I am still getting round to playing records I bought at car boot sales last year. The particular batch I’ve been working through recently is a small crate full of mainly 80s pop 45s, with a few 70s thrown in as well. 80s pop isn’t really my scene but this lot of records came with a bunch of mint Depeche Mode singles – their first 27 singles to be precise – and the whole lot (about 150 singles) only cost £5.
Anyway in this bunch of records was Gloria Gaynor’s ’75 disco outing “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”, looking the worse for wear. I gave it a rub with the magic fluid, put it down on the turntable B side up – and discovered a mid tempo gem. I can’t stop playing this record, it has a top notch arrangement with irresistible strings, understated horns, a simple xylophone(?) motif and Gloria Gaynor’s fine vocals drenched in heartache.
This sent me upstairs to dig out my other Gloria Gaynor 45s and proceed to play all the B sides, and I found it was well worth the effort. Gloria will maybe be forever known as a Disco Diva (and especially for "I Will Survive") but these sides prove that there was much more depth to her, and the arrangers she worked with.
Most of these B sides can be found on Side 2 of her first two albums” Never Can Say Goodbye” and “Experience” ("We Just Can't Make It" was only ever a B side). Side 1 of those albums featured her Disco hits and were segued to run continuously which was both a novelty and a hit with the club DJs in the, then, very much fledgling Disco scene. It was those tracks that gained all the attention and I doubt that many people turned over the singles or the albums to find out what lay lurking. A pity. Now, all these years later Gloria’s hits definitely sound of their time but I think it’s the B side of Gloria that has stood the test of time better.
Buy “Never Can Say Goodbye”.
Buy “Experience”. (The B side of this album contains "What'll I Do" which is another hidden gem).