Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Friday, 27 September 2013

Magic In The Air

Philadelphia pop-soul vocal trio The Three Degrees began life in 1963 , releasing several singles and eventually their first album Maybe with Roulette Records in 1970.  It would be their work with Philadelphia International's Gamble & Huff, however, that would see them achieve their greatest success, with two high-charting albums and a slew of top 40 singles including the smashes When Will I See You Again and T.S.O.P.  (The Sound Of Philadelphia) [with M.F.S.B.].

I recently picked up the 1980 compilation double album Gold at a boot sale for £2:

The Three Degrees - Gold (1980)
Rear cover
Inside gatefold

Sides 1 through 3 boast the cream of their output from 1973-77, encompassing their time at P.I.R. and Epic, while Side 4 is a set of live material including cover versions of songs by Stevie Wonder and Elton John.

(This release is not the one of the same name and year on K-Tel, which contains a side of Ariola material).

After leaving Epic, the trio (whose members changed frequently over the years) joined Ariola Records and released the Giorgio Moroder-produced New Dimensions in 1978, a copy of which I found this summer, also for £2:

The Three Degrees - New Dimensions (1978)
Dresses by Zandra Rhodes

Rear cover

Side 1 comprises a 17-minute continuous mix of three songs: lead single Giving Up, Giving In, segueing into Falling In Love Again then Looking For Love.  This energetic disco suite blends familiar Philly strings with motorik rhythms and synthesisers, resulting in a refreshed Three Degrees sound more in keeping with the dancefloor fashions of the time.

Inside gatefold

Side 2 continues in this vein for the first song The Runner, then slows down for Woman In Love, the highest-placing single which peaked at no. 3 in the UK.  The pace picks up again for final track Magic In The Air, a mid-tempo, more traditional Three Degrees song, devoid of Moroder's overt electronics.

Here are the girls miming artfully to Giving Up, Giving In:

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