John Davis

Up Jumped the Devil

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John Davis may well have been heralded as a session arranger for a myriad of artists, including Charo and Grace Jones. But, when backed by an assortment of session men and recording as John Davis & the Monster Orchestra, Davis transformed into the '70s clubbers' guru. Unleashing a host of occasionally funk-informed disco songs on his 1977 Up Jumped the Devil LP, Davis brought the dancers out in throngs when the title track, a brass-heavy blisterfest, became an underground hit. And it's hardly surprising that it emerged the album's finest moment. The glorious medley "The Magic Is You" (included in its full disco mix) and the punchy orchestrations of "Recapitulation" also manage to pull their own weight. Unfortunately, the remainder of the set, including the truly abysmal "We Can Fly," just doesn't measure up -- at all. The lite-disco fails, especially given some of the truly great songs hitting the club circuit elsewhere. None of which is to say that Up Jumped the Devil should be considered a buyer's beware. The aforementioned moments are truly worth the spin, and keepers of the disco flame will want the LP for the full medley mix. And that just leaves the album sleeve itself, naughtily nice with a red bathing suit, sequined devil horns, and lashings of smoke, and alone worth the price of admission.

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