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Faith, Hope & Charity (Expanded Edition)

Faith, Hope & Charity

Real Gone Music 2014

Review by David Bowling

 

Back in the days of disco there was a short-lived band named Faith, Hope & Charity. Albert Bailey, Brenda Hilliard, and Diane Destry, who replaced original member Zulema Cusseaux in 1974, were all excellent singers who had the good fortune to come under the tutelage of Van McCoy just as the disco era was picking up steam.

Their self-titled 1975 album, which contained their big hit “To Each His Own” placed them in the forefront of disco bands for a couple of years. While two more albums would follow, they were not as successful and by 1979 they had disbanded.

Van McCoy is the guiding light of the 12 track expanded version of their album.  He wrote nine of the 12 tracks, produced, and arranged all of the music.

When approaching this release, one must think in terms of the mid-1970’s when dance clubs were becoming the rage. While the vocals would fit any era, the melodies and production are pure mid-1970s. It is an excellent album for its time and still danceable if you are so inclined.

Two of the cover songs are classic rhythm & blues tunes. Doris Troy’s “Just One Look” and Fontilla Bass’ “Rescue Me” are twisted and changed to fit the era. Brenda Hilliard’s lead vocal on the two tracks plus “Find A Way” soars above the mix and commands your attention.

Their biggest hit, “To Each His Own (That’s My Philosophy)” reached the top of the R&B Chart and number two on the Disco Chart. A group effort, it is an infectious dance tune that that makes your feet move and was regularly played in dance clubs around the world.

The other tracks including “Let’s Go To The Disco,” “Disco Dan,” “Little Bit Of Love,” and “Mellow Me” were created for the burgeoning worldwide dance market of the day. While Van McCoy is remembered for his hit “The Hustle, it was as a producer that he made his mark. The production is impeccable as he adds horns and strings to the mix to create an energetic dance vibe.

Faith, Hope & Charity are long gone as a band but have left behind some music very representative of their era. A nice trip back to the night club world of the 1970’s.

 

Rating: ***

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