Saturday, July 21, 2018

Take A Ride On Your Disco Stick

Look! It's Linda Clifford...!!!

Newly re-mastered editions of Linda Clifford’s classic hit-filled Curtom solo albums return on Blixa Sounds. Features bonus 7” single versions and 12” Disco Mixes of her chart-topping smashes produced by Curtis Mayfield and Isaac Hayes.
Blixa Sounds keeps the music coming with series of re-mastered reissues. 
On August 24, Blixa Sounds, a new Los Angeles based label, will release four classic albums by American R&B and Disco Icon Linda Clifford, If My Friends Could See Me Now (1977), Let Me Be Your Woman (1979), Here’s My Love (1979), and I’m Yours (1980).
Linda Clifford emerged as a powerhouse vocalist during the 1970s, bridging pop, R&B, and disco with her phenomenal voice and electrifying stage presence. Her #1 Billboard disco hits, including “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” “Runaway Love,” “Gypsy Lady,” “Red Light” (from the Grammy-nominated Fame soundtrack), “Shoot Your Best Shot,” and “It Don’t Hurt No More,” accompanied her American Music Award nomination for “Favorite Female Disco Artist” (1979). Her marathon version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” even yielded a Top 20 hit in the U.K. Blixa Sounds celebrates Clifford’s white-hot streak from 1978-1980 with four albums originally released on Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom label, featuring productions by Mayfield, legendary Motown arranger Gil Askey, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame icon Isaac Hayes.
Currently based in Chicago, Linda Clifford is still spellbinding audiences with her solo performances and sold-out shows alongside Martha Wash, Evelyn “Champagne” King, and Norma Jean Wright as the First Ladies of Disco, recently climbing the Top 10 Billboard dance charts with a remix of “Show Some Love” (2015). However, If My Friends Could See Me Now, Let Me Be Your Woman, Here’s My Love, and I’m Yours show where it all started.
After years of singing jazz and releasing one-off singles, including a minor hit on the R&B singles chart with Mayfield's "(It's Gonna Be) A Long Winter" (1973) for Paramount Records, the Brooklyn-born singer made with her full-length Curtom debut with Linda (1977). "Curtis was such a poet," Clifford says. "He had a way with words that everyone could relate to. His poetry was so magnificent.”
If My Friends Could See Me Now, Clifford’s second Curtom album, propelled her to international success. The title track hailed from the Broadway musical Sweet Charity (1966). Clifford herself had even appeared in Bob Fosse's 1969 film version starring Shirley MacLaine years before completely recasting the song for the dance floor. “I had no idea that the song affected so many people the way that it affected me,” she says. “In spite of everyone saying, 'Oh it's disco,' it was not just disco. It was pop. It was R&B. It was dance. It was everywhere! You couldn't turn the TV on without hearing it being played at some sports event.”
Her recordings of "If My Friends Could See Me Now," "Gypsy Lady," and "Runaway Love" would all crown the summit of Billboard's disco chart for the entire month of May 1978. The album itself rocketed up the album charts, landing inside the R&B Top 10 and peaking at #22 on the Billboard 200. Accolades poured in from industry trades: Cashbox named Clifford "Top Female Vocalist," Billboard awarded her "Most Promising New Disco Artist of 1978," and Record World honored Clifford with "Best New Female Vocalist" and "Best Pop Album.”
The following year, Clifford’s double LP Let Me Be Your Woman arrived via Curtom’s partnership with RSO Records, home to the Bee Gees and the blockbuster soundtracks to Saturday Night Fever (1977) and Grease (1978). The album became Clifford’s second highest-charting album on the Billboard 200 (#26) with standout cuts like “Don’t Give It Up” (#15 R&B) and her sizzling, ten-minute cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (#11 Disco). The latter tune landed in pop culture history when it helped ignite the aerobics phenomenon on Jane Fonda’s Workout Record (1982).
By the end of 1979, Clifford released another full-length set for Curtom/RSO, Here’s My Love. Produced by famed engineer Juergen Koppers (Donna Summer) and Philly soul legends Norman Harris & Ron Tyson, the album spawned Clifford’s eighth Top 40 R&B hit (“I Just Wanna”). Billboard proclaimed, “The range of Clifford’s style is shown to great advantage as she gets down to a funky beat, sings a sweet ballad and keeps feet dancing on hot disco tunes.”
After recording The Right Combination (1980) with Curtis Mayfield, Clifford sparked the Fame soundtrack with the #1 disco hit “Red Light,” also featured on her final Curtom/RSO set, I’m Yours. Written and produced by Isaac Hayes, I’m Yours brought Clifford back to the top with “Shoot Your Best Shot.” Coupled with several television guest spots on Soul Train and American Bandstand, including two hosting stints on The Midnight Special (NBC), Clifford regularly performed at the nation's hottest discotheques. "I worked Studio 54 so many times, it was like a second home to me," she says. "The people there treated me so well. The crowd always seemed to enjoy my show and I always had a good time with them. It was the place."
Beyond Clifford’s successful tenure with Curtom, she signed with Capitol Records and released I’ll Keep On Loving You (1982). The album generated another #1 single (“Don’t Come Crying to Me”) and featured “All the Man That I Need,” later popularized by Whitney Houston. She recorded two albums on the Chicago-based Red Label, Sneakin’ Out (1984) and My Heart’s On Fire (1985), and continued releasing a series of Top 20 dance hits throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s while establishing herself as a successful jingle singer for top brands like McDonald’s, Maybelline, and Tropicana. In 2005, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago Music Awards and received the GEMA Foundation’s “Golden Mic Award” in 2014 for her contributions to music. James Arena also profiled Clifford in his best-selling book First Ladies of Disco (2013).
40 years after Linda Clifford began ascending the pop, disco, and soul charts, Blixa Sounds has remastered If My Friends Could See Me Now, Let Me Be Your Woman, Here’s My Love, and I’m Yours from the original master tapes. Each album is packaged in a lavish gatefold sleeve and features several bonus tracks making their appearance on CD for the first time ever. With these four releases, Blixa Sounds tells the definitive story of why Linda Clifford remains a disco and soul icon to all generations of music lovers.
Amazon retail links:
  • If My Friends Could See Me Now - click here
  • I’m Yours -- click here
  • Let Me Be Your Woman -- click here
  • Here’s My Love -- click here

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