November 12, 1983: Arnie’s Love, Ronnie McNeir & Instant Groove, Cuba Gooding, Michael Jackson, Daryl Hall & John Oates

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

LIONEL RICHIE’s import 12in of ‘All Night Long (All Night)’ is the LP-length 108½bpm remix with, really usefully, its instrumental as flip (great for mixing in at singalong points to catch your crowd in full voice!) . . . UK 12in releases will only qualify for Gallup’s combined main national singles chart as from the end of this month provided they feature the exact same tracks as the equivalent 7in, although remixed/extended versions will of course still be allowed: this may hopefully decrease the amount of creatively marketed pop product in the 12in chart, but could cause problems in cases like the new Michael Jackson 12in when two different mixes of the main track are padded with a throwaway filler, the filler though being 7in flip (where it makes good sense) — which track in the future would the company sacrifice, rather than have a 3-track 7in? . . . A&M pressed up all their 12in copies of the Jeffrey Osborne remix (yet to be received) and it wasn’t until freelance plugger Orin Cozier told ’em that they realised somehow every single one featured an extended instrumental instead of the vocal! . . . Disco Mix Club’s November oldies floor-filler should have read last week as part one of ‘Dr Soul’s ’60s Stompers’, mixed “live” by myself and left in such a way that next month’s girlie group part two will follow on perfectly if both are transposed onto a separate cassette . . . Alan Coulthard’s current DMC megamix is of George Benson, but more importantly he’s also megamixed together three tracks from Wham’s album for commercial 12in release as their next single, probably called ‘Club Fantastic’ . . . Radio London soul broadcaster Tony Blackburn was thoroughly entertaining in a corny self-mocking way last week at Dartford Flicks (where you can get nervous exhaustion watching Colin Hudd mix!), but some soul fans were disappointed he was so “Radio One Roadshow” — however, after much discussion, he says that at his next proper soul gig he’ll get behind the decks for a while just to prove he can actually play a record! . . . Flicks found a little knot of observers all kitted out in fancy knits — Ian Reading (Southend Zero 6), Nicky Peck (Medway), Tom Holland (Flicks), Ralph Tee (Groove On), Orin Cozier (Pzzazz) and me! . . . Big Al Mayfield (Guildford & Purley Cinderella’s Rockerfella’s) has been voted Mecca Leisure’s entertainer of the year, a DJ for the first time beating all the groups and singers . . . Channel 4’s Malibu World Disco Dancing UK final with its 138bpm music was won by Frankie Johnson Jr (Cardiff) doing a body building routine, runner-up the buxom Anita West (Hornchurch), their competition being jerky over-animated marionettes apart from the excellent Ray Dillon (Warley) and Everett Jervis (East London), who didn’t even make the final five despite being the only glimpse of 1983 on display — don’t Malibu realise that all the new excitement in dancing (especially in the public’s mind) is being caused by body popping and other sinuous movements done to slower funk tempos? . . Peter Stringfellow’s new Hippodrome doesn’t actually open until Friday next week (18) — oops, I knew there was an 8 in the date! NY Skyy impressed everyone at Hammersmith, while there just ain’t no stoppin’ Brass Construction once their rumbling bass/smacking drums rhythm machine gets put into gear — great! . . . Mayfair Gullivers then saw several of the guys, plus gig-visiting Ralph Randell (Birmingham Powerhouse) and Roger Tovell (Severn Sound), the latter telling me that around Gloucester The Tribe ‘Jungle Rock‘ is currently huge . . . Discomart ’83 is this Sunday (13) from noon-5.30pm at Gloucester Leisure Centre in Station Road, £1 general admission, the equipment exhibition including a high power laser and periodical demonstrations of a full sound and light show . . . Rush Release (65 Bedford Hill, London SW12) are updating their Groovemasters mailing list for electro/rap/scratch jocks — and Lydon ‘T’ at Polo Records (351 Edgware Road, London W2), still looking for funky acts to sign, is updating his lists too . . London Records promoted The Walkers by sending DJs a slip mat — yes, just the one! . . . Shannon is now top US Dance/Disco hit . . . Slick ‘Space Bass’ (US Fantasy D-218) is out again on import in a slight remix . . . Charing Cross Heaven DJ/hot hi-NRG producer Ian Levine has megamixed together an excellent ‘Twelve Inches Of Pleasure‘ LP (Proto 1) full of fast Boys Town chart stuff . . . Pinnacle’s new Red Rooster label will be releasing Koffie here . . . Liverpool Concert Street jock Gary Allan is looking for a DJ capable of non-stop high energy mixing for possible work starting January (not necessarily in Liverpool) — if you’re really good, send career details and demo tape to him at 7 Gatley Drive, Maghull, Liverpool L31 3DH . . . Bob Jones miaows that the Caister chart should have been determined by all the jocks who worked there rather than just two — ooh! (but have you ever tried to get them all to agree on a chart?!), Bob ‘Dr Jazz’ is himself back reviving the goodies every Tuesday at Chelmsford’s Countryman in Victoria Road, and this Thurs (10) at Hemel Hempstead Whip & Collar, Fri (11) at Sheffield Green Sheffield Arms near Uckfield . . . Chris Dinnis starts souling Thursdays this week (10) at Taunton Kingstons in Station Road with a PA by David Grant (faint, swoonl) . . .Chris Hill joins Kev Ashman & Tom Felton at Charing King Arthur’s Court this Friday (28), when Robbie Vincent & Tom Holland soul Dartford Flicks, and Jeff Young joins Dave Collins at Staines Jacksons . . . King Enri at Deptford Cheeks (Fri) and West Kingsdown Kings Lodge (Sat) is after guest star PAs for both venues on 01-852 3900 (shop hours) . . . Grandmaster Flash ‘The Message’ has been adapted into a current Green Cross Code road safety jingle — so how long before they get around to STAY OFF THOSE YELLOW LINES!


HOT VINYL

ARNIE’S LOVE: ‘I’m Out Of Your Life’ (Streetwave WAVEL 9)
The very soulful light voiced Arnie turns out to be Toney Lee’s brother, getting cooing support on a superb dreamily shuffling 0-104bpm 12in swaying jogger that’s already been an overnight sales sensation on import . . . possibly because side one’s fading tag is just like the start of side two’s jazzier instrumental version, making two copies pretty well essential so you can prolong the groove! Pure class.

RONNIE McNEIR & INSTANT GROOVE: ‘Just Can’t Let You Go’ (US Crossroad Entertainment Corp CR 12-2)
Bunky Shepherd’s new soul label now hits us with a fantastic pent-up jittery little 102bpm 12in shuffle, jiggle ‘n kick jogger based on the Herb Alpert ‘Rise’ riff (they mix divinely!), Ronnie and friends swapping lead vocals around bluesy harmonica, guitar and organ while whipping up an ultra-infectious storm (inst flip). It is dynamite!

CUBA GOODING: ‘Happiness Is Just Around The Bend’ (London LONX 41)
Arthur Baker powers this terrific zappily infectious 120-119-120bpm 12in revival of Cuba’s Main Ingredient oldie with a driving ‘Billie Jean’ beat and shrill supporting chix, setting up a frisky lick that’s got most dance crowds covered (119bpm dub/acappella flip). Sit still if you can! Continue reading “November 12, 1983: Arnie’s Love, Ronnie McNeir & Instant Groove, Cuba Gooding, Michael Jackson, Daryl Hall & John Oates”

November 5, 1983: Klique, Shannon, Grandmaster & Melle Mel, Armenta, Rufus & Chaka Khan

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

Michael Jackson’s caption last week (which gained a stray “no” — there IS doubt that ‘Thriller’ will be a US single) now continues with the news that Vestron Video in the States are releasing a one hour ‘Michael Jackson: Making Of The Thriller Video’ which reportedly will contain the finished 10 minute ‘Thriller’ video along with candid footage of its filming, plus “major elements” of the ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Beat It’ clips as well as older ‘Off The Wall’ material — out before Christmas, the US video will be about £20 there but its availability in UK-compatible formats has yet to be announced . . . Streetwave are rushing Arnie’s Love here, label boss Morgan Khan currently devoting his time to a boxed ten album set ‘Decade Of Dance Hits 1973-83‘, promised for the party season and full of original smash classics! . . . Clubhouse’s follow-up medley (already on promo) will be the far less notable 113bpm ‘Supergood‘ melding of Stevie Wonder ‘Superstition’ and Chic ‘Good Times’, while Freeez follow with the pace changing 50-100bpm ‘Love’s Gonna Get You‘ .. . David Joseph’s surprisingly amateurish “Britfunk” LP due soon has only two really dynamic dancers, the 95bpm ‘Joys Of Life‘ title track and 0-118bpm ‘Do You Feel My Love Now Baby‘ . . . Brass Construction/NY Skyy at Hammersmith Odeon this Friday sold out so fast that they’re there Sunday (6) now too! . . . Channel 4 televise the Malibu World Disco Dancing finals “live” tonight (Thursday 3) — the music last week actually dropped to only 132bpm, so there may be a hope for the more subtle contestants yet! . . . Peter Stringfellow’s daringly different Hippodrome opens (at London’s old Talk Of The Town) this coming Tuesday (8), and already has a TV variety show emanating from it . . . In Store Music previously free promo cassette programmes are being forced by the BPI to institute a nominal charge for their service (“music users should be educated to expect to pay for the use of recorded music”) and so have formed a “club” restricted to bona-fide working DJs, who must first prove they work in PPL licensed premises (or have a PPL licence if mobile — which is unfair as most mobiles doing private domestic parties don’t need one), cheques for £52 (year)/£30 (six months) being payable to Midas Records Ltd, 104 Harley House, Upper Harley Street, London NW1 4PR (full details on 01-935 3987) . . . Disco Mix Club’s November oldies medleys Mary Wells ‘My Guy’/ Jackie Wilson ‘Sweetest Feeling’/ Chairmen Of The Board ‘Give Me Just A Little More Time’/Four Tops ‘I Can’t Help Myself’/Miracles ‘Tears Of A Clown’/Isley Bros ‘This Old Heart’/Stevie Wonder ‘Uptight’/Vandellas ‘Dancing In The Street’/Jr Walker ‘Road Runner’/Show Stoppers ‘House Party’/Chubby Checker ‘(At The) Discotheque’/Edwin Starr ‘SOS’/ Frankie Valli ‘You’re Ready Now’/Billy Butler ‘Right Track’/Dobie Gray ‘Out On The Floor’/Bandwagon ‘Walls Of Heartache’ — all the chops/mixes being done “live” apart from one piano-to-piano tape edit (how much will boots of that be worth up North?) . . . Discoscene ’83 equipment exhibition is this Sunday (6) at Wishaw’s Belfry Hotel in Sutton Coldfield, noon-6pm . . . Simon Berwick (0706-216980 evenings) urgently needs a versatile smart pop jock for three months at a new hotel club in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, pay around £550 all-in per month — and alcohol is legal there! . . . The Chi-Lites and David Copperfield play Watford Baileys next week, Jr Walker returns to Mayfair Gullivers on Wednesday (9)… STAY OFF THOSE WHITE LINES!


HOT VINYL

KLIQUE: ‘Stop Doggin’ Me Around’ (MCA MCAT 843)
Only Lionel Richie is stopping this from being the biggest black hit in the States at the moment, a fabulous rolling slow 54bpm revival of Jackie Wilson’s 1960 ‘Doggin’ Around‘ that’s true to his original catch-in-the-throat chokingly soulful treatment, here on 3-track 12in with the otherwise Shalamar-ish trio’s blandly clopping 117bpm ‘Honey (I Want To Be Your Lover)‘, and burbling 117bpm ‘Try It Out‘.

SHANNON: ‘Let The Music Play’ (Club LET 112, via Phonogram)
Hailed Stateside as the best electro dancer ever as it combines powerful hip-hoppery with a tuneful vocal, this chick-sung 0-114½bpm 12in judderer is actually a bit offputtingly “disco” in its vocal version, the far harder and freakier electro scratch instrumental 0-116½bpm flipside dub being more exciting — though both sides mixed together is best of all! A pop smash, no sweat.

GRANDMASTER & MELLE MEL: ‘White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)’ (Sugarhill SHL 130)
The realisation that this adventurously arranged 115bpm 12in rapper owes so much to Liquid Liquid’s distinctively rumbling ‘Cavern‘ rhythm track doesn’t detract from its exciting impact, and it should still be huge here as it’s ear-grabbingly different in ‘The Message’ class (alternative breakdown flip). Should it prove tricky to put across, just try running the “freeze!” start over Herbie Hancock’s ‘Autodrive’ break! Continue reading “November 5, 1983: Klique, Shannon, Grandmaster & Melle Mel, Armenta, Rufus & Chaka Khan”

October 29, 1983: Spence, Armenta, Dayton, Lionel Richie, Arnie’s Love

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

LIONEL RICHIE’s ‘All Night Long’ 12in will now stay as it is, Motown merely emphasising that an extended remix is on his album — and really, at this stage, who can blame them? . . . Rufus/Chaka Khan ‘Ain’t Nobody’ is now evidently on UK 12in, Melle Mel ‘White Lines’ (without a remix) is due here imminently, Cuba Gooding has been grabbed by London (who don’t have automatic rights to Streetwise material), Steve Harvey’s next pressing of the ‘Tonight’ 12in will replace the flip’s versions with Steve’s own original mix plus ‘Something Special’ . . . Third World ‘Lagos Jump‘, unscheduled for 12in here, has turned up (unremixed) on two different import 12in pressings — US Columbia (44-04194) flipped by ‘Swing Low‘ and Dutch CBS (CBSA 12.3744) with ‘Love Is Out To Get You (Instrumental)‘ . . . Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes have just signed to Philly World, with new product in the new year . . . Tony Monson while on his record delivery round had his car burgled, losing three large export shipper’s boxes of the current hottest new imports plus a few one-offs, and (easiest to spot) some obscure Japanese albums — anyone with suspicions of their present whereabouts should call Monson Of The Yard on Orpington 22350 . . . Tom Wilson (Edinburgh Reflections) while helping on Graham Jackson’s Radio Forth soul show had an on-air phone chat with Randy Muller, who said Brass Construction were about to re-record ‘Movin’ in “a sort of 1983 version” — doubtless I’ll get more news when the guys are in town next week! . . . Dionne Warwick’s album is out here already but for some reason retitled ‘So Amazing’ (Arista 2057-55), the US’s ‘How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye‘ title track duet with Luther Vandross being on UK 12in . . . Herb Alpert’s old ‘Rise’, which in pre-quartz locked days I’d always believed was 100bpm, on its present UK 12in pressing (as flip to ‘Garden Party’) turns out to be 98 2/3bpm and very useful for mixers again — unless speed-spun at 133bpm! . . . Everett Jervis from Hackney Flappers thankfully managed to make something out of the dreadful 142bpm music to win last week’s semi-final of the Malibu World Disco Dancing contest in moderately realistic style, the tempo and background dancing ironically returning to complete reality when Junior Gee performed live! . . . The Rock Steady Crew’s own video is visually busy but surprisingly unspectacular when it comes to their break dancing . . . Birmingham’s Steve Dennis will soon announce plans to continue his annual DJ Convention, although wherever he holds it the date will now not be until early next year . . . Steve Walsh starts taking complete control of the Saturday 6-9pm ‘Street Life’ soul show on Guildford’s County Sound 96.6FM/203MW as from next week, and will fill TV screens on Tuesday (Nov 1) as a guest on Channel 4’s 10.30pm ‘Loose Talk’ chat show — evidently to make up for the musical other Steve Walsh having preceded him! . . . Phil Riley’s Friday ‘Soul Train’ on BRMB has been extended half an hour to run 7.30-10pm, starting now with a Midland Dance Floor Chart for which he’d welcome local jocks contributions — send your charts to Phil at BRMB, PO Box 555, Birmingham B6 4BX (and if you’re an electro jock in the Midlands, how about sending ’em to us as well?) . . . Radio Caroline is on 965kHz/319m MW . . . Her Majesty’s Home Office seem to be harassing London’s weekend soul pirates so much at the moment that most if not all have been off the air . . . US TV and cable stations have at last started a veritable bandwagon of black music video shows, at a local rather than nationally networked level to start with, and although new video material will obviously be in the pipeline now that it has an outlet, the stations are getting great reaction to all the old black videos that previously had gone unseen . . . Lionel Richie is top US Black single, Klique still at two . . . “Top 40” radio stations seem to be winning back ratings in some US cities, several significantly just like in the ’60’s mixing white and black records without the narrowcast segregation that in recent years took variety out of playlists (and all but the blandest black acts out of the pop charts) . . . I keep mentioning the state of US TV and radio because it does directly influence the records that we get . . . October 1963, twenty years ago exactly, was just about the birth of soul music in all its modern glory — certainly there was a sense of something different in the air, with acts like Major Lance, The Impressions, Martha & The Vandellas, Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters, Wilson Pickett, Marvin Gaye and so many more making memorable records, plus the whole Motown machine getting its gears in order with the first of its classic “formula” releases: is it any wonder that this was about the time that I started going over the top as a record collector, getting Billboard every week to tick off all the soul hits I’d got?! . . . US publishers Holt, Rinehart & Winston have just put out ‘Showtime At The Apollo‘ by Ted Fox, reputedly an excellent much-illustrated account of the famous Harlem variety theatre where all the black stars appeared, I used to go there every week in ’64, and to the Baby Grand and Small’s Paradise (the latter included in the photo montage on import CBS 12in sleeves) . . . Curly King, another name much more known in nightlife circles twenty years ago, these days is successfully manufacturing an interlocking tubular plastic King Plan display and stacking system which could well be ideal for mobile disco use — coming in various smart colours, the tubes lock together in any cube-based permutation you want, take no time to set up/take down, weigh next to nothing yet support up to four tonnes per square metre, and fitted with shelves or with boxes just put straight across the top must be a useful alternative to boring old tables for all your gear at gigs (details from King Plan Marketing, Unit 12, Elizabeth Industrial Estate, Juno Way, Deptford, London SE14 (01-692 9657) . . . Lee Taylor (01-385 6955/0506) as well as wanting a quality venue himself, for some mysterious reason needs a good Barbadian DJ el pronto, like fast! . . . Hidden Charms, promoting their white pop-reggae 0-142½bpm ‘Lover’s Rock’ around the clubs, are after more PA’s and radio interviews — contact John Walsh on 01-567 1668 or PRT’s Robert Blenman and Kenny Barker on 01-262 8040 . . . Halloween lasts the whole weekend at Hinckley Bubbles with Paul Major, Tony Allen & Leigh Clark keeping the witches cauldron boiling through Sat/Sun/Monday, while elsewhere the predictable horror theme gets played to the hilt on Saturday (29) by Gary Oldis at Aycliffe Bee Jay’s Country Club (free for appropriate fancy dressers), Tricky Dicky at Stratford’s The Pigeons in Romford Road (Boys Town), and similarly Norman Scott at Haringey Bolts, Brighton Bolts 1am bar extension party being on Sunday (30), as are an alldayer at Bolton’s Dance Factory with Greg Wilson, Colin Curtis, Mike Shaft, Richard Seeding, Peter Lee ‘n more and another alldayer at Birmingham’s Hummingbird with Frenchie T and presumably more, Radio London soul DJ Tony Blackburn joining Colin Hudd at Dartford Flicks on Monday (31), when Dave Rawlings at Kensington’s The Park lets in fancy-dressers for free, and Kelly combines Halloween with the 1st birthday at Boscombe’s The Academy . . . Darren Fogel, soul/jazzing Kensington’s Thackeray’s winebar Fri/Sat, is joined weekly this Thursday (27) by Steve Walsh at Tufnell Park’s Boston Club . . . Julian Palmer, playing Liquid Liquid ‘Cavern‘ for some time amongst his more left-field electrofunk on Fridays at London’s Oxford/Tottenham Court Road The Pleasure Dome, is after more West End/Surrey residencies on 01-409 2211 . . . Capital’s Phil Allen does Dartford Flicks this Friday (28) rather than last week, Bob Jones joins Pete Tong at the Sheffield Arms near Uckfield on the A275, and Tom Felton joins Kev Ashman weekly at Charing King Arthur’s Court from this Friday too . . . Chris Ramrachia, just back from Mauritius and looking for a club residency (messages on 01-422 6338), has a special Mauritian night downstairs at Mayfair Gullivers this Saturday (29) . . . Cino Berigliano, whose cheeky attempt to get the records he’s promoting into our chart is being totally ignored (so save your stamps!), joins Carol at London’s Lyceum every Saturday and would welcome PAs on 01-688 3699 . . . John Dene provides funk and Paul Kristian fun (like Max Bygraves!) every Saturday at Dunstable Tiffany’s, John also doing Streatham Cats Whiskers (Fri)/Guildford Cinderfellas (Mon) and wanting more mid-week gigs on Eaton Bray 220310 . . . Disco Dave Singleton, big in Eccles for years, this Sunday (30) starts a new nightly video show at Warrington’s Lord Rodneys (pub hours) and Eccles Rainbow (after hours), his twin giant screen video show going out from Newton-Le-Willows 6018 . . . Pete Tong souls Bermondsey Dockhead’s Swan & Sugarloaf with Nicky Holloway on Monday (31), the Chi-Lites play Mayfair Gullivers on Wednesday (2) . . . Stevie Wonder’s campaign paid off, the third Monday every January will be an American public holiday, Martin Luther King Day (it being closest to his ‘Happy Birthday’), . . . Prince’s current US pop smash from his year-old double album is the rhythmically ambivalent jaunty 100/200bpm ‘Delirious‘ — as you may have noticed now the US charts are back in your caring sharing RM! . . . Gene Chandler’s old 115bpm ‘Get Down‘ is interesting out of Melle Mel, while last Friday my set ended in mellow style with a full floor to Kevie Kev, Herb Alpert ‘Rise’, Hubert Laws, Mary Jane Girls ‘All Night Long’ (Inst), Teena Marie ‘Playboy’, Atlantic Starr ‘I Want Your Love’, Lionel Richie ‘Love Will Find A Way’, Dennis Brown ‘Love Has Found Its Way’ . . . Whiz Kid, scratching partner of rapping MC G.L.O.B.E., did the scratches on Freeez ‘Scratch Goes My Dub‘ . . . import buyers had to be rich last week — I picked up about 90 quid’s worth and still didn’t get everything . . . what happened this week to Hardcase’s “now you’re cookin” which looked like a handy catchphrase? . . . STAY OFF THOSE WHITE LINES!


MICHAEL JACKSON is right now in the middle of filming with director John Landis the previously mooted half-million dollar video of an extended 10-minute version of ‘Thriller’ (however only the LP version and a new shorter remix will be on the UK 12in due next week! By supplying slightly more finance than CBS for this venture, Michael retains all rights to the video, which together with his older ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Beat It’ clips could possibly end up on sale to the public! Meanwhile in the States, where promo pressings of ‘Thriller’ may be serviced to radio and clubs, there’s no doubt that it will actually follow ‘P.Y.T.’ as the seventh single to be pulled off the one LP . . . although, after its inevitable UK success, who knows?


PETE TONG fleshes out last week’s simple list of the obvious big newies at the Caister soul weekender with a more in-depth look at the other tracks that were equally big but mainly of a more specialist jazz or oldies type. Although the general influence of this event has greatly decreased, it’s still interesting to see what the soul purists are currently playing.

1. ALL ABOUT MY GIRL – Jimmy McGriff – Sue/Ensign 7” EP
2. BAIHIA – Gilberto Gil – French WEA LP
3. AC/DC – Paz – Paladin LP
4. JAMAICAN GIRL – Love Unlimited – Unlimited Gold LP
5. FOOT IN THE DOOR – Onward International – Paladin 12”
6. WHEN SLY CALLS – Michael Franks – US Warner Bros LP
7. GOT MY MOJO WORKING – Jimmy Smith – Verve LP
8. SOUL LIMBO – Booker T & The MG’s – Stax 7”
9. BRIGHTER TOMORROW – Tom Browne – US Arista LP
10. WET MY WHISTLE – Midnight Star – Solar 12”
11. LOVE HOW YOU FEEL – Sharon Redd – Prelude 12”
12. JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH – Lew Kirton – US BID LP


HOT VINYL

SPENCE: ‘Get It On’ (Arista ARIST 12547)
In short supply on Dutch import although immediately massive for all who found it, this floor-packing ultra-beefy bass bumped 112bpm 12in thudder builds from street noises into a great ‘Funkin’ for Jamaica’ groove (synch ’em to excite your punters!) breaking after chant backed light lead vocals into some electro hiccups near the end. There ain’t no stoppin’ it now!

ARMENTA: ‘I Wanna Be With You’ (US Savoir Faire SF 201)
Exploding faster than dynamite and obviously the next Unique (it’s like a less crisp version, and terrific out of Haywoode), this Amir Bayyan-prod chirrupy chix wailed 0-114½bpm 12in pounder has nice open tuned guitar amidst the hard knocking beat, and great vocoder on Part 2 picking up from Part 1’s outro.

DAYTON: ‘The Sound Of Music’ (LP ‘Feel The Music’ US Capitol ST-12297)
Rahni Harris’s group come blazing back with a sensational soul set on which even the duffer tracks at least have great singing, this jazzily flavoured flowing vocoder scatted 55/110-112-113-114-112-0-115bpm roller being the big floor filler, the 7in-issued ‘It Must Be Love‘ a lovely 81-82bpm jogger and ‘Out Tonight‘ a Kashif-ish 113bpm jolter, oddly the Zapp Family Troutman-masterminded 111bpm ‘Love You Anyway‘ being weakest of all, while others are the Staples-ish 87bpm ‘Lookin’ Up’, 51½-106-104bpm ‘Promise Me’, 0-32-65½bpm ‘Caught In The Middle’, 125bpm ‘So What’, 0-136bpm ‘Eyes’. They have it! Continue reading “October 29, 1983: Spence, Armenta, Dayton, Lionel Richie, Arnie’s Love”

October 22, 1983: Third World, Captain Rapp, Eddy Grant, Sunfire, Oliver Cheatham

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

NORTHERN SOUL roots united high energy producers Ian Anthony Stephens (Hazel Dean/Marsha Raven/Flirtations) and Ian Levine (Miquel Brown/Eastbound Expressway) to record the Yvonne Gidden-fronted Reputations on a disco remake of the legendary Invitations ‘Skiing In The Snow‘, due through Record Shack before winter sets in . . . Capital Radio’s 10th birthday ‘Best Disco In Town’ featured Gonzalez live, backing Al Matthews reviving his old ‘Fool‘ hit (he was really wailin’ by the end, too, yes indeedy!), followed immediately by the Al Green-like excellent Oliver Cheatham — who so enjoyed his subsequent PA at Mayfair’s Gullivers he returned for another on Monday! . . . Al Matthews ruefully confesses he blew £7,000 backing the ‘Boogolator’ electronic Beats Per Minute counter, which to judge from the queries I get now was obviously too far ahead of its time . . . Dave McAleer’s latest in a line of labels (last was TMT) is S.O.U.N.D. Recordings, distributed via Pinnacle . . . Brass Construction together with New York Skyy play Hammersmith Odeon on Friday Nov 4 — what a bill! — while Bobby McFerrin is at London’s Duke of York’s theatre for two nights the following weekend . . . Channel 4’s World Disco Dancing really is an insult with its awful fast witless 139bpm music — anyone would think sponsors Malibu are into cigs rather than coconut rum — compere Leee ‘Cue Card’ John doing his best to reinforce the public’s prejudices about all things “disco” . . . Alan Coulthard’s ‘Gonna Get You Megamix‘ of all the tracks off the Freeez LP, on Disco Mix Club cassette, is now also on Beggars Banquet promo 12in to promote the album (which is why it slurs down towards the end to fit in even the slower songs) . . . Froggy hopefully didn’t say too much about Radio Caister on ‘Steppin’ Out’ this Monday? . . . Arthur Baker seems well informed about Britain, reportedly saying “From what I’ve heard, the white kids who have something to prove by liking black music are less apt to get into electronics, whereas the black people who are into music are into electronics.” . . . I luckily stumbled across my old Main Ingredient ‘Happiness Is Just Around The Bend‘ 7in, and while obviously minus the remake’s ‘Billie Jean’ beat at 122-125bpm it could still be useful . . . Melle Mel ‘White Lines’, which evidently is based on Liquid Liquid ‘Cavern‘ (US 99 12in EP), can admittedly be tricky to get into but is a sensational synch if the “freeze!” bit starts during the break a third through Herbie Hancock ‘Autodrive‘, after which mix you’ll suddenly find it’s a smash! . . . Edgar Winter has updated ‘Frankenstein 1984‘ for Tommy Boy owner Tom Silverman’s new rock-funk Body Rock label . . . Richard Jon Smith has been recording with Darryl ‘NV’ Payne in New York, where on radio they call him “RJ Smith” . . . Jazzy Dee ‘Put It To The Test‘, enjoying the dubious chart benefit of a UK-only pre-release promo mailout, is an untidy 123bpm jolter with offputtingly loud rap bits chorusing chix and odd booming beat . . . Paul Anthony celebrates the 2nd birthday of Wolverhampton Eve’s with a star-studded party this Friday (21), when Sandy Martin at Swindon Brunel Rooms has his annual St. Trinians party (school uniforms admitted free!), Steve Harvey PAs at Bolton’s Dance Factory, Capital’s Phil Allen funks Dartford Flicks, County Sound’s Steve Walsh funks Fleet Country Club . . . Friday also finds Graham ‘Funky Scot’ Hunter having shorts & whistles fun at Andover Country Bumpkin (Graham wants recommendations about non-Wally clubs in Paris, France, for a visit there next month), as well as John Dene & Owen Washington funking Streatham Cats Whiskers weekly (late ’70s classics — the last records Owen bought? — from 8.30-9.30pm, while offers of PAs would be welcome on 0582-862733) . . . John Dene cheekily suggests a car sticker saying “Even The Tories Do It” . . . Saturday (22) Neil Fincham celebrates Motown’s 25th anniversary at Edinburgh Mad Hatters, threatening if it goes down well to repeat the process for the next few Thursdays too, and Chris Brown & Sean French recap Caister at Windsor Safari Park’s revamped New Safari Club . . . Sunday (23) sees a 3pm all-dayer at Leeds Merrion Centre Tiffany’s with Colin Curtis, Jonathan, Trevor M, Frenchie, Baz Maleady, Simon Walsh etc, leaving refugees Mike Shaft & Kev Edwards free to venture dahn the smoke to join Steve Walsh, Toby Perkins, Ralph Tee & Kev Ashman at London’s Charing Cross Road Busby’s 2pm alldayer . . . Greg Wilson, Mike Shaft & Richard Searling start a Soul Appreciation Society night at Bolton’s Dance Factory on Monday (24) — Steve Harvey PAs at Guildford Cinderella Rockerfellas on Tuesday (25), when Chris Kaye starts a new free admission soul night at Tonbridge’s Loggers pub beside the station (part of it’s a Pizza Hut) . . . Nick Ratcliffe has found the crowd at Portsmouth’s Ritzy are into hi-energy fodder, and Divine/New Order notwithstanding, the biggest hit is still Roni Griffiths ‘The Best Part Of Breaking Up‘ . . . Adrian Dunbar, bussing in the boys from Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Brighton and Newbury to his gay Friday cabaret nights at Southampton’s Warehouse, has switched his night at Bournemouth Adams to soul/disco oldies on Tuesday so Richard Hunt now does the uptempo Wednesday . . . Brian McCaig, boogying with the boys at Bristol’s Oasis Club, complains a lot of DJs still don’t count their 4/8/16/32 bar progressions when mixing, a good point — you see, ideally, you ought to synch the record you intend to mix so that the start of its appropriate bar structure coincides with a similar point in the record already playing (count the beats 1234, 2234, 3234 etc from the start of each obvious progression and like as not you’ll find the changes occur in multiples of 8) . . . Norman Scott (Haringey Bolts) should try following his big audience participation number Doris Day ‘Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera Sera)’ with Danny Kaye ‘Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen’ (and/or Max Bygraves ‘Tulips From Amsterdam’!) . . . Dave Crane (Wolverhampton Poly) synchs Howard Jones ‘New Song’ out of Herbie Hancock ‘Rockit’ . . . Bryan O’Connor is still doing some freelance plugging for Island — but more to the point, what’s happening at A&M and PRT, as their stuff on 12in just is not arriving? . . . WEA should shelve their clever game plans and get on with releasing UK singles of Madonna ‘Holiday’ (huge!), Manhattan Transfer ‘Spice Of Life‘ and Rufus/Chaka Khan ‘Ain’t Nobody’ — the latter is now top US Black single, with the great Klique ‘Stop Doggin’ Me Around‘ at number 2 and even climbing the pop chart . . . Justin’s dad Jeremy Lubbock has been busy arranging for Jennifer Holliday, Four Tops, Manhattan Transfer — anyone else I’ve missed? . . . Radio Caroline is really pumping it out on 319m/96KHz MW, the music excitingly sequenced with little interruption (but then they’ve no legal need to stop the flow) . . . John Clancy needs a stand-in to run “Kent’s leading radio-styled mobile disco” while he’s in hospital — all gear, roadies and records provided plus full weekend work — send him an audition tape at 67 College Avenue, Gillingham . . . Tony Tiger (Liverpool) was so inundated after his request in RM for DJs (all places now filled) that he regrets he can’t answer them all . . . NOW YOU’RE COOKIN’!


JEFFREY DANIEL’S new group Eclipse obviously know the importance of a good haircut, amongst the styles they sport being a perfect pompadoured Charlie Foxx (as in Inez & . . . )! Jeffrey tells me that following the break up of Shalamar, Solar succeeded in getting Howard Hewitt to stay singing under the established group name with two new recruits, instead of going solo — which surely would have been a more sensible move for Howard?


CAISTER TOP 10

1. ALL NIGHT LONG (ALL NIGHT) – Lionel Richie
2. HAPPINESS IS JUST AROUND THE BEND – Cuba Gooding
3. STEPPIN’ OUT – Slave
4. SPICE OF LIFE – Manhattan Transfer
5. TONIGHT – Steve Harvey
6. ALL MY LIFE – Major Harris
7. MOVE YOUR BODY – Bernard Wright
8. PRIVATE PARTY – Bobby Nunn
9. I WANT YOU (ALL TONIGHT) – Curtis Hairston
10. I WANNA BE WITH YOU – Armenta

Wot, no electro?!


HOT VINYL

THIRD WORLD: ‘Lagos Jump’ (LP ‘All The Way Strong’ CBS 25473)
Far hotter in the States and now here than their 12in, this subtly infectious 109bpm brassy afro chanter is not reggae at all and has an understated steadily clapping rhythm with more hidden depths than a casual listen might suggest, great for mixing especially out of Lionel Richie! Check this one quick!

CAPTAIN RAPP: ‘Bad Times (I Can’t Stand It)’ (US Saturn Records SAT-2003)
Gradually gathering a reputation, this burbling 119½bpm backbeat lurcher whips up a driving lick behind stridently squawking chix and a rapid-fire Mike T-type rapper (good stark break), on 3-track 12in with a sparser dub and strong instrumental (which some may prefer). Likely to grow on real dancers.

EDDY GRANT: ‘Till I Can’t Take Love No More’ (Ice ICET 60)
Typical see-sawing 113-114-115bpm 12in stuff, slower than usual, flipped yet again (is this its third outing?) by the far stronger ultra-catchy old 121-122-123bpm ‘California Style‘ soca leaper — here thankfully in a straightforward treatment ending with a long percussion last half, great for parties. Get it for the flip. Continue reading “October 22, 1983: Third World, Captain Rapp, Eddy Grant, Sunfire, Oliver Cheatham”

October 15, 1983: Cuba Gooding, Lew Kirton, Curtis Hairston, Phil Fearon & Galaxy, Time Zone

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

MELLE MEL ‘White Lines’ is being rushed out by PRT, possibly with a WBLS-type remix included . . . Sybil Thomas is due soon, Shannon’s been snapped up by Phonogram, and sadly Teena Marie’s Epic debut will indeed be ‘Fix It’ (which died on import) . . . Imagination finally get vigorous with their rock-disco ‘New Dimension‘, which will be on 12in at 33 1/3rpm due to a Japanese-style extra large label and corresponding die-cut sleeve . . . Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson ‘Say Say Say’ could soon be about on very limited promo in an exclusive UK disco remix, toughening it up considerably . . . Sinitta ‘Never Too Late‘ on commercial copies is a Jellybean Benitez remix (instrumental flip), but the song’s still a bit flabby . . . Motown are about to release a major reunion, the Four Tops back with the label and unbelievably produced by the veteran Holland-Dozier-Holland team on one side of their excellent LP, which also includes duets with Aretha Franklin and the Temptations — which is more significant, the Tops or H-D-H? . . . Lionel Richie’s promo 12in has been released commercially here as an interim measure (it’s the same as the 7in), but may yet be superceded should an alternative longer version result from the final mixdown of his still unfinished but imminent LP . . . Radio London soul DJ Tony Blackburn (and Arnold!) is advertising Paddington Green’s Bluebird Records shop during Capital’s soul shows, while “Blackburn’s playing it” is a comment increasingly heard in the record company corridors of soul power . . . Steve Walsh is planning to open an amusement arcade in Church Street market, over the Edgware Road from Bluebird . . . Capital Radio was rocking with laughter last week, not only because the franchise was retained, but especially because a certain big London disco jock came in for an audition! . . . Channel 4’s Malibu World Disco Dancing finals use awful fast music (remakes produced by ex-Shakatak/soundalike specialist Nigel Wright) for all the contestants, and noticeably the good actual dancers mainly from London were poorly served by a tempo which dictates Wally white athletic high jinks rather than any subtlety . . . Ashaye’s ‘Michael Jackson Medley‘ in no way even approximates Alan Coulthard’s megamix of the genuine article, so why are the Disco Mix Club raising such a ruckus? . . . Alan’s October DMC mixes are lugubrious UB40, good KC & The Sunshine Band, and (for the first useable half) excellent Freeez medleys, but star of the tape is Peter Romer’s floorfiller mix which is so smooth it’s almost bland (though The Rake was a bad way to start it) . . . CBS seem to be suffering from the “mailing list syndrome”, with El Chicano and now Lew Kirton rocketing up the chart for a week after jocks got ’em for free, only to plummet back to their earlier more realistic import level (and RCA seem to be having similar trouble with Tavares and the Jones Girls) . . . Spence’s ultra-hot Dutch import is only slow moving through lack of copies in the shops . . . Carl Kingston, still at Hull’s Peppermint Park, has joined the DJ rota of Radio Caroline 319MW aboard the MV Imagine, weekend boat trips to which and further details about Caroline being available in the Cleveland area DJ Assn’s Disco Reaction mag, free with a large SAE from Graham Murray, 30 Pilkington Street, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, Cleveland (DJ Association/Disco Mix Club members given priority) . . . Chris Ryder’s recent request for DJ demo tapes to audition for the soon-come Skyline Radio actually related to London area jocks, as no pay is involved (see RM Oct 1) . . . Terry Lees (021-707 1925) is organising the Midlands club and mobile disco equipment expedition Discoscene ’83 on Sunday November 6 at Wishaw’s Belfry Hotel, Sutton Coldfield . . . Oliver Cheatham PAs this Friday (14) at Mayfair’s Gullivers, where last week by coincidence airtime rivals John Sachs (Capital) and Susie Barnes (Radio London) were both in the club following their respective shows! . . . Gullivers’ previously charisma-lacking downstairs room has undergone a total transformation, becoming a really classy comfortable cocktail lounge with a new dancefloor moved further out of earshot . . . Strawz, above Applebaum’s in South Molton Street (Mayfair), is an “exciting” new cocktail bar handy for music biz people (especially ERC’s Marvin Howell, upstairs!), recently opened by travelling camp cabaret artists Kevin Sebastian and Sacha Vitorovich — the latter recording interviews there with the likes of Wham! for Yugoslav radio . . . Jeffrey Daniel gave his hairstyle an airing last weekend at Rockafella’s late-nite eaterie (next to Samantha’s off Regent Street), where live jazz on Sundays can include harmonica by Larry Adler . . . Greg Wilson joins resident Peter Lee plus the Broken Glass Street Crew body popping break dancers at Bolton’s Dance Factory this Thursday (13), when most drinks will be 50p too . . . Robbie Vincent joins Colin Hudd at Dartford Flicks this Friday (14) . . . Saturday (15) sees the opening of new weekly venue The Icebox above the Fridge in Brixton, which promises to be a bit different with constant live acts and even an ice cream/waffle bar . . . Paul Major & Tony Allen have “outrageous” fancydress at Hinckley Bubbles on Saturday (15), when Derby’s revamped Blue Note has an optional fancy-dress 4th Anniversary Ball (followed on Sunday by electro-funk with DC Connection) . . . First Approach play live jazz-funk on Sunday (16) at Camberley Frenchies in the Cambridge Hotel . . . CBS’s Al Dupres now does Cardiff Nero’s, Chas Marshall & Guy Francis do Edinburgh’s refitted Bentleys Nightscene (Wed-Sun), Paul Johnson does Bedford’s “good value” Apples & Pears Nightclub (let me guess — its on the ground floor, right?) . . . Des Russell takes over the Club Jardine at Edgbaston Faces Thur/Fri/Sat . . . Dave Rawlings (Basingstoke Martines/Kensington The Park/Reading Out Of Town) justifies his allegiance to WEA’s product with the valid point that they’re the only company who regularly send him albums, on which he finds lots of slowies to use . . . Rick James’s powerfully attractive duet with Smokey Robinson, ‘Ebony Eyes‘, which should be the one to break him here on radio, is not in fact his new single in the States despite all the airplay it’s getting there — instead they’ve gone with the fast ‘U Bring The Freak Out‘, which Motown in Britain are rightly trying to bypass . . . Norman Scott (Haringey Bolts) reports the holiday smash in Gran Canaria was Miquel Brown ‘So Many Men‘ . . . Gary Low is not Ryan Paris . . . Chill-Fac-Torr follow their revival of ‘The Twist’ with — guess what — ‘Shout‘! . . . Latin percussionist Willie Bobo (49) and early R&B star Roy Milton (76) both recently died . . . I bumped into Mick Fleetwood and Peter Barden by chance last week — back in early ’66 they were The Cheynes, playing regularly at a Balham gig (promoted by then Moody Blues managing Tony Secunda) where I was the DJ, just back from living in New York and heavily into ‘Shotgun’! . . . Ensign/Island kick off their reissues of vintage ’60s classics from the old Sue label with six EPs (jazz freaks should check Hank Jacobs and Jimmy McGriff) plus a terrific 25-track cassette-only compilation ‘Maximum R&B‘ (ENSUC 3) including a sensational doo-wop wailer by the Matadors, most material having been red hot imports of their day (weird though that may now seem) . . . Motown’s two twin-pack ‘Cruisin’ With Motown’ cassette-only compilations are well worth examining from a tactile point of view — they’re see-through cassettes with scaled down reel-to-reel spools looking large and dramatic, housed back-to-back in a chunky butch double-door box (unfortunately I had to open one up to stop a bent spool snagging the tape) . . . ‘Motown 25‘ the ratings-grabbing 25th anniversary US TV show soon to be expanded for video release, won an Emmy award — and Gary Byrd will be introducing clips from it (as he did on stage with the Commodores) when he tours UK clubs . . . ‘Party Train’ by the Gap Band has the most incredible video, filmed at Venice Beach in LA and full of poppin’ ‘n’ breakin’, contortin’ ‘n’ flauntin’ flesh, an eye boggling smash (which reminds me, Jamie Lee Curtis’s stunning appearance in the ‘Trading Places’ film could be rivalled for some by Bo Diddley playing a pawnbroker!) . . . I’m gradually getting through all my New York radio tapes (many recorded while I was actually out or asleep) and now realise that KISS-fm on Saturday nights have a 3½ hour commercial free Mastermix Dance Party, mixed during my visit by Darryl Baird/Bayard Beyer (?) . . . New York disco and oldies show Downstairs Records has relocated around the corner at 20 W. 43rd St as its original site downstairs in the subway arcade at 42nd & 6th has been blocked off to become the foundation for a new skyscraper! . . . 25 cents for the Staten Island Ferry at night is the most spectacular sightseeing value ever, all South Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty lit up as you glide away (and back again without paying extra if you’re clever!) . . . I’m dieting after so much Big Apple eating — too much Haagen Dazs ice cream actually stopped me doing full justice to the unlimited prawns, salads, soup and puddings (let alone lobster tails and goldfish bowl cocktails) at Cookies in White Plains . . . hey, hey, hey — KEEP OFF THOSE WHITE LINES!


HOT VINYL

CUBA GOODING: ‘Happiness Is Just Around The Bend’ (US Streetwise SWRL 2214)
Don’t be frightened by the frisky tempo and chirruping chix that start this madly infectious thriller, in which the ex-Main Ingredient singer revives their Brian Auger-penned oldie over an incredibly joyful Arthur Baker created bounding 120-119-120bpm beat (synthetic but not in his electro style), soulfully scatting and skipping up to a beefier vibey break, on 3-track 12in with 119bpm dub instrumental and acappella flip. Pop, soul, electro and MoR all in one, this will be massive!

LEW KIRTON: ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ (LP ‘Talk To Me’ US Believe In a Dream FZ 38956)
Making a strong play for Teddy P’s crown, husky Lew will win here with this fantastic cleanly bounding 117½bpm smacker which is already burning up the hipper floors, the more delicately unfurling but beefy 115bpm ‘Don’t Give Up Your Dreams (Hang On In There)‘ also sounding strong, the (0-)117½bpm ‘Here’s My Love‘ less so, while his mellow romantic smoochers are the 76bpm ‘I Can’t Live Without You’, (0-)33-66bpm ‘Hooked On You’, 0-29-30/60bpm ‘Always Will’, 0-34-69bpm ‘Got To Find Somebody To Love’. He’s gonna be big!

CURTIS HAIRSTON: ‘I Want You (All Tonight)’ (RCA RCAT 368)
Rightly huge on import the chix-backed and often confusingly chick-like wailing new soulster’s superb creamily striding 114bpm 12in chugger has indeed lived up to its Philly-style classic feel but may not have enough general crossover appeal to justify the mega-bucks it must’ve cost for Britain — which is not to discourage anyone, as it’s excellent (dub/edit flip). Continue reading “October 15, 1983: Cuba Gooding, Lew Kirton, Curtis Hairston, Phil Fearon & Galaxy, Time Zone”

October 8, 1983: New York radio report, Grandmaster & Melle Mel, Herbie Hancock, Instant Funk, Skool Boyz

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

TEDDY PENDERGRASS has returned to recording, doing soundtrack songs for a film called ‘Choose Me’ . . . Curtis Hairston whose price was rising the hotter he got on US radio, has finally been bought here by RCA for imminent release — and Polydor snapped up Major Harris! . . . ‘Street Sounds — Electro 1‘ is due now, with Captain Rock, West Street Mob, G-Force, The Packman, Newcleus, Project Future, C-Bank, K-9 Corp — talk about wikki-wikki! . . . Steve Harvey’s ‘Tonight‘ is out next week, and sounds brighter when speeded up for a killer synch out of his ‘Something Special‘, which in turn is superb out of Sharon Redd — so much so in fact, that Steve’s publishers are taking steps about the similarity . . . WEA’s Fred “Listen” Dove has re-serviced a promo of the old 109bpm Prince ‘D(ance) M(usic) S(ex) R(omance)‘ a whole year after its debut at Caister, and a US Qwest promo of James Ingram’s Quincy Jones-produced 111¾bpm ‘Party Animal‘ which coincidentally also sounds like a gruffer Prince . . . Gap Band ‘I’m Ready‘ has been dragged down to 117bpm for remixed 12in next week, while for some crazy reason CBS have ruined Haywoode ‘A Time Like This’ with a dreadful remix which now replaces all commercial copies in the shops — they can keep it! . . . MCA have withdrawn Oliver Cheatham’s current ill-advised 12in to put out ‘Bless The Ladies‘ instead — yay . . . Take Three ‘Tonight’s The Night (All Right)‘ has turned up on import Dance-Sing 12in remix, now more sparsely clomping with a freakier ‘Tonite (All Right)‘ flip, but both versions will be re-edited again and included with both earlier UK promo versions on the finally due 4-track commercial UK copy . . . Showstopper Promotions have had to cancel this month’s second Caister “overflow” weekender, they say following “the non-availability of the main Caister centre for the later dates”, but have relocated where possible people booked for Part 2 into increased accommodation at the now obviously completely full first Oct 14-16 weekend . . . Showstoppers have also joined forces with man-about-North London Joe Williams (01-487 5584) to set up Club Attack, which aims to provide properly co-ordinated liaison between artistes and clubs for PAs, charging clubs a realistic fee for a guaranteed appearance by star names with full back-up services for both parties . . . Bryan O’Connor has disappeared from his Island plugger’s job, just like that . . . Sinnita Renet turns out to be the vary tasty 18 year-old daughter of Miquel Brown, and niece of Amii Stewart! . . . ‘New Blackbeat’ deep soul fanzine (£3.75 well spent for six densely packed issues from 101 Sevenacres, Orton Brimbles, Peterborough PE2 OXJ) reveals in its full Frankie Beverly discography that his first-ever record around 1962 was the Madara & White-produced ‘Loveable Girl‘ as by The Butlers — which I’ve had for years without knowing (offers in excess of £200 only!) . . . Steve of the above mag should note that High Fashion record in Italy with European producers, and that several of the mag’s early London soul listings are in fact country & western singles! . . . Lyndon T is now promotions/A&R manager at the increasingly dance orientated Polo Records, 351 Edgware Road, London W2 1BN, where he’d welcome funky demos — plus he’s jocking with Shaun Healy every Wednesday at Kensal Green’s Tropical Palace in Chamberlayne Road (free before 9.30pm), electro-boogie ‘n soul . . . Shaun Healy also crops up with Greg Trotman & Gordon Antony as of this Saturday (8) electro-phunking Hammersmith Broadway’s Clarendon Hotel (again free before 9.30pm) . . . Hereward Radio’s Steve Allen celebrates the 4th anniversary of Slickers at Peterborough’s Cresset Centre this Sunday (9) with a 4pm alldayer (arrive before 5.30 for a special present) starring Martin Collins, Jonathan, Paul Murphy, Malcolm James, Jerry Little & Trevor Mack . . . Tony Blackburn, always a champion of Motown on his old Radio One brekky show, is now rapidly making such a reputation as “Radio London’s soul jock” he’s being inundated with club gigs! . . . Paddington Green’s Bluebird Records have taken over the shop next door just to sell US deletions and cut outs, while Kev Edwards, as threatened when he quit Manchester’s Spinn Inn, has indeed opened his own Hott Waxx record shop in Earlstown, Newton-Le-Willows — I’m sure our advertising department would love to hear from both (after all, this is the paper most read by DJs) . . . Peter Lee reports from Bolton’s Dance Factory that our mention of their recent lazer light show brought in extra punters . . . Lance Nuttall has renamed the old Cinderella’s disco at Sayers Common’s motel in Sussex (Hickstead), calling it with great imagination the Dance Factory too, the expensively refitted club now having its own Attica dance troupe made up of ex-punters who involve customers in their routines rather than just doing a cabaret spot, and Lance (0273-833232) is after other dance acts to appear there (Wednesdays everything is 50p, drinks/burgers/admission) . . . Alan James Jewell, briefly back in Blighty after poking around the Orient, has left the Bacchus fold to make a fortune jocking in Hong Kong at the Hollywood Boulevard, where high energy rules . . . I took part in what could have been a Neil Simon scenario when attending the New York wedding of Capital Radio producer Mike Childs & Jan Sedofsky at Marylou’s restaurant in Greenwich Village (haunt of Jack Nicholson), where the amazing wise-cracking showbiz rabbi (it was the full glass-stamping thing) had to get the background music turned off before uniting the couple — and guess what was playing, ‘Sexual Healing’! . . . Capital’s one-time late night producer Robbie Barish and his Dairy Milk-chomping wife Susie were my hosts, yet again (incidentally I used to live in the city a long time ago, so it’s not exactly new to me!) . . . ‘Trading Places’ starring Dan Aykroyd & Eddie Murphy (plus an eye-boggling Jamie Lee Curtis) was the only movie I caught, good John Landis-directed fun mainly for fellahs . . . Chaka Khan and Kashif were appearing together in Newark last Sunday (New Jersey, that is!) . . . Broadway’s musical version of the French film ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ looks like fuelling the Boys Town chart for months to come, Gloria Gaynor and Le Jeté already leading the race to discotize its songs . . . Men Without Hats video for ‘The Safety Dance’ is the opposite of the techno/electro you might expect — it’s a medieval morris dancing scene! . . . “We are Pepsi Free” goes a US radio commercial, to the tune of Sister Sledge’s ‘We Are Family’ . . . Graham Hunter (Basingstoke) either had his Christmas card lost in the post last year or else he’s first with one this year! . . . TWO, THREE BREAK!


NEW YORK NEW YORK – JAMES HAMILTON hot from the Big Apple

URBAN CONTEMPORARY radio’s big catchphrase in New York City is “commercial free music”, meaning that the three main black stations either haven’t got or are prepared to lose all advertising for great swathes of airtime lasting anything from half to three and a half hours! This does not result in chatter free radio though, as all the DJs have the irritating habit of following every record with “I am Mary Thomas” (or whoever) and a station identification.

WBLS is still the most consistently listenable, programmed by evening DJ Frankie Crocker who initiates most of the gimmicks copied by the here better publicised WRKS (KISS-fm) — in fact last week he actually joked on air “Why don’t they pay me for programming that other station too!” MIKTU is less high energy and more soulful with a long slow late morning “Love Break”. Despite a lack of commercials, only WBLS seems to make any attempt at completely mixed programming, disco DJ Jonathan Fearing being in evidence on occasion doing some neatly segued continuous sweeps (and a killer mix of Hot Streak/Raw Silk). Shep Pettibone’s main effort on KISS last week was a remix of G.L.O.B.E & Whiz Kid ‘Play That Beat Mr. DJ’ incorporating bits of hits every time it goes “mastermix those number one tunes”, but the big remixes were on WBLS with Grandmaster & Melle Mel ‘White Lines’ (gigantic there!) and the much played West Street Mob ‘Break Dancin’ — Electric Boogie‘, this by Charlie Casanova & Sergio Munzibai, the latter probably being responsible for Melle Mel too.

Against all expectations there was not a lot of electrophonic phunk on the airwaves, nor that much UK-derived “new music” . . . in fact, there wasn’t much anywhere that we don’t already know about here, very disappointingly. The surprising fact is that we are better served with imports (and by radio in London at least) than are soul fans in New York. The legendary NY equivalent of City Sounds/Groove/Record Shack/Bluebird, the now relocated Downstairs Records at 20 West 43rd Street (just off 5th Avenue) were amazed by how upfront our Disco Chart is, John there having to remark “You’ve got it all, there’s nothing we can sell you” — and indeed it wasn’t until I got home and went to Rayners Lane that I could see what was actually new!

To give you a very accurate idea of what’s currently being played by black urban contemporary radio in New York, the following is an exhaustive list of the stuff I heard most: Lionel Richie, Melle Mel, West Street Mob, Klique ‘Stop Doggin’ Me Around’, Tavares ‘Deeper In Love’, Rick James ‘Ebony Eyes’ / ‘Cold Blooded’, Twilight 22, Love Bug Starski, Curtis Hairston, Madonna ‘Holiday’, Jones Girls, Rufus/Chaka Khan ‘Ain’t Nobody’, Stephanie Mills ‘Pilot Error’, Michael Wycoff ‘Tell Me Love’, O’Jays ‘Heads’, Herbie Hancock ‘Rockit’ (the last three still rising there), Peabo/Roberta, Jennifer Holliday ‘I Am Love’, The SOS Band, Gladys Knight ‘You’re Number One’, Mary Jane Girls ‘All Night Long’, Hot Streak, Raw Silk, Ronnie Dyson, Lew Kirton, Lillo, NV, Colors, Herb Alpert ‘Red Hot’, Peech Boys ‘On A Journey’ (sounds better on radio), Manhattan Transfer, Pure Energy, Aretha Franklin ‘Every Girl Wants A Guy’, Gloria Gaynor ‘I Am What I Am’ (from ‘La Cage Aux Folles’), Koffie ‘And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going’ (discotization of Jennifer Holliday’s ‘Dreamgirls’ biggie), Hazell Dean, Donna Summer, Spandau Ballet ‘True’, Rick Springfield ‘Human Touch’, Bonnie Tyler ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’, and (in heavy rotation as it was number one nationally) a Jellybean Benitez remix of the 181bpm Billy Joel ‘Tell Her About It’.

Billy’s video of his album’s ‘Uptown Girl’ (a garage-set Four Seasons meets Busby Berkely production number) was the best to be seen on video-saturated cable television, MTV pumping ’em out 24 hours a day in initially addictive but then sense dulling rotation. Best cable viewing was SuperStation WTBS Atlanta, whose evening video slot was better than MTV (at one time at the weekend there were five channels all showing videos, two of them black orientated), WTBS also including a great game show called ‘Starcade‘ in which two kids compete on video games!

However, with all this music being thrust at once, there were few stations worth staying tuned to, and in fact for me the most entertaining listening was oldies station WCBS’s Sunday night doo-wop show! Yeah, but what about the clubs and disco DJs, I hear you ask? Well, as threatened I did a lot of eating and didn’t actually go to any clubs at all, instead having a lovely time with a nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn called Rhonda! Help Me!


HOT VINYL

GRANDMASTER & MELLE MEL: ‘White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)’ (US Sugarhill SH-465)
Taking rap to another higher plane in the most daring record of the year more controversial even than ‘Street Justice’ and more innovative than ‘The Message’, this adventurously arranged 115bpm 12in judderer may sound strange at first but once you’re into it you’ll be hooked . . . and that’s the subject, cocaine. The rumbling rhythm in West Street Mob style is non “electro”, with brassy crescendos, ‘Twist And Shout’ climaxes, and all the way through an inciting vocal variety (harder, freakier flip with mixing elements). Given the breaks this could go Top 20, but it’ll certainly blow your mind, if not freeze your teeth!

HERBIE HANCOCK: ‘Autodrive’ (CBS TA 3802)
Terrific bass resonance underpins another mixture of Material-programmed synthetic hip-hoppery and Herbie’s keyboards, this time acoustic jazz piano in an interesting 115bpm combination (try starting Hot Streak’s acappella flip over the freaky break a third through!), on 3-track 12in with last year’s ‘The Bomb‘ (already flip to the 7in of ‘Rockit’) and a remix of his vintage jazz fusion ‘Chameleon’.

INSTANT FUNK: ‘(Just Because) You’ll Be Mine’ (US Salsoul SG 410)
Producer Bunny Sigler sets up a great bouncily driving beefy 116bpm beat, especially on the 12in extended club version flip, before the guys get meshed into it to end up chanting a familiar “right on time you’ll be mine” (anytime?!), the beat having strong floor impact. I got this on white label in New York only to find finished copies a day later in Rayners Lane! Continue reading “October 8, 1983: New York radio report, Grandmaster & Melle Mel, Herbie Hancock, Instant Funk, Skool Boyz”

October 1, 1983: David Grant, Major Harris, Rocksteady Crew, Hawkeye, Active Force

ODDS ‘N’ BODS

MICHAEL JACKSON and movie director John Landis are discussing a half million dollar video featuring Vincent Price as well as Michael to illustrate an extended 10 minute version of the ‘Thriller’ title track as a “thank you” gesture to all who bought the album (well over 8,500,000 US sales so far and still selling 200,000 a week) — there’s a question of just how the video will be financed, and how indeed it’ll be shown (incidentally, ‘Thriller’ is not set for US singles release although ‘P.Y.T.’ is — the sixth single there from that one LP) . . . Lionel Richie will be on commercial 12in here as soon as his ‘Can’t Slow Down’ album is out in the States (should be next week), the mix then possibly being different from the 7in version used on promo pressings . . . Newcleus in the 111bpm re-edited 7in version sent to me on acetate turns out to be a Froggy mix, and the new commercially released 7in version (Calibre BKS 8) — l know it’s only small, not a big butch 12in, but this version is far easier for mixers as it starts bang on the main “wikki-wikki”, so get it! . . . Gap Band ‘I’m Ready (If You’re Ready)‘ in much remixed form will be their UK 12in A-Side, soon . . . Jive Afrika have signed veteran afro-jazz tootler Hugh Masekela for future product . . Martini & Rossi booze manufacturers are staging a ‘Martini Screentest’ in 80 clubs during the autumn, with a video cameraman, casting director and helpful Max Factor beauty consultant singling out one guy and gal at each venue to compete for an appearance in a future Martini commercial, with spinoffs for the punters of free cocktail vouchers and the chance to win a holiday — all very “exciting”, to use their most overworked word? . . . Dick Carrier (ex-promotions wallah at the Goodhews chain of clubs) now fronts Croydon’s burgeoning Light & Sound Distribution equipment company and startled several people at the BADEM show with a catalogue constructed so much like a magazine that that indeed is what it could become! . . . Steve Dennis (who info’s that Birmingham’s most upfront import shop is Summit Records in Temple Street) has settled his new nights in that city as Monday ‘teen disco at the Powerhouse, Wed/Fri at Millionaire, Thurs/Sat still at Faces French — where Jon Alsop assumes Steve’s old mantle of DJ/entertainments manager . . . Mark Clark now does Tues at Bagshot pub The Hero, Thurs at Burnham Beeches Henrys, Fri/Sat at Maidenhead Valbonne/Skindles where he also arranges PAs on 0734-793779 (and where he may just find Friday turning into a boys night) . . . Liverpool’s ex-godfather DJ, Les Spaine is now doing independent record plugging from the old Shepperton Studio Centre (Chertsey 09328-62688) . . . ‘Krazy’ Kevin Worth started his club career in Blackpool and has been busy ever since (compering the Miss Wet T-Shirt shows in previous years amongst other things) — anyway, he’s now just moved to a new residency at Cambridge’s Ronelles, six nights a week . . . Cramond Perry (031-225 9740) has been filling in at Edinburgh’s Reflections up to this weekend, and then could use other gigs . . . Karl Kingston (0482-42169), as well as being full time at Hull’s refitted Mecca Peppermint Park, is busily doing commercial voiceovers around the whole northern ILR circuit plus for Yorkshire TV and Channel 4, and now offers to make customised NAB (or other) DJ jingles, IDs and promo adverts at competitive prices . . . ‘Segue’ Steve Goddard (01-500 2749) is keen to do free swaps of UK released material already bought on import and thus not needed, plus he’s looking to swap gigs with jocks who maybe can’t afford to be upfront all the time . . . Kev Hill (0277-223030) is going in a party of about 25 funkateers to Cromer next weekend (7-10) and wonders if any venues dare give him gigs there to ensure those extra punters (last time he tried this idea he had a hoax booking!) . . . Viking Radio’s Roadshow offers special cheap or even free dates for minority groups like the physically handicapped (two on the team are social workers), and also needs investors — full clarifications from Philip Watkins, 59b Hilton Road, Ipswich, Suffolk (send SAE) . . . Nick Ratcliffe (most impressed by rapper/MC Andy ‘Supercool’ Read, bookable 025679-7952) this Saturday (1) starts weekly with ex-208 Tony Baron at Portsmouth’s brand new Ritzy (formerly Locarno) — could this be of interest to Andrew Macey in Winchester I wonder? . . . Radio London soul jock Tony Blackburn guests on Saturday (1) at Harrow Weald’s Middlesex & Herts Country Club, which you can see masquerading as an East End nightclub on BBC-1 next Thursday in the ‘Give Us A Break’ series, while Froggy joins George ‘n’ Eric there next Tuesday (4), Sean French, Chris Brown, Bob Jones, Nicky Holloway & Ed Stokes jazz-soul another final allniter this Saturday (1) at Watford Gema’s in the Odeon Centre, which will then be torn down to make way for a Sainsbury’s — £4 tickets include a buffet and can only be bought in advance from various record shops and jocks gigs . . . Larry Foster, Steve Goddard, Steve ‘Walthamstow’ Day, Robbie Collins, Mark Eniver & Chris Kenny have a funky party on Tuesday (4) at Epping Forest Country Club near Albridge, £1.50 tickets bookable on 01-519 7280/531 8948/529 6203 . . . Lyndon T & Gordon Mac have moved their electro-funk to Soho Gossips on Wednesdays . . . Gary Oldis has joined Dave Chadwick on Wednesdays for funky fun at The Scorpion in Colburn, Catterick Garrison . . . Steve Charles, Julianas Jock recently taking time out at Benidorm ‘s Beachcomber where Gary Low ‘I Want You‘ was the holidaymaker fave (oddly he says Gary Low and Ryan Paris are the same guy), is organising a Benidorm reunion night at Swansea’s Harpers Nightclub next Thursday (6) . . . Pete Haigh & Steve Naylor mix black & white/US & UK dance music every Thursday at Standish Cassinelli’s where they also eagerly slurp up the home-made Cassinelli’s ice cream and now eat to bursting at the newly opened Mamma’s Ristorante . . . Columbia 12in sleeves, or at least the US company’s distributed labels, now show a montage of fabulous monochrome photos of such swing era New York nightspots as Smalls Paradise and the Savoy Ballroom, all very evocative and coincidentally in line with the ‘I Remember Harlem’ TV series and other topics recently touched on here . . . Tricky Dicky Scanes was threatening at a recent ’60s night to demonstrate the Mashed Potato dance — yeah, gimme gimme gimme gravy! . . . Darryl Hayden did a gig for Moody Blue John Lodge where Noel Edmonds arrived by helicopter, Ringo Starr had a chat and Who drummer Kenny Jones booked him for his own party — by the way, Darryl, evidently US-originated videos are restricted as to use here by various exchange rules, which some companies adhere to more carefully than others . . . London Town 91FM broadcasts now to West London on Saturdays, East London on Sundays, and will soon start on ‘Outernational’ short wave service to simulcast all over the south and into Europe! . . . Chris Ryder is after all types of radio presenter for the 7 days a week/24 hour Skyline Radio 212MW, send biog/demo tape to him at 3 Horsley Drive, New Addington, Croydon, Surrey . . . Chris Dinnis now makes fortnightly appearances on Tim Arnold’s Saturday 6-9pm DevonAir soul show . . . Madonna ‘Holiday’ / ‘Lucky Star’ now tops the US Dance/Disco chart which is ever more high energy rock-disco oriented (Randy Crawford ‘Nightline‘ fitting there perfectly) . . . Sandy Martin (Swindon Brunel Rooms) — or rather the local boys in blue — found his stolen car, seized up and stranded in an M4 layby, and luckily the thieves hadn’t looked in the boot so all his records ‘n stuff were safe . . . I gotta fly . . . TWO, THREE, BREAK!


HOT VINYL

DAVID GRANT: ‘Love Will Find A Way’ (Chrysalis GRANX 3)
Attractive but very lightweight Galaxy-ish 121½bpm 12in pulsator full of soft mushy harmonies, breaking for nice walking bass and tinkling vibes towards the end — presumably he’ll have another video to help sell it (untitled on white label, the flip’s a different purposeful 114bpm instrumental).

MAJOR HARRIS: ‘All My Life’ (US Pop Art PA 1401)
Early ’70s instigator of that infamous soundtrack to a thousand seductions. ‘Love Won’t Let Me Wait‘, Major’s finally back on a happily jiggling lickety-spit 117½bpm 12in lurcher, sorta soulfully electro with supporting chicks cheerily chipping in and then taking over when the beat gets freakiest (dub/edit flip). Don’t get too excited, but it’s almost another ‘Love Town’.

THE ROCK STEADY CREW: ‘(Hey You) Rock Steady Crew’ (Charisma RSC 1-12)
The famous five break dancing b-boys (and one rather vocal girl) from ‘Flashdance’, the ‘Buffalo Gals’ video and (reputedly) ‘Wild Style!’ serve up their own Africa Islam-scratched backbeat smacking all-happening 0-115bpm 12in hip hopper in such a bright vocal style that it’s more a pop than street sound, and so should cross over fast (inst flip). Continue reading “October 1, 1983: David Grant, Major Harris, Rocksteady Crew, Hawkeye, Active Force”