Hold Your Horses album cover
Hold Your Horses

First Choice

Gold Mind Records

The Philadelphia-based First Choice were one of disco’s most consistently enjoyable groups — one with a career that span practically the entire initial lifecycle of the genre from early ’70s Philly soul origins to its turn of the ’80s burnout. And 1979’s Hold Your Horses might be the best of their three-album Gold Mind/Salsoul run, even if the hits off this album tended to feel more gigantic than they actually were. Three singles all bolstered the LP’s particularly strong Side 2, with the thoroughbred gallop of the title cut, the mid-tempo clavinet-heavy rump-shaker “Love Thang,” and the slap-bass-driven high drama of “Double Cross” all shining like the clubland chart-toppers they inexplicably weren’t. (“Hold Your Horses” was a Dance #5 in the States, granted, but the other two didn’t crack the Top 40 anywhere — a damn shame.) But the trio of album cuts that comprise the Side 1 medley — the gleaming sax flourishes of “Let Me Down Easy,” the flamenco exotica of “Good Morning Midnight,” and the melodramatic Eurodisco pulse of “Great Expectations” — are momentously fun, too, highlight reels for both the headliners’ incredible vocal chops and the immaculate mixing and production skills of Tom Moulton. Recorded partially in Giorgio Moroder’s Musicland Studios in Munich and partially in Philadelphia’s Sigma Sound, Hold Your Horses embodied the broad international sound of peak disco at its best, right as that peak was on the downswing towards a backlash-driven valley — bad timing for an ambitious LP that pulls off every one of its surprisingly eclectic gambits.

Nate Patrin

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