For the third in its series of yacht rock compilations, the How Do You Are label focuses on the work of female artists who, for the most part, live up to the umbrella title Too Slow to Disco. Purists may quibble that a few of the songs would not be out of place on the dance floor, but this excellent anthology isn’t made for purists.

The set opens with Evie Sands’ “You Can Do It,” from her 1979 album Suspended Animation. Taken at a slow tempo, its funky rhythm and slick El Lay guitar fills suggest a sultry disco, as Sands invites the listener to “Take your shoes off/ Let your hair down.” What is it that you can do? “Get yourself some peace of mind.”

Typical of the series, the album sets an easy-going mood that continues with one of its best-known songs, Rickie Lee Jones’ “Chuck E.’s in Love.” Jones’ lyric has long perplexed listeners wondering what she means by “How come he don’t come plp with me/ Down at the meter no more?” There was no internet to look that up in 1979, and now that there is, the revelation that “plp” is some kind of mid-century English playground game somehow doesn’t solve the puzzle. Yet this was the biggest hit Jones ever had, distilling the beatnik shtick of her then-lover Tom Waits into a Top Ten blue-eyed soul hit that still inspires a slow hip-shake, even if it still makes you scratch your head.

Nearly every song on this comp has an intriguing story behind it. Laura Allan made instruments for Laurel Canyon luminaries like Joni Mitchell and David Crosby, and her own career started with the California pop ballad “Opening Up to You.” “Let’s Get Together,” which may be the fastest and most discofied track here, comes from a privately released album by Jaye P. Morgan. To generations that grew up on AOR pop, Morgan is best known as a regular panelist on “The Gong Show,” but she had a career as a singer long before she bared her breasts on that anarchic game show. Even more discofied is the space-funk that opens Lauren Wood’s “Gotta Lotta,” which, speaking of yacht rock, turns into an infectious mid-tempo groove that recalls Pablo Cruise, but not nearly as overplayed.

While Too Slow to Disco 2 concentrated on mostly obscure, forgotten artists, Ladies has a handful of familiar names. You should recognize Maria Muldaur’s “Midnight at the Oasis,” with lyric chestnuts like “cactuses are friends.” But even if you know Carly Simon, you may not have heard “Tranquillo (Melt My Heart),” a 1978 single that was even released in a 12” disco mix. Another unlikely 12” disco diva is Carole King; she made one of the best-selling albums of the ’70s, but how many remember her 1978 single “Disco Tech”? Carole Bayer Sayer is best known for songs she wrote for other artists – she won an Oscar in 1981 for “Arthur’s Theme (The Best that You Can Do,” popularized by Christopher Cross. Her performance of “It’s the Falling in Love” (later covered by Michael Jackson on Off the Wall) makes you wonder why she didn’t have her own string of hit singles.

For a certain generation, the Too Slow to Disco series evokes memories of K-Tel and Ronco packages that were assembled quickly and cheaply – and sounded like it. How Do You Are takes great care to go back to original masters, and although only the digital version of their newest set was available for review, their previous vinyl releases boast a rich and full sound. With 18 tracks clocking in at 75 minutes, The Ladies of Too Slow to Disco is a generous set that doesn’t let up. The album ends with a welcome return to vinyl from Lyn Christopher, who had the misfortune to have her 1973 debut album on Paramount, a label that folded shortly after the album was released. Thanks to interest from hip-hop artists who sampled “Take Me With You,” which closes this album, that rare debut is now available again digitally. Thanks to How Do You Are, some of the other lesser known artists on these collections probably won’t stay that way.

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