have a nice decade

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PET ROCKS AND PUNK ROCK: Have A Nice Decade; The '70s Pop Culture Box considered

PET ROCKS AND PUNK ROCK: Have A Nice Decade; The '70s Pop Culture Box considered

It might have been famously "the decade that taste forgot", but the Seventies has spawned an interesting nostalgia for smiley faces (on e-mails!), terrific films such as Dazed and Confused . . . and this extraordinary box set of seven CDs which unflinchingly collects up the great (James Brown's The Payback, Freda Payne's Band of Gold...

John Morales: The M&M Mixes (BBE)

John Morales: The M&M Mixes (BBE)

Recently I have been reading some interesting political histories of disco: how anti-gay and anti-black elements (notably in white radio and rock culture) conspired to kill the music, and how the combination of cocaine, money and the hijacking of the culture by the Studio 54 types ripped the music away from its roots. When all those factors...

Freda Payne: Band of Gold/Contact/Reaching Out (Edsel/Triton)

Freda Payne: Band of Gold/Contact/Reaching Out (Edsel/Triton)

Although it was slightly ambiguous about who had failed on the wedding night, it is Freda who says her new husband should come back and "love me like you tried before". And so we might guess . . . This was interesting and slightly saucy stuff -- was he gay or impotent? -- but the sexy Payne from Detroit turned it into a hit in...

The Apples in Stereo: Travellers in Space and Time (YepRoc/Southbound)

The Apples in Stereo: Travellers in Space and Time (YepRoc/Southbound)

This will be brief: I never much cared for ELO back in the day and I still don't like them in this guise of Apples in Stereo on this over-long (16 tracks), Vocoder-splattered, ironically Seventies referencing, vaguely conceptual album about human and robots and space travel. Seventies pop for those who either haven't heard it before, or who...

Van McCoy: The Hustle (1975)

Van McCoy: The Hustle (1975)

So how long does it take to write a song? James Taylor says he wrote Steamroller Blues in as long as it took to scribble the words down, but maybe that doesn't really count -- especially if you've heard Steamroller Blues. If you look at the credits on some current r'n'b songs and see the artist's name alongside that of the four producers...

ROBIN GIBB INTERVIEWED (2010): To Bee Gee, or not to Bee Gee

ROBIN GIBB INTERVIEWED (2010): To Bee Gee, or not to Bee Gee

Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees – younger brother of Barry and twin to Maurice who died in 2003 – is on the road again, this time singing the Bee Gees' classics as a solo artist. And he's done it before. Forty years ago in fact when he briefly quit the band after their Sixties fame (half a dozen chart-topping singles) and was...

Various Artists: Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah; 70s New York Disco (Backbeats/Triton)

Various Artists: Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah; 70s New York Disco (Backbeats/Triton)

Some music -- even from the first few bars -- is time-specific. The merest whiff of a particular drum sound and guitar can conjure up rockabilly of the Fifties, and some beats plus swooping strings or a horn part can just scream "disco" at you. In that case, this 11 track compilation is unnecessarily subtitled because you get its...

The Remains: Don't Look Back (1966)

The Remains: Don't Look Back (1966)

Pub quiz time: Which four-piece Sixties group quickly became adept at wrting their own material, built a local following, eventually appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, hung out with the Byrds in Hollywood, listened to Indian music . . . and played their final concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on August 29, 1966 before a crowd of...

TREASURES OF THE BEE GEES by BRIAN SOUTHALL (Carlton Books)

TREASURES OF THE BEE GEES by BRIAN SOUTHALL (Carlton Books)

If the Beatles were the greatest songwriters since Schubert as William Mann, the chief music critic of The Times, once asserted (in the very early Sixties, they got better) then what is to be said about the Bee Gees? Brian Wilson's comment that they were "Britain's first family of harmony" when inducting them into the Rock and Roll...

Donna Summer, Bad Girls (1979)

Donna Summer, Bad Girls (1979)

In musical arguments, as with political ones, the area of grey between the black and white can be as big as the other two combined. History books say you were either a Beatles or a Stones fan, but my friends and I liked them both -- and the Four Tops, the Dave Clark Five, Lou Christie, Sam the Sham, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Roy Orbison...

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