Sheila & B.Devotion – ‘Spacer’ b/w ‘Don’t Go’ (CAR128T) (1979)

SAM_0741I don’t usually go for faceless 70s Eurodisco. But this particular piece of blankly sung Gallic nonsense (“He’s a spacer/he’s a star chaser”) was ‘written, arranged and conducted by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rogers’, so that changes everything. Coming towards the end of the pair’s purple patch and therefore not as muscular or catchy as the very best of Chic Organization productions (the Guardian, nonetheless, placed the b-side among the top 10 Edwards/Rogers chunes), this is still very recognisably Chic-y and, for one pound to the charity shop in Hythe this afternoon, represents good value for money.

NB: Check out the ’12 inches [sic] Single’ notice in the lower right hand corner.

Published in: on July 23, 2015 at 4:04 pm  Comments (5)  

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  1. i always liked this when originally released (and it was certainly a shock to me, having previously only heard the cheesy disco-by-numbers cover of the standard “singing in the rain” by this act), and was disappointed when it failed to make much progress chartwise. as with many disco singles of the era, unless someone you knew owned a copy of the parent album (which was unlikely) then there was no way check them out without buying them. and apart from not being able to afford so, even if i could there was no way i was going to make such an investment just on the strength of hearing one or two tracks. but with the advent of youtube i have finally had the opportunity to do just that. however, although you do find the odd gem of an album track, it has to be said that usually it’s a complete waste of time as there’s nothing but second-rate copies of the singles plus other filler. and this album is no exception (it’s pretty well known that the chic organisation produced it simply because of all the money thrown at them, so no surprise that “spacer” apart it’s very throwaway).

    another thing i have to say about this track, is that about 10 years or so ago whenever i went shopping in asda i would be subjected to “asda FM” blaring away, and the intro for this track always seemed to get played. but sadly it always became quickly apparent that it was some fucking awful rehash (by the sugababes or other such crap) where the backing riff had been looped and the melody replaced by some vocal line that was far inferior. i used to think “just for once can’t they play the originial?” – fat chance!

    also: there was some confusion about the name of this artist at the time – “spacer” was often credited to sheila b. devotion when played on the radio, as opposed to sheila & b. devotion, as seen on the above pic sleeve. the latter is actually correct, as sheila was originally a 60’s solo french pop singer (a la lulu), but when disco broke her management decided to give her a makeover by teaming her up with a troupe of black male dancers, the original name of which was black devotion. which then for reasons unknown got shortened to b. devotion (in blighty anyway – maybe something was lost in translation), hence the confusion…

    • Interesting stuff, Wilber. Though, to be fair, it shifted something like 5m world wide and was Top 20 and Top 10 in the UK and on the mainland respectively. The b-side here is decent–though I can well believe that these were the only two decent tracks on the Lp. As I’ve mentioned before, I think Chic is generally best appreciated 12″ at a time. The Asda-FM track you heard could have been a latter-day remix/re-do, Sheila tried to extend her shelf life sometime in the 90s I think.

      • mercifully it’s been several years now since i heard the travesty in question, but i’ve checked on youtube and i’m pretty sure what i was subjected to in asda was this by somebody called alcazar:

        if it heard it in a discotheque i’d certainly be crying! talking of which, last weekend i went to a club night advertised as 70’s funk and disco, and although they didn’t go as far as to put “new” vocals on top, much of it had added-on beefed-up hip-hop/house beats that made it practically unlistenable – the bastards! i should have asked for a refund, but in any event i certainly won’t be going there again as a result…

  2. Yes, always liked this one. I’m sure black got shortened to b to avoid the Mary Whitehouse brigade – Sheila & Black Devotion would probably have sounded too racy (and inter-racial), we were still a sheltered lot back then and needed to be protected from the thought of such things.

    • Wait, you’re saying this racism thing isn’t new?

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