Thursday, 24 April 2014

Legs & Co. In Cabaret 1981 Part 3/4

Here's the third of four clips from Legs & Co.'s legendary 1981 cabaret show. This time, they're dancing to Al Jarreau's version of Antonia Carlos Jobim's bossa nova classic "Agua de Beber">

Relaxed, lush, and beautiful. Thanks again to the contributor of these rare gems.

NB: The donor has asked me not to make download links available.
Please don't distribute this clip elsewhere.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Legs & Co. In Cabaret 1981 Part 2/4

here's the second of four performances from Legs & Co.'s 1981 Cabaret show. The music is Hazel O'Connor's "Will You?" from the Movie Breaking Glass, a contemporary hit that year.

This time it's a solo performance from Sue. And what a performance! Building from a subdued beginning, only appropriate for the ballad format of the music, to a powerful emotional peak. Easily my favourite of the four.

Many thanks again to the generous donor.

NB: The donor has asked me not to make download links available.
Please don't distribute this clip elsewhere.

Legs & Co. In Cabaret 1981 Part 1/4

My apologies for a long absence. But here's treat that's dragged me out of my inactivity to share with you. Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, I have four 1981 live-on-stage performances from Legs & Co.

Here they dance to Led Zeppelin's classic "Whole Lotta Love". Season seventies Top of the Pops viewers will perhaps be more familiar with the big-band version by CCS, used as the TOTP them tune for many years.

This is clearly a documentary recording of a live performance, not a video shot, so the production is lit for the audience, not the cameras. So we have to make some allowances for the frequent blackouts, and ocaisionl murky over saturation of the colour. I'd guess, given the slight shifts in lighting and ambience between different camera angles, that this is perhaps a combined edit from more than one performance. Though not optimal, it's still a great privilege to be able to see this historic material, and I'm grateful to those who preserved and restored it.

But it's a spirited performance nonetheless, particularly during the long free-form freakout section in the middle.

One thing that puzzled me at first were the holstered cannisters, one on each hip, that the girls are wearing. I guess they're some kind of silly-string aerosol, as they seem to be using them to spray at the audience in tha last few seconds, but the lighting combined with the vintage Dr. Who style video feedback FX being overlaid makes it difficult to make out what's going on.

Many thanks to my anonymous contributor for this fantastic find.

Please stay tuned for the next three parts, coming soon...

NB: The donor has asked me not to make download links available.
Please don't distribute this clip elsewhere.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Legs & Co. - MacArthur Park

He's another BBC4 repeat upgrade for a routine originally posted in UK Gold VHS form. Legs & Co. dance to Donna Summer's version of "MacArthur Park" written by Jimmy Webb and originally a hit for Richard Harris.

A suitably weird bit of choreography for a weird song: Pauline, Gill and Lulu start are dressed up as branches of a huge tree that Lulu dances around, waving a literal cake about, in full cutey-pie mode with a big white bow in her hair. The yellow dress is a bit more lyrical literalness, though the yellow dress the song feres to is cotton, while Lulu's appears to be some sort of sparkly stuff. Lamé perhaps?

Things get a bit less weird once the disco beat kicks in after a minute or so, and everyone but Lulu appears sans branches in a bit of video overlay.

watch on youtube | download from mediafire (23 MB) password: OFTD

If you enjoy Jimmy Webb's brand of baroque pop weirdness, I recommend Richard Harris's performance of "The Hive": it still gives me the shivers. "In the parking lot, they're lettering a sign..."

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Legs & Co. - Now That We’ve Found Love

Here's another upgrade of a routine previously posted in gloriously gloopy VHS-ripped format: now thanks to BBC4, we have a pristine version.

Legs & Co. dance to Third World's disco/reggae fusion-crossover "Now That We've Found Love".

Watch on youtube | download from mediafire (21.1 MB) unzip with password: OFTD

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Les Girls - Samson & Delilah

Here's another example of Flick Colby's choreography work for Les Girls, resident dance group on Les Dawson's Sez Lex TV show in 1972.

They're dancing on the show's unique multi-layered, audience-incorporating set, behind Middle of the Road, who are performing "Samson & Delilah".

Middle of the Road were, as Les announces them, from Glasgow. Considered one-hit-wonders in the UK, their only big hit here was so catchy and annoying that even now I'm reluctant to mention it, lest you all find it stuck in your heads for days: be warned, but click here if you really must know what it was. They seem to have had longer lasting success in Europe, with this num,her amongst others.

As with my previous Les Girls posts, the choreography, though definitely Flick's, is necessarily more light-entertainment, family-show than what we're used to. But worth a watch.

Watch on youtube | download from mediafire (36 MB) unzip with password: OFTD

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Les Girls - But I'm Not

Ages ago, I posted a few examples of Flick Colby's choreography for Les Dawson's Sez Lez series in 1972, featuring that show's resident "Les Girls" dance troupe. Forum regular Jez has pointed me in the direction of a few more routines, with I thought eminently worth posting here.

Gilbert O'Sullivan was pretty much a jokey figure back in the early seventies, thanks in no small part to his management's decision to promote him with lashing of eeh-bah-gum clitheroe-kid Northern Working Class schtick. Since than, mostly due to Danny Baker's championing of him as a songwriter (who could give ole Morrissey a run for his misery money) he's been at least partly rehabilitated.

The choreography here is recognizably Flick's, but filtered through some constraints:

  1. TV light-entertainment sensibilities (i.e. lots of toothy grins from the girls),
  2. no real say in setting or camera-work, so the performance is by necessity directed simply toward the audience rather than the cameras, and
  3. working with a dozen dancers requires a different kind of choreograohy than a small group of four, five or six: much more unison work, much less individual performance.
Watch on youtube | Download from Mediafire (unzip password: "OFTD")