I recently took a tumble down a very deep YouTube rabbit hole full of TV mail order album collections from companies like Ronco and K-Tel. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, back in the 70's and early 80's, these companies(which also sold things like pocket fishermen, Ginsu knives, and food choppers) would cram together compilations of hits-and lots of misses-and sell them via TV commercials. People must have bought these albums, because they kept selling them up until the mid-80's. During the late 90's, a similar product called "Now That's What I Call Music",emerged and is still going strong today.
For this week's selection, I chose Ronco's "I Love Music", from 1977. It features some familiar hits, along with songs you've probably never heard. Nonetheless, it's a fun little album, and I hope you enjoy it....or at least have a good laugh at it's expense.
1.Silver- Wham Bam Shang A Lang 2. Diana Ross- Love Hangover 3.Daryl Hall And John Oates -She's Gone 4. Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band -A Fifth Of Beethoven 5.Eric Carmen -Never Gonna Fall In Love Again 6.Barry Manilow- I Write The Songs 7.Miracles- Love Machine 8. Starbuck- Moonlight Feels Right 9. Manhattans- Kiss And Say Goodbye 10.England Dan And John Ford Coley- I'd Really Love To See You Tonight 11. Spinners- Rubberband Man 12. Jacksons- Enjoy Yourself
OK, here is my review of Ronco's "I Love Music" compilation.
01. Silver - "Wham Bam Shang A Lang" - OK, 6.5 out of 10 song. Just shy of a couple really memorable hooks, in spite of an admirable try at them. 02. Diana Ross - "Love Hangover" - Shades of "Le Freak", ... by de Chic. That said, probably the most forgettable one of the bunch. I like how it switches up though, I admit. 03. Daryl Hall And John Oates - "She's Gone" - One of the great classics for sure, all the soul and melody of a great classic. 04. Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band - "A Fifth Of Beethoven" - Always liked this one, nice to hear it again. 05. Eric Carmen - "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" - Probably natural initial sentiments after a tough break-up. Great melody and vocals for one of them there sentimental type songs. 06. Barry Manilow - "I Write The Songs" - Written by Bruce Johnston from The Beach Boys, as a tribute to Brian Wilson. Pretty good song, not as good as his composition "Disney Girls" from the "Surf's Up" Beach Boys album, but a pretty good one. 07. Miracles - "Love Machine" - This one has a good groove, would make for a good mix with The Moodies "Singer in a RR Band", and the song "Land of a Thousand Dances". 08. Starbuck - "Moonlight Feels Right" - Peaceful easy feeling, nice one. 09. Manhattans - "Kiss And Say Goodbye" - A low-key song that has a lot of soul, really like it. 10. England Dan And John Ford Coley- "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight" - Nice gentle vocal harmonies in this gem of a tune! 11. Spinners - "Rubberband Man" - First 45 I ever owned. Used to play it over and over. Still sounds great after all of these years. 12. Jacksons - "Enjoy Yourself" - Say what I want about Michael and Co., but they do now how to lay down the grooves.
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Prime Cuts: "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight", "She's Gone", "Rubberband Man", "Enjoy Yourself" Bottom Line: Fun nostalgia trip, and fun to pay a little better attention to some classic radio staples.
Thanks for sharing Chippa, got you marked down for a couple months from now.
Now I'll continue to let some more of those k-tel type CDs playing from the youtube link that was provided.
This is right out of my childhood, so I remember most of these songs.
1.Silver- Wham Bam Shang A Lang : I really always thought this song was by America. I looked up more about the band Silver, and found out that Brent Mydland from Grateful Dead was a member.
2. Diana Ross- Love Hangover : This isn't one of Diana's best solo songs.
3.Daryl Hall And John Oates -She's Gone : Daryl Hall has one of the best voices of all time.
4. Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band -A Fifth Of Beethoven : Get out the bell bottoms, kiddos!
5.Eric Carmen -Never Gonna Fall In Love Again : Milquetoast!
6.Barry Manilow- I Write The Songs : Despite it's reputation, this is a genuinely great 70's song.
7.Miracles- Love Machine : The Miracles without Smokey Robinson? No thanks.
8. Starbuck- Moonlight Feels Right : When this song was popular, I heard it a few times a day at the city swimming pool. Oh nostalgia!
9. Manhattans- Kiss And Say Goodbye : One of the best soul songs of all time. I adore this song, and always have.
10.England Dan And John Ford Coley- I'd Really Love To See You Tonight : I always thought they were singing, "I'm not talkin bout millenium" (which makes no sens, in retrospect), but I guess it's "I'm not talkin bout movin in".
11. Spinners- Rubberband Man : More nostalgia! It makes me wish I had a time machine for just one day
12. Jacksons- Enjoy Yourself : One of the Jackson's lesser known hits, but still quite the great song.
- “Wham bam shang a lang”: so very late ‘70s American romantic pop… the production couldn’t be any more typical of that era, with those synthetizer effects, that solo, those strings and those vocals. Fun stuff to start with.
- “Love hangover”: Diana Ross, here! Well, her song isn’t too good for me, she used to have better stuff. It’s goes from a groovy ballad to a disco song but it loses the thread in the transition: once it gets to being disco, nothing else happens. There’s no more melody, no more anything. That ascending “dual scale” (if you could call it so) by the bass is amazing though.
- “She’s gone”: this one sounds familiar to me. Fantastic vocals, both individually and harmonizing. Good song, pretty inspired and with a good melody.
- “A fifth of Beethoven”: so ELO weren’t the only ones to mess with Beethoven’s masterpiece? I’m not a huge fan of any of the two, but to tell the truth this merge with disco seems to have come out better than the one Jeff did with Berry’s rock n roll. Not wonderful, but the mix is still interesting and fun.
- “Never gonna fall in love again”: again, this sounds so late ‘70s – early ‘80s with those strings in the background and an inevitable slightly corny touch. The melody is surprisingly good though and very original, particularly the chorus. I found it pretty pleasant, the kind of stuff that you end up moving your foot to.
- “I write the songs”: I didn’t like this one much. I found it way too cloying and theatrical, a bit like a song from a musical. The middle eight before the last choruses is particularly terrible. You’ve got to applaud the subject of the song though, a vindication of the somewhat overlooked and forgotten art of songwriting, which is the genesis of all the other stuff that surrounds a musician’s activity.
- “Love machine”: the injection of rhythm was needed by the album after a couple of ballads, but this song in itself doesn’t work IMO. I’d say whoever wrote it didn’t have anything to start with: not a good verse, not a solid chorus, not an interesting chords sequence… the result was a tasteless collage of different forced parts that transmits nothing.
- “Moonlight feels right”: I love the rhythmic section of this song. Drums and bass blend together really well and do some pretty interesting stuff. The song is dynamic and has a pretty square but takes you well into the chorus. As for this one, it’s just a word (two syllables, two notes) followed by a riff; as simple as that, but it works, mainly because of the riff. The xylophon (is it a natural one or a synth-xylophone?) solo is pretty fun. Good song overall.
- “Kiss and say goodbye”: well, we got a bit romantic here. The melody is really similar to “Raining in my heart” by Slim Harpo, just a bit less bluesy. Nice instrumental song on this one, the guitar work is very subtle and fits the song perfectly. Not my favorite genre, but still I can enjoy a good song, and this one is.
- “I’d really love to see you tonight”: kind of the same style that “Wham bam…”: corny romantic pop ballad with some bolero influences on it. The melody is not bad though, and that is not a minor detail. It makes the song very listenable.
- “Rubberband man”: I’ll have to split the analysis of this one in two. The chorus is really good, with a great melody and those female backing vocals singing it. Whenever the song enters the chorus it’s a completely different matter. All the rest is pretty forgettable. It’s like a lady who has a perfect body but lacks 4 teeth, has a huge nose and a face full of pimples.
- “Enjoy yourself”: I didn’t know this song by the Jacksons, but their seal is all over it. Groovy funky stuff with some soul influences, although in terms of melody it’s far from being an inspired one IMO. I find it pretty flat.
For some reason, probably because of how it looks, the cover art made me expect exactly the kind of stuff I ended up finding. There were no surprises in that aspect, or, if anything, it was surprising to find out how much a simple cover can transmit in terms of what to expect. The material was a mix of mid-tempo disco-oriented songs very typical of that era, full of strings, synthetizers and funky basslines, along with a few ballads and one or two upbeat songs, all illuminated by mirror balls and shiny with ‘70s grease over it, as I had expected.
Now talking about expectations in terms of how much I would enjoy the material, they were pretty low. I’m not usually a big fan of that kind of stuff. But here is when the unexpected part comes: I actually enjoyed it! Way more than I had expected. Yes, the corniness was there and as I said before, almost all of the album was a bit shiny with grease, but the material had it’s quality. There were many good melodies, all of the songs sounded very clear (well, all but “Love hangover” and “Love machine”, which were pretty messy and shapeless) and I found them easy to enjoy at a first listen. The songs weren’t very pretentious, they were just direct pop or disco stuff, but there’s no need to be pretentious or try to complicate things when you’ve got a good melody, and many of the songs here had one. As for the bads, a few (3 or 4) songs were pretty poor, flat or messy IMO, and some of the songs were a bit overloaded with instruments.
Also, despite the fact that the songs had different authors and probably were from different years, I found the album to form a pretty cohesive unit, with some defining lines which were quite well respected by all the songs. I think it would work great in waiting rooms, for example when you go to a doctor or dentist.
So, in the whole, it didn’t blow my mind, but I found the experienced pretty enjoyable and definitely above my expectations.
Silver- Wham Bam Shang A Lang - Quite ELO-ish guitar sound as it kicks off, then it goes all America. Very smooth and I like the string accents. Goodie.
Diana Ross- Love Hangover - I've always liked this song although I'm not a huge Motown fan. Best of all is the contrast between the sultry start and the bouncy outro, classic disco and surprisingly nostalgic.
Daryl Hall And John Oates -She's Gone - Well, it's a classic, enough said. It takes you back to the mood of the start of Love Hangover as it kicks off but then it's away on its own journey with some great vocals and a tasty finish.
Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band -A Fifth Of Beethoven - Heh, you don't get chance to expect Jeff to come crashing in, the intro is too short. You simply can't help twitching along to it. Love the keyboards.
Eric Carmen -Never Gonna Fall In Love Again - I like everything I've ever heard by Eric Carmen but never really followed him up. I'm sure this song was covered by someone else in the UK, maybe Dana? This is a great version, his voice is fab as usual. It does put me in mind of a Eurovision song though, not sure if this is good or bad.
Barry Manilow- I Write The Songs - Bazza! I love him! So what if he's a bit of a guilty pleasure and has had so much plastic surgery he looks like a Pelham Puppet - he is the master of the building crescendo, has written some stonking songs (but not this one, surprisingly) and best of all has a brilliant line in self deprecating humour. Diss him at your peril. *punches the air*
Miracles- Love Machine - Well if the intro doesn't grab you, you aren't alive. Imagine all the daft dancing ever done to this, it hurtles along and simply insists that you prance along with it. Best not attempted after a night of cheap red though, it's a pretty nippy tempo.
Starbuck- Moonlight Feels Right - Another gem from this era, love the backing bongoes and especially the twinkling glockenspiel. Goes in the same category as Wham Bam Shang a Lang, smooth and totally of its time.
Manhattans- Kiss And Say Goodbye - Love a spoken intro. This is a great song, but if anyone else is into Flight of the Conchords you can probably imagine them doing a brilliant spoof like it. Or is that just me?
England Dan And John Ford Coley- I'd Really Love To See You Tonight - I can remember Noel Edmunds, the Radio 1 DJ, absolutely loving this and playing it endlessly, sometimes twice in a row. So it's kind of ingrained in my memory from this time. Another smoothie with some neat lyrics, wonder why we never heard much else from these though?
Spinners- Rubberband Man - Time to strut down the street in a faux fur coat and a trilby, nodding to the favoured few. Oozes attitude, love it.
Jacksons- Enjoy Yourself - Typical Jacksons fare, not outstanding for them but still a good foot-tapper.
I knew I'd enjoy this just reading the tracklist, at the time I'd have looked down my nose at a lot of these songs because they were dance oriented and I was a rocker. But hearing them again now brings that whole era back and it's been a blast. 8 out of 10 for me, thanks for making this review a real pleasure Chippa
Last Edit: Aug 22, 2015 21:55:10 GMT by unomusette
It's all good entertainment, it doesn't cost a penny
Post by queenofthehours on Aug 27, 2015 16:58:33 GMT
1.Silver - Wham Bam Shang A Lang – OK, a lot of the artists on this album I have not heard of before including these. This is a very 70s song indeed and features some ELO-alike strings.
2. Diana Ross - Love Hangover – I don’t know this song, is it famous? It isn’t my favourite Diana Ross song but it’s passable. Love the disco effects. I can see this working perfectly down the disco.
3.Daryl Hall And John Oates - She's Gone – I know this song, I quite like it – except for the sax. That’s the kiss of death for me.
4. Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band - A Fifth Of Beethoven – This is more like it. Never hear of these guys but Beethoven is a winner as every ELO fan knows. Disco classical = bring it back.
5.Eric Carmen - Never Gonna Fall In Love Again – I like Eric Carmen when he sung that song based on Rachmaninov but I can’t say I’m keen on the rest of his oeuvre. This one’s not too bad though.
6.Barry Manilow - I Write The Songs – Sort of like a more famous Eric Carmen? I’ve a soft spot for Barry. I like the arrangement here.
7.Miracles - Love Machine – Disco? Not my favourite track. Not at all.
8. Starbuck - Moonlight Feels Right – Who’s Starbuck? I like this better than the last track but the essence of 70s-ness is making me queasy.
9. Manhattans - Kiss And Say Goodbye – I don’t know who the Manhattans are but this is rather a nice song. Very soul-y.
10.England Dan And John Ford Coley - I'd Really Love To See You Tonight – Who the heck is “England Dan”? is he from England? I know this song but I didn’t know this strange artist had sung it.
11. Spinners - Rubberband Man – Maybe my favourite song on here. Another nice soul song.
12. Jacksons - Enjoy Yourself – This is another good one. Great bass.
I can’t say I disliked this album because the only music I DO dislike is in the charts right NOW. This is like a choir of angels in comparison. However, this type of 70s music gives me a rash – I can’t help what I’ll allergic too. I just cannot do it, just cannot take pleasure in it. But, taken as a whole the album is very consistent and would be great for a party. Perhaps I’d like each track more individually but all of them in one place? It’s too much for my delicate constitution.
Horacewimp: I did, it sounds interesting
Aug 30, 2020 7:27:36 GMT
Horacewimp: Hi elophile good to see you, hope you are keeping well.
Aug 31, 2020 20:25:03 GMT
elophile: Hey-hey! Horacewimp Livin' the dream here in crazytown, er, I mean America! How goes it with you? ::c0112::
Sept 2, 2020 18:11:21 GMT
Horacewimp: We are all good thanks, just wishing I could go on a foreign holiday, it’s just not worth the risk with Covid and the possibility of a 14 day quarantine, we may do some short breaks in the U.K.
Sept 2, 2020 20:30:46 GMT
BSJ: *sniff* no meet up in Detroit's airport. *sniff*
Sept 2, 2020 21:56:17 GMT