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 Village People on your ass at any given moment, so just be ready!
I knew absolutely nothing about Gary Toms Empire until I found a mint copy of 1978’s Let’s Do It Again at my local Half-Price Books last week. A little in-store googling provided very little information on the band, but I went ahead and bought the record anyway. Just look at the cover– how could it NOT be funky?
And funky it was! A little more research told me that Gary Toms Empire had a huge underground (wait– can something underground actually be considered huge??) smash with the song “7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (Blow your Whistle)” in 1975, and the result was a recording contract with Mercury Records. Let’s Do It Again was the band’s only album for Mercury, and it has never been released on CD. The record contains two tracks co-written by Michael Zager, who would have his own smash in 1978 with the disco classic “Let’s All Chant.” There’s also an almost-unrecognizable cover of the Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By,” and the album concludes with the beautifully-titled “Gary’s Love Theme.” Oh yeah, baby. That’s what Gary likes…
I think I’ll keep trying to seek out more obscure ’70s R&B/soul/funk for future Groovy Tuesday editions. That local Half-Price Books I mentioned is gigantic, and hopefully I can find more lost ’70s nuggets like Let’s Do It Again.
Gary Toms Empire: Let’s Do It Again
Mercury Records, 1978
1. “It’s All Up To You” (Michael Zager/Alvin Fields)
2. “Welcome To Harlem” (Michael Zager/Alvin Fields)
3. “Watch Out For The Lady” (Corsilli/Porcucci/Bruno/Phelps/Catanio)
4. “Walk On By” (Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
5. “She’s Somethin’ Else” (Gary Toms)
6. “Superfine Lady” (Prince Ellis)
7. “Miami” (Gary Toms)
8. “Feeling Good Again” (Rick Bleiweiss)
9. “1-2-3-4 (Let’s Do It Again)” (Gary Toms)
10. “Gary’s Love Theme” (Gary Toms)
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.
Gary Toms Empire: 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (Blow Your Whistle)”
From the album 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Blow Your Whistle
PIP Records, 1975
The Michael Zager Band: “Let’s All Chant”
From the album Let’s All Chant
Private Stock Records, 1978
Dionne Warwick: “Walk On By” (Bacharach/David)
From the album Make Way For Dionne Warwick
Scepter Records, 1964