Hard to believe a Cher album could actually be excellent? Well, this one was. 'Stars' was Cher's first album release since splitting with Sonny Bono. As long as her former singing partner had control over her recordings, Cher was relegated to gimmicky songs like "Half Breed" and "Train of Thought". All superior recordings, for what they were, but hardly serious listening material.
After a failed attempt recording with a crazed Phil Spector (a single was released that bombed) music mogul David Geffen signed Cher to a 3 album deal in hopes of bringing her to the same, more adult, audience that was attracted to Linda Ronstadt and Janis Ian.
I loved pop music as a teenager, the early 1970s was the end of the Tin Pan Alley era of of pop, where bubble gum tunes and beautiful melodies sat side by side with disco and soul on the top 40 charts. At the time I thought there was so much to hate about seventies' music but looking back I have a greater appreciation for the diversity.
In the mid-1970s it became very popular to take an old song and give it a Disco arrangement. Strangers in the Night and just about every other standard from decades past was twisting polyestered bodies on the world's dance floors. It got to be absurd listening to the latest dance remake of the week but Disco was the one music that cut across every world-wide cultural divide at the time. You could hear the same dance music in New York, Monte Carlo, London, Egypt or Paris.
Mary Kay Place
Mary Kay Place became a television icon on the weeknight syndicated soap opera satire Mary Hartman Mary Hartman (Jan. 1976-May 1977).
As the aspiring country western singer Loretta Haggers she walked away with the show with her exquisitely daffy performance coupled with outrageous storylines like Loretta babbling on about, "the Jews what killed our Christ" on a 'live' Dinah! afternoon TV talk show.
Gary Numan's Telekon (which came out in 1980) is one of my favorite so called New Wave albums.
It's Numan's disc after the three albums that launched his career, Tubeway Army, Replicas and The Pleasure Principle the latter of which sported the worldwide hit 'Cars' which made it to number one on the US and UK charts.
Those earlier releases are superior to Telekon in most ways, at least that's the conventional wisdom and I agree. There's nothing here to match 'Down in the Park' or 'Are 'Friends' Electric?' from his first three LPs, that's for sure, but several cuts come close like 'Please Push No More,' and 'Remember I was Vapor.'
Dave Mason & Cass Elliot
A fine album of folk-sy songs from two seminal artists of the 1970s, both artists at their peak separately and together. Though both artists wrote and produced the album, Cass Elliot only sang lead on two tracks, providing some very pleasing harmony vocals on the others.
"Dave Mason and Cass Elliot" was released in 1971, just after Mason left Blue Thumb over a contract dispute. The songs are simply produced, allowing Mason's stellar guitar work to shine. Also heard were session players Russ Kunkel, Bryan Garofalo and Paul Harris.
The music you hear from the 1970s on the radio tends to be the same old tired hit songs they've been playing for decades.
Rarely will an oldies station stray outside of the top ten songs of the decade. That's because there were so darn many - it was the era of the 'one hit wonder.'
Obscure 70s Looks At:
Melissa Manchester was a seminal artist of the seventies, her albums were and are evocative of that long ago era.
She started out as a background singer, working with Bette Midler and Barry Manilow just as they were becoming successful. Melissa's debut album on Arista in 1973, 'Home to Myself', is at times dark and haunting, bare, and raw emotionally. It's a melancholy LP for the most part with many songs co-written with Carol Bayer Sager.
The entire production feels very personal. Track two 'Easy' is a prime example.
Barbra Streisand's 1970s Albums
Obscure 70s looks at LPs and singles that may not have made the top of the charts but were amazing (or unusual) none the less.
Obscure 70s Looks At: