Top 5: Gotcha Fever

(I’m still hoping to whip up a little reader participation based on Thursday’s post about songs and other bits of cultural flotsam that you found scary or disturbing when you were a kid. Click here, but come back.)

It hasn’t been that long since I chose a record chart from 1972 for this Friday feature,  but I’m grabbing another one today because it’s mighty interesting: from XPRS in San Diego, dated February 19, 1972. The station’s main chart featured the top 30 soul hits, with 10 top pop hits in a separate section of the chart.  Here are five from the soul section:

1. “I Gotcha”/Joe Tex. Some serious soul shouting here, so real that it’s hard to imagine that it might become a significant pop hit, although in the winter of 1972, it hadn’t yet. It would be later in the spring before “I Gotcha” crossed over to pop, during a golden season for soul. When it reached Number 2 pop in May (behind Roberta Flack’s “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”), it shared the Top Ten with the Chi-Lites’ “Oh Girl,” “I’ll Take You There” by the Staple Singers, “Betcha By Golly Wow” by the Stylistics, and Aretha Franklin’s “Day Dreaming.”

3. “Jungle Fever”/Chakachas. Here’s one of the weirder damn things you’re likely to hear, by a group of Latin musicians who assembled in Belgium in the late 50s. “Jungle Fever” is a sizzling R&B groove (oft sampled in later years), its only lyric a series of orgasmic moans—which eventually got it banned from airplay on the BBC. That this made the pop Top 10 in the spring of 1972 is another of the things about the 1970s that makes me very, very happy.

11. “I Can’t Help Myself”/Donnie Elbert. Elbert was famous for maybe four months between late 1971 and early 1972 thanks to a pair of indelible Motown covers, “Where Did Our Love Go” and “I Can’t Help Myself,” both of which are all kinds of awesome. YouTube DJ Music Mike has more:

16. “The Day I Found Myself”/Honey Cone. In 1971, Honey Cone came out of the Invictus/Hot Wax hit factory with three magnificent singles, “Want Ads,” “Stick Up,” and “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show.” “The Day I Found Myself” is a mid-tempo ballad that might have been better placed as their third single, but even in the fourth spot, I can’t figure out why it missed being a bigger pop hit.

21. “Taurus”/Dennis Coffey. After “Scorpio” hit the Top 10 in early January, another Zodiac-themed record from Coffey was almost inevitable. This thing is hotter than hell, with searing guitars and a fierce groove, and it ought to be a lot better known than it is. I’ve posted it before, but I’m doing it again because you really ought to hear it.

A brief online history of XPRS says that by 1974, the station operated out of Los Angeles and was playing country. The call letters are still on the air today on the same frequency, as an all-sports station. Too bad: XPRS is a great set of call letters for a music station.

Get Those Beer Taps Ready: This weekend, The Mrs. and I are pleased to host whiteray, of Echoes in the Wind, and the Texas Gal here in Madison for Blog Summit and Beer Spree III: Cool Subtitle I Thought of Last Night While Falling Asleep But Can’t Remember This Morning. It’s our pleasure to return the hospitality they’ve shown us on two previous trips to their homebase in Minnesota. If you’re looking for any of us this weekend, we’ll be in the bar.

“Taurus”/Dennis Coffey (buy it here)

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