April 26, 1980: “Sunny Caister”, Mass Production, Kleeer, Wilbert Longmire, Voyage, Aurra

Sunny Caister

Swimsuits are a must if you’re going to Caister 2 this weekend – so are brollies! – not because of the weather, though but because you’ll get soaked by condensation raining down from the ceiling of the hall where all the funky action is! The Showstopper Promotions-run soul weekender has moved locations from the larger Ladbrokes camp to their Seashore caravans only camp which, nearer Yarmouth, is totally exposed right on the beach. Since Springtime seems later in reaching East Norfolk than other areas this year, the caravans last weekend were buffeted by howling gales and storms of hail in place of gentle April showers.

However, this was the only sour note in an event that ended by creating the best (and most trouble-free) atmosphere of any Caister yet. With only one music venue featuring the ‘Family’ team of Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Sean French, Chris Brown, Tom Holland, Jeff Young and Froggy (immortalised by the phantom Mohican placard flasher as “Froggy mixes better than a Kenwood Chef”) all in rotation, there is no variety in the music to choose between as there was at the old camp’s three main venues. But by being further from civilisation, there is no noise restriction and the grand finales can finish later.

What finales they are too! Roberta Flack ‘Back Together Again’ blending into Billy Paul ‘Bring The Family Back’ into McFadden & Whitehead ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ is the starting point, followed by an assortment from El Coco ‘Let’s Get It Together’, O’Jays ‘I Love Music’, Isleys ‘Shout’, Bobby Thurston ‘You Got What It Takes’, Sho Nuff ‘It’s Alright’, interspersed by Gerry & The Pacemakers ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, Lonnie Donegan ‘The Party’s Over’, Vera Lynn ‘There’ll Always Be A Caister’ (that Hill remains a mobile jock at heart!), and great call-and-answer responses of the usual “wah-ooh wah-hah” shout, “oh yes we are” – “oh no you’re not” pantomime routine, and some incredibly good “just the girls”/”just the fellahs” acappella singing.

Last Saturday a video camera was relaying the action into a neighbouring room where two colour screens and an extension of Froggy’s massive roadshow made it a cooler environment to hear what was happening, although by the finale that room was packed too and the crowd were joining in the chanting. Come the Sunday finish this room was empty of people but full of condensation-caused fog!

The condensation also fogged up the mirrors in the main room which were meant to send laser beams all around the place in a “dry” (ha ha) run for the much bigger and more spectacular laser display that will be at Sho-Pro’s big-top Knebworth Soul Day on May 26th Bank Holiday Monday (starring Lonnie Liston Smith, GQ, Eddy Grant, Light Of The World, the ‘Family’ jocks plus Colin Curtis & John Grant, circus acts and more). This event it is hoped will attract a truly national audience.

As it was, Caister 1 had crowds from Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol as well as London and the South, the reaction of Liverpool McMillans DJ Gary Allan, at his first Caister, being “we like to think that the all-dayers in the North are as good as this, but they aren’t!” Gary’s coming back this weekend, as are 300 more including myself to join the 2,000 or so fresh campers.

My motivation for returning it must be admitted is a great late-night restaurant in Yarmouth (lobster thermidor for £5.50!) and the fact that the old Ladbrokes camp has Sho-Pro’s Country Weekender going on at the same time. Yi-ha, git DOWN!

Oh yes – the music. Roy Ayers ‘Can’t You See Me’ seemed to be played rather a lot, Donald Byrd ‘Dominoes’ (Live At The Roxy) was as well but to better response and Dexter Wansel ‘Life On Mars’ was heavily requested evidently. Oldies rule?

Odds ‘N Bods

Ronnie Laws’ short UK tour – Birmingham (May 2), Hammersmith (3), Brighton (4), Manchester Dunstable (8) – sees UA release ‘Every Generation’ and not ‘OTBA Law’ as his next single . . . PRAT’s next disco special’s a 6-track 33 1/3rpm 12in (they may find this classified as an LP for chart sales returns) featuring La Pregunta ‘Chameleon’, Rinder & Lewis ‘Blue Steel’, Renzo Fraiese ‘12 Engle Street’, David Benoit ‘Los Angeles’, Jon Faddis ‘Razor Blade’ / ‘Good And Plenty’ (12P 5016) due mid-May . . . Phyllis Hyman’s Arista follow-up ‘Under Your Spell’ 12in will cost only 99p for the first 5,000 copies sold . . . Crown Heights Affair on fancily packaged UK 12in does indeed run faster. ‘Use Your Body & Soul’ at 120-119-120bpm and ‘You Gave Me Love’ at 116bpm, and debuts the De-Lite label here . . . Osibisa ‘Pata Pata’ switches from Pye to Calibre (CABL 102) in a remixed version with added afro party chanting . . . Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway ‘Back Together Again’ has been delayed . . . Ben E King ‘Music Trance’ will eventually be the B-side to a brand new A-side on UK 12in next month . . . Odyssey ‘Use It Up And Wear It Out’ (US RCA PD-11963) and Heath Brothers ‘For The Public’ (US Columbia 43-11258) are now on LP-length US 12in (Heath Bros minus the LP’s clapping intro/outro) while Cheryl Lynn ‘Keep It Hot’ (US Columbia 43-11261) gets a remixed break . . . BT Express’ long awaited (and rumoured to be cancelled) ‘1980’ album has finally appeared but doesn’t sound too special to these ears . . . Caister previews included Freeez ‘Keep In Touch’ (Pink Rhythm 12 Pinky 1), a fast flowing jazzy c. 133bpm 12in UK instrumental with Atmosfear-type breaks that you’d better order now as only 500 will be pressed, El Coco ‘Let’s Get It Together’ (remix) (AVI 12in), Eddy Grant ‘My Turn To Love You’ (Ice 12in), and Chris Hill’s hotly hyped remix of Sho Nuff ‘It’s Alright’ (Ensign 12in) . . . but who is Lorna Greene and why was Chris covering her up!? . . . Robbie Vincent’s oldies along with the more likely ‘Sausalito’ and ‘New Killer Joe’, included Le Pamplemousse ‘Get Your Boom Boom’ and O’Jays ‘Use Ta Be My Girl’ – which caused a conga line! . . . Caister artifacts include a “Don’t stop – FREEZE” badge and a T-shirt with the Glacier Mint bear saying “Freeze!” . . . Sho Pro’s Roger “Dynarod” Dance spent a lot of time in the loo, while Froggy came clean in the bath . . . Sunday 11th May at Solihull’s St Johns Hotel there’s a major Disco Light & Sound ‘80 exhibition organised by three Midlands dealers (details 021 707 4925) . . . Thames Valley DJA members meet this Sunday (27) lunchtime in Camberley Duke Of York for talks on first aid electronics crossovers . . . Brighton’s funky Paul Clark got voted the Public Relations Officer of the Sussex DJ Assn, much to his surprise . . . Jason West did his award-winning ‘Smelly Feet’ rap at USAF Alconbury Aquarius Club and someone let off a stink bomb! . . . Steve Dee’s staff of Amersham fracas fame have adopted my “Wally Herberts” comment as a slogan for future T-shirts! . . . Chris Dinnis’ last funk night at Sidmouth Winter Garden drew funk fans from Gloucester, Bristol, Cornwall, Weymouth and even North London, while his Exeter reunion attracted some Pete Tong followers from Kent . . . Chris Sidney Brown’s forthcoming ‘Family Album’ picture book surely won’t be complete without baby photos of Royston Hill, Allen Holland, Jeff Elkins and Steve Howlett?! . . . Noel Wright (Ware Beckets on Thurs/Fridays) says the local Ware Anti-Mod Pro-Soul Brigade keep insisting he chop Lena Martell into ‘Love Theme From Crossroads’ – are they really Wallys, he wonders? . . . Steve Dennis “The Menace” funks Birmingham Faces in Five Ways on four and a half nights a week – what would the next figure be in numerical sequence? . . . Camberley Frenchies’ Paul Wheeler & Robin Nash are planning with Mayfair Playboy Club’s Tony Jenkins some special jazz-funk Bunny Parties with PA’s by a celebrity secret jazz-funk fan . . . Yankee Disc’s Mike O’Shea offers £50 reward for the unidentified DJ who stirred up trouble with Groove’s Chris Palmer to identify himself . . . Rowdy Yeats of RCA (who are currently carving up the Disco Sales Chart) used to be in a Dudley-based precursor to Chicken Shack called Sounds Of Blue, along with Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac, Stan Webb etc . . . Tom Holland, whose warm-up jockette (and constant companion) is the oddly named Jeanneane Cesvette (alias Miss Blue Note), now revives CJ & Co ‘Sure Can’t Go To The Moon’ (US Westbound LP), Doug Richardson ‘Salsa Mama’ (US AVI LP) . . . Jeff Young has a gruesome line in true hospital stories (he’s a hospital lab technician in real life – don’t give up your day job, Jeff!) . . . Raydio, Lakeside, Ben E King, James Brown and the like have brought back heavy funk in a big way to Mayfair Gullivers . . . Kev Hill (Brentwood), fresh back from Ireland, says Galway area discos are invariably large houses DIY converted into dance halls and playing no soul at all but lots of Dave Edmunds ‘Singing The Blues’ . . . Andy Davison (Sawston) says the American and usually black disco jocks at East Anglia’s many USAF bases don’t use mikes but also don’t play gay disco – instead they mix jazz-funk and soul – they’re obviously not from LA! . . . Chris Jones (Cardiff) wonders how many other disco DJ’s are radio amateurs – I’m not sure if he means legal hams or naughty CB fans, but Sean French could probably tell him a thing or two . . . Chris Hill may have started the Freeze, but it would be nice if CBS would acknowledge my own part in actually finding and telling the world about ‘The Groove’ – which incidentally leapt straight into London’s sales Top 20 as the highest new entry last week . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

MASS PRODUCTION: ‘Shante’ (Atlantic K 11475T)
Amazingly War-like jazzy instrumental builds with shifting solos in ‘Ghetto’ style on UK-only 12in from a quietly beating long start through 124(intro)-126-124-127-128bpm and is huge for funk jocks around the South and Merseyside.

KLEEER: ‘Close To You’ (Atlantic LV 36)
Creamily jittering 117(intro)-119-117(bass)-119bpm backbeat chugger has increased dramatically in my estimation since discovering its main beat mixes perfectly out of Jermaine’s ‘Burnin’ Hot’! While ‘Winners’ is on US 12in promo, this LV 12in is flipped by a Fred Dove segued medley of the old 124bpm ‘Tonight’s The Night’ and ‘I Love To Dance’.

WILBERT LONGMIRE: ‘Hawkeye’ (from LP ‘With All My Love’, Tappan Zee CBS 84155)
Great pattering long 115-116bpm jazz guitar instrumental was big on import and chops (minus intro) out of ‘OTBA Law’ and then synchs into ‘You Got What It Takes’ for my fave mix of a few weeks ago.  Continue reading “April 26, 1980: “Sunny Caister”, Mass Production, Kleeer, Wilbert Longmire, Voyage, Aurra”

April 19, 1980: Gays & Wallys

Gays & Wallys

Tricky Dicky, well-known around London for his gay discos (catch him this Saturday at Stratford Pigeons Hotel in Romford Road), writes “I must agree with all you say about USA gay discos – they certainly helped to kill disco there. It’s not so obvious here and most UK gay clubs are doing fine even though numbers have dropped slightly due to the opening of Heaven, but that should be short-lived as it’s following the defunct US gay disco course. Soon it’ll be back to talking jocks who actually help market the music, which in gay discos is getting funkier although the jazz fad won’t touch them. As well as the most commercial tracks like Bros Johnson, Walden and Jermaine Jackson ‘Burnin’ Hot’, the big gay tracks here are still Jessica Williams ‘Queen Of Fools’, P’zzazz ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ and the Abbe (with an “e”) album.” Thanks for that support, Dicky, and I’m glad my decidedly knocking comments have been accepted so constructively by our own gay scene.

Meanwhile, regarding my frequent references to Wallys, Steve West (Sayers Common Cinderellas at the Stroods Motel on the A23) writes: “Wallys are the bulk of the industry’s bread and butter. Speaking for myself, I have 11 years’ experience of “The People Business” which is, after all, what we are in. Most of us in this business are working to the average Joe Bloggs who wants to meet a girl, have a late drink and a bit of fun. 60 to 70 per cent of them couldn’t care less what music is playing as long as they know the record or have heard it on the radio, another 10-15 per cent just want to drink, which leaves 15 per cent of which 10 of the 15 just follow whatever trend happens to be around nationally (ie: currently 2-Tone and sixties music), leaving five per cent who are hard core funkateers (and who incidentally also get catered for at Cinderellas within the broad musical spectrum). So why do we have to “keep it funky”, as this would make ¡t rather boring for the other 95 per cent wouldn’t it? This is not to say that there shouldn’t be specialist discotheques, as there is a need to be catered for.”

You’ve actually encapsulated my own feelings exactly, Steve. As I have in fact said, there is nothing wrong with Wallys – they are the vast majority, of thoroughly nice to know citizens, with as you have said a merely peripheral interest in disco music. When the right record (like a Liquid Gold) comes along, these are the people who make it a smash. However, it’s the passionately involved specialist minority who take a real interest in disco music and are capable of starting hits of a maybe more modest dimension which nevertheless can become monsters (like the Whispers).

At whom should this page be aimed? The majority who only buy and play what’s already popular, or the minority who usually start that popularity? I personally believe the latter, and am currently delighted that so many charts are being sent in from clubs where people go because they want to hear the music there. The top end of our UK Disco 90 is still dominated by the mass – or if you like, Wally-taste.

It would be good to get even more charts contributed from every type of DJ (send your Top 30 floor response charts, written on your own paper, to me at Record Mirror, 40 Long Acre, London WC2E 9JT), but do be warned for your own continued employment’s sake – DON’T try to force your punters into becoming jazz-funk fans if they obviously don’t like it! However, if they do, KEEP IT FUNKY!

Odds ‘N Bods

Roberta Flack ‘Back Together Again’ (due on 12in next week) seems set as the Caister anthem, especially since Billy Paul ‘Bring The Family Back’ mixes perfectly out of it (chop in two beats before Billy sings) . . . Easter Monday’s Brighton Beach Party had to turn away around 4,000, but Bournemouth didn’t do so well . . . Showstopper Promotions’ National Soul Day at Knebworth on May 26th Bank Holiday will star the excellent GQ and possibly Lonnie Liston Smith . . . Brenda Russell ‘In The Thick Of It’ is indeed on lavishly packaged but same-length 12in (A&M AMSP 7515). Blondie ‘Call Me’ only being on 7in here, the full version remaining on Polydor LP or US 12in . . . Jermaine Jackson is now set for UK 12in early May, followed by Teena Marie ‘Behind The Groove’ which is currently huge for mafiosi (and has increased dramatically in my own estimation!) . . . Donald Byrd’s original (non-‘Roxy’) ‘Dominoes’ 12in has mysteriously been held back until mid-May, although DJ copies are just beginning to circulate . . . Diana Ross’s Chic-produced new LP has been sent back to the producers by Motown and is thus delayed . . . Detroit Spinners ‘Body Language’ reissue has been scrapped . . . Taste Of Honey ‘Boogie Oogie Oogie’ could be back on unlimited 12in . . . Randy Crawford & Chaka Khan LP’s may now be out here over a week after the importers (sorry, Freudian slip) imports . . . Paul Fearn won £250 and some MCA LP’s at Dartford Flicks’ “club” dancer competition (Fred Dove’s sister came second!), after which the appalling Ian Moore was successfully challenged by the somewhat self-consciously bad Slick Eddie, who kept falling over like an epileptic gibbon . . . Flicks owner Mike Keam and DJ Colin Hudd keep trying to top each other with slagging T-shirts (Colin must regret his old flare-trousered publicity pose!), while I enjoyed meeting fellow judges John Allan (Evening Echo), Dave Potter (South Ockendon Route 66 Records), Colin Snow (THE Record Man of Rayleigh) and 6 foot 2 dancer Sue Judson (humma humma!) . . . Cambridgeshire’s zany Jason West, now emphasising the funk and import element of his comedy-filled roadshow (035387-755), won Phonogram’s recent rapping contest with his ‘Smelly Feet’ set to Kurtis Blow’s B-side . . . MCA have cut their DJ mailing list from 500 to a temporary 100 . . . Caroline Roadshow’s new jock is not surprisingly Tom Anderson, from a certain sunken ship . . . Franklin Sinclair (Manchester) proves the power of ‘The Groove’ – at least 20 kids rushed up to ask what it was the first time he played it! . . . Skyy’s re-remixed ‘First Time Around’ deserves more attention than it’s getting – try mixing it out of Trussel! . . . Billy Ocean sounds stronger in club use than I may have suggested . . . Reggie Bosanquet did tell me his single would be “top of the pops”, but did he really mean top of Kenny Everett’s new ‘Bottom 30’?!? . . Nick Christian (West Kirby) is the latest jock to complain that East Anglian Productions have so far failed to complete a pre-paid order for customised jingles from last November – they may take time to make, EAP, but can’t you at least reply to his calls? . . . Arbie beams over and out, leaving Retford MAYC to the Wallys . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN: ‘I Shoulda Loved Ya’ (Atlantic K 11413T) (BNDA debut 12/22/79)
One of the definitive “smackers” and hotter for many than ‘Tonight I’m Alright’ ever since the Whispers became its perfect partner, this smash-bound slightly faster 117-114-115-114bpm 12in is all set to be a monster. It’s even getting Capital Radio play!

MYSTIC MERLIN: ‘Just Can’t Give You Up’ (Capitol 12CL 16133)
Great creamily thumping slick 122-freeze-124-chix-125bpm soul loper with lovely jazz sax has evidently been on UK-only 12in a while now.

CROWN HEIGHTS AFFAIR: ‘Use Your Body & Soul’ (Mercury MERX 9) (‘You Gave Me Love’ BNDA debut 3/22/80)
Buoyantly clapping mellow 116-117-118bpm 12in swinger goes into a bass-bumped central rap, the almost equally hot double-A ‘You Gave Me Love’ being a jiggly 115bpm bumper with catchy “woohoo-oo oo” smacking bits. BPM’s are from my US 12in, the initially serviced UK 7in running respectively 2 and 1bpm faster.  Continue reading “April 19, 1980: Gays & Wallys”

April 12, 1980: Rodney Franklin, Bunny Mack, Prince, Herbie Hancock, Isley Brothers

Odds ‘N Bods

Keith Main’s Atmosphere Lighting & Sound shop presents a Disco Design ’80 exhibition on Saturday/Sunday (12/13) opening noon at Aberdeen’s Treetops Hotel in Springfield Road (details 0224 572923), with many well known equipment manufacturers in attendance all hoping to profit from Aberdeen’s disco boom (seven new clubs in the last year) . . . 12in newies next week include ‘Calibre Cuts’ and Narada ‘Shoulda Loved Ya’, while Diana Ross & the Supremes’ ‘Supremes Medley’ / ‘Love Hangover’ (Motown 12TMG 1180) is due around now . . . Michael Jackson ‘Working Day And Night’ was the flip of ‘Off The Wall’ – don’t some DJ’s turn their records over? – yet many are assuming it’ll be his follow up! . . . MCA goof again making the admittedly lovely ‘When The World Turns Blue’ the new Merry Clayton 7in, leaving the original of her hotter ‘Emotion’ to Epic’s Webster Lewis – didn’t ‘Street Life’ teach them anything? . . . Randy Crawford and Chaka Khan have solo LP’s simultaneously released here and in US at end of the month . . . Chris Britton, as hinted last week, has left High Wycombe’s Tuesdays due to a music policy switch (the Wallies can have it!), but via his new involvement with Rush Release is selling up a series of sponsored jazz-funk nights available to venues during the summer and featuring drink, cigarette and record company participation, imports, T-shirts and paraphernalia stalls, guest star PA’s, plus himself and Stuart Gensian as jocks – booking enquiries on 0494 451797 . . . Stevie Glover meanwhile wants drink, cigarette or record companies to do promotion nights during the summer at Bournemouth’s Maison Royale and Outlook clubs – enquiries on 0202 35128 . . . Chris, meet Stevie, Stevie, meet Chris! . . . Steve Dee (High Wycombe) has had his Amersham Jubilee Hall gigs blown out by a “violent fracas” that resulted in local newspaper headlines screaming “DISCO FEVER IS BEING RUINED BY ‘YOB ELEMENT’” – or should that be “Wally Herberts”?! . . . Mayfair Playboy Club’s hipper DJ Tony Jenkins reports that tennis star Buster Mottram is a jazz-funk fan, buying the new Gary Bartz, David Sanborn and Earl Klugh albums off Tony as soon as he heard them! . . . Gavin who? . . . Soho’s Groove Records are urging other shops to join them in boycotting a certain Chislehurst import wholesaler who by apparently supplying DJ’s direct is damaging retail sales . . . Groove also say they love drugged gays really! . . . Bracknell seems to be a hotbed of revealingly video-ed activity, to judge from rumours about a certain – no, say no more! . . . I keep telling you that Bristol is funky but last week was ridiculous . . . Ben E King, James Brown, Avenue B Boogie Band and even Jermaine Jackson are leading a “funky soul” revival in the 105-110bpm tempo range . . . Andy Davison (Sawston Black Bull) wants to know how Los Angeles disco jocks compare with British – didn’t you gather that while technically many are brilliant mixers, they use terrible dated gay ‘‘disco’’ material and can’t (so thus don’t) use a mike? . . . Dennis Brynner & Dave Van Seiger now display their Southampton Barbarella’s chain in the local Virgin store, which in turn they plug to their punters . . . Steve Allen (Peterborough) thanks Sister Sledge for naming their newie after his ‘Easy Street’ promotions company – pity the record’s no good though! . . . Martin “Sanders of Blackburn” Platts thinks it would he revealing to know what various disco leaders’ all-time fave raves are: my own are Elvis Presley ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’, Paul Whiteman ‘Rhapsody In Blue’ and Falcons ‘I Found A Love’ – so what does that tell you? . . . Jon Hill (Brighton Devils Dyke) wonders how one contributes items for this page? Simple. Jon, just send them in – anything of interest will be printed if possible . . . Neil Fincham (Dunbar Goldenstones) has the perfect “squelch”: “what’s the difference between (person joke’s aimed against) and Polo?” Answer: “people like Polo?” . . . unless it’s a label with Liquid Gold on it, eh?! . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

RODNEY FRANKLIN: ‘The Groove’ (CBS 13-8529) (BNDA debut 5/17/80)
Unearthed in Los Angeles by myself even ahead of Chris Hill and now on UK-only 12in, this madly catchy stop-go 109-112-109bpm jazz party instrumental has as anticipated become a monster that’s spawned its own “freeze” dance craze. Every time it stops for a bar you can have lotsa fun playing with the lights, inserting sound effects, catching the slipmat so it stops even longer or – especially – getting people to do silly things, having told them what to do in advance. Go to it!

BUNNY MACK: ‘Love You Forever’ (RCA MACK 12-1)
Tremendously happy high life-like 124-125bpm 12in afro bubbler with a ‘Frontline Symphony’ flavour has become huge in black-orientated clubs (after possibly I was the first to push it), and now there’s a major label behind it.

PRINCE: ‘Sexy Dancer’ (Warner Bros. K 17590T) (BNDA debut 11/10/79)
Extended 8:41 remixed 122bpm 12in of the great jaggedly jumping staccato smacker is now revealed as being basically instrumental and loses some of its powerful concision by being stretched out, but gains some brand new guitar bits.  Continue reading “April 12, 1980: Rodney Franklin, Bunny Mack, Prince, Herbie Hancock, Isley Brothers”

April 5, 1980: Roy Ayers, Bobby Thurston, Brenda Russell, Isley Brothers, Lonnie Liston Smith

Odds ‘N Bods

Teesvalley Roadshow’s Graham Murray, devoted Radio Caroline supporter, was the first to raise the alarm after hearing Mi Amigo’s coded distress signal up in Cleveland . . . Phillip Tan, EMI World Dancing finalist, managed to win the £700 first prize at Leysdown-On-Sea’s island with a terrific “robot” routine set to Yellow Magic Orchestra ‘Theme From The Invaders’ – which is now on longer yellow vinyl UK 12in . . . Ben E King, despite import buzz, has been on UK 7in since last year . . . Slave ‘Are You Ready For Love’, Prince ‘Sexy Dancer’, Kleeer ‘Close To You’ (or maybe ‘Winners’) c/w two oldies are all due on 12in, while the brat from PRAT plans 12in promos of Renzo Fraiese ‘12 Engle Street’, re-edited Phyllis Hyman ‘Loving You Losing You’, and a new 7in re-mix/make of Osibisa ‘Pata Pata’ . . . Mike Shaft was evidently the Piccadilly soul jock who didn’t ID himself . . . I bought a vicious-looking Armalite/M16-type air rifle up in the Lake District and now everyone who’s seen it wants one! . . . Gavin Breck did indeed and of course know who the Bros Johnson were, so apologies for casting doubt on his professionalism, it’s just he didn’t have their album with him so their manager got uptight . . . is Chris Britton happy in High Wycombe, or are there two Chris Brittons?! . . . Rus Phillips (East London) turned 21 and sent me a quid to celebrate, so – hic – thanksh! . . . Nicky Price’s lavish Lazers at the top Harringey end of Green Lanes managed to open after overnight £30,000 repairs to a petrol bomb attack’s damage – with excellent US-style lighting, the club lacks (so far) the sound to match . . . 1980’s word seems to be “groove”, and the dance is the Freeze! . . . Jackie Moore’s recently ignored ‘How’s Your Love Life Baby’ (US Columbia 12in) now works perfectly with Walden/Whispers-type smackers . . . Slim Tom Holland’s revived oldie tips are O’Donel Levy ‘Bad Bad Simba’ (1973 US Groove Merchant LP), Alphonse Mouzon ‘Snake Walk’ (Blue Note LP), while Bob Jones tips Gene Harris ‘A Minor’ (Blue Note LP), Doug Richardson ‘Salsa Mama’ (AVI LP) – jazz converts, get looking! . . . Brighton on Bank Holiday is one town I wouldn’t like to be in the year following ‘Quadrophenia’ . . . Steve Boley (Weston-Super-Mare) wonders whether Froggy’s roadies are called “toadies”? . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

ROY AYERS: ‘Running Away’ / ‘Can’t You See Me’ (Polydor POSPX 135) (BNDA debut 9/24/77)
‘Best Of’-culled jumpy jazz-funk classics back-to-back and on UK 12in for the first time ever, both around 116bpm mixing well with Tony Rallo (LP version) during their vibes breaks.

BOBBY THURSTON: ‘You Got What It Takes’ LP (Epic EPC 84257) (BNDA debut 3/1/80)
Dynamite jittery long 118-119-120bpm title track with jazzy guitar and incredibly catchy chorus mixes dazzlingly out of Wilbert Longmire ‘Hawkeye’.

BRENDA RUSSELL: ‘In The Thick Of It’ (A&M AMS 7515)
Lovely slow starting/ending 52/104-107bpm 7in jogger, persistently rumoured to be due on 12in.  Continue reading “April 5, 1980: Roy Ayers, Bobby Thurston, Brenda Russell, Isley Brothers, Lonnie Liston Smith”

March 29, 1980: Mass Production, Heath Brothers, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Jermaine Jackson, Community People

Odds ‘N Bods

Blondie ‘Atomic’ hits the Disco Top 30 this week – if that many jocks are on it presumably even DOR is “disco”! – while the ‘Call Me’-featuring ‘American Gigolo’ LP is no longer delayed . . . Mystic Merlin ‘Just Can’t Give You Up’, Dr Hook ‘Sexy Eyes’ / ‘When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman’ and Hiroshima ‘Lion Dance’ are due now on UK 12in, but Pressure is NOT on 12in . . . Mass Production ‘Shante’, Chico Hamilton ‘Strut’, Roberta Flack ‘Back Together Again’, Twennynine ‘Peanut Butter’, Deodato ‘Whistle Bump’ (remix) / ‘Knights Of Fantasy’ / ‘Space Dust’, El Coco ‘Let’s Get It Together’ (remix) and Shalamar ‘Right In The Socket (remix) / ‘The Second Time Around’ are all coming on 12in, Shalamar in blue vinyl . . . Atlantic’s set of 10 four-track 7in soul classics (advertised last week) will be followed next month by Island issuing six 6-track 10in EPs – yes, 10in! – on their revived Sue label featuring soul classics originally on ¡t, the first being ‘Harlem Shuffle’ . . . Sharon Paige’s UK 12in has an instrumental flip and is faster by 2bpm than last week’s review . . . Delegation on 12in is 114bpm, and thanks to a gift from Fatman I can now reveal that Herbie Hancock’s direct-cut remake of ‘I Thought It Was You’ is 125-123-124-125-122-121-pause-125-123-124(vocoder break)-123-122-0bpm – the last part being dynamite! . . . DJ Federation (GB) have reduced their public liability insurance for members to £11 ea and are again accepting individual memberships at £10 ea from people in areas uncovered by affiliated associations (details from 01-348 3269) . . . Rush Release need another 70 jocks for their mailing list and also specialist reggae DJs for a different list – write ‘em at 8 Morton Gardens, Wallington, Surrey (01-669 0327/659 2701), and remember that when on a list you shouldn’t send us a chart full of free material unless it’s really happening for you (hyping doesn’t help anyone) . . . Southampton University’s Bootsie hold a student soul festival on Friday 2nd May and, while well supported already, want as many other universities, colleges and polys as possible to be represented to show the strength of soul among students nationally – cost is only 60p, free accommodation is available, so send cheque/PO (payable SUSU Events Dept) with SAE and quoting NUS number of similar, to Events Dept, Students Union, University of Southampton . . . Frenchie, Pete Haigh & Peter Paige go fancy dress on Monday (31) at their Caton (Lancaster) Scharthwaite Hotel jazz-funk night, coach party reservations on Morecambe 420796, Lancaster 61744, Cleveleys 824156 . . . Camberley Frenchies jazz-funks Thursdays from next week (3) with Johnnie Walker, Robin Nash and mafia guests . . . Chris Hill and myself are not partners nor co-owners of Canvey’s Goldmine, as mis-stated in Billboard’s belated Disco Forum report which of course ignored our main point that gay dominance is what killed US Disco – Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart merely shows those records which frighten US radio programmers the least . . . Soho’s Groove Records has bought up all remaining stocks of the Leo’s Sunshipp LP (but then Groove found it originally) while owner Chris Palmer confirms that the gays who come into his shop rarely know the names of the records they’ve heard at their discos and have to hum the hooks! . . . Slim Tom Holland wants no more buns – he’s lost 1½ stone . . . GQ-like Liverpudlian 5-piece Natural High were an excellent disco dance band at Gullivers last week . . . Finchley Roads Les Elites has had a lavish and good-looking refit . . . Stone City Band ‘Little Runaway’ into Funkadelic ‘One Nation’ into Narada ‘Tonight’, clapping break into ditto of Chicago ‘Street Player’ into Mass Production ‘Shante’ is one of my current fave mixes – Stone City is an unjustly ignored monster! . . . Arbie (Retford MAYC) writes “Disco is NOT dead, only wally ‘dance music’ is – as the sales chart shows. How long since Boney M, Amii Stewart and Co had big hits?” Maybe so Arbie, but Liquid Gold are doing their best to keep the ‘Seaside Special’ tradition alive . . . MAKE IT FUNKY!

No UK Newies this week.


MASS PRODUCTION: ‘Shante’ (from LP ‘Massterpiece’, US Cotillion SD 5218)
Last week’s lead review as should have been (the lack was not of my doing) has indeed leapt straight into the chart and is an amazingly War-like jazzy instrumental that builds with shifting solos in ‘Ghetto’ style from an expectant quiet 124bpm intro through 126-124-127-128bpm. The Whitehaven Whitehouse kids actually applauded when Chris Hill played it there on Sunday.

THE HEATH BROTHERS: ‘For The Public’ (from LP ‘Live At The Public Theater’, US Columbia FC 36374)
Madly catchy superb easily jogging relaxed saxy 91-90-91bpm instrumental jazz swayer with slight Alpert influence and useful applause intro/outro, this week’s lead review. Motoring back from Cumbria on Monday I heard BBC Radio Merseyside’s Terry Lennaine quote last week’s Liquid Gold comment from this page – he hates ‘em! – and an unidentified Piccadilly soul DJ doing some nice mixes.

ROBERTA FLACK: ‘Back Together Again’ (from LP ‘Featuring Donny Hathaway’, US Atlantic S 15013) (BNDA debut 4/5/80)
Terrific long languidly smacking 110(intro)-112bpm “rock” jogger largely sung by Donny piles on the tension as it progresses through simple repetition and will obviously be huge.  Continue reading “March 29, 1980: Mass Production, Heath Brothers, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Jermaine Jackson, Community People”

March 22, 1980: Sharon Paige, Dr Hook, Little Eva, Viola Wills, Stevie Wonder

Odds ‘N Bods

Atmosfear ‘Motivation’ has now also been picked up by MCA (MCAT 580) . . . Arista’s secret jazz-funk plan to promote their GRP Product involves disco DJ’s selling direct to their punters a special 4-track 12in EP featuring an uninspired selection by Jay Hoggard, Tom Browne, Dave Valentin & Angela Bofill – couldn’t it feature something fresher? . . . Casablanca’s next 4-track commercial 12in stars Loose Change & Parliament . . . Polydor have had to postpone their Blondie ‘Call Me’-featuring ‘American Gigolo’ soundtrack LP . . . SEDA 80 is the South Eastern Disco Assn’s annual equipment exhibition this Sunday (23) at the Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne (just off the southern end of the Maidstone bypass, M20), open from noon till 8pm . . . April 12/13 sees another exhibition in Aberdeen put on by Keith Main’s Atmosphere disco store at the Treetops Hotel, details on (0224) 572923 . . . Coral King, Radio Luxembourg “ladies only” DJ competition winner (she broadcasted on Tuesday evening), wants a good London residency – anyone interested contact me . . . Bob Jones, the mafia’s caretaker (he deps whenever the likes of Hill have to miss a gig), wants his own Fri/Saturday residency anywhere around London/Essex, call him on Chelmsford 62924 . . . Record Man of Rayleigh are amazingly selling Herbie Hancock’s ‘Directstep’ LP at £11.25 to the public, only £10 to bona fide jox . . . Malcolm Jones is delighted the policy has changed at Brentwood Elliotts (on the A127) enabling him to funk Fri/Saturdays for reasonably smart over-18s . . . Record Mirror sells out fast in North Wales, where I was holidaying last week – sorry Al Taylor I didn’t get to St Asaph Stables, but Bangor wasn’t worth the day trip! . . . Gavin Breck presumably now knows who the Brothers Johnson are, having been caught out when they visited his Sunday night at Mayfair Playboy! . . . Brum jock Sammy DeHavilland and wife Pamela’s new baby is called James – did they really name him after me? . . . Funkadelic ‘Knee Deep’ is a big numero uno in Ipswich for both the Utopia and Shaggy’s mobiles – why wasn’t it bigger elsewhere? . . . Liquid Gold prove, if proof was ever needed, that there are indeed a lot of wallys out there somewhere! . . . Craig Dawson (Edinburgh) says: “Disco is most definitely NOT dead – on the mobile scene disco records have if anything become more popular than ever, especially among older age groups, with Tony Rallo going down a storm at weddings” . . . Be-di-be-dibbadibbadah – MAKE IT FUNKY!!

UK Newies

SHARON PAIGE: ‘Tonight’s The Night’ (Source 12SRC 103) (BNDA debut 2/16/80)
Harold Melvin & Blue Notes-prod/accompanied creamy clapping 118-119-120-121-122bpm 12in repetitive “rock” doodler with long instrumental intro, now evidently out here at last, is ultimately pretty insubstantial.

DR HOOK: ‘Sexy Eyes’ (Capitol CL 16127)
Excellent slinky 102-103bpm 7in jogger with Bee Gees/old Real Thing tempo and wide appeal.

LITTLE EVA: ‘The Loco Motion’ (London HL 9581)
Classic 131bpm 7in dance smash from 1962 (and 1972!) in her original LP’s picture sleeve.  Continue reading “March 22, 1980: Sharon Paige, Dr Hook, Little Eva, Viola Wills, Stevie Wonder”

March 15, 1980: Bobby Thurston, Players Association, Donald Byrd, Chico Hamilton, GQ

Pye Records rather misguidedly change names next month to Precision Records and Tapes, making black product plugger Morgan Khan “the brat from PRAT”! Anyway, as previously mentioned, Morgan has copied the US DJ-bootlegged mixer medley idea by creating the first ever officially released UK version, out next month (CABP 1) as ‘Calibre Cuts’ and containing 32 cleverly juxtaposed snippets from 24 different tracks. Running for 6:47 and building from 93bpm to a flutter echo 132bpm finish, the rhythmically flowing cut-up includes moments from Lowrell, Chanson, Sugarhill Gang, Positive Force, ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’, Players Assn ‘I Like It’, ‘We Are Family’, Tony Rallo, ‘Bad Girls’, Two Man Sound, Black Ivory ‘Big Apple Rock’, L.A.X., Osibisa, Jupiter Beyond, Seventh Avenue ‘Miami Heatwave’, Real Thing, ‘HAPPY Radio’, ‘Boogie Wonderland’, El Coco, Players Assn ‘Everybody Dance’, ‘We Got The Groove’, Aquarian Dream ‘Phoenix’, ‘East 6th Street’ and Norman Connors ‘Captain Connors’ – some of them contributing just one beat! Mailed to DJ’s in increasing waves, at the moment there are only eighteen copies of the white label 12in in circulation (and Morgan’s numbered them so he knows who the jock is who’s already sold his!), although advance orders from shops already total more than 8,000. Incidentally, starting with ‘Calibre Cuts’, all future PRAT 12in promos will be at 33 1/3 rpm with just the commercial copies at 45rpm. Pity about the PRAT initials (it’ll actually be printed PRT), as Pye are currently anything but that!

Los Angeles differs drastically from New York in that the buzz of hearing brand new releases is totally lacking on radio (and in the clubs) . . . making radio less than compulsive listening. The only newies to be heard last month were some slowies on the mellow soul KJLH and some jazz-funk on KACE. Considering there are 31 FM and 31 AM stations servicing the area (along with 11 TV stations), this was disappointing to say the least. The first thing I actually recorded on air was a breakfast show playing – it seemed appropriate for LA – the Beach Boys ‘Fun Fun Fun’, which the DJ unbelievably came out of paraphrasing “drugs drugs drugs, until her daddy took the teaspoon away”! This was the Kenny Everett-ish Fraser Smith on KLOS, a rock FM station paired with the AM all-talk KABC and sharing the same building – as I discovered when accompanying Robbie Vincent, Radio London’s morning phone-in and interview man – and funnily enough it’s an expatriate BBC veteran who grabs over a million listeners daily with the same format in LA, Michael Jackson (no, not that one). A South African residency having added a Paddy Byrne-like tinge to his voice, Michael left the Beeb in 1959 and now only puts on his exaggeratedly British accent when reading hamburger commercials and the like! Sitting in a tiny studio in the extremely compact glass-walled jigsaw puzzle of on-air facilities, he interviewed TV chat show host Phil Donahue (himself on the Johnny Carson TV show only the night before) and Joan Baez while we were there, as well as answering several carefully vetted telephone calls . . . the switchboard though was decidedly unlit-up in comparison with my experience of Capital Radio. As well as talk, soul, jazz and rock, LA radio covers the usual spectrum from Spanish to classical, country to gospel (lots and lots of gospel!), the main ‘‘disco’’ stations seemingly being devoted still to David Naughton’s ‘Makin’ It’. The best thing I managed to record was, luckily while delayed at the airport on the way home, the legendary Dr Demento on KMET, his Sunday evening show featuring a strongly idiosyncratic 1920s/30s flavour even when the material is new . . . in his way the Charlie Gillett of Los Angeles.

Odds ‘N Bods

Fern Kinney (originally on US 7in in 1977) and Detroit Spinners are due on belated 12in, while Donna Summer and Niteflyte are now on 12in, with Kleeer ‘Close To You’ and a 4-track Randy Brown 12in to follow . . . 1968’s classic ‘This Is Soul’ sampler LP (as it was then) is out again on Atlantic . . . PRAT could be picking up which famous Philadelphia-based label? . . . Caroline Roadshow need two heavy metal DJs, apply in writing with full details and photo to them at BCM, Box 1962, London WC1 . . . Havering DJ Assn and potential members meet at Harold Hill Community Centre on Monday (17) at 7:45pm . . . Chris Britton (High Wycombe Tuesdays) actually said “yes” to a leap year proposal on Feb 29th – congrats! . . . Michael Jackson on TV recently came out of the closet, locked the door behind him and threw away the key – did anyone catch it? . . . USofA’s Reggie, David & Chris are all Viola Wills’s kids . . . Brian Sinclair, probably paranoid about Steve Walsh’s Wednesday publicity, confirms that he himself spins the very best in soul at Catford J. Arthur’s on Thurs/Fri/Saturdays . . . Dennis Brynner is delighted that conditions are funkier again at Southampton Barbarellas . . . London DJ Ian Brolin wants to know where to find Johnny Hammond’s old ‘Shifting Gears’ LP – Hill, what have you started?! . . . Paul Macey, at Kingston-On-Thames South Western Tavern on Fri/Sundays, followed up my mention of Erik Jack’s Life Entertainment Services and landed a summer season at Ladbrokes Nodes Point holiday camp . . . Bristol mafiosi Martin Starr & Dennis Richards (Just 4U/Turntable/Manhattans) are now attracting funksters from London, a crowd of 20 or so spending a week in Bristol going to all their venues . . . Alan Hughes reports that pubs in the Worcester area are cutting right back on discos – what, even the Wally ones? . . . Martin Sanders (Blackburn) may care to note that I paid with my own money to go to LA for a holiday, and not specifically for the forum which past experience had shown would be exactly as it indeed was . . . CBS & Polydor are mailing some strange material to DJ’s these days . . . Capital Radio must be helping London’s discotheques by making them the only place you can be sure of hearing so many established hits . . . Liquid Gold presumably fill a void for many people somewhere, so maybe “disco” isn’t dead at all? . . . US disco chart placings however have been largely discredited now it’s known they relate merely to those records that bring down drugged gays the least . . . Chris Jones (Cardiff) says “Disco isn’t dead, it’s just had a shot in the arm – a little variety does you good, as punters at large South Wales gigs prove by loving 2-Tone/Pretenders/Ska and booing the Nolans, the overriding aim surely being everybody has a good time” – hmm, it may be danceable but is it disco? . . . MAKE IT FUNKY!

New Spins

BOBBY THURSTON: ‘Check Out The Groove’ (Epic EPC 13-8348) (BNDA debut 3/1/80)
Import LP smash now on UK 12in, this happily jumping Brass Construction-ish chugger built around a series of 16 bar progressions goes through 121-119-121-120-122-120(instr)-122-123 bpm to reach a 125-126 bpm rhythm break and outro. ‘Shakit’ chops perfectly out of the first half.

PLAYERS ASSOCIATION: ‘The Get-Down Mellow Sound’ (Vanguard VSL 5017) (BNDA debut 3/22/80)
Still temporarily printed as ‘Mellow Mellow’ (PRAT were confused by Lowrell) this is indeed the correct US title, and the steadily thumping and bumping brassy jogger is now on 115 bpm 12in which should mix even better with the Whispers.

DONALD BYRD: ‘Dominoes’ (Blue Note 12-UP 622)
Attractive atmospheric lazily jiggling 106-104-105-104-103-102 bpm 12in jazz swayer from 1976 with tootling trumpet and chanting chaps is sadly not the even hotter ‘Live At The Roxy’ versionContinue reading “March 15, 1980: Bobby Thurston, Players Association, Donald Byrd, Chico Hamilton, GQ”