Hit or Miss?
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!
DOOLEY SILVERSPOON: ‘Dooley Silverspoon’ (Seville SEL 1).
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 Jeanne 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)
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.
CROWN HEIGHTS AFFAIR: ‘Dreaming A Dream’ (Polydor 2001 602) (mentioned in Billboard column 5/31/75, Billboard chart debut 6/7/75)
Beautifully arranged with synthetics and brass vying for the lead, the instrumental disco side just keeps on changing in sound as it drives along, full of melody and hustling rhythm. Phew, but they’re makin’ some good records these days!
DOOLEY SILVERSPOON: ‘As Long As You Know (Who You Are)’ (Parts 1 & 2) (Seville SEV 1015)
Produced and arranged under the influence of S. O. N. N. Y. (Sound Of New New York) – in other words, Sonny Casella – this sparkling churner has much of the George McCrae thing plus a whole lot more that’s all its own. Get the album if you can.
SEVENTH WAVE: ‘Manifestations’ (Gull GULS 17)
Totally overwhelming and almost too busy for its own good, this comes-and-goes pounder is a weird mixture of Hawkwind, Four Tops, Steve Harley, Arthur Brown, Deep Purple, and Todd Rundgren, based very much on ‘Reach Out (I’ll Be There)’. Decidedly oddball but definitely exciting if played loud.
BUDDY HOLLY: ‘Oh Boy’/’Everyday’ (MCA 207)
Hardly a gig goes by without my using this, the most crowd-rousing of all Buddy’s rockers. I generally cut abruptly into it out of the middle of ‘That’ll Be The Day’ for unexpected impact, and, at one stage, I stopped the motor so that it ran down to a standstill during the guitar break, before I overlapped the slow Mud version.
WALTER CARLOS: ‘Dance Of The Reed Pipes’ (CBS 3590)
Known by the intelligentsia as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, this will be immediately sung along to by most thickies as the tune to “Everyone’s A Fruit And Nut Case!” Lovely fun as a surprise insert.
ANDREWS SISTERS: ‘Rum And Coca-Cola/Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ (MCA 206)
The 1950s Capitol remakes of these 1940s originals sound better if you can find them, though these should still be good for carefully judged moments at MOR gigs.
JOHNNY WILLIAMS: ‘You’re Something Kinda Mellow’ (Polydor 2001 506)
Something (else) kinda like the Detroit Emeralds.
IRENE CHANTER: ‘Cuckoo-Cuckoo’ (Polydor 2058 608)
Homegrown funk from Fulham’s own chanteuse.
EDWIN STARR: ‘Stay With Me’ (Bradley’s BRAD 7520)
Squeaky sax and sustained screams make this modish medium swayer sound special.
JACKSON 5: ‘Forever Came Today’ (Tamla Motown TMG 1001)
Boundlessly bounding subtle thumper cut down from the ‘Moving Violation’ LP (which you should get instead). Their best ever?
DOBIE GRAY: ‘Out On The Floor’ (Black Magic BM 107)
The classic 1965 Northern dancer, its chart placing is practically guaranteed by advance orders alone.
CARL MALCOLM: ‘Miss Wire Waist’ / SKIN, FLESH & BONES: Wire Dub’ (Black Wax 7)
The ‘Fattie Bum-Bum’ star, huge in the Midlands, is doing well already with this reggae plodder. As usual, I prefer the dub version – it’s a goodie.
I. ROY: ‘Welding’ / ‘Version’ (Philips 0006479)
Double-entendres about soldiering on. Another nicely ethnic reggae thudder, overshadowed again by a great version.
DEE CLARK: ‘Ride A Wild Horse’ (Part 1 & 2) (Chelsea 2005 037)
TK-type sounds that sound mightily fine by the ‘Just Keep It Up’ veteran, whose amazing voice is right up to it. Instrumental flip.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: ‘Jaws’ (Atlantic K 10065)
First to reach us of the many spinoffs from the Exorcist-type movie that America currently loves to hate. This mainly instrumental slow funker has amusing dialogue inserts by two blokes going down to the beach (the flick’s about a man-eating shark). You need to know about it to see the joke.
FIRE: ‘Oh, That’s My Man’ (Jay Boy BOY 97)
Casey/Finch-penned, produced slab of TK rhythm, sung for once by a girlie group. Heavy beat predominates.
EXECUTIVE SUITE: ‘When The Fuel Runs Out’ (Polydor 2001 597)
New label for this re-issued 1973 Philly dancer from 1973. Smooth harmonies, thudding matt drums and backing track flip.
FAITH, HOPE & CHARITY: ‘To Each His Own’ (RCA 2599)
Van McCoy’s girlie group are riding high in US disco charts with this pleasant vocal-switching semi-hustler.
ROLLING STONES: ‘Out Of Time’ / ‘Jiving Sister Fanny’ (Decca F 13597)
From ‘Metamorphosis’, the Chris Farlowe backing behind Mick & Co. Chunky archetypal flip.
BAREFOOT ROCKERS: ‘Giddyup (Ride Your Horsey Home)’ (Private Stock PVT 36)
Bob Crewe-produced amalgamation of lotsa fave oldies, set to a slow heavy rhythm.
FEDERATION: ‘Back To Back’ (State STAT 11)
Not Back to Bach, it’s an appealingly-sung girlie group, TK-style, steady rhythm chatterer.
SAM & DAVE: ‘Under The Boardwalk’ (UA UP 36008)
Produced by Steve cropper even, the soul duo go through the Drifters’ oldie fairly straight, though the backing’s fancy.
RAY CHARLES: ‘Living For The City’ (London BLU 10505)
Great raspingly-preached rap stands out in this masterly reading of Stevie’s tune. Reviewed last week as an import.
MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA: ‘Can’t Stand Your Funk’ (CBS 3007)
One for Les Spaine. It’s solidly intricate funk all the way, tortuous enough to tie you in knots.
FELIX CAVALIERE: ‘Flip Flop’ (Bearsville K 15520)
The ex-Rascal goes funky with some tricky stereo on this attractive medium beater.
BOBBY KEYS: ‘Gimme The Key’ (Ring O’ 2017102)
Blatant ripoff of AWB.
CHARLIE JAMES: ‘Make My Life A Little Bit Brighter’ (Polydor 2058 635)
Soul Sisters beat (surprisingly) plus a catchy pop song done by a chick voice I like.
BARBARA HALL: ‘You Brought It On Yourself’ (EMI International INT 514) (Billboard chart debut 6/28/75)
Great credentials – penned by Sam Dees, produced by Major Lance and Otis Leavill! Lovely result, though more soul than disco.
VELVET LOVE: ‘Symphony Of Dreams’ (Alaska ALA 1010)
‘I Hear A Symphony’, Part 2, out of ‘Lovers’ Concerto’.
TABOU COMBO: ‘New York City (Parts 1 & 2)’ (Decca FR 13596)
Presumably African, the rhythms on this live and rapturously greeted frantic workout are simply terrific . . . but will British kids be able to dance to them? Adventurous jocks should try and see. In many ways, the find of the year.
DISCO TEX & THE SEX-O-LETTES: ‘Boogie Flap’ (Chelsea 2005 033) (mentioned in Billboard column 4/19/75)
A disappointingly desultory re-run of the ideas from his first two hits. However, it’s already popular with many of you, I see.
Fattie battles on
The Fattie Bum-Bum battle has already begun: CARL MALCOLM (UK) is riding high for Capital-listening Steve Ingram (DJ Enterprises, Weybridge), while J.R. Bindle (Bindlestiff Discos, Hullbridge) tips THE DIVERSIONS (Gull) . . . Bindle is also hot for the great CROWN HEIGHTS AFFAIR ‘Dreaming A Dream’ (Polydor), as is Sammy Southall (Butlins, Bognor Regis) . . . Ray “Rosko” Robinson (Tiffanys, Leicester) digs ’em too but this week is really raving about FIRE ‘Oh That’s My Man‘ (Jay Boy) and MAGIC DISCO MACHINE: ‘Control Tower’ (US Motown) . . . EARTH, WIND & FIRE: ‘That’s The Way Of The World’ (CBS) and ESTHER PHILLIPS: ‘What A Diff’rence A Day Makes’ (Kudu) are a couple of tasty tips from Jay Jay Sawers (Stevenston, Ayrshire) who also has both Paloma Blanca’s charted, GEORGE BAKER SELECTION (Warners) and JO KING (UK)! . . . Doctor John (Newport, Salop) is first on to INNERVISION: ‘Honey Baby (Be Mine)’ (Private Stock) . . . nice to see THE WHO ‘My Generation’ (Track) charted by W.H. Coates (Untouchable Disco, Appleby) – in so many cases, mine included, a really accurate mobile disco chart would probably be nearly all great oldies! . . . talking of great oldies, Mel Littlewood (Blue Light Discos, Leek) infos that FRANKIE LANE does a funky ‘Proud Mary’ on his US-only Brand New Day LP that goes down a bomb . . . one I don’t know, DIAMONDS: ‘Hey Girl’ (Jama) does well for D. Forbes (Kenilworth) . . . Les “Godfather” Spaine (Time Piece, Liverpool) has OHIO PLAYERS: ‘Love Rollercoaster’ (Mercury) at Number 1.
THIS WEEK’S Star tip comes from the ubiquitous Jon Taylor (Crockers Disco, Norwich): “With comedy sounds doing their job in breaking up the middle of the evening, I’ve just started playing a sound which replaces my usual comedy records (such as Nellie The Elephant and Wizard Of Oz): ROGER GLOVER & GUESTS: ‘Love Is All’ (Purple) seems to replace all of the others and rolls ’em into one.” Oh yes. Jon, now pull the other one!
“Another thing I do fora good laugh is to use double-sided signs, such as one side saying ‘Hello’ and the other, ‘Sailor’. These always go down very well.” Well, I can dig the last bit!
UK Disco Top 20 – September 13, 1975
01 01 KC & The Sunshine Band – That’s The Way (I Like It) – Jay Boy
02 03 George McCrae – It’s Been So Long – Jay Boy
03 02 Stylistics – I Can’t Give You Anything – Avco
04 04 Rod Stewart – Sailing – Warner Bros.
05 05 Ritchie Family – Brazil – Polydor
06 12 Banzaii – Chinese Kung Fu – Contempo
07 07 People’s Choice – Do It Anyway You Wanna – Philadelphia Int’l
08 16 Moments – Dolly My Love – All Platinum
09 08 Bimbo Jet – El Bimbo – EMI
10 06 Al Matthews – Fool – CBS
11 NE Jimmy Bo Horne – Gimme Some – RCA
12 09 Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony – The Hustle – Avco
13 NE Jasper Carrott – Magic Roundabout – DJM
14 NE Fatback Band – Yum Yum (Gimme Some) – Polydor
15 NE George Baker – Paloma Blanca – Warner Bros.
16 NE Leo Sayer – Moonlighting – Chrysalis
17 NE Ralph Carter – When You’re Young And In Love – Mercury
18 NE B.T. Express – Give It What You Got – Roadshow (US import)
19 NE Steely Dan – Do It Again – ABC
20 19 Mike Batt – Summertime City – Epic
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry
james’ top ten
1 LADY OF SPAIN Ray Stevens LP (Janus)
2 IN THE MOOD Joe Bob’s Nashville Sound Company (US Capitol)
3 THE LAST FAREWELL Roger Whittaker (EMI)
4 YOU BELONG TO ME. Jim Reeves (RCA)
5 ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (United Artists)
6 DANCE OF THE REED PIPES Walter Carlos (CBS)
7 EL BIMBO Susan Maughan (Ember)
8 I CAN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING Stylistics (Avco)
9 SUMMER OF ’42 Michel Legrand (Warner Bros)
10 SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS Black Watch (Spark)
1 SING A LITTLE SONG Desmond Dekker (Cactus)
2 I WANT’A DO SOMETHING FREAKY TO YOU Leon Haywood LP (20th Century)
3 NEW YORK CITY Tabou Combo (Decca)