Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Flirts - 10¢ a Dance

American record producer, songwriter and musician Bobby “O” Orlando had an idea in the early 80’s for a high-energy new-wave dance sound. He wrote all the songs, played all the instruments and produced all the tracks. He just needed to put faces and voices to his project. After interviewing many session singers, dancers and models, he found himself a blonde, a brunette and a redhead. Sandy, Andrea and Rebecca were the first of a rotating line-up for this girl-group. And thus the Flirts were born.

This month we celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of 10¢ a Dance, the debut album from the Flirts. The sound is up-tempo, Euro-influenced dance music with a more new-wave spin.

Side one starts off with “Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime)”, the first single that got some big airplay for the group thanks to a video on MTV. The lyrics tell of a guy who has been two-timing with another one of the girl’s friends. I always linked this one back in 1982 to another single that came out which I loved: Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” (thanks to the obligatory jukebox references in both). And yes, kids, jukeboxes did only require a dime for plays back in the day. Some took quarters but then you got three - a bargain.

“Boy Crazy” continues the dance beat by adding some various percussion sounds to the mix. This time we have one of the ladies in heat; she’s even hitting on the guys of her friends. I guess what was bad for the gander is okay for the goose?

Orlando tries his hand at 60‘s surf-rock with “On the Beach”. Combine this one with the B-52’s “Rock Lobster” and you have the start of a new-wave beach-blanket bingo set.

“Passion” was the second single, a steamy, sexually charged number.

Side two begins with “We Just Want to Dance”, another track released as a dance club promo. It features a jangling guitar riff and a surf-rock beat.

Also released as a promo was “Calling All Boys”, where again touch upon the theme of a woman who knows what she wants and is willing to do whatever to get it.

“Jungle Rock” was used as a B-side for the second single. If you did not think the beats could get any faster, you were wrong. Orlando takes his normally solid tempo and kicks it in to double-time with this one.

“I Only Want to Be With You” is a cover of the Mike Hawker and Ivor Raymonde classic from the 1960’s, first recorded by Dusty Springfield. The percussion is strong and prominent on the first verse, adding keyboards and synths on the second. It manages to straddle the decades nicely.

“Surf’s Up” closes the album with an instrumental version of the earlier “On the Beach“, with the girls chiming in with the periodic title chant.

Back in 1982, the local college radio station I was listening to at the time played quite a bit of the Flirts songs. They were up-beat and very danceable. As such, by the time I hit up the local Record Giant to purchase a copy of 10¢ a Dance on vinyl, I was pretty familiar with most of the record.

This one got a lot of play on my turntable as well as making it to a cassette recording for my car (with the flip side going to Bananarama, another of my favorite girl-groups at the time). The beats were great to pop on when I was getting ready to go out for the evening, putting me in the mood for a night of dancing. There was no denying that Bobby “O” knew what he was doing when it came to production. These are some seriously polished tracks with plenty of layers to keep the party-goers interested and the deejays with options for mixing and matching.


80sMusicGirl said...

Holy Moses! I'm thinking I don't know who these girls are but then again, I probably do and just don't remember. Great blog Martin :)

Martin Maenza said...

Always a pleasure to hear from you! Yes, I am pretty certain you know songs by the Flirts. Do a YouTube or other search and see.