Friday, December 14, 2007

The one I love takes me down, takes me there..



Linda G. Thompson - Flight To Fantasy (1980, Ariola)
Linda G. Thompson - Midnight Rendezvous (1980, Ariola)

*Special thanks to DungeonDJ for the beautifully retouched photo.

A little something I'd picked up in Vancouver earlier in the year, there are a couple of pretty fabulous sides on this single, courtesy of the German singer Linda G. Thompson (AKA Linda Übelherr/Uebelherr). Thompson had performed in groups such as the Les Humphrey Singers, The Hornettes (which featured a few prolific session singers from many a German disco production) and perhaps most prominently (albeit somewhat briefly) in the first lineup of Silver Convention, having appeared on their first two albums, but having sung on only their second. After leaving Silver Convention in 1976, Thompson would release a few solo singles (as well as a few with Jerry Rix), including this one in 1980, produced by Krautrock veteran Uve Schikora.

In the early 70's, Schikora and his group, having released an album, "Das Gewitter" (1972, Amiga) (their first and only which, I believe, translates into "The Thunderstorm") and having backed artists like Frank Schöbel, were apparently one of the leading figures in the East German (DDR) rock scene (at least judging from some of the websites and message board postings out there). After defecting to West Germany in 1976, Schikora would go on to become a pretty prolific producer and arranger having gone on to work with German super-producer Jack White (no relation to he of The White Stripes) along with the likes of Placido Domingo, Engelbert Humperdinck, Al Martino, Paul Anka and yes, even The Hoff himself..

As far as this single is concerned though, both sides are excellent, with each track taking the singer into two different styles. The A-side "Flight To Fantasy," opening with grand, spacious synths, captivating chord progressions, clean electric guitars and an excellent hooky chorus, "Flight.." is a stellar piece of big, epic, Euro-pop.. The beautiful piano sound on here is the probably the key element of this song. Those grand glissandos, and especally the combination of the gliding piano scale and guitars right after the chorus, along with Thompson's processed vocals, despite being muffled with reverb (I believe that's the term) and almost incomprehensible in places, all add a great deal to the big, epic feel of this track...

Even though the spindle marks on the B-side seem to indicate how well-loved the A-side was, the B-side "Midnight Rendezvous," is nothing to sleep on either.. Somewhat shorter than the A-side, "..Rendezvous" is like the Euro-funk flip side to the textbook Euro-pop of the A-side.. Dominated by guitars, horns, handclaps, and that unmistakable funky strut right at the top of the mix, which seemed to be a signature element in some of the earlier German disco (see Silver Convention's "Get Up And Boogie"), this track cuts a pretty sharp groove.. In fact, the production in general seemed, in a way, to reference that earlier Silver Convention sound, having more in common with the feel of the classic German disco (albeit with a slightly harder edge), than that of the A-side..

For me, the peak of this track would have to be right at the break at around the 2.30 mark. With it's jagged guitar lead-in and those drums and horns, it's a pity that it's so short. Although ripe for a little extension, it's definitely my favourite part of the track..

Apparently, judging from the Linda G. Thompson fan site at the Girl Groups Fan Club, this appeared to be the final solo single she had released. Schikora had evidently produced a couple of sides for Thompson prior to this, "Never Get Over You/Harmony," which I'm now curious to hear..

Although she evidently never released an album under her own name, so far, this is definitely one of the better singles that I've heard from any of the former Silver Convention ladies.. Having performed with the Hornettes throughout the 80s, these days, Thompson reportedly makes her living as an interior designer.

LINKS:
LINDA G. THOMPSON - FLIGHT TO FANTASY/MIDNIGHT RENDEZVOUS 12'' @ DISCOGS
LINDA G. THOMPSON @ THE GIRL GROUPS FAN CLUB
LINDA G. THOMPSON @ WIKIPEDIA (IN GERMAN)
LINDA G. THOMPSON @ DISCOGS
LINDA UEBELHERR @ DISCOGS (SEPARATE ENTRY)
THE SILVER CONVENTION STORY @ THE GIRL GROUPS FAN CLUB
SILVER CONVENTION @ WIKIPEDIA
SILVER CONVENTION @ THE ALL MUSIC GUIDE
UVE SCHIKORA @ DISCOGS
EASTERN ROCK: UVE SCHIKORA UND SEINE GRUPPE (IN GERMAN)

CATEGORIES: MINI DELIVERIES

10 comments:

Enrique said...

Midnight Rendezvous is hot.

Charles said...

Knew a few Silver Convention songs, but never heard solo songs.
Great single, both sides (and how cool is that picture sleeve!)
As always, great insight from you. Thank you!

Tommy said...

Hey Enrique, it totally is!

Hey Charles, no problem! Yeah, that pic is awesome.. I love that edgy, "ready for the 80's" look of it...

Thanks for the comments guys!

DungeonDJ said...

Very nice Tommy. I have stuff by Penny McLean and Ramona Wulf but, the only thing I had by Linda Thompson is "Ooh What A Night". BTW, her outfit was, at one time, "a la mode". LOL:D

Tommy said...

Hey Dungeon, thanks, as always, for the comment and for the wonderful job in retouching that cover shot! :)

lol, yeah, I wouldn't particularly recommend those leopard prints today. Granted, I'm no fashion expert, but those shades would probably still look good..

discobrian in Calgary said...

Ahhhh yes, "Flight to Fantasy" one of my all time favourite dance singles! I can remember hearing this at the Gandydancer and several other clubs in Vancouver at the time. I immediately put my order in to Rainbow Records (a now-defunct shop in Vancouver)thinking "this record is sooo HOT I will never get a copy". To my astonishment, they shipped it within the week and I was in disco heaven! I must admit I almost wore the grooves out on this one, but being the superior German Ariola pressing that it is, it still exists in my collection, sounding as fresh as the day I received it. Probably one of my top 20 favourite disco songs.

Disco Lover said...

Tommy,
Thanks for a great post. Have been looking for flight of fantasy since heard it in a mix (the red party pt2 by dj dana andrews).
Kent

Tommy said...

Hey discobrian, thanks so much for sharing that little memory :) This must have been a hot track in Vancouver BITD, given how I found my copy there too.. You're right about those Ariola pressings. Mine looked pretty well loved, judging from the spindle marks, yet it still sounded surprisingly clean. Glad to know you enjoy this one too.. Thanks again for the great comment!

Hey Kent, no problem, thank you for the comment! 'Tis a great track, indeed! :)

FunkyChris said...

Thank you very much!!! Very nice work!! :)

Tommy said...

No problem Funkychris! Glad you enjoy! :)

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