SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell. Reviewing The Hits: Remixed Expanded Amii Stewart and The Original Cast And Friends Tony Burrows/Sue & Sunny/David Martin etc. CD’s.

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I think its fair to say that anyone who knows me also knows ‘disco’ is not my favourite genre…However there are exceptions and Amii is one. Her song ‘Friends’ (sadly not included here) is an all time favourite. Amii memorably shot to number one (in the U.S.) in April 1979 with her thunderous disco version of the old Eddie Floyd classic ‘Knock On Wood’ and followed up with her take on The Doors ‘Light My Fire/137 Disco Heaven. These are no doubt the tracks she is most remembered for by most. However Amii is not just a disco diva, ‘Paradise Bird’ a mid tempo ballad is a lush, gorgeous example of her far ranging vocal talent and is quite stunning. The duet of the classic Motown songs My Girl/My Girl also shows off the softer soulful side to Amii. This new compilation of 12 tracks are all remixes made in 1985 by her long time producer Barry Leng of Hansa Records. The last two tracks being extended remixes of the two big hits aforementioned. As you might expect it does really shout Eighties, and I must admit some of the mixes sound a bit ‘clunky’ to these ears at this distance. However getting ANY material on CD by Amii isn’t cheap or easy, its nice to see an affordable collection to savour, so kudos to Cherry Pop for getting this out there. So out with the leg warmers and turn it up LOUD!

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THE ORIGINAL CAST AND FRIENDS Tony Burrows/Sue & Sunny/David Martin etc.
Okay not the catchiest title! But this is a real treasure trove of material recorded throughout the 70’s and pulls together some very good pop singles that didn’t quite make it, but in many cases certainly deserved to. Tony Burrows is of course famous or infamous for appearing on TOTP as the lead singer of three groups in a single show! As the voice of Edison Lighthose, White Plains, Brotherhood of Man, Flowerpot Men, Pipkins, First Class etc, you couldn’t listen to radio in the 70’s without hearing that voice! From time to time he did release songs under his name ‘Have you Had A Little Happiness Lately’ ‘Better Fly Butterfly’ are two examples featured here, both instantly catchy pure put a smile on your face slices of pop. Its inexplicable how he missed out as a solo artist really. However he does remain THE voice of 70’s pop. Sue & Sunny were the ‘go to’ session singers of that era backing everyone from Elton John, Marc Bolan, David Bowie to Mott, Bowie, Donna Summer, the list is endless! You may also remember Sunny had a solo hit with ‘Doctors Orders’ in 1974. The third artist featured, David Martin, was the force behind the AMMO partnership and vocalist on Butterscotch hit ‘Don’t You Know’ and lead singer on Guys and Dolls ‘There’s A Whole Lot Of Loving’ as well as writing for Barry Manilow, David Essex and The Carpenters to name but a few. The Original Cast was a vehicle for all these artists. I can tell you that a lot of the tracks on this new 20 track cd are rare and hard to find and if you enjoy pure pop put together impeccably there is a lot to enjoy, its perfect summer time sunny day listening. And the final track ‘Golden Yearz’ is a little stroke of genius, recorded this year and featuring Tony B, David M and the USA’s ‘equilavent’ of Tony Burrows in the shape of Ron Dante the ‘voice’ behind The Archies ‘Sugar Sugar’, The Cufflinks ‘Tracy’ ‘When Julie Comes Around’ and a host of others. An inspired idea, a hell of a catchy song, and proof (If it was needed) that these guys have lost none of their vocal prowess 4 decades on, love it!

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Til next time……… Colin


David Mulholland… It’s Tony Burrow on Guys and Dolls whole lotta loving vocals not the other guy