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 vinyl vault. Warning: by R&B/soul, I also mean disco. I could go Donna Summer on your ass at any given moment, so just be ready!
Groovy Tuesday: 1975
Gwen McCrae: “Rockin’ Chair” (Reid/Clarke)
From the album Rockin’ Chair
Cat Records, 1975
The McCrae family was disco royalty in the mid-’70s. George had one of 1974’s biggest hits with “Rock Your Baby,” and his wife Gwen took “Rockin’ Chair” into the Top 10 in 1975. The two had been recording together since the early ’60s, but success apparently took its toll on the marriage and the McCraes split in late 1976.
Tavares: “It Only Takes A Minute”
From the album In The City
Capitol Records, 1975
“It Only Takes A Minute” was the only Top 10 hit for Tavares, a five-man family group from Massachusetts. Brothers Ralph, Pooch, Chubby, Butch, and Tiny did have a string of successful singles after “It Only Takes A Minute,” and their version of “More Than A Woman” also appears on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
Ralph, Pooch, Chubby, Butch, and Tiny. I wonder what happened to Spanky and Alfalfa?
Shirley & Company: “Shame, Shame, Shame” (Robinson)
From the album Shame Shame Shame
Vibration Records, 1975
“Shame, Shame, Shame” is a great disco song, but its awesomeness pales in comparison to the cover of the album it appears on. Tell Dick who’s boss, Shirley! The cover of Shame Shame Shame may well be the ultimate ’70s artifact– it explains so much about the era in such simple fashion. I was seven when Nixon resigned, but I actually remember it quite well. There are a number of other news items from the era that made a lasting impression on my young brain: Patty Hearst. Vietnam. Watergate. SALT. Charles Manson. No wonder I spent most of my time in my room with my 45s!
“Shame, Shame, Shame” was written by Sylvia Robinson (“Pillow Talk”), and she convinced Shirley Goodman to come out of semi-retirement to add lead vocals to the song. In the ’50s, Shirley was one-half of the duo Shirley & Lee and had a huge hit with “Let The Good Times Roll.” Robinson went on to form Sugar Hill Records, and was even credited as a co-writer on Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s “The Message.”
Spinners: “Games People Play” (Jefferson/Hawes/Simmons)
From the album Pick Of The Litter
Atlantic Records, 1975
“Games People Play” (also known as “They Just Can’t Stop It The (Games People Play)”) was the fourth Top 5 hit for the Spinners. Bass singer Pervis Jackson earned the nickname “12:45” for his signature vocal moment in this soul classic. C’mon, admit it: you sing that part EVERY TIME YOU HEAR THIS SONG. I know I do…
Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan: “Sweet Thing” (Khan/Maiden)
From the album Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan
ABC Records, 1975
I usually avoid the comments section on web articles in order to maintain my somewhat misguided belief that the world is actually a decent place. However, I noticed that contributor “John G” had this to say about “Sweet Thing” in the comments section for a video posting on YouTube:
“This was a smooth ass groove.”
Yes it was, John G–yes it was. This may be the smartest comment that I’ve ever seen on the internet.
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.
George McCrae: “Rock Your Baby” (Casey/Finch)
From the album Rock Your Baby
T.K. Records, 1974
Vinyl rip courtesy of the Analog Kid
Tavares: “More Than A Woman” (Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb)
From the soundtrack Saturday Night Fever
RSO Records, 1977
Shirley & Lee: “Let The Good Times Roll” (Goodman/Lee)
From the album Let The Good Times Roll
Aladdin Records, 1956
Sylvia: “Pillow Talk” (Robinson/Burton)
From the album Pillow Talk
Vibration Records, 1973
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five: “The Message” (Grandmaster Melle Mel/Robinson/Fletcher)
From the 12″ single The Message
Sugar Hill Records, 1982
REO Speedwagon: “Tough Guys” (Cronin)
From the album Hi Infidelity
Epic Records, 1980