July 4, 1981: Spandau Ballet, Hi-Gloss, Mighty Fire, Richard ‘Dimples’ Fields, Cheryl Lynn


SOUTHGATE ROYALTY, home base of Showstopper Promotions, in a shock-gasp-horror move has had to knock jazz-funk on the head completely at the weekend due to early closure of the local tube station, Froggy now just jocking Wednesdays there, with Country Music taking over Fridays and the ’50s/’60s rock ‘n’ soul night moving in on Saturdays from Picketts Lock with Roger Scott and myself (starring this week) . . . Sho-Pro’s October Caister is sold out, and an additional weekender earlier in the month will now be back at Perran Sands in Cornwall on Oct 2/3/4 . . . Froggy joins Peter Powell on BBC Radio 1 for a weekly ‘Summer Groove’ soul show starting Friday 10th July 4.30–6.30pm, over nine weeks . . . Roger Scott’s ‘Cruising’ on Capital Radio switched last week on Wednesdays 6.00-6.30pm to soul oldies, all the records as usual from my own collection so you really can expect to hear some goodies! . . . John Grant, in another shock-gasp-horror announcement, intends (unless something fantastic happens in the interim) giving up his DJ activities to “pursue other interests” — “I need a break, and am continuing at Manchester Rufus up to around the end of August on Saturdays only, my very last all-dayer being on the 31st August, and no dates at all during the week” . . . Chris Britton at the end of August starts running mid-week jazz nights in Finsbury Park Rainbow’s new foyer club, with a mixture of club and radio guest jocks plus new Britfunk bands live every week, the best bands being gathered together for an all-dayer every two months or so, interested bands call Chris at the Rainbow on 01 272 9636 or outside office hours on 0494 451797 . . . Cameo’s up-coming UK release will be a double 12in pack, a 3-tracker with ‘Don’t Be So Cool’ / ‘The Sound Table’ / ‘On The One’, plus a one-sided ‘Freaky Dancin’! . . . Raydio have a 3-track 12in rushed this week with ‘Still In The Groove’ / ‘A Woman Needs Love’ / ‘So Into You’ (ARISTA 12392) — for sale at the price of a 7in! . . . CBS are releasing Abba ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’ after all (which’ll please Martin Platts of Blackburn), but only in the original LP version and not the Disconet remix — however, it’ll be a 12in . . . Stevie Wonder ‘Happy Birthday’ is on 7in right now . . . Unlimited Touch ‘Searching To Find The One’ belatedly gets UK release in three weeks, with Lamont Dozier ‘Cool Me Out’ and Cheryl Lynn scheduled soon on 12in too . . . Edit Point ‘Bright Side’ (which didn’t exactly set the chart on fire before) has been picked up by PVK, and Scandal / Lee Genesis, by Creole . . . Automatic’s Tantra 12in and 7in are completely new “definitive” versions unreleased anywhere else before, the 12in edit being an Italian remix and 7in a US Importe/12in promo version made for radio out of “everyone’s fave bits” . . . Cayenne ‘Roberto Who …?’ is being remixed for 12in . . . Nigel Martinez ‘Behind My Back’ could use a remix to cut through on the floor better . . . David Bendeth, visiting British haunts with wife Ruth, says his album is due out again soon in totally remixed, restructured and repackaged form . . . Disconet’s latest DJ subscription-only 12in twin-pack includes a dynamite remix of ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’ and a ‘1980 Top Tune Medley‘ mixer which interestingly reverses tradition by getting progressively slower, the final part being most useable here mixing ‘Celebration’ / ‘A Lover’s Holiday’ / ‘Love Sensation’ / ‘Can’t Fake The Feeling’ / ‘Rapture’ / ‘Upside Down’ / ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ (but other cuts on the set are tres gaie) . . . General Saint & Clint Eastwood’s reggae ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ (Greensleeves) in the 7in version even gets the catalogue number OINK 1! . . . Diana Ross’s new stage shows apparently won’t contain any Motown material at all — how will her fans like that? . . . ‘Wide Awake In A Dream’ was intended by arranger/producer Barry Biggs for its ’60s originator Philip James to re-record, but Philip didn’t like the basic backing track so Barry sang it instead! . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn starts marketing a range of products of use to DJs with a massively discounted Hermetite manufactured BCF fire extinguisher (good against electrical fires) at £7.50 inclusive of P&P, but with a further £1 discount to DJF members — cheques/POs (payable to TVDJA) with your orders to PO Box 39, Staines, Middlesex . . . TVDJA membership details are in a pamphlet from Steve Brandy at the same PO Box address — and Steve (Ashford, Middlesex 54714) wouldn’t mind jazz-funk gig offers . . . Kev James, resident weekday lunchtime and Thurs/Friday nights at the Raglan in City of London’s St Martins Le Grande, still does Tuesdays at Golders Green Great Expectations with live bands and invites interested bands (regular well paid work) to send an audition tape plus photos to him at 113 Bute Road, Wallington, Surrey . . . Norman Scott now runs a gay ‘Bolts’ night on Thursdays at the well-appointed Lazers in Green Lanes, Harringey (or, as Norman spells it, Harringay!) . . . Paul Rae & Ralph Randell, packing ’em in on their futurist Thursdays at Manchester’s Legend, also feature an hour of solid jazz on their popular jazz-funk Wednesdays . . . Excaliber/R&B Records reliable Morgan Khan needs more up-front club jocks (who can break new material) for his mailing list, so if you fit the bill send full work details to him at 34 Salisbury Street, London, NW8 8QE — but only If you’re in a major mainland UK town or city other than London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (where his quota is already filled) . . . Robbie Vincent and Jeff Young have another special VE Night at Dartford Flicks on Thursday 16th July, with last year’s searchlight plus (it’s rumoured) a tank, and a certain bearded disco journalist/DJ who will make a guest appearance playing authentic 1945 dance records while wearing his dad’s equally authentic sailor suit! . . . Colin Curtis, Frenchie & Pete Haig take to a boat on Ullswater for a jazz-funk cruise on Saturday 18th July — strictly limited £5.50 tickets from Chris Tittley, 244 Vicarage Lane, Marton, Blackpool, FY4 4NG (PO/cheque plus SAE) . . . Froggy, Jeff Young, Pete Tong & Colin Hudd the following day Sunday (19) then cruise around the Isle Of Wight — details on 01 723 1362 . . . Jacques Fred Petrus, French West Indies-born producer and Italian colleague Mauro Malavasi formed Change after first collaborating on Macho’s ‘I’m A Man’ in ’77. Petrus now producing BB&Q Band . . . Record Shack’s Jeff Shack has written to me saying “I would like to apologise to you for suggesting that you were gay. I didn’t actually mean to suggest that in my advert but it came out like that” . . . Michael McGloiry meanwhile has finally shown up in our chart, mainly it must be said as a result of gay disco play . . . Erskine T is currently secretive about an interesting new affiliation which should bring him in close contact with another somewhat lookalike disco plugger! . . . Phonogram’s John Waller implores his secretary Karin Rasborcheg, “Please don’t go – we love you too much! . . . Alan Costa (Brighton Kings Club/Kings II) has been playing Lamont Dozier ‘Going Back To My Roots’, but people keep coming up asking for the original by Odyssey — it had to happen, right?! . . . Craig Dawson (Edinburgh Road Runner Mobiles) reports currently number one in the Dutch disco chart appropriately is Frankie Smith ‘Double Dutch Bus’ — also of course finally huge Stateside, and the 119-120bpm US WMOT 12in is proving useful here again too (try Fatback ‘Kool Whip’ out of it for instance) . . . Sylvester’s eagerly sought dynamite promo 12in remix of ‘Give It Up’ is terrific out of the Sharon Redd remix – it’s 112(intro)-110(chix)-109(sax/rhythm)-110(“give it up”)-109-111(Sylvester)bpm, flipped by the nice 42/83bpm ‘Here Is My Love’ sexy duet, should you be lucky . . . Cerrone ‘Hooked On You’ is brilliant synched with Odyssey, don’t forget . . . R D Hart (Wells-Next-To-Sea) asks, “How the hell are you supposed to mix Shakatak ‘Brazilian Dawn’ with anything else — the nearest thing I can find is ‘Nut Rocker’ ” . . . like it, like it! . . . Mass Prod ‘I Got To Have Your Love’ is 119bpm, not 190bpm as printed(!) . . . Top Of The Pops two weeks ago was the most soulful ever, with something like six out of nine acts being black, while of last week’s pop Top 75 a good third was soul/disco and only an arguable six records ware futurist . . . Plan B worked then, all the no substance trendies jumping off soul and onto another bandwagon, leaving the charts wide open to people who spend money on music rather than clothes! . . . ‘Wikka Wrap’ is probably the biggest disco hit yet to go national without a major label being involved . . . Tony Clarke, jocking his way around Scandinavia, recommends Mikie Burke’s Record Shop in Grimstad, a seaside town in Southern Norway — Mikie was a jock himself and stocks current US/UK imports at reasonable prices . . .

DIONNE WARWICK —proving that good bone structure lasts a lifetime — is back with a double LP that’s great for listening, ‘Hot! Live And Otherwise’ (Arista DARTY 10), the “otherwise” being mainly some Michael Masser slowies (‘Some Changes Are For Good’ creating a US radio stir as her new single there) while the “live” majority includes a marathon medley of her hits. Nostalgic femme fans will dig.


SPANDAU BALLET: ‘Chant No.1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On)’ (Reformation CHS 122528).
They’ve kept saying that their music was “funk” and now for real it really is. In an absolutely amazing amalgamation with — wait for it! — the sizzling brass of Beggar & Co, creating a sensational funkily thudding and motoring 0-121-0bpm 12in groove that chantingly builds to a dynamite break. Totally compatible, it mixes well with ‘Wikka Wrap’ for instance, the vocal side’s break actually being stronger than the whole of the shorter instrumental B-side. You’re unlikely to hear anything else as astounding this week!

HI-GLOSS: ‘You’ll Never Know’ (EPC A13-1387).
Although hotly contested by other cuts on the terrific import album, this gorgeous soulful chix-sung sleazily jolting 99bpm 12in clapped jogging swayer has so far come out on top as lead track, the great value flip’s Phillip Baliou-sung lovely lazily bumping cool 113bpm ‘I’m Totally Yours‘ being the closest contender and still potential winner. Class disco at its very best.

MIGHTY FIRE: ‘Love Fantasy’ (LP ‘No Time For Masquerading’ (Elektra K 52294).
Recently reviewed in full on import but now out here, the hottest hit by far is this superb spaciously arranged unhurried 126-127-128-129bpm mellow soul trotter with lovely jazzy solos from guitar, trumpet, sax and bass that are true jazz-funk, ‘Sweet Fire‘ being an equally good Harold Melvin-ish 121-123-124bpm rolling swinger, and ‘Love Attack‘ a monotonous jittery 128bpm thudder.  Continue reading “July 4, 1981: Spandau Ballet, Hi-Gloss, Mighty Fire, Richard ‘Dimples’ Fields, Cheryl Lynn”

June 27, 1981: Carl Carlton, The Jacksons, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Carol Jiani, Sharon Redd


No column this week.


CARL CARLTON: ‘She’s A Bad Mama Jama (She’s Built, She’s Stacked)’ (20th Century-Fox TCD 2488).
Leon Haywood-prod/penned hit-bound infectious jauntily trucking jittery 114bpm 12in strutter with Stevie Wonder-ful vocal sound and Kool-style “yahoo” yells, rushed out here ahead of US imports and flipped by his older lovely 36½/73-36/72bpm ‘This Feeling’s Rated X-tra‘, which is quite staggeringly similar to Tyrone Davis’s ‘In The Mood’ (try synching ’em and see!).

THE JACKSONS: ‘Walk Right Now’ (Epic EPC A13-1294).
Vibrant frenetically lively 133bpm 12in galloping strutter with gimmicky noise-filled final break will like their last one alienate the soul disco crowd but doubtless pull pop fans.

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS: ‘No Woman, No Cry’ (Island 12WIP 6244).
1975’s London Lyceum-recorded classic 40/79-80-0bpm reggae-rock slowie now on full length 12in flipped by ‘Jamming‘ — but rather irritatingly its a Paris-recorded faster 65/130-131-0bpm live version from ’78.  Continue reading “June 27, 1981: Carl Carlton, The Jacksons, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Carol Jiani, Sharon Redd”

June 20, 1981: Gino Soccio, Change, Evelyn King, Mighty Fire, Mastermind


DISCO OBSERVERS doubtless join me in heaving a sigh of relief at this week’s final return to normality . . . US imports will be costing more from the next shipment on . . . Teena Marie’s LP has been withdrawn in the States for a complete remix (was it something I said?!) . . . Morgan Khan is now pleading with dealers to sell Excaliber’s ‘DJ Purposes Only’ releases to ordinary non-DJ customers too — seems some shops took the series’ title literally! . . . Excaliber’s future issues include Candido ‘Jingo’, Wish ‘Nice and Soft’, Barbara Roy ‘If You Want Me’ (with a segued mixer flip), and a remix of Firefly ‘Love’ . . . Champagne has reissued Spargo ‘You and Me’ (FIZY 1001) . . . Hi-Gloss ‘You’ll Never Know’ / ‘I’m Totally Yours’ is being rushed early June . . . Star Sound’s next project is an Abba medley . . . Lenny White’s album ‘Twennynine with Lenny White’ (Elektra K 52257) is being sold here with a free copy of the previously promo-only ‘Fancy Dancer’ 12in remix . . . Fatback and James Brown LPs reviewed last week on import are now out here (Spring 2391512 and Polydor POLS 1029 respectively) . . . Carol Jiani is evidently about on a Canadian remix . . . Eddie Russ’s much-sought ‘Zaius’-featuring old ‘See The Light’ LP is turning up in certain London stores now . . . Archie Bell’s Becket LP will be on PRT here . . . Soho’s upmarket new L’Escargot wine bar seems off to a good start, spotted sipping Californian wine there last week were Jonathan Dimbleby, Pete Townshend, Roberto Campoverde . . . Roberto Who? . . . ‘Wikka Wrap’, reportedly the hottest record in the USA with radio going crazy for it, sold 30,000 copies in one day after rush release on SAM . . . Inversions ‘Loco Moto’ / ‘Black Russian’, finished only last week, should be due on Groove Production 12in any time now . . . Paapa / Future ‘Tastes So Good When It’s Hot’, an excellently produced fast urgent happy smacker involving members of HI-Tension and Sweet Sensation, is currently only in acetate stage, but should smash when picked up for release . . . Brighton Busby’s Thursday jazz-funk night didn’t get the “right” crowd, so Paul Clark & Mick Fuller are just there Sundays now . . . Sunderland Mayfair’s Roller Disco on Thurs/Saturdays is going great, sez Marshal ‘Woolie’ King . . . Terry Hooper has left Ilford Room at the Top after eight years to become manager of the soon to open Stratford Revelations . . . Robbie Collins (01 520 7547) needs more futurist bands to gig on Thursdays at Slough Alexandra’s – where Tokyo appear tonight (18) . . . Neil Fincham is looking for a learner / assistant DJ / video op at Dunbar’s Craigengelt in Marine Road — contact him there any Thur/Fri/Sat at 7.45pm . . . Paul Mallon (Bath 0225-3319931), following closure of Halifax Tiffanys would welcome summer season work playing any kind of music on the coast or in Europe . . . London Organisation of DJs’ membership has been reduced to £16 (including insurance cover) and their meeting venues will range around the area in an effort to attract more jocks — LODJ details from Ralph Maloney (01-805 8211) . . . Radio Caroline will have a futurist format when it returns on 559m off the Essex coast sometime this month . . . Steve Strange/Rusty Egan’s ‘Club For Heroes’ is merely Funktion flying under a new flag, with Peter Byfield in pirate clothes at the Barracuda . . . I spent a staggering 15 hours just BPM-ing records over the weekend, and trust it’s appreciated . . . HO DE HUM!


GINO SOCCIO: ‘Try It Out’ (Atlantic K 115947).
Already an absolute monster as an import LP track, this strangely compulsive dead simple but oh so powerful hypnotic walking paced 113-115bpm thudder with squawking chix and tootling trumpet is slipped by the synth washed jazzy guitar doodled lovely lush 35-36bpm title track to the LP ‘Closer’, which is now also out here (K 58790), the other main attraction on it being the tightly smacking 119bpm ‘Hold Tight‘ girlie group chanter, which is very strong too.

CHANGE: ‘Paradise’ (WEA K 76196T).
Since we were so rudely interrupted, this fabulous creamily chugging 118bpm 12in girlie group-cooed subtle throbber has been a US disco chart topping smash and is widely considered to be the one that got away here. In light of all this, it’s not too late to give it the renewed shove it deserves to make it the hit it still could be – is it? Come on, we can do it!

EVELYN KING: ‘I’m In Love’ (RCA RCAT 95).
This dynamite precisely smacking bumpy little 115bpm 12in chugger has indeed exploded and sounds so strong it’s as if it’s been a disco smash for ages, instead of just a week and a half!  Continue reading “June 20, 1981: Gino Soccio, Change, Evelyn King, Mighty Fire, Mastermind”

June 13, 1981: Grace Jones, Bobby Thurston, Quincy Jones, Evelyn King, Mona Raye


BOB MARLEY ‘No Woman No Cry’ flipped by ‘Jamming’ will be on 12in imminently . . . Island have circulated a strictly limited (and numbered) DJ-only box set of ‘Mutant Disco’ containing all the LP’s six tracks back-to-back on three 12in promos . . . Capitol are rushing the new Maze ‘Live In New Orleans’ double album (including a studio side) as soon as delayed US copies arrive . . . Diana Ross, having left Motown for RCA in the USA and Canada, will be on Capitol/EMI for the rest of the world, including here . . . Quincy Jones, apparently so proud of the Patti Austin album he’s produced for August release, has turned down the chance to produce Diana Ross in case of a publicity clash . . . Motown in the States have reissued at mid-price, but all in their original sleeves, a huge selection of old albums, including many of their earliest by the likes of Stevie, Miracles, Mary Wells . . . Beach Boys are actually making their very own ‘Stars On 45’ medley! . . . Atmosfear ‘Invasion’ has been promoed on white label 12in with a commercial remix to follow within a fortnight . . . Ensign are circulating white labels (actually, as is common these days, the label is red!) of a specialist Nigerian jazz-funk instrumental, Tee Mac ‘Sound Of The Universe‘ – which, at 104-107-108-109/110(main part)-109bpm is disappointingly un-African but might mix with ‘Roots’ . . . Pete Haig (Blackpool) says the recent Junior Tucker ‘The Kick’ (Island 12in) is flipped by an instrumental dub of ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’ titled ‘Peanut Butter‘ (damn – and I’ve only got a one-sided promo!) . . . Genji Sawai & Bacon Egg ‘Skipjack‘ (Japanese Electric Bird LP) is “the best Jap-jazz album yet,” sez Chris Hill . . . Shakatak live (as seen at Mayfair Gullivers last Wednesday) are much better and more exciting than on record – and instead of vocoder, which is evidently too expensive and difficult to use on stage, they feature two energetic girl singers (from Enigma, or is it Minnie & The Metros?!) . . . Linda Taylor usually seen with Gonzalez, sings on both the Morrissey Mullen and Cayenne albums, plus Chris Palmer is producing her for a solo single on Groove Production . . . Inversions gig at Gillingham Central had to be postponed from last Sunday until July 19th due to their support spot on the LOTW farewell tour . . . Pete Haig & Frenchie, as well as Blackpool JR’s on Tuesdays, have added Wednesdays at Morecambe Blackjacks (on the prom by the Midland Hotel) to their jazz-funk itinerary, plus they’re amongst the jocks at Blackpool Jenks Breakers Yard on Thursdays . . . Radio Luxembourg’s broadcast from Swindon Brunel Rooms is in fact tonight (Thursday 11) at 10pm, including interviews with Imagination, The Quick, and resident jock Sandy Martin . . . Alan Costa (Brighton Kings Club / Kings II) is amongst jocks reviving T-Connection ‘Do What You Wanna Do’ . . . Rob Harknett (Harlow) suggests two tracks from Janet Brown’s ‘Iron Lady’ LP (Logo MOGO 4006) for fun at Conservative Club gigs, ‘I’m There’ being “funky” while ‘They Call Me The Iron Lady‘ is credited to “Phoney M’ . . . I’m doing a Conservative gig myself at Lound (near Retford) soon, so it could be useful! . . . John Diamond has new residencies in Hove, at the Cheminee in Western Road on Tues/Wed/Fri/Saturdays and the Cliftonville by the station on Thurs/Sundays . . . Dave King, ill in bed with ‘flu, let his roadie Rab Henry fill in for him at Ballymena Raglan but now regrets it – he got bumper crowds! . . . Gary Allan, to clarify last week’s muddle, is calling himself the Liverpool Pixie now following the horrific discovery in a catalogue that the famous Gnudger Gnome mascot of Liverpool McMillan’s is described as “a pixie behind a toadstool”! . . . Dorset mobiles, I wish you’d charge more – I had a nice gig lined up in Wareham until the party-giver’s parents said they weren’t used to paying £300 prices in that area . . . UK Disco 90 at last sees some staggeringly big changes this week following a welcome and long overdue influx of charts – keep ’em coming! . . . I’m afraid some reviews may seem a bit late, but space limitations keep preventing them from being printed . . . silly not to? . . . YODELLY-OO HOO HOO!

MORRISSEY MULLEN, veteran jazz saxist Dick Morrissey and Kokomo guitarist Jim Mullen, get their best shot at cracking the Britfunk market with their imminent ‘Badness’ album on Beggars Banquet. Produced with his trademarked beefy bottom end by Chris Palmer, the set’s strongest cut is Stevie Wonder’s ‘Do Like You’, the rest of the material being just a little bit bland but very well played.


GRACE JONES: ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’ (Island 12WIP 5696).
Remixed for smash-bound 12in, this terrific aptly titled bumpy 108-109-110-108-110bpm sparse jittery thudder has zappy stereo synth suspension and rock solid automatic transmission, but instead of the lovely ‘Libertango’ as originally planned the flip is the similarly bumpy stark 108-109-110bpm ‘Feel Up‘ bass boomer.

BOBBY THURSTON: ‘Very Last Drop’ (Epic EPC A13-1301).
Superb creamily clomping 113(intro)-114-115-116bpm 12in soul swinger in the mid-tempo Philly mould of McFadden & Whitehead or Roberta & Donny, with a nice electric piano fade.

QUINCY JONES: ‘Razzamatazz’ (A&M AMS 8140).
Impossible to tell apart from a Michael Jackson record although reputedly sung by Patti Austin, this terrifically happy snappy strutter is certainly on 0-121bpm 7in and doubtless will surface on 12in too.  Continue reading “June 13, 1981: Grace Jones, Bobby Thurston, Quincy Jones, Evelyn King, Mona Raye”

June 6, 1981: Barry Biggs, Keni Burke, Bobby Thurston, Hi-Gloss, The Impressions


GREG LYNN, ex-disco plugger most recently responsible at CBS for pushing Adam & The Ants (and Star Sound), has moved to Ensign as marketing and international manager . . . Bobby Thurston’s UK 12in will now be ‘Very Last Drop’ following its Robbie Vincent-caused popularity surge . . . Shakatak’s founders have for years been making disco and pop records under various pseudonyms (several came out on Ensign) so the identity of Enigma shouldn’t be too hard to fathom . . . Linx ‘Together We Can Shine’ on their new 12in is in fact a complete remake, while with vari speed adjustment their ‘Throw Away The Key’ is indeed an amazing imperceptible mix with Change ‘Searching’ . . . BADEM’s Discotek 81 equipment exhibition at London’s Bloomsbury Centre Hotel on September 13-16th will for the first time be open to exhibitors who by being either too small, new, or not directly involved in the disco business would not normally qualify for membership of the trade association – fuller info from Howard Hills on 01-669 9464 . . . Showstoppers mafia DJ team have now rethought their all-dayer/niter strategy and plan for any future events only to sell tickets actually in the clubs where they work, direct to their regular punters . . . Southgate Royalty has been forced to close down the Friday jazz-funk night as the local tube station now shuts early to prevent alleged aggro – and the Saturday is only continuing with the help of a specially organised bus service to get punters home . . . Capital Radio’s Roger Scott, Mike Allen and myself start a weekly series of lavishly organised oldies nights this Saturday (6) at Edmonton’s Picketts Lock Sports Centre, with hot rods, rock ‘n’ roll groups, dance troupes, competitions and much more . . . Camberley’s Frenchies venue at the Cambridge Hotel has temporarily closed for an extensive £120,000 refit but meanwhile Chris Brown and Johnnie Walker continue spinning Latin-tinged jazz every Sunday at the Silvermere Lakeside Club in Cobham (just off the A3) . . . Reflections is the new club in the completely redecorated Devil’s Dyke Hotel at Poynings near Brighton, jazz-funked Thursdays and Sundays by Jon Hill with Paul Jaconelli . . . Sudanese superstar Muhammad Al-Amin, who picks a lute-like sound while wailing in Arabic, appears with his whole orchestra this Saturday (6) at 8pm in Bloomsbury’s Logan Hall (20 Bedford Way, just off Russell Square) – I saw him solo last week with a crowd of Ethiopeans/Sudanese whose exciting reaction to his admittedly (to our ears) esoteric ethnic music was reminiscent of scenes at Harlem’s Apollo, so with an orchestra it could be incredible . . . DJ Alan Matthews was booked and confirmed to do the disco at Jeff Young’s wedding but, without any explanation, was best man himself at another wedding and so sent someone else with equipment which immediately failed, and although the music was a shambles for ages the evening did finally come together and somehow this unfortunate guy (with help from Joe Williams) got things going OK . . . Linx’s David Grant, Phonogram’s Orin Cozier and Rush Release’s Robert Blenman should have been photographed together, they all looked alike . . . Chris Brown, Tom Holland, Bob Jones, Mick Clark, Nicky Peck, Richard James were amongst DJs taking the night off. Robbie Vincent left early and the Brixton Front Line stayed late – some wedding guest list! . . . PEEL’ s latest sponsor disc package arrived burst asunder, spewing forth T-shirts, flexi-discs, boxes of shampoo and a jingle-interspersed 12in of soul oldies, all rebagged in polythene by the Post Office – very efficient (the PO I mean!) . . . Kool’s ‘Celebration’ has been the USA’s biggest selling single since 1979, or to put it another way – since they said “disco is dead” (what do they know?)! . . . Billy Ocean is doing well Stateside with ‘Nights (Feel Like Getting Down)’ . . . Marvin Gaye somewhat belatedly won the People’s Choice vote on Capital Radio, which means the phone-in panels have been consistently soulful recently . . . ‘A’ and probably ‘O’ level exams have been hitting disco attendances for some clubs recently . . . Chris Hill has joined Rusty Egan in being one of the main boosters for Was (Not Was) ‘Wheel Me Out’ . . . Chris also raves about a reggae goodie, General Saint & Clint Eastwood ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ (Greensleeves 12in) . . . Gino Soccio’s 123bpm ‘Dancer’ slots sensationally between Future Flight ‘Don’t Pull The Plug’ and Strikers ‘Body Music’, while his ‘Try It Out’ synchs perfectly with Mantra ‘Doin’ It To The Bone’ . . . Ramsey Lewis’s new import set is due here too, so full review when received but meanwhile the killer cut looks like ‘Expansions’ followed by ‘Lakeshore Cowboy’ and ‘Romance Me’ . . . Phil Haslehurst (The Mighty Chomper) finds the real floor fillers at Whitehaven’s Whitehouse are mod oldies like Velvelettes ‘Needle In A Haystack’, Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’, Spencer Davis ‘Keep On Running’, R Dean Taylor ‘Ghost In My House’, Harry J ‘Liquidator’ . . . I’m back on my diet and losing weight fast Phil! . . . Gary Allen is calling himself the Liverpool McMillans famous Gnudger Gnome mascot was described as a pixie behind a toadstool! . . . Chris Kaye (0892 23186) wants to hear from Owen Washington, Keith Kapri and King Enri, who will find it to their advantage . . . Steve Wiggins (Barry Freddies Bar), can’t contact Excaliber’s ever reliable Morgan Khan anywhere – join the club, Steve, you now know what he’s reliable for! . . . Silly not to? . . . HO DE HO!

AURRA was assembled by Slave’s Steve Washington using several sometime members of Slave, lead vocalists Curt Jones and Starleana (“Star” for short) Young (whose brothers are Young & Company!) also having been in a New Jersey group called Symphonic Express. Slave lyricist Jennifer Marie Ivory (London-raised, Jamaican-born) helps out too, but apart from Steve on lead guitar/bass/drums/percussion, the other main musicians are keyboardist Philip Fields and saxist Tom Lockett.


BARRY BIGGS: ‘Wide Awake In A Dream’ (Dynamic DYN 12-10).
Philip James & The Blues Busters 1965 slow ska classic has been beautifully revived true to the original as a gorgeous 65bpm 12in lovers rock smoocher which literally exploded in London two weekends ago, unfortunately after last week’s page had gone to press. Hear it, don’t miss it!

KENI BURKE: ‘Let Somebody Love You’ (RCA RCAT 93).
This ex-Stairstep’s infectiously jittery 119-120bpm 12in clapping soul bubbler took off like a rocket on import and seems set to go even higher now it’s out here. The instrumental flip’s useful too for mixers.

BOBBY THURSTON: ‘Very Last Drop’ (LP ‘The Main Attraction’ Epic EPC 85070).
Robbie Vincent pioneered acceptance for this McFadden & Whitehead-ish lush jiggly smooth 113-114-115-116bpm soul swinger (which I had a hunch could do the business) while initially the buzz was on the incredibly ‘Ladies Night’-like (and still extremely strong) 111-(intro)-115-116-117-118bpm ‘Is Something Wrong With You‘, ‘Main Attraction‘ being a conversation-introed slinkily jolting 54(intro)-108bpm bumper, ‘I Know You Feel Like I Feel‘ a bumpily rolling 103-104bpm jogger and ‘Keep It Going‘ a less incisive but eventually quite tense 112-113bpm swayer.  Continue reading “June 6, 1981: Barry Biggs, Keni Burke, Bobby Thurston, Hi-Gloss, The Impressions”

May 30, 1981: Whispers, Linx, Esther Williams, War, Future Flight


RICK JAMES on UK 12in turns out to be only the short 7in version, which is crazy, will lose Motown a smash and must place a premium on the rare US 12in promo remixes . . . Sugarhill’s legal mixer ‘The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel‘ is ruined by ghastly awful jerky stops and starts that are meant to be clever and precisely timed but will immediately throw dancers who’ve just settled into a groove . . . Groove’s forthcoming Latin-jazz material by Cayenne is – mmm! – tasty . . . Champagne has now picked up Proton Plus ‘Pay-Up’ . . . Jermaine Jackson is due on commercial 12in with remixed flip . . . EMI next month compile recent disco/soul hits like William DeVaughn, Cecil Parker, KID, on a ‘Don’t Stop’ LP . . . MCA have serviced radio with a 7in promo of Atmosfear ‘Creators Dream‘, which if they’re thinking of as a single release happens to be the coldest cut on the album . . . Odyssey in case you were worrying is 106bpm (not 181!), Krokus’s hit number is 125-127c, and Coati Mundi on UK 12in seems to be 111bpm . . . Magnet’s roving Tilly Rutherford tantalizingly says “Watch out for the 12in ‘Wade In The Water — Ramsey Lewis / Marlene Shaw”! . . . Reading’s Bank Holiday Monday all-dayer was the last all-dayer/niter the mafia intend to do, returning instead to build back the underground scene’s strength where it all started — in the clubs . . . Hambro Housley Legal Protection Ltd now supplies automatic free legal fees insurance to all members of the Disc Jockeys Federation which entitles jocks to pursue claims against third parties for injury sustained whilst at work with no worry about the cost of the proceedings (people tend to settle out of court once they know you’ve got the strength of an insurance company around you), details from the DJF (GB)’s Bill Forrester, 196 Stapleton Hall Road, London, N4 4QL (01 341 2785) silly not to? . . . Phil Blizzard’s recently printed phone number should have been 0782-263874 . . . London’s Lyceum starts a weekly roller disco on Monday (1) with Steve Walsh and Roger Kent and then for 36 hours over 16/17th June will have a marathon discothon (jocked for all 36 hours by manager Roger Rushton!) in aid of Year Of The Disabled — sponsors please call 01-636 3715 . . . Tricky Dicky’s gay Dicks Inn discos celebrate their 10th anniversary on Friday (29) with the Marvelettes live at Camden Town Hall in Euston Road, 8:30-midnight, but Dicky emphasizes the event is for mainly gay people and their friends . . . John Grant’s Friday mixture at Manchester’s Rufus in Fennel Street is UK releases, imports, reggae, slow soul and even some of the best EDM, while the specialist jazz-funk imports Wednesday night there has probably just started too by now . . . Paul Clark & Mick Fuller now jazz-funk Brighton Busby’s on Sundays with guest jocks planned every three weeks (they’re already there Thursdays too) . . . Nikki Peck’s Sunday re-opening of Gillingham’s Central Hotel venue has now been followed by Dave Flemming funking Fridays there too — he was one of the original jocks some six years ago when it was known as the R&B Club . . . Sheffield’s Jimmy Mack has moved to Derby Romeo’s & Juliet’s on Mondays . . . Russ Burcham, cheeky chappy (actually quite enterprising), offered his disco for The Wedding and got a charming letter back from the Master of the Household at Buckingham Palace, Vice-Admiral Sir Peter Ashmore KCB. KCVO. DSC, saying unfortunately arrangements are already well under way . . . However, those less well organized can book Russ on Billericay 22939 . . . Gary Woodford (01-866 9686), with or without his Mega Sound system, is looking for residencies on Mon/Wed/Thursdays . . . Keith Black (Warwick) returned from his Kenya holiday with “a really good conga-type party record sung in Swahili but going down a bomb at jolly gigs, Them Mushrooms Band ‘Kenya Kakuna Matata‘ (Kenyan Polydor), in fact flip of the ‘Funky Nassau’-type ‘Mombasa‘ . . . Frankie Smith ‘Double Dutch Bus’, better late than never, has just hit the US Hot 100 after slowly rising on the soul chart – nearly a year after it was hot here! . . . Sandy Martin (Swindon Brunel Rooms — where Radio Luxembourg recently recorded a live Disco Top 20 Show for broadcast on 22nd June, (when it’ll be really up to date) says, “With so many spine tingling soul ballads about, why doesn’t someone make a disco mix medley of love music all segued together, edited down and guaranteed to cause havoc on the dancefloor”, or even more at home, in private? . . . Hazel O’Connor’s superb sax is played by Wesley Magoogan, whose own ‘This Guy’s In Love With You’ was completely ignored a few months back . . . Lee Taylor (Mayfair Tokyo Joe) wonders how I calculate the BPMs, using a half minute sweep stopwatch and a hand tally counter on which to click off the beats so that my mind can be left free, I get a good idea after 10, 15, 20 and obviously 30 seconds what the full minute’s BPM should be (you multiply respectively by 6, 4, 3 and 2), so that if the BPM has speeded or slowed I then have to go back and do each bit of the record section by section to chart the fluctuation — this happens to take a hell of a long time, which explains why depending on the time available to me you sometimes get a varying number of reviews . . . Rush Release continue in their aim to control the entire disco business — they’ve just starting plugging for RCA too (if only they, or someone, would do it for WEA!) . . . Whispers chart-topper is massively down on support but still there’s nothing else in the rather stagnant upper chart reaches looking like a contender . . . DJs, last week’s request for charts should have asked for at least a Top 20 floor response listing, as often as possible . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillan’s) reports one of the Gnomes, Phil Ford, accidentally played a white label of Soft Machine ‘Over ‘N’ Above‘ off the ‘Land Of Cockayne’ LP at 45rpm and discovered a rather good speed-spin . . . Chris Ellis of Staines Fusion Few was touched to get a nice letter and a quid for drinks from the Liverpool Gnomes when they couldn’t make his 21st party at Jacksons in Staines — however, the Groovin’ Gropers, Soulful Strollers, Party Jerks. Tony Jenkins (that well known tribe) and more did make it . . . In the words of Minnie The Moocher — HI DE HI DE HI DE HI!


THE WHISPERS: ‘I Can Make It Better’ (Solar SOT 19).
Annoyingly pointless doodling intro needs skipping before the busily burbling bass-backed 0-120-121bpm 12in smacker hits its stride and then it’s whack whack whack all the way, with few surprises but lots of simple power and slick finesse.

LINX: ‘Throw Away The Key’ (Chrysalis CHS 12-2519).
Change ‘Searching’-style rolling fast tumbling and tapping 125-126bpm chugger with weird tone intro and frighteningly abrupt demented drum thuds, already voted Capital Radio’s Peoples Choice, remixed on 3-track 12in with the not particularly compulsive laid back 115bpm ‘The Ice Is Melting‘ seguing into a sparsely remixed 118bpm ‘Together We Can Shine‘, which you’ll remember originally as flip to ‘Intuition’.

ESTHER WILLIAMS: ‘I’ll Be Your Pleasure’ (RCA RCAT 78).
Larry Levan-remixed lovely hauntingly nagging Sharon Redd-ish sinuous soulfully wailed 110bpm 12in jittery burbling clapper goes into an abrupt great break with superb jazzy guitar suddenly emerging out of it, and gets stronger the longer it’s on — it’s certainly worth playing right to the end.  Continue reading “May 30, 1981: Whispers, Linx, Esther Williams, War, Future Flight”

May 23, 1981: Level 42, Thelma Houston, Odyssey, Cerrone, Scandal ft Lee Genesis, Neu!


SECOND IMAGE, reviewed last week, was incorrectly titled on white label and should in full be called ‘(Get Your Finger Out) Pinpoint The Feeling’ . . . Solar Records, despite RCA’s earlier protestations to the contrary, have indeed announced a distribution switch to WEA (as tipped on this page many months ago) . . . Holland’s enterprising Rams Horn label already has Bobby Thurston ‘Is Something Wrong With You’ on 12in, although CBS have scheduled it here soon too . . . Jacksons follow up with ‘Walk Right Now’ and Heatwave with ‘Posin’ Til Closin’ . . . Vin-Zee and Jimmy Ross releases from the Belgian-based Spice 7 label, slow to chart though selling well, will be issued back-to-back here via Phonogram on the new Megafunk logo . . . Nigel Martinez turns out to have had a hand in the Evasions ‘Wlkka Rap’ — no wonder it’s great! . . . Klique’s LP (reviewed last week) although fine for home listening somehow sounds rather weak on the floor and will need a remix to cut through . . . BPMs for Freddie James, subsequently bought after reviewing it on a dodgy deck, should be ‘Music’ 126, ‘Lady’ 113-115-116, ‘Everybody’ 120-121-120, ‘Energy’ 114-115, ‘Fool’ 123, ‘In Love’ 108-107-0 (‘Dance’ being right at 114) . . . London’s Sundown in Charing Cross Road remains open during alterations but will reopen in a fortnight as another Busby’s . . . Chigwell’s verdantly situated New Epping Forest Country Club has started a jazz-funk club every Monday called Rappers, opened earlier this week by Froggy (who’ll be there again June 8th), with a PA by Incognito next Monday (25) . . . John Grant is now concentrating solely on Manchester’s Rufus in Fennel Street, where he and Colin Curtis feature upfront jazz-funk newies on Saturdays (soon on Wednesdays too) and a mixture of UK on Fridays . . . Keith Barker-Main (Earls Court Graffiti), one of the lucky few with Abba’s Disconet remix, emphasises that despite mixing in a lot of ’70s NY classics he does indeed play current Canadian, Euro and US material . . . Ashley Woods (Sleaford) agrees he needs the bread — to help finance a new BMW 320! — but is only selling duplicates from his extensive record collection and so is keeping all the vital sounds in one form or another . . . Mike Morgan (0245-440 277), looking for a new residency after two years at Chelmsford YMCA, says it does indeed pay to send charts to this page and he encourages more DJs to do so . . . I obviously agree, and could use more returns especially as many from the London area as possible (posted no later than Monday for inclusion in the following week) to James Hamilton, Record Mirror, 40 Long Acre, London WC2E 9JT . . . North East Essex DJ Association is successfully operating a centralised disco pool, to which member DJs direct callers instead of turning down double bookings . . . Frenchie & Pete Haigh (Blackpool JR’s on Tuesdays) run another boat cruise in the Lake District starring Colin Curtis on July 18th . . . Nick Davies has half-price drinks on Sundays between 7.30 and 9.30pm at Watford New Penny, making it cheaper than the pubs (for two hours at any rate!) . . . Robin the Boy Wonder, or young Jeff Elkins as his tax man knows him, is finally being dragged to the altar by Ann this Saturday! . . . Leon Bryant evidently had his grounding in gospel music, working with the Mighty Clouds Of Joy and the Edwin & Walter Hawkins Singers . . . Carol Rayment, moving from mafia-invaded Brighton to university in Bristol later this year, wonders where she’ll find the jazz-funk action there: well, Carol, we used to hear from Bristol’s jazz-funk jocks rather more in the past than we do now, but I’m sure Martin Starr will be onto me like a shot with the answer . . . Robbie Vincent hates it but once again, good old ‘Disco Bouzouki’ (mixed out of ‘Zorba’s Dance’) was what really made an MoR gig lift off for me last weekend . . . Shakin’ Stevens ‘You Drive Me Crazy’ at 122bpm has even more than a strong similarity to Rocky Burnett’s old ‘Tired Of Toein’ The Line’ — which turns out to be 123-122bpm! . . . Alan Donald (Rothesay Paddle Boat), for one, appreciates the Hit Numbers, and says that Elvis Presley ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ gets (none too surprisingly) amazing response chopped out of any Stray Cats-type current “rockabilly” stuff, especially Polecats ‘John’ after one of the guitar runs . . . Alan Coulthard (Barry Atlantic Wine Bar) finds Gino Soccio ‘Street Talk’ mixes brilliantly with ‘Einstein A Go-Go’, and has revived K.I.D. ‘Don’t Stop’ as it’s similarly brill out of the twiddly bits in Unlimited Touch ‘Searching’ remix and also synchs perfectly for ages with Gino Soccio ‘Try It Out’ . . . Silly not to? . . . HI DE HI!

RICK JAMES has his ‘Street Songs’ album out here now (Motown STML 12153). Reviewed in full on import, the cuts other than ‘Give It To Me Baby’ getting most attention are the superbly soulful Teena Marie-interrupted tortuously slow 55-42/21-45-43-44-45/22bpm ‘Fire And Desire’ and steadily smacking 117bpm ‘Ghetto Life’, the whole album though being a well-produced concept set.


Already deservedly monstrous on import and right in the mood at the moment, this ultra-mixable disco gem is a really solid simple hard driving bass-popped 119(intro)-120bpm 12in jiggly jumper sounding much as one might expect ‘Get Tough’ to, if played by Fantasy Hits. It’s perfect with Kleeer itself, Rick James, Whispers (old and new), Mel Sheppard oh, and so many more. Don’t worry though, ‘cos it’s a floor-filler in its own right — and how!

ODYSSEY: ‘Going Back To My Roots’ (RCA RCAT 85).
Already voted People’s Choice on Capital Radio and tearing up every club it’s been played in, this powerfully thrusting jiggly purposeful 0-181bpm 12in chugger has a fabulous full sound yet usefully stays close to Lamont Dozier’s 107(instrumental)-108-110-111-(0-107 Afro)bpm original, which can be imperceptibly mixed in and out of it. The flip’s full ‘Roots Suite‘ includes stop-start jazzy Afro extensions on either end.

L.A.X.: ‘Possessed’ (Epic EPC A 13-1103).
Reduced to 3 tracks, the UK 12in blows its chances by opting for the remixed 106-107-105(piano)-107-106bpm vocal version of this shuffling tense jittery jogger as the full A-side and then instead of using the dynamite instrumental remix with even more of the erupting jazzily plonking piano (the record’s whole attraction), it teams the original LP version with the remixed rambling butchly hollered 118bpm ‘Fight Back‘ as the flip.  Continue reading “May 23, 1981: Level 42, Thelma Houston, Odyssey, Cerrone, Scandal ft Lee Genesis, Neu!”