Second Spin: Shalamar, Big Fun

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(Welcome to Second Spin, A to Z's newest weekly feature. Every Tuesday, we'll go to a local vinyl emporium, pick out a random LP that looks interesting -- preferably one with ridiculous cover art -- and place it in the context of musical history.)

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Artist: Shalamar

Album: Big Fun

From: Vintage Vinyl’s 99 cent bin.

Year: 1979

Label: SOLAR Records

What it sounds like: Late-era Diana Ross crossed with Sly and the Family Stone, with a little bit of late disco/early new wave mixed in. Something you’d hear in the exercise/training montage of a cheesy ‘70s movie.

Best Track: “Right in the Socket” The lengthy 6:51 track is a slow starter but it kicks into gear with an island/Miami Beach disco vibe. It’s all about electricity, as in sticking it right in someone’s socket. Hopefully not a whale’s.

Worst Track: “Take Me to the River.” Opening lyrics: “Everybody has a fantasy…mine is swimming with Venus the Queen of Love…does your river flow with love? Take me to the river baby.”

Who you can thank for the amazing cover art: Michael Kevin Lee/ Gribbitt! (it actually says this on the back of the album). I guess this is what happens when you let someone named Gribbitt! design your album cover.

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Interesting Facts: Via Wikipedia: This album actually contains a number one single “The Second Time Around,” and is certified gold. It was produced by Leon Sylvers III, who also wrote and produced songs for Gladys Knight and the Pips. Shalamar also did “Dancing in the Streets” from the Footloose soundtrack. Frontwoman André Cymon went on to record “When A Man Loves a Woman” in 1994. Micki Free (the guy waving) went on to play basketball with Prince in the best Chappelle Show skit of all-time. Video after the jump.

-Keegan Hamilton

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