions may not be out, but you can still get the CD collection via Amazon. It’s probably worth rooting around your preferred independent retailers for this, too.
I can’t recommend this set highly enough, especially for our readers who STILL linger under the misapprehension that disco was a commercial fad that sprung fully formed, shiny and covered in glitter, from the belly of the corporate beast. This is REAL disco, with its roots in the streets, the block parties and the underground clubs and bars. Here is one of my all time favourite disco tracks, ‘Out Of Work” by Jesse Gould, a socially aware disco record whose sentiment still rings very true 35 years later.
After the jump there’s more great music from this incredible label, all of which is available on ‘Hits Hits Hits’...