Thank God It's Friday

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Casablanca, 1978

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/18/2009

Another high point of the disco era was the release of this double-disc soundtrack to the Donna Summer vehicle, Thank God It’s Friday. Featuring three cuts by Summer, two by Love & Kisses and GREAT entries by Diana Ross, The Commodores, and Cameo, this package is arguably more colorful than that of Saturday Night Fever. Both film soundtracks are all one needs to hear to understand what the disco music genre and subsequent craze were all about. The percussion and funky style on Friday are what sets this apart from Saturday, which was dominated by strings and polished production.

Lord knows what my poor mother must have thought when I asked her to buy the vinyl version of this album back in 1978, when I was only nine years old. There were scantily clad cartoon women on the cover, all dancing and gyrating wildly with their pimped-out beaus. Maybe she should have known right then and there that I would turn out gay!nbtc__dv_250

The best tracks have got to be the first four and the last four. The middle portion is where things become a little dodgy. Selections like the redundant “I Wanna Dance” by Marathon or the senseless “Take It To The Zoo” by Sunshine are totally unnecessary. Thankfully, there aren’t as many instrumentals as there are on SNF. The Wright Bros. Flying Machine’s “Leatherman’s Theme” and Natural Juices’ “Floyd’s Theme” pay dividends and are among the many hidden jewels to be found. Santa Esmeralda’s “Sevilla Nights” is nothing more than an instrumental version of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” so its inclusion is a questionable one -- though it’s somewhat refreshing to hear a little Latin flair in the mix.

Donna Summer’s performance in the film may only have amounted to an unmemorable cameo (like Madonna in Vision Quest…hmmm?), but on the soundtrack she is the unmistakable star of the show. We’ve got the immortal classic hit “Last Dance,” another extended orgasm in the tradition of “Love To Love You Baby” (“Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus”), and the sadly overlooked gem “With Your Love.” Pattie Brooks is the one artist who threatens to upstage Donna -- sounding just like her, in fact -- with the incredible standout that is “After Dark.” And Thelma Houston’s gospel-inspired, throw-down “Love Masterpiece” has got to be heard to be believed and puts her in a class all her own.

Also making a decidedly lesser name for himself is Paul Jabara, who also has two songs in the form of the ridiculous “Disco Queen” and “Trapped In A Stairway,” both of which are so over-the-top that they can only be described as camp. It’s almost as if he got stuck with the leftovers when all the bigger names snatched up the better material. So much for attempting to be the King of Disco, eh, Paul?

Rating: B+

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© 2009 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Casablanca, and is used for informational purposes only.