Falsetto From A Diff'rnt Ghetto
:: Yes Miss, No Miss ::
:: Mr. Cool ::
Before there was The Smiths, The Fall, The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Chameleons, and just about every other band I moped and gnashed my teeth to in high school, there was Sweet Sensation. Now this isn't the Sweet Sensation from the 80's that the guys at Soul Sides probably have on cassingle, this is a soulful Manchester act from the 70's. Hey, how come since the UK version came first, they didn't make the American version call themselves Sweet Sensation USA?
I'm loathe to mention a certain very popular American TV show where people compete for the right to make awful pop music, but since that sort of thing has been in the news a lot lately, it's appropriate to tell the tale of Sweet Sensation. The young band was discovered by Tony Hatch (a very successful Pye Records producer, worked with Petula Clark on "Downtown", etc...) on a UK talent show program called New Faces, and were marketed as a sort of Jackson 5 act, with the very youthful and somewhat Michaelesque Marcel King on lead falsetto. Their album Sad Sweet Dreamer did pretty well, scoring a #1 in the UK with the title track, but subsequent efforts were not as well received, and in the end they reportedly couldn't even make it as the British entry in the 1977 Eurovision song contest.
These two songs are from Sad Sweet Dreamer, and one is funky (Mr. Cool, natch) and one is sort of breezy Philly soul (Yes Miss, No Miss), except that if you carried your school books around in a black briefcase in Philly, you'd probably get your ass kicked. All the elements are here - clavinet, disco flutes, absurdly pronounced cymbal sounds, fonky bass, fonky horns, wah guitar, and of course some string parts boogied in directly from Hustle central. Dig it.