Once again your rockin’ writer felt the need to resurrect his “Listen Again” series. For those of you just joining us, the “Listen Again” series is a series in which we revisit albums that for one reason or another didn’t receive the attention or acclaim they deserved when they were originally released. Whether it was the recording was ahead of its time, broke away from the artist’s usual style, was poorly publicized or initially misunderstood, the “Listen Again” series urges music fans to listen again. This time we revisit Crazy Dancin’ by (wait for it) The Bottom Line.
In the winter of 1973 musician and producer Jack Conrad—who had recently returned from Europe—had discovered a popular music genre not yet produced in the US. It was disco. Conrad hired a group of up-and-coming studio musicians to work on “spec” to create the music he had heard overseas.
The artists working into the wee hours at the A&M studios would come to be known as The Bottom Line. While they would not initially be correctly credited, the band—founded that same year—consisted of: Jack Conrad (bass), David Foster (keyboards), Jay Graydon (guitar), Steve Forman (percussion), Mike Baird (drums), Chuck Findley (trumpet and horn arrangements), Jim Horn and Gary Herbig (saxophones), Chas Higgens (lead vocals) and Ray Kennedy, Mentor Williams , Lee McElfresch “and anyone else foolish enough to be nearby the studio when voices were needed” on backing vocals. Other contributors included: Bobby Findley, Dalton Smith, Slyde Hyde and Gary Grant.
Findley wrote the arrangements largely while playing on television and movie sessions. The majority of the music was recorded “after work”. Any equipment that had been left out in the hallways was generally put to use during their sessions. Interestingly, the songs used on the original 8-track album were taped in (ahem) record time.
The LP opens on “That’s The Way To Go”. This was the first and only collaborative cut by Foster, Conrad and Graydon. This version was actually an edited version of the lengthier original.
The second selection is “I Don’t Want Your No-No, I Only Want Your Ya-Ya”. This is something Conrad wrote with other writers not otherwise involved with the project. It does indeed add a touch of outside influence to their burgeoning signature sound.
The next number is “Gonna Do My Best To Love You”. This too was written by Foster and two other writers not otherwise involved with the platter. The first side ends on the more popular “Do It For Love” which was co-written by Conrad, Graydon and another writer not with the band.
The flip side opens on the then clever “Funk You”. This is the only solo Graydon composition on the record. It’s perhaps slightly overshadowed by the titular track—“Crazy Dancin’” which Graydon co-wrote with Conrad.
The album also includes the somewhat familiar “Chicago” and the closing cut the more well known “Disco Dobro”. Both were written by Conrad specifically to fill out this funk-soul disco release. This dance project had a definite west coast influence although it was not necessarily noted by anyone at the time it was released.
It would first be test-released in Europe where the genre was first discovered and then in 1976 the Greedy Records album would hit stores in both the US and Japan. While Rolling Stone magazine would generally be harsh, question the technical competence of the album and even the overall concept, it would also admit that listeners who enjoyed “Disco Dobro” would find the remainder of the album enjoyable.
It would be nominated by Billboard magazine for “Best Disco Album” and the band itself as “Best New Disco Artist”. The song “That´s The Way To Go” was the first 12-inch single to be released in the US. Decades would pass until in late 1998 the project would be re-released on CD.
It would be released on the Cool Sound Inc. label. There were four bonus tracks. The first was the original extended version of “That’s The Way To Go”.
The other songs were taken from another project titled Makin’ Tracks. They were: “I Just Want To Love You”, “Darkest Hour” and “Take A Chance”. These were considered the best choices to fit in with the cuts from the original vinyl. While at one point people had had enough of the disco genre, dance music is universal. Maybe it’s true. Perhaps disco never will die.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.