16th Jun2016

The Trammps ‘The Trammps III’ Expanded Edition (BBR) 4/5

by ukvibe

the-trammps1977 was a prolific year for the soulful disco group the Trammps and they recorded two albums that practically defined the disco era. It is the second of these that is contained within and expertly remixed by Tom Moulton who had a close association with this group’s output. The music has the Philly International stamp all over it with the substantial instrumental accompaniment of MFSB/Salsoul Orchestra and the glorious harmonies of The Trammps allied with those distinctive lead vocals of Jimmy Ellis do the rest. Extended dance floor grooves are really what this album is about and ‘The night the lights went out’ is a worthy successor to ‘Disco Inferno’ that graced the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ soundtrack. in this case, the energetic dance number reflects some of the atmosphere that reigned as a riposte of sorts to the adverse social conditions affecting New York City at the time with a total black out on the streets. Equally stunning, though, is the epic nine and a half minute opus to dance in ‘Love per hour’ penned by Leroy Greene and Ron Kersey, who also wrote ‘Disco Inferno’, and the combination of sublime collective harmonies and Isley Brothers-style lead guitar makes for a classic disco number. A third dance floor winner comes in the form of, ‘People of the world, rise’, with lengthy intro and dramatic strings and a thumping bass line that simply will not relent, and another nine minute plus slice of fever pitch action.

However, the Trammps were a class act who could vary their repertoire and the mid-tempo flute and strings-led, ‘I’m so glad you came along’, is concise, yet still packs a catchy hook with Ellis’ impassioned vocals to win the day. Two bonus cuts include shorter 45 version of ‘The night the lights went out’, and a second single, ‘Seasons for girls’, a song that is more laid back in character. It is left to the moody, ‘Living the life’, to round matters off in a deeply soulful vein, the kind of song that either the O’Jays or the Temptations in their prime might have conjured up. A fine illustration of the soulful side of the disco idiom and one that stands the test of time remarkably well.

Tim Stenhouse

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