Best Of 70s Soul: Love Songs

Anna Selezneva (Mixte Magazine)
In May 1976 a record was released that would have an unforeseen and lasting impact on the music industry. ’Ten Percent’ by Double Exposure was an early release on the New York independent label Salsoul Records. The company became the first record label to make a twelve inch single available to everyone. The rare format was previously only available to DJs as promotional items or bought under the counter at certain record stores. The extended version was created by Walter Gibbons, a DJ at New York’s Galaxy 21 who’d built his reputation making exclusive versions of tracks to play in his sets. In 1976 it was unheard of for a DJ to set foot in a recording studio, being seen as little more than living jukeboxes by the serious music industry. Recording studios were strictly the domain of recording artists and producers, so Walter found himself in a unique position, gaining access to a world no DJ had been granted before. The album ‘The men in the glass booth’, out on BBE Records, is a tribute to those groundbreaking DJ’s like Walter Gibbons and John Morales.

Probably the first funk record that I bumped into was 'Fire' by The Ohio Players. When I heard the song on the radio, I was positively stunned and asked my grandfather what the song was about, because I couldn't understand the lyrics at all. 'It's about fire', he answered. He was totally right. The song is about fire.

Anna Selezneva (Mixte Magazine)
The same year, 1975, Esther Phillips released a disco-style update of Dinah Washington's ‘What a Diff'rence a Day Makes’, her biggest hit single since ‘Release Me’ (1962). It reached the Top 20 in the United States and the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart. On November 8, 1975, she performed the song on an episode of NBC's Saturday Night (later called Saturday Night Live) hosted by Candice Bergen. The accompanying album of the same name became her biggest seller yet, with arranger Joe Beck on guitar, Michael Brecker on tenor sax, David Sanborn on alto sax, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Steve Khan on guitar and Don Grolnick on keyboards. She continued to record and perform throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, completing seven albums for Kudu and four for Mercury Records, which signed her in 1977. In 1983, she charted for the final time with ‘Turn Me Out’, recorded for Muse, a small independent label, which reached number 85 on the R&B chart. She completed recording her last album a few months before her death on August 7 in 1984.

Enjoy this Valentine's edition of Best Of 70s Soul! Next week it's all hands on deck for a new part of Smooth Sailing.


Ruby Andrews – I Wanna Be Near You [John Morales Mix] (1977)
Esther Phillips – What A Diff'rence A Day Makes (1975)
Epicentre – Get Off The Phone (1978)
Brief Encounter – Human (1975)
Leroy Hutson – So Nice (1979)
David Ruffin – Walk Away From Love (1975)
Bettye Swann – When The Game Is Played On You (1974)
General Johnson – Don't Walk Away (1976)
Fausto Papetti – Isn’t She Lovely (1977)
Finishing Touch – Don’t Put Me Down (1975)
Archie Bell & the Drells – Where Will You Go When The Party's Over [Eddy’s Edit] (1976)
Double Exposure – Ten Percent (1976)
Bill Harris – Am I Cold, Am I Hot (1975)
Ohio Players – Fire (1974)
Leon Collins – I Just Wanna Say I Love You (1974)


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