One…two…one, two, three, hit it! My “children” (aka my Disco record crates) are weeping in memory of an original “disco diva” from the 1970s, Loleatta Holloway, who left the physical world yesterday at only sixty-four (64) years of age. First impression? Again – we never know how long we have on Earth…
My Holloway vinyl library consists mainly of special DJ 12″ pressings (which play at the speed of 45rpm) and 45rpms with the long versions of her classic disco hits that the record companies bestowed up me, the “baby DJ” when they ran-out of the bigger platters. A neighbor gave me this one that somebody was going to throw away, of all things…
Of course I first heard of Ms. Holloway when the late Frankie Crocker introduced her over the airwaves of the then number one music station in the nation, New York City’s WBLS, 107.5 FM, “Loleatta Holloway…that’s ‘Hit and Run…she’s a Diva…” The eleven minutes of 1977’s “Hit and Run” is the disc that I can always put my hands on first as I’ve kept it cataloged in the same crate. Listening today for this post, I dusted off my Hustle steps with my invisible dance partner, Nina! (I’ll have no problem teaching it to her, lol) That’s the dance that was popular during the Holloway heyday.
I have two “Love Sensations” and to listen to the video below, I am reminded how Crocker and another programmer of the day used to speed-up the pitch of the music we played on the air so as to make our “sound” livelier than the competition – pitch control on turntables was “new technology” back in the ’70s – an it worked! This version sounds a bit labored.
Loleatta is one of those classic club music singers like my acquaintance Jocelyn Brown, who had that throaty, church- Gospel kind of yell that they used to accent the song’s situation. She added that accent more after her days as an R&B singer on the Aware record label, no-doubt. The only hit I own from those days is “Casanova”…played during my young-adult days on NYC’s WWRL AM and Newark’s WNJR AM, it still resonates and retrieves those memories here, now
that I dug it out of the old 45 box; there was a bigger hit from those days, “Cry To Me” but I didn’t like that one as much, nor do I have it, and for a long time I didn’t make the connection between those Atlanta days and the disco jams.
“It’s all ova, Casanova, It’s all ova CasaNOVA…”
Teaming-up with Salsoul Records head man and producer, Vince Montana, and his Salsoul Orchestra gave Loleatta the opportunity to shine on their second album, 1977’s “Magic Journey” with the midway on side one the hit “Runaway”. My only other Holloway appearance is on Dan Hartman’s 1980 floor-filler “Vertigo/Relight My Fire album. That is one l-o-n-g intro and Loleatta’s voice stands out among the chorus, “Strong enough to walk on through the night!” Yeah!
Once Holloway blessed the DJ booth of the Garage in NYC while I was there visiting Larry Levan after my overnight radio show on WBLS.
What is your favorite disco memory from 1977? “Ok, now let’s do the album version…” lol