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Gloria Gaynor: Never Can Say Goodbye

Album Notes

Although 1979's "I Will Survive" is Gloria Gaynor's most famous recording, it was hardly her first. In 1975, the singer established herself as one of disco's early divas with her debut album Never Can Say Goodbye, which dance club DJs went wild over. With side one of this LP, Gaynor helped to popularize the art of the nonstop dance mix, a concept that was still alive and well when the 21st century arrived 25 years later. There are no breaks between songs on side one; the intoxicating opener "Honey Bee" segues into Gaynor's hit remake of "Never Can Say Goodbye" and that Clifton Davis gem (which had been recorded by the Jackson 5 and Isaac Hayes in the early '70s) segues into a stunning interpretation of the Four Tops' "Reach Out, I'll Be There." Put those three gems together and you have a nonstop 19-minute dance mix that thrilled the club DJs of 1975 to no end. Meanwhile, side two isn't as club-driven; all of the songs are under four minutes, and there are breaks between them. In other words, side two is more typical of R&B LPs from the mid-'70s. While side one was revolutionary and daring for 1975, side two favors a more conventional Northern soul approach. This isn't to say that "Real Good People," "False Alarm," and other songs on side two aren't pleasing; side two is generally solid, although side one proved to be more trend-setting. Gaynor sings with a great deal of feeling on both sides, making Never Can Say Goodbye an impressive and highly memorable debut. ~ Alex Henderson


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