March 21, 1981: Soft Cell, Level 42, Spandau Ballet, Sun, Starpoint

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

QUINCY JONES ‘Ai No Corrida’ is due on 3 track 12in with ‘Stuff Like That’ while Capitol have scheduled 3 trackers by T-Connection, Mystic Merlin. Why didn’t they wait for the hot product like Sun, Cold Fire? . . . Alphonse Mouzon ‘By All Means’, ‘Do I Have To’ will be on Excaliber 12in next week . . . Disco Dub Band ‘For The Love Of Money’ has been slightly remixed and put out on white label extended 12in as by the Master Dub Band and Project Love Rescue (which never did hit on import) is about on Creole white label . . . Frank Hooker ‘Ooh Suga Wooga’ / ‘This Feeling (Remix)’ is now on good value US 12in and Jerry Knight ‘Perfect Fit’ on hard to get US 12in promo . . . Chris Hill turns out to be responsible for the great LOTW ‘Time’ remix, speeding up the original blending in newly recorded brass and guitar passages . . . Randy Brown on his nice new smoochy LP varied up to between 33 and 45rpm sounds exactly like another Randy Crawford . . . LA Boppers also have a pleasant new import LP (some of these I’m waiting for from the companies to review in comfort at home) hot new jazz sets including Jack McDuff (Sugarhill), Dave Pike (Muse – try ‘Swan Lake’), Kellis Ethridge (Inner City – try ‘Quickie Nirvana’) . . . Sharon Redd evidently sang on Front Page ‘Love Insurance’ a while back . . . David Bendeth’s upcoming ‘Make It Pop’ 12in flip is a remake of ‘Feel The Real’ remixed by Mr. Hill to incorporate snippets of three other tracks from his ‘Just Dessert’ LP, this concoction called ‘Just Demix’ . . . Chris Hill, Carol and myself had a gastronomic tour of ‘Good Food Guide’ restaurants last week (disguised as a gig at Whitehaven’s Whitehouse) . . . Knutsford David’s Place serving dynamite duck, Cockermouth Old Courthouse tasty Germanic fare, Gosforth Boonwood Inn incredible cream teas (with rum butter!) but one of the most memorable meals of my life was at world famous Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel near Pooley Bridge – only ultra rich superstars are welcome there though! . . . Cumbria does seem to have a lot of extremely good looking and surprisingly spare birds – and Dot does wear a nice pair of jeans (I hope the Alien appreciates ’em) . . . Porky pork scratchings are ‘more-ish’ aren’t they? . . . Level 42 meanwhile evidently turned in the best set ever at Mayfair Gullivers, the Bros Johnson-type bassist pushing guitar and keyboards (again, no sax) through completely self-penned, note-perfect material – wish I’d caught it . . . Roger Squire’s dXL 100 “mini” PA speaker, at under £100 measures only 10¼in x 12½in x 19½in but evidently packs a surprisingly beefy bass from four specially designed 4in full range chassis with special porting and a built-in Piezo horn . . . Galatrek Engineering (contact Ron Koffler on 0492-640311) have for the first time ever made a thermal flashing 13amp plug containing a solid state device which, without interference to TV / radio signals, makes anything up to 250 watts flash at a regular 1 on / 1 off timing (cost in quantity £1.50) . . . Funktion’s April 25th trip to Paris has been reduced in price to £49.95, and it seems Funktion is no longer at Mortons on Monday . . . Kev Hill (Brentwood 0277-221309), visiting Galway for the Easter weekend with a rugger team would like to know if indeed there are any soul discos in the area to visit, and if so would they like to book him for some London funk? . . . Glen Ross at Storthfield Country Club, Storth Lane, South Normanton, Derbyshire, plans a regular weekly live music night and would like to hear from interested bands (especially futurist) . . . Kev Howarth fuses jazz / funk / fusion at St Asaph Stables now Al Taylor has moved on . . . Dave Bumford of Newport’s Flashback shop (pipped to the post by Lady Di?) claims Beggar & Co ‘Help Me Out’ rips off Rufus ‘Live In Me’ more than Heatwave does and ‘Rising Sun’ cops the guitar riff from Blackbyrds ‘Rock Creek Park’ . . . Tricky Dicky has dirt cheap prices (US LP £4.50 UK 12in £1.80 for instance) at his shop opposite Mile End station. Disco Music, 391c Mile End Road, Bow, London E3 . . . Carol Jiani ‘Hit ‘N’ Run Lover’ is a big number one in all the gay orientated charts that have suddenly come in this week . . . Coati Mundi ‘Me No Pop I’ lyrics are worth a close listen! . . . James Brown’s Soul Syndrome Part 2 turns out to be very much the one take record rejects from his RCA set . . . ‘Body Music’ is by One On One and not One On Me, as misprinted last week . . . Eurovision entrant Bucks Fizz sound naggingly like ‘The Hucklebuck’, try singing it to their melody . . . Odyssey ‘Use It Up And Wear It Out’ from the vocal start to its halfway “wooh” mixes nicely between Freeez percussion and Manu Dibango’s sax . . . Bob ‘Scintillating’ Jones hopes the futurists do take over the majority of clubs to force the specialist jazz funk soul scene back underground and make it healthier as it’s been over promoted and made too readily available in recent times (but he doesn’t advocate Northern style cover up secrecy) . . . John Wieschhusen, Southampton University, ex Bootsies, echoes these thoughts saying now that futurist has changed from being an exciting underground movement to an overground craze, surely the hip thing to do is check out the less commercial jazz funk minority scene . . . Spring is busting out all over – and so is Carol Hill . . . KEEP IT FUNKY-ish!


REDDY FOR ANYTHING

“WHEN IT comes to love I’m the best, now are you sure you can pass my test?”

I lie of course, but it made you sit up, didn’t it? The words come not down the Transatlantic phone line, but from the song which brought about Sharon Redd’s third helping of fame, ‘Can You Handle It’.

On the Redd hotline, Sharon sounds surprised and delighted when I spill the beans on the single’s healthy pop chart progress over here.

The song comes from her anonymous and hot debut album, due here at last next month, but Sharon is anxious not to overplay its disco aspect.

“There’s something for everybody on the album. It’s more laid back, easy listening, not so funky. The next single will be more pop-orientated, I don’t want people just to think of me as the superdisco queen.”

That may be the image that’s been cultivated of late, but Sharon’s background is more varied and more interesting. She grew up in Virginia and landed on several of the familiar squares on the showbiz monopoly board – classical voice training, church choir and talent contests. Her family was already in showbiz and Sharon delved into acting. A lead role in the Australian stage version of ‘Hair’ brought on her own Aussie TV series and as the singing side of her career developed, she worked with Lou Rawls, Patti LaBelle and Helen Reddy.

By this time her name was sounding familiar to more people and she received a call from Bette Midler, it led to five years as one of Bette’s three Harlettes, and to Miss M kindly describing Sharon’s singing as “sleaze with ease”. Then one night CBS knocked on the stage door with three ballpoint pens and a contract for the Harlettes.

Record success never happened for the trio sans Bette, but Sharon kept herself busy and known. In 1980 she was offered the lead vocal on a song called ‘Love Insurance’. The band was Front Page, just for the record, which was a big US disco hit. She was offered a follow-up, but by that time Prelude Records had stepped in.

She’ll be starting another LP in late summer. And whatever else happens, she’ll be ready. On her third time around, Sharon Redd can handle it.


UK NEWIES

SOFT CELL: ‘Memorabilia’ (Some Bizarre HARD 12).
Dynamite bass driven 134bpm white label 12in futurist disco bounder with a vaguely Stones-ish (or Spencer Davis) hit keeps trucking along with great electronic effects and is the most impressive thing I’ve heard this week and it really IS a disco crossover!

LEVEL 42: ‘Love Games’ (Polydor POSPX 234).
Mike Vernon produced snappy bass and meshing guitar build ominous jittery atmosphere on excellent haunting 0-106bpm 12in as electronic keyboards smooth the way for lush but tense vocal lines in their best effort yet, the bubbling jazzy 0-102-99-101bpm instrumental ‘Forty Two‘ flip being much more specialist. On white label now. It’s out next week.

SPANDAU BALLET: ‘Glow’ (Reformation CHS12 2509).
So, this is their attempt to get funky – a bounding bass-pushed 0-135bpm 12in rattler with jiggly guitar, it’s certainly compatible disco (try especially mixing the percussion break), but it ain’t exactly Bootsy Collins. And how come the printed BPM is again so wildly out?  Continue reading “March 21, 1981: Soft Cell, Level 42, Spandau Ballet, Sun, Starpoint”

March 14, 1981: Light Of The World, Heatwave, The Scratsch Band, Arni Egilsson, Mel Sheppard

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

Fuse One ‘Grand Prix’ / ‘Double Steal’ will be on UK 12in by the end of the month . . . Shakatak’s album is not in fact due until May, despite what Record Shack say . . . Champagne are releasing a UK Jazz-Funk compilation LP containing brand new remixes of Inversions ‘Mr Mack’, Funk Masters ‘Love Money’, Powerline ‘Double Journey’, Rah Band ‘Slide’, Not James Player ‘ Friends Again’ . . . CBS are going with that Dutch ‘Stars On 45’ cover version of ‘Bits & Pieces III’, concentrating on the Beatles section on 7in (which despite the European accents is likely to be a pop smash here . . . Chi-Lites ‘Have You Seen Her’ is now on US 12in (20th Century-Fox/Chi-Sound TCD 122) . . . Surface Noise’s previously released output has been compiled into an LP in Portugal, but it’s not for import as Chris Palmer is making a proper album here . . . Funktion follow their first all-niter with another at Brighton Top Rank on Friday 27th March, a pyjama party starring Chris Hill, Froggy, Sean French, Jeff Young, Tom Holland, Chris Brown . . . Ensign are making a TV pilot show at Canvey Goldmine on Sunday (15) with all their UK artists (LOTW, Beggar & Co, Incognito – well, that’s the groups – Ray Carless, Rudy Grant, Eugene Paul) as a sort of Brit-funk version of ‘TOTP meets Soul Train’, audience only by invitation but these are available from Chris Hill at the Goldmine this Saturday . . . Second Image’s first ever public appearance last Wednesday at Mayfair Gulliver’s was marred by local bikers battling, but otherwise showed the snappy dressers to be good at both slow jazzy numbers and flashy fast bumpers, the highlight being an audience participation acappella, which was their own exciting treatment of ‘Mysteries Of The World’ (running into ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’) being an especially strong highlight, as by the end the crowd was cooking . . . Gullivers on Saturday then held the Jazz Sluts (possibly soon to be regulars at the club) where they delivered a fluid guitar-led instrumental set inspired by Lee Ritenour / Dave Gruisin with Latin overtones, was made interestingly different to their Tuesday night set by lack of sax . . . Capital Radio’s Greg Edwards is trying to make people aware of the distinct difference between funk, jazz-funk and black product record shops are currently stocking, the poor Funk Masters ‘Love Money’ is an example (does it pretend to be anything other than cheap and cheerful Greg?) . . . Steve Dennis plans another DJ masterclass in Birmingham’s Faces for Sunday 4th October . . . Gary Woodford (how about some charts?) has started an Under-18s Sunday jazz-funk club at Harrow Leisure Centre, £1 membership having to be obtained in advance (details 01-866 9688) . . . Brighton Metro has closed for conversion into Busbys II, re-opening 27th April . . . Liverpool’s local hospital broadcasting station Sunshine Radio is hoping to move into new studios soon and could do with some sponsors . . . Mike Davidson (Liverpool Hollywood) can currently be seen walking around town in a fluorescent orange coat made of nylon carpet material with yeti boots to match – but why? . . . Staines Fusion Few plan such surprises in their forthcoming Caister fanzine as sexy poses by Carol Hill (inspired by Paula maybe?) and the wonderful world of Mrs Dickenson’s budgie! . . . Linx had a great stylish video on TISWAS – and ‘Intuition’ doesn’t appear to have been the problem to programme that many jocks initially thought, to judge from their massive chart leap! . . . Sugar Minott was way ahead as the winner of Capital Radio’s People’s Choice vote, with Heatwave a strong second . . . Jack Wood (Huddersfield Johnnys) honeymooning with Sylvia in the smoke and checking out Gully’s last week was chuffed to pick up Chick Corea ‘Central Park’ 12in promo from Our Price (what, them again?) . . . Victor Feldman’s latest jazz set is likely to set you back by as much as £20 . . . Funkadelic, with an import LP on L.A. International (LAX for short) are a splinter group formed by three original members who had fallen on hard times recently after being sacked and have equal rights to the name . . . Rufus’s import LP featuring Chaka Khan is very dull . . . Polydor have James Brown’s Soul Syndrome Part 2 LP, recorded at the same venues as Part One . . . Barry Lee Martin charts Nat King Cole ‘Let There Be Love’ and Nina Simone ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’ . . . Don’t Look Now goofed last week – it was Teddy Pendergrass who ran off with Marvin Gaye’s wife and not the other way around! . . . Brian Blyth would like to see a reggae chart on this page, but to my regret very few jocks seem to list reggae, because no-one stocks it? . . . Richard Walmsley wants the timings of records mentioned – and listings to include, but with BPM’s as well this would become too cluttered, not to mention the time it takes to ‘time’ a record! . . . Richard Hart (Wells–Next–The–Sea) amongst other sick ditties says “If you want to wake up with a smile on your face, go to bed with a coat-hanger in your mouth!” . . . March 1963 was the era of Little Eva’s ‘Let’s Turkey Trot’ and the month I became a Disco DJ . . . KEEP IT GOOD!


UK NEWIES

LIGHT OF THE WORLD: ‘Time’ (Mercury MERX 64).
Astoundingly good marathon 126-125-124-125-126-125-124-125 (outro)bpm 12in remix really IS a remix (and how!) with added jittery guitar intro and many brass breaks, it all sounding like a cross between Players Association ‘Turn The Music Up’ and now especially Crown Heights Affair ‘Galaxy Of Love’ (both of which can be mixed in and out of it). Serviced on white label, this may not be in many shops yet.

HEATWAVE: ‘Jitterbuggin’ (GTO GT 13-290).
This heavily thudding jolting 112bpm bumper always was THE cut for me from ‘Candles’ and now it sounds really strong on beefy 3-track 12in, with the resonantly booming 0-119-114bpm ‘Goin’ Crazy‘ strutter which drops into a quieter doodle before returning slightly slower, and the previously unissued jerky convulated 0-117½bpm ‘Wack That Axe‘ jiggler. The added 12in volume works wonders.

THE SCRATSCH BAND: ‘Your Place Or Mine?’ (Groove/EMI 12 EMI 5154).
Any similarity to Surface Noise is unavoidable as Chris Palmer’s behind this too, and it’s his best since ‘The Scratch’ (with one “S”!). A bass jolted smooth 0-111-110bpm 12in jazzy bumper, the vocal A-side with sax solo is less incisive than the really powerful piano played 111-110bpm instrumental which mixes nicely out of Coati Mundi.  Continue reading “March 14, 1981: Light Of The World, Heatwave, The Scratsch Band, Arni Egilsson, Mel Sheppard”

March 7 1981: Freeez, Whispers, Firefly, Free Expression, Futurism (“a direct continuation of disco”)

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

ALPHONSE MOUZON is now widely available and selling like hot cakes not only on US PAUSA but also German Metronome, and looks likely for UK release quite soon too . . . Marvin Gaye ‘Pride’ has been extensively remixed for UK 12in and a remix of ‘Flying High’ will be the Freeez follow up . . . RCA have picked up Sugar Minott ‘Good Thing Going’ and Excaliber add Leprechaun ‘Loc It Up’ . . . Firefly’s import hit in its original less good Italian ix on Mr Disco LP was titled ‘Love And Friendship’, while, not widely known, K.I.D. are from Italy too . . . Heatwave’s imminent 3-track 12in includes 1977’s previously unissued ‘Whack That Axe’, but only ‘Jitterbuggin’ and ‘Goin’ Crazy’ will be on the 7in . . . ‘Gangsters Of the Groove’ and the similarly Rod Temperton penned ‘Live in Me’ off Rufus’s old ‘Masterjam’ album are remarkably alike – and I see that at the time I said the latter was indeed slightly Heatwave like . . . WEA’s Fred Dove, consistent winner of my Hammy Award as disco plugger of the year, has decided that WEA can sell records without the help of this page and while the dubious logic behind this experiment must remain his prerogative, its very regrettably obvious that I in turn cannot review or mention records I haven’t been sent (whatever their label) – this strange situation having come about because of my liking the Freeez album which Fred doesn’t (mainly due to the way it charted when Grover Washington didn’t) and because this the disco page tends to concentrate on danceable music only . . . I hope the few jocks left on Fred’s mailing list are sufficiently influential to let the entire country know what records WEA currently have that are hot and on release and I’m only sorry I won’t be able to tell you about them myself – still there are plenty of other companies with product and if WEA can get along without us we can doubtless get along without WEA . . . Funktion are promoting an overnight coach trip to Paris’s dazzling Le Palace disco with hotel and sightseeing tour for £55 inclusive on Saturday 25th April, details from Funktion Ltd, 3 Crooked Billet, London SW19 (01 946 2433) . . . South Eastern Disco Assn’s ‘SEDA 81 Spring Disco Fair’ is at the Great Danes Hotel near Maidstone (end of M20) on Sunday 29th March afternoon, the previous night at the same venue being a SEDA disco party with Theo Loyla, Steve Maxted, Nikki Peck etc. SEDA details from 01-302 4590 . . . Billboard plan no further disco forums, which does away with a great excuse for visiting the States on business expenses . . . Chris Hill with myself, various Backstage Bitches and other companions, visits Whitehaven’s Whitehouse again this coming Wednesday (11) . . . A&M have started mailing promos again to selected jocks, but as they’ve no specific disco department they don’t want people ringing up . . . Donna Summer ‘I Feel Love’ has been issued by the US Disconet subscription service in an overdubbed re-orchestrated remix that’s reportedly dynamite, but beware of an inferior bootleg remix which is evidently atrocious . . . Barry Lee Martin (Maidstone 41607, evenings) is booking club work tor Kent based disco-funk group Pro-Fusion so that they can get experience prior to approaching record companies – they’re cheap to any offers? . . . Robbie Dee (Billercay 51540 between 4-6pm) would love some London funk gigs as he’s left Southend Quills due to frustration . . . Chris Britton has moved downstairs at Watford Baileys having successfully switched the Juliets room to jazz-funk, much to his regret as now Noel Wight is reaping the benefit! . . . Ian Turner (Colwyn Bay) is highly critical of EMI’s recent DJ auditions at Oldham Romeo & Juliets . . . Rob Harknett (Harlow) reckons he could have been the cause of a UFO sighting reported by the local paper – he was judging his new Tutor II’s beam strength by projecting a space fantasy wheel on to low mist at use time, two miles from the sighting point! . . . Erick -Jack (Bognor Regis) was checking out the disco scene recently in Athens, where the night he arrived it snowed – for the first time since 1954! (still it could have been an earthquake) . . . Larry Foster (Ilford Room At The Top) reckoned without Caister selling out, as now he plans to challenge Isle of Wight weekender tribes to a dancing showdown – so look out as the range of dances he can choose from includes the Neckache, Backache, Lurch and Son Of Lurch (er, whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist?) . . . Steve Goddard, resident at Stepney’s non dancing Old Rose pub slightly off the beaten track on the highway, recommends Boz Scaggs ‘Miss Sun‘ (CBS) as the epitome of the type of “disco plodder” he finds ideally suited to pubs . . . Steve Walsh is the bouncing father of a proud baby girl . . . Graham Gold (01-951 3285 afternoons) wants a buyer for the Rudi Gilpin-built deck unit from Champers with Citronic stereo mixer, graphics EQ, SP24 Mk IV decks and room for larger vari-speed units, at £250 ono . . . Peter Lee (Liverpool Indiana Club in Berry Street) has, like Graham and myself at Mayfair Gullivers, revived Uncle Louie ‘Full Tilt Boogie‘ (US TK 12in) . . . Tom Wilson (Edinburgh Oscars) wonders how many of our DJ readers have CBs, and what their handles are (that’s a big ten-four Supersoul!) . . . Sheena Easton really got clobbered by the flan flinger on TISWAS! . . . Jo Field (Hemel Hempstead) says Eddie Russ ‘Zaius’ mixes nicely out of Atmosfear ‘Dancing In Outer Space’ from the end of the latter’s central break . . . DORC has been extended to 30 places this week as so many pop hits are cropping up in disco charts now . . . DJ chart contributors remember, you’re doing nobody any favours in the long run by listing material you’ve merely received in the mail if it isn’t actually working on the floor — and as I’ve said before, I prefer to hear from DJs who actually go out to find their material rather than waiting for it to come through the letterbox . . . Ian Thomson (Melrose), who should try mail order for those hard to get imports (hard to get in Scotland that is) wonders how the UK Disco 90 is compiled: it is not a sales chart, but an “airplay” chart based on reaction from dancers as judged by the DJs — who may or may not be good judges of this but at least know what they’ve played that week and list it accordingly, and hopefully KEEP IT GOOD!


A FREEEZING SPELL

ONCE you’ve licked the label, it’s pretty hard to peel it off. It was Freeez themselves who called their music “new wave jazz funk”. Now they can cock one snook apiece at the people who’ve rushed off with preconceived ideas about that term, just by waving this week’s charts under their noses. They show that, as the “newer” soul scene in London continues to broaden, Freeez are floating confidently at the deep end.

John Rocca, percussionist, vocalist and producer with the band, had a thing or two to say over a (southern, unfrozen) pint in a Victoria pub. In particular about a bum review in another august journal: “they thought we should have had something saying ‘Margaret Thatcher is an old hag’ as a title, but it’s new wave as in new wave jazz funk.” Andy Stennet, keyboards player, was similarly annoyed. “Their criticism was that we shouldn’t be using tracks like ‘Caribbean Winter’ and ‘Sunset’ if we’re a new wave band. To me, what’s new wave about it is not the social side of it, necessarily, it’s the music side.”

‘Southern Freeez, speed 45, has already crossed over, under, sideways and down, and ‘Southern Freeez’, speed 33, has already established itself as one of the freshest, most authoritative LPs in the genre for a long time. It all comes as a distinct second chapter in the life of the band. Early last summer a spunky instrumental of theirs called ‘Keep In Touch’ flirted with the 50 for a week and scaled greater heights on the disco list. The band sold the single to Pye, who didn’t take up the option on the second release, and it went under.

In any case, the band were in some confusion. Rocca said: “We were going the wrong way, we were leaving Freeez and trying to make money.” In the first instance, the band’s formation had had a lot to do with Bluey, an ex-Light Of The World member. Andy Stennet had come and gone from the band too. He remembers: “We made a tape and went round a few companies. They were all saying ‘Jazz-funk is out’.” (“That was the year of disco is dead,” chipped in John). “So we walked out, me with me Wurlitzer on me back. I just thought things weren’t happening and got myself a regular job. I regretted it.”

John continued the story: “After we did the ‘Keep In Touch’ record, Bluey decided it wasn’t going right. By the time we got to the second single, we’d more or less split. We were using a different keyboards player at that time and he went off to finish his degree in France, We gave Andy a ring, and he came back.”

Disillusioned with Pye, the band finally came across, and got on swimmingly with Beggars Banquet, of whom they speak very highly. They sold them the album, pressed some pre-Christmas copies, and by the time we’d all woken up again in the New Year, the buzz was too loud to ignore.

These guys sound as excited as the people buying their record, because they know they’re part of a new feeling in funk but they don’t know exactly where It’ll lead them.

Andy: “It would be very nice to still provide the commercial side of it as well, but to really experiment, and get some sort of aggressive, hard playing. I look forward to that.” Us too, chaps; they’ll be gigging soon too and if you only know the single, just listen to them widen your ears. Freeez are set up for a long spell. PAUL SEXTON


MR WRIGHT

BERNARD WRIGHT, 16-year-old piano prodigy whose import ‘Nard’ album has just gone Top 30 in the disco chart, is like Tom Browne from the Jamaica neighbourhood of New York’s Queens borough on Long Island – and it was Tom Browne who brought him to the attention of GRP’s Fave Grusin and Larry Rosen when using him as an accompanist on his debut ‘Browne Sugar’ LP.

Bernard began aged four playing with toy musical instruments before his mother gave him a miniature Magnus organ and aged eight (presumably as long ago as 1972) he gave up the music lessons that were meant to teach him rudimentary music theory as he found them incompatible with his favourite Kool & The Gang funk, which is what he really wanted to play! Instead he became the youngest member of the pre-teen Junior Firebolts.
Aged 13 he toured with Lenny White, then played keyboards for a couple of theatrical productions, and now he has his own solo album reflecting a lifetime’s influences.


UK NEWIES

THE WHISPERS: ‘It’s A Love Thing’ (Solar SOT-16).
Skippable but distinctive synth tones intro this thunderously smacking 0 – 117 – 118 -119bpm 12in smash-bound chunderer with cheerful catchy vocals and, as has been proved beyond question, real grow-on-you appeal. Initially ignored in the South, it took Northern jocks to establish its potential before it swept throughout the land spearheading the currently re-emerged Solar groove along with Shalamar and Lakeside.

FIREFLY: ‘Love (Is Gonna Be On Your Side)’ (Excaliber EXCL 506).
Shopgirl aimed import smash simple ‘Good Times’ structured 114 – 113 – 114bpm 12in thudder starts with a bass bumped groove before filling out with Euro vocals and then dropping into a guitar scratched long break which builds back up (part of this break being tagged onto the start of the re-edited B-side version in typically tampering Morgan Khan style) . . . and it’s amazing how many jocks have picked up on my original mixing suggestion to synch it between KID and ‘Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now’. (This, Mystic Touch, some 7in Hit Numbers are 1bpm faster than anticipated, which could indicate voltage fluctuations somewhere).

FREE EXPRESSION: ‘Chill-Out!’ (Vanguard VSL 5019).
Terrific powerful bass synth boomed heavy slow driving 108 – 107 – 108bpm 12in funk thudder with some greasy jive talk between grunting beat emphasising chant and squealing sax.  Continue reading “March 7 1981: Freeez, Whispers, Firefly, Free Expression, Futurism (“a direct continuation of disco”)”

February 28, 1981: Futurist Top 20, Change, Sister Sledge, Whispers, Nolen & Crossley

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

THE WHISPERS ‘It’s A Love Thing!’ is the UK single after all, due next week on 12in as are Shalamar ‘Make That Move’, Dynasty ‘Groove Control’, Heatwave ‘Jitterbuggin’, Marvin Gaye ‘Praise’ / ‘Funk Me’ . . . LOTW ‘Time’ will be on completely remixed 12 minute Mercury 12in Soon . . . Bernard Wright’s 3-track 12in ‘Just Chillin’ Out’ / ‘Spinnin’ / Haboglabotribin’ – Mmmm . . . Jerry Knight’s dynamite ‘Perfect Fit‘ remains only on 7in, no 12in scheduled here or USA . . . Alphonse Mouzon has indeed been in short supply . . . ‘Disco Mix’ pressings (reviewed last week) all jump a groove near the start, and closer inspection of the ‘Let’s Do It’ flip (the same as ‘Bits & Pieces III’) reveals an odd vocal volume drop on two Beatles segments – incidentally Manfred Mann’s ‘Doo Wah Diddy Diddy’ (NOT the limp new Showaddywaddy), chops perfectly out of B&P3, if you want to carry on with your own medley . . . BMRB’s proposed singles charts restrictions have in fact rightly been laughed out of Court . . . Funktion has left Heaven and starts Tuesdays at Mayfair Mortons, with Tony Jenkins jocking . . . Capital Radio’s entire talks department turned up at the Venue last week for the Breakfast Band who, with more jazz than funk, meandered about exploring sound textures and old Meters rhythms before finally blasting out with powerful Latin percussion and steel drums . . . Mr Clean as part of their act at Mayfair Gullivers let off a smoke bomb which was more of a stink bomb and cleared the club in two seconds flat, causing hysterics (not least from guv’nor Phil Tibber) – and the band played on! . . . Shock however were sensational – forget Hot Gossip, and make every effort to see them somewhere . . . Rusty Egan riding in a Rolls – so that’s where “power pop” can eventually get you! . . . Sean French 5½ stone slimmer, succumbed to the lavish spread on Sunday at a Canvey Goldmine private Mafia party given by owners Stan & Jane Barrett, whose pet performing monkey George is ‘evidently’ now what Stan’s right arm is for! . . . ‘TISWAS’ stars have some amazing future plans – say no more . . . ‘Boring’ Bob Jones reports that Record Man of Rayleigh is currently far from fit (get well soon, Colin) . . . Paul Stewart (Belfast) sends collective condolences from north of the border to all grieving relatives in the Dublin fire tragedy, and I’m sure we all join him . . . Richard ‘Lofty’ Lofthouse gives 15 per cent discount to regular DJ shoppers at Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Windows record store, while all Tyneside’s record shops are shifting Eddie Rosemond ‘Funk It‘ by the boxload still . . . Neil Fincham (Dunbar 63606), back at Goldenstones every weekend, is desperate for 12in replacements of Blondie ‘Heart Of Glass’, Eddy Grant ‘Frontline’, Jacksons ‘Destiny’ . . . Paul Clark (Brighton Metro) tips South Coast jazz group Hipnosis . . . Dave ‘Dr Romance’ Rawlings (Reading Rebecca’s) wonders when there’ll be a segued slowies LP to give overworked DJs the chance of a smooch. KEEP IT GOOD!


UK NEWIES

CHANGE: ‘Paradise’ (WEA K 79196T).
Chix-cooed lovely languidly tripping creamy 115 – 116 – 115 – 116bpm loper (due on 12in but reviewed off advance 7in), with slinky slow 103/51bpm Luther Vandross-souled ‘Your Move‘ flip.

SISTER SLEDGE: ‘All American Girls’ LP (Atlantic K 50774). Narada Michael Walden keeps their old sound but adds his own touch (though for once his tempos stay constant), the booming emphatic 121bpm title track being also on 122bpm 12in (K 11656T), while ‘Music Makes Me Feel Good‘ at 116bpm is the set’s ‘I Shoulda Loved Ya’, others being the 121bpm ‘If You Really Want Me‘, 108½bpm, ‘Ooh You Caught My Heart‘, 127 – 128bpm ‘Make A Move‘ 135bpm ‘He’s Just A Runaway‘, 95bpm ‘Happy Feeling‘, 32 – 34bpm ‘Next Time You’ll Know’, 36/73bpm ‘Don’t You Let Me Lose It’, 39/79bpm ‘I Don’t Want To Say Good-bye’.

WHISPERS: ‘Imagination’ LP (Solar SOLO 7).
Smash import finally out here, the bass jiggled 122 – 123bpm title track now being overtaken by the 12in-bound 0 – 117 – 118 – 119bpm ‘It’s A Love Thing‘ smacker, ‘I Can Make It Better‘ being a 120bpm socker, ‘Up On Soul Train‘ a jittery 121bpm swayer, and ‘Continental Shuffle‘ a smooth 112 – 113 – 114bpm lilter.  Continue reading “February 28, 1981: Futurist Top 20, Change, Sister Sledge, Whispers, Nolen & Crossley”

February 21, 1981: Rusty Egan’s record boxes – “get that little lot and you too can be a Futurist DJ”

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

STEVIE WONDER ‘Lately’ is finally due on 7in (to combat Rudy Grant?) Fuse One ‘Fuse One’ LP is now a cheaper German import . . . Kleeer ‘Get Tough’, Free Expression ‘Chill-Out!’, Skyy ‘Superlove’, Narada Michael Walden ‘The Real Thang’ are due on UK 12in next week, followed by Firefly ‘Love’, Parliament ‘Agony Of Defeet’ / ‘Tear The Roof Off The Sucker’, Richie Rome ‘Remember Me’ / ‘Deep’ and a Barbara Mason coupling . . . Kool & The Gang’s current 4-track 12in is also available as a gatefold-housed 7in twin-pack — but is still too long to qualify for the new singles chart regulations (which, due to their “one artist only” clause, would debar all John Lennon’s hits featuring Yoko Ono on the flip, Frankie Valli ‘Grease’, Lee Marvin ‘Wand’rin’ Star’, and all the other classics with the misfortune to credit someone else on the B-side!) . . . Showstopper Promotions hold a ‘2001/Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon’ “space” theme alldayer on Easter Bank Holiday Monday April 20th at Southampton Top Rank with the usual mafia team . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) and the Gnomes had special gnome suits tailored just for Caister but were too late for tickets and now beg for a chalet (call 051 – 526 5407), and will even pay over the odds for one . . . TISWAS’s Lenny Henry is making a record (again) – hopefully it won’t be ‘D.I.S.C.O.- K’! . . . Chris Brown’s ‘The Family Album‘ jazz-funk gig picture book has been picked up by W.H. Smith & Son for distribution to all their major branches at a much cheaper £4.95, for which it can be ordered at any of their shops not carrying it in stock . . . Canvey Shades first Wednesday was a blinder by all accounts (and not only because of the custard pies!) – Steve Walsh and friends (likely to be Owen Washington & Alan Jewell) will be there weekly . . . Al Taylor’s Sunday soul club at Rhyl’s Dixieland Showbar also got off to a good start . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn meets Sunday (22) lunchtime in Chesham Gatsbys, Lothian & Fife DJA’s AGM is on Tuesday (24) at 7.30 pm in Edinburgh’s Grange Hotel, Whitehouse Terrace . . . Inversions are getting rave reports for their live appearances . . . Cloud at Mayfair Gullivers last Wednesday played all the jazz hits you know and love – ‘Hunt Up Wind’, ‘Hard Work’, ‘Winelight’ etc – which were nice to hear live even if the youthful white group lacked the polish they are bound to acquire with time . . . Shock, the freaky futurist mime group, are at Gullivers this Friday (20) and next Wednesday (25) . . . Bob Jones has left Chelmsford Dee-Jay’s after eight years but is at Chelmsford Countryman Mondays, with Froggy at Copford Windmill Tuesdays, and Braintree Barn Wednesdays . . . Paul Bannon, recently moved to Sunbury-on-Thames (86124) from Belfast, is looking for London area jazz/funk/soul gigs . . . TWA have cut their package holiday prices to the USA if you book by April 30th, making four days in New York including flights and accommodation just £164 (less than two standby fares on their own!) – are you reading this Froggy? . . . Whitehaven Whitehouse soon start a themed Wednesday “international” night representing with drinks etc, a different country each week, people collecting tickets from all the eight nights then being eligible for a draw to win two weeks for two in sunny Spain (thanx for the drink, Phil!) . . . BRMB’s Nicky Steele acknowledges Edgbaston Faces’ floor response chart as a significant influence on the content of his Saturday night soul show . . . Alan Coulthard (Barry Atlantic Wine Bar), who visited Gullys with Cloud, reckons the public’s lack of interest in newies is only partly due to the depression and more to do with radio’s reluctance to play the sort of disco material that previously would have been automatic chart fodder . . . I certainly can’t understand radio ignoring such as LAX, Fantasy, Skyy, TS Monk, Ned Doheny . . . Whispers ‘It’s A Love Thing’ sounds stronger by the week while we wait for ‘Imagination’ and may have been a better UK singles choice after all – it’s actually getting screams of recognition now (although these may be from Americans!) . . . Shalamar, which last week looked ready for the knacker’s yard, has had an unexpected chart resurgence (how much are you paying ’em, Rowdy?!) . . . Bernard Wright, whose Arista GRP import LP is the week’s hottest entry, turns out to be only 16 years old . . . Robbie Dee, and anyone else who lost it, Island’s mailing list address is Elaine Sutcliffe, Island Records, 22 St Peters Square, London, W6 9NW – give full gig details . . . Graham Gold has an unbelievably good mix from Yarbrough & Peoples into the JB’s ‘Gimme Some More’ (Mojo)! . . . Turkish boffins, as you may have read, have determined that loud disco music makes mice queer and pigs deaf (they don’t mention native New Yorkers.) . . . Tom Amigo (Cardiff M Disco Services) says the Beatles ‘Twist And Shout’ is so much requested it could hit again . . . Marshal King (Sunderland Mayfair Suite / Genevieves) points out that pop dance hits are more popular than disco nowadays, but in the same area Graham Bond (Teesvalley Roadshow) reckons that jazz-funk has finally started going over quite well at all his discos . . . Gordon Lyle, Glasgow-based musical co-ordinator for Scotland’s Unicorn Leisure company, says that as many clubs have to play across-the-board music with a bit of everything (including funk), then this page should review the likes of Spandau Ballet (I did review their first record), Roxy Music and the like. Well Gordon, as you and every other DJ surely knows, the sort of punter that you’re dealing with really only want to dance to the hits and you don’t need me to tell you what they are, you only need to switch on the radio. While on the ether hand soul, jazz, funk (plus the other oddities that I do indeed mention from time to time) have a devoted following yet lack any comparable media coverage – so, by all means keep it varied, but also KEEP IT GOOD!


FUTURE HITS

RUSTY EGAN, not only drummer and tape-loop supplier to Visage, Shock etc but one of the leading DJs of the original fashion-setting Futurist scene, last Saturday organised at London’s Rainbow the biggest New Romanticism event yet, declares that he has now retired from jocking (we’ll have to see if that’s for real!), leaving the scene to its commercialisers. He’s such a generous guy though that he let me rummage around through his record boxes to find out what, for him at least, makes up the required material for Futurist gigs – and the result could come as a surprise! In point of fact, New Romanticism is still sufficiently ill defined for its followers to be unsure of what it is that they ought to like, so that Rusty finds whatever it is he happens to be playing at the time is what people want to buy when they hear it in his shop. Rusty’s record shop, ‘The Cage’ (conveniently next to ‘Axiom’ for stylish clothes) is in the Great Gear Market at 85 Kings Road, Chelsea. First off, he bubbles with enthusiasm about his forthcoming remix of ‘Burundi Black’ (Decca 12in), Visage ‘Mind Of A Toy‘ and Ronny ‘If You Want Me To Stay‘ (both due on Polydor 12in), before launching into THE LIST:

Landscape ‘Einstein A Go Go‘ (RCA 12in), Shock ‘Angel Face‘ (RCA 12in), Space ‘Tender Force‘ (French Vogue 12in), Metro ‘America in My Head’ (German Metronome 12in), Sugar Minott ‘Good Thing Going‘ (Hawkeye 12in), Me & You ‘La La Means I Love You‘ (Castro Brown 12in), The Reddings ‘The Awakening’ (Epic), Rinder Lewis ‘Put Yourself In Alpha’ (US AVI LP), Simple Minds ‘I Travel’ (Arista 12in), Duran Duran ‘Planet Earth’ (EMI), Talking Heads ‘Once In A Lifetime’ (Sire), Tantra ‘Hills Of Katmandu‘ (US Importe LP), Kid Creole & The Coconuts ‘Maladie D’Amour‘ (Island), Was Not Was ‘Wheel Me Out’ (US Antilles 12in), Harry Thumann ‘Underwater’ (Decca 12in), Grace Jones ‘Demolition Man‘ (Island 12in), Giorgio Moroder ‘The Chase‘ (Casablanca 12in), Kraftwerk ‘The Model‘ (Capitol LP, ‘The Man Machine’), Rinder & Lewis ‘Willie And The Hand Jive‘ (US AVI LP), Basement Five ‘1965 To 1980‘ (Island LP), Roxy Music ‘Jealous Guy’ (Polydor), Joy Division ‘Atmosphere’ / ‘She’s Lost Control’ (Factory 12in), Simple Minds ‘Celebrate‘ (Arista LP), Snakefinger ‘The Model‘ (Virgin LP), Depeche Mode ‘Photographic‘ (Mute), Lizzy Mercier Descloux ‘Press Colour‘ (US Ze LP), Shirley Bassey ‘Never Never Never‘ (UA), Doris Day ‘Move Over Darling’ (CBS), Liza Minelli ‘New York New York’ (Soundtrack LP), plus the following albums: Human League ‘Travelogue’ (Virgin), Yellow Magic Orchestra ‘Solid State Survivors’ (A&M), Talking Heads ‘Remain In Light’ (Sire), Telex ‘Looking For St Tropez’ / ‘Eurovision’ (Sire), Ultravox ‘Vienna’ (Chrysalis), John Foxx ‘John Foxx’ (Virgin), Sparks ‘Number One In Heaven’ (Virgin), Gary Glitter ‘Greatest Hits’ (GTO), Roxy Music ‘Viva’ (Polydor), David Bowie ‘Scary Monsters’ / ‘Heroes’ / ‘Low’ (RCA), Ziggy Pop ‘Lust For Life’ / ‘The Idiot’ (RCA), Lou Reed ‘Transformer’ (RCA), Visage ‘Visage’ (Polydor), Ultravox ‘Three Into One’ (Island), Kraftwerk ‘Trans-Europe Express’ (Capitol), Roboterwerke ‘Roboterwerke’ (German CBS), Wolfgang Riechmann ‘Wunderbar’ (German Sky), Love Of Life Orchestra ‘LOLO’ (US Fetish), Contortions ‘Contort Yourself’ (Ze), Don Armando’s 2nd Avenue Rhumba Band ‘2nd Avenue Rhumba Band’ (Ze), Scientist ‘The Best Dub Album In The World‘, Sly & Robbie ‘King’s Dub’. Rusty assumes you’ve already got Spandau Ballet, right? Well there you are, get that little lot and you too can be a Futurist DJ . . . except, as with any type of music, it ain’t what you play it’s the way that you play it which matters most.


IMPORTS

ALPHONSE MOUZON: ‘By All Means’ LP (US P.A.U.S.A. 7087).
Forget his zingy “disco” efforts, the jazz drummer is back on form with a dazzlingly brilliant instrumental set starring Herbie Hancock, Lee Ritenour, the Seawind Horns and a flugelhorn solo from Freddie Hubbard, the doodlingly starting smooth long 114 – 115bpm title track taking a while to become compulsive but then skipping and tripping through a well related series of solos, the more immediate (and my own fave) attractive nagging 99bpm ‘Do I Have To?‘ jogger dually synchs perfectly out of Yarbrough & Peoples while the even prettier 97bpm ‘The Next Time We Love‘ is similar, and ‘The Jogger‘ an intense sombre slow 90bpm jolter. Possibly in short supply at present, this should have wide enough appeal to be huge – it’s certainly the only stand-out in a busy but boring week for new imports.

VARIOUS: ‘Disco Mix’ (US Disco Mix AL-1001).
Don’t wet yourselves with excitement “disco mixer” fans, but here’s another real goodie! Dance-Orientated-Rock rather than soul, it brilliantly if slightly monotonously builds at 113 – 112bpm with some new freaky additions around Queen’s ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, blending into Kraftwerk, Steve Wonder, Genesis, Eagles, Doobie Bros, Timmy Thomas and more mainly instrumental “spot the intro” snippets — even the Stones ‘Honky Tonk Woman’, James Brown ‘Body Heat’, AWB ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ and, you’d better sit down if you’ve a weak heart, is flipped by the full ‘Let’s Do It’ in other words, ‘Bits & Pieces III’! What value! However be warned as there has been a bootleg of the original ‘Bits & Pieces III’ bootleg in circulation that only has the short disco side on both sides, leaving out the longer pop medley. To be safe, get this version. It has black print on white label, ‘Disco Mix’ on Side A, ‘Let’s Do It’ on Side B.

STARS ON 45: ‘Stars On 45’ (Dutch CNR 151.028).
“Legitimate” (depending on your viewpoint) Euro version of ‘Bits & Pieces III’, this 124bpm 12in recreation has been recorded with heavily accented singers as a bland medley instead of “mixing” the original hit snippets in bootleg style, and consequently sounds merely jolly like so many other Continental medleys even though it slavishly copies (in one continuous take) just about every detail.

QUINCY JONES: ‘Ai No Corrida’ (US A&M 2309-S).
So, all of you who ignored Chas Jankel’s happy skipper, the laugh’s on you. Quincy has added some twiddles and a short violent break on 123bpm 7in (ahead of his album) yet retains so much of the radio-plugged original’s flavour that this got my floor going while the punters were just beginning to arrive.  Continue reading “February 21, 1981: Rusty Egan’s record boxes – “get that little lot and you too can be a Futurist DJ””

February 14, 1981: Sharon Redd, Firefly, Barbara Mason, Marvin Gaye, T.S. Monk

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

SISTER SLEDGE’S Narada Michael Walden-produced new LP should be due this week . . . Tom Browne’s single has officially been flipped . . . Kool & The Gang’s 4-track 12in at over 21 minutes total playing time presumably now will not qualify for the singles chart . . . ConFunkShun’s ‘Play Widit’ flip, minus brassy intro, mixes basses beautifully out of Whispers ‘Imagination’ . . . Manu Dibango’s rare acetate remix of ‘Goro City‘ at 128 – 130 – 129 – 130bpm is dynamite out of ‘Southern Freeez’ percussion and was my biggest record at Gullivers last weekend . . . Lenny White’s ‘Fancy Dancer’ promo remix is 114 (intro) – 116 – 118 – 119 – 118bpm with lots of great bass breaks, and Hot Cuisine’s ‘All Fired Up’ remix is now 123 – 122bpm . . . Blondie ‘Call Me’ sung in Spanish (retitled ‘Llamame’) with instrumental flip is on US Salsoul 12in (SG 341) . . . Imagination’s much mucked-about but now finally finished ‘It’s Got To Be Good’ will introduce Excaliber’s new UK product label, R&B . . . Morgan Khan-type US whizz kid Ray Caviano’s RFC label has been dropped by its Warner Bros backers, but looks like moving within WEA to Atlantic, whereupon its new Change album will be released . . . Cecil Parker, William DeVaughn & Captain Sky move from TEC to WMOT following the two labels’ merger in the States – but how will this affect their different outlets here? . . . EMI in fact are now doing a commercial 12in of Cecil Parker’s ‘What It Is’, which didn’t exactly explode on promo 12in, the LP’s ‘Get On Up‘ being far hotter and surely a better bet . . . Gonzalez last week at Gullivers really cooked when they hit those charanga rhythms, little Linda Taylor sounding soulful and George Chandler wailing on ‘Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get’, before Clem Curtis and a show-stopping Bill Fredericks joined in for ‘Cloud Nine’ – what a night! . . . Gonzalez attracted such seldom seen celebrities as Freddie ‘Mr Superbad’ Mack and Johnny ‘Coca Cola, orange drinks, hamburgers, hot dogs on the right hand side’ Gunnell . . . Mayfair Gullivers has in fact opened up its downstairs disco into one large dancefloor for hard dancing sloppy dressers, keeping upstairs with tables for smarter boozers . . . Soho Le Beat Route found the switch from Wally fodder to jazz-funk too drastic for their regular punters even though the jazzateers liked it, so for the time being I’m back at Gullivers with Graham Gold on Saturdays as well as Fridays . . . Robbie Vincent is dead chuffed that his Radio London soul show on Saturday mornings goes stereo this week, but says he won’t be playing Eddie Russ even though he did buy it in Florida . . . Northampton’s jingle machine-making SIS have diversified into disco lighting with a budget priced 3 channel lighting controller and a range of light fittings which look neat and tidy, from simple spots to a six foot “flying saucer” with 24 downlighters . . . Dublin’s Dolphin Discs in Talbot Street is recommended by Bernie Lyons as the local DJs’ favourite source of new product and British Imports . . . Johnny Diamond and some other Brighton jocks have formed a new Brighton Disc Jockey Club whose modest aims are mainly to meet socially for self-help on the first Monday of each month, details it appears from H&R Cloakes record shop in Churchill Square . . . BDJC member Paul Clark (Brighton 698699) promises a coachload or two of jazz-loving supporters in return for any guest spots offered to him on Saturdays . . . Larry Foster (Ilford Room At The Top) hopes to get to Caister and challenge all the tribes to a dancing contest, and to out-dance them all – oh yeah, you and whose army?! . . . Swindon Bo Jangles kept its late licence thanks to the funkateer turnout . . . UK radio played the Reddings because of their Otis connection, so why not TS Monk with their similar Thelonious relationship? . . . Kool & The Gang ‘Celebration’ has hit number one in the US charts . . . Barbra Streisand’s latest singing partner for a future single is – Stevie Wonder! . . . Rob Harknett (Harlow) nominates Kim Cordell ‘We’re Having A Gang Bang‘ (Look) as the new World’s Worst Record . . . Alan Taylor (Rothesay Paddle Boat) defends Tata Vega ‘You Keep Me Hanging On‘ as being an instant chart-topper with his Scottish punters – which just about sums it up . . . Russ Burcham (Rayleigh Crocs Bluenote Club) is another Essex jock on Groove Holmes ‘Let’s Groove‘ (Manhattan LP) . . . Chris Hill & I will be heading once more for Whitehaven’s Whitehouse on Wednesday March 11th . . . lan Turner (Colwyn Bay) asks whatever happened to disco pluggers Nicky Sands and Captaine Yvonne Marvill – whatever indeed? . . . Dolly Parton, by far the star of the movie, is gorgeous in ‘9 to 5’ and not at all like the Barbara Windsor that RCA’s current publicity pix suggest . . . Blackpool’s expatriate slimmer, now reputedly mixing in London’s gay heaven, turns out to have been responsible for a certain piece of vinyl . . . I am sorry but I do not intend listening to ‘Get Up And Boogie 1980’ ever again . . . KEEP IT GOOD!


SHARON REDD started out, somewhat surprisingly, as one of Bette Midler’s early Harlettes, before leaving the trio to go solo and co-writing ‘Free’ for Deniece Williams. Her relationship to veteran soul arranger/producer Gene Redd is still uncertain, although it’s no secret that her smash import LP (due here in April) comes from the team of Willie Lester & Rodney Brown who brought us Bobby Thurston and Gayle Adams. More importantly, the LP’s out and out winner is now out here on 12in, ‘Can You Handle It’. Well Kanu?


IMPORTS

FIREFLY: ‘Love (Is Gonna Be On Your Side)’ (US Emergency EMDS 6515).
Smash-bound exciting powerful ‘Good Times’-structured 113 – 112bpm 12in thudder with great simple ingredients hitting a bass bumped groove before filling out for male Euro-vocals and then dropping out into a guitar scratched long break that then builds back up – try synching between KID ‘Don’t Stop’ and out of the break into ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’!

BARBARA MASON: ‘A Piece Of My Life’ LP (US WMOT JW37060).
The distinctively voiced ‘Yes I’m Ready’ lass returns, more mature but lovely as ever, with what must rank even now as one of the year’s best soul smooch sets absolutely bursting with superb slowies, including a 25bpm remake of her 1965 classic, some being sexy like the perfect fit lyrics of the 33bpm ‘All Inside Of Me‘ and 38/76bpm ‘You Did Not Stay Last Night‘, while all are so good that you’ll have to choose also from the 34 – 35bpm ‘Love Having You Around’, 17 – 34bpm ‘So In Love With You’. 0 – 32 – 33bpm ‘I’ll Never Love The Same Way Twice’, 39 – 40bpm ‘Playing With My Feelings’, 45/89bpm ‘You Know Who I Love’, 89 – 91bpm ‘On And Off’, and token 112bpm ‘Let Me Give You Love’. Just put it on and melt!

BERNARD WRIGHT: ‘Bread Sandwiches’ (LP ‘Nard’ US Arista GRP 5011).
Keyboardist’s strong varied jazz-cum-funk set with ballsy bass by Marcus Miller, this Rodney Franklin-type intense 116 – 119 – 116bpm piano instrumental (good before Young & Co ‘Strut Your Stuff’) working really well so far, although contenders are the bass thumped chattering sparse jiggly 116 (intro) – 118 – 119 – 120bpm ‘Just Chillin’ Out‘ smacker, smacking chunky 114bpm ‘Master Rocker‘ rumbler, P’funky 94 – 96 – 98 – 100bpm ‘Haboglabotribin‘ with goblin voices and ice cream van chimes, ‘Firebolt Hustle’ being a convoluted fast 0 – 122 – 124bpm jazz racer. ‘Spinnin’ an ultra-jittery specialist 110 – 111 – 113bpm snapper, ‘Music Is The Key’ a lush 42 – 43bpm smoocher, ‘We’re Just The Band’, a 119bpm funky fragment, and ‘Solar’ a straight Miles Davis jazz slowie.  Continue reading “February 14, 1981: Sharon Redd, Firefly, Barbara Mason, Marvin Gaye, T.S. Monk”

February 7, 1981: “A mixture of white rock and Wally pop can hardly fail with fashion–jumping posers, can it?”

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

HOT CUISINE ‘All Fired Up’ due to DJ demand will be re-released on newly lengthened 12in remix as the double A-side, so check which version you’re buying . . . Lenny White ‘Fancy Dancer’ finally made into a proper record at last, is circulating in an extended version as flip to a white label 12in promo of Kleeer ‘Get Tough’ . . . K.I.D. ‘Don’t Stop’ new catalogue number is 12EMI 5143 . . . ConFunkShun ‘Too Tight’ was originally only serviced on one-sided white label 12in, concealing the fact that its ‘Play Widit‘ flip is a far superior choppily starting brassy 123 (intro) – 121 – 123bpm instrumental bass bumper . . . Gene Dunlap, with a 3-track UK 12in of ‘Love Dancin’ / ‘It’s Just The Way I Feel’ / ‘Surest Things Can Change’ due imminently, used to play with Roy Ayers amongst others, so his ‘Running Away’ similarity ain’t so surprising, while his LP’s liner notes have indeed made a cock-up of the fact that Earl Klugh is on guitar . . . Jacksons ‘Can You Feel It’ plus the LAX LP and a Bob James newie should be due from CBS next week . . . WMOT and TEC have merged in the States . . . Champagne’s latest acquisition is Sylvia Striplin ‘Give Me Your Love’, which will explain its future chart progress . . . James Brown’s follow-up will not be the obvious ‘Funky Men’, but ‘Stay With Me’ instead . . . Manu Dibango has a white label 12in floating about . . . Showstoppers’ Caister ’81 over the first weekend in April has already sold out . . . Colin Day (Luxembourg Royal Bugatti), who remembers with me the day when soul music was soulful, reports that club regulars Ottawan have a new 12in ‘Haut Les Mains (Hands Up)’ as awful/good as the other two! . . . Al Taylor of St Asaph Stables fame starts a new Sunday Soul Club this weekend at Rhyl’s Dixieland Showbar with good music, free admission, pub booze ‘n’ food from 8-11.30pm . . . Honey Bee Benson, when not taking her new improved roadshow around the country, is at Gloucester’s plush Arabellas on Tues/Wed/Thursdays . . . Andy St John (02013 – 71972), who makes reasonably priced and customised disco jingles, is looking for jazz-funk/soul club gigs following the closure of Bournemouth’s Stateside Center (which I must say comes as a shock) . . . Stevie Allan, no longer packing thousands into Liverpool Rotters as he’s at Oscars instead now, needs bookings anywhere in the UK (051 426 2069) . . . Des A (Birkenhead NFR) sez Merseyside’s buzzing about new jazz-funk band Sutch ‘N’ Sutch . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) finds that duck-calls make more noise than kazoos when used with Skyy ‘No Music’, while meanwhile Chris Hill has picked up on Gary’s recommendation of Roger Squire’s electronic syndrum, finding though that a dull-thud setting is great for running through vari-synch segues to add to the mix and the actual syndrum, “ping” is dynamite with “echo” . . . Canvey Goldmine’s suntanned Stan Barrett is a year older on Monday . . . Robbie Vincent caught up with a box load of jazz oldies in Florida, so now he too can play Eddie Ross . . . BMRB’s singles chart (the Top 75 most used by the music business) will now only include records with a trade price between 50p and £1.25 (ex VAT), with no more than four tracks, one featured artist, and 15 minutes maximum playing time – which will obviously affect some disco releases (Sugarhill’s ‘Rapper’ 12in to name but one) . . . Peter Young’s ‘Capital Countdown’ on Saturday mornings at 9am is compulsive listening for anyone interested in what’s actually selling in London, the first hour containing as well Peter’s intelligent section of hot newies, many of ’em jazzy/soulful . . . ‘TISWAS!’ then makes it difficult for me to sleep on Saturdays until the afternoon! . . . Hiroshima may play up their Japanese angle but are merely third generation Japanese-Americans from Los Angeles, founder Dan Kuramoto’s wife June Okida Kuramoto being the only member actually born in Japan, and an expert on the classical koto – but can she suck a large one? . . . Chris Dinnis (Exeter Boxes), by all accounts a nice lad, now resents my trying to get people to take him seriously . . . George Power & Andy Hunter say “hi” – or, more appropriately, “lo!” – to Sugar Shack (drop ’em Chris!) . . . John Grant (Manchester) says a chop between synths at end of Casiopea ‘Eyes Of Mind’ into Whispers ‘It’s A Love Thing’ is very effective, Kev Hill (Basildon Sweeneys) recommends Disco Dub Band ‘For The Love Of Money’ oldie out of Funk Masters, while Alan Coulthard (Barry Atlantic Wine Bar) revives Frantique ‘Strut Your Funky Stuff’ out of Fantasy, and joins many others running Sharon Redd through Blondie’s break . . . Chart File readers note, the Anglos ‘Incense’ was not by Stevie Wonder but by Jimmy Miller, before he became an Island producer . . . Robbie Collins (Ilford Room At The Top) suggests a new name for Futurist could be “Hi-Tech” – which of course you hear in a Hi-Tech Disco-Tech (we’ll let you know!) . . . Alan Donald (Rothesay Paddle Boat) suggests, “CHIP”, Chart for Hip Intellectual People – he obviously hasn’t seen the Futurist fans who used to hang out in the Rock Garden! . . . Divyen Shah (Harrow) likes pop music, and that’s all right . . . Martin Platts (Blackburn) maybe doesn’t realise his anagram is Stalin M Pratt! . . . John Mayoh (Thornton Illawalla Country Club) has along with many others noticed a sudden widespread taste for oldies amongst punters, making new product difficult to break – is this because of the recession keeping people at home more, or what? . . . I’d welcome your views on this, but in the meantime do your best to KEEP IT GOOD!


RAY CARLESS, Jamaica-born but British bred since the early ’60s, has been blowing tenor sax for years with a variety of musical acts, fronting his own reggae/funk Zami in the mid-’70s and then touring Europe with Afro-jazz/rock Boombaye before backing such as Hi-Tension, Jimmy Lindsay, Central Line and Black Slate (‘Amigo’) on record. Now his jazz preference has been given free reign on ‘Tarantula Walk’, due on Ensign 12in in a fortnight but circulating on promo already, featuring his sinuously strung out honking sax line over a bass-bumbled loping 118 – 119 – 120 – 121bpm thud beat. Ray may be Carless but he sure ain’t clueless (ouch – sorry, ‘baht that)!


IMPORTS

KLEEER: ‘Get Tough’ (LP ‘License To Dream’ US Atlantic SD 19288).
The base-pushed group now features some good looking chicks too, this dynamite rattling-introed sparse and steadily progressing 116 – 118 – 120 – 121 (bass on) bpm jittery driver having great piano breaks and a John Wayne impersonator, exploding over the weekend for all who used it (try mixing out of Young & Co ‘I Like’ for starters!). Far and away THE track, it’s infinitely better than the freakily introed 116 – 118bpm ‘De Kleeer Ting‘ and 124 – 126bpm ‘Running Back To You‘, although the gentle 101bpm swaying ‘Sippin’ & Kissin‘ is pretty.

Apart from a Frank Hooper LP containing a remix of ‘This Feelin’ and an evidently undistinguished RJ’s Latest Arrival 12in, there wasn’t much else about on import last week.


UK NEWIES

T.S. MONK: ‘Bon Bon Vie’ (Mirage K11653T).
Unexpectedly, out of the blue, good sense has prevailed and although ‘Candidate For Love‘ is already pressed it’s been shelved temporarily in place of this fabulous jauntily chugging sleazy singalong 109bpm catchy tripper, due on 12in, huge on import and a far more commercial hit-bound bet as it’s much requested already.

JOE SAMPLE: ‘Burnin’ Up The Carnival’ (MCA MCAT 571).
Brazilian flavoured exotic chix-sung throbbing and thrumming 107 – 109 – 108 – 109 – (incl break) – 0bpm jaunty skipper, with long piano passages, now remixed for 12in but not necessarily better than the LP version, may be rhythmically complex for general disco punters although of course anyone with an ear will love it.  Continue reading “February 7, 1981: “A mixture of white rock and Wally pop can hardly fail with fashion–jumping posers, can it?””