Friday, November 18, 2011

Those Delicious Disco Divas

THOSE DELICIOUS DISCO DIVAS:  As the mirrored ball cast its sparkling spell over the dance floor filled with sexy,  well-coiffed and polyester-clad beautiful bodies, it was those incredible female voices and nonstop throbbing beats coming from the bank of loudspeakers overhead that made us fall in love every night at our home away from home: the disco!   It seemed that every town had its own version of Studio 54 where the average Joe and Jill could transform themselves into star attractions on the dance floor, twirling and boogying the night away until the DJ put on "The Last Dance" by The Diva herself -- Donna Summer -- signaling that our magical disco ride was coming to an end and we'd have to return to our humdrum lives.   Many of the vinyl discs from those glittery days still hold their own with their lush string orchestra arrangements that took dance music into a dreamy stratosphere.  Here are some of them:  Gloria Gaynor gave us her anthem "I Will Survive" -- but on her much-overlooked LP Experience Gloria Gaynor she took us into heaven with an incredible medley that includes that musical chestnut "How How The Moon" like you've never heard it before or since.  And that amazon Grace Jones crooned "La Vie en Rose," "Send in the Clowns," and "What I Did For Love" on her Portfolio LP in incredibly rich arrangements that still gives us Grace-filled goosebumps!  And that tremendous trio known simply as Labelle was more than just "Lady Marmalade" -- they were the ones that took disco into the future with their funky outer space costumes and sassy, strong attitudes that made everyone take notice. Thelma Houston provided another dance floor nugget in "Don't Leave Me This Way" using her powerful voice -- listen, girlfriend, we won't leave you that way, for sure!!  And providing the sexier side of tunes in the sexy disco era was the late Sylvia Robinson (who passed away September 2011) who breathed and moaned heavily on her major hit "Pillow Talk" -- getting every boy and girl feeling sexy all over and wanting to do some pillow talk of their own late into the night...and then some!
Gloria Gaynor "How High The Moon":
Grace Jones "What I Did For Love":
Labelle "Lady Marmalade":
Thelma Houston "Don't Leave Me This Way":
Sylvia Robinson "Pillow Talk":
photo collage by Greg Firlotte