Friday, October 25, 2013

Heatwave - Too Hot to Handle (1977)

Released: May 30, 1977 (Epic)
Produced by: Barry Blue
Peak on the US Billboard 200: 11

Side One Side Two
Too Hot To Handle
Boogie Nights
Ain't No Half Steppin'
Always and Forever
Super Soul Sister
All You Do is Dial
Lay It on Me
Sho'nuff Must be Luv
Beat Your Booty

 Charted singles: Hot 100 ACR&BDance
 Boogie Nights 2
 Always and Forever 18332

I've always loved the sweet soul ballad Always And Forever, often giving it the honor of best slow jam of all time.  However, I was unaware of songwriter Rod Temperton until I started noticing his name on the credits of albums for other artists: Michael Jackson, The Manhattan Transfer, George Benson, Anita Baker, Quincy Jones, etc. Then when I realized that he was the songwriter for this group, it all came together for me.  This was the group's debut album and there's not much to complain about, especially if you're a disco fan like this humble writer.

From the liner notes (click to enlarge):

I'm not sure about all that, but it's a great party album.

  • Too Hot to Handle:  A great opening track that gets me dancin'.  Sounds like a Michael Jackson or Brothers Johnson tune from around that time, complete with Earth Wind & Fire type horn licks. 
  • Boogie Nights:  When I'd hear this hit single on the radio, I always thought the introduction somehow sounded tropical (maybe it was suggested by the band name?).  In any case, this takes a great bass line and rhythm guitar part and turns them into a great disco chart.  I like the way the synth solo is doubled with a vocal.
  • Ain't No Half Steppin':  This one never seems to get going in spite of disco strings soaring over a funky synth bass.
  • Always and Forever: This song could be my favorite ballad of all time.  I'm immediately relaxed from the first notes on the organ and toms.  Then the strings come in, then fantastic vocals from Johnnie Wilder, Jr., then tight vocal harmonies on the chorus.  This song builds and builds until the 3:08 mark when it takes a break before building again.  Classic.  I love it so much I (almost) never sing along with Wilder because I just want to listen.

  • Super Soul Sister:  Despite a cool Clavinet opening and a syncopated funk beat, this as close as it gets to a filler track on this album. Not much of melody in either the verse or chorus.
  • All You Do is Dial:  More soul than disco, but sweet vocal harmonies over a bossa beat makes this cut a winner.  Who woulda thought that using the word "dial" as a verb in that way would date the lyrics?
  • Lay It on Me:  I'm indifferent to this one.  It's pleasant enough to listen to (particularly the chorus) - don't love it, don't hate it.
  • Sho'nuff Must be Luv:  This ballad is smooth, but ultimately boring, especially when compared to the two other slow songs on the album.
  • Beat Your Booty: The album finishes as strong as it starts.  How could I possibly resist a solid funk song that contains the line "Beat your booty if you ain't been doin' your duty"?? ("Duty" to be pronounced "dew-TAY")

  1. Always and Forever
  2. Boogie Nights
  3. Too Hot To Handle
  4. Beat Your Booty
  5. All You Do is Dial
  6. Ain't No Half Steppin'
  7. Lay It on Me
  8. Sho'nuff Must Be Love
  9. Super Soul Sister


  1. Sweet! Differing dual posts!

    Love it!

    To quote the legendary and quite possibly only porn AND disco star Andrea True:
    "More, More, More"

  2. This one has such a fun album cover. That melting vinyl was every record collector's nightmare. Good stuff. I definitely love the disco.