James Hamilton had been writing weekly US singles reviews for Record Mirror since early 1969. This is the last week that his reviews would appear, and it marks the start of an eight-month absence from the publication.
James’s contributions to Record Mirror would resume in June 1975, with the launch of the Disco section.
MILLIE JACKSON: In The Wash; How Do You Feel The Morning After (Polydor 2066466).
A surprisingly subtle stomper, “In The Wash” is officially the B-side yet deserves the top billing it gets in this column. Just listen to the way in which all the different ingredients gradually appear, and then thrill to Millie’s great Gospelly voice! Definitely a compulsive play-it-again side, unlike the boring slow plug-side. R&B PICK.
GREGG ALLMAN: Midnight Rider; Multi-Coloured Lady (Capricorn 2089002).
Capricorn having switched to Polydor here, this old Kinney pressing with a new number stuck on it must be taken to be no more than a promo for Gregg’s reissued album. However, after “Please Call Home”, this aptly “Laid Back” atmospheric slowie remains the best thing on it and still deserves some success here. Delicate slow undercut. LAZY PICK.
ALICE COOPER: Under My Wheels; Desperado (Warner Bros K 16127).
A minor US hit from the start of 1972 and out here originally before Cooper-mania struck, this agreeable aggressive chunk of churning noise is out again to act as a trailer for Alice’s new “Greatest Hits” album. Excellent intro, although overall it may be a bit dated for the chart this time around. Mannered self-consciously “strange” flip. ROCK PICK.
VAN McCOY & THE SOUL CITY SYMPHONY: Love Is The Answer; Killing Me Softly (Avco 6105030).
Eddie Calvert lives! With a golden trumpet intro, this “Love’s Theme”-cum-“TSOP”-type instrumental (actually from the Stylistics’ latest LP) seems set to do well here, especially as Van has fans already. Nicely relaxing flipside treatment, too. MoR PICK.
GENE DOZIER & THE UNITED FRONT: Give The Women What They Want; The Best Girl I Ever Had (Mercury 6167007).
Here’s that funky chanter with the incredible intro which I told you about last week. Once past the intro admittedly it does get a bit monotonous, which may limit its appeal to funky folk only, but they’ll dig mightily! Attractive semi-slow vocal flip. FUNKY PICK.
GENTLEMEN & THEIR LADIES: Party Bump, Pts 1 & 2 (Contempo CS 2030).
If the parrty, parrty, parrty craze hasn’t already parted, this good booming bass chanter – complete with whistle blowing – should be what the funky dancers ordered. Chat starts the Junior Walker-ish flip, which is rather more interesting . . . as is the fact that George Kerr produced. PARRTY PICK.
THE LAST WORD: Keep On Bumpin’ Before You Give Out Of Gas; Funky And Some (Polydor 2066429).
The ecological yet silly title should tell you that this is indeed another creation of the Minister Of New New Super Heavy Funk, Mr James Brown himself. An angular rhythm jiggler with sax and synthesizer, it’s basically an instrumental with subdued chanting and background chat. Ponderous brassy flip, the title of which fits the dancin’ topside better. FUNKY PICK.
ARLO GUTHRIE: Presidential Rag; Nostalgia Rag (Reprise K 14365).
Not a rag in the strict sense, Arlo’s now outdated ditty about the ex-Mister President is a perky plopper with smooth strings and nasal whining. However, the Ian Whitcomb-type flip really is a rag, slow and woozy.
THE DOOBIE BROTHERS: Eyes Of Silver; You Just Can’t Stop It (Warner Bros K 16450).
“Long Train Running, Part Two” . . . which means it’s professionally put together without saying anything new at all. They do make nice noises though, as and the original was good so is this. Jerky flip to a similar formula. ERSATZ ROCK PICK.
THE MOM AND DADS: The Rangers Waltz; Quentin’s B Flat Boogie (Pye 7N 45382).
Did me nut when this accordion-led waltz-time instrumental came out a couple of years ago, and now I see it’s finally become one of Australia’s all-time smashes! Real down home, portly Mom and the grinning Dads from Washington State are a traditional treat not to be missed . . . book ‘em for your next social function, now! Sax-playing Quentin Ratliff gets it on to a great boogie-woogie rhythm flipside. Yeah! ODDBALL PICK.
OTIS CLAY: You Did Something To Me; It Was Jealousy (London HLU 10467).
With a solidity that’s frightening, Willie Mitchell’s latest backing sound threatens to rival his “I Can Hear The Rain Work” at times, especially when Otis’s voice meshes into a scale-climbing twiddly bit from (I think) the bass and organ. Mmm, that’s nice! The comfortable chugger’s flipped by a strainingly Soulful slowie. SOUL PICK.
LOBO: Don’t Expect Me To Be Your Friend; How Can I Tell Her (Philips 6073828).
Having missed out on “I’d Love You To Want Me”, Philips now try to recoup their loss with another oldie, a fairly uninteresting slowie that was a US Top 10 hit at the start of last year. More poignancy on the even slower flip, which sounds better to me.
GEORGE FISCHOFF: Georgia Porcupine; I’ll Never Forget (UA UP 35678).
Once the youngest composer on Broadway as well as cleffer of such as “98.6”, piano-pounding George starts slow and delicate before making this instrumental erupt like an updated Kokomo or Floyd Cramer. Boy, he can sure hammer them 88’s! Romantic slowly building flip.
THE ARMADA ORCHESTRA: It’s The Same Old Song; To Chicago With Love (Contempo CS 2024).
Doing for this Four Tops oldie much as Earl Van Dyke and the Soul Brothers did their “I Can’t Help Myself”, the San Remo Strings-copying Orchestra turn out a squeaky clomp-along instrumental that’s as danceable as the vocal original. Pretty piano on the lush ‘n slushy slow flip.
THE ESCORTS: Disrespect Can Wreck; Let’s Make Love (At Home Sometimes) (Contempo CS 2029).
Here’s value (if you’re not a flipside freak) – the group’s two most recent hit sides back-to-back. Badly pressed, the stylus-skipping “Disrespect” is a falsetto throbber which eventually becomes a little playlet with judge, mother and convicted son . . . suitable, as the group is made up from inmates (some now ex) of Rahay State Prison in New Jersey, where producer George Kerr has to record the vocal tracks. The lovely sweet slow flip is their current R&B hit, and possible preferable.
SPYDER TURNER: Since I Don’t Have You; Happy Days (Kwanza K 19502).
Spyder’s never managed to follow his impersonation-filled treatment of “Stand By Me” from the beginning of ’67, and his rather stolid reading of this lovely and much recorded old Skyliners classic won’t alter anything. The flipside re-write of “Oh Happy Day” is better, and has already been played by Greg Edwards on Capital.