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! 

JOHN SCHROEDER ORCHESTRA: ‘All Night (Baby Do It All Night)’ (Alaska ALA 1011)
Latin salsa feel and a title line just like ‘Uptight’ give this perky chanter an appeal that’s both funky and Northern. Instrumental flip.

BIMBO JET: ‘La Balanga’ (EMI 2332)
Formula (and almost tune!) as before, so a fine follow-on to continue any gaiety whipped up by El Bimbo. Version 2 with chat on the flip, as before. Useful, but not a hit (as before).

SPEEDY KEEN: ‘Bad Boys / Cold Hand Warm Gun’ (Island WIP 6247)
Backed up by up-coming reggae-rock band Third World, this brilliantly evolving reggae-tempo and sound FX tale of living for the city is actually overshadowed by the instrumental flipside version, which is a pure and far more direct dub which ranks with the best of the genre. My own fave of the week.

MARTIN BLACK: ‘Sooner Or Later’ (20th Century BTC 1006)
Incredibly American-sounding UK production by Gerry Shury and Ron Roker, this happily churning pop-soul pounder should follow Al Matthews chartwards.

SILVER CONVENTION: ‘Fly Robin Fly’ / ‘I Like It’ (Magnet MAG 43) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/19/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
Huge in NY discos, these consecutive LP cuts have been separated onto a double-sided 45 that’s full of sinister plodding rhythm and massive modern dance appeal. Get two copies and do your own edit!

MAGIC DISCO MACHINE: ‘Control Tower’ (Tamla Motown TMG 1004)
Lead track from the first rather muzaky DiscoTech LP, an instrumental with sound FX and hand-clapping breaks. By the way, the second DiscoTech album has tracks by the Jackson 5, Temptations, Yvonne Fair, Undisputed Truth, Commodores, etc, all segueing into each other, and is a much better bet!

EBONY, IVORY & JADE: ‘Samson’ (CBS 3599) (Billboard chart debut 8/23/75)
Morricone-type whip-cracks and a dramatic build-up to this Philly vocal group beater, which has catchy guitar bits.

EDDIE KENDRICKS: ‘Get The Cream Off The Top’ (Tamla Motown TMG 1003) (mentioned in Billboard column 6/28/75, Billboard chart debut 7/19/75)
Relegated to the B-side here, Eddie’s US smash is a delicately sung ambiguous rhythm jiggler with staccato girlie group support. Standout track on his new LP, ‘The Hit Man’, is the slow-starting then shifting ‘I’ve Got To Be’ – skip the intro and segue with the J5 newie!

ARMADA ORCHESTRA: ‘Feel The Need In Me’ (Contempo CS 2069) (Billboard chart debut 11/29/75)
True to the original, so if you dug that, you’ll stomp along to the strings here.

ARTHUR MULLARD: ‘I Only ‘Ave Eyes For You’ (RCA 2610)
Our Arthur slaughters the Art Garfunkel hit to a Misty backing. Good short-term novelty.

BLUE MAGIC: ‘Look Me Up’ (Atlantic K 10352)
Stylistics-type 1973 Philly lolloper.

STEVE COOKE: ‘Take Me Higher’ (Sonet SON 2063)
Blatant rip-off of the KC sound, down to the “uh-huh”s, but effective nonetheless.

Import Picks

DICKIE GOODMAN: ‘Mr. Jaws’ (Cash CR 451)
Not a dancer, nor as good as ‘Super Fly Meets Shaft’, the Flying Saucer guy’s latest comedy smash uses little snippets from Tony Camillo, Olivia Newton-John, James Taylor etc as the answers when he questions the cast of the world’s most successful movie – which, if you didn’t know, is about a man-eating shark.

WAR: ‘Low Rider’ (UA-XW706-Y) (mentioned in Billboard column 9/13/75)
Their best dancer since ‘Baby Brother’, this bouncy Afro rhythm plopper has catchy tootling sax sounds between the simple lyrics.

HUBERT LAWS: ‘The Chicago Theme (Love Loop)’ (CTI 0J-27F) (mentioned in Billboard column 5/17/75, Billboard chart debut 6/7/75)
Flautist Laws blends smoothly with the lush instrumentation on this silky instrumental wuk-kawuk dancer.

JEFF PERRY: ‘Love Don’t Come No Stronger (Than Yours And Mine)’ (Arista AS 0133)
Shooting up R&B, Jeff’s slower starting beater suddenly lurches into easy grooving rhythm and picks up Four Tops appeal.

CHOICE FOUR: ‘When You’re Young And In Love’ (RCA PH-10342)
Actually produced by Van McCoy himself and marginally bigger pop than Ralph Carter, this version is – surprise! – dead slow. Exquisitely lovely as a late nite smoocher.

LP Trax

Contempo have four compilation albums out which should be of interest to many DJ’s. As the title suggests, ‘Gold ‘N’ Decayed‘ (CLP 525) is an oldies collection, but as it ranges from Johnny & The Hurricanes, Del Shannon, and The Teddy Bears via The Dixie Cups, Ketty Lester & The Shangrila’s to John Fred & The Playboy Band, Tami Lynn and Bob & Earl, it has a wide appeal for mobile jocks.

20 Fantastic Soul Hits‘ (CLP 527) repeats John Fred and includes the current Reparata, but otherwise is exactly what it says, with goodies from Willie Henderson, Melvin Bliss, Oliver Sain, Seeds Of The Earth, Gentlemen & Their Ladies, Ernie Bush and The Quadraphonics, amongst others.

More Northern in its appeal, ‘Dance Dance Dance‘ (CLP 524) has classic sounds from Jackie Lee, J. J. Barnes, Jimmy Conwell, The Ad-Libs, and The Belles, plus a bit of duplication with the first two.

The least danceable but most satisfyingly soulful is ‘Soul Deep‘ (CLP 526), with beauties from Roshell Anderson, The Montclairs, Seventh Wonder, Jerry Washington, The Escourts, Ted Taylor, and The Whispers.

As there are twenty tracks on each album, and as all the songs included by all the above named tend to be their most famous, these really are good value packages.

UK Disco Top 20 – September 27, 1975

01 01 KC & The Sunshine Band – That’s The Way (I Like It) – Jay Boy
02 04 5000 Volts – I’m On Fire – Philips
03 08 Fatback Band – Yum Yum (Gimme Some) – Polydor
04 03 Al Matthews – Fool – CBS
05 02 George McCrae – It’s Been So Long – Jay Boy
06 09 Rod Stewart – Sailing – Warner Bros.
07 RE Leo Sayer – Moonlighting – Chrysalis
08 07 People’s Choice – Do It Anyway You Wanna – Philadelphia Int’l
09 12 Carl Malcolm – Fatty Bum Bum – UK
10 13 Jimmy Bo Horne – Gimme Some – RCA
11 NE Disco Tex – Boogie Flap – Chelsea
12 05 Stylistics – I Can’t Give You Anything – Avco
13 RE George Baker – Paloma Blanca – Warner Bros.
14 06 Banzaii – Chinese Kung Fu – Contempo
15 NE David Essex – Hold Me Close – CBS
16 16 Natalie Cole – This Will Be – Capitol
17 RE Leroy Brown – One Woman Man – EMI
18 RE B.T. Express – Give It What You Got – EMI
19 NE Chris Spedding – Motorbikin’ – Rak
20 14 Ralph Carter – When You’re Young And In Love – Mercury
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry


CROWN HEIGHTS AFFAIR: ‘Dreaming A Dream’ (Polydor) (mentioned in Billboard column 5/31/75, Billboard chart debut 6/7/75)
FAITH, HOPE & CHARITY: ‘To Each His Own’ (RCA) (Billboard chart debut 7/19/75)
JASPER CARROTT: ‘Magic Roundabout’ (DJM)

Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (mentioned in Billboard column 7/26/75, Billboard chart debut 9/13/75)
#2 (mentioned in Billboard column 10/25/75, Billboard chart debut 12/6/75)
#3 (Billboard chart debut 7/12/75)
#8 (mentioned in Billboard column 6/14/75, Billboard chart debut 7/5/75)
#10 (Billboard chart debut 7/12/75)
#11 (mentioned in Billboard column 4/19/75)
#12 (mentioned in Billboard column 5/24/75)
#14 (mentioned in Billboard column 6/28/75, Billboard chart debut 7/5/75)
#16 (Billboard chart debut 9/13/75)
#18 (mentioned in Billboard column 7/12/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
#20 (mentioned in Billboard column 6/14/75, Billboard chart debut 7/5/75)

Songs mentioned in “DJ Hotline”:

CAPT. SKIDMARK: ‘Chick-A-Boom’ (Pye)
DR. FEELGOOD: ‘Back In The Night’ (UA)
MARVELETTES: ‘When You’re Young And In Love’ (Tamla)
GEORGE BENSON: ‘Supership’ (CTI – US import) (Billboard chart debut 5/17/75)
DR. HOOK: ‘Only Sixteen’ (Capitol)
INK SPOTS: ‘Whispering Grass’ (MCA)
HOTROCKS: ‘Can’t Get It Thru My Head’ (Bell)
LOUISA MARK: ‘Caught You In A Lie’ (Safari)
ELEVENTH HOUR: ‘Hollywood Hot’ (20th Century) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/5/75, Billboard chart debut 7/26/75)
BLACK BLOOD: ‘A. I. E.’ (Bradleys)
FATBACK BAND: ‘Street Dance’ / ‘Nija Walk’ (Perception – US import)
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS: ‘No Woman, No Cry’ (Island)
ROCKIN’ HORSE: ‘Love Do Me Right’ (RCA – US import) (Billboard chart debut 5/10/75)
TRAMMPS: ‘Hold Back The Night’ (Buddah) (Billboard chart debut 6/21/75)
DOOLEY SILVERSPOON: ‘As Long As You Know (Who You Are)’ (Seville)
METERS: ‘Fire On The Bayou’ (Reprise)
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: ‘Nursery Rhymes’ (Philadelphia Int’l – US import) (Billboard chart debut 11/8/75)
BINZI: ‘Touch A Touch A Touch Me’ (Part 3) (Antic)

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