THE NEW BIRTH: It’s Been A Long Time (RCA ABP0 0185).
Just to finish off last week’s truncated review: this, the title track from the Harvey Fuqua-created group’s new LP, starts out with the lead-singing guy sounding resignedly cool over the chix-helped slowly swaying backing, before he then very subtly turns on the heat and almost imperceptibly increases the intensity while a Hugh Masekela-pitched trumpet trills in the distance. It’s a real slow burner that’s full of raw power! Yeah!
Other Soul Vocal Group goodies (some of which have been out for a while, I must confess) include THE DRAMATICS’ lovely languid “And I Panicked” (Volt VOA 4105), on which they gradually get all tore up in that slightly Al Green-backed-by-the Temptations way but only after a dreamy flute intro, THE DELFONICS’ sprightly William Hart-penned “I Told You So” (Philly Groove PG 182), a fast plopping rhythm dancer (for a change – and it’s one that suits them), THE TEMPREES’ synthetically busy smooth stomp treatment of the old “At Last” (We Produce XPA 1812), and THE FANTASTIC FOUR’s return (with their old ‘60s sound) on the Al Kent-produced churning “I’m Falling In Love (I Feel Good All Over)” (Eastbound E 620), which for my own dancing taste is a bit too leadenly “medium” in tempo.
JACKIE MOORE: Both Ends Against The Middle (Atlantic 45-2989).
I’ve been meaning to mention this Tony Bell (brother of Thom)-arranged dancer for ages: now several others have taken it up in print, and I’ll just concur that it is absolutely MADE for Great Britain . . . if it came out here on single it would be a practically guaranteed smash. Miss Moore and her backing chix wail away mightily, yet it’s the irresistible rhythm that sells the song (OK, the beat is more Northern than London, but that does seem to be where the hits come from, huh?).
BILL AMESBURY: Virginia (Touch Me Like You Do) (Casablanca NEB 0001).
As the number suggests, this Canadian master-purchase (yet another Maple Leaf hit for the US) is the first single on the unusually decorative new label that graces the records of Neil Bogart’s latest venture. Bogart left Buddah Records to set up Casablanca as a completely commercial label which would only handle records that could be promoted with full effect in the ever more claustrophobic world of American radio, and his entire executive staff is made up of top promotion men. Sensible, of course . . . but even so, welcome to the wonderful world of music, ’74. (On which note, let it be recorded that last week, Wurlitzer stopped making juke boxes). Anyway, Bill Amesbury makes a spirited noise with much Trini Lopez-style clapping and crowd noises behind a frantically strumming tinny guitar (and some banjo for that authentic goodtimey touch), reminding me the while of what Neil Diamond might have sounded like at a hootenanny. And, indeed, it’s gradually climbing the Chart. Continue reading “March 30, 1974: The New Birth, Jackie Moore, Bill Amesbury, Sami Jo, Henry Gross”