It’s Instant Replay for Cherry Red’s SoulMusic Records imprint with the recent reissue of Dan Hartman’s 1978 disco classic of the same name. The album featuring the Disco chart-topper has been expanded with four bonus singles for this new edition.
It’s difficult to pigeonhole Dan Hartman. The late musician-songwriter-producer-artist had begun his musical career as a member of psychedelic rock outfit The Legends before backing Johnny Winter and then, crucially, Johnny’s brother Edgar. As a member of The Edgar Winter Group, Hartman wrote, sang and played guitar and bass. He wrote and sang 1972’s smash “Free Ride,” a Top 20 Pop hit for the group. When he went solo with 1976’s Images, Hartman enlisted rock heroes such as Edgar Winter, Ronnie Montrose, and Rick Derringer, as well as The E Street Band’s Big Man, Clarence Clemons. Though pop-rock was still the order of the day on Images, Hartman experimented with reggae, soul and R&B textures, as well as dance. He would take the latter to the forefront on Instant Replay.
A multi-instrumentalist, Hartman had recorded all of the instrumentation for “Instant Replay” at his home studio (other than the saxophone solo overdubbed by Edgar Winter) by the time he turned the track over to mix master extraordinaire Tom Moulton. Upon its release in Moulton’s effervescent mix, “Instant Replay” began climbing the charts and Hartman returned to his studio to cut an entire album in the disco style. The original LP only featured two tracks on Side One – the title song and “Countdown/This is It,” a 14-minute pop-disco opus featuring a Gene Page string arrangement and another smoking Winter sax solo. (“This is It” would be plucked as the A-side of the 7-inch and 12-inch singles.) The second disc showcased Hartman’s trademark versatility, running the gamut from the rock-guitars-meet-funk explosion “Double O-Love” and the even funkier “Chocolate Box” to the floor-filler “Love is a Natural” and the pretty midtempo ballad “Time and Space.”
Ultimately, Instant Replay spent 19 weeks on the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 80. It paved the way for 1979’s Relight My Fire (reissued in 2014 by Cherry Red sister imprint Big Break Records) featuring another No. 1 Disco title track, and for further triumphs in the 1980s including the U.S. Top 10 hit “I Can Dream About You” in 1984. Hartman wrote James Brown’s 1985 Grammy-winning anthem “Living in America,” and behind the scenes wrote and/or produced songs for Tina Turner, Dusty Springfield, Bonnie Tyler and Billy Joel; Hartman was co-author of “Why Should I Worry,” Joel’s snappy contribution to the soundtrack of the Disney film Oliver and Company.
Tragically, Dan Hartman passed away in 1994 of complications relating to AIDS at just 43 years of age, just as Take That and Lulu’s revival of “Relight My Fire” had set the U.K. charts ablaze. Hartman’s diverse legacy in song is celebrated on this reissue of Instant Replay which has been remastered by James Bragg from the original tapes. It features a new essay and appreciation of Hartman by Justin Kantor. This edition adds the 12-inch mixes of “Instant Replay,” “Instant Replay (Replayed),” “This is It,” and “Countdown.”
SoulMusic and Cherry Red’s expanded edition of Instant Replay is available now at the links below!
- Instant Replay
- Countdown/This Is It
- Chocolate Box
- Love is a Natural
- Time and Space
- Instant Replay (12-Inch Version) (Blue Sky 2Z8-2773, 1978)
- Instant Replay (Replayed) (12-Inch Single) (Blue Sky 2Z8-2773, 1978)
- This Is It (12-Inch Version) (Blue Sky ASD 554, 1978)
- Countdown (12-Inch Version) (Blue Sky ASD 554, 1978)