(Pictured: soul singer Margie Joseph in 1973.)
Instead of following up an American Top 40 post by looking at the Billboard Bottom 60, let’s look instead at the Cash Box Looking Ahead chart for the week of July 17, 1971, which is like Billboard‘s Bubbling Under chart.
1. “Crazy Love”/Helen Reddy. “Crazy Love,” Reddy’s followup to “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” is Van Morrison’s song.
2. “And When She Smiles”/The Wildweeds. The Carpenters sang this song as early as 1971 as “And When He Smiles,” but the version by the Wildweeds, a band from Connecticut, is the original.
8. “Make It With You”/Ralfi Pagan. Pagan’s falsetto version of “Make It With You,” which had been a #1 hit by Bread a year before, maybe ain’t for everybody, but it got Pagan onto Soul Train and boosted his career as one of the top Latin artists of the early 70s. In 1978, he was murdered under mysterious circumstances while touring in Colombia. The crime was never solved.
9. “That Other Woman Got My Man and Gone”/Margie Joseph. If “That Other Woman Got My Man and Gone” puts you in mind of Johnnie Taylor’s “Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone,” that was probably the idea.
16. “Leave My Man (Woman) Alone”/Raelettes. In which Ray Charles’ backup singers gender-switch one of his songs. “Leave My Man (Woman) Alone” is advice you’d be wise to take.
17. “Breezin'”/Gabor Szabo and Bobby Womack. Although “Breezin'” was more famously recorded in 1976 by George Benson, this “Breezin'” is the OG.
20. “Good Enough to Be Your Wife”/Jeannie C. Riley. If Carly Simon’s contemporaneous “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be” is about the ambivalence many young women felt about being expected to fit into society’s expectations about marriage and domesticity circa 1971, “Good Enough to Be Your Wife” expresses a dissenting view. Jeannie C’s man says marriage doesn’t fit his way of life, but she says (paraphrasing), you want the milk, honey, you best buy the cow.
21. “Near You”/Boz Scaggs. Boz was already on his way to stardom in the San Francisco Bay area by 1971. “Near You” would fit right in with his stuff from the late 70s and early 80s, a period that Boz now refers to as “the Hollywood years.”
22. “Candy Apple Red”/R. Dean Taylor. After throwing shots with the police in a doomed attempt to escape a murder charge in “Indiana Wants Me,” R. Dean Taylor commits suicide over a lost love in “Candy Apple Red.” In a church. His last words are, “Someone please pray for me on Sunday,” and the record goes to the fade with a bit of the Lord’s Prayer. What the hell, R. Dean?
23. “Hymn 43″/Jethro Tull. “Hymm 43” seems like such a weird choice for a single. It’s hard to imagine on it AM radio alongside the likes of “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” and “Draggin’ the Line.”
25. “I Want to Take You Higher”/Kool and the Gang. As long as the original exists, you don’t really need this version of “I Want to Take You Higher,” but it’s fine.
26. “Where Evil Grows”/Poppy Family
28. “Do You Know What I Mean”/Lee Michaels
30. “Where You Lead”/Barbra Streisand
A handful of singles on this week’s Looking Ahead charts would scrape onto various Top 40s and bigtime radio stations. “Do You Know What I Mean” would end up the biggest. “Where Evil Grows” deserved to be bigger. I have for many years fanboy’d over “Where You Lead.” And “K-Jee” is straight-up disco, years before the word came into widespread use.
29. “Call Me Up in Dreamland”/Van Morrison. After the success of “Domino” and “Blue Money” from His Band and the Street Choir, “Call Me Up in Dreamland” was a stiff. It’s got a great chorus, but the verses are lacking and Morrison’s tenor sax is kind of old-timey.
Sometimes I worry A) that I should do better at keeping up with current music trends strictly because playing that music on the radio is my job now and B) that I am missing out on new stuff that’s good and worthwhile. But I remember that there are hundreds and hundreds of good, worthwhile, and/or interesting records from the preceding 130 years or so that I haven’t heard yet. Then I stop worrying and listen to them instead.
Programming Note: A while back, a reader asked a question I am happy to answer. But my answer is going to be a Sidepiece post, for reasons I will enumerate there. It will go out over the weekend. If you’re not a subscriber yet, the Sidepiece is free and worth the price. Find out about it and sign up here.
9 thoughts on “Got It and Gone”
I thought, “Hey, is that the same ‘K-Jee’ that appears on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack?”
And it is, as you would say, the OG version of that tune.
The Saturday Night Fever cover (I forget who by) is one of my favorites from that soundtrack but I’m digging this version too.
I bought a Ralfi Pagan best-of, probably for cheap, based entirely on his cover of Bob Dylan and George Harrison’s “I’d Have You Anytime,” which I came across somehow and liked a lot. I remember the rest of it as kinda falsetto Al Green loverboy stuff, only not as grabby as Al Green. Maybe I should take it out again.
I sure hope George Benson and Tommy LiPuma bought Gabor Szabo dinner before he died. That was a straight-up ripoff except that Szabo played it better (and I’m a Benson fan).
K-Jee was indeed on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Where Evil Grows ended up on the Top 50 of 1971 at WJET Erie PA as I recall. They played a lot of Poppy Family.
I should’ve realized that the follow-up to Indiana Wants Me would have to be something infinitely worse than that steaming pile was. Does anyone know or better yet understand how R. Dean Taylor managed to get recording contracts from multiple labels despite pretty much everything he did musically stink, apart from co-writing Love Child and I’m Livin’ in Shame? I sure don’t.
Dean’s also known for “There’s a Ghost in My House” a co-write with Holland, Dozier, and Holland that is a legendary Northern Soul classic..
Wesley, I had to look it up, but it looks like he did well enough on a few Canadian records for Motown labels in ’61, ’62 and ’63 to get a writing and recording deal with them in ’64. Motown hadn’t really broken big in the U.S. yet, so they were probably pretty pleased with airplay and sales in Toronto, Windsor and other places.
That deal kept him in-house for ten years.
Apart from three singles and an album for Polydor after leaving Motown and a one-shot country single for 20th Century, the rest of his stuff was on labels I’ve never heard of (Jane, Farr, Ragamuffin and Strummer).
The Wildweeds were a band with “Big” Al Anderson later of NRBQ. He left that outfit to get sober in the early 90’s. Always a great songwriter he then took his talents to Nashville with much success.
Margie Joseph’s record before this was a very radical re-working of “Stop! In the Name of Love” that only made it to #96 pop.
“Breezin'” was heard often on my college station, both as a single and as the music bed on the carted sign-on and sign-off, from fall quarter, 1971 onward. Blue Thumb reserviced the 45 to radio in July of ’72, and I remember hearing the “B” side, “Azure Blue”, that summer on KYMN/Northfield, MN. A couple of years ago, I made a medley out of the original versions of “Black Magic Woman” and “Gypsy Queen”, and Gabor’s playing on the latter is just as tasty as Mike’s above mention.
“Hymn 43” sounded fantastic on the same AM college station. The Bee Gees and Tommy James approved. Just for good measure, the promo 45 was in mono.
As far as keeping up with current musical trends: the piece I read just before clicking on your post, JB, was from Mark Mathews over on the Pat Downey chat board. He’d just finished making a couple of CDRs for a friend, consisting of pop hits from 2019-’21 and he drew two conclusions: every song ended cold – most of them arbitrarily and abruptly – and every single one of them was “brickwalled to DEATH”, often to the point of distortion. My battered hearing simply can’t tolerate that level of abuse; it is literally painful to withstand for any length of time.
My predecessor MD at the college station still keeps track of current stuff that leans AC, and tipped me off about James Bay’s “Pink Lemonade”, after seeing his performance on The Artists Den. I tracked down the original album for a listen and couldn’t tolerate the extreme audio cruelty. What a difference it made when I tracked down that particular live performance without the obligatory Wall Of Brick™ abuse.
My kids are now 29 and 27, and one of the earliest bits of music criticism I got from my younger when he was in his teens was about fades. Forget climate change and college loan debt, the worst crime my generation perpetrated on humanity was easily a fade-out ending. “Figure out how to end the thing, and record that”, was his take.
I don’t know how widely shared an opinion that was among his peers, but it seems to be how it’s been getting done the last decade or so.