Maryann Farra & Satin Soul – 1976 – Never Gonna Leave You
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Originally released in 1976 on Brunswick, and produced and arranged by Tony Valor, Never Gonna Leave You brims with a mixture of soul and Philly-influenced sounds. Maryann Farra’s voice is not that of your typical disco diva: as opposed to the raw dynamism of a Gloria Gaynor, Farra is markedly breathy and limited. A comparison to Diana Ross, or a fluffier Grace Jones, would not be out of place. Yet like Miss Ross, she stamps each performance with her unforgettable style, making up with presence what she lacks in power.
The title cut kicks off the set, and its foundation of riffing guitar and catchy, if nonsensical, chorus on top of a bouncy rhythm begins things in promising fashion. The breakdown on “Forget That Girl” just begs to be extended; indeed, the following cuts, “Just A Little Timing” and “Do Those Little Things“, comprised the first 12” single for Brunswick. They are funky stompers with that bit of class that seems to permeate pre-1977 disco. The final songs are covers of label mainstays the Chi-Lites, with surprisingly effective versions of “Stoned Out Of My Mind” and the gender-flipped “Living In The Footsteps Of Another Girl“.
This is a great piece of lost disco that features mixing by Tom Moulton and mastering by Jose Rodriguez. Pick it up if you are a fan of Tony Valor, who really came of age on this project, or of expertly arranged dance music in general.