Tuesday, July 30, 2013

40 Year Itch: Calling All Cars ! Calling All Cars!


It's one of the great musical debates of our time: What was the first disco song? There are sections of Eddie Kendricks's 1972 hit "Girl You Need A Change of Mind" that have that propulsive dance floor beat. 1972 also saw  disco progenitors like Jerry Butler's "One Night Affair" and Manu Dibango's "Soul Makossa" that compel you to get up and boogie.

But a strong case can be made that all of the disco elements come together for the first time in the 1973 single "Armed and Extremely Dangerous" by the Philly trio First Choice. Produced by Norman Harris of MFSB, the song is propelled by the congas and bongos of Larry Washington and the drums of Earl Young. Plus, you get the diva-esque vocals from Rochelle Fleming

MFSB is the same band that plays on the O'Jays "Love Train" ( which it #1 in March of 1973). Philadelphia also gave us "The Love I Lost", a #1 R and B tune by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Released in February of 1973, "Armed and Extremely Dangerous" was a #11 hit on the R and B charts and a Top 20 hit in the UK. 

The album followed in the Fall and featured more MFSB support and a nice cover of Al Green's "Love and Happiness"

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