September 27, 1975: Elton John, Sparks, MFSB, John Schroeder Orchestra, Bimbo Jet

Following my pleas for DJ reaction to the number of singles I reviewed each week, I am again cutting back to just those I personally would consider using – not only in my own mobile DJ but also as a club DJ.

To quote from contributing DJ Mark Rymann (Porthcawl), “I have to play records which I reckon can be easily accepted or else there’s an empty floor.”


New Spins

ELTON JOHN: ‘Island Girl’ (DJM DJS 610)
At last, another good fast dancer from Elt, who may be extremely popular but does tend to do too many dead slowies. Now maybe ‘Crocodile Rock’ can take a rest!

SPARKS: ‘Looks, Looks, Looks’ (Island WIP 6249)
Unlikely source for the new Hurricane Smith, but that’s what this brassy big-band swinger could easily be! Reminiscent of Manhattan Transfer, whose slower ‘Tuxedo Junction’ is even more MoR.

MFSB: ‘Let’s Go Disco’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 3635) (mentioned in Billboard column 5/3/75)
Simple stomp beat chanter, a certified smash!  Continue reading “September 27, 1975: Elton John, Sparks, MFSB, John Schroeder Orchestra, Bimbo Jet”

September 20, 1975: Bob Marley, Jack Ashford, B.T. Express, Trammps, Gary Toms Empire

As I did last week, I’m reviewing everything that’s come out this week which has any bearing on the disco scene. And as last week, I’m still wondering whether that’s what DJ’s want, or whether you’d be happy to let me exercise my critical judgment. Please write and tell me what you think.


New Spins

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS: ‘No Woman, No Cry’ (Island WIP 6244)
Recorded live at their Lyceum gig, Bob and the boys’ mournful slowie is almost Dylanesque – which may help explain its enormous appeal to Capital Radio’s listeners, who have voted it up to No. 1 in the Capital Hit Line. More rock than reggae, so those unfamiliar with reggae have nothing to fear. Pity it fades early (3:50), though doubtless the LP cut’ll be longer.

JACK ASHFORD & THE SOUND OF NEW DETROIT: ‘Do The Choo-Choo’ (Parts 1 & 2) (London HLA 10507) (Billboard chart debut 7/5/75)
Archetypal disco sounds of the Hamilton Bohannon type, just made to be danced to. Basically instrumental, nothing to do with Archie Bell (or Little Eva).

B.T. EXPRESS: ‘Give It What You Got’ (EMI INT 515) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/12/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
Repetitive funky chanter, the US hit from their ‘Non-Stop’ LP. Presumably the equally big ‘Peace Pipe’ has been taken off the flip so it can be our follow-up; instead we get the sparse but spry ‘Happiness’ as coupling.  Continue reading “September 20, 1975: Bob Marley, Jack Ashford, B.T. Express, Trammps, Gary Toms Empire”

September 13, 1975: Dooley Silverspoon, B.T. Express, Crown Heights Affair, Seventh Wave, Buddy Holly

For every Jack there’s a Jill, or so the saying goes, and it seems to me as though for every record (no matter how duff) there’s a DJ prepared to play it.

My principle, when reviewing records, has always been to try and weed out the ones my critical faculties told me were duff, and only mention the ones which were halfway decent – or, at least, of interest and usable.

Furthermore, when this page started, I set out only to mention the records that I considered were likely to cut through a crowded room and make dancers pay attention on the very first hearing.

Now I find myself getting paranoid about the way in which so many things that I never mentioned keep cropping up in our contributing DJs’ weekly chart returns. By no means are all the things I missed out in the duff category, but enough of them are to make me wonder whether perhaps I ought to mention absolutely everything that comes out, just in case I miss a future disco monster by personally thinking it the biggest load of cobblers.

Would you please write in and let me know whether you are happy to let me exercise my critical judgment? Or whether, like this week, I should give blanket coverage of just about everything issued that’s got any sort of beat? (But where would that have placed ‘Magic Roundabout’, huh?!)

I’ve always reckoned I have a pretty good set of ears when it comes to running my own discotheque so please don’t shatter my confidence now!


LP Trax

DOOLEY SILVERSPOON: ‘Dooley Silverspoon’ (Seville SEL 1) (‘Let Me Be The No. 1 (Love Of Your Life)’ mentioned in Billboard column 9/27/75, Billboard chart debut 10/18/75)
It’s not just the fact that I was the first person anywhere in the world to be given a copy of this that makes me enthusiastic. But also the fact that Dooley’s debut album is produced by Sonny Casella, the man who made Jane Burton’s incredible ‘Nobody Loves Me Like You Do’ and the fact that there’s much of the same great sound on many of these tracks . . . now do you understand? My fave is the one most like Jeanne, the ultra-long ‘Let Me Be The No. 1 (Love Of Your Life)’, although even better for dancing is the full, long version of Dooley’s new single, ‘As Long As You Know (Who You Are)’, and the combined parts 1 & 2 of ‘Bump Me Baby’. Strings, shrieking, pretty melodies and ever-hustling hi-hats are the main elements of this Miami-influenced New York Sound. That’s the way I like it, uh-huh!

B.T. EXPRESS: ‘Non-Stop’ (EMI International INA 1501) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/26/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
The BTE’s first LP thru EMI is, as the title says, non-stop all the way except for a truly awful slow attempt at ‘Close To You’ on Side 2. To tell the truth I find the result a bit monotonous and the tracks too similar to differentiate between them. However, my own fave is the last cut of all, ‘Whatcha Think About That’, while in the US the two most popular are the first two, ‘Peace Pipe’ and ‘Give It What You Got’. Funky fodder through and through, with more vocals than their hit singles might have led one to expect.  Continue reading “September 13, 1975: Dooley Silverspoon, B.T. Express, Crown Heights Affair, Seventh Wave, Buddy Holly”

September 6, 1975: Z.Z. Hill, Persuasions, Ray Charles, Ray Stevens, Jim Reeves

This page is a special service to the many readers of Record Mirror & Disc who are either full or part-time DJs. We hope it’ll also be interesting to the general disco-goer. If you have any queries, please write.

States Picks

Z. Z. HILL: ‘I Created A Monster’ / ‘Steppin’ In The Shoes Of A Fool’ (UA UA-XW631-X)
Penned/produced by none other than Lamont Dozier, Zee Zee’s new R&B hit couples a heavily thumping, slow funker with an incredibly subtle bright jogger. The hit side is extremely powerful sounding and has some great stereo effects, but the flip is artistically in a far superior league, starting with very few elements meshing to do a lot and finishing with a lot doing something that sounds very simple. Maybe if UA get hip they’ll put this out here in a hurry, then you can hear what I mean.

PERSUASIONS: ‘One Thing On My Mind’ / ‘Darlin’’ (A&M 1698-8)
No longer singing acapella, the soulful Persuasions harmonize and emote to a Tymes-type backbeat and slick 1975 arrangement which doesn’t detract from their superb vocal interplay even if it does depersonalize them somewhat. Surprisingly, they manage to make the flip less soulful than the Beach Boys’ original, though.

RAY CHARLES: ‘Living For The City’ (Crossover 981)
It’s come full circle when Ray Charles feels he has to sing Stevie Wonder to gain credibility, as Little Stevie began his career by recording a tribute album to Ray. The result, an R&B hit, presents us with the interesting experience of hearing Ray duetting with himself in stereo, and delivering a raspingly breathed sermon-style rap about the roaches in the city. It’s kinda good, but why couldn’t he have written something comparable himself?  Continue reading “September 6, 1975: Z.Z. Hill, Persuasions, Ray Charles, Ray Stevens, Jim Reeves”