venus dodson Night Rider (CD, £12.75)
Venus Dodson was part of a loose NYC-based collective in the late 1970s that revolved around Leroy Burgess and Patrick Adams, whose track “Shining” was a Paradise Garage staple and is an acknowledged disco classic. After years of performing and doing backup vocals for artists such as The Kay Gees, Salsoul Orchestra, Phreek, Herbie Mann and others, Venus Dodson was offered an album deal with RFC Records. The resulting Patrick Adams-produced full length generated a charting single in “Night Rider”, but the album owes much of its greatness to her sophisticated lyric and delivery – 1979 was a lucrative year for disco, and Venus resisted the pressure to churn out cookie cutter, sexually charged dancefloor fodder and image, possibly hurting her success at the time, but the resulting album holds up as an important record that year. Starting with the cover photo, it is immediately apparent that she’s not your standard female diva in a revealing outfit, rather she’s dressed in a dignified and exotic wrap, her intense gaze at the camera and unsmiling face running counter to the period’s conventional cover art. This was no throwaway listen. The vocal content backed that up, with a distinct absence of sexually suggestive lyrics typical of what disco was known for, leaning more to the R&B and soul of the Moments or The Isleys. First time on CD. 1. It’s My Turn 2. Shining 3. Night Rider 4. Where Are We Headed 5. He Said, She Said 6. Shining (Tee Scott Mix).
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