If you’re going to do a boxset then do it right, make it big. Totalling eight discs charting their album releases over the course of 1975 to 1980 this pays testament to the enduring legacy of the band in the national consciousness. While the final album Stepping Out succumbs to the schmaltz and musical clique characterising a lot of mainstream R&B as it drifted into the 1980’s it’s time to turn to that initial run of five albums which provided a wealth of soulfully charged, incendiary passion with songs such as the meaningful Love Epidemic contained on their debut. 1975 is of course a great place to start proceedings as the sounds of what became Disco had become well and truly established as the instrumental Trammps Disco Theme eloquently testifies. The legendary Zing Album contains the timeless Hold Back The Night and the rather beautiful Tom’s Song. But its perhaps by their third album that the band’s sound truly matures with numbers such as the exuberant title track Where The Happy People Go and Can We Come Together, alongside the quietly smouldering Love Is a Funky Thing.
The Trammps III released in 1977 contains one of my favourite tracks of the era, The Nights Went Out crystallising Early Young’s signature drumming alongside the powerful instrumentation and soaring vocals by Jimmy Ellis. More often than not The Trammps wrote about love and heartbreak but this song was about the Electricity blackout the same year. And it’s songs like these which give the band real depth of meaning. It is also well worth reading the sleevenotes by MOJO and Record Collector’s contributor Charles Waring for the bigger picture.
Release: March 25