This is the volume 15 of the 20 volume Rhino series, released in the early '90s. Unfortunately, the series is now out-of-print so these volumes are increasingly difficult to find and obtain. The songs on this disc hit the charts between December 1974 and December 1975. There's some great female vocalists on this volume: Chaka Khan, Shirley Brown, the Staple Sisters, and the fantastic Minnie Riperton.
- Once You Get Started - Rufus featuring Chaka Khan: Peaked at #10 pop, #4 R&B in April 1975. And what a great way to get started. This is a fun disco-funk tune with support from the Tower of Power horns. You know you're in for a real treat a few seconds in when Chaka lets loose. Man, that woman could bring it! Everybody party hearty!
- Supernatural Thing (Part 1) - Ben E. King: Peaked at #5 pop, #1 R&B in April 1975. This great mid-tempo groove was shamelessly lifted a year later by Diana Ross for Love Hangover. King sounds great.
- Cut The Cake - Average White Band: Peaked at #10 pop, #7 R&B in June 1975. More great funk from AWB. Love the double entendres: dude is begging for "a little piece" and "some sugar," while the band chants "gimme, gimme, gimme that cake!" This here's some some sweet cake, fo sho.
- The Bertha Butt Boogie (Part 1) - The Jimmy Castor Bunch: Peaked at #16 pop, #22 R&B in April 1975. Novelty follow-up to the 1972 hit Troglodyte (Caveman). Like most novelty hits, the novelty wears off quickly.
- Woman To Woman - Shirley Brown: Peaked at #22 pop, #1 R&B in December 1974. I love '70s soul slow jams with a spoken intro (my favorite is Kiss And Say Goodbye by the Manhattans), so this story song is right up my alley. Brown seems to be channeling Aretha on the vocal and it all works. So smooth.
- Walking In Rhythm - The Blackbyrds: Peaked at #6 pop, #4 R&B in May 1975. A happy-sounding crossover hit that's as much adult contemporary soft rock as soul. This strut also charted on the disco chart (#9) and the adult contemporary chart (#5). The group was produced by, and named for, jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd who, sadly, probably made more money on this single than any of his own stuff.
- Lovin' You - Minnie Riperton: Peaked at #1 pop, #3 R&B in April 1975. All I can say is "WOW!!!"
- It Only Takes A Minute - Tavares: Peaked at #10 pop, #1 R&B in October 1975. Tavares put out some great disco tunes, including this catchy commentary on the tedium of daily life. No, the music doesn't quite match the lyrics, but it really doesn't matter.
- Get Down, Get Down (Get On The Floor) - Joe Simon: Peaked at #8 pop, #1 R&B in June 1975. A strange-sounding piece that sounds like they took a country tune, added lyrics like "kung-fu bumpin' 'til it's time to go," and tried to make a disco track. Not a personal favorite.
- Rockin' Chair - Gwen McCrae: Peaked at #9 pop, #1 R&B in August 1975. A follow-up to husband George McCrae's Rock Your Baby, it has a similar groove and lyrics and is likeable enough, but it doesn't quite live up to Rock Your Baby.
- Love Won't Let Me Wait - Major Harris: Peaked at #5 pop, #1 R&B in June 1975. This isn't the best slow jam of all-time (that honor goes to Always And Forever by Heatwave), but this classic is definitely on my list of Top 5 slow jams. A great make-out ballad complete with unnecessary sound effects.
- Let's Do It Again - The Staple Singers: Peaked at #1 pop, #1 R&B in December 1975. The Staples rarely disappoint. Here, they team up with songwriter Curtis Mayfield for a hit song from the movie of the same name. I don't remember the movie, evidently it was a sequel to Uptown Saturday Night and starred Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Jimmie Walker, and John Amos.
Previously revisited for the blog: