суббота, 30 июня 2007 г.

Tom Moulton - 2006 - A Tom Moulton Mix




A Tom Moulton Mix
Tom Moulton

Audio CD (April 24, 2006)
Original Release Date: March 13, 2006
Number of Discs: 2
Format: Import
Label: Soul Jazz
ASIN: B000EHQ5NU

Codec: Lame 3.92
Quality: CBR, 320kbps, stereo

Track Listings

Disc: 1


1. Keep on Truckin [A Tom Moulton Mix][#] - Eddie Kendricks
2. I'll Be Holding On [A Tom Moulton Mix][#] - Al Downing
3. Peace Pipe [A Tom Moulton Mix] - B.T. Express
4. Dreamworld [A Tom Moulton Mix] - Don Downing
5. Make Me Believe in You [A Tom Moulton Mix]
6. Needing You [A Tom Moulton Mix] - Clara Lewis
7. Free Man [A Tom Moulton Mix][#] - South Shore Commission
8. You've Got the Power [A Tom Moulton Mix]

Disc: 2

1. More More More, Pt. 1 [A Tom Moulton Mix]
2. Feel the Need in Me [A Tom Moulton Mix] - The Detroit Emeralds
3. Moonboots [A Tom Moulton Mix] - Orlando Riva Sound
4. Love Is the Message [A Tom Moulton Mix]
5. Won't You Try [A Tom Moulton Mix]
6. Vie en Rose [A Tom Moulton Mix] - Grace Jones
7. Moonlight Loving (Menage a Trois) [A Tom Moulton Mix] - Isaac Hayes
8. Lip Service [A Tom Moulton Mix]
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Tom Moulton
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tom Moulton (b. 1940) is an American record producer and originator of the remix, the breakdown section, and the 12-inch single vinyl format. He has humbly maintained that the last two innovations were pure accidents. Perhaps contrary to expectation, Mr. Moulton's early successes in "mixing down" dance records were the result of insistently taking away elements from the original multi-track.

His career started in the late 1960's with a self-made tape of overlapping songs that was rejected by one Fire Island dance club, only to be auditioned at another with instant success. As the club in question (The Sandpiper) was very high profile, it was only a matter of time before his skills were noticed and put to use pre-release by those in the music industry. Mr. Moulton preferred R&B and dance music, but actually mixed a wide range of popular recordings. A noteworthy quote has him saying "I never made a dance record, I made records you can dance to."

Mr. Moulton was also a male model for a short period of time.

His notable achievements in recording technique include extending the high frequencies and tightening the bottom for better sounding play at high volume and lengthening for greater musical and emotional impact by repeating key passages.

He was responsible for the first continuous-mix album side ever, on Gloria Gaynor's seminal disco album "Never Can Say Goodbye". Among some of his other success in mixing songs are MFSB's "Love Is The Message", B.T. Express' "Do It (Til You're Sastified)", The Trammps' "Disco Inferno", People's Choice's "Do It Any Way You Wanna", The Andrea True Connection's "More, More, More" and First Choice's "Doctor Love".

Tom Moulton's innovative work was honored at the 2004 Dance Music Hall of Fame ceremony in New York City when he was inducted for his many outstanding achievement as a Remixer. He is the official archivist of the Bethlehem Jazz and Salsoul music catatlogues, and has overseen all of the digital remastering for the entire catalog. In late 2006 Mr. Moulton would remix the Brand New Heavies (featuring N'Dea Davenport) single "I Don't Know (Why I Love You)", a cover of the Stevie Wonder and Jackson 5 hit.

http://www.disco-disco.com/tributes/tom.Tom Moulton Interview
http://www.discomuseum.com/TomMoulton.html Biography

Information

Tom Moulton is one of the most important people in the history of dance music. From inventing the first ever 12" single to remixer to the stars, the trademark "A Tom Moulton Mix" is a mark of quality given to only the finest records -From Grace Jones’ seminal "La Vie En Rose" to the million-selling MFSB disco anthem "Love Is The Message", to over 4000 remixes.

"As in Life, there are musical benchmarks against which other works are usually sized up in their field. When thinking of Dance Music, and its now long and proud heritage, there is no denying that one of the yardsticks everyone comes back to time and time again is the visionary body of work that Tom Moulton has accumulated over the course of his long and illustrious career.
Franзois Kervorkian
January, 2006

Tom Moulton began his career in the early 1960s as a Promotions man at the legendary R’n’B label King Records, home of James Brown, Little Willie John, Hank Ballard and The Midniters and many more. In the 1960s he also began a career in modelling that would run parallel to his music. In 1971, he visited New York’s Fire Island, the infamous gay holiday resort where he describes seeing ‘white men dancing to black music’ for the first time. It was here that Tom Moulton first began splicing up tapes for the discotheque.
In the early 1970s DJs played 45rpm seven-inch singles which lasted around 3 minutes. Tom Moulton wanted to extend the time of a song in order to keep people on the dancefloor. His first remix was BT Express "Do It Til You’re Satisfied", followed by "Peace Pipe" which he ‘extended’ to over 6 minutes long – and with this invented the "Remix". He then took this further with Gloria Gaynor’s "Never Can Say Goodbye" which Tom Moulton mixed together as an 18-minute medley, once again designed for dancers.


The first time I heard a Tom Moulton "Disco Mix", I realized that this was the definitive version - they were pumped up, spread out, often with a much needed intro & break added. These seemed to be mostly philly-oriented records that I was already in love with, and now they had new added parts, which lots of times was now the best part of the record.
It seemed clear that Tom was able to pick the records he would work on, everything had class, which still holds true today, whenever I talk to him, he's working on a wide assortment of sensational music and after all these years, he’s still completely passionate about it all - a real musicaholic.
Danny Krivit

In 1974 whilst continuing his search for louder, longer records he cut the first 12" single ever along with cutting engineer Jose Rodriguez. (Al Downing – I’ll be Holding On). He also started to write the first ever Disco column for Billboard magazine. Tom Moulton personally delivered many of his original acetates to the underground dance DJs in New York City such as Richie Kaczor, David Rodriguez, Steve Aquisto, Bobby DJ, Larry Levan and Walter Gibbons.
In the 1970s Tom Moulton became the most in-demand remixer in the world. "A Tom Moulton Mix" became a signifier of both musical integrity and chart success as Grace Jones, The Traamps, MFSB, Loleatta Holloway, Andrea True Connection and hundreds more all benefitted from the sonic beauty of "A Tom Moulton Mix".

"Tom Moulton played a major part in laying the foundations of dance music as we know it today. Over three decades he has designed numerous Disco classics as well as Pop hits ranging from Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes to Robert Palmer (he was behind "Every Kind of People") taking them many steps above. Today at 60plus he is still mixing and producing, in a crusade against the current musical mediocrity. From a little corner of his Manhattan apartment, his eyes locked on a computer he is harnessed to deliver the legendary Tom Moulton mix, he breathes life into songs that were gathering dust in warehouses, usually forgotten by their current owners, the Major labels. And what a life that is, one that is vibrant and thrilling, miles away from the droney sound of contemporary club music. Tom is definitely a man of sheer brillance, a quality that is all too rare in our scene, meeting him was one of the best encounters I've ever had.
Dimitri from Paris - January 2006"

This is the first album to bring together some of the classic and rare tracks that have been blessed with "A Tom Moulton Mix" on the record label. It is the story of one man and his amazing role in the history of the rise of Disco from it’s funk and soul roots to the hedonistic days of Studio 54 and the Paradise Garage.

понедельник, 25 июня 2007 г.

The Ritchie Family - 1995 - The Best Disco in Town: The Best of the Ritchie Family

The Ritchie Family - 1995 - The Best Disco in Town: The Best of the Ritchie Family

Audio CD (February 1, 1995)
Original Release Date: February 1, 1995
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Hot Productions
ASIN: B000001QJY

Tracklisting:

1. Brazil
2. Dance With Me
3. The Best Disco In Town
4. Arabian Nights (Medley)
5. Life Is Music
6. Lady Luck
7. African Queens (Medley)
8. Summer Dance
9. American Dance
10. Good In Love
11. Put Your Feet To The Beat
12. Gimme A Break
13. All Night All Right
14. It's A Man's World
15. I'll Do My Best (For You Baby)

Codec: Lame 3.92
Quality: CBR, 320kbps, stereo

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Customer Reviews - http://www.amazon.com
A Must For Collectors,But something's missing...

As one of the reviewers wrote; It was a shame that this collection didn't include the beautifully recording of Les Baxter "Quiet Village" in its total 5:45 minutes.It was a number one track on the Billboard Disco Chart in 1977,and by far the best and most harmonious recording of The Ritchie Family.Most of the the tracks in this "Best of" are shorter than the original time included on the albums of the 1970's. Shorter versions of Arabian Nights(Medley) and African Queens(Medley) were an unforgivable mistake due to the fact that these versions in their original time are a musical delightful experience to listen. Other Ritchie Family tracks that should be considered to transfer to the cd format are Peanut Vendor,Frenesi and Brazil Medley in its long version and a track from the Arabian Nights album "Baby I'm On Fire" which is perhaps the second best after the classic of the Disco Era "The Best Disco In Town". Some good choices included here are "Dance With Me","Life Is Music","Lady Luck",the joyful,rhythmical and brilliant recording "American Generation","Put Your Feet To The Beat"and "Gimme A Break". This compilation of their best hits is "a must" for collectors,but record distribuitors should consider bring to glorious cd their original albums in their totally. It would be a musical feast for "Disco Lovers".

The Ritchie Family – 1982 - I'll Do My Best


The Ritchie Family – 1982 - I'll Do My Best

Label: VIP (2)
Catalog#: VIP 20309
Format: Vinyl, LP
Country: Italy
Released: 1982
Genre: Electronic, Funk / Soul
Style: Disco
Credits: Arranged By, Conductor - Giuliano Salerni
Co-producer [Vocal Tracks] - Fonzi Thornton
Engineer - Michael Barbiero
Engineer [Assistant] - Don Wershba , Greg Mann*
Mastered By - Bill Kipper
Producer - Fred Petrus*
Notes: Recorded and Mixed at Media Sound Studios, New York

Tracklisting:

A1 I'll Do My Best (For You Baby) (5:22) Written By - A. Thornton , G. Salerni , M. Malavasi
A2 This Loves On Me (4:51) Written By - J. Marcellino
A3 One And Only (4:30) Written By - Z. Conkerite
A4 You Can Always Count On Me (4:15) Written By - H. Smith , W. Gay
B1 Walk With Me (4:19) Written By - G. Mathieson , T. Veitch
B2 Alright On The Night (5:04) Written By - D. Rose
B3 Tonight I Need To Have Your Love (4:08) Written By - H. Smith
B4 You've Got Me Dancin' (4:50) Written By - H. Smith

Codec: Lame 3.92
Quality: CBR, 320kbps, stereo

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Review by http://www.warr.org/ritchie.html

I'll Do My Best (1982)

Like Evelyn "Champagne" King and France Joli, after disco died the Ritchie Family went into dance pop: chorused synth doubling the vocal line, Moog-sounding bass synth, Chic-like rhythm guitar, almost no horns or strings - the title track has strong similarities to "Love Come Down," for example. In fact, so many people started using the same formula in the same year, I suspect a common source but I don't know who it was. Anyway, the songwriting is undistinguished, the refrains are commonplace ("Be My One And Only"), and the group's vocals are so self-effacing they sound like their own backup singers. The drippy ballad "You Can Always Count On Me" has a great fade, though: Spanish guitar against dramatic ostinato strings. "Alright On The Night" is the one unreconstructed disco tune, and it's not half-bad, with a funky bass-heavy middle. Produced by Fred Petrus; arranged and conducted by Giuliano Salerni. (DBW)

The Ritchie Family – 1979 - Bad Reputation


The Ritchie Family – 1979 - Bad Reputation

Label: Casablanca Records
Catalog#: NBLP 7166
Format: Vinyl, LP
Country: US
Released: 1979
Genre: Electronic
Style: Disco
Credits: Producer - Jacques Morali

Tracklisting:

A1 Put Your Feet To The Beat (9:05)
A2 Bad Reputation (7:22)
B1 It's A Man's World / Where Are The Men (Medley) (11:56)
B2 Sexy Man (4:52)

Codec: Lame 3.92
Quality: CBR, 320kbps, stereo

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Review by http://www.warr.org/ritchie.html

Bad Reputation (1979)

Not to belabor the point, but comparing this to Brazil or Queens neatly displays the difference between early and late disco: the percussion breakdowns, shifting instrumentation and outside genre influences have been replaced by an unvarying strings/bass/drums/unison vocals formula over an unchanging 4/4 beat. Also, the mix of medleys and short songs has given way to a uniform six- to eight-minute track length. The only way to tell one song from another is the chorus melody, and on this record there's not much to choose from: I assume the title track was the single, but its girl-done-wrong theme is hackneyed; Side Two's progression of titles - "It's A Man's World," "Where Are The Men," "Sexy Man" - reveals a simplemindedness unusual even for disco. (Most of the lyrics flowed from the pen of Village People frontman Victor Willis.) Practically the only plus is the vocals, which have the same outrageous, edge-of-hysteria quality as Patti LaBelle, though without LaBelle's delicacy. By now the singers were Vera Brown, Jaqui Smith-Lee and Theodosia Draher; musicians include Michael Brecker on sax and, on "Sexy Man" only, Francisco Centeno on bass. (DBW)

The Ritchie Family – 1978 - American Generation


The Ritchie Family – 1978 - American Generation

Label: Marlin
Catalog#: MARLIN 2215
Format: Vinyl, LP
Country: US
Released: 1978
Genre: Electronic
Style: Disco
Credits: Producer - Jacques Morali
Notes: Composed & produced by Jacques Morali for Can't Stop Productions
Executive producer: Henri Belolo
Original publisher: Scorpio Music

Tracklisting:

A1 Big Spender (5:26)
A2 Good In Love (5:03)
A3 Music Man (6:12)
B1 American Generation (5:02)
B2 I Feel Disco Good (6:03)

Codec: Lame 3.92
Quality: CBR, 320kbps, stereo

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American Generation (1978)

Judging from the cover photo, the vocalists were replaced by identical triplet models. Morali produced and wrote nearly all the tunes, but it seems by now the Village People - more commercial and perhaps closer to his heart - were getting the lion's share of his inspiration. The clear high point is a darkling, clavinet-buoyed cover of "Big Spender." In sharp contrast to the focus and density of Queens, the orchestrations here are unvaried and the lyrical concepts are moronic ("I Feel Disco Good," though it does have a catchy, swooping bridge). The unbearably shrill title track, with a refrain recalling the Four Seasons (Frankie Valli, not Vivaldi) and decorated with tinkling synths, is the nadir. "Big Spender" is better than anything on Bad Reputation, but the full disc is even thinner. (DBW)

The Ritchie Family – 1977 - Life Is Music


The Ritchie Family – 1977 - Life Is Music

Label: RCA Victor
Catalog#: PL 30009
Format: Vinyl, LP
Country: Germany
Released: 1977
Genre: Electronic
Style: Disco
Credits: Producer - Jacques Morali
Notes: Produced by Jaques Morali and Ritchie Rome.

Tracklisting:

A1 Life Is Music (4:53)
A2 Lady Luck (3:57)
A3 Long Distance Romance (6:41)
B1 Liberty (5:35)
B2 Super Lover (5:45)
B3 Disco Blues (5:42)

Codec: Lame 3.92
Quality: CBR, 192kbps, stereo

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Life Is Music (1977)

The group's last recording to feature Rome and the Sigma Sound players, and it's disappointing overall. some of the tunes are obvious ("Liberty"; the title track, a single), and the arrangements are bland compared to the surrounding LPs ("Super Lover"). Plus, this time there's no overarching theme to give the material structure. But the best moments are truly fine: the swirling strings and madcap buildup of "Long Distance Romance"; the devil-may-care campiness of "Lady Luck"; and the sheer insanity of the mistitled sock hop "Disco Blues." (DBW)

The - Ritchie Family - 1977 - African Queens

The - Ritchie Family - 1977 - African Queens

Label: Marlin
Catalog#: MARLIN 2206
Format: Vinyl, LP
Country: US
Released: 1977
Genre: Funk / Soul
Style: Disco
Notes: Tracks A1 through A5 are a non-stop medley called ¨African Queens¨, total time 12:45.

Tracklisting:

A1 African Queens (Nefertiti, Cleopatra And The Queen of Sheba) (4:35)
A2 Theme Of Nefertiti (1:30)
A3 Theme Of Cleopatra (1:30)
A4 Theme Of the Queen Of Sheba (1:30)
A5 African Queens (Reprise) (3:40)
B1 Summer Dance (5:28)
B2 Quiet Village (5:45)
B3 Voodoo (5:35)

Codec: Lame 3.92
Quality: CBR, 320kbps, stereo

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By now Rome was out of the picture, recording shifted to NYC, and there was a complete turnover of musicians: the new crew was Russell Dabney (drums), Alfonso Carey (bass), Jimmy and Rodger Lee (guitars) and Nathaniel Wilke (keys), who not coincidentally also backed the Village People - their vigor improved things, at least at first. The Side One medley - "African Queens (Nefertiti, Cleopatra, And The Queen Of Sheba)," with each vocalist portraying one queen - is a blast, thanks to whirlwind strings, tireless vocalizing and Jimmy Lee's effusive lead guitar. "Voodoo"'s profusion of instruments and melodies is dense and wonderful like a rainforest: more proof that disco didn't have to be simplistic though it so often was. Unusual percussion is one of the keys to the disc: Mario Grillo's timbales contrast with furiously arpeggiating strings on "Summer Dance"; Anthony Robinson's congas are featured in Les Baxter's Exotica classic "Quiet Village," together with lush strings, breathy vocals and deliberately vamping bass, it's a cold shower-inducingly sexy number. Throughout, Babatunde Olatunji plays a variety of African drums and shakers while Ralph MacDonald adds more pedestrian elements: tambourine, triangle, cowbell. (DBW)

The Ritchie Family – 1976 - Arabian Nights


The Ritchie Family – 1976 - Arabian Nights

Label: Carabine
Catalog#: 26 701
Format: Vinyl, LP
Country: France
Released:
Genre: Electronic
Style: Disco

Tracklisting:

A1 Arabian Nights (Medley) (14:26)
B1 The Best Disco In Town (6:39)
B2 Baby I'm On Fire (5:05)
B3 Romantic Love (5:53)

Codec: Lame 3.92
Quality: CBR, 320kbps, stereo

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Arabian Nights (1976)

The subtle orchestrations are still present, but quality songwriting isn't: witness the pathetic framing chorus of the Stars On 45-anticipating medley "The Best Disco In Town." The tunes making up the "Arabian Nights Medley" - "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)," "Lawrence Of Arabia" and "In A Persian Market" - seem to be invoked purely for recognition value, not as the launching pad for flights of fancy, though the finale ("Show Me How You Dance") deserved to be resurrected. The near-instrumental "Baby I'm On Fire" is fun, with guitar and vibes banging out the bouncy ascending theme, and perky woodwinds adding counterpoint. Produced and arranged by Morali and Rome; recorded in Sigma Sound with most of the usual Philly Soul crew: Norman Harris, Earl Young, etc. (DBW)

The Ritchie Family – 1975 - Brazil

The Ritchie Family – 1975 - Brazil

Label: 20th Century Records
Catalog#: T-498
Format: Vinyl, LP
Country: US
Released: 1975
Genre: Electronic
Style: Disco
Credits: Producer - Jacques Morali

Tracklisting:

A1 Peanut Vendor (6:40)
A2 Frenesi (8:00)
A3 Brazil (4:58)
B1 Dance With Me (3:35)
B2 Life Is Fascination (3:05)
B3 Lady Champagne (2:25)
B4 Let's Pool (3:50)
B5 Pinball (3:00)

Codec: Lame 3.92
Quality: CBR, 320kbps, stereo

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Brazil (1975)

On this debut, Morali and Rome's arrangments use an admirably varied instrumental palette: Side One is a medley that includes everything from Latin percussion breakdowns ("Frenesi") to jazz sax solos ("Brazil," a hit single) and innovative use of strings ("Peanut Vendor"). Side Two has shorter, more structured pop songs, including the snappy "Lady Champagne," though there's also a fair amount of silly 20's nostalgia recalling early Pointer Sisters ("Life Is Fascination"), not to mention Donna Summer. Corroborating my Motown-inspired-disco theory, the album ends with a nifty Supremes imitation ("Pinball"). Recorded at Philadelphia's Sigma Sound Studios; musicians aren't listed. (DBW)

The Ritchie Family






The Ritchie Family
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Ritchie Family was the name of an American vocal group, based in Philadelphia, who achieved several hits during the 1970s disco era.

A female disco trio created by Ritchie Rome and produced by Jacques Morali, best known for masterminding the Village People. At first the Ritchie Family was known for wild Labelle-like costumes and ambitious (if tacky) medleys, but as disco devolved and personnel changed they started cranking out the same kind of overlong, minimalist camp as everybody else. The group stopped recording as disco faded from the airwaves, but they are currently touring together, and working on some new material.

Personnel:

Cheryl Jacks, Cassandra Ann Wooten, and Gwendolyn Oliver, vocals. Circa 1978, they were replaced en masse by Vera Brown, Jaqui Smith-Lee and Theodosia "Dodie" Draher. Draher left 1983, replaced by Linda James. Group broke up shortly thereafter, but reformed with Brown, Draher, Smith-Lee and Ednah Holt.

Career

The three original members were not related; the group was created by Jacques Morali who soon after also created Village People. The group took its name from record producer Ritchie Rome, and originally consisted of singers Cheryl Jacks, Cassandra Wooten, and Gwen Oliver.

Their first hit single, a reworking of the 1930s song "Brazil" reached the Top 20 in the United States in 1975, and the album, also titled Brazil, sold well. The following year they released the album Arabian Nights, and with it the single "The Best Disco In Town". The song was essentially a medley of recent disco songs linked together with an original chorus and it became a worldwide hit.

Their follow up albums Life is Music, which followed a 1930s theme, and African Queens were only mediocre successes. Each of these four albums was a concept album featuring songs of a similar theme as suggested by each album title. Each album also featured a long medley, usually running from 15 to 20 minutes.

By 1978 the three members had been replaced by Jaqui Smith, Dodie Draher and Vera Brown. Their 1978 album American Generation was a slight departure from disco and more in the style of europop, although one of the singles from it was called "I Feel Disco Good." The group abandoned the exotic and highly kitsch costumes of their earlier incarnation in favour of a more contemporary, sexually provocative style. This album was followed by a self titled album, and the hit "Put Your Feet To The Beat."

The Ritchie Family next recorded the Give Me A Break LP which contained the hits "Give Me A Break" and "Never Be Able to Set You Free." Continuing with album releases, the next was a strange partnership with Jaques Fred Petrus and Mauro Malavasi, the pair behind Change. The album they recorded was I'll Do My Best For You Baby; following that was All Night All Right.

In 1980 they joined Village People for the movie Can't Stop the Music. The film was a resounding failure and still appears on many critics' "worst ever" lists; however the soundtrack album sold well in some parts of the world. By this time disco music was losing its popularity.

After deciding to split, after group owner Jaques Morali discovered he had AIDS, the group continued as Vera Brown and the Rich Girls for one song called "Too Much Too Fast" that crashed completely. Vera Brown released one CD called "That's Just The Way It Is" under the name Veronica in 1991. Since then she has reformed The Ritchie Family, with Dodie Draher and Jacqui Lee-Smith, but without further releases.

Discography

Albums

1975 Brazil
1976 Arabian Nights
1977 Life Is Music
1977 African Queens
1977 The Best Of …
1978 American Generation
1978 Bad Reputation
1979 Je Te Tiens, Tu Me Tiens Par La Barbichette
1980 Can’t Stop The Music
1980 Give Me A Break
1982 I’ll Do My Best
1983 All Night, All Right
1990 Greatest Hits
2005 The Best Of …

From - http://www.discomuseum.com/RitchieFamily.html

When The Ritchie Family surfaced in 1975 with "Brazil," which contained impressive remakes of "Peanut Vendor," "Frenesi" and the title cut, many thought they were merely newcomers who hopped aboard the disco bandwagon in pursuit of quick bucks. Not so.

From 1965 to 1972 Cassandra and Gwen, who met in their school glee club, were part of a group called "Honey & The Bees," an R&B quartet based in Philadelphia, which seems to have nurtured an abundance of musical activity and talent.

Both women agreed, recalling with amusement some of their earliest experiences and memories of boys, out on the corner, fighting over who was going to sing bass or tenor, while the girls were singing in each others' living rooms or on the front stoops, getting each "doo-wa-doo" down pat. "While we used to practice," recalled Gwen, "our parents used to say, 'Oh no, not tonight; you can quit early tonight, you poor girls."

All that practice paid off though, when "Honey & The Bees" met with minor success with regional hits like: "That's What Boys Are Made For," "Better Come Get It" and "It's Gonna Take A Miracle." Did Cassandra and Gwen get swelled heads? Not exactly-when you consider they were too busy putting up with a few unexpected surprises they came up against in the cruel, heartless world.

"One time in Bristol, Pennsylvania" reflected Cassandra, "we worked this rinky-dink club and weren't really getting paid much money.The club owner, for some odd reason, thought he was paying us grand-theft cash. We hadn't brought a p.a. system since we were accustomed to working in clubs which had one; but the owner thought we had come unprepared. He started fussing and saying things like 'Yeah , everytime I hire you professional groups and pay you all this money I get all these problems'. He started ranting and raving to the point where he wanted to fight us-four girls!!!-but we didn't want to 'cause he was around 70 years old! Though his wife tried to calm him down, he said he was going to get a gun and blow us away! So we got up on stage, of course, and started singing without microphones. We were glad to do it-man, were we scared!." They also remembered the good times, particularly the days that they appeared at the Uptown Theatre-the Philadelphia equivalent of New Yorks' Apollo Theatre-which broke in so many contemporary disco artists. "It was the best place to be in the whole world" claimed Cassandra.







After the group disbanded, the disillusioned Gwen and Cassandra joined the Philadelphia School Of Performing Arts, where they met Cheryl. During this period producer Richie Rome recorded the "Brazil" album using the Sweethearts Of Sigma Sound (Carla Benson, Evette Benton, and Barbara Ingram). When the album became a hit an actual group was needed to tour and make personal appearances. Audtions were held and ...enter Gwendolyn Oliver, Cheryl Mason Jacks, and Cassandra Ann Wooten...The Ritchie Family.

Ritchie Rome created "The Ritchie Family" and arranged, co-wrote and produced, with Jacques Morali their first three albums. "Brazil," "Arabian Nights" and "Life Is Music" defined and cemented their sound and yet Rome was the first to leave in an endless list of casualties in the evolving "Ritchie Family".

Producer Jacques Morali seizing total control of "The Ritchie Family," was by 1977 on a roll, and with his new partners, Henri Belolo, Phil Hurtt, and Horace Ott released the groups fourth album. Many consider "African Queens" to be their consumate album. The changes had only begun, 20th Century out-T.K. Marlin in, Richie Rome out-Henri Belolo in. Sadly it seems the changes were more than any of the parties involved could handle. Thus, "African Queens," was to be the final effort for Gwen, Cheryl and Cassandra.

1978 brought new girls to the banner of "The Ritchie Family," Ednah Holt, Dodie Draher, and Vera Brown, with a completely new sound. This line-up released "American Generation" for T.K.-Marlin before the next evolution of the Ritchie Family. T.K. Marlin out-Casablanca Records in.







Ednah Holt was replaced after this project by Vera Brown who became the group's lead singer from then on. Ednah formed her own group, Ednah Holt & Starluv, and they released the single "People Come Dance."

This line-up limped into 1979 with the weak and rather aptly named "Bad Reputation" for their new label. It seems the magic was gone and The Ritchie Family indeed was achieving a Bad Reputation! Also in 1979, a soundtrack of a French film by Jean Yanne “Je Te Tiens, Tu Me Tiens Par La Barbichette” was released in which the Ritchie Family performed in the movie.







An appearance in the big-budget flop, "Can't Stop The Music" added to their decline. The 1980's looked bleak for disco music and The Ritchie Family. Jacques Morali out-Jacques Fred Petrus (and Mauro Malavasi) in.

Casablanca out-RCA Records in. A valiant effort by the artists, producers, and new label did produce a bigger hit than their 1979 fiasco. 1982's "I'll Do My Best For You Baby" was the first time The Ritchie Family enjoyed airplay and clubplay simultaneously in several years. And yet another series of changes were in the air.

In 1983 Dodie Draher was replaced by Linda James. A new producer, Gavin Christopher, was able to pull one more single out of the group. "All Night, All Right" was to be the end of the line. 7 talented women, 4 record labels, 5 production teams and "The Ritchie Family" was over!

In reviewing their music you can hear the musical evolution and sadly witness the results of all the constant changes. All and all the name "The Ritchie Family" still garners a place in The DiscoMuseum for their early creations. Our love and thanks to all those who had a hand in creating such wonderful tunes....thanks!