Theyll really be traveling for this show all the way from Canada. Theyve been hot up there for a couple of years. Their first big Canadian hit Que Sera Sera (the old Doris Day classic), released in August of 1977, became the largest selling single ever north of the border. Soon, they had their own television variety program. But Canada was originally home for neither Robbie nor Cherrill Rae.
Robbie was born in Whales, where he began his musical career (as had his father) as a boy soprano in a choir. When he was 14 he was discovered by a local producer, then signed by Decca records, and was soon touring with his brother throughout Europe.
It was in the early 70s when he was hosting his own variety show on Welsh television that Robbie met his wife-to-be, Cherrill. Although born in England close to its Scottish border, she had emigrated early with her family to Canada where she soaked up the sound of Black American music, especially the Motown sound. Her desire to study classical guitar lead her back to her homeland and the College of Music at Cardiff, Wales. She met Robbie when she appeared as guest artist on his television show. It was love at first listen; three days later they were engaged.
Since solo careers as singers in England separated them too much, their next move was to Canada and a merger of their various talents as a duo. Their successful tours and their television show led to a recording contract with A & M records which is launching their American debut with the album Dancing Up a Storm. It features the hit A Little Lovin as well as their new single Get Up and Dance.
My favorite cut from the album (Im a sucker for good bubblegum disco) is a 50s styled tune, Dont Turn Around, a cut which will be released as their next single. If you like pleasant-sounding harmonies, cute lyrics, and the kind of musical charm that conjures up a more innocent age, then youll love the Raes.
Recently I talked with the Raes about their upcoming Baltimore concert: here are a few highlights from our chat.
Wresch: In what direction do you think disco is moving?
Cherrill: I want to see disco move toward more live performances. It is almost the natural direction anyway. Just about any music in the past that has gone top 40 has done just that. Live performance disco will also weed out all those faceless names.
Wresch: In the future what type of sound will you personally be aiming for?
Cherrill: We are going to stay with the Latin, very percussive sound.
Wresch: Any plans for moving toward the Euro-disco sound with lots of electronic synthesizers?
Robbie: No! No! I dont like that kind of sound. I like live disco with a live group.
Cherrill: We want to sound man-made. The disco sound should keep coming from people, not from machines.
Wresch: Some people feel that your style combines disco with pop. Is that true?
Robbie: When we went in to do A Little Lovin we did not think of it as a disco tune. It came out that way [in the remix]. We do pop tunes, but based on a disco beat: thats basically it.
Wresch: What will your first U.S. tour act be like?
Robbie: Our act is very different from others. There are impressions in the show, like spoofs on different disco acts. We have a whole segment of the show on rock acts that have turned disco. We will use all live musicians, full sound, full lights, and six man crew. We put into the show our own personality as well as a little bit of humor.
Cherrill: And dont forget, we will use smoke bombs, dry ice, bubble machines, strobes. Its a real big production.