Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Disco Delivery #36:
Loleatta Holloway - Queen Of The Night (1978, Gold Mind/Salsoul)



Loleatta Holloway - I May Not Be There When You Want Me (But I'm Right On Time) (Album Version)
Loleatta Holloway - I May Not Be There When You Want Me (But I'm Right On Time) (12" Mix)
Loleatta Holloway - Catch Me On The Rebound (Walter Gibbons 12'' Mix)
Loleatta Holloway - Catch Me On The Rebound (Album Version)

Updates:
03/23/11 - reposted files & video, added photos, text edits
03/03/07 - additional info and video


Recently, when Buy Music By Mail was closing up shop, I ended up buying a whole whack of Unidisc reissues from them; this album and a few others. I got them in the mail just yesterday, and this was one of the first ones I had opened and I don't think I've stopped listening to it since. With that, I figured this would be the perfect time to finally do an entry on Loleatta..

I had originally got this album on vinyl some five/six years ago now. Unfortunately the vinyl didn't play as well as it looked, so I didn't really play it too often. I can't even find the vinyl here with all of the others, so I probably left it at my parents place when I moved out a little while ago (found it! proper album cover photos added 3/23/11).. Anyway, getting this CD was the first time I had listened to the album in several years, and I've just been having the best time rediscovering a track which I had all but forgotten about until now..

The track in question just happens to be the side two opener, "I May Not Be There When You Want Me (But I'm Right On Time)," which has got to be one of the most seriously underrated Loleatta tracks out there. Despite being sampled as the basis for "The Queen's Anthem" back in the 90's, for whatever reason this is just one of those Loleatta tracks which doesn't seem to be discussed or cited too often.. Apparently the ABC network in the US even used the instrumental in it's promos at the time, so perhaps that might explain why this was passed over (thanks to the anonymous commenter for this info). Either way though, this was an instant favourite of mine on the album, and one that I would easily rank alongside Loleatta's better known classics.. Written and produced by Bunny Sigler (whose stuff I'm growing ever fonder of, the more I hear it) and mixed by Tom Moulton (who also mixed the entire album), it's a thrilling piece of good ole' get-down-to-the-real-nitty-gritty soulful disco with everything I love about both Bunny and Loleatta's stuff. With those trademark full and busy Bunny Sigler disco arrangements paired with Loleatta's explosive voice and presence - really, what's not to love? Those strings gliding and sliding all over the place, horns blasting, hooks everywhere.. All of it matching Loleatta's uplifting vocal intensity note for note, complimenting her inimitable sassiness through and through.. It's nothing less than a power-packed, explosive release of intense, glorious disco fabulosity. And speaking of fabulous, what's a Loleatta classic without a good ole vamp/ad-lib? Just when you think things are starting to wear a little thin, Loleatta's back in the mix doing her thing, or "goin' for herself" as she puts it:
"..All I'm doin' is getting myself together.. for YOU, baby! I mean, do you want me to come downstairs with ROLLERS in my hair!? Huh!? Really? I have to get together for you baby, cause if I don't, you'll look at somebody else.. And when we go out, I wanna be ALL that you see.."
What can I say? A little attitude with a whole lotta soul and I'm sold..

The album version at some seven or so minutes wasn't brief by any means, but the Unidisc CD adds a mysterious ten minute 12'' Mix of this track as a bonus. That mix takes out most of the spoken parts and the slower sections generally, but makes up for it by giving those awesome string arrangements a little more room, keeping things in dancefloor mode all the way through.. Anyway I say mysterious, because for whatever reason the only 12'' of this that I could find was a promo copy that's the same length as the album version (at least according to the label). The CD doesn't give any mixing credits, so I'm guessing it's also mixed by Tom Moulton like the album version. Given that vinyl copies of this 10 minute version are either non-existent or untraceable, I'm not even sure if or even when this was originally released.. Update: Mystery solved.. It turns out the 10 minute '12'' Mix' was in fact, a previously unreleased mix. That mix would eventually be released on the compilation CD Salsoul 12'' Gold Master Series, Vol. 2 (1995, Salsoul/Bethlehem), which probably explains why they couldn't denote it as 'previously unreleased' on the more recent Unidisc CD reissue (thanks to discomusic.com user 'Disco Funk' for this info.)

Going back to the album, the big showstopper and favourite on the LP was, quite fittingly, the opener "Catch Me On The Rebound." An undisputed Loleatta Holloway Salsoul disco classic, produced by the ever-reliable Norman Harris, the Tom Moulton album mix is in itself a veritable hard-hitting Philly-style tour-de-force with that infectious horn driven hook, frantic hi-hats and of course Loleatta blowing away right over top.. It does it's thing so well, it almost doesn't need a remix. So just when you think an already great track couldn't be improved on any further.. Enter Walter Gibbons.

Gibbons has become one of the most celebrated remixers of the disco era, and rightfully so. A maverick of the disco mix so to speak, Gibbons' mixing style was truly ahead of it's time. With Gibbons' mixes often drastically altering the originals, it's perhaps not so surprising that while many of his mixes were hits for listeners and dancers, his mixing style had also been known to ignite the territorial tendencies of some producers as well. While remixes that significantly alter and/or add-on to the original have become industry standard over the years, judging from what's been written (see the liner notes of "Mixed With Love - The Walter Gibbons Salsoul Anthology"), at the time his style was pioneering, innovative and even brazen. While like any artist, he had both his creative successes and missteps, to me no one quite broke things down the way Gibbons did. In other words, he wasn't so much in the business of extending and organizing as much as he was in taking the elements of a song and using the mixing process to deconstruct, reimagine and rearrange them.

So far, "Catch Me On The Rebound" has got to be one of my favourite Walter Gibbons mixes.. One of the things I love about his mixes is how he often managed to zero in on not just elements that were underplayed in the original, but elements which you never even knew existed. Case in point: those glorious, extended vocal runs and guitar licks which were either not fully audible or even present on the original. Also check the breakdown on the intro, with nothing more than a tight bassline and hissing hi-hat drawing you in, with the other layers gradually coming in further into the track introducing the different key instruments: the flute, guitar, piano, percussion and horns. Each of them gets enough space somewhere in the mix to really be heard and appreciated.. Another great part of his mix are those clever start/stop edits on the drums dramatically and effectively accentuating her vocals.. Overall, it is quite simply a flawless mix which manages to draw that balance between the richness and polish of a dancefloor stormer with the raw, spontaneous energy of an extended jam session..

That said though, for me the crowning achievement of this mix is, above all else, Gibbons' emphasis on Loleatta's vocals in all their full ferocious, soulful splendor. He'd done it before with his mix of "Hit And Run" (which I hope to put up sometime) and he does it again here just as effectively. You could tell how much Walter appreciated the presence and power of Loleatta's voice with the way he showcased it, milking that vocal for all it was worth.. So far, I don't think I've heard any of her album tracks do that quite the way Walter's mixes did. Walter seemed to know, judging from her disco-disco.com interview, what Loleatta herself knew; to capture that voice was not to rein it into strict lyrical verses, but to highlight her at her most raw, creative, expressive and improvised moments: with Loleatta goin' for herself, vamping and testifying in these explosive outbursts of raw, unadulterated emotion, strength and soul. Simply put, nothing quite captured her voice the way a Walter Gibbons mix did.

As far as the rest of the album is concerned, I'm not sure how I'd rate this compared to her other records. To be honest, even though I'm familiar with all her hits from various compilations I only have two of her albums: this one and her first Salsoul album. So far it fits the mould of the first Salsoul LP, which is split roughly evenly between uptempo tracks and ballads, and I honestly have yet to really get past the uptempo tracks.. Aside from the two big ones, "Catch Me On The Rebound" and "I May Not Be There..," "Good Good Feeling" and "Mama Don't - Papa Won't," both produced by Norman Harris, are also a couple of strong uptempo tracks. Of the ballads, the most notable is probably her version (which is certainly one of the better ones) of "You Light Up My Life" produced by Tom Moulton and the closer "I'm In Love" produced by her late husband Floyd Smith and Gordon Edwards. On that note, I'm reminded of one of her responses from her interview on disco-disco.com, where she said:
"Floyd produced mostly ballads, because he knows that I'm a ballad singer - but I got caught up in the Disco thing. With the fast songs and the fast music. But that's why he would always fight that I had ballads on my albums.... Because he fought for that, otherwise I think Norman Harris and that team all really wanted me to just do all Disco numbers.... But Floyd was like; 'NO! You'll burn her out. She'll burn out trying to sing those fast songs all night, every night.' He was right, so he put some ballads in there where I could always stop for a moment and do a ballad."
which seems to explain the roughly even split between uptempo tracks and ballads. Although the change of pace is nice and perhaps needed at times, I can't help but imagine how absolutely killer an album packed full of dance tracks would have been..

Anyway, I've said it before and I'll say it again: Loleatta was one of those artists who singlehandedly put the 'soul' in Salsoul. There's just something about Loleatta's voice - no matter what she's singing, her's was just one of the most thrilling, electrifying voices to come out of disco era. There's definitely more of her that I want to put up, but hopefully this'll do you all for now.

Just to add on to things: Thanks to YouTube I recently found some great footage of Loleatta doing a fabulous, live (believe it!), energetic performance of "I May Not Be There When You Want Me.." and sounding great, if I do say so myself.. And in case anyone is in doubt about it's authenticity, at one point she forgets the lyrics, but manages to pick things up again without missing a beat. Just one of those slight imperfections that makes it all the more real..


Loleatta Holloway - I May Not Be There When You Want Me (But I'm Right On Time) (Live TV Performance)
Uploaded by ClassicDanceHits


I'm told that this video is also available on the "Salsoul Classics" DVD from Unidisc, in case anyone's interested..

On that note, I also recommend the Unidisc CD reissue of her "Queen Of The Night" album (not to be confused with the hits collection of the same name). I haven't been able to listen to it on my stereo, which is unfortunately out of commission for now but judging from how it sounds on my iPod, the sound quality is quite good and the bonus mixes are definitely a plus.


PURCHASE:
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY - QUEEN OF THE NIGHT (CD REISSUE)
AMAZON.CA | AMAZON.COM | AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.DE | CD UNIVERSE
MIXED WITH LOVE - THE WALTER GIBBONS SALSOUL ANTHOLOGY (3 CD SET)
AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.COM
SALSOUL 12'' GOLD MASTER SERIES, VOLUME TWO
CD UNIVERSE | AMAZON.COM
SALSOUL CLASSICS (DVD)
AMAZON.COM

LINKS:
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY - QUEEN OF THE NIGHT LP @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY - QUEEN OF THE NIGHT LP @ DISCOGS
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY - I MAY NOT BE THERE WHEN YOU WANT ME 12'' @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY - I MAY NOT BE THERE WHEN YOU WANT ME 12'' @ DISCOGS
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY - CATCH ME ON THE REBOUND 12" @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY - CATCH ME ON THE REBOUND 12" @ DISCOGS
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY INTERVIEW @ DISCO-DISCO.COM
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY @ JAHSONIC
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY @ DISCOMUSEUM
MS. FUNKYFLYY'S LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY PAGE
ROBERT CHRISTGAU REVIEWS LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY
DIVAZOO: LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY @ ALL MUSIC GUIDE
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY @ WIKIPEDIA

WALTER GIBBONS @ DISCOGS
WALTER GIBBONS @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
WALTER GIBBONS - MIXED WITH LOVE CD (REVIEW) @ DISCOMUSIC.COM
TIM LAWRENCE: MIXED WITH LOVE - THE MUSICAL WORLD OF WALTER GIBBONS
WALTER GIBBONS @ DISCOMUSEUM.COM

CATEGORIES: DISCO DELIVERIES, VISUAL DISCO

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting. Loleatta's vocals -- her phrasing, her energy, the power of her voicel -- always turn me out. This is especially true on the various Salsoul remixes. She's amazing.

Anonymous said...

The track in question just happens to be the side two opener, "I May Not Be There When You Want Me (But I'm Right On Time)," which has got to be one of the most underrated Loleatta tracks out there.. Seriously. Despite being sampled as the basis for "The Queen's Anthem" back in the 90's, this is just one of those Loleatta tracks which doesn't seem to be discussed or cited too often..

This is because the ABC network in the United States played the instrumental to death as part an advertising campaign for their network and for some of their television programs back in the early 1980's. Great song but after listening to it over 10,000 times night after night, week after week and year after year, it gets old really quick.

Disco Cult said...

Thanks for the shout out. Catch Me On The Rebound is killer track - I love the background vocals.

Tommy said...

Thanks for the comments! :)

Anonymous, thanks for that piece info.. Certainly seems to explain things, too bad for Loleatta though.. I'll be sure to add that info. when I update the post..

Brut33 said...

The 10min mix was by Walter Gibbons: http://www.discogs.com/release/351723

There is also an edit of this track out on Paradise Lost; http://www.discogs.com/release/1369713

Keith a.k.a. K j A M said...

Party Favorz The Diva Series featuring Loleatta Holloway. DON'T MISS THIS ONE! http://www.partyfavorz.net/2009/05/diva-series-loleatta-holloway.html

Search this blog