Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes

Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes

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Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes Review

by Joe Viglione

A cast of thousands...well, almost, on Bob Crewe's campy outing with hairdresser Sir Monti Rock III, aka Joseph Montanez, Jr. Disco Tex gets four of the eleven tracks on what is actually a disco compilation album with Jerry Corbetta from Sugarloaf leading off the festivities. This ain't "Green Eyed Lady," though Corbetta charted with "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" in February of 1975, simultaneous with this album. Corbetta is but a warm-up for the main event, the guitar riff inviting the audience into the catchy melody of the Sex-O-Lettes' fake applause and heavy drum sound. The genius of this recording is two-fold: Bob Crewe keeping a rock & roll sound as the bed for this pseudo-disco, and the entire two sides having the same beat, allowing for dance jocks to drop the needle on any portion of this album and get a continuous sound. In that respect, the follow-up, Manhattan Millionaire, fails to recapture this short-lived glory. The "Jam Band" consists of the Toys co-producer Denny Randell, arranger Bruce Miller, Bob Crewe, and others. Where Kenny Nolan composed the entire Manhattan Millionaire follow-up project, Bob Crewe co-writes all the material here: two songs with Kenny Nolan, including the big hit, "Get Dancin'," "Name Up in Lights" with Alan Shatkin, and eight with Denny Randell, including "Shirley Wood," part of a four-song medley, this one co-written with Letty Jo Randell, and performed by the Sex O-Lettes, which feature underground singer/legend Cindy Bullens. Bullens is Bob Crewe's sister-in-law, having married manager Daniel Crewe, who represented his brother along with mastering wizard Bob Ludwig. Have we got that straight?

Marketed initially to a gay audience, Disco Tex's limp wrist on the front cover drenched in dangling gold is more flagrant in-your-face camp than stereotype. His ridiculous "I'm turning myself on" and "my chiffon is wet" comments inside "Get Dancin' are half the fun. But with all the trappings, it is too bad this is really a one-off project, the Manhattan Millionaire sequel fun but not as compelling as the novelty dance tune which shook up the clubs and radio signals in December of 1974. The album was unleashed in 1975 and the lead-off track on side two, "I Wanna Dance Wit' Choo (Doo Dat Dance)" got into the Top 25, no doubt on the strength of the disco floors. Hearing Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon after ten years exactly off the pop charts is fun, and the tracks with LuAnn Simms, Jerry Corbetta, and the Chocolate Kisses round out the album very well. Interesting that no one has really copped this idea of one continuous party with different guest stars for use in other musical styles. Disco was not fully embraced by the rock crowd, understandably so, but Bob Crewe found a way to merge the two worlds, and there's no denying this is a classic of the genre.

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