You’d think having a hit record would mean he could afford a shirt with buttons.
This is a classic example of the 1970s AM pop which sounds glorious blaring out of the radio of a big old American car when you’re driving to the beach on a sunny Florida day. It really does, I know from personal experience.
I don’t know if it was because things were so grim that people needed cheering up more, but there were a lot of novelty hits in the 1970s. 99.9% of them were terrible, but this one was marvelous and “My chiffon is wet, darling!” is still one of my favourite lines in pop.
“Disco Tex” was a fellow called Sir Monti Rock III and the group was the brainchild of The Four Seasons’ producer/writer Bob Crewe. This was a hit in 1974 before Disco went overground and became a cultural juggernaut so it was ahead of that curve, and its camp flamboyance was ahead of Sylvester and The Village People in being a hit that came out of gay club culture — both Rock and Crewe were gay and the record was made to sound like a live performance in a gay disco. Which just shows that even the silliest novelty record can have some sociological significance.
This track is probably my guiltiest of guilty pleasures, God help me I love it. I also confess I have a playlist of this sort of 70s Pomp Rock on my iPod that is my favourite soundtrack to workout to at the gym.
“Shack Up” remains a song best known as a Hip-Hop sample and, for people of a certain age, by the 1981 cover version by A Certain Ratio. The 1975 original by Banbarra wasn’t a hit but became a cult favourite in Northern Soul clubs which is where ACR would have heard it.
Not much is known about Banbarra beyond the fact that they were from Washington, DC and this was the only record they released, supposedly due to manager shenanigans. But in this age of knowing everything about every record ever made I like some things remaining a mystery, it makes the record even better.
10cc were known as a “clever” band who made quirky, pun-laden records, and even when they wrote a beautiful love song they gave it a twist and called it “I’m Not In Love”. But while the singles they made in the 1970s are some of my favourites of the decade I was never all that keen on their albums where their clever-dick tendencies often became annoyingly wacky.
But when they did show some restraint they could produce tracks like the bitterly lovely “Don’t Hang Up” from their 1976 album How Dare You. The story of a marriage from beginning to sad end which, typically 10cc, is a long, multi-part play of song told through a one-sided phone call, but untypically has a simple and low-key treatment — though they still can’t resist punny lines like “When the barman said ‘What’re you drinking?’ I said marriage on the rocks” which makes me think Elvis Costello must have been a fan of the song.