Secret Pleasures Of Seventies Soul
In the summer of 1974 a friend’s parents were gifted four tickets for The Chi-lites at Blazers Supper Club, Windsor. Being more liberally minded than most, and having exhausted their list of dinner party friends, with understandable trepidation they asked us to go with them. Proving how slack licensing laws were back then (you could easily be a full blown alcoholic at 15) we had to pretend to be 18. As such it was my first trip into the mysterious realms of adulthood. Excited. Betcha by golly!
Suffice to say, it was everything we thought it would be; scampi in a basket; shit ventriloquist; shit comedian, but we were far too busy stroking our bum fluff and supping our lager to care. When The Chi-lites came on, dazzling us with their gleaming white teeth and pink flared jump suits, I feared the worst. Pure showbiz, it was very seventies and very sad but when they began ‘Have You Seen Her’ my cynical heart melted.
It’s not often you get heartbreak and fuzz in one song but ‘Have You Seen Her’ had it in bucket loads, it’s genius encapsulating why I was once so smitten with sickly sweet Secret Pleasure soul. At once both immense and ludicrous the scenario of sitting on a park bench would became a familiar one to me over the coming years as a host of Julies, Beverly’s, Susan’s, Karen’s or their Mum’s decided I wasn’t the boy for them and left me hanging on a date, ‘watching the children play’, counting the raindrops and praying for the bus home.
When I finally returned to the sanctuary of my bedroom and its lurid orange wallpaper I would always seek solace in a handful of Barry White, O’Jays or Stylistics singles, the Velvet Underground or Bowie unable to ease my puppy love misery in quite the same way. Of course, by the morning more often than not my broken heart had healed, the records put back in the rack ready for my next romantic nightmare.
But they had done their job proving once and for all that every record has its time and place. None of them were ever going to stay with me, indeed, it’s only now, almost 40 years on that I’m listening again wrapped in the warm comforting glow of nostalgia, and yet they were still an important stop off on my magic rollercoaster ride through pop culture.
1. The Supremes / Stoned Love / January 1971
2. Tami Lynn / I’m Gonna Run Away From You / May 1971
3. The Tams / Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me / July 1971
4. Diana Ross / I’m Still Waiting / July 1971
5. The Chi-Lites / Have You Seen Her / January 1972
6. Detroit Emeralds / Feel The Need In Me / February 1973
7. The O’jays / Now That We Found Love / June 1973
8. Ike & Tina Turner / Nutbush City Limits / September 1973
9. Barry White / Never Gonna Give You Up / January 1974
10. Isley Brothers / Summer Breeze / May 1974
11. The Tymes / Ms. Grace / December 1974
12. The Stylistics / Hey Girl Come And Get It / January 1975
13. Syreeta / Your Kiss Is Sweet / February 1975
14. Moments & Whatnauts / Girls / March 1975
15. Jim Giltrap / Swing Your Daddy / March 1975
16. Gladys Knight & The Pips / Midnight Train To Georgia / May 1976
17. The Manhattans / Kiss And Say Goodbye / June 1976
18. Detroit Spinners / Rubberband Man / September 1976
19. Rose Royce / Car Wash / October 1976
20. Commodores / Easy / July 1977
21. The Emotions / Best Of My Love / September 1977
22. Earth, Wind & Fire / Boogie Wonderland / May 1979