Sunday, January 29, 2006

Visual Disco: Disco Fun with YouTube - Part One..

Some great disco videos (Promo videos and TV Performances) for your enjoyment on YouTube (gotta love 'em!). Sometimes it can be a little slow, in that case press "pause" and wait for a bit.. IMO, it's worth the wait..

I think somebody needs to put these on DVD..

Stargard - What You Waitin' For
Evelyn "Champagne" King - Shame
The Supremes - I'm Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking (on Soul Train)
The Supremes - He's My Man (on Soul Train)
The Supremes - High Energy (promo video)
Ritchie Family - American Generation
Gloria Gaynor - Anybody Wanna Party (on American Bandstand)
Rufus & Chaka Khan - Any Love
Donna Summer - Try Me (I Know We Can Make It) (on American Bandstand)
Donna Summer - I Feel Love (live)
Donna Summer - Spring Affair
Donna Summer - Love to Love You Baby (on Top Pop)
Oh my.. what is with that guy in the spandex? lol..
Eartha Kitt - Where Is My Man (Rockamerica Mix)
Joe Tex - Ain't Gonna Bump No More (on Soul Train)
Hilarious!!

and yes one more Donna Summer..

Since the early '80s when she had become a born-again Christian, she had long said she would no longer perform "Love To Love You..", but it seems she did in 2004. It's a bit shaky and blurry, but it's something.. If anything, she sounds great!
Donna Summer - Love to Love You Baby (live in 2004)

CATEGORIES: VISUAL DISCO

Friday, January 27, 2006

Disco Delivery #4:
Wilson Pickett - I Want You (1979, EMI America)

Wilson Pickett - I Want You (front cover)Wilson Pickett - I Want You (back cover)
(click to view larger)

Wilson Pickett - Groove City
Wilson Pickett - Superstar
Wilson Pickett - Granny

Wilson Pickett - Shameless

In lieu of Wilson Pickett's recent passing and the fact that I haven't put up any male singers yet, I decided to put up some selections from his little-recognized 1979 "I Want You" album.. To be honest, I'm not so familiar with his big hits, but last week at the record store, out of curiosity, I bought this LP. I figure since it was from 1979, there had to be some disco on it, and there was.. I'm not sure how it compares to his other work, but for an album that doesn't seem to have been paid much attention, I can honestly say it's really good, at least on it's own terms. It's another one of those albums where you can listen to both sides straight through without lifting the needle. Can't talk about the album without mentioning his voice.. While his recording career seemed to be in decline at this point, that soulful, gritty and passionate voice was full and intact. Side A was the R&B side and it's really there where his voice is front and centre; some really great ones on this side like "I Want You," "Shameless" and "Live With Me" which was written by Pickett and Don Covay. Side B was the disco side and all three tracks on side B are posted up here. "Groove City" is probably my favourite, love the combination of the light synths with his nitty-gritty voice, also love that roll-call of American cities.. "if you're in Miami, Philly or New York City.. don't worry.. even in Detroit, Atlanta GA, or LA".. "Superstar" is great too, a little more on the funk side of things, love the bass on there; for whatever reason though it reminds me of another song which I can't quite put my finger on.. The last one, "Granny" well, probably not the best name for a disco song, but hey, it's got a pretty great groove "...if my grandma could see me now, she would swear I'm craaazy!..." I just wish I knew what those background singers were saying..

Ironically this is also my first Can-Con disco posting. For those of you who don't know, it's basically lingo for Canadian Content and the quotas we have for it up here, albums with any significant Canadian content have these "MAPL" symbols on them showing the amount of Canadian involvement.. It was one of the other things that interested me about this LP since I wouldn't have expected to see all these Canadian Content symbols on the album of a US soul legend, but I suppose it qualifies since it was recorded with a Canadian producer (Andre Perry) with Canadian musicians (Jean Roussel, Walter Rossi..) and in a Canadian studio (Le Studio in Morin Heights, Quebec), so a little trivia there for you all..

I also included one of the R&B tracks off the album - "Shameless," I think this one shows off the best parts of his voice very well; that rough, soulful style he had.. Anyway, this is my little tribute to Wilson Pickett's legacy. I hope to get some of his earlier stuff and also his "Funky Situation" (1978, Big Tree) LP, which also had some disco on it from what I've heard. Enjoy these for now..

LINKS:
WILSON PICKETT - I WANT YOU LP @ DISCOGS
WILSON PICKETT OBITUARY IN THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE
WILSON PICKETT OBITUARY IN THE GUARDIAN
WILSON PICKETT ALBUM REVIEWS @ ROBERTCHRISTGAU.COM


CATEGORIES: DISCO DELIVERIES, CAN-CON DISCO, IN MEMORIAM..

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The "Crisco Disco" album

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(photo from andrejkoymasky.com)

hmm.. I wonder what that he's planning to do with that giant greasy fist :-P

Brilliant cover! Not only the name of a notorious, long gone New York City nightspot but a common moniker for this infamous album. Definitely something I'd like to get a hold of one day.. So far I know that Slide - Easy In.. was a project by famed poet, songwriter and composer Rod McKuen. According to McKuen himself, it was a send-up of disco, or in his words "(of the) put a disco beat behind it and it will sell movement," so I'm not sure how it sounds. Even so, some of the tracks sound interesting especially "Don't Drink The Orange Juice" dedicated to noted singer and homophobe Anita Bryant and "Amor Amor" which, ironically enough, was a hit in parts of Europe. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you're a collector) when they released the album there, they took away the uh.. suggestive (if that's the right word) original cover in favour of this ultra cheesy replacement (corrected link).. Very Important Disco indeed.. Not to mention the requisite sexy, anonymous female model on the inside..

Unfortunately it doesn't look like there will be a CD release anytime soon if Rod McKuen has anything to do with it.. Even if the album doesn't get reissued, a poster repro of the cover would do just fine.. Just curious if, on the off-chance, anyone out there has heard this one..

*Side note: Thanks to Dreamtimemix for linking me :-)

LINKS:
ROD MCKUEN DISCUSSES 'SLIDE - EASY IN'..
THE JUICY LIFE - CRISCO DISCO (SCROLL DOWN TO THE BOTTOM PARAGRAPHS)


CATEGORIES: ARTICLES & RAMBLINGS

Monday, January 23, 2006

Diggin' the crates..

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It's been a long time since I've visited the fine used record establishments (one, in particular) here in Cowtown, Alberta.. Not that I had a whole lot of extra money or anything, I just really, really needed my record fix. Here are some of the goodies I came out with, look for some of the disco selections to be featured on here soon.. *wink*

-Vera - Joey LP (1983, Matra) - Little known early '80s Montreal disco, think a slightly darker, slicker Carol Jiani, Lime etc..
-Leslie O'Hara - Gipsy Boy LP (1978, Crocos/Les disques Martin) - A little known Cerrone production
-Denise LaSalle - Unwrapped LP (1979, MCA) - Sealed, some good disco/disco-influenced stuff on here..
-Madonna - Everybody 12" (1982, Sire) - Partially sealed with the picture sleeve that she apparently hated lol.
-Wilson Pickett - I Want You LP (1979, EMI America) - Excellent R&B/Disco LP by the late Soul legend..
-Gino Soccio - Temptation Eyes/Camouflage 12" (1985, Célébration/Quality)
-Carol Cooper - Tunnel Of Love 12" (1985, Profile) - Hot '80s dance/electro
-Niteflyte - S/T LP (1979, Quality/Ariola America) - Partially sealed.. was expecting disco, but got classy R&B/West Coast MOR instead.. not bad.
-Tina Turner - Foreign Affair (Limited Edition) CD (1989, Capitol) - No, not disco either, but one of my favourite Tina albums. Not to mention a sealed copy of the Ltd. Ed. Passport Edition.. Needless to say, I'm still afraid to open it..

A little aside: if there are any Canadian readers out there, hope you all voted today :-) I'll definitely be glued to the TV tonite!

I'm out..

CATEGORIES: MISCELLANEOUS

Friday, January 20, 2006

Disco Delivery #3:
Frisky (1979, Vanguard)

Frisky (front cover)Frisky (back cover)
(click to view larger versions.. )

Frisky - You've Got Me Dancing In My Sleep
Frisky - Burn Me Up (With Your Love)

This week a couple tracks from a studio project by the production team of Moses Dillard and Jesse Boyce. Dillard & Boyce seem to have been a pretty prominent team in the disco scene having produced such studio projects like Saturday Night Band, Constellation Orchestra and singers like Lorraine Johnson and Bill Brandon. Pretty much all of their disco productions were done for the Prelude label, but they went over to the Vanguard label for this outing. Prior to disco, Vanguard was already a well-established label with a past in Jazz, Rock and Folk (Joan Baez and Buffy Sainte-Marie to name a couple), but for a brief period in the late '70s and early '80s tried their hand at the disco sound. While they never really established their place in disco like the big three New York indies (Prelude, West End and Salsoul), they had managed to put out some quality disco productions like Poussez, Players Association, Roni Griffith, and Alisha to name a few..

The Frisky album is probably one of my favourite Dillard & Boyce productions. "You've Got Me Dancing In My Sleep" is probably one of their best remembered cuts. Strangely, it was originally the B-side to "Burn Me Up..," but ended up overtaking the A-side as the favourite.. Really love the tight, bouncy production, and that euphoric energy that this song has. "Burn Me Up (With Your Love)" is also a great cut; a little slower than "..Dancing In My Sleep" but with a sexier, funkier sound to it.. Another thing I like about these two tracks in particular is that the sounds they use (particularly the synths and sound effects) are a little more varied than some of their previous stuff, but still with that signature Dillard & Boyce sound (sharp string sound, and prominent horns to name a couple elements).. I'll definitely be putting more of their stuff up on here in the future. In the meantime, enjoy these two..

* * Thanks to David @ Reports from the Edge and Digital Eargasm for linking me :-). Also, I'm trying a new file storage service on this post, let me know if there are any problems..

LINKS:
FRISKY LP @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
VANGUARD RECORDS @ DISCO-DISCO.COM
VANGUARD RECORDS @ HOTDISCOMIX.DE

PURCHASE:
VA - JUMPIN' II (CONTAINS "YOU'VE GOT ME DANCING IN MY SLEEP")


CATEGORIES: DISCO DELIVERIES

Monday, January 16, 2006

Nudisco: Donna Summer - I Got Your Love

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All hail the queen! In case anyone hasn't heard, the Queen of Disco has a new single out - with ridiculously airbrushed cover photo, club friendly remixes and everything.. I really love this song though. Such a sleek and sublime track, vocally she's right on point. Some good remixes on it too (particularly the L.E.X. mixes).. I remember the buzz about this when it was first heard in an episode of Sex and the City and later this past summer when it was released as an iTunes exclusive. So far it seems to have done pretty well on the dance charts with what seems to be minimal promotion at best..

Hopefully the strength of this single will lead to an album deal of some sort, it's been years since her last proper one. On a slightly related note, former Sony chairman Tommy Mottola (who signed Donna to Epic in the late '90s, I believe) is now at the helm of the recently revived Casablanca/Universal imprint (www.casablanca-music.com). Since some of her latest releases have been through Universal and she's undoubtedly one of the original Casablanca's biggest artists, it would be ironic (yet somehow appropriate) if she was to be on the Casablanca label again all these years later. Looking at the new label's illustrious roster though, I'm not holding out much hope for that happening...

Since this is a fairly new release I won't be posting any mp3s for this one yet, but if you haven't already visited her website (www.donnasummer.com), there are small samples of this latest single and some as yet unreleased songs that sound really really good if I do say so myself..

Oh, and thanks to The Boy Wonder and Sunny (Brooklyn) for linking me on their blogs :-)

LINKS
DONNA SUMMER NEWS @ DONNA-TRIBUTE.COM
ENDLESS SUMMER FORUM @ DELPHI FORUMS

PURCHASE:
"I GOT YOUR LOVE" @ AMAZON.COM
"I GOT YOUR LOVE" @ PERFECT BEAT


CATEGORIES: NUDISCO

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Disco Delivery #2:
Norma Jean Wright - Norma Jean (1978, Bearsville)

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Norma Jean Wright - Saturday
Norma Jean Wright - Sorcerer (12" Mix)
Norma Jean Wright - I Like Love

For the second full disco delivery installment (I guess I'd call the last one a mini-delivery), I thought I'd spotlight Norma Jean Wright's first and only album, produced by one of the most prolific production teams of the disco era. Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards were the duo behind Chic and their success needs no explanation. Their hits with Chic are pretty much disco staples, not to mention their productions for the likes of Sister Sledge and Diana Ross. This though was one of their first, in fact their very first outside production. Norma Jean was initially a backup singer who eventually met up with Bernard & Nile while they were recording the first Chic demos and ended up being their principal female lead on the first Chic album.

After the suceess of the group's first singles, they released this album on the unlikely Bearsville label, perhaps the last label one would expect to find a disco classic on, maybe one reason why the album didn't seem to do that well commercially (in addition to the fact that she was initially credited as just "Norma Jean" same as a previously well known country singer). Despite that, the first single "Saturday" was a club hit and a sure fire classic. It's easy to see why, it's one of those definitive songs of the disco era that captures the lifestyle and the scene in the music and lyrics; the joy and anticipation of going to the club and letting go of a week's stress and problems, but at the same time with a little hint of melancholy.. The other really notable track is "Sorcerer," which was a little unlike a lot of what Chic had done before or after. Love the spacey sound effects and that percolating percussion on this one, a bit of a departure from the usually more stripped-down Chic sound; I especially love the 12" version of this track with the extended bars of guitar and piano and the sound effects which just seem to have more impact. Also interesting is her cover of Sam Cooke's "Having A Party," perhaps the only time Chic ever produced a cover version. It's a pretty pleasant cover, albeit one of a song that's been done many times over, so that sort of takes away from the novelty, but it's still ace though.. One of my other favourite tracks on the album is the closer "I Like Love;" Nile Rodgers once cited this album as having some of their best guitar work and it's apparent on this song, especially at the beginning on those great rolling guitar licks of his..

As far as the rest of the album goes, there are a few ballads, the best of which are "I Believe In You" and "This Is The Love." Norma's voice is front and centre and really makes these tracks. There's something strong, yet smooth, and dare I say, chic about her vocals which I love. In any case, Chic were never really known for their ballads, as pleasant as they can be, they often crossed from pleasant into pedestrian more than once, though they did get much better on their later efforts.. The bonus tracks on the 2000 CD reissue add a lot to the album; aside from 12" versions of "Saturday," "Sorcerer" and "Having A Party," there are a couple of non-album tracks originally intended for a proposed second album, most notably "High Society," also produced by Bernard & Nile which was also released as a single (and one that I'll probably save for a later blog update) ;-)

Just to explain why this album is special to me, I remember when I got this on CD around five years ago.. I was really getting into Chic's material at the time and I'd been after a copy of the album (like many other Chic fans, I'm sure), so I was thrilled to find that this had been reissued on CD and it certainly didn't disappoint. I remember the thrill of getting this in the mail and playing it on my way to school, in fact this CD was in heavy rotation on my discman (remember those?) for several months.. It was part of the soundtrack to my first few months in High School so I'm often reminded of that time listening to these. Unfortunately now the CD reissue is deleted and can fetch a pretty hefty price on eBay these days. Like many parts of the Chic catalogue it's again out of print, so hopefully someone will come along and rectify that one of these days. In the meantime, enjoy..

Notes about the blog:
I'm starting to settle into this blogging thing now, so I think I'll set the date for the disco deliveries on either Friday or Saturday, and some posts spread out in the days in between, just to keep things fairly regular and on schedule. Also, if anyone has any problems with Rapidshare or Easy Share, then feel free to let me know... Thanks again to Joe.My.God for linking me on his blog, since getting the counter the number of hits I've gotten from his page have been astounding! *bows* Also great thanks to Mac Daddy @ Music From My Loft, fourfour and Chicago Sexbox for giving me links on their blogs as well. *bows in gratitude*

LINKS:
NORMA JEAN WRIGHT INTERVIEW @ CHIC TRIBUTE (NOTE: REMOVE EXCLAMATION POINT IN NEW WINDOW)
NORMA JEAN WRIGHT @ DISCOMUSEUM.COM
NORMA JEAN WRIGHT - NORMA JEAN LP REVIEW @ WILSON & ALROY'S RECORD REVIEWS
NORMA JEAN WRIGHT - NORMA JEAN CD @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
NORMA JEAN WRIGHT - SATURDAY 12" @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
CHIC - S/T CD @ DISCOMUSIC.COM


CATEGORIES: DISCO DELIVERIES, PAST REISSUES

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

From 1979, with Love...

Hott City - Feelin' Love (1979, Butterfly)
Paradise Express - You Set Me On Fire (1979, Fantasy)
Tata Vega - Just Keep Thinking About You Baby (1979, Motown)

I mentioned a bit about the disco sound of '79 in the last post.. I figure I might as well put up a few examples of what I was talking about..

From some of the darker, electronic and rock influenced stuff to the good old joyful, soulful disco..

LINKS:
HOTT CITY - AIN'T LOVE GRAND LP @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
PARADISE EXPRESS - LET'S FLY LP @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
TATA VEGA - JUST KEEP THINKING ABOUT YOU BABY 12" @ DISCOMUSIC.COM


CATEGORIES: MINI DELIVERIES

Discopia #6 - Interview with DJ Nicky Siano / The Backlash

I thought I'd give the Discopia webzine a little shout out on the blog.. I haven't read the entire issue yet, but it's great to find someone's interest in disco translate itself into a cool little project like this. Greg Wilson on the discomusic.com forums tipped people off to issue #6 (The Big Gay Issue). Very good interview with one of the original disco DJ's, Nicky Siano. One of the more interesting responses was his take on the "death" of disco:

So how did you personally find the disco backlash?

Well, I didn’t find it offensive, I found it really timely, ‘cos I was kind of tired of the sound too. I mean I had become really disillusioned with it. I mean, oh my God, what the record companies did, they screwed themselves! They stopped putting out quality and they just put out quantity. They flooded the market with garbage. You know in the beginning, in 1976, if you put the word disco on a record it would just sell. 100,000 copies. Just like that! And then it got to the point where you start putting out disco Ethel Merman and you’re gonna screw yourself, y’know, and they did. They did!


I have to admit, he has a point.

Elsewhere in the issue in Niall Connelly's Disco Action section talks about the "disco sucks" backlash and expands his analysis beyond the typical accusations of racism and homophobia. While I don't doubt that there was definitely an undercurrent of that in much of the disco backlash, it just sounds too simplistic to pinpoint to those two factors alone. I remember reading an old article, I think it was from an old issue of "The Advocate" (don't quote me on that though) from the late '70s and one writer was lamenting the state of disco. To paraphrase, he was disillusioned by what he had seen as the colder, harder, robotic disco that emerged in contrast to the warm, soulful disco that was common in the mid '70s when disco started to emerge. While I wouldn't use those words myself, I can understand that someone who fell in love with the R&B variant of disco in the early to mid '70s would probably be disillusioned when, say European electronic or orchestral sounds like Giorgio Moroder's "Chase" and Boris Midney's "Beautiful Bend," respectively, were becoming more popular in a genre that was once essentially an extension of R&B. Personally, I like all of it (and I'm certain, so do many others). Part of the beauty of disco, at least to me, was that there were a lot of different things under one roof so to speak.

While I find it annoying a lot of the time, they may be on to something these days with the all genres and sub-genres that are used to describe what falls under dance and electronic music. I find it unnecessarily fragmenting in some ways but on the other hand, perhaps it prevents the industry from abusing a single term like what they did with disco. By 1979 disco, at least to me, had become very diverse and experimental almost. With all the electronic, rock, orchestral, rhythmic elements, in addition to the R&B influenced variants, often times some records didn't have much in common aside from being marketed as disco. It seems to support an observation that a friend of mine (hey Eric!) had put forth in a recent discussion on another web forum; if disco isn't technically dead (which is my view), then "disco" can probably be better described as an era in dance music more so than a genre. I think that if you applied the same genres and subgenres to disco that are applied to dance/electronic music today, then you'd probably have a number of (though perhaps not as many) similar and parallel genres and sub-genres. Perhaps if it wasn't such an aggressively marketed term, then maybe it would have ended up evolving more in this way and perhaps without such an aggressive backlash.

In any case, I wasn't around then so I probably have a different perspective to all of this than someone who had lived it. Because of the way the sound was branching out, some of my favourite disco was from 1979. It seems like there was just so much released that year, so much of it lost in the shuffle and unappreciated that it's become something of a treasure trove for people like myself who started collecting after the fact and are always after the undiscovered gems. There may have been a lot of crap (poor Ethel) but there was a lot of great stuff from that year too, at least in my experience so far.

So anyway, that's my brain fart for today. I'm not lamenting really, just analyzing I guess. Disco is interesting not just musically, but sociologically as well; the role of nightclubs in society, the fact that the black and gay communities were the ones to really embrace it (and in fact continue it), the hedonism that typified the era just to name a few things. It seems like such a unique time and place to be and to have experienced. Not to mention a relatively misunderstood, overlooked and dismissed genre that, as people seem to be seeing now, was more influential and substantial than it's been given credit for.

LINKS:
NICKY SIANO @ TRUST THE DJ
DISCOPIA WEBZINE - THE FIRST EDITORIAL
THE ETHEL MERMAN DISCO ALBUM @ FRANK'S VINYL MUSEUM


CATEGORIES: ARTICLES & RAMBLINGS, INTERVIEWS

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The First Delivery:
The Supremes - Mary, Scherrie & Susaye (1976, Motown)



The Supremes - You're My Driving Wheel
The Supremes - Sweet Dream Machine
The Supremes - Let Yourself Go
The Supremes - Come Into My Life
The Supremes - We Should Be Closer Together
The Supremes - Love I Never Knew You Could Feel So Good

Edited Feb. '07

Yay, the first post! For this special occasion, I picked one of my favourite albums of all time.. Yes, The Supremes (minus Miss Ross) went on to do disco, and do it very very well I might add. Their final album "Mary, Scherrie & Susaye" (1976, Motown) is quite simply one flawless album from start to finish. Produced by Brian and Eddie Holland of Holland-Dozier-Holland fame (who had produced some of the Supremes' biggest hits in the 1960's), it's probably one of their finest yet most underrated albums. Earlier in the year they had released another album also produced by the Holland Brothers called "High Energy," the amazing title track and the single "I'm Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking" solidifying their place in the clubs and disco charts, with the latter being their last top 40 pop hit (and their biggest in a little while by this time). Most people interested in The 70's Supremes seem to pay attention to the "High Energy" LP for that very reason, but in my opinion "Mary, Scherrie & Susaye" was the superior album..

Perhaps somewhat ironically, the "High Energy" LP was a bit more low-key, with the Hollands opting for a more softer, almost orchestral sound on that album. On the other hand, "Mary, Scherrie & Susaye" kicks things up a few notches, delivering a much more assertive, funkier, straight-to-the-floor disco sound on many of it's tracks. Side One (undoubtedly the "disco side") would probably be the best example of that, kicking things off with "You're My Driving Wheel" (also the first single). The guitars practically make this song with that moving, shuffling, and certainly, driving groove they've got going on. Those choppy guitars and that elastic bassline pick things up where the piano left off, getting you hooked on that groove like nothing else in the mix.. Changing gears somewhat, the next song "Sweet Dream Machine," is nothing less than a surefire, sexy stormer with a layered, soaring, sensual arrangement and funky guitar effects all around. One of the most distinctive and certainly one of the most sensual and seductive things ever done by the Supremes. That said, the real big stormers however, are the next two..

Song number three, "Let Yourself Go" was apparently one of the major club favourites on the LP. Evidently a favourite of legendary Paradise Garage DJ Larry Levan, it's no wonder why... Tapping into that elevating spirit which exalted earlier Supremes classics like "Stoned Love" and "Up The Ladder To The Roof" and moving it into the disco era, "Let Yourself Go" is like a little piece of disco heaven. The ladies, all three together with their lead singer Scherrie Payne (sister of Freda Payne of "Band of Gold" fame) right up front, took things to heights never before reached by the Supremes on record. It's not just the groove, or that exhilarating chord change part way through, but it's also that infectious performance by the ladies that makes this record work. It's as if they were not only taking the listener to new heights, but taking themselves along for the ride and enjoying every second. Plain and simply, it's one of those songs that just radiates pure joy in every possible way..

Side One closes with song number four, "Come Into My Life," or as I'd like to call it "I just can't believe it's the Supremes." Possibly one of the most out-of-left-field, adventurous things ever recorded by the Supremes. Led by that hypnotizing bassline, seductive congas, those horns in hypnotic unison with the bass, right along side those crazy, out-of-this-world synth effects, "Come.." is simply a masterpiece of pure, propulsive, dark disco-funk. To me, one of the best passages on this track is when Susaye Greene's soaring Minnie Riperton-esque vocals get phased and blended seamlessly with that pseudo-psychedelic synth coloured backing. The result is nothing less than mesmerizing. Listening to the album for the first time, just when you the trip would end with "Let Yourself Go," this track kicks in and takes it even further. While "Let Yourself Go" is a climb to new heights, "Come Into My Life," is, to paraphrase the lyrics, like a "magic ride..off to lands of mystery.." Beckoning and seductive right from the first few bars, it's pretty clear right from the beginning, that this thing definitely ain't gonna be no "Baby Love." Personally, I'd like to describe this song as "psychedelic disco-funk," so take that however you may.. In my opinion though, the fact that this track was so overlooked is possibly one of the great injustices in The Supremes' history..

Side Two, on the other hand is slightly more low-key, opening with a sensual Mary Wilson-led ballad "We Should Be Closer Together" and ending with another disco stormer "Love I Never Knew You Could Feel So Good" led, once again, by Scherrie Payne, closing things on a high note. One interesting thing about the album is that by this time all three ladies were taking a turn at lead vocals, where most of the previous albums going back to the Miss Ross days were dominated by a single lead vocalist. By now their primary lead was Scherrie Payne, a vocal dynamo if there ever was one. Along with Scherrie the group now included the equally dynamic, multi-octave voice of Susaye Greene, formerly of Stevie Wonder's Wonderlove and Ray Charles' Raelettes and last but not least, original Supreme Mary Wilson herself. By this time Wilson was stepping out a little more as a vocalist and rightfully so; by this time Wilson was the undisputed heart and soul of the Supremes by virtue of being the only remaining original member.. Perhaps not as dynamic a voice as the other two ladies, but certainly an underrated one, in my opinion. Vocally I'd describe her voice as something of a cross between Gwen McCrae and Roberta Flack; the natural, unpretentious quality of Gwen with the warmth of Roberta and a sensuality and sexiness all her own.. Although she wasn't the lead on many of the disco tracks, her turns on this album (and the other late '70s Supremes albums) displayed a strong, warm, blossoming sensual voice that was unique in it's own right..

Sadly, the Supremes would break up the following year with Mary Wilson announcing her departure at their 1977 farewell show at London's Drury Lane Theatre. Who knows what could have been had they soldiered on, but evidently things just didn't seem to be working in their favour by this point. Wilson herself has spoken at length about the frustration during this period: records and concerts not selling, personal relationships breaking down, lack of record company support. Amidst all of that, the ladies with the help of the Holland brothers managed to deliver an amazing swan song which, though underrated, overlooked and overshadowed, remains an undiminshed classic.

note: The Supremes' '70's albums are due to be reissued on CD at some point by Motown/Universal though their Hip-O Select (www.hip-oselect.com) division. They will be released in two parts, this album to be included in the second batch.. Hope to see it happen sometime *fingers crossed*


LINKS:
SUPREMES - MARY, SCHERRIE & SUSAYE LP @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
THE SUPREMES @ ALL MUSIC GUIDE
THE SUPREMES @ DISCOGS
THE SUPREMES 70'S BLOG
THE SUPREMES 70'S REISSUES @ MYSPACE
THE SUPREMES 70'S STYLE @ MYSPACE
THE SUPREMES 70'S REISSUES 2.0

PURCHASE:

THE SUPREMES - THE 70'S ANTHOLOGY (2 CD SET)
| CD UNIVERSE | AMAZON.COM |

LIFE:STYLES COMPILED BY DJ SPINNA (2 CD SET) (INCLUDES “COME INTO MY LIFE”)
| CD UNIVERSE | AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.COM |

MARY WILSON - DREAMGIRL & SUPREME FAITH (BOOK)
AMAZON.COM


CATEGORIES: DISCO DELIVERIES

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