Song Of The Day 1/7/2015: Carl Douglas - "Gamblin' Man"

B-Sides Week '15: Here's your Mystery Song Of The Day that was leaked a couple of days ago. Yes, it's the B-Side of that positively joyful enumeration of racial stereotypes from 1974, "Kung Fu Fighting." "Gamblin' Man," as you've no doubt heard by now, has almost nothing in common with that song, except for Jamaican performer Carl Douglas and composer Biddu. It's a gumbo of prime Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Lynyrd Skynyrd narrative, with a derivative dash of John Entwistle's "My Wife" thrown in just for laffs. An entertaining song that won't alienate the Asian community.

Circling back to Biddu: "Kung Fu Fighting" was his breakthrough single as a behind-the-scenester, and started a lot of things for which we can be more thankful and guilt-free. "Kung Fu Fighting" itself was one of the earliest pop songs to adopt the disco rhythm template, so you can lay that on Biddu as well as Philadelphia International and Barry White. Over on the other side of the Western World he racked up more success as a disco producer with British disco stars, who seem less hung up about being called "disco stars" than American disco stars. When disco started getting blown up at baseball parks Biddu just shifted his boundaries a bit, launching Pakistani superstar Nazia Hassan, Japanese pop artist Akina Nakamori and the Indian pop smash Made In India. He also produced quite a few Bollywood soundtracks. Great, now I feel like a slouch.

I got nothin' on Carl Douglas.


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