March 17, 1984: Kenny G, Dennis Edwards, Paul Hardcastle, Cloud One, Bobby Womack


MARK BERRY, New York associate of Arthur Baker & John Robie, has alone been producing Freeez — in Farnham, of all funky places! — now thankfully without the unconvincing vocals of John Rocca . . . Phil Fearon & Galaxy has an extended Latin ‘Carnival Remix‘ coming soon, the dub flip including bits of ‘Dancing Tight’! . . . Alan Coulthard no less was responsible for the brilliant Dayton remix, due commercially this week and indeed Lefturno’s remix, plus Crusaders/Joe Sample/Wilton Felder medley on the Crusaders imminent new B-side (what a busy little megamixer he is!) . . . Froggy has strung together a medley of Jeffrey Osborne oldies for the flip of his UK remix of ‘Plane Love’, but as I personally love the long intro of the beefier US remix and its powerful dub flip I’ll be sticking with my import . . . Miquel Brown confesses that the pacemaker keeping her heart ticking is tuned with a magnet to the right BPM — not 129, I hope! . . . Skyline Radio’s Saturday Hi-NRG show now uses the Record Mirror chart as Radio One let Record Shack’s pluggers know that there was disapproval of the shop/label’s sponsorship of the original format . . . Skyline’s Kent-based soul sister Radio Atlantis, soon to go seven days a week, needs presenters and in particular a good mixing DJ — send demo tapes to Chris Ryder at 3 Horsley Drive, New Addington, Croydon CR0 0QW . . . JFM 102.8FM as suspected is only every afternoon/evening, and all day weekends . . . Carl Kingston has forsaken a life on the ocean wave for job nearer home, on BBC Radio Humberside, starting week nights 6-7pm early April, and is also at Hull’s Bali Hai Fridays mainly . . . Lee Taylor, sharing Hi-NRG Mondays at London’s Hippodrome with Colin Holsgrove, is still after fair haired mixing showmen for prestige foreign work on 01-385 4345 . . . London’s newly voted fave gay DJ, Norman Scott so impressed ’em at Busby’s in Charing Cross Road that he’s doing the oldies night there every Wednesday now . . . Friday (16) Capital’s soul seller Peter Young plays his ’60s oldies again at Chadwell Heath’s Regency Suite (don’t shout in his ear, OK?!), while Eddie Gee, Steve Edwards & Ranking Jonathan dub ‘n funk Loughborough University campus’ Edward Herbert Building in the Charnwood Room (60p including wine!), the same venue as Eddie Gee’s afro night next Wednesday (21) . . . Saturday (17) Chris Kaye funks ‘n reggaes Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall (his agent for bookings is on 0892-46014), while Dave Rawlings looks for ‘Miss Wonderful Wiggle’ at Basingstoke Martine’s . . . Sunday (18) Steve Dennis “anchors” the Birmingham Powerhouse alldayer . . . One Blood have the strong catchy ‘Get In Touch With Me‘ 92bpm soul-reggae jogger on Ensign promo ahead of release . . . Damaris’ UK 12in B-side as well as the instrumental has the dead slow ‘Hooray For Love’ from her lovely but down-tempo Dionne Warwick-like import LP — other import albums with slowies being the best tracks are by D Train (only the c.120bpm ‘I’ll Do Anything‘ being brightly typical), Tyrone Brunson, and the Roger-produced The Human Body . . . US based Evan Rovers turns out to be Italian, yet was briefly with Dayton, sang lead on Heatwave’s most recent UK tour, and called himself Otis Liggett when covering ‘Every Breath You Take’! . . . ‘Lou Grant’ is back, while Channel 4 have finally seen the light and are about to re-screen the incomparable ‘Hill Street Blues’ from episode one! . . . Boy George and Helen Terry’s new video togs were designed by Capital DJ John Sachs’ mum (his dad’s most famous role was in ‘Fawlty Towers’) — I’ve heard of the Emmanuelles, but Mrs Manuel??? . . . I and I say Rodigan the conqueror! . . . Sunday’s Hippodrome high jinks kept me from my typewriter, so no time for more gossip . . . STAY FRESH!


LAST SUNDAY saw Steve Dennis bring his DJ Convention south to join the Disco Mix Club’s first anniversary celebration in a double boomer bash at Peter Stringfellow’s Hippodrome in the heart of London . . . and of course the venue was the big attraction for many of the 1000 who attended. Over-dark for much of the time, so you couldn’t see who in fact was there, the Hippodrome came into its own when the fantastic lazer and lights were demonstrated. This was what they wanted! Other than that there were few blindingly brilliant individual moments during the event but the whole thing added up to a jolly nice day out, most useful as always for meeting or re-meeting the faces behind the names that many of us know so well. Of the mixing demonstrations, Sweden’s Sanny Xenokottas amazed everyone by looking for the perfect beat using scratching and especially a digital delay box of electronic tricks, culminated in ‘The Message’ played at 45rpm instead of 33 1/3rpm (it worked!) and a sudden chop into Slade’s slow ‘My Oh My’. Brilliant. Street credibility did materialise as well, thank goodness, as Whodini were a late addition to the bill, and, although the decks were too bouncily sprung for flawless scratching, Grandmaster D demonstrated his cutting technique not only one-handed but with his mouth on the record too! This hopefully shook up a few jocks! The actual disc jockey competition was disappointingly patchy (as a judge I can repeat that some contestants were scoring straight noughts from many on the panel), being won by Mick McGinley who must be a wow at wedding gigs in South Yorkshire, while the questions set by Phil Swearn & Patrick Isherwood for the Pop Quiz were gratifyingly tough (Radio’s Paul Gambaccini, Stuart Coleman & Janice Long won). Of the one forum I caught, outstanding speakers were Capital’s Tony Hale (I’m not crawling!) and the very witty Tony Blackburn, who everyone agreed would make a great after-dinner speaker. Professionally run by Steve Dennis and the DMC’s Tony Prince for professional people (the comparatively high £15 entrance kept out the cowboys, and included an incredibly good buffet feed!), this show wasn’t without its minor hiccups, yet has to have been the best of its type certainly ever held in this country, if not the world. Yes, a nice day out!


KENNY G: ‘Hi, How Ya Doin’ (LP ‘G Force’ Arista 206 168)
Tootin’ ‘n flutin’ Kenny Gorelick has been huge here for ages with this ultra catchy acappella-introed Barry Johnson-sung jiggly 113bpm shuffler, which like the rest of the set is driven by synthesised rhythms influenced by executive producer Kashif, the only other less good vocal being the 115bpm ‘Do Me Right‘ while the 0-117½bpm ‘I’ve Been Missin’ You‘, 106bpm ‘Help Yourself To My Love‘, 107bpm ‘Tribeca‘, 107bpm title track and 116bpm ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ jazz-funk instrumentals are all proven as hot to trot.

DENNIS EDWARDS featuring Siedah Garrett: ‘Don’t Look Any Further’ (Gordy TMGT 1334)
Extended for UK 12in (so now the intro’s useful “drum-tapping” mixing cue comes twice), this incredibly soulful 95bpm semi-smooch slow grinding groove has been a monster ever since the gruff voiced ex-Temptation’s solo LP arrived on import, from which evidently the smoothly thrumming unemphatic 115bpm ‘I Thought I Could Handle It‘ is flip.

PAUL HARDCASTLE: ‘You’re The One For Me/Daybreak/AM’ (Total Control Records TOCO 1, via 01-724 1559)
Recorded in his front room (with 2 year-old niece burbling at beginning and end!) by First Light’s now solo keyboardist for the label he and old school chum London DJ Steve Walsh have jointly started, this excellent 0-117-0bpm medley of D Train’s oldie with Paul’s own two best First Light tunes has literally exploded overnight selling all the initial pressing. Elf-like Kevin Henry sings ‘n scats a bit, while using two copies for terrific effect the instrumental flip can be synched to produce an amazing phase! Continue reading “March 17, 1984: Kenny G, Dennis Edwards, Paul Hardcastle, Cloud One, Bobby Womack”

March 10, 1984: Cameo, J. Blackfoot, Chi-lites, Matsubara, Dezign


RECORD MIRROR’S recent reader survey reveals the fantastic fact that 16 per cent are DJs — people have always assumed that many of the paper’s sales ware due to DJs but the actual statistic is amazingly high (on current sales there are probably more jocks buying RM than anyone buying other specialist black papers), which maybe all those funny little record companies who don’t get their records to me would do well to note! . . . I’ve decided to drop the unnecessary qualification “12in” from reviews and general editorial mentions when no clarification is needed, instead emphasizing just 7in and LP configurations, as let’s face it for many years everything has been in 12in . . . Disco Mix Club’s DJ convention/birthday party at London’s Hippodrome this Sunday between 6 and 7.30pm features mixing demonstrations by Alan Coulthard, Peat Romer, Les Adams, Sweden’s Sanny Xenokottas, Ian Levine & Les Cokell live (Greg Wilson on tape?), but — good though doubtless these are — there are no Americans and not even the Mastermind Roadshow to lend street credibility . . . Alan Coulthard is back on form with all three current DMC megamixes (Thompson Twins medley/Hi-NRG/pop floorfillers), the relative simplicity of which must help at floor level . . . Kev Roberts is adding Hi-NRG jox to the Electricity label’s mailing list at High Energy Records, 62 Rowley Street, Stafford . . . Carrere are putting out the much-sought Front Page ‘Love Insurance‘ (Sharon Redd was uncredited singer), and Fantastique ‘Mama Told Me‘ . . . Lefturno is indeed now finally in a new 114bpm UK remix, on promo at least, restructured with chunks of instrumental making it different— but an improvement, or necessary? . . . Dennis Edwards ‘Don’t Look Any Further’ is due next week in extended new form on 12in here (already promoed) — it’s a perfect synch out of David Joseph ‘Joys Of Life’ as many have already discovered . . . Greyhound picked up Kerr, Island landed Malcolm X and the Warp 9 material, Malaco are releasing Main Line’s “Rockwell/Jackson” remake medley, while various PRT labels have Zena Dejonay, Inner Life (remix), Vicki Sue Robinson . . . Mimi’s Boys Town hit is being beefed up for a “totally intensified” version to replace exhausted current stock . . . Madonna’s US newie is the Jellybean remixed/revamped ‘Borderline’, but here we get a re-release of the less appealing 0-117bpm ‘Lucky Star’ (Sire W 9522T), about which there has been talk of speeding it up to make it brighter on subsequent pressings . . . Rockwell is America’s top Black single while Michael Jackson alone returns (replacing Lionel Richie at last) as top Black LP, and Tina Turner ‘Let’s Stay Together’ is top Dance/Disco hit . . . ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic — you may remember me raving about his Queen send-up ‘Another One Rides The Bus‘ — has shot into the US charts with a Michael Jackson poking ‘Eat it‘ . . . Disco Dave Singleton (Newton-Le-Willows 6018), whose third big screen video venture residency is on Thurs-Sat at Wigan’s Balcony Inn, has three video disco units for sale at £1,000 each (hang on, maybe he’s stopped gigging, then?!) . . . Alan James Jewell, labouring away under appalling conditions at the Hollywood Boulevard in Hong Kong’s Hotel Regal Meridien, has to make do with the club’s own video studio in which to segue his own mixed video compilations every week — yeah, life’s tough in the colonies! . . . London’s JFM radio is reputedly back on 102.8FM seven days/24 hours, Richard Searling’s no-electro/hard funk Soul Sauce show has moved to 3-5pm Sunday on Preston’s Red Rose 301 Radio, while Friday evening 8-10pm on Radio London has Malcolm Laycock joined near the end by Gary James for hilarious bitchy boys talk — quite an ear opener when I caught it last week! . . . Skyline Radio is of course on 103.6FM, Paula Moore ‘Valparaiso’ is c.117-118bpm, Jeffrey Daniel ‘AC/DC’ is in 7/8ths time . . . Howard Hewett has now been joined in the new Shalamar line-up by Prince-look-alike heavy metal guitarist Mickey Free, special talent contest winner Delisa Davis, and (on stage only) break dancer Flip . . . ‘DC Cab’, a ‘Car Wash’ follow-up by the same writer/director Joel Schumacher, is in cinemas here as ‘Street Fleet’ . . . Capital Radio’s John Sachs is compere at heat 2 of Mayfair Gullivers ‘Miss Gullivers’ Thursday (8) while colleague Phil Allen funks Dartford Flicks Friday (9), Skyline’s Chris Ryder funking Tottenham Elton’s every Fri (star PAs)/Sat . . . Saturday (10) Paul Schofield & Simon Walsh have their “second Saturday every month” jazz-funk oldies night at Bradford’s Time & Place, while Helen Shapiro is at Stratford E15’s Pigeons with the boys . . . Norman Scott is back approx once a month on Wednesdays at London Busby’s Wednesday pop oldies night (entrance and all drinks 50p) . . . Andy Bianchi Saturday afternoons 1-5pm at Poole’s Mariner’s Wharf is now “holding Under 18s” (lucky devil, can I watch?!) . . . Dave Thomas souls Shrewsbury’s Oak Hotel Sundays, only 50p and hot toons . . . Colin Curtis and harbourmaster John Grant reunite appropriately at Legends in Manchester on Monday (12) for a special one-off “Rafters revival” . . . Pete ‘Pedro’ Tong joins Nicky Holloway the same night at Bermondsey Dockhead’s no less legendary Swan & Sugarloaf, while weekly Mondays Dave Rawlings lets ladies in free before 11pm at Kensington’s The Park (that old ploy!) . . . Theo Loyla has returned on Tuesdays to his old stomping ground, the Bridge Country Club near Canterbury in Bridge (my own childhood area) . . . I did one of my mobile gigs Saturday night, a 21st, as usual ending after seven hours continuous music at 6.15am in broad daylight, with the guests that were left using the marquee roof above my head as a toboggan run! . . . Derek Lawrence (Soho Bananas Mon/Chertsey Galleon Sun/Burnham Beeches Anne Boleyn Fri/Staines Angel Sat) finally identified that mystery ‘IOU’ mastermix as on the Dutch ‘High Fashion Music 3’ LP . . . STAY FRESH!


CAMEO: ‘She’s Strange’ (LP ‘She’s Strange’ Dutch Casablanca 814984-1)
Selling on US 7in for several weeks but now in full length glory, this terrific subtle sinuous slow 109bpm soul swayer swaps lead vocal styles as the guys gently enthuse about one foxy chick over a delicately jittery rhythm containing simple little twiddles and chords — however hang on, as the set’s other goodie, the jogging 98¼bpm ‘Groove With You‘, will be joining it here on 12in in a fortnight (white labels are already about). Perhaps not coincidentally, Fatback’s ‘Is This The Future?’ synchs sensationally!

J. BLACKFOOT: ‘Taxi’ (Allegiance/Sound Town ALES 122)
Huge Stateside, where already there’s an answering Anne LeSear ‘Take Him Back (Taxi)‘ on HCRC, the Memphis-made 66bpm smooch smash sets the scene with ex-Soul Children leader John ‘Blackfoot’ Colbert hailing a taxi to take him to the other side of town, and us on a soul-drenched nostalgia ride along with him (old style swinging message 121bpm ‘Where Is Love‘/autobiographical bluesy 70bpm ‘Can You Hang‘ flip). Dynamite.

THE CHI-LITES: ‘Stop What You’re Doin’ (US Private I Records 4Z9 04962)
Another year, another label, another soul goodie from Eugene Record (written by various Bayyans/Harrises), an uptempo licketty spit 121bpm smacker with the guys usual sharp vocalese snappin’ back at ya, the breezy beat slotting it in with Luther Vandross currently (inst flip). Continue reading “March 10, 1984: Cameo, J. Blackfoot, Chi-lites, Matsubara, Dezign”

March 3, 1984: Phil Fearon & Galaxy, Ronnie McNeir Experience, Funkmasters, Tout Sweet, West Phillips


CBS RECORDS’ club promotion department has been suspended, Steve Ripley moving up to join Loraine Trent in the marketing, so (for a while anyway) don’t expect anything in the mail . . . I wonder whether CBS will suddenly find March releases (by Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Shalamar, Patti LaBelle, The Jacksons) selling better than usual as all the DJs buy them? — this has been Morgan Khan’s experience since stopping his Streetwave mailing list . . . Total Experience (home of the Gap Band) is another label moving here to RCA . . . MCA picked up Charles Earland (too late?), while surprisingly Malcolm X is up for grabs here . . . Lionel Richie follows with ‘Hello’ flipped on 12in by the instrumentals of ‘All Night Long’ and ‘Running With The Night’ . . . Jive, desperate to sell anything by Whodini, now have a ‘5-Track EP‘ 12in (JIVE T61) of predictable stuff . . . The Academy is on RCA, not Virgin (as misinformed by Rush Release) . . . George Kranz has been ruined by yet another UK-only remix, but Cyndi Lauper in a marathon scratch version remixed by Arthur Baker could be interesting on imminent import 12in . . . Gary Crowley is running his own GLOBE & Whiz Kid-inspired megamix competition on his Saturday evening Magic Box show — send cassettes (sae for return) to him at Capital Radio, PO Box 194, London NW1 3DR . . . Mastermind have their own far superior remix of Shannon ‘Let The Music Play’ with barking cut in on the beat (off Man Parrish?), and on Radio Invicta last Wednesday night Herbie kicked off the hip hop mixes early, just after midnight, while later Max (hi to you too!) played an incredible long tape of the whole roadshow in impressive scratching live gig action, plus some solo mixes of his own — the best Dave could manage were some off-air KISS-fm remix medleys, but all are worth Londoners staying awake midnight-6am Thursdays (Friday morning Trevor Jay OD’s on slow deep soul), in clear mono 103.5FM (though you may need to switch your AFC to “off”) . . . Skyline’s Friday breakfast jock is Oscar J. Jennings, who presumably forgot his real name en route from St Martin’s Lane? . . . Peter Anthony (London Stringfellows), a regular breakfast companion at Mayfair’s Rockafellas, joined me in commiserating with Jeffrey Daniel over his somewhat inappropriate solo debut the 50½bpm ‘AC/DC‘ from his starring role (on roller skates) in the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Richard Stilgoe musical ‘Starlight Express’ — neither disco nor particularly pop, it’s in 7ths time but may be a brave new move . . . Miquel Brown on the Tube’s Hi-NRG special may not have sparkled, but she’d just had a pacemaker fitted to her heart following her car crash, and was straight our of hospital . . . British Airways cabin crew strike stopped Ian Levine reaching Newcastle for the broadcast — his flawlessly exciting mixes on ‘Street Sounds Hi-Energy‘, and those of Mastermind on ‘Street Sounds Crucial Electro‘, put other better ballyhooed efforts in the shade — and point up the stupidity of trying to mix incompatible material purely as a marketing ploy . . . Greg Wilson evidently under-ran his given timing on ‘Dance Mix — Dance Hits III‘, so someone else just tacked on the last track each side . . . ‘Street Sounds Edition 8‘ has Kenny G ‘Hi’ and Luther Vandross ‘I Wanted Your Love’, amongst others, already! . . . Thursday (1) Break Machine & Second Image join John ‘Nick’ Osborne at Rayleigh’s Pink Toothbrush (seriously?), Edwin Starr stars at Haringey Bolts Motown night Cleveland Anderson funks Kensington Cromwell Road’s Le Club Cabana weekly (where there’s lotsa girls but few guys — presumably they’re all in Haringey!) and Steel City G funks from James Brown thru Paz to Afrika Bambaataa weekly at Sheffield Mona Lisa’s The Hothouse . . . Gary Crowley & Steve ‘200 MPH’ Lewis do Southgate Pink Elephant on Fridays now with star PAs — this week Animal Nightlife & The Questions (get there early) . . . Chris Hill is this Friday’s guest at Dartford Flicks, where young Dave Williams is the Tuesday Teen Scene’s new host . . . New Blackbeat’s Steve Guarnori & Tony Stevens start a weekly 60s/70s soul afficionados night at Peterborough city centre’s Grapevine pub this Saturday (3), when Chris Sharpe & Clive Anthony anticipate mucho breaking at Drayton (Derby) Tudor Court’s 1984 ‘Richard’ Disco Dancing final, Kev Ashman funks an MCA-promoting “white” night (£1 discount if you wear white) at Charing King Arthur’s Court, Trevor ‘Redeye’ Hughes starts at Telford’s revamped (and re-named?) Town House . . . Mastermind Roadshow are in full scratching force at Birmingham Dale End’s Hummingbird alldayer on Sunday (4), along with Paz live and a break dancing exhibition by national crews . . . Chadwell Heath’s Regency Suite becomes the hip hopping Dodge Club with Spence, Deblus, Ralph & Debbie funking with fluorescent break dancers every Saturday, which is when Kev Hill now souls Harlow’s Whispers (revamped ex-Tiffanys) despite the loss of his current vinyl and an old Cortina Ghia RPK 882R . . . Soho Gossips on Tuesdays becomes the Krush Groove with Bristol’s Wild Bunch Cuts hip hopping their street scene thing . . . Franklin Sinclair, now a fully qualified partner in a solicitors firm, nevertheless funks Fri/Sat at Radcliffe (Bury) Bennies! . . . Darren Fogel (who evidently missed earlier mentions) still jazz-funks Kensington’s Thackerays wine bar Fri/Sat (pub hours free), and does Under-18s Sunday at Soho Bananas . . . Ernie Priestman & Steve Naylor at Egremont’s Old Hall, handy for Windscale and not far off the route to Scotland, are after bands for PAs or gigs (fully lit stage) on 0946-820307 — Chris Hill & I look like heading there soon . . . Brian Mason (01-441 1322) is selling his trusty old 220 watt disco and lightshow . . . Greek Adam Cheolakakis from Salonica don’t speaka de Eenglish very good but is hot enough at mixing to impress the DMC’s Tony Prince and would love a London gig — better write, rather than call to 474 Garratt Lane, Earlsfield, Wandsworth SW18 . . . The Malemen’s LP sleeve features a pile of fan mail — but whose, as it’s obviously not theirs? . . . Omni for two albums running have given special thanks to West Phillips . . . if you funk all night with scratch fever — STAY FRESH!


PHIL FEARON & GALAXY: ‘What Do I Do’ (Ensign 12ENY 510)
Another frothily infectious pop-aimed bouncy 113½bpm 12in swinger with a kicking backbeat (M&M mixed), Phil’s most commercial since ‘Dancing Tight’ (inst flip). To be ludicrously accurate for The Tube to quote, it’s actually 113 3/5bpm, and sounds even brighter when speeded up!

THE RONNIE McNEIR EXPERIENCE: ‘Come Be With Me’ (US Capitol MLP-15015)
On a 4-track “mini LP”, this Rene & Angela-penned superb if specialist soul stormer is a subtly pushing 104½bpm jogger full of jiggly undertow and sinuous singing, the more sombrely jolting 101½bpm ‘Keep Giving Me Love‘, punchily bumping 108bpm ‘Light My Fire‘ (new song) and lovely deep slow 41bpm ‘Is This What Happens To A Love?’ adding to the excellent value. Hot!

THE FUNKMASTERS: ‘Have You Got The Time’ (Master-Funk MF 008)
Less universally appealing than ‘It’s Over’ but good ‘n beefy for the hard core floor, the Tony Williams-produced bumpily tugging 12in chugger has nice vibes and Benson-style scat, halfway on the 113½bpm vocal or from near the start of the more powerfully opened out 0-114bpm Disco Mix. Continue reading “March 3, 1984: Phil Fearon & Galaxy, Ronnie McNeir Experience, Funkmasters, Tout Sweet, West Phillips”

February 25, 1984: Julia & Company, AB’s, Duces Wild, T.C. Curtis, Shannon


DAYTON ‘The Sound Of Music’ has been test promo-ed as a really useful ‘US Pre-Release X-Tended Re-Mix‘ which straightens it out into a steady 114-115-114-115(break)-114-115bpm, replacing the jazzy but tricky intro with vocoder and beat . . . Galaxy featuring Phil Fearon ‘What Do I Do‘ is another frothy 113½bpm shuffling pop kicker, due commercially next week . . . Luther Vandross ‘I Wanted Your Love‘ is now on US 12in (Epic 49-04969), as is a remix of Gladys Knight & The Pips ‘When You’re Far Away‘ (US Columbia 44-04965, 111bpm) . . . Adrian Sykes’ new co-plugger at Island, Julian Palmer is starting an electro/alternative DJ mailing list — jocks honestly into it should send him their details at Island Records, 22 St Peters Square, London W6 9NW . . . Art Of Noise ‘Beat Box‘ now tops US Dance/Disco, Cheryl Lynn ‘Encore‘ is top US Black single — c’mon Britain, get on the case! . . . Break Machine’s video (like all the others) is good enough, but live on TVam with no clever editing they were brilliant — and were even more marvellous, according to Gary Van Praagh, at Soho Bananas (where they return on Tuesday 28) . . . Capital Radio’s Mister Ouch! Al Matthews acted the jitterbugging black GI victim of the dance hall punch-up in ‘Yanks’ . . . Burundi Black’s original unadorned African chant sounded highly incongruous throbbing out of the Amazonian jungle during ‘Fitzcarraldo’ on telly — couldn’t painstaking director Werner Herzog have found something more authentic, or at least less well known? . . . Radio Invicta’s nightly 103.6FM broadcasts may be from SE London but cover the metropolis and are good reason for turning the radio on at night again — though why do Mastermind leave their mixes until so late on Wednesday (actually Thursday morning)? . . . Giorgos Pappas calls his station Greek Cypriot Broadcasting For London, according to my local kebab take-away! . . . Gary Allen tonight (Thursday 23) starts a fetish club Decadance II at Liverpool’s Concert Street, where there’ll be a human cage and (he hopes) lots of kinky dressers . . . Daryl Stafford (well known printing error) insists The Cabaret Club is Bournemouth’s only exclusively gay club — so there! . . . Paul Parker appears exclusively at Haringey Bolts this Friday (24), when Froggy, Chris Dinnis, John C and Central Line “live” funk Yeovil Olivers, Roger Dynamite has another ’60s special at Gt Yarmouth Tiffany’s, and Robbie Vincent joins Colin Hudd at Dartford Flicks . . . WE FUNK ALL NIGHT!

MICHAEL JACKSON has blazed back into the US Top 5 now that ‘Thriller’ is out there on 12in (US Epic 49-04961), with something that we (and mixing DJs in particular) really missed — an instrumental flip! However, one step behind, well be getting it on the B-side of ‘P.Y.T.’ whenever that comes out here. The same 118bpm backing track, it retains some chorus singing and Vincent Price, and is worth buying on import for the cover pic alone.


JULIA AND COMPANY: ‘Breakin’ Down (Sugar Samba)’ (London LONX 46)
Steeped in gospel (dad was an original Dixie Hummingbird), Julia McGirt took over Jennifer Holliday’s role in ‘Dreamgirls’ and now wails as well as you’d expect over a fantastically infectious frisky jazz backing that’s already burning up the airwaves here — the UK 12in somehow runs slower at 115-114½bpm, with a new Pedro Edit for radio and same Club Insert.

AB’S: ‘Deja Vu’ (LP ‘AB’S’ Japanese Moon MOON-28007)
Now selling fast as word spreads it’s worth the money (c.£11.75), this “slant eyed soul” set is actually sung in Japanese with the odd disconcerting English phrase woven into it, all rather “yellow Level 42”, this lightly harmonised subtly half-stepping 0-91-92-88½-92-88½bpm jazzy jogger being the raved about standout — though also nice are the tranquil 97½-98bpm ‘Fill The Sail‘, 0-76½bpm ‘Django‘, (0-)96½bpm ‘In The City Night‘, and thunder-thumbed 125bpm ‘Dee-Dee-Phon‘.

DUCES WILD: ‘Gimmick’ (US Next Plateau NP 50018)
The week’s hottest hip hop, great with Pumpkin/Art Of Noise, this 107bpm 12in judderer has terrific freaky FX as it progresses but really rates for its rapping lyrics (inst/bonus beats flip). Presumably they can’t spell “deuce”, or are they Mussolini fans?
[Editor’s Note: only the Instrumental/Bonus Beats is available online.]
Continue reading “February 25, 1984: Julia & Company, AB’s, Duces Wild, T.C. Curtis, Shannon”

February 18, 1984: Starpoint, Status IV, Captain Rapp, Jeffrey Osborne, Carl Anderson


PRELUDE RECORDS have left Epic here, and are currently chatting to RCA . . . Steve Harvey’s publishers succeeded in getting him a composer credit for Sharon Redd’s ‘Something Special’-like ‘Love How You Feel’ . . . Shannon ‘Give Me Tonight’ in the USA will be on Emergency 12in, but Mirage will do 12in promos too as they release her on 7in and LP there in a licensing arrangement that added the muscle needed to give her a Top 20 pop hit outside Emergency’s disco market . . . First Light’s instrumentalist Paul Hardcastle has medleyed his old ‘Daybreak’ and ‘AM’ with D Train’s ‘You’re The One For Me’ (and a bit of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’!) for a certain large London DJ’s new Total Control Records . . . West Phillips will be remixed on Trans-Q/S.O.U.N.D. next week . . . ‘Hump To The Bump’ sadly will be Steve Arrington’s single here too . . . Elektra have a promo 4-track 12in sampler split between Womack & Womack (‘Scared’ / ‘TKO’) and Pieces Of A Dream (‘Fo-Fi-Fo’ / ‘Foreverlasting Love’), which could cause a chart jump next week . . . Elektra also has a new label design, while Pinnacle’s Banana logo is so well designed I know one shop who swear it spells “Banand” . . . Vince Lee is starting a new club mailing list at RCA, 1 Bedford Avenue, London WC1B 3DT . . . North West DJ Assn’s tailor-made DJ tuition courses (studio and live work covered) have started in Heywood, details from Paul Baxendale (Bolton 53817 afternoons) or Tony Potts (061-223 2188 evenings) . . . Thames Valley’s 1984 Shownite will be on Monday April 2nd at Syon Park’s Camellia Restaurant complex, discounted £1 advance tickets (sae and cheque payable TVDJA) from PO Box 14, Ashford, Middlesex . . . Radio Invicta now fill in with soul from midnight-6am when Skyline Radio go off the air, so it’s music 24 hours a day on 103.6FM/212MW in SE London . . . John Dawson hosts Groove Records Electra Top 20 at 9pm Saturdays on London Weekend Radio 92.5FM, London Town Radio 91FM (Saturday midnight thru Sunday morning) take dedi’s and enquiries (send sae) at LTR, c/o 23 The High Street, Little Sandhurst, Camberley, Surrey — however, biggest noise on London’s airwaves is a very powerful Greek station beaming out of Finsbury Park around 103FM, which has all the kebab takeaways jumping! . . . Blackbeat fanzine’s latest editorial misses the point about black electro music — it doesn’t pretend to be “soul”, it’s funk, the modern evolution of an old tradition (rap of course being the new blues) . . . Pumpkin’s excellent import has sold here when still nobody’s bought the cheaper UK issued and just as vital Trevor Horn-produced Art Of Noise ‘Beat Box’ (ZTT), now a US disco smash . . . I now realise that the word “fresh” has been cropping up in hip hop lyrics since last summer at least — and on fact goes back to 1982’s Fresh Face ‘Huevo Dancing‘ if not earlier . . . Harry Belafonte is producing ‘Street Beat’ in the South Bronx, Sidney Poitier is making a “street” movie in Chicago and there’s a martial arts/break dance film coming called ‘The Last Dragon’ — so by the end of 1984 hip hop can only be bigger (and then gone?) . . . Capital Radio’s ‘Story Of The ’70s’ (which I compile) last Friday reached May 1978, when, in the immediate wake of ‘Saturday Night Fever’, no fewer than 11 of the 18 singles which peaked in the UK Top 20 that month were loosely describable as “disco”! . . . Adele Bertei isn’t seen but does most of the singing in Thomas Dolby’s clever video, Haywoode strolls through Fashion’s video, and the dialogue started Rick James ‘Ebony Eyes’ video (though a different song) has an Everly Brothers-echoing plane crash . . . Alton Edwards ‘Everybody’s Watching‘ (Ike Hayes-prod!) is due here in a fortnight but will be out in June in America so its gymnastic video can tie into the Olympics . . . Hi Tension are not necessarily signed to Streetwave just yet . . . Tony Clark starts playing a wide range of sweaty ’60s soul and jazz on alternate Thursdays starting today (16) at Bristol Temple Meads Rockpile Club . . . Miquel Brown plays Haringey Bolts Fri (17), Charing X Heaven Sat (18), Leicester Square Hippodrome Mon (20) — the latter having Break Machine Fri (17) . . . Mastermind mix it up at Peckham Kisses Friday (17), when Chris Dinnis plays solid jazz at Yeovil Olivers, Graham Hunter funks Dorchester Buzz Inn, Colin Hudd says “wear leather” (£100 prize) at Dartford Flicks . . . Jonny Haywood this Saturday (18) slips over from his weekly funk at East Croydon Shocks in the Leslie Arms to PA at Camden Electric Ballroom’s body popping heat . . . Colin Curtis, Roger Tovell, Ralph Randell etc funk Birmingham Powerhouse 3pm all-dayer Sunday (19) . . . James Hamilton mixes the funk Tuesday (21) at Carlton Colville’s Hedley House near Lowestoft . . . E.T. says “Watch out, the Lollipop People are about!” . . . Michael Baker (last week) should be c.122bpm . . . Slags in Bloomsbury, brilliant pastiche though it was, still didn’t match the perfect Gino (whaddaya mean, you don’t video the Comic Strip?) . . .

SNOOKER CHAMP and soul fan Steve Davis, who recently bought a complete disco unit for his home, won “a pair of slipmats to help his cueing” in my year-end Hammy Awards — immediately after which on New Year’s Eve he announced over London’s airwaves “I’ve just found what I need to help my mixing . . . slipmats!” Could there be a connection? The event marked the first birthday celebration of London Weekend Radio (92.5FM Sat 7am/Sun 5am) and in particular of The Jonny Haywood Saturday Funktion (3-5.30pm), for which Steve brought along Herbie Hancock ‘Palm Grease‘, George Duke ‘I Can Hear That‘ and Dee Dee Bridgewater ‘Just Family‘. One cool dude!


STARPOINT: ‘It’s All Yours’ (US Elektra 0-66973)
On a new label and never sounding so good before, wailing Renee Diggs struts her stuff in Patrice Rushen/Chaka Khan/Valerie Simpson style over an electronically bumped Kashif-ish 114½bpm 12in lurcher that’s lithe and lean and built for speed (edit/LP version flip). Watch it go!

STATUS IV: ‘Lovin’ You’ (Design Communications DEST 8)
Finally on UK release, this Eric Matthew-produced excellent creamily rolling very soulfully harmonised mellow 113bpm 12in handclappin’ and fingersnappin’ swayer with superb honking horns halfway (inst dub flip) has been one of the year’s hottest imports so far.

CAPTAIN RAPP : ‘Bad Times (I Can’t Stand It)’ (Becket BKSL 10)
The SOS Band-producing ex-Time members Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis perform this drastically overdue (though proven “sleeper”) burbling and lurching now 120½bpm 12in backbeat nagger, driving remorselessly behind stridently squawking Kimberley Ball and rapid-fire rappin’ Rich Cason (sparser dub/strong inst flip), best for serious dancers. Continue reading “February 18, 1984: Starpoint, Status IV, Captain Rapp, Jeffrey Osborne, Carl Anderson”

February 11, 1984: Shannon, Dennis Edwards, Rodney Franklin, Warp 9, Larry Wu


AMIDST FIERCE fighting, London won Julia And Company for rush UK release . . . Shannon’s remix will go on sale when current commercial copies are exhausted . . . New York DJ turned hot pop remixer, John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez has signed to EMI America in his own right, debuting next month with the 5-track 12in EP ‘Wotupski‘ (as in “What’s up, Doc?”) featuring different actual artistes on each cut . . . Ian Levine, slipping back into his old shape, has mixed Miquel Brown ‘Men’/Kofi/Laura Pallas/Simone/Shirley Lewis/Abba ‘The Visitors’/Earlene Bentley ‘Life’/Gloria Gaynor/Sharon Redd ‘Winner’/Eartha Kitt for ‘Street Sounds Hi-Energy 1‘ (HINGR 16), due now . . . Gary London starts this week presenting a Record Shack sponsored Hi-NRG Disco show 8-10pm, Saturdays on SE London’s Skyline Radio 103.6FM/212MW . . . Tyne-Tees’ The Tube is rumoured to be trying to avoid all mention of the word “disco” on their Hi-NRG special in a fortnight (24th)! . . . Alan Coulthard’s megamixes on Disco Mix Club cassette this month include ‘Hi-NRG 83’ (fine after a dodgy Irene Cara start), yet another remix of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and a largely successful Mac ‘n Jack medley of Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson material (the former’s oldies working best, actually) — however, probably most useable of all is a Salsa medley by Steve Gladders . . . CBS weigh in with two more all-mixed albums, both lumbered with poor material dragging down the hits, Peter Romer’s ‘Electro Shock — Voltage 1‘ (VOLT 1) having a neat side two in Dead Or Alive’s weak pop revival of KC’s ‘That’s The Way I Like It’/Herbie Hancock ‘Rock It’/The Tribe ‘Jungle Rock’/Herbie Hancock ‘Autodrive’ though side one is dull, while Greg Wilson’s ‘Dance Mix — Dance Hits Vol. III‘ (DM3) is forever clashing vocal on vocal and offsets some neat tricks with surprising clumsiness too . . . Total Contrast’s own label is now distributed by PRT . . . BBC 2’s Arena Special last Saturday, ‘Say Amen Somebody‘, was such a compulsive grabber for true soul fans that I bet most stayed with it rather than changing channel for Mel Brooks — focusing on gospel music, the programme’s standouts were the Barrett Sisters (who, spiritual lyrics apart really brought back the atmosphere of Harlem’s Apollo Theatre in the mid ’60s — fantastic!) and the obese O’Neal Twins (who, as a point of interest were the direct inspiration for Sam & Dave in ’64): it was O’Neal who articulated an epitaph for soul as well as gospel in the sage observation, “Unfortunately we are living in a hit record society, and we get caught up on a hit record and miss the substance” . . . Amen . . . Karen Spreadbury of pluggers Eyes & Ears has stopped promoting London’s Xenon niterie after 14 months and says thanks to all the liggers who put it on the music biz itinerary (does this mean now they’ll all be going somewhere else?!) . . . Chris Britton (Watford Baileys) is booking small dance acts (two to five members) into Europe and invites all to send him CVs with photos and videos at The Paddock House, 4 Paddock Way, Warners End, Hemel Hempstead, Herts — where he’s also selling a complete late ’70s to present dance record collection (700 LP/12 in, 400 7in) for £425 ono . . . Steve Dennis starts his new 7-9pm Friday funk show on BRMB this week, plus on Saturdays he’s got the 6-9am breakfast show and 11pm-2am snooze show — is he gonna be knackered or what?! . . . Hereward Radio’s Saturday evening soul host Steve Allen currently electro-funks Tuesday at The Gables and souls Sunday at the Wheatsheaf pubs, both in Peterborough . . . Millie Jackson is at Watford Baileys Thurs-Sat (9-11) this week . . . Friday (10) finds Pete ‘n Jeff with a fancy dress “odd couples” lovers ball (½ price before 11pm) at Sheffield Park’s Sheffield Arms on the A275 in Sussex, Nicky Holloway & Sean French with a pyiama party at Bermondsey Dockhead’s Swan & Sugarloaf, Greg Edwards with Cohn Hudd at Dartford Flicks (Colin’s recent number one is now top US Dance/Disco hit, Laid Back ‘White Horse‘) . . . Saturday (11) Chris Hill & Jeff Young rattle their maracas at Canvey Goldmine’s Brazilian Carnival night and things get hot at Daryn Stafford’s weekly Boys Town night in Bournemouth’s Cabaret Club . . . Sunday (12) Nottingham’s Rock City all dayer (3pm) stars Steve Allen and the other usual non-chart returning mob . . . Monday (13) Chris Paul, George Alexander & Mick Salmon celebrate Valentines Day early at South Harrow Bogart’s, while on Tuesday Theo Loyla returns after 2½ years to the totally refitted Bridge Country Club near Canterbury . . . Danny Smith, pretty upfront Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat at Gt Yarmouth’s after-hours 151 Club, is looking for good “modern” DJs on 0483-57303 (though for what he doesn’t say) . . . Feminine Touch need another jazz-soul venue while Upton Park JR’s is being redecorated (call via JD Roadshow on 01-579 0225) . . . Brentwood’s mad Kev Hill (0277-223030) once again guarantees extra punters should any Galway area niteries care to book him during his annual visit . . . Tony Monson agrees with Cyndi Lauper’s similarity to Sue Thompson, tempered with a lot of Little Peggy March ‘I Will Follow Him‘ (yeah, well us old ‘uns remember them!) . . . Lauriece Hudson, not Laurence (last week’s review), is a lady . . . US Atlantic has another nicer new 12in sleeve design, and US Arista a new label . . . DIN DAA DAA!


SHANNON: ‘Give Me Tonight’ (LP ‘Let The Music Play’ US Mirage 790134-1)
Avid hip hoppers preferred her instrumental dub’s excitement but the “disco”-pitched gal’s album is all vocal, this 119bpm jitterer — freakiest towards the end — being a very obvious frantic follow-on from the title track hit (here in 115½bpm 7in edit and the disappointing newly promo-ed 0-116¾-115½-116-116¾bpm vocal remix), other similar style including the 116bpm ‘My Heart’s Divided‘, 108bpm ‘Sweet Somebody‘, while the 149bpm ‘One Man‘ pumper is blatant US rock-disco.

DENNIS EDWARDS: ‘Don’t Look Any Further’ LP (US Gordy 6057GL)
With obvious exceptions, albums on Motown these days don’t exactly set the pulse racing in anticipation, but here from an unexpected source (the Temptations original “new boy”) comes a right good ‘un. The noisemaker is the dynamite jogging 95bpm title track duet with Siedah Garrett, a snappily jiggling but lazily swaying drifter growled and wailed through catchy ‘Roots’-ish chanting, but check too the smoochy Sam Dees co-penned 66½bpm ‘(You’re My) Aphrodisiac‘ and smoothly thrumming 115bpm ‘I Thought I Could Handle It‘, others of lesser though still reasonable degree being the 66bpm ‘Just Like You’, 108bpm ‘I’m Up For You’, 102bpm ‘Can’t Fight It’, 70-140/70bpm ‘Let’s Go Up’, 119bpm ‘Shake Hands (Come Out Dancin’)’.

RODNEY FRANKLIN: ‘Stay On In The Groove’ (LP ‘Marathon’ US Columbia FC 38953)
Realistically just a one-track album, but that track’s a corker! Starting in an ultra-mixable hip hop flurry, it settles into an electro-backed 121bpm groove with cooing chix and a sizzling jazz piano melody over the by then mind-snaring backbeat (Luther locks on superbly!). Otherwise the frantically pumping 149bpm title track has Ronnie Laws on soprano sax, the samba-ish 0-130bpm ‘Lumiere‘ has LP producer Stanley Clarke on piccolo bass, while (two slowies apart) the vocal 128½bpm ‘Let’s Talk‘ and 126bpm ‘Searchin’ For‘ (sic) are sub-EWF. Continue reading “February 11, 1984: Shannon, Dennis Edwards, Rodney Franklin, Warp 9, Larry Wu”

February 4, 1984: Jackie Wilson obituary, Julia & Company, Steve Arrington’s Hall Of Fame, Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force, Tania Maria, Bryan Loren


OFFICIALLY REVEALED on their import LP sleeve, the featured singer on Rockwell ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ (now a UK 12in, Motown TMGT 1331) really is Michael Jackson — the hot head’s current motto must be “Things go better with Coke!”, huh? . . . Gary Crowley’s master mix version of ‘Play That Beat Mr DJ’ turns out to be the winning entry by US DJs Double Dee & Steinski of a recent US radio competition, and although only about here on strictly privileged aircheck cassettes (unless you dubbed it off Gary’s show yourself, of course), it could end up at least on white label provided 21 Records here can sort out the copyright problems — which are immense, as the mix is made up of not only GLOBE & Whiz Kid’s original but also (are you ready?) Spoonie Gee ‘The Monster Jam’ a NASA aircheck, Alex Dreier ‘Power Closing Techniques’, James Brown ‘Soul Power’, World Famous Supreme Team ‘D’Ya Like Scratching?’ Funky Four + 1 ‘That’s The Joint’, Yazoo ‘Situation’, Dr Saint ‘Harry Houdini’s Final Seance’, Incredible Bongo Band ‘Apache’, Culture Club ‘I’ll Tumble 4 Ya’, Love Bug Starski ‘Starski Live At The Disco Fever’, Rufus Thomas ‘Tutti Frutti’, The Dance Instructor ‘Betty White’s Dance Party’, Humphrey Bogart from ‘Casablanca’, Herbie Hancock ‘Rockit’, Supremes ‘Stop In The Name Of Love’ (over Peech Boys ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ rhythm!), Grandmaster Flash ‘Adventures On The Wheels Of Steel’, Kurtis Blow ‘Party Time’, Bohannon ‘Let’s Start The Dance’, Soul Sonic Force ‘Planet Rock’, Indeep ‘Last Night A DJ’, Peech Boys ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ (acappella), Konk ‘Konk Party’, and the legendary mayor of New York Fiorello LaGuardia ‘The Little Flower’ whadaya mean, you haven’t heard it yet?! . . . Shannon’s promo “remix” instead of emphasising the dub’s excitement sticks mainly to the vocal, and far from equalising the two original sides’ different BPMs now runs 0-116½-115¼-116½bpm — a blown opportunity . . . Godwin Logie is remixing Lefturno for UK release next week on MCA . . . The B Boys 33 1/3bpm 5-track 12in is now not surprisingly classified as an LP — and Chester Browton (Selsey) reports Radio Victory’s Saturday night soul host Franklin Hughes managed to play ‘Cuttin’ Herbie’ right through at the wrong speed without even noticing (I also hear he’s got deep pockets)! . . . Mel Brooks’ last rap ‘It’s Good To Be The King’ was number one in France for ages and already his ‘Hitler Rap’ is huge there too . . . Soul Sonic Force mention “fresh” in their newie, there’s the Fresh 3 MCs, Tyrone Brunson, Tara, and now Davy DMX all with ‘Fresh’ as, or in, their current titles — what’s with this “fresh” (another ‘All The Way Live’, ‘To The Bank’)? . . . Ian Levine is seguing ‘Street Sounds Boys Town 1‘ and is also back producing Evelyn Thomas again, while Miquel Brown ‘He’s A Saint He’s A Sinner’ is due on doubtless fast-selling 12in this week . . . ‘Gangster Of The Grove’ Eddie has teamed with Stevie B for a new Boys Town night on Thursdays at Canvey Island’s Monico, while the same night is Hi-NRG with Duane Henson at the Grapevine in Peterborough’s aptly named Queen Street . . . Steve Walsh starts his weekly residency Thursday (2) at Fleet Country Club with a PA by Second Image, who he’ll also be interviewing on County Sound Saturday evening . . . Steve Walsh with Cino Berigliano plus one Capital Radio DJ are now keeping the Best Disco tradition going on Fridays at London’s Lyceum, Cap Rad’s own Mister Ouch! Al Matthews funking Tottenham Eltons though this Friday (3), when Chris Hill twinkles at Benson-on-Thames Rivers and Jeff Young joins Colin Hudd at Dartford Flicks . . . Island’s Adrian Sykes visits Peter Lee at Bolton’s Dance Factory this Saturday (4) with David Joseph, LCGG and the George Kranz Dancers, while on the Isle Of Sheppey Froggy joins John ‘Nick’ Osborne at Leysdown Stage 3 . . . Rod Bolam hopes to revive memories of his pioneering Letchworth Broadway jazz-funk nights of ’76-’78 when starting this Monday (6) with similar aims at his current Thur/Fri/Sat residency, Stevenage’s Annabella’s in Danestrete — good luck! . . . 16 year old Warren Aylward funks Southsea Nero’s with poppier partner Ray Andrews on Mondays, when this week (6) Pete Tong will be souling Bermondsey Dockhead’s Swan & Sugarloaf — which is where starting Wednesday (8) RM’s own Lisson Grove lip Gary Crowley will be joining resident Nicky Holloway weekly now! . . . Quentin Cook and co-promoter Bill Short promise live acts ‘n hot toons every Wednesday at The Roxy in Brighton’s swish Pink Coconut — just as long as the acts are decent, dear! . . . Radio Horizon’s Nick Lawrence funks Thur/Fri/Sat at Mile End’s Benjy’s, Mike Morgan does Fri/Sun at Writtles Chequers as well as still supporting Kevin Springham at Chelmsford’s bustling lazer-lit Dukes . . . Rich Edwards had £2,500 of flight case packed 7in, 12in & LP records plus two Sure mikes and some Disco Mix Club cassettes pinched from his car in Birmingham — all were stamped with his name and Gloucester 25874 phone number, so ring that or the Brum fuzz if you’ve any info . . . Big Phil Etgart (01-864 3271) is offering vast sums for either the original or remake of Monk Higgins ‘Who-Dun-It‘ (I’ve got that on Chess somewhere, but I’m not selling!) . . . US imports seem to be settling down as at least £6.99 LP, £4.50 12in (some famous central stockists are evidently charging 25p more) . . . US LPs include Maleman (Mercury — punchy mid/down-tempo beat), Deco (Qwest — very derivative though with fans), Jenny Burton (Atlantic — predictable ‘One More Shot’ remakes), Homi & Jarvis (GRP — laid back), T. Ski Valley (Capo — a “best of” set by Tyrone Cox, his real name!) . . . Mezzoforte mixes less alarmingly (its intro can seem a bit violent) if you skip the opening “funk” passage — it’s rather nice out of Billy Griffin’s old ‘Hold Me Tighter In The Rain’ . . . Cosmic (also Thur/Fri/Sun at Basildon New Yorker) on his Wednesday at Southend’s Rain rivalled Flicks’ “boobless wonder popping out of the cake” by presenting the boss with an 18 year old 40 inch busted blonde — pics promised! . . . Lamont Dozier confesses in song, “Twiggy was my passion!”! . . . Ronnie McNeir is still hanging on deservedly up North, Melle Mel ‘White Lines’ is proving to be as long lasting a sleeper as Chill-Fac-Torr ‘Twist’, while presumably Hashim is hot with the services in the NAAFI — but Stevie Wonder’s ‘Happy Birthday’ reissue didn’t exactly take off like a rocket did it? GINO – Full Story And Pics, read all abaht it! . . . DIN DAA DAA!


JACKIE WILSON, who died a couple of weekends ago, never recovered from a heart-attack which had left him in a coma for several years — sad irony for a performer whose stage antics made him truly “the black Elvis”. One of his most fantastic tricks was to spin round with his back to the audience, drop to his knees, and hang upside down by the back of his legs over the edge of the stage, so that all the girls would swarm down and cover him in kisses, every now and then Jackie’s voice carrying on the song as he lowered his still aloft microphone-holding hand.

Detroit born, as an under-age 16 year old he won a Golden Gloves welter weight boxing championship in 1948 before turning to singing, being spotted at a talent show in 1951 by Johnny Otis. Anticipating the departure in 1953 of Clyde McPhatter from Billy Ward’s Dominoes, Jackie auditioned for the group and did indeed take over as lead singer for four years before going solo in ’57. This is where things get interesting, because in an early example of a now familiar pattern, his first hit was a top ten smash in Britain yet only peaked at 62 in the USA and that hit was ‘Reet Petite’, co-penned by Berry Gordy Jr (Gordy co-wrote many Wilson hits, his first taste of success, before founding Motown). The unusual quasi-operatic range of Jackie’s voice was emphasised on his only other UK hits of that era, ‘To Be Loved‘ and ‘All My Love‘, while in the States his rootsier R&B style gave him greater crossover success, his first stone smash being ‘Lonely Teardrops‘ at Xmas ’58, ‘I’ll Be Satisfied‘ and ‘Doggin’ Around‘ from the next two years recently having been made popular again by Shakin’ Stevens and Klique respectively.

As far as the newer breed of soul fan is concerned, though, his name will live on thanks to his ’66/’67/’68 recordings, ‘Whispers‘, ‘Higher And Higher’, ‘I Get The Sweetest Feeling’ — though on a shameful about turn, Britain didn’t latch on to the last named classic until it charted here in 1972, and again in 1975. His early ’70s UK visit, backed by just a simple guitar trio, showed us for a final time what a magnificently musical talent he possessed, as well as an exciting physical presence. He has already been missed.


JULIA AND COMPANY: ‘Breakin’ Down (Sugar Samba)’ (US District Of Columbia DYSC DC-OPUS)
Most talked about buzz of the week, and already hotly battled over by several UK labels, this jazzily introed totally joyful staccato sung strutting jiggly 117-116bpm cantering samba builds incredible excitement as it intensifies through fiddle-pitched sax to full blown brass and an ever more rhythmic climax while Julia (McGirt?) squalls up a vocal storm to rival Aretha Franklin at her high flying best. Yeah, they really do make records like that these days!’ (Edit/dub flip). Run for cover, the fallout could be deadly.

STEVE ARRINGTON’S HALL OF FAME: ‘What Do You Want From Me’ (LP ‘Positive Power’ Atlantic 780127-1)
The most impressive feature of this excellent non-”electro” funk set is the newly mature authority of Steve’s versatile voice, growling, yodelling, scatting, wailing and cajoling while his well muscled rhythm machine cranks out a heart pounding remorseless momentum. Most Slavish are this sinuously chugging 108bpm pent-up roller (great with Circle City Band) and the “classically”-introed 107-106-105bpm ‘Mellow As A Cello‘, his vocal being most fluid on the dropped coin-introed 119-120-119-120-119-120bpm ‘Money On It‘, while ‘15 Rounds‘ is an 115-116bpm update of the Dominoes ’60 Minute Man’, ‘Hump To The Bump‘ a steel drums climaxed speedy Narada-ish 121-122-123bpm smacker, the title track a jiggly 116½bpm chugger, ‘Young And Ready’ a basic 107-108bpm thudder and ‘Sugar Momma Baby’ a soulful slow (0-) 80¼bpm jogger.

AFRIKA BAMBAATAA & SOUL SONIC FORCE: ‘Renegades Of Funk’ (US Tommy Boy TB 839)
Advertised for two months and now finally about on import just ahead of UK release, the Arthur Baker/John Robie-produced 114bpm 12in hip hop rapper isn’t particularly inventive but must rank with the classics as Afrika, Mr Biggs, GLOBE, Pow Wow and Jazzy Jay pop their tops to typical electro backing. With an instrumental flip and another actually stronger ‘Renegades Chant‘ version, out of which the ultra-catchy ‘Iko Iko’ bit will be spliced into our 7in edit, it’s likely mixers will need two copies — if not, Brunson bridges well and it’s good with ‘White Lines’, Break Machine etc. Continue reading “February 4, 1984: Jackie Wilson obituary, Julia & Company, Steve Arrington’s Hall Of Fame, Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force, Tania Maria, Bryan Loren”