Thelma Houston – Don’t Leave Me This Way

First Hit #1: April 23, 1977

Through the first verse, I wondered why this was going in a disco direction. Thelma Houston was trying to do a heartfelt vocal performance, and there was this distracting beat underneath it which seemed to be at odds with the song. It seemed to demand something more subdued and minimalist, something that highlights the voice and pushes Houston right to the center of the recording, rather than have her compete with the song.

Then you hit the chorus, and it makes sense. Like most disco, this is a big chorus song, and the joyful explosion of the chorus, which does contrast with the verses, makes sense as a disco song. In fact, it sounds basically like they worked backwards from that chorus and tried to cobble together a song from some stuff they had lying around. I’m not sure it works as a cohesive whole, but hey, parts are good.

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