Doug James Songs
|Title||Artist||Album||Links Play All|
|"Couples Only"||Ronnie Dyson||"If The Shoe Fits (Dance In It)"||
Jerry Love came back from a trip to L.A. and pulled Tray Christopher and me aside. "I want you guys to write a song," he said in a whisper, as if he was letting us in on a hot stock tip, "and here's the title: 'Couples Only!' Roller Disco is about to sweep the nation, and we're gonna be ready for it!" Indeed, as far as I know, Tray and I wound up writing the very first roller disco song ever (thanks for the idea, Jerry). Michael Zager then arranged and produced, in my opinion, a masterpiece of a recording, topped off with a powerful vocal performance by Ronnie Dyson. Then, some music biz publication - "Friday Morning Quarterback,' I think it was - predicted that the record was going to be a "Huge National Hit." SoTray and I got all excited and went out to celebrate at a restaurant on West 72nd Street called Mrs. J's Sacred Cow - a glass of water there ran you about five bucks. No matter, though, because we had a "huge national hit" on our hands. Well, we kept waiting and waiting for that record to be released. Weeks passed; a couple of months passed; and then we heard that the record had been put out without anyone having ever heard a thing about it. We were dumbfounded and more than a little downcast - and Dyson must've been absolutely brokenhearted.
Awhile later, we finally heard what had happened: There'd been a coup, of sorts, at Columbia Records and their entire promotional department had been fired just as the album was being released. Politics and corporate brain trusts being what they are, my guess is that, all of a sudden, no one at Columbia gave much of a hoot about Ronnie Dyson anymore. At any rate, I'm pretty sure Tray and I spent more celebrating at Mrs. J's than either one of us ever made in royalties off of "Couples Only." Ronnie Dyson, though... he's the one who really had the boards yanked out from under him here. I still think it was a darned good record that was both fun and timely - by the way, roller disco did have its moment in the sun. I remember walking through Central Park on many an afternoon and seeing hundreds of skaters flying along - or often rolling and dancing around a boom box. I even asked some of them if they'd ever heard of a song called "Couples Only." Not one of them ever had, although just about all of them said they thought it was a great idea. Oh, well... guess that's just the way it goes - or went. Still, though, I can't help but smile every time I hear that song. (That's Jerry Love, by the way, at the beginning as the announcer.)
|"If The Shoe Fits (Dance In It)"||Ronnie Dyson||"If The Shoe Fits (Dance In It)"|
|"Familiar Strangers"||Ronnie Dyson||"If The Shoe Fits"|
|"Black Widow Woman"||The Afro-Cuban Band||"Rhythm of Life"||
This was the second song of mine ever covered. Written with my dear friend, Tray Christopher, it was released as a 12-inch single. I remember hearing it on WBLS, who was playing the heck out it for awhile, but there proved to be a problem (we were told, at least) with how the word "Black" was stressed in the chorus and the racial implcations of the lyric. That had honestly never even occurred us while writing it, but a lesson was learned.
|"The Moon Is The Daughter Of The Devil"||The Afro-Cuban Band"||"Rhythm of Life"||
First song of mine ever to be covered. Yeah, I know, get the disco ball out, but it was a thrill. Also was the occasion of meeting and working with Fredrick Mongue - a.k.a. Tray Christopher - who would become one of the best friends I'll ever have. And what a writer. What a writer. More about Tray later.