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


New Spins

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.

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)
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)
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. 

TRAMMPS: ‘Hold Back The Night’ / ‘Tom’s Song’ (Buddah BDS 437) (Billboard chart debut 6/21/75)
Solidly whapping easy beat and Four Toppish effortless vocals give this the feel of a British hit. Is the attractive instrumental ‘Tom’s Song’ dedicated to Mr. Moulton of the celebrated disco mix?

GARY TOMS EMPIRE: ‘Drive My Car’ / ‘Love Me Right’ (Epic EPC 3611) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/26/75, Billboard chart debut 11/1/75)
Losers of the chart battle but possible disco winners with ‘7-6-5-4-3-2-1’, the Empire are back in style and blowing their hooters this time, as they give the Beatles oldie their very own rhythm-packed treatment. Lovely flip with Latin lope and Pete Wingfield-ish vocals.

JIMMY JAMES & THE VAGABONDS: ‘Whatever Happened To The Love We Know’ (Pye 7N 45524)
My old mate Jimmy gets well served on this happily bouncing whomper-stomper by a supremely confident Biddu production job.

SUE SHIFRIN: ‘All I Wanna Do’ (EMI 2343)
The New Seekers have indeniably left a void that MOR jocks find hard to fill. Here to help them is a mixture of Lyn Paul, Lynsey de Paul, Hurricane Smith’s sax player and a few “la-la-la”s . . . OK, but at least the old folks can dance to it!

FRED ASTAIRE: ‘The Wailing Of The Willow / City Of The Angels’ (UA UP 36013)
Brand new bossa-nova-ish swayer from ever-youthful Fred – this and the ‘My Kind Of Town, L. A. Is’ flip, should be of interest to easy listening crowds, especially if pre-announced.

DR. HOOK: ‘Only Sixteen’ (Capitol CL 1836)
Never thought I’d dig these guys, but now I love their affectionate treatment of Sam Cooke’s gentle classic. Great MOR.

CHRIS FARLOWE: ‘Out Of Time’ (Immediate IMS 101)
Like the ad says, “accept no substitute”. Immediate is now owned by NEMS, and this particular release can be ordered thru CBS depots (that’s just so your local unfriendly record store has no excuses).

JO JO BENNETT & MUDIE’S ALL STARS: ‘Leaving Rome’ (Cactus CT66)
Originally out about three years ago, this delightful lightly reggae-fied instrumental has a gorgeous melody topped off by twittering birds. Great to see it out again.

RAY WILLIAMS: ‘It’s Been A Long Time’ (Vasko 53)
Initially put off by the packaging, I was totally floored on hearing this. Instead of the dreadful pub singer the blurb suggested, composer/producer/performer Ray turned out to be the most truly soulful singer I’ve heard this year. Surrounded by a stunningly soulful sound of incredibly intense purity and simplicity, Ray turns the clock back to the old Goldwax sound of the mid 60s, as he tenderly emotes an achingly felt slowie that positively drips with blues feelings. If you’re a soul fan from way back, don’t on an account miss this, or Ray’s similar 1974 slowie, ‘Growing Old‘. This guy is great.

GEORGE HARRISON: ‘You’ (Apple R 6007)
Nice MOR appeal on Hari’s Spector-ish new churner, even if the lyrics are a bit disjointed.

MORRIS ALBERT: ‘Feelings’ / ‘Come To My Life’ (Decca FR 13591)
Brazilian Morris is huge worldwide with this romantic late-nite slowie, and he should go over well here too. Expect an easy listening breakout, at least. Flip’s fine, too.

BARBARA LYNN: ‘You’ll Lose A Good Thing’ (Oval 1006)
A 1962 smash for the ‘Oh Baby’ gal, this bluesy sax-backed slowie is perennially popular with West Indians and is already getting plays aplenty in black clubs. It’s effective enough to cross over, so try it.

JACKIE LEE: ‘Do The Temptation Walk’ / ‘The Shotgun And The Duck’ (Contemporaries CS 9035)
Well, I remember Pete Stringfellow waving Jackie Lee’s album cover about on one of my visits to his King Mojo Club in Sheffield back in 1965 . . . was that the birth of Northern Soul? ‘The Duck’ could certainly claim to have started it all, and this follow-up to it was probably just as influential. A classic coupling.

BILL HARRIS: ‘Uptown Saturday Night’ (Part 2) (Warner Bros. K 16586)
OK, I’ve turned it over, and now I can see why Glasgow’s Judge Jay has been raving about it – the flip continues as a ‘Night Train’/’Disco Stomp’-type inventory of funky US place names.

GREYHOUND: ‘Dream Lover’ (Transatlantic BIG 529)
The guys who played at Mick’s wedding do a pop-reggae version of Bobby Darin’s oldie that’s fine in its way.

BUSTER PEARSON: ‘Ain’t It Groovy’ (K&B KB 5514)
Straightforward reggae of no great inventiveness.

BLACKBYRDS: ‘I Need You’ (Fantasy FTC 117)
Lively and rather too obvious bouncy chanter, edited down from their ‘Flying Start’ LP.

SOUL ON DELIVERY: ‘Hustle (Dance Of The Day)’ (Decca F 13601)
Commendably American-sounding instrumental that does that job denoted by the title, produced here by Mike Vernon and Pip Williams.

ELEVENTH HOUR: ‘Hollywood Hot’ (20th Century BTC 2215)
Bob Crewe’s group are hotter than hot in US discos with this ponderous medium stomper. Simple stuff that works.

SUSAN CADOGAN: ‘Congratulations’ (Klik KL 604)
Lee Perry-produced reggae slowie that should go over big at West Indian weddings! I’d rather hear this than her pop things, any day.

TRAPEZE: ‘On The Sunny Side Of The Street’ (Warner Bros. K 16606)
Unorthodox rockified treatment of the evergreen, it might work at jolly MOR gigs.

DIZZY HEIGHTS: ‘Don’t Be Down On Me’ / ‘Someone Somewhere Is Waiting’ (Philips 6006478)
Going over great at the Gold Mine, Canvey Island, this perky girlie group shuffler is winsome and sweet, while the instrumental with phonecalls flip sounds like a ‘Hot Buttered Soul’ backing track.

SNOOPY DEAN: ‘Lady, Lady, Lady’ (Seville SEV 1006)
Nice sound even if not much substance to this lazy soul swayer.

CHEQUERS: ‘Rock On Brother’ (Creole CR 111)
Modish instrumental, kinda like a theme in search of a movie.

AL SOUTHERN: ‘Puttin’ It Down (To The Way I Feel About You Girl)’ (UA UP 36014)
UK sweet slowie, structured Stylistically, but minus the high notes.

Disco 75 a smash!

“DISCO 76 will be even bigger and better, and is definitely on!” Thus spoke NADJ boss, Ben Cree, at the close of this year’s fantaatically successful DJ Convention & Exhibition last Tuesday.

“We’ve had many more visitors than we expected – over 3,000, of whom 2,000 were paying members of the public.

“So next year we are obviously going to need more room as so many more exhibitors want stands. We don’t know whether the show will again be in the Bloomsbury Centre Hotel, but the dates are definitely set for September 6/7/8th.”

This year the Hotel certainly wasn’t hard to find – it was surrounded by DJs’ Transits!

The noises inside were naturally deafening and the lights dazzling. Meteor Lighting managed to set fire to their stand during an artificial smoke display!

I had fun meeting several of our DJ Hot Line contributors – among them Les Aron, Theo Loyla and Jeff Bunting – and generally checking over the equipment on offer.

Frankly, I personally would not want to swap my own console for anything I saw at Disco 75, mainly because nothing there had the type of pre-fade listening switch on which I have based my whole DJing style.

Everyone these days seems happy manipulating sliding faders, whereas I like being able to cut precisely in and out of records with just one snap-across action. Oh well!

Jingle Singles of Roche in Cornwall caught my attention with one track off their new collection (Jingle Single No. 1): this was the Big’n From Wigan cut, which with the West Coast USA cut, is actually to the point and well executed!

One major disappointment for readers was the absence of Capital Radio’s free flimsy jingle single. This unfortunately was caused by a disagreement over the nature of the B-side, a commercial by a hi-fi store, which was in fact financing the operation.

Roll on next year and Disco 76. If it is any bigger, they better give ya earplugs at the entrance!

dj hotline

Steve Day (Chingford) reports EXECUTIVE SUITE: When The Fuel Runs Out (Polydor) is really going down a storm, and KAY-GEES: Hustle Wit Every Muscle (US Gang) is making good progress . . . my fave, MIKE HARPER: I’m Crying (Retreat) is a breaker for Jay Jay Sawers (Hotel De Croft and Karloff’s, Irvine, Ayrshire) . . . Doug “The Mug” Forbes (Klouds, Globe Hotel, Warwick) gets great, reaction to DEE CLARK: Ride A Wild Horse (Chelsea) . . . Les “Godfather” Spaine (Time Piece, Liverpool) finds that the LP cut is B.T. EXPRESS Discotizer (EMI) . . . CARL MALCOLM seems to be winning the Fattie Bum-Bum battle – Pete Graham (Worthing) even charts him twice! . . . Anthony Allan (Speakeasy, Wakefield) is back from his hols to push DOBIE GRAY: Out On The Floor (Black Magic) and GEORGE BENSON: Supership (US CTI) . . . EXCITERS: Reaching For The Best (20th C) is second only to Dobie for Alex Henderson (Victoria Bars, Weymouth) . . . Chris Sang (Hove) is going with POINTER SISTERS: How Long (Betcha Got A Chick On The Side) (ADCU) . . . “ESTHER PHILLIPS must be a blggie as it’s about time that some Jazz-Soul and Latin-Funk rhythms repeated their US success here” – so opines dependable Jon Taylor (Crockers, Norwich), who also tips THE BROTHERS: Are You Ready For This (US RCA) . . . incidentally, little RALPH CARTER amassed a million bucks by the time he was ten from doing McDonalds hamburger commercials . . . Jason “Judge Jay” Mayes (Spankies, Glasgow) is currently hot for ELEVENTH HOUR: Hollywood Hot (20th C) . . . Magnet Records are doing a special mix and edit on SILVER CONVENTION: Fly Robin Fly/I Like It, huge in New York discos, for rush release soon . . . Bob Poole (Reading) uses the 40 Pub Singalongs LP (K-Tel) . . . Soul Search-winning ERUPTION were outstandingly good live at Phebes (Stoke Newington) last Saturday, especially on their single Let Me Take You Back In Time (RCA) . . . a monster in the making, BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS: No Woman, No Cry (Island) is already breaking for Les Aron (Life Discos, Bognor Regis) . . . if you want to get on Satril Records’ mailing list, just send proof of your DJ position and a phone number to the Henry Hadaway Organisation, London WC2H 7JF . . . ABBA: S.O.S. (Epic) is charted by Peter Grelg (Route 66 Discos, Plymouth) . . . Ray “Rosko” Robinson (Tiffanys, Leicester), tips BLACKBYRDS: I Need You . . . veteran reader Rod Schell (Carlisle) suggests the old SONNY CHARLES & CHECKMATES LTD: Proud Mary (A&M), and asks whatever happened to ex-RM columnist Tony Hall – well, Rod, Tony’s currently employing DAVID ESSEX to produce one of the many acts he manages, THE REAL THING: Watch Out Carolina (Pye).

star tip

Two interesting Star Tips from Anthony Allan (Speakeasy, Wakefield): Anthony gets hilarious results when he MIMES along to such records as LORNE GREEN: Ringo (RCA), ERNIE: Rubber Duckie (CBS), ALLAN SHERMAN: Hello Muddah! Hello Fadduh! (Warners), RAY STEVENS: Bridget The Midget and The Streak. His other trick he calls “The Glass Box”:- Hold the mike out of sight and in such a way that you can tap the top of it. At the same time as you tap it, pat the air in front of you so that it looks and sounds as though there is a glass wall between you.and the audience. Then pat all around you in the same way until it seems that you are encased in a glass box. There are all sorts of variations, and the response can be terrific.

UK Disco Top 20 – September 20, 1975

01 01 KC & The Sunshine Band – That’s The Way (I Like It) – Jay Boy
02 02 George McCrae – It’s Been So Long – Jay Boy
03 10 Al Matthews – Fool – CBS
04 — 5000 Volts – I’m On Fire – Philips
05 03 Stylistics – I Can’t Give You Anything – Avco
06 06 Banzaii – Chinese Kung Fu – Contempo
07 07 People’s Choice – Do It Anyway You Wanna – Philadelphia Int’l
08 14 Fatback Band – Yum Yum (Gimme Some) – Polydor
09 04 Rod Stewart – Sailing – Warner Bros.
10 — Calendar – Hypertension – All Platinum
11 05 Ritchie Family – Brazil – Polydor
12 — Carl Malcolm – Fatty Bum Bum – UK
13 11 Jimmy Bo Horne – Gimme Some – RCA
14 17 Ralph Carter – When You’re Young And In Love – Mercury
15 — Hamilton Bohannon – Happy Feeling – Brunswick
16 — Natalie Cole – This Will Be – Capitol
17 — Esther Phillips – What A Diff’rence A Day Makes – Kudu
18 RE Hello – New York Groove – Bell
19 09 Bimbo Jet – El Bimbo – EMI
20 08 Moments – Dolly My Love – All Platinum

james’ top ten

1 LADY OF SPAIN Ray Stevens LP (Janus)
2 ONLY SIXTEEN Dr. Hook (Capitol)
3 THE LAST FAREWELL Roger Whittaker (EMI)
5 IN THE MOOD Joe Bob’s Nashville Sound Company (US Capitol)
6 PALOMA BLANCA George Baker (Warners)
8 ALL I WANNA DO Su Shifrin (EMI)
9 ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (UA)
10 HEARTBEAT Showaddywaddy (Bell)


1 YOU George Harrison (Apple)
2 CITY OF THE ANGELS Fred Astaire (UA)
3 FEELINGS Morris Albert(Decca)

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