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Sabu - 1979 Sabu (#1)

ALBUM: Sabu (#1)
LABEL: Ocean
SERIAL: 7510
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 2006, Getdisconnected, DSC5010


LINEUP: Paul Sabu - lead vocals, guitar * Dan Holmes - drums, percussion * Rick Bozzo - bass * Stephen Presley - keyboards * Sara Kane, Billie Barnum, Pat Henderson- background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rockin' Rollin' Disco King * 02 Were Gonna Rock * 03 You're Mine Forever * 04 Loose Lucy Is On The Loose * 05 I Wanna Feel It In My Heart


No stranger to these hollowed pages but when doing some research for this review it was a big surprise to find Paul Sabu's cult status in the classic disco community. Yes, there is such a thing and it's an interesting genre if you are willing to boogie on down to the heady days of Studio 54 and the Munich sound while immersing yourself in the sweet caress of spatial electronics, funky breaks and 'Love Boat' strings. I take the plunge in this alternate universe occasionally and find the more unusual purveyors of dance pop the most fascinating; artists that combined rock and progressive styles a category Sabu like yesterday's spandex, easily slides into. Often referred to as the Phil Spector of disco by the glitter ball intelligentsia, his unique hard-edged approach to production is the stuff of legend and going solo was inevitable.

The Songs
I suppose you have to be in the mood to appreciate this record but keep in mind this was very much a band effort. In fact, I believe this is the same group that Sabu recorded and toured with previously under the moniker Hot Grooves. Putting out two albums; one of originals and the second of Bee Gees covers, they toured throughout the late '70s, including stints at the now legendary Starwood in Los Angeles. This is also the same set of players that reappeared on Sabu's 1980 self-titled AOR effort and a looksie at the band's photo back-dropped in pink and white, regaled in sparkly black jumpers and porn star mustaches might throw some off quicker than you can say Denny Terrio and yet this is not your typical disco hustle. Five sprawling rock based Roller-disco ready tracks that lopsidedly bookend the much berated Angel and Kiss stabs at dance rock. 'Rockin' Rollin' Disco King' and 'Were Gonna Rock' dirty up the sweeping strings, funky synths and pounding back beat with guitar and Sabu's gritty vocals but it's the power ballad 'You're Mine Forever' where the album shines. Not losing a beat, it's a big bold tune that like a multi-mirrored ceiling reflects Paul's future direction, not leaving out 'I Wanna Feel It in My Heart' which features more rock than most disco-goers were ready for I imagine.

In Summary
A year later none of this mattered. The 1979 Comiskey Park bonfire and ensuing riot signified a close to disco's commercial viability but it didn't go away without a little kicking and screaming and despite Sabu's entry in the AOR sweepstakes, he still continued to produced dance pop well into the early '80s. While fans of Kidd Glove, Only Child and Sabu's later work wince at the near mention of this period, he stands padded shoulder to padded shoulder with other innovators of the genre including Renato Zero, Maurizio Colonna, Alec R. Constandinos and Biddu Orchestra; all of who took disco beyond 'Saturday Night Fever', feathered hair, gold chains and flares into something refreshingly original that still holds up today.

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#1 | gdazegod on April 12 2011 00:59:33
There are two covers for this album. I have included the original black cover for this review.
#2 | reyno-roxx on April 12 2011 22:15:30
I find this period of Sabu's history extremely interesting. He is quite embarrassed by the first foray into rock music he made with the EP, but it certainly made him think when I told him I still play the thing to this day and rate it amongst his finest work when we spoke for the Classic Rock AOR piece last year.
On the disco side of things, check out his early 80s disco singles and production work with Ann Margret as well.
#3 | Eric on April 12 2011 22:40:12
I have the Ann-Margret album which is really good and was also reissued on the same label as this as well as the Sister Power album which I bought on LP years ago just for the cover. Totally agree, nothing to be ashamed of here.
#4 | gdazegod on April 12 2011 22:56:32
Being a Sabu fanboy myself, I have no issue with it either..
#5 | sabace on April 07 2012 20:13:25
this is great stuff!

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