September 1, 1979: David Bendeth, Miroslav Vitous, Matumbi, Eddy Grant, Bobby Rush

Brass Construction were the big discovery of the very first Billboard Disco Forum back in early ’76, so (having got to know them in the meantime) I have had an extra kick from the fact that each of my last two visits were made all the better by the guys in the group taking me to their own favourite out-of-the-way night spots. Big famous discos are all very well, but for a night out with friends you can’t beat a neighborhood club.

In February they took me to Le Cocu, on East 55th Street, which while basically a French student and au-pair type of club becomes on Thursdays an almost exclusively black rendezvous when DJ Emile Sanon spins a mixture of Latin and funkier disco. The place most reminded me of Mayfair Gullivers. It’s not a particularly large room but nevertheless the dance floor boasts a dazzling array of twirling helicopter lights, pencil beams and a mirror ball. Friendly and fun, with great music – the Latin element prompting Dexter, Costa Rican pal of the group’s Mickey Grudge, to promise me he’d send me tapes of a six hour Latin programme that’s evidently a must on radio every Sunday. I’m still waiting!

This July visit, Mickey along with Randy Muller and their respective ladies took myself, Radio One’s Tony Hale and EMI LRD’s Ray Edwards to Tribeca on North Moore Street down near the Holland Tunnel. Built on several layers, the spacious ground floor bar looks down two levels to the dance floor at the back, with two fat columns rising from the dance floor with greenery growing from the top at ground floor height. However, down on the dance floor, these columns tower upwards more like the rocket ships in ‘Moonraker’, while the intermediate floor forms a gallery – all this being on quite a small, cramped scale. None of which concerned us, for while the jock played Village People to keep the kids amused (it was a refreshingly young hetero audience), the menfolk of the party retired to the games room to be beaten (embarrassingly consistently!) by yours truly at pinball. Maybe the hours spent on the old machine in Capital Radio’s canteen weren’t wasted after all!

The Sunday of this visit, Brass Construction’s Joe Wong sacrificed six hours of driving time to ferry a crowd of us in his vast Cadillac Eldorado to and from a barbecue Mickey Grudge threw for us at his home out on the South Shore of Long Island. Not far from the perimeter of Kennedy Airport, his flat in a tower block condominium cluster is an amazing 1½ hour drive from central Mahattan, yet still in New York. The route goes under the Verrazano Bridge of Travolta film fame, while on the way we decided against calling in for a snack at Joe & Mary’s Italian-American Restaurant in nearby Brooklyn – Joe and his guest Carmine Galante had not made a good ad for the food, splashed bloodily across the front pages two days earlier. The food at Mickey’s was terrific, sweet succulent ham and exotic sausages served hero-style in French loaves, but hardly a barbecue as cooked in the kitchen and eaten on a balcony fourteen stories up, and shrouded in deep fog. Many thanks though, Mickey (and Joe), it was really great. Later I looked in at a Brass Construction recording session in producer Jeff Lane’s studio above Studio 54.

Disco News

Discotek 79, BADEM’s big equipment exhibition at London’s Bloomsbury Centre Hotel near Russell Square, is running from Tuesday 11th to Thursday 13th and switches from trade-only to public admission at 5pm on Wednesday 12th. Look out for Record Mirror’s stand at Discotek 79, it’ll give you a buzz! . . . John Lewis (Brighton Metro) reports local DJ opinion as favouring a boycott of WEA product in retaliation against the mailing list suspension – but surely WEA’s reason is that the mailing list’s DJ’s don’t create hits anyway? . . . Pye’s Dave McAleer has seen the light and renamed the Disco Dept as the R&B Division to embrace jazz-funk, sophistisoul, Latin & reggae as well – which to many minds always have been Disco here . . . CBS’s Greg Lynn is the latest disco plugger to hint at cuts to come . . . US record companies now are gearing product that they hope will break in roller-discos, of which there are evidently thousands – though we’d probably call ‘em roller-rinks (and I seem to remember enthusing three years ago about DJ Paul Nice’s NY-style mixing for the rollerskating sessions at Edmonton’s Picketts Lock Leisure Centre!) . . . Dave Towry-Coker now features the ready-mixed US Disconet subscription-only 12in medleys (and other gay NY fodder) at the Monday roller-disco in London’s Covent Garden Jubilee Hall . . . David Bendeth of ‘Feel The Real’ import fame, though now working in Canada, is really from the Essex end of East London and used to gig regularly at the Speakeasy – shock, horror, gasp! . . . Cliff Richard ‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’ is 111 bpm, if you’re interested . . . Archie Bell ‘Strategy’ is due soon, but the Jones Girls’ follow-up will be ‘You Made Me Love You’ and not the already proven ‘Life Goes On’ LP track . . . Sarsie (01-980 2517) is looking for a new East London funk venue (emphasis on FUNK) following trouble with the kids at his last one – why can’t they behave? . . . Clive Southwell, who now adds weekends from Fri-thru-Monday at Angel Islington’s Blue Coat Boy to his gigs, reports the two far and away most popular requests at the recent Teen-Ex ‘79 teenagers’ exhibition were Slick ‘Space Bass’ and Jacksons ‘Shake Your Body’ . . . Decca’s Robert Blenman, fresh from accompanying Radio Luxembourg’s Roadshow, reports that South-Western DJs find disco product hard to get in local shops and have to contend with Wally requests – so what else is new? . . . Gary Oldis (Newton Aycliffe Gretna Green) is disgusted at the power of the (local) press following a recent visit to his club by a reporter who observed healthy disco activity through the bottom of a glass and went away to write lurid headlines about lechery and sex amongst the teenage set . . . Teesvalley Roadshow’s recently mentioned smart printed leather keyrings, handed out in place of business cards, have already brought in six extra bookings . . . David Emery (Newcastle) sez my plug for his promotion organizing service brought an immediate first day result, with Central Line’s agent ringing him to arrange local gigs – so you see it really does make sense to appear on this page! . . . Dave Else (Guildford Bridge) suggests funky silliness with Brother Bones ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ – the Harlem Globetrotters’ old training song – which gets ‘em skipping all over the joint: only trouble is, ya gotta find it, as it’s on 1952 Oriole . . . Iain Borg & Trevor “Rasta” Chapman (Croydon Foxy) are briefly funking Malta at St Paul’s Bay Regals and The Villa Rossa – and their anticipation of Wally fodder being needed too is only half-confirmed by the just-returned Rus Phillips (Manor Park Ere For Music), who says it’s very “disco” but with some cool clubs there as well . . . Rus also kicks off a sorta Jox Yockettes finale: “I approached a Maltese DJ and asked ‘have you got Spyro Gyra?’ – he replied ‘why, does it show?’!” . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillen’s): “A recent disco chart in the Daily Star made me realize I’d been introducing Diana Ross’s newie wrongly – they listed it as ‘The Boff’ (which is US slang for…)” (Enough! -Ed.) . . . Neil Fincham (Dunbar Goldenstones – and Monday late-niters at Gullane Old Clubhouse): “best request of the week – punter appears on stage, ‘can I have a request?’ ‘Sure, what?’ ‘Will you stop the music suddenly for about ten seconds so I can watch everybody looking silly?’ Answer unprintable.” (Thank God! -Ed.) . . . Sterling Vann (Bethnal Green Tipples): “Wally import newsflash – ‘Saturday Night Fever’ for imminent UK release! Latest Wally hit – ‘Polly Wolly Doodle’!” . . . Tom Wilson (Edinburgh Rutland): “Did you hear about the Irishman who had an artificial leg fitted? – his Wellie rejected it!”

UK Newies

DAVID BENDETH: ‘Feel The Real’ (Sidewalk 12SID 113)
Currently the disco chart’s biggest import, this gradually building 122-125 bpm 12in jazz-funk jiggler humps along with laid-back vocals suddenly spurting into a catchy staccato hook over the Canadian-based English guitarist’s chunky rhythm drive.

MIROSLAV VITOUS: ‘New York City’ (Warner Bros. K 17448T)
Much sought jazz-funk collectors’ item from ‘76 finally on 12in, the freaky 133 bpm bass burbler will have specialist appeal only but should go like hot cakes! Pity my copy’s warped.

MATUMBI: ‘Point Of View’ (MR 12RIC 101)
Madly catchy 120-124/62 bpm jaunty reggae 12in with an almost Dr Buzzard-like fascinating harmony echo effect and strange brass, likely to be huge.  Continue reading “September 1, 1979: David Bendeth, Miroslav Vitous, Matumbi, Eddy Grant, Bobby Rush”

August 25, 1979: “Record executives are muttering about disco being the goose that laid a leaden egg, and the big backlash seems to be under way.”

Record executives are muttering about disco being the goose that laid a leaden egg, and the big backlash seems to be under way. Typically they only ever saw disco as a bandwagon on which to jump, and are to be blamed if the expected sales didn’t materialise.

In the USA, disco – or, as it ought to be, “Disco” – became the great white hope after radio stations found that by playing nothing but dance music their audience ratings improved dramatically. This is not so surprising in view of the appallingly dull state of normal US radio output – “disco” by virtue of being lively became the new rock ‘n roll.

In this country, thankfully, radio is more varied and jumbles in enough exciting records not to need disco as anything more than another lively link in its normal programming. However, thanks to the buzz caused Stateside by the “disco” radio ratings, the US record industry got geared up to flood the market with what it presumed was wanted . . . and this oversupply of “disco” product swept over into Britain too.

The trouble was, here we are less enamoured of US style “disco” and still like our dance music to have a root in good old US style “soul”. Further, the UK disco market is still only really capable of buying a hit into the 40s on the pop chart – the big chart disco hits are in fact often tainted with the dreaded “disco” zinginess but rely on Wally rather than club-goer sales. The British club-goer does exactly that, goes to clubs, dresses up and spends money on these activities probably in far greater proportion than on actually buying records.

Let’s face it, today’s disco records sound great at a club, but as so many of them are structured primarily for DJ’s to play and mix into others just like them, the average club-goer can not be blamed for preferring to hear them in their correct context rather than in all their naked thump-thump-thump isolation at home.

But when the shocking truth comes out, that a legitimate Top 10 hit in all the disco charts can’t even sell 4,000 copies (which was the recent case with one particular record), the blame must surely be directed at the nation’s disc-jockeys. When a record is evidently that popular, what the hell are all you 30, 60, or however many thousand DJ’s doing? Not buying it and catering to your dancers’ needs, it seems, and certainly not helping improve relations with the record companies.

No wonder that mailing lists are being suspended, pruned and chopped. It would be no bad thing if every company stopped sending out promos in one fell swoop. That would soon sort out the men from the boys, put up running costs, and force DJ’s to go out (as of course the vast majority do) to – horror of horrors! – actually BUY their records.

This could have two effects: it might finally raise the money earned by most DJ’s, and it might make them even more aware of imports. If you’re in an import-stocking record shop, the difference in price between a hot import 12in and its less-fresh UK version is not so great, especially when the UK version comes out weeks later.

Disco is not dead, whatever the record companies may think, but if in thinking that they reduce the number of their disco releases it should help everyone. Those who want a record badly enough can always get it on import, those who don’t want to spend their money can always get out of the disc-jockeying business and work for Leyland. If it means a rationalization and re-think, then I for one say, DISCO IS DEAD, LONG LIVE DISCO!

More clubs next week, but right now seems an appropriate point to talk about disco radio in New York City. You have to realise that there is a ludicrous number of radio stations beaming all sorts of programme formats at the population of New York (all US radio is local), with the result that if a station gets just 4 per cent of the available audience it’s probably the market leader. This is the sort of percentage that WKTU-FM gained when it switched formats to become WKTU (“Disco 92”) – it being at 92 on the dial – playing nothing but disco (and lots and lots of “disco”!). Also on FM, the more soul-orientated WBLS had been programming in a disco style for several years already, but with a blacker sound (it still remains by far the more listenable of the two!); however, it was the more blatantly white-orientated “disco” crud that won the ratings war for WKTU.

Although both stations’ jocks do a certain amount of mixing, they are by no means up to club DJ standards, and the overall presentation is surprisingly slip-shod. The buzz for a British visitor is immense, though, as just by turning on the radio you can hear pretty well all the soul and disco material denied us on the airwaves here! 24 hours a day, in unending rotation! Yes, it actually wears off after a time, and by tuning along the FM band you then find WRVR playing nothing but jazz and jazz-funk, or some indecipherable Latin station (as well as all the rock, pop, MoR, religious, news, country, classical and minority interest stuff), while over on the heavily compressed and sizzling AM band are the sadly fallen from grace WWRL soul station (my fave in the ‘60s) and the great reggae/calypso/funk/jazz/disco of WLIB, aimed at New York’s large enough Caribbean population. Drool, drool?!?

UK Newies

ASHFORD & SIMPSON: ‘Found A Cure’ (Warner Bros. K 17422T) (BNDA debut 7/14/79)
Superb thumping strutting 124bpm 12in with searing soul wailing in bursts between intense instrumental sections.

IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS: ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful, Pt. 3’ (Stiff 12BUY 50) (BNDA debut 10/20/79)
Foiled at every attempt to include this review, it’s less late than it looks! Thought you ought to know the funkily jittering 12in thudder is 122-123bpm, with sorta Instant Funk influence!

STANLEY CLARKE: ‘Just A Feeling’ (from LP ‘I Wanna Play For You’, Nemperor/Epic EPC 88331)
Dynamite happily jiggling jittery 110bpm vocoder and chix-chanted jazz-funk strutter, hopefully for singles release as this is a double LP (with plenty of good listening).  Continue reading “August 25, 1979: “Record executives are muttering about disco being the goose that laid a leaden egg, and the big backlash seems to be under way.””

August 18, 1979: Crusaders, FLB, Al Hudson & The Partners, Frantique, Johnny Mathis

Disco News

Fred Dove has suspended WEA’s mailing list and will concentrate on testing product around the clubs – where will the axe fall next? . . . Eddy Grant’s Ice label has signed with Virgin for distribution and not WEA as previously announced, his ‘Walking On Sunshine’ 12in being rush released and The Mexicano’s ‘Move Up Starsky’ blue vinyl 12in remix due soon . . . Chris Brown, currently sunning on the Riviera until the 24th, has mixed a four-track segued 12in jazz-funk EP for A&M, while similarly Steve Walsh has done one for Arista (the latter using old Breakwater and Mandrill material) . . . Kleeer and Herbie Mann each have a three-track 12in due next week, Miroslav Vitous ‘New York City’ finally being out next week, as is Alma Faye ‘Don’t Fall In Love’ . . . Gap Band ‘Baby Baba Boogie’ 12in has been postponed . . . Crusaders remix and David Bendeth import 12in are proving hard to find for many . . . Archie Bell ‘Strategy’, though less of a singalong, is being tipped by some as the next McFadden & Whitehead-type anthem, while the “wha-ohh-wah-ahh” chant from Isley Brothers ‘Shout’ oldie is already huge for Chris Hill and could just chart RCA’s imminent 12in version . . . Stan Barrett hosted a lavish party this last Sunday at his Canvey Island Goldmine to celebrate the notorious disco’s 7th birthday, attended by London’s “funk mafia” plus other select Thames Estuary jocks (and their ladies), Chris Hill then building the fancy-dressed punters up to the most amazing silly session party finale I’ve ever witnessed! Englishmen now abed will think themselves accursed they were not there, especially as Timmy Gover dolled up in white suit and complete rubber John Travolta head mask to fool the gawpers outside . . . August Bank Holiday starts on Sunday 26th at Brighton Papillon with Mick & Paul Clark’s funky beach party prior to the following day’s Great Brighton Beach Party with Chris Hill and the old Purley dodderers joining the same crew at the Top Rank: meanwhile, other Monday all-dayers include new boys Al “Purple Heart” Matthews, Steve Walsh and more at Purley Tiffanys; Colin Curtis, Mark Joenz, John Grant, Phil Kelly & Eric Hearn at Liverpool’s Romeo & Juliets; Robbie Stewart, Dave Middleton, Tony Charles & more at Bletchley Peaches; and indeed just about every pub with a back room seems to be getting in on the act . . . EMI disco plugger Pete Dyos is quitting on September 3rd to open a Brentwood-based studio, agency and freelance promotion service (0277-225110), applicants for his EMI job being invited to contact Jeff Atherton at Manchester Square . . . Phil Mitchell, compiling an all-time “Humberside Soul Poll” for local radio, wants the area’s funk fans to send in their fave soul Top Tens to him, c/o Paul Hunsley, Electric Wireless Show, Radio Humberside, 9 Chapel Street, Hull . . . Bob Jones soon starts a jazz-funk Tuesday at Southend’s Zero 6, where live jazz-fusion groups will also appear – and any groups interested in a gig should contact Colin at Record Man of Rayleigh (Rayleigh 779722) . . . Havering DJ Association have another Disco 79 dance at Barking’s Volunteer next Friday (24), the £1.50 tickets from HDJA Secretary (who potential DJ members should contact too), Brian Mead, at 18 Cowley Road, Romford . . . BBC local radio cutbacks, mainly achieved by an evening relay of Radio 2, must put many soul shows in danger – already Medway’s Tony “Shades” Valence has had his orders . . . TCOJ’s animated lead singer breaks bricks with his voice – beware! . . . EMI LRD are reportedly flirting with a major US soul label from a certain city of brotherly love . . . Groove Records in Soho’s Greek Street now stock a well up-front selection of hot import cassettes, worth checking . . . Nicki Peck (Chatham Scamps) writes a really rather good “Disco Pecking” section every Friday in the Medway area’s Evening Post . . . “Elvis – The Movie” is surprisingly excellent but because of its authenticity and quality is also frustrating to watch when you realise that another hour of it got edited out between US TV screening and UK cinema – what do we miss?! . . . James “Fish” Heron, who used to send charts regularly, is now Clyde Coast DJ Assn secretary as his predecessor resigned the post due to apathy . . . Martin Starr & Dennis Richards of Bristol’s Just 4U funk club have issued a challenge to meet Camberley Frenchies at any midway venue from September onwards – to do what, one wonders?

UK Newies

Next week there’ll be more New York report, but right now let’s get rid of some reviews . . . and there are so many goodies about!

CRUSADERS: ‘Street Life’ (MCA MCAT 513) (BNDA debut 9/29/79)
Terrific 12in remix, minus slow start and speeded up 3bpm so it’s now an ever-accelerating 108-116bpm. Try mixing into Joe Sample’s old ‘There Are Many Stops Along The Way’!

FLB: ‘Lookin’ For Love Tonight’ (Fantasy 12FTC 179) (BNDA debut 9/8/79)
GQ-style superb solid 123bpm 12in chugger, out here (as was Slick) ahead of the USA.

AL HUDSON & THE PARTNERS: ‘You Can Do It’ (MCA MCAT 511) (BNDA debut 6/16/79)
Powerfully strutting 116bpm 12in chugger with usefully abrupt chop intro.  Continue reading “August 18, 1979: Crusaders, FLB, Al Hudson & The Partners, Frantique, Johnny Mathis”

August 11, 1979: Studio 54, part 2 – “a lot less exciting than its publicity would have one believe.”

Last time the description of Studio 54 was incomplete. Housed in a converted theatre in the Ed Sullivan CBS TV building (where the Beatles taped a show), it still has the theatre balcony with the dancefloor being where front stalls and stage once were so that it is this great ceiling height that enables the previously mentioned mirrored light columns to drop down into the dancers from above. Other effects include a swinging illuminated heart on a pendulum scything above their heads and sudden artificial snowstorms billowing from the balcony, but it’s the backdrop area that houses the most spectacular – if rather limited – set of effects, which are raised and lowered with an interest-numbing regularity. These are mainly an Inca-type Sun God head and a crescent Man In The Moon who snorts coke from a spoon up his lightbulb-animated nostril – fun once, but dragsville the fourth time. In setting out to stun and then not maintaining the momentum, Studio 54 is a lot less exciting than its publicity would have one believe.

Its close rival down near Times Square on West 43rd Street, the notorious Xenon is almost as hard to get into . . . and, following a fracas when a bunch of us weren’t even allowed in on our February visit although there were tickets for us inside, I didn’t try too hard this time. However, enthusiastic reports from money-flourishing Fatman suggest that DJ Tony Smith spins a superior range of varied and quite funky music, while the sound approaches Paradise Garage quality – and the effects include a near naked lady suddenly riding through on a real live white horse! Lasers evidently provide much of the lighting, used rather dangerously if you consider that, after three stark naked girls had jumped on top of some speaker stacks and started dancing, all the lights went out and the lasers zeroed in on three furry pussies!

Just as Paradise Garage has won awards for its sound system, so has The Ice Palace for its lighting. Situated on the salubrious corner of West 57th Street and Avenue of the Americas, the Palace is dead easy to get into . . . and full of young white guys dancing mainly with each other, to the most appalling variety of Euro and New York disco dreck, which (on the night I was there) wasn’t even mixed excitingly. And this is Ian Levine’s favourite disco in the whole world! As for the lighting, with a name like Ice Palace not surprisingly the whole place is walled with mirrors, giving a cold harsh atmosphere as flashing neon, strobes and helicopters reflect off every surface. At least with mid-week admission of £2.65 including two stiff drinks, it’s not expensive – but then drinks in all New York’s discos are surprisingly cheap.

More next week, but please note that the next Billboard Forum (not essential in itself) will be in Los Angeles during February, and Chris Hill is taking over a team of London funk mafia to play in a chain of LA clubs for ‘British Week’ to show the hopeless West Coast jocks how it’s done . . . and Adrian Webb of Showstopper Promotions (01-886 4112) really IS organising a cheap rate package trip, but needs to hear from you within the next fortnight if you’re planning to go (for whatever reason). It’ll be a ball, so y’all come, hear?

Disco News

Come hell, high water, and public holidays, when all about me falter, this Disco page is always in Record Mirror – right? – but last week my two final mobile gigs of the summer proved too much: I simply had to sleep. So, sorry if you missed it, but even you have a holiday sometimes . . . Camberley’s Frenchies is running an invitation-only British Disco Convention for selected top jocks on Tuesday, October 2nd, with a forum panel including Chris Hill, Froggy, promoter Adrian Webb, CBS’s Greg Lynn, a solicitor and myself, followed by buffet and cabaret, the emphasis being on entertainment and a chance to meet informally . . . Frenchies’s DJ team is now Chris Brown, Robin Nash, Jeff Young and Nick Halliday, alternating every Sunday at Camberley Cambridge Hotel and Cardiff Lloyds . . . Showstopper Productions’ Caister overflow funk weekender at Perrin Sands in Cornwall on 26/27/28 October (the earlier Weymouth venue now being scrapped) will feature all the Caister jocks except Greg Edwards and has a Mardi Gras fancy dress theme – as does Southgate Royalty’s 1st anniversary Chris Hill night next Friday (31) – while Showstopper and the Brighton Soul Society combine on August 27th Bank Holiday Monday for a Great Brighton Beach Party at Brighton Top Rank with all the old Purley jocks like Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Chris Brown, Sean French, Froggy and more . . . Ashford & Simpson ‘Found A Cure’, Con Funk Shun ‘Chase Me’, Raydio ‘Rock On’, Bryan Adams ‘Let Me Take You Dancing’ are due on 12in now, with Bonnie Boyer ‘Got To Give In To Love’, Bobby Rush ‘I Wanna Do The Do’, Isley Bros ‘Shout’, Van McCoy ‘The Hustle’, Bill Summers ‘Dancing Lady’, Slick ‘Sexy Cream’ out later this month . . . David Bendeth ‘Feel The Real’ is rumoured to be EMI’s for UK, while further hot poop has a segued three-track Heatwave promo 12in in circulation . . . Magnet’s Joanna Kochen retires next week for a pre-nuptial rest . . . London’s LODJ Assn jocks are providing music for a week from Saturday (11) at the National Teen-Ex 79 exhibition in Westminster Horticultural Halls . . . Norman Scott now jocks at London’s Sundown every Fri/Saturday, Bang on Mondays, and at Leicester Square Empire’s roller disco every Sunday afternoon . . . Iain Borg & Trevor Chapman with guests like Mick Clark funk Croydon’s Foxy in Lower Addiscombe Road every Fri/Sat/Sunday, and plan a soul weekend near Windsor Castle (not the Great Park, I hope!) . . . Dennis Brynner, Dave Van Seiger, Kim Perritt & Neville Tan, DJ team at Southampton’s new plus Barbarellas on the old Centre site, have to contend with an elevating DJ console that goes up and down the wall! . . . Clem Curtis, ex-Foundations, proved he’s been a soul singer all this time when he really wailed while singing over his ‘Unchained Melody/Need Your Love’ at Mayfair’s Gullivers – where, contrary to rumour, the “rock” dancing crowd are evidently too young to remember King Floyd’s 1970 original of Fern Kinney’s ‘Groove Me’ . . . David Emery (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 813797) invites enquiries from record companies and other youth-market firms interested in running promotions on Tyneside . . . Capital Radio, with Mike Smith sounding like Graham Dene and now John Sachs sounding like Mike Allen, risks going the Radio One route where so many jocks (to these ears) sound like Tony Blackburn . . . Peter Sedgebeer (Tonbridge Hilden Manor/Rugby Club) points out rightly that with the pound so strong against the dollar, why the hell are imports still so expensive? . . . UK record companies could well be following their US counterparts in cutting back on disco promotion . . . Teesvalley Roadshow (Redcar 475854) have had some smart goldprinted leather key-rings run up at only £9.50 per 100, which works out at the same price as an ad in the local paper but by being handy permanent reminders could prove 100 times more effective when given to satisfied punters instead of a business card . . . Larry Foster (Canonbury Mildmay Tavern) suggests as a good mix to bridge from disco when rock is requested, Donna Summer ‘Bad Girls’ into ELO ‘Shine A Little Love’ into Rolling Stones ‘Miss You’ . . . Chris Hill fans beware: he’s currently inflicting Tiny Tim ‘The Happy Wanderer’ on his silly sessions! . . . Neil Fincham (Dunbar Goldenstones) asks, what’s green and turns red at the flick of a switch? – A frog in a liquidiser (is it Froggy’s eyes after a hard night?)! Either way, we don’t wish to know that – goodnight!

Too many records and too little space means that to keep you fairly up to date on what at least is out, this week I am reduced to listing everything that by now it would have been nice to have reviewed. You will see the problem, I think! Maybe next week there’ll be more room?  Continue reading “August 11, 1979: Studio 54, part 2 – “a lot less exciting than its publicity would have one believe.””

August 4, 1979: chart only this week, no column

UK Disco Top 90 – August 4, 1979

01 04 Slick – Space Bass – Fantasy 12″
02 06 Chic – Good Times – Atlantic 12″
03 01 Anita Ward – Ring My Bell – TK 12″
04 03 Earth, Wind & Fire & The Emotions – Boogie Wonderland – CBS 12″
05 02 McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now – Philadelphia Int’l 12″
06 07 Chantal Curtis – Get Another Love – Pye 12″
07 05 Sister Sledge – We Are Family – Atlantic 12″
08 09 Donna Summer – Bad Girls / One Love – Casablanca 12″/LP
09 08 Teena Marie – I’m A Sucker For Your Love – Motown 12″
10 12 Patrick Hernandez – Born To Be Alive – Gem 12″
11 11 Edwin Starr – H.A.P.P.Y. Radio – 20th Century 12″
12 10 Eddy Grant – Living On The Frontline – Ensign 12″
13 15 Janet Kay – Silly Games – Scope 12″
14 16 Earth, Wind & Fire – Star / Let Your Feelings Show / After The Love Is Gone / In The Stone / Rock That / I Can’t Let Go – CBS LP
15 14 Deniece Williams – I’ve Got The Next Dance – CBS 12″
16 24 Diana Ross – The Boss / No One Gets The Prize / It’s My House – Motown 12″/LP
17 18 Amii Stewart – Light My Fire – Atlantic 12″
18 13 Carrie Lucas – Dance With You – Solar 12″
19 19 Billy Paul – Bring The Family Back – Philadelphia Int’l 12″
20 25 Crusaders – Street Life / Carnival Of The Night – MCA LP
21 38 Gibson Brothers – Oooh! What A Life / Better Do It Salsa – Island 12″/LP
22 17 Joe Thomas – Make Your Move / Sugar Smack – TK 12″
23 22 Donna Summer – Hot Stuff – Casablanca 12″
24 20 V/A – Turn On The Tap (all cuts) – Tappan Zee 12″ EP
25 21 Tata Vega – Get It Up For Love – Motown 12″
26 30 Frantique – Strut Your Funky Stuff – Philadelphia Int’l 12″
27 28 Harvey Mason – Groovin’ You – Arista 12″
28 32 Jones Girls – You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else – Philadelphia Int’l 12″
29 27 Light Of The World – Midnight Groovin’ – Ensign 12″/LP
30 41 Spyro Gyra – Morning Dance / Starburst – Infinity 7″/LP
31 39 David Bendeth – Feel The Real – Canadian IGM 12″
32 26 Five Special – Why Leave Us Alone – Elektra 12″
33 44 Jackie McLean – Dr. Jackyll And Mr. Funk – RCA 12″
34 23 Candi Staton – When You Wake Up Tomorrow – Warner Bros. 12″
35 29 Peter Brown – Crank It Up – TK 12″
36 40 L.A.X. – Dancin’ At The Disco – Pye 12″
37 37 Village People – Go West – Mercury 12″
38 45 Candido – Dancin’ & Prancin’ / Jingo / Thousand Finger Man / Rock & Shuffle – Salsoul LP/US 12″
39 85 Real Thing – Boogie Down (Get Funky Now) – Pye 12″
40 86 Al Wilson – Earthquake – RCA 12″
41 68 Me And You – You Never Know What You’ve Got – Laser/Deb Music 12″
42 43 George Benson – Unchained Melody / Before You Go – Warner Bros. 12″
43 47 Hudson People – Trip To Your Mind – Ensign 12″
44 70 Olympic Runners – The Bitch – Polydor 12″
45 46 Taka Boom – Night Dancin’ – Ariola 12″
46 31 Roxy Music – Dance Away – Polydor 7″
47 34 GQ – Make My Dream A Reality – Arista 12″
48 35 Gary’s Gang – Showtime / Let’s Lovedance Tonight – CBS 12″
49 33 War – Good Good Feelin’ – MCA 12″
50 51 Smokey Robinson – Get Ready – US Motown LP
51 52 Jackie Moore – This Time Baby – CBS 12″
52 74 Skyy – First Time Around – Salsoul 12″
53 57 Patrick Juvet – Swiss Kiss / Lady Night – Casablanca 12″/LP
54 63 Antonia Rodriguez – La Bamba – Magnet 12″
55 36 Melba Moore – Pick Me Up, I’ll Dance – Epic 12″
56 56 Sylvester – Stars / Body Strong – Fantasy 12″/US 12″ remix
57 59 Bonnie Pointer – Heaven Must Have Sent You – Motown 12″ remix
58 60 Direct Current – Everybody Here Must Party – Sidewalk 12″
59 49 Switch – Best Beat In Town – Motown 12″
60 42 Gino Soccio – Dancer / Dance To Dance – Warner Bros. 12″
61 76 David Naughton – Makin’ It – RSO 12″
62 64 James Brown – It’s Too Funky In Here – Polydor 12″
63 55 Ralph MacDonald – I Need Someone / East Dry River / Discolypso / You Are In Love – US Marlin LP
64 53 Herbie Hancock – Tell Everybody – CBS 12″/US 12″ remix
65 50 Heatwave – Razzle Dazzle / Eyeballin’ / Raise A Blaze / Therm Warfare / One Night Tan – GTO 12″/LP
66 65 Lenny Williams – If You’re In Need / Doin’ The Loop De Loop / When I’m Dancin’ – US MCA LP
67 NE Ashford & Simpson – Found A Cure – US Warner Bros. 12″
68 77 Stephanie Mills – Put Your Body In It / Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin’ / Don’t Stop Dancin’ – 20th Century LP/US 12″
69 62 Uncle Louie – Full Tilt Boogie – US TK 12″
70 54 Lalo Schifrin – Chile Caliente – US Warner Bros. LP
71 89 Isley Brothers – It’s A Disco Night / Life In The City / I Wanna Be With You / Let’s Fall In Love / Liquid Love – Epic LP
72 NE Kandidate – Girls Girls Girls – Rak 7″
73 NE Savoy – Sunny Side Of The Street – EMI 12″
74 90 Kleeer – It’s Magic / I Love To Dance / Tonight’s The Night – US Atlantic LP
75 61 Herb Alpert – Rise – US A&M 12″
76 75 Mass Production – Welcome To Our World / Cosmic Lust / Strollin’ – Atlantic 12″
77 82 Breakwater – Work It Out – Arista 12″
78 NE Atlantic Starr – (Let’s) Rock ‘N Roll – A&M 12″
79 71 Poussez – Come On And Do It / Boogie With Me / Never Gonna Say Goodbye – Vanguard 12″/LP
80 78 Tom Browne – What’s Going On / Throw Down / The Closer I Get To You – US Arista/GRP LP
81 66 Dexter Wansel – I’ll Never Forget (My Favourite Disco) / It’s Been Cool – US Philadelphia Int’l 12″
82 NE Ronnie Foster – Argentina / Feet / Let Me Into Your Life – US Columbia LP
83 NE Ritz – Locomotion – Epic 12″
84 79 Chain Reaction – Sweet Lady (Dance With Me) – US Jam Sessions 12″
85 84 Brainstorm – Hot For You – Tabu 12″
86 88 Nuggets – New York / Proud Mary – Mercury 12″
87 NE Philly Cream – Motown Review – Fantasy 12″
88 83 Terry Callier – Sign Of The Times – Elektra LP/US 12″
89 73 Central Line – Wot We Got – Phonogram 12″ promo
90 NE Deodato – Shazam / Space Dust / Knights Of Fantasy / Whistle Bump / Sherlock – US Warner Bros. LP
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#2 (BNDA debut 6/23/79) / #3 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #4 (BNDA debut 6/2/79)
#5 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #6 (BNDA debut 6/23/79) / #7 (BNDA debut 2/10/79)
#8 (BNDA debut 4/21/79) / #10 (BNDA debut 5/19/79) / #11 (BNDA debut 6/9/79)
#15 (BNDA debut 6/16/79) / #16 (BNDA debut 6/23/79) / #18 (BNDA debut 3/10/79)
#20 (BNDA debut 9/29/79) / #21 (BNDA debut 9/8/79) / #23 (BNDA debut 4/21/79)
#25 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #27 (BNDA debut 6/16/79) / #28 (BNDA debut 5/12/79)
#32 (BNDA debut 7/7/79) / #34 (BNDA debut 5/26/79) / #35 (BNDA debut 6/9/79)
#36 (BNDA debut 6/2/79) / #37 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #38 (BNDA debut 6/30/79)
#44 (BNDA debut 9/29/79) / #49 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #51 (BNDA debut 6/23/79)
#53 (BNDA debut 6/9/79) / #54 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #55 (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
#56 (BNDA debut 3/24/79) / #57 (BNDA debut 5/5/79) / #58 (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
#59 (BNDA debut 7/7/79) / #60 (BNDA debut 2/24/79) / #61 (BNDA debut 3/10/79)
#62 (BNDA debut 6/16/79) / #64 (BNDA debut 7/14/79) / #67 (BNDA debut 7/14/79)
#68 (BNDA debut 6/2/79) / #71 (BNDA debut 8/25/79) / #75 (BNDA debut 7/28/79)
#76 (BNDA debut 11/6/76) / #79 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #85 (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
#86 (BNDA debut 6/30/79) / #90 (BNDA debut 12/1/79)

July 28, 1979: “Studio 54 certainly know how to manipulate publicity – the place is nothing very special.”

Ten days and usual dose of jet lag later, your Record Mirror reporter is back from the New York Hilton-held Billboard Disco Forum VI with more news than there’s room to print.

Where to start? Well, name checks first. The UK contingent included DJ’s Froggy and Fatman Graham Canter, Phonogram’s John Waller, EMI LRD’s Ray Edwards, Polydor’s John Perou and Theo Loyla (the latter not arriving till the Saturday’s first Laker flight), Pye’s Dave McAleer and Alan McLachlan, Bocu Music’s Howard Huntridge and Ian Titchener (both known for other DJ roles too), BBC Radio One producer Tony Hale, US born but Leeds Warehouse-owning Mike Wiand – these in various combinations being the crowd I personally moved with while also in evidence were DJ Simon Pollock, producer Ian Levine and Island’s Erskine Thompson (who was supervising a Manu Dibango recording session in NY). In our different groupings we ate, drank and clubbed together.

Yup, clubs! The opening night of the Forum’s evening entertainment at the Roseland Ballroom, set up as a special disco for the occasion, we were unimpressed by Sister Sledge and then moved up a few blocks to 54th Street and the world-famous Studio 54. They certainly know how to manipulate publicity – the place is nothing very special.

Suspended mirrored and lightbulb-covered columns rise up and down over the dancefloor so that sometimes they drop in amongst the dancers, while horizontally-mounted prismatic mirrors spin overhead to reflect bright strobe-like lights.

Frankly I’m not too keen on naked torsos, freckled bony shoulders, cropped balding heads, unhealthy-looking women trying to look young, over-laboured freaks and middle-aged men who ought to know better – so I can’t be said to have found the place thrilling. The music was permanently fast until with a laboured creak it suddenly dropped down – to be greeted with widespread relief – into James Brown, but I did enjoy it when the DJ did my own segue out of Atlantic Starr into Harvey Mason.

Studio 54 has only become notorious by being hard to get into (they even refused late-arriving Billboard vice-president Bill Wardlow!), whereas Paradise Garage sets out to achieve less, yet achieves so much more.

On the seedier side of Greenwich Village on King Street, the Garage is literally that. Massive trucks are parked downstairs as you climb through a small door and head towards the carpark ramp that’s now the dimly-lit way up to the first-floor club.

Basically gay (though less noticeably so these days), the place is a juice bar serving no alcohol and limited (again not so noticeably) to over-25s. It is always packed, doesn’t close till mid-morning, and is the most exciting club in the city . . . thanks largely to its incredible sound and DJ Larry Levan’s superb mixing . . . it is possible to stand two inches away from the speakers’ massive ports and have an ordinary conversation, while your hair gets a blow-wave from the air pressure being pumped out! In fact the sound is loudest at the centre of the dancefloor, which used to be in almost permanent darkness except for some dazzling sweeps of the spinning, helicopter lights, but on this visit there were fewer helicopter effects in use and more regularly flashing vertical pencil beams.

In the juice bar a fountain spouts the juice for you to catch in a cup, while bowls of fresh fruit, nuts and sweets are all there for free too. Last time this room featured movies projected against the end wall – I saw ‘Fantasia’ and ‘Mahogany’ – but on this visit they weren’t in evidence. The music is a great mixture of the usual NY disco sounds but tempered by a more soulful element, the crowd being much more black than white. Well, that’s all the room for this week – more next.

Disco News

Hot Chocolate ‘Going Through The Motions’ is on 12in after all (12RAK 296), while David Naughton ‘Makin’ It’ is finally on commercial 12in (RSOX 32) and Me And You ‘You Never Know What You’ve Got’ switched to Laser 12in (LAS 8T) . . . David Naughton got his TV series after making some popular Dr Pepper soft drink commercials at the same time as appearing in ‘Hamlet’ on Broadway – versatile lad! . . . Pye launch a series of ‘Disco Duplex’ double albums, gatefold packaged in hinged die-cut sleeves showing the new Discovatin’ label comprising two four-track segued 45rpm 12in discs giving full LP length but 12in clarity all for the £4.80 cost of a normal LP, the ‘Get Down On The Floor’ debut set (DISC 01) featuring Real Thing ‘Can You Feel The Force’ / (remix), Gene Chandler ‘Get Down’ / Players Association ‘Turn The Music Up’, Two Man Sound ‘Que Tal America’ / Martin Circus ‘Disco Circus’, Daddy Dewdrop ‘Nanu Nanu’ / Edwin Starr ‘Contact’ – phew! . . . Van McCoy died three weeks ago after feeling unwell in the studio while Hugo & Luigi were extending and overdubbing his old ‘The Hustle’ for future 12in reissue . . . Stargard have made the logical label change to Whitfield . . . CBS’s Greg Lynn is taking a Disco Pool roadshow around the country to meet mailing list jocks by invitation only at central venues, starting this Friday at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Julie’s and including most major cities . . . Trojan invite bona-fide DJs to call Sharon on 01-969 6651 for a free copy of Symarip ‘Skinhead Moonstomp’ provided they promise to play the reggae oldie ten times a night! . . . Satril’s Greg Buccheri (of broken axle fame) says that the upcoming Dance People LP and single deserve DJ attention and so he needs extra influential for his jocks list – write Greg at Satril House, 444 Finchley Road, London NW2 2HY . . . Stephanie Mills caused a commotion at a record shop LP-signing session when an unanticipated crowd of 3,000 turned up, the police pushed them into line, and 30 were injured when the shop’s window shattered under the pressure . . . East Anglian DJ Assn recently voted not to re-affiliate with the DJ Federation (GB) for a number of fairly footling reasons which seem to boil down to a dissatisfaction with overworked DJF secretary Tony Holden’s preference for making phone calls instead of writing time-consuming letters . . . Honey Bee Benson, representing Copenhagen’s IDEA agency, will be offering three months’ work at a top Oslo disco to worthwhile competitors in a mobile DJ contest being held at Gloucester’s Leisure Centre and Tiffanys, the winner getting £500 worth of equipment from organiser Barry Brown of Barry’s Disco Centre (Gloucester 421126) . . . Bob Jones, as well as Chelmsford Dee Jays every Wednesday, now funks Braintree’s Barn on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, while Dave Else reports that since he and some friends undertook to promote their own Wednesday and Friday funk nights at Guildford’s Bridge (in the Wooden Bridge on Woodbridge Hill) the crowd has grown dramatically . . . Chris Browne (spinning funk) and Gavin Breck (MoR) each jocked for 25 hours non-stop at Victor Lownes’s lavish 25th Anniversary Playboy party, which included a 25-hour outdoor roller disco too, the whole evidently being like a kind of upper-class Caister! . . . Steve Walsh, having vanquished his Peterborough-based namesake, now will represent the South of England against the North’s Colin Curtis (or maybe Bill Swift) at another battle of the giants in Peterborough’s Fleet Leisure Centre on August 24th . . . Robbie Collins (Robert Allwork, phone 01-520 7547) still needs gigs or residencies . . . Radio Medway soul jock Tony “Shades” Valence was revealed on Monday’s BBC 1 ‘Nationwide’ as a secret collector of rock ‘n roll stars’ discarded socks! . . . Radio 1 ‘Discovatin’’ producer Tony Hale is practising his pinball technique following a marathon match at New York’s Tribeca disco with Brass Construction’s Mickey Grudge, Randy Muller and myself! . . . Leeds Warehouse owner Michael Wiand managed to get a seat next to David Frost on his Concorde flight back from New York – can we expect a Frost Report on discos soon? . . . Preston Clouds celebrated their £150,000 reopening by issuing special Hangover Packs containing eye-mask, Alka-Seltzer, Anadin, Band-Aids and an Eau-de-Cologne brow-cooler! . . . Chelmsford’s YMCA in Victoria Road re-opened last Saturday after a £70,000 refit with Roger Carr running the disco as before . . . Paul Gough (Hartlepool Gemini) says he finds our disco chart a great help when selecting album tracks – which is good to hear, as we take great trouble to list them in order of popularity, and would like all chart contributors to do likewise instead of just jotting down “EWF LP” or similar . . . David Steinberg, US TV funny man, has the final word (and Forum catchphrase): “Get OFF!!!”

UK Newies

LOVE DE-LUXE: ‘Here Comes That Sound Again’ (from LP ‘Again and Again’, Atlantic K 50585) (BNDA debut 6/30/79)
The new Gino Soccio of this New York trip, the British-made girlie group 115bpm plodder seemed awfully ordinary in its UK 12in form earlier this year but as a remixed (and already deleted) US 12in or this longer LP side it cuts through with a chillingly monotonous effectiveness when mixed and played through New York quality disco equipment – it was certainly hard to avoid! Could be the time is right to try it again here, too.

ROSEBUD: ‘Have A Cigar’ (Atlantic K 11185) (BNDA debut 4/14/79)
Remixed for 12in from their ‘Discoballs / A Tribute To Pink Floyd’ 1977 LP (which I tipped at the time as having specialist appeal), this jumping 138bpm Europop girlie group racer is now huge in the States, and could be catchy enough for Amii Stewart fans here finally too.

A TASTE OF HONEY: ‘Do It Good’ (Capitol CL 16085) (BNDA debut 8/18/79)
Great slinkily grooving low 104bpm “sleaze” thumper on 7in here but hot in NY and much better on US promo 12in – which I couldn’t get, curses!  Continue reading “July 28, 1979: “Studio 54 certainly know how to manipulate publicity – the place is nothing very special.””

July 21, 1979: Al Wilson, Candido, Diana Ross, Switch, Peter Brown

Billboard’s Sixth Disco Forum proved once again to be no more than a good excuse for visiting the Big Apple to have a great time and meet interesting people on the periphery of the main event.

Old hands have by now learnt that the actual forum sessions are not worth attending and indeed people stayed away from them in droves, while even the only potentially interesting session about disco mixing (held in the Hilton Hotel’s “Sybil’s” Night Club) was a failure as the majority of jocks featured were so ill at ease with the Juliana’s-installed equipment that their mixing demonstrations suffered.

However, one comes to expect the forum to have its difficulties. The exhibition part of the event though was as well planned as usual. The noisy speaker, amplifier and total environment exhibitors had two floors of hotel suite to themselves while the main hall featured smaller stands for individual bits of equipment, disco fashion accessories and other items of supposed disco interest.

But with this forum falling less than five months after the last one, the number of visitors was noticeably down and the feeling among exhibitors was that this short gap was to blame. The next forum in February will be in Los Angeles, which should make good sense as the mid-summer New York show will then come as a completely separate event. And with LA only an extra £24 at current standby air fare rates, I for one will be heading there.

Next week there will be full news and scandal about the British delegation (smaller than expected), who did what to whom (hello Kerri), the fun we had, clubs we visited, sounds we heard, food we ate and all the dirt that’s fit to print.

Disco News

The Commodores’ new ‘Midnight Magic’ album (Motown STMA 8032) is due for rush release this week . . . Real Thing ‘Boogie Down (Get Funky Now)’ turns out to be on that nasty translucent piss-coloured vinyl again . . . Frantique ‘Strut Your Funky Stuff’, Jackie Moore ‘This Time Baby’ (both 12in) and Teddy Pendergrass ‘Turn Off The Lights’ (7in) are due next week, while Candido ‘Dancin’ & Prancin’’ / ‘Jingo’ and Lou Rawls ‘Let Me Be Good To You’ are on 12in early August . . . TCOJ debut on Utopia with ‘(I Found) Love On The Disco Floor’ next week, with a massive club tour lined up to promote it . . . Mark Hambley (Torquay Grange Court holiday camp, Goodrington) complains that though he’s playing to about 900 people six nights a week, all his mailing list applications have been met with “sorry – full up at the moment” replies from record companies: well, with umpteen thousands of jocks all trying to get on, its hardly surprising that the major companies (whose research tells them the best areas and clubs to service) do indeed have their lists full, and have to turf out one probably quite satisfactory jock to add another . . . Graeme Bilton (Croydon/Thames riverboats) suggests jocks into audience participation should find a local carnival supplies shop, as cheap “trumpet” squeakers and football whistles thrown out into the crowd can have a great effect!

UK Newies

AL WILSON: ‘Earthquake’ (RCA FC 9399)
Almost Brass Construction-like unhurried walking bass-pushed 117bpm tripper with soulful vocal, backup chix and powerful rattling-then-strings break, likely to be huge now that it’s out here on green vinyl 12in.

CANDIDO: ‘Dancin’ & Prancin’’ LP (Salsoul SSLP 1517) (BNDA debut 6/30/79)
Big with jazz-funk jocks, the LP’s four tracks all feature up-front rhythm, Latin flavour and varying intensities of instrumentation and/or girlie group vocal, the just about equally popular titles being the 8:02 ‘Dancin’ & Prancin’’ (110bpm), 10:52 ‘Jingo’ (121bpm), 8:55 ‘Thousand Finger Man’ (122bpm) and 8:51 ‘Rock & Shuffle (Ah-Ha)’ (125bpm).

DIANA ROSS: ‘No One Gets The Prize’ (from LP ‘The Boss’, Motown STML 12118) (BNDA debut 6/23/79)
Noticeably Nick & Valerie-penned 116bpm jogger winds up into even more of a ‘Love Hangover’ successor than the title track hit, while other action cuts include the lovely slow 99bpm ‘It’s My House’ tripper and more urgent 98bpm ‘I Ain’t Been Licked’ jolter.  Continue reading “July 21, 1979: Al Wilson, Candido, Diana Ross, Switch, Peter Brown”