Just in time for tomorrow's launch of baseball season, here's a disco song written about Pete Rose back in his playing days, when he was known for his aggressive baserunning and tendency to slide headfirst into bases, rather than his aggressive betting and tendency to stay out of the Hall of Fame. This will cure baseball fever, disco fever, and spring fever. If you're suffering from March Madness, you'll need to get an old-school Kurtis Blow injection.
Pamela Neal and Mark Glabman wrote "Charlie Hustle" at the request of Glabman's father, a Cincinatti resident and Reds fan of the late 1970s. Neal primarily performed in Vegas, but she was known in the music industry, having co-written "Hot Love" for Charo's sought-after OLE OLE.
This picture disc is a frequent seller on eBay and in online record stores, likely due to the flip-side picture of Neal taking batting practice in hot pants, sutiable for Dad's underwear drawer. I can thank Antiques Roadshow appraiser Gary Sohmers for my copy. Gary pops up at record shows when he's in town, and he also dabbles in standup comedy, appearing at The Comedy Studio in Cambridge, Mass.
Although labeled as disco, "Charlie Hustle" anticipates the coming of Blondie, with a thumping bass riff and discordant guitar layered over synthesizers, sounding more like a product of CBGBs than the orchestral disco of the East Coast. There's no mistaking Neal's breathy singing for Deborah Harry, but her repetition of "Pete Rose" will get to you in the same way that Claudine Longet does.
"Magic Again" also walks the line between disco and New Wave, although the lyrics are pure dance music. It's got some funk, but it's most notable for having more cowbell than Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper."