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!
This is The Ritchie Family. They had two Top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the mid-’70s, and also had three #1 songs on the dance charts. Despite their name, the members were not rich– in fact, the three ladies were merely hired hands in a “band” created by producers Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo. They also weren’t really from the same family either, as you might have gathered from the picture above. Within two years, the original three members of The Ritchie Family had been replaced by new girls, and Morali and Belolo were focusing most of their attention on a new group they had created named The Village People.
Despite their short tenure as a band, The Ritchie Family were a prominent part of the disco explosion in the mid-’70s. Their debut single “Brazil” reached #11 on the Hot 100, and it also topped the dance chart. Their biggest worldwide hit was “The Best Disco In Town,” a medley of bits from various disco songs that appeared on their second album Arabian Nights.
Allow me to be honest here: I actually really like a lot of disco, but even I have to admit that “The Best Disco In Town” is pretty terrible. The 7″ version if flat-out unlistenable, but the full-length album version does contain a few catchy passages. Despite its monumental mediocrity, “The Best Disco In Town” was a Top 10 single around the world at a time when disco was exploding onto the charts. That technically makes it an important song, and therefore I have decided to feature the entire Arabian Nights album on today’s Groovy Tuesday post. I found a beautiful copy of the record a few weeks ago at my local Half Price Books, and it only cost me $2.99. Even at that price, I may have been ripped off– but at least you get to listen to Arabian Nights for free.
The Ritchie Family: Arabian Nights
Marlin Records, 1976
320 kbps vinyl rip courtesy of The Analog Kid
1. “The Best Disco In Town” (Morali/Rome/Belolo/Hurtt)
2. “Baby I’m On Fire” (Morali/Belolo)
3. “Romantic Love” (Morali/Rome/Belolo/Whitehead)
4. “Arabian Nights (Medley)”
a. Instanbul (Not Constantinople) (Kennedy/Simon)
b. Lawrence Of Arabia (More than yesterday, less than tomorrow) (Jarre)
c. In A Persian Market (Show me how you dance) (Ketelbey)
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.
The Ritchie Family: “Brazil” (Barosso)
From the album Brazil
20th Century Records, 1975
The Ritchie Family: “The Best Disco In Town” [7″ Version] (Morali/Rome/Belolo/Hurtt)
Marlin Records, 1976
Village People: “In The Navy” (Morali/Belolo/Willis)
From the album Go West
Casablanca Records, 1979
They Might Be Giants: “Istanbul (Not Constantinople) (Kennedy/Simon)
From the album Flood
Elektra Records, 1990