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Untitled (Disco Fever)
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  • Pop fans who associate Tavares with "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel" and the Bee Gees' "More Than a Woman" tend to think of it as a disco group. But Tavares' roots were Northern soul, and it was a classic Northern soul approach that first sent the Bostonians to the top of the R&B charts, not until Tavares' fourth album, Sky High!, did the quintet start to acquire a reputation as a disco act. With 1979's Madame Butterfly, Tavares seemed to be going out of its way to live down its disco reputation. The material is straight-up Northern soul, and nothing on this hell bent for R&B album is as disco-minded as "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel" or "More Than a Woman." If you notice that much of Madame Butterfly is very Philadelphia-sounding, it's no coincidence, this excellent LP was produced by Bobby Martin, a Philadelphian who was highly regarded in Philly soul circles. Anyone who has spent hours and hours listening to the O'Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and the Intruders should have no problem getting into solid offerings like "My Love Calls," "Straight from the Heart," and the major hit "Never Had a Love Like This Before." If, in 1979, you were hoping to hear Tavares performing a lot of disco, you were bound to find Madame Butterfly disappointing. But those who wanted Tavares to stick to pure, unadulterated northern soul agreed that working with Martin was a very wise move. ~ Alex Henderson
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