Gone Digital: Louise Huebner, Jimmy Castor, George McRae, Tompall & The Glaser Brothers, and The Grid

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

If it’s Tuesday, then it must be time for Gone Digital, our weekly look at five albums which may not even realize are part of Rhino’s digital catalog. As ever, the types of music we’ll be covering will be all over the place, but that’s Rhino for you: we’re all about variety!

•    Louise Huebner, LOUISE HUEBNER’S SEDUCTION THROUGH WITCHCRAFT (1969): It’s crazy to think that there was once a time when there was an “Official Witch of Los Angeles County,” but that’s the title that was bestowed upon Louise Huebner in 1968. An astrologer and psychic, Hueber wrote a flurry of books in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, earning enough fame to appear on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson and The Joey Bishop Show, but this album... Boy, it’s something else, and it really gives you an idea of just how wild things were getting in ’69.

•    The Jimmy Castor Bunch, BUTT OF COURSE (1974): Oh, yes, there are absolutely supposed to be two T’s in that title, as anyone who’s ever heard Castor’s “Bertha Butt Boogie” already well knows. There are a whole lot of ‘70s funk grooves to be found on this album, much as there are on any Castor album you might choose, but this is arguably the one that made the Bunch as big a deal as Bertha’s... Well, anyway, they were a big deal.

•    George McRae, GEORGE MCRAE (1975): You know McRae, of course, for his biggest hit, “Rock Your Baby,” but while his self-titled second album came out within a year of that hit, it failed to replicate the success of its predecessor in America. In the UK, however, it produced a #4 hit on the UK Singles chart with “It’s Been So Long,” and the three further singles from the album – “Sing a Happy Song,” “I Ain’t Lyin’,” and “Honey I” – were all top-40 hits across the pond, too. A lost disco/R&B classic that deserves to be reappraised by US audiences.

•    Tompall & The Glaser Brothers, LOVIN’ HER WAS EASIER (1981): Alas, there’s no one from this country music trio who’s still with us anymore – Tompall Glaser died in 2013, and both Chuck and Jim Glaser died in 2019 – but their music lives on. The Glasers got their big break back in 1957 when they appeared on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Show, catching the ear of a number of country musicians. This album was their first after Chuck’s recovery from a stroke so severe that he had to relearn how to sing, and in addition to climbing into the top-40 of the Billboard Country Albums chart, it also provided them with the biggest hit of their career: the #2 hit “Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again).”

•    The Grid, ELECTRIC HEAD (1990): This duo, which consisted of Richard Norris and former Soft Cell member Dave Ball, were a big deal on the dance floor from the late ‘80s up through the mid-1990s, but it took until their third LP, 1994’s EVOLVER, for them to really break through. (That came about thanks to their hit single “Swamp Thing.”) That said, this debut album certainly helped start their rise to success via a tune called “Floatation,” and songs like “A Beat Called Love” and “Intergalactia” also caught the ears of club DJs.