Sisters Sledge – Circle of Love (K50097) (1975)

SAM_0762Since Messers Edwards and Rodgers prized a cool, almost mechanical vocal approach, the Sisters’ later, very popular Chic Organization-produced Lps, effectively disguised what fabulous soul singers they were. Featuring surprisingly tough music and, given their tender ages, remarkably mature singing, the Sledges’ strong, well-programmed début seems to have had a lot of care and attention lavished on it. Touches of Philly Soul colour proceedings to dramatic effect. If early period soul-disco is your thing, buy with confidence–What a great record!SAM_0763From the same pound-a-piece batch as the Eno below.

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Published in: on September 28, 2015 at 8:17 am  Leave a Comment  

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)  

Isaac Hayes – Tough Guys (ENS-7504) (1974)

SAM_0440This soundtrack to Paramount’s Three Tough Guys composed, conducted and performed by Isaac Hayes features more jazzy blowing than other 70s black action film music I’ve heard. Given that Hayes (who also starred in the film) is generally considered in possession of a pretty weak solo catalogue, it is a surprisingly engaging listen; better than the overly-lauded Shaft soundtrack I would have said. Rhythm by The Movement, strings by The Memphis Symphony Orchestra. 8/10.SAM_0441Gatefold, nicked at the top, otherwise NM condish, it cost one a pined when out thrifting yesterday with the elder of the two junior Asbos.

Published in: on June 25, 2014 at 7:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Early New Order Singles

SAM_0400I really liked the first few NO singles, but my keenness dropped of precipitously once they started taking Es and running dance clubs.

 

Published in: on June 2, 2014 at 9:27 am  Comments (1)  

The Salsoul Orchestra – Nice ‘n’ Naasty (SZS 5502) (1976)

SAM_0355Silly, single-entendre disco mood music (the A and B sides are designated “Left Cheek” and “Right Cheek”) courtesy Vincent Montana. Mindless, faceless and, in some cases, bloodless; surely that was the point. Interesting excursions into slower tempi in the form of “Nightcrawler“, less interesting ones include rhythmic takes on the none-more-soft-rock “We’ve Only Just Begun/Feeling” medley. “Salsoul: 3001” is a version of Strauss’ “Thus Spake Zarathustra”, which has been used to desultory effect sountracking the decline of Western civilisation. Pretentiousness abounds and then punk happened.

‘Dat cover, though.

Published in: on May 6, 2014 at 7:51 am  Comments (2)  

Ned Doheny – Prone (25AP 1859) (1979)

SAM_0122LOCAL RECORD STORE BOYCOTT THREATENED             Shop’s Lp Filing System Blasted As ‘Institutionally Racist’

(Columbus, Ohio) — One resident said he couldn’t believe such things were still happening in 2013. Another reported that she was uncomfortable living in an area where it went on and, though it meant the loss of perhaps tens of thousands of dollars, would be selling her house. Yet another called it, “simply the most blatant display of overt racism [she’s] seen in [her] forty years as a citizen of Clintonville.”

To find what has so shocked community members you must visit For The Records, a used vinyl store in Clintonville a block south of North Broadway. But be warned, to cross the threshold is to step back to a time of Jim Crow laws, lynchings and separate “white” and “colored” drinking fountains.

“It’s disgusting,” snorted one neighbor who wished to remain anonymous. “If Daryl Hall or Michael McDonald were African-American, they’d be in the Soul and R&B section; however, just because of the color of their skin, H2O and “Sweet Freedom” records are ghettoized in  the Pop section.”

“Where would you put Charlie Pride?” asked another resident rhetorically. “C&W right? No, apparently not. Because he’s black, he goes in with the blues records along with Robert Cray; but not Joe Bonamassa or Stevie Ray Vaughn though, they’re filed with the Rock Lps.”

Some Clintonvillians have called for a boycott. “It beggars belief,” local councilor Shane Frosh told Thrifty Vinyl, “that in 2013 you can’t put Ned Doheny’s Prone in with the other R&B music.”

“And the fact that the store carries no Lps at all by interracial bands like Booker T and the MGs, Sly & the Family Stone or War and only those Bruce Springsteen records without Clarence Clemons is a national disgrace.”

But owner Larry Parnes denies any malicious intent: “I ain’t no racist,” he claimed, pausing to hawk a brown stream of intermingled sputum and tobacco into a brass spittoon in the corner of the store. “I jest don’ think the Good Lord wants records by different colors to mix.”

Adding, “Would you let your daughter file her Plan B and Eminem vinyl in with Hip Hop?”

SAM_0121

Published in: on November 13, 2013 at 1:01 pm  Comments (3)  

The Supremes – High Energy (C062-97687) (1976)

SAM_1419The polar opposite of the individualistic vision exemplified by Laura Nyro below, this late-period Supremes disco outing is a thoroughly corporate number; the group, after innumerable personnel changes and, at this point, containing only one original member, reduced to little more than a Brand Name. This state of affairs is unwittingly (if amusingly) alluded to by the literally faceless trio of figures on the front cover and the fact that, while producers, engineers, conga player, etc. are named, the singers are not.

All of which is not to say High Energy is bad. As suggested in the recent Supremes article, part of the charm of the venture is its very commercial contrivance. And with various Hollands and Doziers back manning production/songwriting duties and budgets obviously high, this was never going to be a dud. Certainly, “You’re What’s Missing In My Life”, “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do the Walking”, “Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You” are all examples of really good mid-70s disco-soul and if Motown had called the band High Energy (or something) instead of the album, they would have been seen more fairly in the continuum of the Supremes, with their orchestral filigrees and spoken love tokens, instead of in the parent band’s shadow.

SAM_1420A second Lp (and on relatively heavy vinyl) from Age UK this a.m., where I skipped on a good looking Nina and Friedrik album despite its being on Atco. I simply didn’t have the heart.

Published in: on April 11, 2013 at 3:03 pm  Comments (4)  

The Tymes – Tyme’s Up (RS 1027) (1976)

tymesA parking meter run out of change in a graveyard, the Tyme’s Up cover’s visual gag is less ham-fisted than its smooth, percussion-rich music which features members of not only TSOP (horns and strings) but TSONY (rhythm – “under the outstanding leadership of Bernard Purdie”), as well as a mix courtesy of “father of the disco mix” Tom Moulton. A deft combination of winsome romance, (“If I Can’t Make You Smile”), party disco (“To the Max[imum]”, “Only Your Love”), heartfelt gospel (“Good Morning Dear Lord”) and combinations of the above (“God’s Gonna Punish You”), The Tymes are a long-running vocal group in the vein of the Trammps, Tavares, O’Jays, etc., etc., etc.

Note to producer Billy Jackson, dramatic spoken introductions should be use sparingly.

Published in: on March 28, 2013 at 9:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Madonna – You Can Dance (1987)

You can dance if you want to, you can leave your friends behind, 'cos your friends don't dance, and if they don't dance, well they're no friends of mine.Cheap Laughs Dept.

…SAID NO-ONE EVER — POP EDITION!

Directions: Using only your smart-assedness and knowledge of classic rock lore, attribute an unlikely quote to a popular musician. Like so…

  • “I’m sorry, if Bill Wyman quits, I quit too,” said Keith Richards. “It’s just not the Rolling Stones without him.”
  • “Favourite Beatles song?” said George Harrison. “Definitely either ‘Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand’ or ‘Sie Liebt Dich.'”
  • “Thanks, no,” said Keith Moon. “I’ve already had one and I’m driving,”
  • “We should give Mick Taylor writing credit on this one,” said Mick Jagger.
  • “Okay, now it’s time to record one of your songs Artie,” said Paul Simon.
  • “I don’t think it’s quite far out enough,” said Mike Love. “Bring the upside down water cooler bottles much higher in the mix.”
  • “Can we do another take,” said Carlos Santana. “I think I may have overplayed a bit on that last one.”
  • “Eno’s a clever fellow, but he can’t really play anything,” said Bryan Ferry. “What he does, he does very well but it’s necessarily limited music.”*
  • “Turn my amp down for me, will you,” said Richie Blackmore.
  • “Before we start the next number,” said Sid Vicious. “Give me a moment to tune my bass.”
  • “Marijuana’s alright,” said Bob Marley. “But not when I’m working. I need a clear head.”
  • “No, Colonel Parker,” said Elvis Presley.
  • “I think we’ll let the music sell the album,” said Madonna.
  • “I will defer to you on that decision, Rick,” said Roger Waters.
  • “Yes, Mojo, do come in–we’ve much to discuss,” said Van Morrison.

Now you try! It’s fun, it’s easy and it doesn’t cost a penny, only the withering of your already bitter and atrophied heart and the wasting of what precious little time you have left on Earth!

*whoops, Ferry actually did say that.

Editor’s note: I bought You Can Dance when it came out on cassette. An odd bespoke remix/singles hybrid, there is a percussion and keyboard thread that runs thought this segued Lp giving it continuity.

Published in: on February 8, 2013 at 11:07 am  Comments (10)  

Celluloid Presents Disco-Rough

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Hello (says he, peeping his head sheepishly round the door at Thrifty HQ).  I’m the fella that started this blog a few years ago. Remember me? I was the one who posted all those stupid easy listening and K-Tel records.

Well, it seems that I haven’t posted anything here for over a year, so I thought it was about time I got my thumb out of my ass and did something about it. It’s not that I haven’t the time to blog, but I haven’t really been on the vinyl hunt much in recent times, so haven’t had much to report. But going through some records in my stash recently, I realised there were quite a few interesting artifacts I had yet to document here. So here’s the first of (hopefully) several new posts from Yours Truly.

So, what we have here is the splendidly titled ‘Disco-Rough’ compilation from Celluloid Records, released in 1982.  Only six tracks on the platter, but at least you get a reasonably decent, loud-ish pressing. Celluloid was established by the Frenchman Jean Karakos in Paris, so perhaps its no surprise that the record opens with the minimalist rockabilly of Alan Vega’s “Juke Box Babe”, which (it still amazes me to say) was a bit of a hit in France. Vega’s tremulous Elvis-Iggy delivery is up there with some of his best vocals, and the track retains the relentless repetition associated with his work as one half of Suicide, although here he trades in Martin Rev’s synth-noise for the guitars of Phil Hawk.  Not my idea of ‘Disco’ in any shape, way or form, but a welcome opener nonetheless.

Another name that might be familiar is that of Material, who contribute two tracks. “Secret Life” is their pulsing synth-disco ‘classic’, whilst “Upriver” is a mash-up of latin percussion, funk horns and southern-blues-rock, with a nice twangy guitar that puts me in mind of some mid-period Captain Beefheart.

The remaining tracks are filled by lesser known acts Elli &  Jacno and Mathematiques Modernes who each contribute some perfectly listenable alternative dance music of the era. Quite pleased with this purchase.

Published in: on January 31, 2013 at 11:18 am  Leave a Comment