Anita Pointer’s solo debut might have seemed inevitable. She had sung lead on many of The Pointer Sisters’ biggest hits including Allen Toussaint’s “Yes We Can Can” and co-wrote the Grammy-winning “Fairytale.” By the time she released Love For What It Is on RCA in 1987, Anita was following in the footsteps of sisters Bonnie (who left the group in 1977 for a Motown solo contract) and June (with 1983’s Baby Sister). The album arrived on the heels of the success of “Too Many Times,” a duet with Earl Thomas Conley that landed Anita on the Country chart at No. 2, but wasn’t country-flavored. Instead, Anita and RCA turned to R&B veteran Preston Glass to produce.
Glass, whose production C.V. included Whitney Houston, Phyllis Hyman and Aretha Franklin, also co-wrote a couple tracks on the nine-song album – one with Brenda Russell (“Beware of What You Want”) and one with Alan Glass and Ron Broomfield (“More Than a Memory”). The album’s opening track, “Overnight Success,” was penned by Motown vets Brenda and Michael Sutton, while Tom Snow and Jennifer Kimball provided “The Pledge,” a duet with Earth Wind and Fire’s Philip Bailey. “Overnight” peaked at a respectable No. 41 on the R&B Singles chart, with “More than a Memory” only making it to No. 73. Despite its sleek, soulful sound, Love For What It Is only made it to No. 48 on the Cash Box R&B Albums Chart. BBR has uncovered this underrated LP for an expanded edition boasting six bonus tracks – three mixes of each of the two singles. Reissue co-producer Christian John Wikane has written the detailed new liner notes based on an interview with Anita, and Nick Robbins has remastered. It’s presented in a Super Jewel Box.
BBR dips back into the Silver Convention catalogue for the West German disco act’s third release. This expansion of 1976’s Madhouse follows the label’s reissues of Silver Convention’s first two albums Save Me and Get Up and Boogie. For Madhouse, producers Sylvester Levay and Michael Kunze injected a stronger element of funk into their set of ten original songs performed by the group line-up of Penny McLean, Ramona Wulf and Rhonda Heath. Foreshadowing Kunze’s later involvement in musical theatre, Madhouse was also conceived as a loose concept album, or a Wild Party for the disco set. The titular madhouse appeared on the album artwork, and songs included “Fancy Party,” “I’m Not a Slot Machine,” “Magic Mountain” and a title song, too. The funky theme park of an album, however, didn’t match the success of its predecessors. In the U.S., the LP peaked at No. 65 Pop/No. 47 R&B, and the single “Dancing in the Aisles (Take Me Higher)” only reached No. 102 Pop/No. 80 R&B. Stephen “SPAZ” Schnee provides a brief essay on the album’s history, and the single mixes of “Fancy Party” (released in Germany) and “Dancing in the Aisles” have been included, too. Remastering has again been handled by Nick Robbins.
After the jump: BBR gets shocked with 5000 Volts and is downright sinful with Rinder and Lewis – plus track listings and order links for all four titles!
BBR’s Hot Shot Records imprint has expanded the 1975 release from British disco act 5000 Volts, most famous for the 1975 single “I’m on Fire.” Although it fared well in the U.S., reaching No. 26 Pop, the single was an international sensation. It hit No. 4 in the U.K., and No. 1 in Germany and Sweden, and also scored heavily in South Africa and Australia. “I’m on Fire” kicked off 5000 Volts, the group’s only LP until a 2012 reunion effort.
5000 Volts’ genesis began with Tina Charles and Martin Jay, who as Airbus first released “I’m on Fire” as the B-side of their disco single “Bye Love.” When DJs began to flip the single, Airbus’ record label urged Charles and Jay to rename the group 5000 Volts. In 1975 the group was expanded by its producer Tony Eyers into a permanent five-piece unit, adding Martin Cohen (bass and vocals), Kevin Wells (drums) and Mike Nelson (keyboards). But due to contractual snafus, Tina Charles wasn’t able to perform with 5000 Volts on the band’s TV appearances, and was uncredited on the band’s releases. She continued to pursue a solo career – which resulted in the U.K. No. 1 single “I Love to Love (But My Baby Loves to Dance)” even as 5000 Volts was an ongoing concern. In early 1976, Charles departed the group she founded, and she was replaced with Linda Kelly. The 5000 Volts album, as a result, featured both the previously-released singles with Charles’ vocals, and later recordings with Kelly. Though 5000 Volts disbanded not long after the LP’s release, Charles and Jay reunited in 2012 for a new album under the band’s name. Hot Shot’s reissue adds four non-LP bonus tracks and a one-page essay from Stephen Schnee. Reissue producer Wayne A. Dickson has remastered this upbeat disco gem.
Hot Shot also has an expanded reissue of another disco-era concept album: Seven Deadly Sins, from the team of Rinder and Lewis. Laurin Rinder and W. Michael Lewis were two of the most prolific producers of the disco genre, spearheading over 30 releases from El Coco, Le Pamplemousse (with vocals from Philadelphia International’s The Jones Girls), In Search Of Orchestra, Saint Tropez and Tuxedo Junction. Seven Deadly Sins arrived in 1977 with seven tracks – one per sin (“Lust,” “Sloth,” “Gluttony,” “Pride,” “Envy,” “Anger” and “Covetousness”). This primarily instrumental journey produced, arranged and composed by Rinder and Lewis incorporated numerous influences other than dance music, with Eurodisco flourishes and electronic instrumentation; the expansive Sins also touched on genres including jazz fusion, funk and Afrobeat. Rinder and Lewis were rewarded with a Top 10 album on the U.S. Disco chart. Hot Shot adds 12-inch mixes of “Lust” and “Envy (Animal Fire)” for this edition remastered by Nick Robbins. Producer Dickson notes that “unfortunately, the album masters for Seven Deadly Sins were unavailable to us. As a result of this, some of the tracks on this release had to be taken from mint vinyl copies.” However, Robbins has turned in his customarily excellent work. Thomas del Pozo adds new liner notes drawing on a new interview with W. Michael Lewis, and the entire package is housed in a Super Jewel Box.
All four titles are available now from Big Break Records and can be ordered at the links below!
- Overnight Success
- Love Me Like You Do
- The Pledge (with Philip Bailey)
- You Don’t Scare Me
- More Than a Memory
- Have a Little Faith in Love
- Love for What It Is
- Beware of What You Want
- Temporarily Blue
- Overnight Success (12-Inch Dance Mix) (RCA single 6625-1-RD, 1987)
- More Than a Memory (12-Inch East Coast Mix) (RCA single 8306-1-RDCD, 1987)
- Overnight Success (Single Mix) (RCA single 5291, 1987)
- More Than a Memory (12-Inch West Coast Mix) (RCA single 8306-1-RDCD, 1987)
- Overnight Success (Instrumental) (RCA single 6625-1-RD, 1987)
- More Than a Memory (Instrumental) (RCA single 8306-1-RDCD, 1987)
- Plastic People
- I’m Not a Slot Machine
- Fancy Party
- Dancing in the Aisle
- Everybody’s Talking ‘Bout Love
- Magic Mountain
- Midnight Lady
- Land of Make Believe
- Fancy Party (Single Version) (Jupiter (Germany) single 16=617-AT, 1976)
- Dancing in the Aisles (Take Me Higher) (Midland International single MB 10849, 1976)
- I’m on Fire
- Look Out – I’m Coming
- Doctor Kiss-Kiss
- The Late, Late Show
- Bye Love
- Motion Man
- Take Me Back
- One Stop Baby
- Light the Flame of Love
- Come Hear the Music
- Give That Loving to Me
- (Walkin’ on a) Love Cloud (Philips single 6006-567, 1977)
- Can’t Stop Myself from Loving You (Philips single 6006-584, 1977)
- You’re Looking Good (Philips single 6006-584, 1977)
- Still on Fire (Instrumental) (previously released on Remind CD 5300211, 1997)
- Lust (12-Inch Disco Version) (Pye 7NL 25779, 1978)
- Envy (Animal Fire) (12-Inch Disco Version) (Pye 7NL 25779, 1978)