September 12, 1981: DISCOTEK ’81 – “A look to the future”

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

BADEM’S DISCOTEK ’81 equipment exhibition is at London’s Bloomsbury Centre Hotel (near Russell Square tube) for four days starting this Sunday (13), the first two being public days for the likes of us (£1 admission) from 11am-6pm (7pm Monday) — and during these two days the DJF is running a series of 12 DJ seminars in the hotel’s Wren Room from noon to 6pm, with many guest speakers covering all sorts of topics, the seminars costing £1 each, £4 for one day’s six, or £7.50 for all twelve (I appear to be involved in Sunday’s concluding open forum) . . . Sunday evening there is then a British Disco Awards ’81 presentation at Busby’s in Charing Cross Road (near Tottenham Road tube), compered by Radio 1’s Adrian Love, the £2 tickets being available earlier in the day at the BADEM show’s DJ Registration desk . . . Roger Squire’s Disco Centres, with a stand at Discotek ’81, will also be mounting a supplementary Discorama ’81 exhibition on all four days at the Bonnington Hotel, just down the road from Russell Square in Southampton Row, cannily opening an hour earlier and closing at 8pm (8.30pm Tues/Wed) . . . Donald Byrd’s ‘Love Byrd’ LP (reviewed last week) is now on UK release as Elektra K 52301 . . . Funkapolitan’s white label instrumental version of ‘As The Time Goes By’ turns out to be promotional only . . . Bunny Mack Supafrico’ has been picked up by RCA, while Akie Dean’s newest production due on Rokel is Jimmy Haynes (Senyah backwards — or is that vice-versa!) ‘Funk On The Rocks’, which goes great between Carl Carlton and Mike “T” . . . Chris Hill has been doing some white label promotion on The Dukes ‘Mystery Girl‘, an Arif Mardin-produced tightly played (Greg Phillinganes on keyboards amongst others) jogging 0-106-107-108bpm swayer with lush vocalese by the Incognito singers — suffice to say that they’re a famous hit-writing duo, and (to put you further off the scent) it’ll be out via WEA . . . CBS’s September LP releases should include Bob James, Herbie Hancock, Sadao Watanabe, Gladys Knight, Teddy Pendergrass, Earth, Wind & Fire, Stars On 45, Stylistics, Hi-Gloss, Cheryl Lynn . . . Showstopper Promotions are still taking bookings for their West Country Weekender at Perron Sands in Cornwall over October 2/3/4 (starring Froggy, Chris Brown, Sean French, Tom Holland, Jeff Young, Brother Louie, Martin Collins, Chris Dinnis) — the cost is £25 each, but to book you must send £10 deposit and two passport-sized photos per person, plus your names, addresses, number of reservations covered by deposit, and an SAE, to The Royalty Nitespot, Winchmore Hill Road, Southgate, London N14 . . . Tony ‘Tycoon’ Jenkins has joined up with Anthony Bernard’s brother Chris Ellis in a plan actually to open a club in Harrow called Wallaby’s, due to demand created by the on-going “wind-up” situation, motto obviously being ‘Jump to the beat at Wallaby’s’ and resident DJ Ken Gerou (think about it!) . . . ta for the coconut slice, Chris! . . . Jerry James, standing in for Phil Leppard at East Grinstead Martine’s until next Saturday (19), advises non-members of his Thurs/Friday residency at Brighton’s Bonsoir to get to the Bonsoir by 10.15pm if they want to get in, it gets that full . . . Nick Davies (Watford New Penny/Reading Cavershams), horror of horrors, suggests a Eurovision Winners medley . . . Rob Harknett (Harlow), reminding us of how Czechoslovakian DJs have to take exams before they’re allowed to spin a record, reports that of thirty-four would-be DJs recently examined, only TWO passed (now there’s a way to get rid of cowboys!) . . . Elra Dee, wife of John Dee who is running a charity disco for Stuart Henry’s MS appeal at Merthyr Tydfil Tiffany’s on Monday 28th September, bets that DJs’ wives and girlfriends are the most underpaid personal secretaries in the business! . . . Barbara Mason has answered Richard ‘Dimples’ Fields on US WMOT 7in with ‘She’s Got The Papers, I Got The Man’ — while a dynamite mix out of ‘I Like Your Lovin’ (despite being faster at 110-111-113bpm) is the O’Jays ‘Use Ta Be My Girl’, which then sets the scene for ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ and a nice mellow oldies set . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) suggests mixing Mass Production ‘Shante’ over Modern Romance ‘Salsa Dub’, and Kev Hill (Southend Rascals Tues/Wed) extends Donald Byrd ‘Love Has Come Around’ using two copies and chopping after the chick’s long wail towards the end into the first piano-led instrumental bit about 30 seconds from the start . . . US imports have been flooding in over the past two sun-drenched weeks, but I’m afraid I’ve been more interested in getting fresh air for a change, staying with my pals Sparrow, Nivea and Harriet out in the country for as long as possible . . . Soft Cell is obviously an extremely popular record for which a case could be argued to cross it over into the Disco 90, where in fact it would be number 18 —but then Aneka would be number 22 in this current pop dominated era, and do we really need such stuff in the specialist chart? . . . I’m only crossing over such pop/futurist material as is getting a buzz from mixing-style DJs, who obviously find anything over 135bpm to be incompatible . . . Corfu nothing, why the hell isn’t ‘Walking Into Sunshine’ at number one here, yet? . . . KEEP IT COOL!


SAVANNA, whose ‘I Can’t Turn Away‘ has exploded on white label prior to official release next week on R&B Records (RBL 203), turn out to be four North Londoners led vocally and on guitar by Leroy Osbourne — the other guys being Orphy Robinson, Jeffrey Durrant and Raymond ‘Sammy’ Graham-Jacobs. Without musically putting a foot wrong, they’re heading in the steps of label-mates Imagination to score a smash on their first outing.


DISCOTEK ’81 A look to the future

DJ of London’s Le Beat Route, ALAN COULTHARD, surveys the opening of ‘DISCOTEK ’81’ and looks at the future for discos and DJs.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 13 sees the opening of the National Discotheque Trade Show at the Bloomsbury Centre Hotel, Coram Street, London WC1. Judging by the rush for stall space, it looks like being the most successful exhibition yet with almost 60 stands.

But though trade is flourishing for disco manufacturers, the same cannot be said for the club scene. New Romantic boom or not, club attendances have been experiencing a bit of a lull. Some say this always happens in the summer holidays, but the real reason can be attributed to the return of the ‘all-dayer’ which seems to go hand in glove with funk and soul: we all know that the current ‘in’ craze is a funk revival. But although all-dayers are exceedingly popular, the recent glut has led to stagnation in the clubs, which has resulted in the drop in numbers.

What makes us go to clubs and discos? SEX, DRINK, MUSIC and FASHION, though not necessarily in that order! We go to be entertained, and a disco is the only place which offers all four ingredients. But we also want variety, and while technicalities can improve turntables, speakers and lighting, to the average punter it doesn’t mean that much. However, the introduction of video into our discos will bring us into a new age.

My own club, Le Beat Route, along with several others up and down the country has not been slow to recognise the potential of video equipment. Most DJs intersperse their set with a video track, but this is only scratching the surface. While the DJ has control over the dance floor every time he plays a record, when he puts on a video he has the attention of the entire club.

As soon as the video disc and videogram have been officially put on the market, there will be specialised clubs dealing exclusively in visual music. With two videograms for playing videodiscs instead of having two normal turntables, the DJ of the future will be able to progress from one video disc to the next with the minimum of difficulty.

Already in America clubs are investing in wall to wall screens for this purpose, and some bands are specifically making videos to go with their 12-inch singles. Duran Duran, for example, did this with the extended format of their ‘Girls On Film’ single and while it will never be shown in this country it is guaranteed a success in the New York clubs.

Where does this leave the mobile DJ, whose pocket cannot stretch as far as a VCR? They are very costly at present, but once the equipment becomes easier to produce, prices will drop. Certainly, a mobile DJ with video facilities could charge a higher rate for his services.

I’m not suggesting that the day of the record spinning DJ is numbered, but today’s jock should be aware of any new innovations which might affect his trade.

Visitors to Discotek ’81 will soon become aware that this is rapidly becoming big business, which suggests a promising future for the disco DJ. My only worry is that the thriving supply side of the industry will not find an equal demand for their products in clubs and dance halls that seem to be stagnant at present.

Let’s hope I’m wrong. Certainly, there’s plenty of hope for the future as long as we are to accept the changes which are destined to come.


WHO’S WHERE AT BADEM

THIS year BADEM (British Association of Discotheque Equipment Manufacturers) are welcoming all disc-jockeys to the exhibition on the first two days, labelled ‘Public Days’, with the 15th and 16th being set aside for trade only. RECORD MIRROR will, of course, be present in force and to help you find your way around, here’s a guide to the various stands which will be set up for exhibits.

1. Video Disco Supplies, 2. Akwii Electronics, 3. H&C Electronics, 4. CEL Electronics, 5. Perception Electronics, 6. Mill Hill Switchgear, 7. RK Lighting, 8. Moflash, 9. Multiform Electronics, 10. Le Maitre, 11. SIS, 12. Northern Lights, 13. RCF/Covemain, 14. Sound Electronics, 15. RSC, 16. IC Electrics, 17. Disco International, 18. Zero 88, 19. Optikinetics/Mode, 20. Galaxy 7 Policies, 21. & 22. McCormack Electronics, 23. Pulsar, 24. Citronic/CCM, 25. JW Parker, 26. Mico Lighting, 27. CDC, 28. Avitec Electronics, 29. Cloud Electronics, 30. Wilmex, 31. Project Electronics, 32. Rainbow Cases/Mega, 33. FAL, 34. Aston Engineering, 35. RECORD MIRROR, 36. Cerebrum/Powerdrive, 37. Manhattan Sound & Light, 38. (to be filled), 39. DSN Marketing, 40. Roger Squire’s, 41. Soundout Labs, 42. East Anglian Productions, 43. Shure Electronics, 44. Adda, 45. Astral, 46. M-Jay Electronics, 47. Lightomation, 48. Malham, 49. Palm Garden, 50. (to be filled), 51. Canstrut, 52. Disco CS, 53. Powerhouse Enterprises, 54. Park Light and Sound, 55. Martin Audio, 56. Disco Sales and Hire, 57. Northern Light.


UK NEWIES

EVELYN KING: ‘If You Want My Lovin’ (RCA RCAT 131).
Virtually ‘I’m In Love – Part 2’ and a doddle to mix with it, this bubblingly snapping 116bpm 12in smacker nevertheless has plenty of appeal of its own and seems set to be equally as big.

STAR SOUND: ‘Stars On 45 Volume 3′ (CBS A13-1521).
Not as it turns out a Supremes medley after all (negative reaction must have got through to them), the latest 124bpm 12in instalment is a hotch potch collection of ’19 Favourite Instrumental Intros’ seemingly chosen at random, with a bias to rock and pop hits of the ’70s this time.

ARETHA FRANKLIN: ‘Hold On I’m Comin’ (Arista ARIST 12428).
The disjointedly dramatic intro winds up and then the regular brassy beat explodes into a fiery roaring and storming, wailing and soaring 122bpm 12in revival of Sam & Dave’s soul classic, while the sinuously smoochy 31½-32½bpm ‘Love All The Hurt Away‘ plugside finds her duetting with George Benson in radio-aimed style. The latter is also title track of her LP (SPART 1170), on which the joyfully strutting 0-114bpm revival of the Rolling Stones ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want‘ and dead slow ‘It’s My Turn’ are also getting attention.  Continue reading “September 12, 1981: DISCOTEK ’81 – “A look to the future””

September 5, 1981: Keni Burke, Beggar & Co, Quincy Jones, Bob James, Donald Byrd

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

POLYDOR’S DJ mail-outs look like continuing under Theo Loyla’s ex-secretary Jill Merrett, who confesses to not knowing much about disco music but somehow I expect Greg Lynn will be giving her a hand (why? you ask — a-ha!) . . . Savanna is now about on white label . . . Level 42’s album (with sleeve design by Theo’s good friend Joy Barling) is being promoted by a 4-track 12in sampler, which does not have “43” on it . . . Mike “T” has been picked up by Blue Inc for imminent UK release with a new instrumental mix as flip, and The Joneses is evidently due soon too from DJM . . . Strikers ‘Inch By Inch’ will be on 12in next week in an exclusive UK-only new remlx (done in the States but not available there) . . . Al Jarreau ‘Easy’ and the Whispers US newie, both reviewed last week, turn out to be on 12in too . . . Love Unlimited Orchestra ‘Welcome Aboard’ (US Unlimited Gold FZ 37425), Emotions ‘Turn It Out’ (US ARC 44-02477) and Cerrone ‘Hooked On You’ (Canadian Black Sun BS-2) have surfaced on import 12in, Cerrone you remember being a killer synch with Odyssey ‘Roots’ . . . Aretha Franklin ‘Hold On I’m Comin’ is only flip to the 12in version of her George Benson-duetted new UK slowie . . . Nicky Peck, previously hirsute Medway area main man, has chopped his locks for a sorta Freddie Mercury new look and —more importantly — has moved his much praised Central Sunday Soul Club to Gillingham’s King Charles Hotel, next to the Black Lion Sports Complex on the A231 Brompton Road (very close to Gillingham Station and High Street), with Chris Hill’s free appearance there this Sunday (6) kicking the new venue off . . . Theo Loyla celebrated his Polydor redundancy last Wednesday at Soho’s Le Beat Route (no fool — it was 25p drinks night!), where the stars turned out to wish him well: Froggy was there (checking Alan Coulthard’s mixing), along with Mick Clark, Martin Collins, Steve Walsh, Graham Canter, Rudi G, Owen Washington, Liverpool’s Mike Davidson, Level 42’s Mark King, Shakatak’s Nigel Wright, George Chandler, and such pluggers as Les Spaine, Rowdy Yeats, Morgan Khan, John Waller, Greg Lynn, Jill Merrett . . . Mike Davidson (Liverpool Hollywood) then came out with some of us for a snackette and wolfed two hamburgers, but couldn’t finish the second salad! . . . Soho’s Groove Records is in fact open as usual until 10 pm, Tim Palmer being prepared to put in extra time during staff hols to keep the tills ringing . . . K.I.D.’s hot SAM import will be available to all when it arrives, and is scheduled as follow-up by Record Shack . . . Birmingham Faces’ DJ Convention 1981, originally scheduled for October 4th, will now in somewhat expanded form be taking place on Sunday 1st November — note the date in your diary, as this one should be good . . . Confunktion Promotions (281 Main Road, Broomfield, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 5AU) would like to hear from any pop or funk/fusion groups who’d like to be included in a register of bands available to play a wide range of gigs in Central Essex — send demo tapes and details . . . psst, Renzo’s on Kingsway is the place this Saturday (but you won’t get in) . . . Jon Sheldrake (Swindon), a Superfly fan who reckons the West will liven up again when soul returns to Bristol radio, has been getting his funky airwave fix by tuning to Radio Leicester’s Herbie White soul & reggae show on Saturdays 6-7 pm, which since frequency changes to 358m/837kHz MW can be heard all over the Midlands (plus it’s relayed by Radio’s Derby & Nottingham) . . . Jon also tunes his dial on Saturdays 2-3 pm to 444m/675kHz MW for a Dutch disco show, and Sundays 2.30-5pm to 1271m/236kHz LW for RTL’s French ‘Hit Parade Des Clubs’, based on wally DJ charts . . . Frankie Smith ‘Double Dutch Bus’ has sold over 500,000 on 12in 800,000 on 7in and 200,000 on LP in the States yet (amongst many other “uptempo black singles”) just can’t win wide play on US pop radio stations who are still frightened of the “disco” stigma – and the record’s resultant poor position in the purportedly national charts just goes to show how biased towards radio play rather than sales those are . . . Quila (Ipswich Cinderella’s), who mixes ‘Chant No.1’ with Brass Construction ‘Movin’, gives good advice not only to DJs — “Dedication and determination will get anyone anywhere they want to go, if they’re good enough — and if they’re not, self confidence helps a lot” . . . Alan Donald (Rothesay Paddleboat) finds Barry White ‘Sha La La La’ (20th Century) fits well with the Latin thing, as even the less upfront punters can recognise the fat man’s voice . . . Tony St Michael (Finsbury Park) on a Peterborough visit to see Steve Allen in action found at the WH Smith’s there an album called ‘Motown Instrumentals’ with a cut by the Crusaders in amongst the San Remo Strings stuff, for only £1.99 — mind you, with a name like his, it’s surprising he wasn’t in Marks & Sparks! . . . Steve Dennis, sunning in Corfu along with a horde of fellow Brits, says Central Line ‘Walking Into Sunshine’ has become their anthem . . . Rob Harknett (Harlow) reckons Max Bygraves invented the medley mixer concept! . . . Frank Barber Orchestra ‘Glen Miller Today’ (PRT) is the big band medley I recently mentioned (but I’ve yet to hear it) . . . Roy Gould (Mitcham) asks, what swings from tree to tree and sounds like Abba? Tarzan 45! . . . John Waller says any announcement about Phonogram being likely to do Donna Summer and Village People medleys would be entirely premature . . . Geoffrey Lovell (Crawley) and all you other busy working DJs who want to send in charts, the procedure is simple — just send ’em in! . . . Davy King (Ballymena) wonders if we heard the one about the Irishman who though Slim Panatella was a country and western singer — no? . . . Dial lunacy 25 hours a day and do it the Curlyman way, on 01-736 6411 . . . MURDERATION . . . SHON . . . SHON . . . shon . . . shon . . . shon (with acknowledgements to David Rodigan), OINK!


ST TRINIANS fun and games gave everyone a good time recently at Swindon’s Brunel Rooms, where whacky “headmaster” Sandy Martin handed out the bubbly as first prize for a space-hopper race. Sandy says “Get more bounce to the ounce at the Brunel Rooms”. Thank you, for that short commercial message!


UK NEWIES

KENI BURKE: ‘You’re The Best’ (RCA RCAT 126).
Dominated by an excitingly throbbing resonant synthesizer figure and great jangly keyboard effects, this unusual 124-123bpm 12in pent-up juddering skipper really is the ideal fusion between futurist and soul, and as such should be a smash across the board. The flip is not the US pressing’s ‘Night Riders’ remix, but a substitute slowie.

BEGGAR & CO: ‘Mule (Chant No.2)’ (RCA RCAT 130).
With a moodily tricky intro leading into sword and sorcery lyrics about a “new romantic warrior” (and a couple of Spandau’s woah-woahing in the background), this smoothly rolling 122-121bpm 12in bounder might pose identity problems for some people, but even so after the second of two dramatic pauses there’s some nice furry flute followed by more solos in an instrumental fade, plus the ‘Go Forth’ flip’s a straightforward instrumental version with lots more brass amidst the fuzz-tone guitar (if that’s what it is?). On closer examination though, it ain’t another ‘Chant No.1’.

QUINCY JONES: ‘Betcha Wouldn’t Hurt Me’ (A&M AMSX 8157).
Stevie Wonder-penned/synthed slightly subtle Patti Austin-sung low key steadily smacking 28(intro)-111bpm swayer, good with ‘Back Together Again’, on 3-track 12in with ‘Somethin’ Special’ and the older ‘Superstition’.  Continue reading “September 5, 1981: Keni Burke, Beggar & Co, Quincy Jones, Bob James, Donald Byrd”

August 29, 1981: Trevor Walters, Shirley James & Danny Ray, Level 42, Arthur Adams, Mike “T”

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

THEO LOYLA, DJ Federation big cheese, has been made redundant by Polydor in his capacity as disco and regional radio plugger, but, while the future of Polydor’s DJ mailing service seems uncertain, Theo is confident he’ll have a new gig in no time – meanwhile, don’t pester Polydor but wait for their official word . . . Karen Spreadbury and other EMI Motown staffers, understandably emotional about their uncertain position following Motown’s move to RCA, are open to other work offers just in case . . . Morgan Khan’s next monster on R&B Records will be Savanna ‘I Can’t Turn Away‘, currently in privileged limited circulation on acetate, a sensationally strong distinctively voiced guy-sung Luther Vandross-style mellow 57/114-115-116(incl. vibes)-117-116bpm smacking swayer which sneaks up on you so subtly that the next time you hear it, it seems like a long established old fave (and ain’t that what hits are made of?!) . . . Imagination and Linx are now both out on commercial release . . . Motown in the States have finally released the much-sought extended promo version of Rick James ‘Give It To Me Baby’ on commercial 12in (M35001V1), 121bpm with an even longer instrumental flip, in a move which sees them doing an about turn on their policy of not issuing 12in releases, Teena Marie ‘Square Biz’ (the UK 12in version) also being available there now – however, Rick James will not be issued here in this form (not by EMI at any rate) . . . Debbie Harry ‘Backfired’ is now available as an extended 111-112bpm 33 1/3 rpm 12in on French-pressed Chrysalis (CHS 12-2526) . . . Aretha Franklin’s new import LP, reviewed in haste last week, also features a strong jittery jolting 0-114bpm smacking revival of the Rolling Stones ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want‘, along with many quality slowies and some less appropriate fast ‘uns . . . Stikki Stuff ‘The Wiggle‘ has been picked up from Floppy Discs for Carrere 12in (CAR 206T) . . . Tony Jenkins & Adrian John this Saturday between 1-3pm start a Froggy / Peter Powell-style weekly soul import show over the in-store radio at Peter Robinson Top Shop in the West One branch near Bond Street on London’s Oxford Street . . . Linx’s ubiquitous David Grant was recently spotted dining with Chic’s Nile Rogers & Bernard Edwards, lending credence to the rumour that they could soon be produced by Chic – but is this really necessary, and wouldn’t the reverse be more to the point? . . . RCA Motown could well be readying a Diana Ross greatest hits album to counteract her brand new Capitol-released set in October, while the Diana Ross / Lionel Richie duet 7in is reportedly being “sold-in” to record shops by both EMI and RCA sales forces . . . Julian Wood (Oxford Belfry Hotel) again sends in the local paper’s ad for Botley Blades, this time presenting “The Fantastic Grey Edwards” – if Capital Radio’s Graham Dene got a gig there then maybe he really would be billed as “Grey Rene”! . . . Greg Wilson, packing ’em in at Wigan Pier’s Tuesday jazz-funk nights, has started a series of Wednesday appearances at Manchester Legend featuring up-front stuff . . . London Greek Street’s Le Beat Route is extending its amazing Wednesday’s-only cheap booze, any drink 25p all night, by opening at 5.30pm and charging £1 admission before 9pm, after which it’s £3.50 (or £2.50 if you’re carrying a copy of Record Mirror) – this only on Wednesday, mind . . . I must emphasize (as people still seem to think I’m there) that I only did three nights at Le Beat Route and am as always at Mayfair’s Gullivers in Down Street most Fridays and Saturdays with Graham (another name check?) Gold, this and the next two Fridays finding me alone downstairs and Graham upstairs (to make things more complicated, this Saturday I’ll probably be in North Wales!) . . . Pete Tong is hinting that his Monday haunt at West Kingsdown’s Hilltop near Brands Hatch is where Spandau Ballet hang out on their nights off . . . Paul & Robin Wheeler’s eponymously surnamed elegant new Henley-on-Thames club doesn’t now open until Monday 21st September . . . John Diamond now jocks Tues-thru-Sat at Brighton’s Deacons Night Club in Dyke Road . . . Soho’s Groove Records closes early at 7pm for the next fortnight due to staff hols, so my import reviewing time will be seriously reduced (I don’t usually get there till 8.30!) . . . Ralph Tee of Groove Fortnightly, (as it will be for the time being) has become press officer for Groove Production, the label . . . Chris Ellis (8 Park Road, Wallington, Carshalton Beeches, Surrey) needs more paid ads (£30 full / £20 half page) for the Staines Fusion Few’s freely distributed Caister magazine . . . Anthony Bernards (Sutton Wallabys) sobs “au revoir” to ultra-wow Kathryn Peatfield, jetting off to Vancouver for a year . . . Pointer Sisters ‘Slow Hand’ is a killer chop mix out of the slow pause near the end of ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ for MoR jox . . . Funkapolitan’s 122-123bpm B-side rap synchs sensationally instead of the Modern Romance rap bit . . . Alan Taylor (North Wales Poppeys Country Club) says People’s Choice ‘Jam Jam‘ oldie has become enormous again . . . Martin Platts (Blackburn) was due to run in the local marathon, hopefully earning lotsa sponsored money for the East Lancashire Hospice Fund following a gruelling training period in which he lost 1½ stones over 2000 practice miles (retrospective sponsors call T. Emery on 0254–813460) . . . Devon was actually where I spent most time during the recent heatwave, having clotted cream with everything (except the Salcombe lobster!), and catching Swansea Sound’s mid-morning jock following every record with “That’s the sound of (XYZ) for you there”, or Plymouth Sound (which always had a reputation for playlisting odd material) following its interminable shopping price list with Ivor Biggun’s ‘Bras On 45’! . . . KEEP IT COOL!


LINDA TAYLOR, who came to fame singing with Gonzalez but now is even better known for her contributions to current Morrissey-Mullen and Cayenne releases, makes her Chris Palmer-produced solo debut next week with ‘(You’re) In The Pocket‘ on Groove production 12in . . . however, white label copies could well be about right now.


UK NEWIES

TREVOR WALTERS: ‘Love Me Tonight’ (Ital ITD 004, via Ital, 01-249 5445).
Absolutely gorgeous dynamite jazzily lilting atmosphere-filled 0-47/93-95bpm 12in lovers rock slowie with scatting gentle background voices behind sweetly wailing soulful Trevor, while guitar doodles through the relaxed rhythm. This is world-class music, on a par with Stevie Wonder, George Benson and all the superstars. Find it, hear it, love it!

SHIRLEY JAMES & DANNY RAY: ‘Right Time Of The Night’ (Black Jack BJ12 012, via Jet Star, 01-961 4422).
Jennifer Warnes oldie makes another instantly familiar sounding attractively catchy 0-77bpm 12in lovers rock killer for the winsome duetists, and already it’s ‘People’s Choice’ on Capital Radio. Danny’s sexy slurring makes it, and he’s solo on the slow sweet 34/68bpm ‘Got To Be True’ flip. They only just missed the national chart last time and sound just as strong a hit team now, so do give ’em a shot.

LEVEL 42: ’43’ (LP ‘Level 42’ Polydor POLS 1036).
Although the whole LP is good it’s not that dance orientated apart from the last two singles and this totally dominating killer, a sensational jazzy instrumental ramble that starts with maddeningly familiar beefily snapping bass before sloping off through 118-119-120-124-126-0-125-124-122bpm to scale some percussive Latin peaks. ‘Turn It On‘ here comes out at 115bpm – the 12in being 117bpm and 7in 119bpm, take your pick! – while the 138bpm ‘Heathrow‘ has that Change ‘Searching’ beat.  Continue reading “August 29, 1981: Trevor Walters, Shirley James & Danny Ray, Level 42, Arthur Adams, Mike “T””

August 22, 1981: Richard ‘Dimples’ Fields, Linx, Chris Rainbow, Keni Burke, Aretha Franklin

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

RCA RECORDS may have lost Solar despite all the hits they gave it (even more than in the States), but to compensate they’ve gone and got the UK rights as of October 1st to – are you ready for a shock? – MOTOWN! . . . Beggar & Co are also signed now direct to RCA and, with Spandau Ballet returning support, soon release ‘Mule (Chant No.2)‘ – it sounds strong and mixes superbly out of Rick James . . . Arista start a major autumn jazz-funk-soul campaign next week with a 3 track 12in (ARIST 12430) featuring Spaces ‘Song For Jeremy’ / Dave Valentin ‘Pied Piper’ / Harvey Mason ‘Spell’, while due this week on 12in are One Way ‘Push’, Bill Summers ‘Summer Fun’, Robert Winters ‘Magic Man’ . . . Keith Diamond Band ‘The Dip‘ isn’t dueted by Chaka Khan but by soundalike Toni Smith, who also sang on ‘Funkin’ For Jamaica’ . . . Donald Byrd’s newie was produced by Isaac Hayes . . . Herb Alpert’s typical slow 48/96-0bpm ‘This One’s For Me’ from his new album has been circulated on promo 12in, packaged like his concurrent official release in clear polythene . . . US dollars are doing so well in the exchange rates that imports are now costing record shops almost as much as they’ve previously been selling them for, an untenable situation which means prices are sadly shooting up – however, despite stories elsewhere of £6.25 albums, Soho’s Groove by stopping their discount and making the minimum per sale are still managing to do LPs at £5.50, 12in £3.25 . . . Barry Brown of Barry’s Disco Centre, 56/58 Barton Street, Gloucester (0452-421126), runs another equipment exhibition on Sunday 18th October, Discomart ’81 at Gloucester Leisure Centre’s Cambridge Suite with much more stand space (at reasonable rates) and the promise of punters from the Mid West, Welsh Borders and South Midlands . . . BADEM’s Discotek ’81 on September 13-16 at London’s Bloomsbury Centre Hotel still has some space available on the exhibition “fringe”, details Derek Power on Caterham 48471 . . . Tony Jenkins, now doing London’s Playboy Club on Sun/Mon/Wednesdays and Denham Country Club on Tuesdays (Sats too till end Aug), has formed a new Main Event company (including a record label) which promotes one-off jazz-funk specials at luxury venues, all featuring dance groups and star appearances as well as the best in black music, and in typical style his next event at a secret location on 5th September has already sold out with no advertising other than word of mouth – the aim being to keep out wallys . . . Stuart Hamilton at Liverpool’s Coconut Grove (“Merseyside’s most exclusive disco”) this Monday starts a ‘Fantasy Island Fun Night’ based on the TV series, at which he intends arriving by horse! . . . Whitehaven’s Whitehouse, a cool oasis in the farthest reaches of Cumbria, has installed a big video system (including cameras) and could now do with promo material – pluggers contact Phil Haslehurst on Whitehaven 2215 . . . Terry Hooper’s Reflections club in Stratford (East London) has indeed now finally opened . . . Wallaby’s should soon be moving from Sutton to Staines, according to resident jock Anthony Barnacle’s brother Chris . . . Clive Clarke won Watford Bailey’s Trust House Forte/Honda-sponsored freestyle disco dancing final . . . Botley’s Blades near Oxford is advertised as playing Jazz Junk on Tuesdays – maybe that’s why Tony Hodges quit the gig! . . . Julian Wood (Oxford Belfry Hotel) sent in the newspaper clipping . . . Frenchie (Blackpool JR’s) raves about the Fania All-Stars ‘Going Back To My Roots‘ while Kev Hill (Basildon Sweeneys) says the similarly Latin/Salsa-style Mongo Santamaria ‘The Promised Land‘ is worth finding – the B-side of 1975’s Lady Marmalade’ on US Vaya . . . Salsa unfortunately seems to be becoming the latest fad for jaded sensation seeking posers, the sure kiss of death . . . Funkapolitan, as it’s difficult not to notice, also appear to be the posing set’s latest flavour of the month . . . Mayfair Gullivers Graham Gold looks so athletic in singlet and shorts that he only need grow a moustache to be mistaken for one of the Boys Town Gang! . . . I eavesdropped from over the road in my favourite watering hole, L’Escargot, on the loudspeaker outside Soho’s Le Beat Route to young Alan Coulthard’s slick mixing, and it must be said the kid is good – Rudi G had better look to his laurels! . . . phew, wot a scorcher: last week was certainly well timed for me to grab three sun drenched days in Somerset and Dorset . . . KEEP IT COOL!


JOE COCKER: Sheffield’s own, poses with Joe Sample, Wilton Felder and Stix Hooper of the Crusaders, for it is indeed he who sings on the jazz group’s latest 7in slowie, ‘I’m Standing Here Today‘. The Crusaders appear along with BB King and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival for five nights early next month. With friends like these, who needs a little help?


A POEM

PAUL MAJOR, resident jock at Great Yarmouth’s Tiffany’s, while musing in an English Churchyard suddenly beheld a sea of gold nightingales and felt inspired to commit his feelings on being a disc-jockey to verse . . . blank verse, at that, appropriately. Look on his works, ye mighty, and despair! Paul’s ode is entitled ‘DJ’.

Something different.
Something similar, but not the same.
Many moods.
Many faces.
Different times, different places.
Fashionable, but anti-fashion.
Free, but not free.
Tied in bondage.
By music and passion.
Love of plastic.
Vinyl worship.
Longs for attention.
Another member of the league.
No distraction, no rejection.
Happy, perhaps mad.
Depressed, perhaps sad.
Always different.
A mood to match a face.
No member of the rat race.
A forever search.
Maybe found.
A dream, a memory, a face in the crowd.
I am what I am.
Remember me this way.
I am your DJ.

Hmm, personally, I’ve got different ways on different days and different sights on different nights.
The real beat, my feet under the seat, and I’m smelling sweet!
Paul narrowly misses winning a subscription to the Poetry Circle’s Yearbook. Further poems are not invited.


UK NEWIES

RICHARD ‘DIMPLES’ FIELDS: ‘I Like Your Loving’ (Epic EPC A1554).
Simply sensational smash-sound lazily jogging 100bpm swayer, sadly only on 7in (so far), sweetly scattered with an ultra-catchy “oooh, shu du du bup ba ba” hookline that’s been packing dancefloors for ages on import. If the summer weather holds there should now be no stopping it.

LINX: ‘So This Is Romance’ (Chrysalis CHS 12-2546).
Now about on white label, this unhurriedly bounding gradually building jaunty 117bpm 12in loper has neat lyrics and nice noises, the latter being brought out more on the instrumental flip (subtitled ‘The Rio Mix’), all of it with the now recognisable stamp of Linx’s usual quality.

CHRIS RAINBOW: ‘Body Music’ (EMI 12EMI 5215).
Forget that Chris has previously been associated with ultrabrite pure pop, this gorgeous lushly atmospheric 103/51-0bpm 12in sleazy slinker has superb muted trumpet and quietly doodling sax (surely digitally recorded to be so delicately clear?), vari-mixing like a dream out of ‘Rise’ before the ever so slightly Bee Gee-ish vocals begin (for which he can be forgiven). Hear it!

I was late again this week, so you can’t have all the UK Newies until next week. Sorry.  Continue reading “August 22, 1981: Richard ‘Dimples’ Fields, Linx, Chris Rainbow, Keni Burke, Aretha Franklin”

August 15, 1981: Donald Byrd, Cameo, Bunny Mack, The Time, Herbie Hancock

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

DAVID GRANT of Linx celebrated his birthday last Friday (21 again!) at Mayfair’s Gullivers, unveiling the group’s up-coming ‘So This Is Romance‘ 12in which, by reverting to their earlier easily recognizable sound, is an excellent slickly bounding 118bpm jaunty loper with neat lyrics and nice noises erupting into a great musically exciting instrumental outro with squealing sax, while the instrumental flip (subtitled ‘The Rio Mix‘) brings out all the lovely twiddly bits behind the smoothly booming beat . . . Star Sound’s next at the end of the month will be (yawn) a Supremes medley – but in this case there’s actually a real one out ahead of it . . . Portsmouth Symphonia (remember they’re the ones what can’t play proper) are attempting a discordant send-up of ‘Hooked On Classics’! . . . Quincy Jones is rumoured to be producing Donna Summer’s next album in the hopes of giving her a hit as Giorgio Moroder’s recently delivered new efforts got nixxed by her label . . . Chrysalis held a lavish bash for Debbie Harry (Greenie rather than Blondie on the night) at Covent Garden’s normally ladies-only Sanctuary – all plants, pools of water, dangerous drops and steam heat – with Kurtis Blow plus spinning pals Russell Simmons and David Reeves jetted in from New York to handle the jocking alongside our own Fatman Graham Canter and Alan Jewell, while Chic’s Bernard and Nile also put in an appearance (boy, was this a gig that Froggy shoulda been at!), the main point being that despite all this not a single Debbie Harry track got played all night! . . . Alan Jewell actually gave himself a fright discovering how perfectly bits of the Human League instrumental B-side mix backwards and forwards in and out of Cerrone ‘Supernature’ . . . Landscape’s Spandau-producing Richard James Burgess tells me he’s just finished work on Hot Gossip’s new album with unbelievably Harvey Mason, David Sanborn, Airto, Neil Studenhaus, and even on one cut veteran Gil Evans! . . . Motown have now (maybe because it didn’t as anticipated leap to the top) put Stevie Wonder on commercial extended 12in in the new disco mix with instrumental flip, and Eddy Grant is also now on 12in too . . . Lobo on 12in appears to be 125bpm, Stephanie Mills 116bpm, Winston Groovy 89bpm . . . Dr York ‘Shake-n-Skate’ has been picked up by Groove Production . . . Was (Not Was) ‘Wheel Me Out’ will finally be on 12in here, as flip to their next release . . . Nick Straker ‘A Little Bit Of Jazz’ is the latest UK oldie to do well in the States hard on the heels of Billy Ocean ‘Nights (Feel Like Getting Down)’, which later in a new remix with added instrumentation will be out here again in September . . . Richard ‘Dimples’ Fields ‘I Like Your Lovin’, also now moving Stateside, is due here this week while Strikers ‘Inch By Inch’ should be out soon . . . Billboard’s UK Disco chart has been reduced to a Top 80 . . . 40 of last week’s UK Top 75 pop hits were issued on 12in . . . TK Records in the States are in debt to the tune of more than four million dollars but reckon that one hit record would put them back in profit – first, ya gotta get a hit . . . Phonogram’s John Waller finally got married off last weekend (how long before someone’s daddy points a shotgun at Orin Cozier?!) . . . Jeff ‘Boy Wonder’ Young sits in for Robbie Vincent on Radio London for the next three Saturdays (11.30am-2.00pm), with guests this week David Grant, then successively Patti Austin, Donald Byrd . . . Tricky Dicky’s record shop opposite Mile End tube station, Disco Music at 391c Mile End Road, London E3 (01-981 4531), is only open Thurs/Fri/Saturdays but gives good DJ discounts (US 12in £3, UK 12in £1.90) and stocks all the old 12in classics . . . Lee Taylor, jock at Mayfair’s swank Tokyo Joe’s, gives us the hot gossip that HRH Prince Andrew was dancing to Rah Band ‘Rock Me Down To Rio‘ when Lee chopped into ‘In The Navy’ – “V. funny” was the royal comment! . . . ‘Rio’ is in fact definitely the hot side of the Rah Band, despite being the same BPM as all their others . . . Robin & Paul Wheeler, of Frenchies and now Jacksons fame, are opening another up-market new club on the first Monday in September at Henley-on-Thames, appropriately called Wheeler’s – jocks will include Sean French, Chris Brown, Dave Collins, Mike Sefton . . . Terry Hooper’s new Reflections club in Stratford did not in fact open as planned but should do so soon, and his replacement at Ilford Room At The Top is now John Osbourne . . . John Tracy’s futurist ‘Hollywood’ Wednesdays at Sheffield Penny’s are doing so well that he and Paul St James open up on Mondays too for a ‘Tropical Heatwave’, while meanwhile at Manchester Legend the ‘Dancematic’ Thursdays are chock-a-block for Ralph Randell & Paul Rae . . . Wigan Casino’s 8th anniversary Northern all-niter has had to be brought forward to Saturday 29th August to beat the end of their lease – jocks will be Russ Winstanley, Richard Searling, Dave Evison, Keith Minshull, Gary Rushbrook, Brian Rae, Pat Brady . . . Mad Marx hopefully didn’t lose his pants when with Uncle Merv he jazz-funked Southend Rascals this Wednesday (12), as he certainly did in publicity pix! . . . Anthony Bernards is organizing a coach from Sutton Wallabys for the Dimlo’s reunion at Well Pond Green Candles, where DJ Wally promises such Jap-jazz greats as Kanu Sukalagwun . . . Teesvalley Roadshow’s Graham Bond (Middlesbrough 325112) has offshore radio recordings to swap . . . Alan Coulthard, until recently a relatively unknown wine bar DJ in South Wales, is now writing regularly for Record Mirror and has just taken over as warm-up jock at Soho’s Le Beat Route – all because he sent very intelligent letters with all his chart returns (being able to spell and about to start university in London helped as well, but he could have been YOU) . . . I can’t help people I don’t hear from, so think about it . . . OINK!


JEANIE TRACY, sounding less coy than she looks, does most of the singing on Sylvester’s great ‘Give It Up (Don’t Make Me Wait)‘ and is his duetting partner on the ‘Here Is My Love‘ official A-side. From a gospel family background, Jeanie also appears on the imminent new Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard sets (the latter like Sylvester on Fantasy).


UK NEWIES

DONALD BYRD: ‘Love Has Come Around’ (Elektra K 12559T).
Although not even slightly jazzy this hypnotically rolling 0-113bpm 12in slinky smacker sets up a Sylvester-style groove with a nice jangly piano figure, harmonious ethereal chanting, and soulful chick ‘n’ chap emerging to swap a few lines, the whole being beautifully produced and a brilliant mix with Central Line amongst others (thanx Gareth!), while for extra value the flip is his old chix-cooed jogging 109bpm ‘Loving You‘ – virtually the A-side’s 1978 forerunner in format if not in sound.

CAMEO: ‘Freaky Dancin’ (Casablanca CANXX 1004).
Although only added as a single-sided extra to make the 12in issue a twin-pack, this staccato powerful 121bpm brittle funk snapper is the one everyone’s been dancing to for some time and it’s still strong now (try mixing out of Commodores or Rick James), the other 3-tracker’s official plug side being the sparsely smacking 114bpm ‘Don’t Be So Cool‘ with a conversationally bragging rap by Nona Hendryx, flipped by the jazzy 133bpm ‘The Sound Table‘ and last year’s “whoa-oh” filled 115bpm ‘On The One‘.

BUNNY MACK: ‘Supafrico’ (white label MACK-12-3).
Literally on white label with no name or affiliation decided yet. Akie Dean’s latest Afro-disco production is a happily skipping 125-126bpm 12in bubbler that has ‘D.I.S.C.O.’- type tinges and Gibsons-style crossover appeal, but in fact the mainly instrumental 127-128bpm B-side version is much stronger (once again) for the hard core disco crowd, with extra percussion and some great dub-like rhythm gaps making it the one to use. Naturally it’s already monstrous for us at Gullivers!  Continue reading “August 15, 1981: Donald Byrd, Cameo, Bunny Mack, The Time, Herbie Hancock”

August 8, 1981: Rafael Cameron, Imagination, Nina DeCosta, Sylvester, Impressions

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

Jay Hoggard makes an exclusive UK appearance next Saturday (15) at Jaffa’s in London’s Tottenham Court Road Horseshoe, while the double-billed Crusaders and BB King for five nights from September 9th at the Royal Festival Hall sounds like another not to miss, too . . . Diana Ross & The Supremes ‘Supremes Medley’ (Tamla Motown 12TMG 1180) has been reissued to capitalize on the current medleymania (surely 1981’s equivalent of Boney M? – now there’s an idea for a medley!), the next in the pipeline to follow the easy hit formula unbelievably being ‘Stars on ’78’ – really! – made up of Glen Miller-type big band nostalgia classics . . . Donald Byrd has an un-jazzy acetate of new material in very limited circulation, the bland 114bpm ‘Love Has Come Around’ being set as his next single although the much beefier 120bpm ‘Love For Sale’ mixes nicely out of Commodores ‘Lady’ . . . Margo Michaels Atco-distributed US LP was released before producers Holland-Dozier-Holland had approved the mix and indeed it has been withdrawn in the States for an imminent remixed relaunch, but too late to prevent naff copies hitting these shores . . . Linda Taylor got credited with being the artiste instead of Cayenne in my review of ‘Roberto Who..?’ thanks to the confusing label design and my haste in typing . . . Chris Palmer confesses to being so upset at the Beeb only having an 8-track studio mixer when he recorded Cayenne for the Peter Powell/Froggy soul show that with his mind on other things he accidentally smashed a drumkit case through a glass front door at BBC’s Langham House . . . Soho’s Groove Records gets glimpsed in the street scene background of Spandau’s great Le Beat Route video . . . Robert and L.A. – once the main attraction in Shock, turned up on Top Of The Pops as Tight Fit . . . Debbie Harry has really blown it, her harsh voice being totally at odds with the Chic-produced material on her new LP, all of it sounding incredibly ugly . . . Excaliber’s hurriedly botched Wish ‘Nice And Soft’ remix has caused the ludicrous spectacle of people queuing for copies of the original US 12in, muttering that they don’t want the remix even if it is copied with both US versions! . . . EMI’s David Rose has re-opened his DJ mailing list and will send application forms on receipt of an SAE (David Rose, EMI Records (UK), 20 Manchester Square, London W1A 1ES) – he’s especially interested in clubs with video facilities – plus Stiff’s Sonnie Rae is attempting to compile a list for obviously more rock-orientated product, so send full DJ work details to her at Stiff Records, 9-11 Woodfield Road, London, W9 . . . Anthony Bernach, jock at Sutton Wallaby’s, says this “hideaway club for secret people” is putting out 500 copies of a silly 7in recorded live at the club. ‘I’m A Marsupial’ on (surprise, surprise!) the Pouch label, sung (if that’s not an exaggeration) by all the regulars . . . Flash Gordon (Bristol Sinatra’s) adds that Talisman’s recently mentioned reggae single is on Recreation (SPORT 14), produced in France by Bristol’s Revolver record shop . . . Graham Gold (01-908 2224) is looking for a good experienced MoR mobile to do a friend’s wedding party in Richmond on Friday 4th September . . . Southend and Bognor Regis are both seaside towns but maybe Sean French needs a road map to tell them apart? . . . Southampton Barbarella’s is getting good and funky again following the arrival of a new manager who’s actually into jazz-funk . . . Bristol based Superfly moans that the scene in the West is dead – but maybe Ray Edwards can help rejuvenate things when he joins Dave Cash at the up-coming Radio West? . . . David Rodigan adds so many “oink” and other great effects off cartridge to the records on his Capital reggae show that shops complain they can’t sell the unadorned originals! . . . Marshal King (Sunderland Mayfair) finds the digital mix on SOS Band ‘Do It Now’ too shrill to be subdued by the normal treble controls at the venues he works . . . Frenchie (Blackpool) says Prince ‘Sexy Dancer’ synchs sensationally over Modern Romance . . . Soft Cell turns out to be a duo led by Marc Almond, who in the early ’70s had an eponymously named group playing rather nice jazzy rock in the Steely Dan style . . . ITV won the battle of The Wedding, but then anything that didn’t have Angela Rippon looking pleased with herself had to be better . . . Barry Dean (0733-43931), currently at Peterborough’s La Scala most nights with Kris Stevens (I went to the opening of that place), has a complete mobile disco and one ton trailer to sell . . . Gerry Cullen (Glasgow French Quarter), reckons his area’s punters will be straining at the leash when they hear that the Flirtations 1975 ‘Mr Universe‘ will be reissued in November on RCA Golden Grooves . . . Alan Costa (Brighton Kings Club/Kings II) reckons UA could reissue the Marvels ‘Sh-Boom‘ judging from current reaction to it . . . Donna Summer’s old ‘I Remember Yesterday’ was inspired by Kid Creole’s earlier brainchild Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band-remember?! . . . Funktion’s current London club venues are Clowns (Mon), Heaven (Tues), Bennett (Wed/Thurs), Barracuda (Fri/Sat), Embassy (Sun), but I can’t vouch for the music actually played on those nights (details 01-946 2433) . . . Fatman Graham Canter (Soho Le Beat Route) wonders whether you heard the one about the Irish rock ‘n’ roll band – Shillelagh & His Comets?! . . . Polydor’s Theo Loyla has been spreading scandal recently alleging that amongst his fellow disco pluggers Loraine Trent wears falsies, Morgan Kahn strangles moles, Orin Cozier is a pervert, David Rose is deaf, Ian Titchener is an illegal immigrant, David Yeats won’t give records to girls, and Noreen Allen has athletes foot . . . Morgan who? . . . OINK!


STUNNING SOULSTRESS Phyllis Hyman has her recently reviewed ‘Can’t We Fall In Love Again’ album out here now (Arista SPART 1154), plus a 3-track 12in. Philadelphia born but Pittsburgh raised, she had a cameo role in the film ‘Lenny’ before Norman Connors spotted her in New York and featured her on his ‘You Are My Starship’ LP. Her subsequent solo sets are equally renowned, but possibly less well known here is her award-winning appearance on Broadway in the smash musical ‘Sophisticated Ladies’ (based on Duke Ellington’s music). Lovely to look at, Phyllis has also done extensive promotion work for such cosmetic lines as Revlon, Clairol and Fashion Fair. How long before we too can see her in the flesh?


FREEBIE JEEBIES

WEA’S MAILING list jocks responded in different ways to my recent comment that they don’t keep the records they receive in their charts for very long. Mark Clark (Bracknell) said he gets so many new records a week, bought and sent, that he can’t list them all in the Top 15 he sends us. Dennis Brynner (Southampton) hit the nail on the head with “We’re in the business of keeping our dance floors full and our charts strictly reflect this” – he sends a Top 30 plus slowies, pop and futurist Top 10’s. However, this still doesn’t resolve the problem of why certain records only appear in some DJs listings on the week of receipt. If they don’t work then at a floor level why list them, or if they do, why not keep playing them and chart them properly for as long as they last? Stargard’s album is a case in point, steaming into the chart at number 40, a position which would normally denote a monster in the making, only to drop dramatically during the following five weeks until now it’s good and gone. Neither a stinker nor a monster, but a good workable set, it deserved neither that inflatedly high debut, nor rapid descent. DJs, don’t chart stuff just because it’s been sent to you in the mail (no matter how tyrannical certain disco pluggers may sometimes seem!). It doesn’t help anyone in the long run as the reason for the chart is to reflect actual dancefloor popularity. Early indication of this, if founded on fantasy rather than fact, could lead to a record company wasting money in further promotion of something that doesn’t actually warrant it. Be hip, wise up! I’d still rather hear from jocks who buy their own material, as with a financial commitment involved, those are obviously the records they really believe in. Thanks to all though for the effort and expense of sending in charts of any type, they’re widely appreciated as I’m sure you’re aware.


UK NEWIES

RAFAEL CAMERON: ‘Funtown U.S.A.’ (Salsoul SALT 10).
Sensationally strong bass thundered synth spiked ultra happy catchy 0-118-120-121-0bpm 12in jittery funk explosion should now at last realise the full potential of the smash status its enjoyed with all who’ve used it on import, even though here it’s officially flip to the radio-aimed blander but pleasantly Shalamar-ish 0-119bpm ‘All That’s Good To Me‘, which has nice soulful ingredients strung together by a steadily tripping beat.

IMAGINATION: ‘In And Out Of Love’ (R&B RBL 202).
Widely circulated on white label although not fully available for a fortnight, this 83-84bpm 12in hypnotic swayer sounds at first to be merely lots more just like before, but then soon sounds so nice ya gotta play it twice! With the exact same structure (and BPM!), it has even prettier piano, tinkling vibes, Stylistics-style wailing, and adds up to more of a gorgeous ethereal atmosphere than an actual song.

NINA DECOSTA: ‘Don’t Want To Lose You’ (Rokel ROK 16).
Akie Dean-produced simply superb infectious little 0-76bpm 12in lovers rock swayer with lovely soulful singing, a great “biya” scatting and jazzy guitar central section, pretty construction and usefully distinctive intro – in other words as you’ve probably guessed, I rate it highly! Do check this one out, and listen right through to the tensely pent-up finish.  Continue reading “August 8, 1981: Rafael Cameron, Imagination, Nina DeCosta, Sylvester, Impressions”

August 1, 1981: Teena Marie, Raydio, Real Thing, Roy Ayers, Jean Carn

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

THE SAGA OF MSO continues: This salsa orchestra turn out to be a combination from members of Cayenne, Breakfast Band and Gonzalez, assembled last year without the knowledge of Roberto Campoverde after his brain had been picked by producers Ray Singer and Arthur Louis — however, their Mainstreet label seems unable to decide whether the hot track is called ‘In The Jungle’ or ‘Colombia’ depending on the record size. It’s on the B-side anyway, shops can’t get the 12in, and until I did some sleuthing nobody knew how to order it (or indeed that it existed) — so, do they want a hit or not?! . . . Capitol plan a 3-track Maze 12in with the live ‘Joy And Pain’ / ‘Happy Feelin’s’, plus the earlier ‘Golden Time Of Day’ . . . Level 42’s album is likely to be launched during August at Mayfair’s Gullivers club in Down Street, where every night this week Mirage are playing live . . . Paul Murphy’s Jaffa’s live jazz venue inside London Tottenham Court Road’s Horseshoe is planning to follow the wildly successful Heath Brothers gigs with future appearances by Inversions, Cayenne, Roland Vasquez & Urban Ensemble, Ray Carless & Tarantula, Morrissey Mullen and, hopefully, Dave Valentin (wot, no Shakatak?!) . . . Quincy Jones could well be bringing a star-studded orchestra over here soon, following release of his Patti Austin album on Qwest . . . BADEM’s Discotek 81 at London’s Bloomsbury Centre Hotel on September 13/14/15/16th will be open all four days to DJs this year (from 11am daily) with overseas manufacturers exhibiting for the first time too, plus fringe events like a series of seminars for DJs, record company participation, and a DJF awards night . . . France’s even more massive exhibition, Discom 81 will be at Paris’s Parc Des Expositions on October 26/27/28/29th, aimed at all leisure facility users of sound and lighting equipment (UK rep: Jack Kessler, 01-499 2317) . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn are having a DJs riverboat shuffle sailing from Kingston-upon-Thames on Sunday 16th August, £5 tickets including buffet (cheques payable TVDJA) from PO Box 39, Staines, Middlesex — sounds like a nice idea . . . I had great fun last week playing nothing but ‘food” and “drink” hits (like ‘Kiss Me Honey Honey Kiss Me’, ‘Special Brew’) at a party to launch the latest Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles by Messrs Rice, Gambaccini & Read, the guest stars including everyone from Cliff ‘n’ the Shads to Shakin’ Stevens — Mud’s Les Gray in particular got going to Lonnie Donegan’s ‘Have A Drink On Me’ and ‘Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On The Bed Post Overnight)’! . . . New York’s black-orientated (ie: soul/disco) WBLS radio has again come out way on top of the latest ratings, actually increasing its audience share since the winter (and they still say disco is dead) . . . Sandy Martin at Swindon Brunel Rooms got an exercise bike from the local sports shop and gets people doing speed trials in time to the records, pedalling and pulling the rowing-action handlebars, ‘Brazilian Dawn’ being hard to beat . . . Greg Davies (Bedford) gets his punters to put their requests “on tape” via a small Philips tape memo pad, which obviates scrawled scraps of paper and the danger of mispronouncing names — but presumably he has to chain the recorder to something? . . . John Mayoh (Bolton 55516) needs firm offers of work before raising a loan to buy a Philips 80-inch screen and Chromascope for video projection, so anyone interested within 50 miles of Bolton let him know.


CENTRAL LINE, formed a a sextet in ’78 from the same pool of East End funk musicians that also coughed up Light Of The World and Imagination, has shrunk down to the current foursome of Henry Defoe, Camelle Hinds, Lipson Francis, Linton Beckles, their sizzling hot ‘Walking Into Sunshine’ newie being co-written by the last two with Heatwave’s Roy Carter, who produced it (for Mercury Records & Tapes).


DISCONET

IN RESPONSE to continuous mail asking about the American DJ-only subscription service which issued remixes of amongst others Abba ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’, Donna Summer ‘I Feel Love’, Grace Jones ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’, I have no alternative but to give their address. This back-catalogue material will no longer be available from them, so please don’t go pestering them for it. General public fans of the artists concerned, don’t waste your time, as the service is strictly for DJs who are very carefully vetted before being added to the list (this is for copyright reasons as most releases are combinations of material from many different labels). Before you start, be aware that this is a Book Of The Month Club type of operation, where for a very sizeable subscription you have to receive what they send you at regular intervals (with options to purchase special extras), and that the material they send out is aimed mainly at gay orientated US disco DJs. In other words, if you think you’re going to get lots of great remixes that will be really useful here, this could be a massive waste of money which does not justify the odd UK-slanted goodie that slips through the net. Ah-hah, yes — the service is called Disconet, operated by Sugarscoop Inc, 698 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA (telephone 0101-212-687 2313). Timewasters, please do not apply. On the other hand, you could try London’s Record Shack, who have been known to get a limited number of each issue which they sell at £25 each (an indication of the cost you’ll be letting yourself in for).


UK NEWIES

TEENA MARIE: ‘Square Biz’ (Motown 12TMG 1236).
Jerkily juddering shrill 113-114bpm 12in squawker with some mumbling male help reaches a rap section. Bobby Broom ‘Saturday Night’ being a welcome mix out of it.

RAYDIO: ‘Still In The Groove’ (Arista ARIST 12392).
Bass synth punched catchy 119bpm heavy funk instrumental gets monotonous after a while but works brilliantly as a mixer for short stretches, the budget priced 3-track 12in also including his previous US smash 7in coupling of the buoyantly jogging 46/92bpm ‘A Woman Needs Love’ and slow 21bpm ‘So Into You’.

REAL THING: ‘I Believe In You’ (Calibre CABL 109).
Well produced (by themselves) bass synth bumped jogging semi-slow 108bpm 12in swayer with typical vocal sound and enough hook to catch if it’s played.  Continue reading “August 1, 1981: Teena Marie, Raydio, Real Thing, Roy Ayers, Jean Carn”