Lost but not least! GQ – Standing Ovation (Arista)
Not as well known as ‘Disco Nights (Rock Freak)’ taken from their 1979 ‘Disco Nights’ LP which marked The Rhythm Makers‘s debut as GQ… The opening cut to its follow-up released the year after, ‘Standing Ovation’, didn’t get the exposure it truly deserved at the end…
I incidentally discovered it while on an attempt to catch Radio One in Paris by the end of 1979. Quite a challenge back then knowing the station was only available on the medium waves from there!!!
Lucky me, I would be able to have a listen to Al Matthews‘s Saturday night Discovatin’ weekly show. This before gettin’ a copy of this gem by the following week. And so would I of Eddie Cheba‘s ‘Lookin’ Good’ as of Frank Hooker & The Positive People ‘Rock Me’.
Such an uplifting and boiling joint with production work and mix by the likes of Jimmy Simpson remembered for his collaborations with Ashford & Simpson. A cut which still deserves a… standing ovation, with lead vocalist Emanuel Rahiem reachin’ some kind of Jacksons‘ vocal range.
Hailing from the Bronx, NYC, Emanuel Ranson “Rahiem” LeBlanc, Keith Raymond Crier, Kenny Banks and Herb Lane joined forces together back in 1968 as Sabu & The Soul Survivors. Keith Crier using his Sabu moniker for the material he produced on his side.
The group signed 8 years later on De-Lite Records’ subsdivision Vigor Records under The Rhythm Makers guise. There, they released one album titled ‘Soul On Your Side’. Its title cut and ‘Zone’ being their strongest successes from then.
1978 saw them joining Arista Records as GQ (standing for Good Quality), with Paul Service replacing Kenny Banks the same year. Their 1979 released album, ‘Disco Nights’ bringing them to the forefront. With thanks to ‘Disco Knights (Rock Freak)’, an updated version of ‘Soul On Your Side’. But also to ‘Boogie Oogie’, a cover version of A Taste Of Honey‘s classic of the likes.
‘GQ Two’, the second of their 3 albums on Arista featured the boiling ‘Standing Ovation’ as heavily championed back then by UK broadcaster Al Matthews on his weekly ‘Discovatin’ show on Radio 1. Meanwhile Paul Service, who fractured his wrist in a car crash in 1980, got ultimately replaced by Steve Adorno. GQ delivering their final album – ‘Face To Face’ – the year after. And, as a part of it, another masterpiece by the likes of ‘Shake’ with mixing work – just like on ‘Standing Ovation’ – courtesy of Jimmy Simpson.
Emanuel LeBlanc, who signed a solo deal with Capitol Records, released an album – ‘Always Be Around’ – back in 1991, which included the outstanding ‘Driftin”.
Keith Crier sadly died on Sept. 29, 2013, at the age of 58.