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  1. #1

    Thelma vs Teddy.

    I heard Bluenotes version of Don't leave me this way on radio today and Teddy just kills it. As I recall tho I could be wrong it was released and stalled in the lower range of the top 100. Why?? Did Thelma's come after? . It's a great song The only big difference from Thelma's seems to be her record' s more prominent background vocals . Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Now this is a GOOOOD question, Luke!!

    Both versions are absolutely brilliant to me, although Thelma's seems the more commercial sounding one. I believe that the Bluenotes' version was a good-sized hit in its own right in 1975, two years before Thelma's made #1. I will check!
    Last edited by TomatoTom123; 02-16-2017 at 09:12 PM.

  3. #3
    Ok, now this is interesting... The Bluenotes' original version was not actually released as single in 1975, so it never was a hit? It apparently made #3 on the Disco Charts however.

    I know it was definitely released in the UK and it definitely was a hit!! The Bluenotes' recording was released the same time as Thelma's (1977) and I believe there was a "chart war" between the two. The Bluenotes' version became the bigger hit, making #3, with Thelma ten slots lower at #13. I love both!
    Last edited by TomatoTom123; 02-16-2017 at 09:12 PM.

  4. #4
    Thanks Tomato. Maybe I'm wrong and it was never released in USA which would really make me wonder why not? Thelma went to # 1 in USA!

  5. #5
    Wikipedia says it was originally intended for Diana's followup to Love Hangover, but given to Thelma instead. Is this true ? Never heard that. And that it was considered an unofficial theme song for gay communities struggling with AIDS in the west of USA which I also didnt know!

  6. #6
    i think that the reason for the Bluenotes version of Don't Leave Me This Way not being widely released at the time was that this coincided with the internal issues with the group. Phila delphia International did not push any further singles on the group at this time as there was uncertainty as to its future.
    As we now know Teddy Pendergrass left for a solo career with Philadelphia International and Harold Melvin recruited a replacement singer and took the group to another label.
    Interestingly, Teddy later repaid the compliment and recorded Can't We Try, a track originally released by Thelma!

  7. #7
    Interesting! I just read there have been 18 members of the Bluenotes!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I heard Bluenotes version of Don't leave me this way on radio today and Teddy just kills it. As I recall tho I could be wrong it was released and stalled in the lower range of the top 100. Why?? Did Thelma's come after? . It's a great song The only big difference from Thelma's seems to be her record' s more prominent background vocals . Any thoughts?
    Thelma's came about year later and she did to Teddy and them what Aretha did to Otis Redding. She took his song and ran with it and never looked back! LOL! I like the Blue Notes version, but Thelma tore it up!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Interesting! I just read there have been 18 members of the Bluenotes!
    That's from the 1950s up until now.

  10. #10
    I love Thelma but compared to The Bluenotes her version has no soul. Give me Teddy 100% on this one.

  11. #11
    Thelma ...no soul? She won this Grammy for her performance and I sure hear soul. Just her humming at beginning knocks me out. Teddy very soulful.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Wikipedia says it was originally intended for Diana's followup to Love Hangover, but given to Thelma instead. Is this true ? Never heard that. And that it was considered an unofficial theme song for gay communities struggling with AIDS in the west of USA which I also didnt know!
    I remember being at the Camden Town venue in London, when Thelma toured the UK a few years ago with the Supremes Mabel John etc. She was talking about her career to a group of people and specfically mentioned that she considered her gay following were responsible for enabling her to continue to tour like she was then doing. She was very appreciative of her audience - Scherrie Payne chirped in on the conversation and re-inforced those comments.

  13. #13
    If you wanna hear the 11 minute version of Teddy's version, get the Philadelphia Classics Album(remaster)or the Tom Moulton -Philadelphia International Classics boxset.
    From the Enjoy the music website:
    "Don't Leave Me This Way" was a huge hit for Thelma Houston in November 1976 [Motown M-00002D1] but the original was released exactly a year earlier by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. Originally running 6 minutes on the 1975 LP Wake Up Everybody [Philadelphia International Records PZ 33808], Moulton's 11 minute masterpiece done in October 1976 as found on the 1977 Philadelphia Classics LP is simply out of this world in structure and sound quality. Tom's remix as well as Joe Tarsia, Jay Mark, Jim Gallagher and Mike Hutchinson audiophile recording set the standard for what a disco record should sound like. The punch, deep bass and treble extension on the 1977 Philadelphia Classics LP - even more so on the white label promo - is as good as it gets and holds its own with any 12-inch single of the genre. Strange as it may be but Moulton once said that this track was the hardest to mix because the intro starts out very mellow but with time, the tempo keeps speeding up and he went to great lengths to get that sound even using a "special mallet - a foot pedal on a stick - with a cut-out for his hand to play the 4/4 on the bass drum" to add weight no doubt; talk about dedication! A 7 minute version also came out in 1979 on the black and silver label 12-inch single [Philadelphia International Records 4Z8 3712]. No surprise that this nirvana sound is not transferred on this box set; far far from it. There must be a groove in order to groove.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Thanks Tomato. Maybe I'm wrong and it was never released in USA which would really make me wonder why not? Thelma went to # 1 in USA!
    You are quite correct Luke. The Bluenotes version was never officially released as a single in the USA. I was only a teenager at the time but i recall my pen pal from Chicago being pissed because he always prefered that version to Thelma. I bought both versions and still cannot decide which i prefer. Teddy sounds sublime on the slower more soulful version, but Thelma kicks up a storm on her more uptempo version and she too turns in a spectacular vocal performance well worthy of her grammy win. I recall interviewing Harold Melvin in the 80's and he confirmed that PIR had lost interest in the group by this time, and they were preparing Teddy for his solo career and therefore did not officially release that version.
    Speaking of the Diana connection Motown did indeed initially assign the song to her but for whatever reason she did not put down the vocals, and she later admitted to me that she wished she had listened to Berry rather than reject it. Diana was never a big fan of disco, but you can only imagine how much she regretted not recording it after Thelma took it to no.1 in the States. I will finish off with more trivia . Thelma adored the Bluenotes version, and she too could not understand why PIR did not release that version in the States, but she was also relieved!!
    Last edited by Bluebrock; 02-17-2017 at 07:42 AM. Reason: Not finished my post

  15. #15
    In terms of sales, Thelma's version was helped by it's inclusion in the film" Looking for Mr. Goodbar".

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by mysterysinger View Post
    I love Thelma but compared to The Bluenotes her version has no soul. Give me Teddy 100% on this one.
    Thelma has soul. The issue is that DISCO had no soul.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by johnny_raven View Post
    Thelma has soul. The issue is that DISCO had no soul.
    Agreed - Thelma does have soul but that release was pure disco and was lacking for me. Odd because I've always been a Thelma fan. I would rather not listen to Thelma on that one. The album is good though ("Anyway You Like It").

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