GQ ‘Standing Ovation: The Story of GQ and the Rhythm Makers 1974-1982’ 2CD (BBR) 4/5

gqFor British fans of disco, GQ were a short-lived band who scored a minor hit with ‘Disco nights (rock freaks)’ and then their biggest success with the title track to this compilation that crossed over into the lower echelons of the pop charts. In fact, the group had started way back in the mid-1970s when they were known as the Rhythm Makers and this extremely well annotated anthology sheds useful new light on their rise to fame. Mr GQ was none other than Emmnuel Raheem LeBlanc and the group’s big opportunity came when they were signed to Arista records under the tutelage of Larkin Arnold. It was he in fact who was responsible for signing A Taste of Honey, Maze and Nathalie Cole among others. Remixer Jimmy Simpson helped catapult GQ into the disco charts and his full-length remixes including an interesting interpretation of ‘Boogie Oogie Oogie’, a hit for a Taste of Honey, are contained within. Like many other acts, GQ were more than a dance band and some of the strongest albums cuts are their updating of soul classics such as, Billy Stewarts’ and the Chantells, ‘Sitting in the Park’, whereas tracks like ‘Spirit’ and ‘Wonderful’ were inspired by hearing Earth. Wind and Fire. GQ would be at the height of their popularity in 1979 when they opened for Teddy Pendergrass at Madison Square Gardens in New York in June of that year. Sadly, their early 1980s efforts fall into the gimmick sound effect of the era with ‘Try smurfit’, a low point and consequently they lost their distinctive voice.

Tim Stenhouse