Every Tuesday, the Analog Kid blog goes back in time and features some groovy R&B/soul songs from a specific year. Sometimes you’ll hear songs from individual artists, and other times you’ll get an entire full-length classic LP ripped directly from the Analog Kid’s vast inventory. Warning: by R&B/soul, I also mean disco. I could go KC & The Sunshine Band on your ass at any given moment, so just be ready!
A note to my friend Pino, who always seems to be confused about this: “Don’t Leave Me This Way” is by Thelma Houston, not by Telma Hopkins. Thelma Houston wasn’t in Tony Orlando & Dawn, and she didn’t star on Bosom Buddies and Gimme A Break! as Telma did. Nope, Thelma has only one true claim to fame: the 1976 disco classic “Don’t Leave Me This Way.”
It took Thelma Houston almost ten years to have her first hit record, but you have to give her credit: when she finally did it, she did it in style. Thelma’s cover of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ “Don’t Leave Me This Way” was released as a single in late 1976, and it took eighteen weeks for it to ascend to the #1 position on Billboard’s Hot 100. It was the only top 40 hit of Houston’s career.
Despite her lack of success on the charts. Houston’s material was a fantastic mix of gospel and soul that certainly deserved a much wider audience. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” was taken from the album Any Way You Like It, and today the Analog Kid blog would like to share this fantastic ’70s classic LP with you. Any Way You Like It has been out of print on CD in the U.S. for years, and is currently only available as a super-expensive import.
Would you believe that the Analog Kid is still in possession of his original 45 copy of “Don’t Leave Me This Way?” It’s true. It’s virtually unplayable, of course, because I think I played it at least 2000 times as a child. Thelma, my heart is still full of love and desire for you…
Thelma Houston: Any Way You Like It
Motown Records, 1976
Vinyl rip courtesy of The Analog Kid
1. “Any Way You Like It” (Smith/Houston/Jones)
2. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (Gilbert/Gamble/Huff)
3. “Don’t Know Why I Love You” (Hunter/Hardaway/Riser/Wonder)
4. “Come To Me” (Daniels/Jackson/Wakefield)
5. “Don’t Make Me Pay (For Another Girl’s Mistake)” (Smith)
6. “Sharing Something Perfect Between Ourselves” (Porter/Johnson)
7. “If It’s The Last Thing I Do” (Cahn/Chaplin)
8. “Differently” (Graham)
The first rule of The Analog Kid blog is that if you write about a song on the Analog Kid blog, you share the song on the Analog Kid blog.
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes: “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (Gilbert/Gamble/Huff)
From the album Wake Up Everybody
Philadelphia International Records, 1975
Thelma Houston: “Don’t Leave Me This Way” [Single Version] (Gilbert/Gamble/Huff)
Motown Records, 1976