Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Lost 70s gems: 1. Dusk - Treat me like a good piece of candy

I have been researching pop music of the early 70s.  Specifically, single releases from 1970 to 1974. I'm not interested in the hits nearly so much as those that languished in the lower reaches of the public consciousness.  For that I'm aided by some chart information from Australia, New Zealand, USA, and England.  It's worth noting that listeners in the smaller territories were luckier than most, as the radio stations drew from a wider variety of sources.  New Zealand, for example, absorbed music from all the territories above, and more.

Here begins a list of gems that were uncovered only through deliberate research.  The central tenet for this list is that I'd never heard them before (which eliminates a large number of contenders).  So, at the top of the list comes:

1.  Dusk (US) - Treat me like a good piece of candy (1971, Bell)
2.  Tommy James (US) - Draggin' the line (1971, Roulette)
3.  Chi-Lites (US) - A letter to myself (1973, Brunswick)

This is pure bubblegum pop, complete with questionable lyrics.  Dusk was in fact a studio concoction, built around Peggy Santiglia, one-time lead singer in the Angels, who had a US #1 in 1963 with My Boyfriend's Back ("and you're gonna be sorry"). Why Dusk?  Simply because it was put together by the same writers/producers/label who gave us Dawn.  Some say Dusk was there to pick up on Dawn's rejects.  Certainly the first single, Angel Baby, slots in so neatly between Knock Three Times and Candida that it's tantamount to superfluous.

Why is this one on the list?  It would probably rate as merely good, but Santiglia's gutsy delivery on the refrain ("Trrreat me like a good piece of candy, baby") elevates it to the sublime for me.

Singles Discography
Angel baby (1971 - US#57, Aus#18, NZ#3)
I hear those church bells ringing (1971 - US#53, Aus#8, NZ#3)
Treat me like a good piece of candy (1971 - Aus#77; Wellington NZ: prediction (#26))
Reach out and speak my name (1971)
Point of no return (1972 NZ: prediction)

Most sources don't list the latter two singles.  The only mention I've found of Reach out was a Japanese web site on Toni Wine, who wrote and sang on Candida (but was not destined to be in Dawn).  Other sources include Tom Mix's excellent blog and a blog called The hits just keep on comin'.

Feel free to nominate other candidates for this list - it's not finished yet!  Be warned, though: a) I may well have heard your nominee already; and b) taste for this sort of music is just so subjective!

1 comment:

bazza said...

Hi Stephen. I liked that song but don't recall hearing it before.
My nomination from that period is Marlene by Kevin Coyne (1973). Should have been a big hit and he should have been a big star. He was very uncompromising but a great and under-rated artist.