Various Artists

Top of the Pops, Vol. 57

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The first Top Of The Pops album of 1977, and it's business as usual in UK chart terms. At the top, "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" peels out of Evita, replicated here with a version that's a teensy bit more piping than Julie Covington's original, but has a becoming frailty regardless; close behind, Boney M burst into the public consciousness with the seething "Daddy Cool", and are celebrated with a TOTP cover that picks up on the band's underlying goofiness long before the rest of us caught up with it.

Tina Charles' "Dr Love" is another fine celebration of the vocalist whose own days with the TOTP team ended on Volume 46, and the team's gift for reggae is revisited with a romp through Barry Biggs' "Sideshow" that comes close to eclipsing the original - the vocal sounds far more committed, the backing sounds more deliberate. One is also tempted to say that the Top Of The Pops rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" is an awful lot better than the David Parton hit cover that it emulates. That, after all, was simply awful.

But it's hard to comprehend how an utterly lackluster retread of "New Kid In Town" was ever cleared for release, and, on the subject of puerile mawkishness, David Soul's "Don't Give Up On Us" leaks out of the same inexplicable fascination for singing TV policemen that had already given Telly Savalas a #1. The soul-less version here seems to view the phenomenon with the same contempt as a lot of other people.

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