Every Tuesday, the Analog Kid blog goes back in time and features some of the best groovy R&B/soul songs from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Sometimes you’ll hear songs from individual artists or from a specific year, 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 all Linda Clifford on your ass at any given moment, so just be ready!

When it’s not college football season, I spend most of my Saturdays rehearsing with my band Diamondbag. Our drummer owns a farm up in Trenton (about 60 miles northeast of Dallas), and we can go up and there and make all of the noise we want without disturbing anyone (unless you count the goats). One of my favorite parts of the day is the drive itself, as we always listen to the replay of Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 countdown on SiriusXM’s ’70s on 7 station. I love trying to guess which songs will be in the top 10 for that specific week, but I also really enjoy hearing some of the deep cuts in the bottom reaches of the countdown.

This last Saturday, the AT40 replay was from the week of May 21, 1977. My guess for the #1 song that week was Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” but I was off by about a month (“Dreams” was #6 that week, and it would reach #1 on June 18th). The actual #1 song was Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke,” but it was another R&B song that stirred the interest of my fellow band members in the car: “Whodunit” by Tavares.

“Who the %$#* is Tavares?” asked Matt, our super-funky-despite-his-dorky-whiteness bass player.

“They had a million hits!” I replied.

“Like what?”

“Ummmmmmmm…”

I had to think for a second. I blurted out “Disco Inferno,” but of course that was the right movie soundtrack (Saturday Night Fever) but the wrong band that starts with T (The Trammps). I eventually came up with “It Only Takes A Minute” and “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel,” to which Matt replied, “So two is a million now?”

OK, so Tavares didn’t have a “million” hits. But they had more success than you might remember– the band scored eight Top 40 hits on the Hot 100, and a whopping 20 top 40 hits on the R&B chart. I’m also of the opinion that their version of “More Than A Woman” is better than the Bee Gees’ original, and that is high praise indeed…

Let’s take a listen to some of the best of Tavares on this expanded edition of Groovy Tuesday!

Check It Out

Tavares: “Check It Out” (Butler/Osborne)

From the album Check It Out

Capitol Records, 1973

Check It Out

Tavares consisted of five brothers from New Bedford, Massachusetts: Ralph, Pooch, Chubby, Butch and Tiny. Their first hit was 1973’s “Check It Out,” which reached #35 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Hard Core Poetry

Tavares: “Remember What I Told You To Forget” (Lambert/Potter)

Remember What I Told You To Forget

Tavares: “She’s Gone” (Hall/Oates)

She’s Gone

Tavares: “Too Late” (Lambert/Potter)

Too Late

From the album Hard Core Poetry

Capitol Records, 1974

Tavares’ second record had three songs reach the R&B Top 10, including their cover of the little-known Hall & Oates song (at that time, anyways) “She’s Gone.”

In The City

Tavares: “It Only Takes A Minute” (Potter/Lambert)

From the album In The City

Capitol Records, 1975

It Only Takes A Minute

Little eight-year-old Analog Kid had “It Only Take A Minute” on 45, as did a lot of other folks apparently– “It Only Takes A Minute” was Tavares’ first Top 10 hit on the pop charts.

Sky-High!

Tavares: “Heaven Must Me Missing An Angel” (Perren/St. Lewis)

Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel

Tavares: “Don’t Take Away The Music” (Perren/Perren/St. Lewis)

Don’t Take Away The Music

From the album Sky-High!

Capitol Records, 1976

“Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel” didn’t quite make the Top 10 (it peaked at #15), but I can still remember staring at the fantastic cover art for Sky-High! down at The Wherehouse. Even at the age of 9, I understood the awesomeness of the Capitol Records building. I had this one on 45 as well.

Love Storm

Tavares: “Whodunit” (Perren/St. Lewis)

From the album Love Storm

Capitol Records, 1977

Whodunit

“Whodunit” was Tavares’ third #1 R&B single, and it also peaked at #22 on the Hot 100 on May 21, 1977 (as we learned from Casey on our way to band practice last week).

Saturday Night Fever

Tavares: “More Than A Woman” (Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb)

From the soundtrack album Saturday Night Fever

RSO Records, 1977

More Than A Woman

As I mentioned earlier, I actually prefer Tavares’ version of “More Than A Woman” to the Bee Gees’ original. Both were included on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, and Tavares actually charted higher (#32 on the Hot 100) than the Bee Gees with the song. How, you ask? The Bee Gees never actually released “More Than A Woman” as a single in the United States! Mind blown.

Madam Butterfly

Tavares: “Never Had A Love Like This Before” (Grey/Hanks)

From the album Madam Butterfly

Capitol Records, 1978

Never Had A Love Like This Before

“Never Had A Love Like This Before” didn’t make the Hot 100, but it did peak at #5 on the R&B chart. I vividly remember this song from the radio, so I guess my taste in L.A. radio stations must have been pretty eclectic in 1978.

Supercharged

Tavares: “Bad Times” (McMahon)

From the album Supercharged

Capitol Records, 1979

Bad Times

“Bad Times” was another Top 10 R&B hit from Tavares, and it also cracked the Top 50 on the pop charts.

New Directions

Tavares: “A Penny For Your Thoughts” (Nolan)

From the album New Directions

RCA Records, 1982

A Penny For Your Thoughts

Tavares reached the Top 40 on the pop charts for the last time with 1982’s “Penny For Your Thoughts.” The song was written by Kenny Nolan, who had his own his own Top 10 hit with 1977’s “I Like Dreamin'” (and also co-wrote “Lady Marmalade” and “My Eyes Adored You” with Bob Crewe, which both went to #1 in consecutive weeks in 1975).

___________________________________________________________________

Bonus Tracks!

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.

Rumours 2

Fleetwood Mac: “Dreams” (Nicks)

From the album Rumours

Warner Brothers Records, 1977

Dreams

Stevie Wonder_ Singles & B-Sides

Stevie Wonder: “Sir Duke” (Wonder)

From the album Songs In The Key Of Life

Tamla Records, 1976

Sir Duke

Saturday Night Fever

The Trammps: “Disco Inferno”(Green/Kersey)

From the soundtrack album Saturday Night Fever

RSO Records, 1977

Disco Inferno

Abandoned Luncheonette

Hall & Oates: “She’s Gone” (Hall/Oates)

From the album Abandoned Luncheonette

Atlantic Records, 1973

She’s Gone

Saturday Night Fever

Bees Gees: “More Than A Woman” (Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb)

From the soundtrack album Saturday Night Fever

RSO Records, 1977

More Than A Woman

kenny

Kenny Nolan: “I Like Dreamin'” (Nolan)

From the album Kenny Nolan

20th Century Records, 1977

I Like Dreamin’

Nightbirds 1

LaBelle: “Lady Marmalade” (Nolan/Crewe)

From the album Nightbirds

Epic Records, 1974

Lady Marmalade

Closeup 1

Frankie Valli: “My Eyes Adored You” (Nolan/Crewe)

From the album Closeup

Private Stock Records, 1974

My Eyes Adored You

About The Analog Kid

"I'm 5-foot-8, 123 pounds. I have, uh, brown hair, blue eyes. I enjoy surfing, backgammon and men who aren't afraid to cry."

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