Loleatta album cover

Loleatta Holloway

Gold Mind Records

If any song truly announced that Salsoul and their subsidiary Gold Mind were prepared to outdo Gamble and Huff at their own game, it was the leadoff cut from the album that also announced Loleatta Holloway’s emergence as a top-of-the-line disco diva. “Hit and Run” is one of the most stunning compositions and performances to ever solidify that the Philadelphia Sound had become the keystone of American disco. (It helped the case that it was practically written, arranged, and produced by the same Baker-Harris-Young braintrust that orchestrated much of the Philadelphia Sound in the first place.) And it’s hard to top; its fuzz-guitar-permeated symphony of gospel-trained emotional intensity made Holloway’s demands for faithful monogamy sound like an even bigger thrill than any Casanova player’s anthem ever could. Beyond that, there are at least a couple other highlights on Loleatta that damn near match it, enough to make a case for Holloway as a singer who was more than capable of helming an entire LP of uptempo grooves — the punchy, cathartic get over him intensity of “Dreamin’” struck all the right nerves as the other big club hit, and “Ripped Off” joined them in the upper reaches of the Billboard Dance charts — she could really tap into the club-hit potential of songs that so effectively fused dancefloor euphoria and recriminatory anger. But Holloway’s a strong balladeer, too: she puts it all out there on her to-the-rafters performance of “Worn Out Broken Heart” and a luxuriously longing slow-simmer take on Gene Chandler’s Curtis Mayfield-penned ’64 lost-classic “What Now” (the best possible nod to her Chicago roots — at least, the best before she became the godmother of house music).

Nate Patrin

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