Various Artists

Top of the Pops, Vol. 51

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Dating from spring 1976, Top of the Pops, Vol. 51 is one of those editions where the chart's quality (or lack of) completely overwhelms that of the performances -- songs like the Glitter Band's late-in-the-day identikit "People Like You, People Like Me" are never going to sound that great, no matter who performs them, while a cover of C.W. McCall's "Convoy" is noteworthy only for the palpably poor American accent in which it is delivered. Keen TOTP collectors will spot a few wry moments -- a version of Tina Charles' chart-topping "I Love to Love," for example, reminds one that, until very recently, Charles herself was a part of the Top of the Pops team, recording her own versions of other people's hits. One can also chuckle at Brotherhood of Man's "Save Your Kisses for Me," a song so solidly cut in the ABBA-sound-alike mould that TOTP's rendition is performed by the very same voices that normally covered ABBA themselves. A languid stab at the Beatles' reissued "Yesterday" is passable; other reactivated oldies of the day, "Concrete and Clay" and "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," likewise. But the album's highlight is probably a stirring strut through "(Do The) Spanish Hustle," a performance that rates among the finest examples of mid-'70s British disco ever made.

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