Cado Belle

Cado Belle

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Best remembered as the Scottish sextet that first brought singer Maggie Reilly to notice, Cado Belle's lone album highlights what was unquestionably one of the greatest disco bands ever produced the U.K.. Other bands (most notably Kokomo) landed the plaudits, others (led by Heatwave) scored the hits. But Cado Belle had both the silky musicianship and the songs, while Reilly's vocals are simply shimmering -- a long way from "Five Miles Out" and "Moonlight Shadow" perhaps, but still hallmarked by some of the most emotive tonsils of her generation. Unflinchingly, one can compare Cado Belle to the best of Rose Royce. There's the same grasp on orchestrated balladry (courtesy of the great Paul Buckmaster), and the same interplay between instrumentation and vocals. But lest there's a danger of the entire thing turning into the Maggie Reilly show, guitarist Alan Darby, in particular, cuts loose with some scintillating guitar breaks, while there's a funky edge to even the softest ballad, to remind us that Cado Belle worked their apprenticeship in the nightclubs of Glasgow before some of the most demanding audiences in Europe. Ultimately, Cado Belle's note perfect soul-pop went nowhere -- the U.K. was preparing for the grip of punk at the time, and the U.S. had no need whatsoever to start importing slick disco bands. One EP later, Cado Belle disappeared from view, and there's not even a CD "best of" to mark their grave today. But the LP isn't hard to find -- and it's not easy to stop listening to, once you do locate a copy. [Originally released in 1976, the LP was reissued on a Japanese CD in 2004 and includes bonus tracks.]

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