Gloria Gaynor – 1975 – Never Can Say Goodbye
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The start of a very successful run for Gloria Gaynor – a seminal bit of crossover 70s soul – one that perfectly linked the dancefloor with the airwaves, and managed to take on more than a few living rooms as well! Gloria’s not entirely in full blown disco-diva mode yet, and works here with a soaring Philly-styled groove – of the sort you’d hear with groups like First Choice or Three Degrees – almost grounded a bit in earlier female soul, especially in the vocals and overall changes in the grooves – yet sparkled up plenty with some fuller, richer 70s arrangements.
Those are handled by Norman Harris and Harold Wheeler – who do plenty to warm up the production by Meco – and the set includes the stunning 6 minute version of Gloria’s big hit “Never Can Say Goodbye“.
Gloria Gaynor’s vocals are clear, beautiful and soaring and this is evident throughout the whole album. She holds the distinction of having the very first no. 1 in the Billboard Dance Chart with “Never Can Say Goodbye” which is why she was crowned “The First Lady of Disco” and will always be remembered in pop music history as the first artist ever to hit no. 1 on the Billboad Dance Chart.
Gloria’s official bio and contact details here
A1 Honey Bee 6:00
A2 Never Can Say Goodbye 6:28
A3 Reach Out, I’ll Be There 6:15
B1 All I Need Is Your Sweet Lovin’ 2:47
B2 Searchin’ 2:55
B3 We Belong Together 2:51
B4 False Alarm 3:40
B5 Real Good People 3:02
Review by Alex Henderson
Although 1979’s “I Will Survive” is Gloria Gaynor’s most famous recording, it was hardly her first. In 1975, the singer established herself as one of disco’s early divas with her debut album Never Can Say Goodbye, which dance club DJs went wild over. With side one of this LP, Gaynor helped to popularize the art of the nonstop dance mix, a concept that was still alive and well when the 21st century arrived 25 years later. There are no breaks between songs on side one; the intoxicating opener “Honey Bee” segues into Gaynor’s hit remake of “Never Can Say Goodbye” and that Clifton Davis gem (which had been recorded by the Jackson 5 and Isaac Hayes in the early ’70s) segues into a stunning interpretation of the Four Tops’ “Reach Out, I’ll Be There“.
Put those three gems together and you have a nonstop 19-minute dance mix that thrilled the club DJs of 1975 to no end. Meanwhile, side two isn’t as club-driven; all of the songs are under four minutes, and there are breaks between them. In other words, side two is more typical of R&B LPs from the mid-’70s. While side one was revolutionary and daring for 1975, side two favors a more conventional Northern soul approach. This isn’t to say that “Real Good People“, “False Alarm” and other songs on side two aren’t pleasing; side two is generally solid, although side one proved to be more trend-setting. Gaynor sings with a great deal of feeling on both sides, making Never Can Say Goodbye an impressive and highly memorable debut.
Gloria Gaynor - 1975 – Experience
Gloria Gaynor’s excellent sophomore effort Experience found the influential disco diva embracing the same format she had favored on her first album, Never Can Say Goodbye; side one is a nonstop three-song dance mix that clocks in at almost 19 minutes, whereas on side two, there are breaks between songs. Not surprisingly, dance club DJs tended to favor side one, which opens with the dreamy “Casanova Brown” and keeps the momentum going with the hit “If You Want It (Do It Yourself)” and Gaynor’s glossy interpretation of the standard “How High the Moon“.
Jazz lovers will tell you that in the 1940s and 1950s, countless bebop tunes were based on “How High the Moon”; a great song, to be sure, but one that was overdone in its day. To her credit, Gaynor breaths new life into the standard and demonstrates that it can work remarkably well in a disco-soul setting. Side two isn’t nearly as danceable as side one; the tempos are generally slower, and solid Northern soul items like the melancholy “What’ll I Do” and the ballad “I’m Still Yours” are clearly for listening rather than dancing. Side two ends on an impressive note with an inspired cover of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David favorite “Walk on By” which had been previously recorded by Dionne Warwick and Isaac Hayes, among others. Whether or not Gaynor is catering to dancefloors, the singer shows no signs of a sophomore slump on Experience.