ODDS ‘N’ BODS
QUINCY JONES ‘Ai No Corrida’ is due on 3 track 12in with ‘Stuff Like That’ while Capitol have scheduled 3 trackers by T-Connection, Mystic Merlin. Why didn’t they wait for the hot product like Sun, Cold Fire? . . . Alphonse Mouzon ‘By All Means’, ‘Do I Have To’ will be on Excaliber 12in next week . . . Disco Dub Band ‘For The Love Of Money’ has been slightly remixed and put out on white label extended 12in as by the Master Dub Band and Project Love Rescue (which never did hit on import) is about on Creole white label . . . Frank Hooker ‘Ooh Suga Wooga’ / ‘This Feeling (Remix)’ is now on good value US 12in and Jerry Knight ‘Perfect Fit’ on hard to get US 12in promo . . . Chris Hill turns out to be responsible for the great LOTW ‘Time’ remix, speeding up the original blending in newly recorded brass and guitar passages . . . Randy Brown on his nice new smoochy LP varied up to between 33 and 45rpm sounds exactly like another Randy Crawford . . . LA Boppers also have a pleasant new import LP (some of these I’m waiting for from the companies to review in comfort at home) hot new jazz sets including Jack McDuff (Sugarhill), Dave Pike (Muse – try ‘Swan Lake’), Kellis Ethridge (Inner City – try ‘Quickie Nirvana’) . . . Sharon Redd evidently sang on Front Page ‘Love Insurance’ a while back . . . David Bendeth’s upcoming ‘Make It Pop’ 12in flip is a remake of ‘Feel The Real’ remixed by Mr. Hill to incorporate snippets of three other tracks from his ‘Just Dessert’ LP, this concoction called ‘Just Demix’ . . . Chris Hill, Carol and myself had a gastronomic tour of ‘Good Food Guide’ restaurants last week (disguised as a gig at Whitehaven’s Whitehouse) . . . Knutsford David’s Place serving dynamite duck, Cockermouth Old Courthouse tasty Germanic fare, Gosforth Boonwood Inn incredible cream teas (with rum butter!) but one of the most memorable meals of my life was at world famous Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel near Pooley Bridge – only ultra rich superstars are welcome there though! . . . Cumbria does seem to have a lot of extremely good looking and surprisingly spare birds – and Dot does wear a nice pair of jeans (I hope the Alien appreciates ’em) . . . Porky pork scratchings are ‘more-ish’ aren’t they? . . . Level 42 meanwhile evidently turned in the best set ever at Mayfair Gullivers, the Bros Johnson-type bassist pushing guitar and keyboards (again, no sax) through completely self-penned, note-perfect material – wish I’d caught it . . . Roger Squire’s dXL 100 “mini” PA speaker, at under £100 measures only 10¼in x 12½in x 19½in but evidently packs a surprisingly beefy bass from four specially designed 4in full range chassis with special porting and a built-in Piezo horn . . . Galatrek Engineering (contact Ron Koffler on 0492-640311) have for the first time ever made a thermal flashing 13amp plug containing a solid state device which, without interference to TV / radio signals, makes anything up to 250 watts flash at a regular 1 on / 1 off timing (cost in quantity £1.50) . . . Funktion’s April 25th trip to Paris has been reduced in price to £49.95, and it seems Funktion is no longer at Mortons on Monday . . . Kev Hill (Brentwood 0277-221309), visiting Galway for the Easter weekend with a rugger team would like to know if indeed there are any soul discos in the area to visit, and if so would they like to book him for some London funk? . . . Glen Ross at Storthfield Country Club, Storth Lane, South Normanton, Derbyshire, plans a regular weekly live music night and would like to hear from interested bands (especially futurist) . . . Kev Howarth fuses jazz / funk / fusion at St Asaph Stables now Al Taylor has moved on . . . Dave Bumford of Newport’s Flashback shop (pipped to the post by Lady Di?) claims Beggar & Co ‘Help Me Out’ rips off Rufus ‘Live In Me’ more than Heatwave does and ‘Rising Sun’ cops the guitar riff from Blackbyrds ‘Rock Creek Park’ . . . Tricky Dicky has dirt cheap prices (US LP £4.50 UK 12in £1.80 for instance) at his shop opposite Mile End station. Disco Music, 391c Mile End Road, Bow, London E3 . . . Carol Jiani ‘Hit ‘N’ Run Lover’ is a big number one in all the gay orientated charts that have suddenly come in this week . . . Coati Mundi ‘Me No Pop I’ lyrics are worth a close listen! . . . James Brown’s Soul Syndrome Part 2 turns out to be very much the one take record rejects from his RCA set . . . ‘Body Music’ is by One On One and not One On Me, as misprinted last week . . . Eurovision entrant Bucks Fizz sound naggingly like ‘The Hucklebuck’, try singing it to their melody . . . Odyssey ‘Use It Up And Wear It Out’ from the vocal start to its halfway “wooh” mixes nicely between Freeez percussion and Manu Dibango’s sax . . . Bob ‘Scintillating’ Jones hopes the futurists do take over the majority of clubs to force the specialist jazz funk soul scene back underground and make it healthier as it’s been over promoted and made too readily available in recent times (but he doesn’t advocate Northern style cover up secrecy) . . . John Wieschhusen, Southampton University, ex Bootsies, echoes these thoughts saying now that futurist has changed from being an exciting underground movement to an overground craze, surely the hip thing to do is check out the less commercial jazz funk minority scene . . . Spring is busting out all over – and so is Carol Hill . . . KEEP IT FUNKY-ish!
REDDY FOR ANYTHING
“WHEN IT comes to love I’m the best, now are you sure you can pass my test?”
I lie of course, but it made you sit up, didn’t it? The words come not down the Transatlantic phone line, but from the song which brought about Sharon Redd’s third helping of fame, ‘Can You Handle It’.
On the Redd hotline, Sharon sounds surprised and delighted when I spill the beans on the single’s healthy pop chart progress over here.
The song comes from her anonymous and hot debut album, due here at last next month, but Sharon is anxious not to overplay its disco aspect.
“There’s something for everybody on the album. It’s more laid back, easy listening, not so funky. The next single will be more pop-orientated, I don’t want people just to think of me as the superdisco queen.”
That may be the image that’s been cultivated of late, but Sharon’s background is more varied and more interesting. She grew up in Virginia and landed on several of the familiar squares on the showbiz monopoly board – classical voice training, church choir and talent contests. Her family was already in showbiz and Sharon delved into acting. A lead role in the Australian stage version of ‘Hair’ brought on her own Aussie TV series and as the singing side of her career developed, she worked with Lou Rawls, Patti LaBelle and Helen Reddy.
By this time her name was sounding familiar to more people and she received a call from Bette Midler, it led to five years as one of Bette’s three Harlettes, and to Miss M kindly describing Sharon’s singing as “sleaze with ease”. Then one night CBS knocked on the stage door with three ballpoint pens and a contract for the Harlettes.
Record success never happened for the trio sans Bette, but Sharon kept herself busy and known. In 1980 she was offered the lead vocal on a song called ‘Love Insurance’. The band was Front Page, just for the record, which was a big US disco hit. She was offered a follow-up, but by that time Prelude Records had stepped in.
She’ll be starting another LP in late summer. And whatever else happens, she’ll be ready. On her third time around, Sharon Redd can handle it.
SOFT CELL: ‘Memorabilia’ (Some Bizarre HARD 12).
Dynamite bass driven 134bpm white label 12in futurist disco bounder with a vaguely Stones-ish (or Spencer Davis) hit keeps trucking along with great electronic effects and is the most impressive thing I’ve heard this week and it really IS a disco crossover!
LEVEL 42: ‘Love Games’ (Polydor POSPX 234).
Mike Vernon produced snappy bass and meshing guitar build ominous jittery atmosphere on excellent haunting 0-106bpm 12in as electronic keyboards smooth the way for lush but tense vocal lines in their best effort yet, the bubbling jazzy 0-102-99-101bpm instrumental ‘Forty Two‘ flip being much more specialist. On white label now. It’s out next week.
SPANDAU BALLET: ‘Glow’ (Reformation CHS12 2509).
So, this is their attempt to get funky – a bounding bass-pushed 0-135bpm 12in rattler with jiggly guitar, it’s certainly compatible disco (try especially mixing the percussion break), but it ain’t exactly Bootsy Collins. And how come the printed BPM is again so wildly out? Continue reading “March 21, 1981: Soft Cell, Level 42, Spandau Ballet, Sun, Starpoint”