Thursday, 6 December 2012

Cher: The Casablanca Years (Part 1)

Album #15 from Cher drove her to the disco and jived her back into the charts. Take Me Home was released in early 1979 at the height of disco and peaked at #25 in the USA and was far too decadent to do anything else in any other venue. Newly signed to Cassablanca, the label home of Donna Summer (who refused to let Cher have her song Bad Girls when she wasn't keen on releasing it straight away), the album finds the singer in strong form in doing her best to ignite some pretty poor material in among the odd gem.

Cher and disco were a more natural fit than Chaz in size 22 dungarees. After all, what is more inviting than a husky deadpan tranny in sequins asking you to go home with them on? Take Me Home has been an enduring hit for Cher over the years in America, and the song was finally brought to the attention of the UK when Sophie Ellis-Bextor had the audacity to cover it and rile up nana Cher with a few disgusting additional lyrics ("it's gonna happen anyway" was Cher's biggest upset since Chastity revealed how much she loved gammon slices, and that she was a lesbian as well).


Wasn't It good sips from the same cup, but doesn't quite have the same heat. Elevated by a truly compelling spoken word section: "Whoo! Was it, was it really good? Oooh you loved it didn't you love it? Ho-ho god I'm so, grrrrrr, shoot I got it good! Ooh did you love it, did you dig it?"


Say The Word doesn't have much to say, and is a bunch of cliches given the generic disco treatment. 


Happy Was The Day We Met melts into the same arrangements as any other faceless and forgettable disco track, but at least she bellows a little on the chorus with a few cheery stop-starts to the rhythm.


Blow-job queen anthem Git Down (Guitar Groupie) spits Cher's trademark rock venom and swallows a whole bunch of pseudo rock-raunch sounds. Cher cackling "shady lady from the ghetto" and "what a fuckin' reputation is gonna follow me around all over town?" is her best oral in years. Such a hardcore performance might have had something to do with then-lover Gene Simmons' involvement.


Love & Pain gets one of those qualities down to a tee. Cher gets into it with real gusto and thunderous steel. She's positively quaking and foaming at the heavily lip-glossed lips (with bits of her real hair stuck to them) as she hollers the chorus with no clear indication where the passion is coming from.


Let This Be A Lesson To You is more mid-tempo disco jollies. It sounds more like a line-dancing class than Studio 54.


It's Too Late To Love Me Now is a gentle country-tinged ballad. Cher's the club singer at the ranch called Bar Nothing. The disco has faded, and Donna Summer wouldn't have lost any sleep over this one.


My Song (Too Far Gone) clears the disco floor completely. Maudlin and a real skid-mark on the album.


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