Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Gloria Gaynor - Love Tracks
Side one starts with “Stoplight”, an upbeat tune about putting the brakes on a guy’s moves until he proves his intentions are genuine. It was written by Dino Fekaris, one of the album’s producers.
For the second single, Gaynor asked the question “Anybody Wanna Party?” The response was lukewarm on the US Billboard Hot 200 (number 105) but very positive on the US Billboard R&B chart (number 16). Also penned by Fekaris, this one features a very funky bass groove and steady drum beat (the latter provided by James Gadson).
Things slow down a bit with the ballad “Please, Be There”. It was written by David Van De Pitte who did a lot of work with Motown in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. It very much has the Diana Ross and the Supremes sound to it, thanks in part to the backup singers accompanying Gaynor.
“Goin’ Out of My Head” was first a hit for Little Anthony and the Imperials back in 1964. Gaynor covers it here.
Side two opens with her signature smash hit “I Will Survive”, co-written by Fekaris and Freddie Perren. Originally a B-side to the single for “Substitute”, deejays flipped the record and started to play it. As a result, the song went to number 17 in Austria, number 10 in New Zealand, number 5 in Canada, number 4 in the Netherlands, Norway and on the US Billboard R&B chart, number 3 in Sweden, number 2 in South Africa, and number 1 in Ireland, the UK and on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Dance charts. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Disco Recording in 1980 (the only year that award category existed). It ranked at number 492 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and at number 97 on Billboard magazine’s list of the All-Time Hot 100. With its lyrics about finding inner strength and enduring, it became an anthem for both women in the 70’s and the gay population soon after. For me, it is one of those key songs of the disco era.
Perren, who played keyboards on the album as well, wrote “You Can Exit”. With a lovely, lighter vocal, Gaynor tells her cheating man he can hit the road.
“I Said Yes”, another Perren penned tune, is up next.
The closing track “Substitute” only went to number 107 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 78 on the Billboard R&B single chart. Here, Gaynor covers of a mid-tempo tune first recorded by the Righteous Brothers in 1977 for their album The Sons of Mrs. Righteous; Clout, a South African girl group, recorded it next in 1977 and made it a top-ten hit in Europe. The lyrics are an offer to take the place of an unappreciative lover.
Back in 1978, I would have been all over Love Tracks had I heard any of the tracks beyond the mega-hit single. Gloria Gaynor, along with a group of great musicians, recorded a very solid collection of tunes from start to finish. The album did get a CD release in Japan back in 1992, but Big Break Records has released an expanded CD version (with a number of 12 inch single remixes) more recently. I would love for this one to hit the digital market as well, to widen the listening audience further.