Gloria Gaynor ‘I’ve Got You’ (BBR) 3/5

gloria-gaynorDisco diva par excellence, Gloria Gaynor has an impressive track record prior to the global hit, ‘I will survive’, and this album, dating from 1976, is one of the forgotten and overlooked recordings that was just three years away from her achieving mega stardom, and historically arrived on the scene in the summer of 1976 when the Bee Gees were climbing the dance charts with ‘You should be dancing’ and in the number one slot was the left-field debut of Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band. In truth, the album is a tale of two cities with a strong first side and a weaker second. The first replicates the winning formula of the previous album concept, ‘Never can say goodbye’, from 1975, and again Tom Moulton is at the helm to ensure a non-stop segue of three dance-oriented numbers and this works extremely well. These include the more pop-disco Philly feel of ‘Let’s make a deal’ that starts off the album, while the pick of the trio is probably the inventive reworking of Cole Porter’s standard, the classic, ‘I’ve got you under my skin’. This unlikely candidate for a disco makeover actually works a treat and the jazzy orchestrations, snare drum and swirling strings transform the song into a classy dance number. A heavily percussive ‘Be mine’ ends the first side of the original vinyl with a quality soul-disco piece. Side two highlights how the distinction between pop and disco was a subtle one with the cheesy synths on ‘Let’s make love’ detracting somewhat whereas the Philly stomper of ‘Nothing in this world’ is a far superior effort and clearer indication of what Gloria Gaynor was fully capable of. Gloria even gets down to a grittier Stax feel on the mid-tempo ‘Do it right’ and had she come onto the scene a few years earlier she could have thrived as a deep soul singer. That Gaynor could sing soul ballads is amply demonstrated by ‘Touch of lightning’ and this side to her repertoire is largely neglected. Perhaps, what this album reveals is that Gloria Gaynor’s musical identity had not yet been fully forged at the time of this recording, but better was definitely to come and especially in the shape of the 1978 album, ‘Park Avenue Sound’, that is arguably her strongest all round album of her entire career.

Tim Stenhouse