Album of the
Soul Express CD Review
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CD reissue by Shout (UK, 2011)
The original album on Casablanca, 1980
1) You Ought To Be Dancin' (45" Mix)
2) My Feet Won't Move But My Shoes Did The Boogie (45" Mix)
3) You Ought To Be Dancin'
4) If I Knew Then What I Know Now
5) Special Things For You
6) My Feet Won't Move But My Shoes Did The Boogie
7) Bad Dancin' Rita
8) Sweeter Than Honey
9) Warm Nights Soft Lights
10) Always In My Heart
11) Bad, Bad Rita
12) Hey Everybody! (Party Hearty)
Former Philly group People's Choice switched to Casablanca in 1980,
and released the single My Feet Won't Move But My Shoes Did The Boogie
/ You Ought To Be Dancin' and the self-titled album People's Choice
(Casablanca 7246). However, the single peaked only at position 77., and the album
flopped. UK label Shout has now released the album on CD, with 5 bonus
tracks and liner notes written by Clive Richardson.
I guess the album has only marginal interest amongst old Philadelphia soul lovers,
and also our Deep & Philly soul specialist Heikki Suosalo brought the review copy
of this CD to me, stating that this CD was not his cup of tea. Well, he brought the
CD to the right reviewer, as this kind of groove-oriented funky stuff is actually
right up my alley!
Vocalist/keyboardist Frank Brunson formed People's Choice in Philadelphia
in the early 70s, and group's biggest hits were I Likes to Do It on
Phil-L.A. of Soul label in 1971 and Do It Any Way You Wanna on TSOP
(The Sound of Philadelphia) label in 1975. Clive Richardson has written a detailed history
of the group to the 4-page liner notes.
In my book, the obivous peak of the album is the murderous boogie tune You Ought To Be Dancin'.
The album version is over 6 minutes, and there's is a 45" version as a bonus track
added as well. The track is built over a magical keyboard-driven funk groove,
something that Fatback would have been proud of. The vocals are on a
secondary role, with a female choir repeating the chorus chant. Tom Moulton
mixed the song, and it was a club hit in North and East parts of the States.
I'm very pleased to have stuff like this now on CD reissue!
The flip side of the single, My Feet Won't Move But My Shoes Did The Boogie reminds
me of Double Dutch Bus by another Philly veteran Frankie Smith.
It was a number one hit also in early 1981, and I was amazed that My Feet
did not score any better than position 77, as it is a rather hypnotic and
catchy funky dancer as well.
Of the other tracks on the album, If I Knew Then What I Know Now
has a distinct Philly soul flavour, and Frank Brunson delivers the lead
vocals with his rough baritone. Bad Dancin' Rita is another compelling
tune with a groove similar to Carl Carlton's She's a Bad Mama
Jama, which was from 1981 as well. Even the first ballad track on offer,
Sweeter Than Honey is built over a slowly grinding groove. The closing
track Warm Nights, Soft Lights is a relaxed mid-paced ballad with
a slight hint of Billy Paul in the overall tone.
The album was not aimed to Philly soul lovers, indeed. This was funk & boogie
for club-goers, and as such, a great album and a very welcome reissue.
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