Archive for Kate & Anna McGarrigle

Sampler Daze: The WB/Reprise Loss Leaders, Part 11

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2009 by 30daysout

cookbook limo

By 1977 Warner Bros. had quite a stable of artists producing R&B, soul, funk and dance music – or disco, in the parlance of the time.  That is what sold and what managed to get on the radio, but in truth the Warner R&B artists were as varied as the label’s underground acts just eight years before.  Cook Book, a two-LP sampler focusing mainly on the WB/Reprise R&B acts (“black” music, in the parlance of radio programmers) had a little bit of everything: pop artists (Dionne Warwick), jazz artists (George Benson), gospel soul shouters (Candi Staton), Motown alumni (Undisputed Truth, Lamont Dozier) – all put into duty in service of the Great and Powerful Disco.

I must admit, I do not own Cook Book so I cannot judge its worthiness or faults.  The four cuts included here did appear on the sampler, however.  You know, I’m not sure how these Loss Leaders samplers were marketed in the mid-1970s.  I did see ads for some of the earlier albums in comic books and in Rolling Stone;  and truth to be told, I spotted an ad for one of the later Loss Leaders and after purchasing that one I filled in the missing back copies in my collection from a coupon printed on an inside sleeve of the record.

So let’s move on to Limo, also from 1977.  Ostensibly a return to the diversity of the earlier Loss Leaders, Limo transported the usual suspects (Ry Cooder, Van Morrison, Jesse Winchester, Jesse Colin Young, Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris), chart-topping singles (“Tonight’s The Night” by Rod Stewart; “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” by Leo Sayer; “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac) as well as a collection of oddities and novelties (The Gabby Pahinui Hawaiian Band).  Another novelty was the sprightly British group Deaf School, brought to Burbank by the Beatles’ faithful press agent Derek Taylor.  Gary Wright followed his big hit “Dream Weaver” here with “Phantom Writer,” which to my ears sounds a little like “Love Is Alive.”

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