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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Flautist Laws blends smoothly with the lush instrumentation on this silky instrumental wukka-wuk 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.

So you wanna be a DJ

THIS MODEST booklet, written by a young Journalist and part-time disco DJ, Bob Barton, is packed with good advice.

Bob wrote the booklet as a guide to others, following his own attempt to set up a mobile disco. And whereas it does give some technical details and contains a list of radio station addresses, it’s mainly full of sound common sense . . which is why I rate it so highly.
Far from being a dry do-it-yourself textbook, this is a book about attitudes and the wisdom of experience.

DJs from mobile, club and radio are quoted (and photographed – there are plenty of pix), because Bob is rightly emphatic about the differences in approach to DJing in each of those spheres.

Many of the things that he says may seem obvious to experienced DJs, but even they will gain from reading this booklet, if only in sense of identification with the situations described.

I cannot recommend this enough to readers of this page.

All You Want To Know About Being A Dee-Jay is published by Bob’s own Barton Enterprises, and is available for just 60p from 29 Church Road, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3NB.

dj hot line

Alan Gold (Brighton) gets in on the act with CAPT. SKIDMARKS: Chick-A-Boom (Pye), which was in fact a cover of the original DADDY DEWDROP . . . DR FEELGOOD: Back In The Night (UA) still spreading slowly – it’s reached Tom Russell (Glasgow) . . . Dave Singleton (Manchester) has dug out original MARVELETTES: When You’re Young And In Love (Tamla), plus he’s playing GEORGE BENSON: Supership (US CTI) and THE DIVERSIONS . . . Les Aron (Life Discos, Bognor Regis) cockahoop over having been first into LEROY BROWN: One Woman Man (EMI), now also charted by Jay Jay Sawers (Karloff’s, Irvine) . . . Paul Anthony (Walsall) and Vic Trotter (Dunfermline) . . . Les further tips DR HOOK: Only Sixteen (Capitol) and INK SPOTS: Whispering Grass (MCA), while Jay Jay has the deleted HOT ROCKS: Can’t Get It Through My Head (Bell) as Tip Of The Month, and Paul charts LOUISA MARK: Caught You In A Lie (Safari) . . . Vic Trotter also starts a ball rolling with NATALIE COLE: This Will Be (Capitol), charted by Jon Taylor (Crocker’s Norwich), Mark Rymann (Porthcawl), Ray “Rosko” Robinson (Tiffany’s, Leicester), Peter Greig (Plymouth), and at number one for Steve Day (Chingford) . . . Jon, Mark and Steve combine to chart CROWN HEIGHTS AFFAIR: Dreaming A Dream (Polydor), as well . . . others currently hot for Jon Taylor are 11th HOUR: Hollywood Hot (20th), BLACK BLOOD A.I.E (A Mwana) (Bradleys) and import oldies by THE FATBACK BAND such as Street Dance and Nija Walk (US Perception) . . . Mark Rymann Is first on to BOB MARLEY: No Woman No Cry (Island), and tips ROCKIN’ HORSE: Love Do Me Right (US RCA) . . . Steve Day has charted TRAMMPS: Hold Back The Night (Buddah), and tips DOOLEY SILVERSPOON: As Long As You Know (Who You Are) (Seville) . . . Capital Radio’s Greg Edwards (Wandsworth) reckons the DOOLEY SILVERSPOON LP to be the best Hustle album around . . . funky Les “Godfather” Spaine (Time Piece, Liverpool) tips THE METERS: Fire On The Bayou (Reprise) and PEOPLES CHOICE: Nursery Rhymes (US Philadelphia lnt) . . . EDDIE KENDRICKS: Get The Cream Off The Top (Tamla) a B-side choice for The Sound Machine Disco (Welwyn Garden City). . . Dougall Dee Jay’s touting his own fan club (blank cheques to 13 Burnbrae, Glasgow G65 9QY), and tipping BINZI: Touch A Touch A Touch Me (Pt 2) (Antic) – looks like a touch of the star tripping syndrome to me!

star tip

This week’s Star Tip comes from Peter Grelg (Route 66 Discos, Plymouth), and is about gig-getting.

He says: “Assuming your show looks and sounds professional, the obvious thing to do is get some Pub / Club regular bookings.

“The best way is to get some headed paper and write to the landlord / secretary of each venue, explaing what you have to offer.

“Say that to prove your worth you will put on one show free, if they will advertise it in the local paper.

“Look for the less obvious places and follow the letter up with a personal call.”

The rest is up to you, says Peter – but don’t expect a high success rate. Out of 60 letters and calls, Peter once got only two regular bookings!

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 — 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 — 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 — Chris Spedding – Motorbikin’ – Rak
20 14 Ralph Carter – When You’re Young And In Love – Mercury


CROWN HEIGHTS AFFAIR: ‘Dreaming A Dream’ (Polydor)
FAITH, HOPE & CHARITY: ‘To Each His Own’ (RCA)
JASPER CARROTT: ‘Magic Roundabout’ (DJM)

james’ top ten

1 LOOKS, LOOKS, LOOKS Sparks (Island)
2 LADY OF SPAIN Ray Stevens LP (Janus)
3 ISLAND GIRL Elton John (DJM)
4 ONLY SIXTEEN Dr. Hook (Capitol)
5 LA BALANGA Bimbo Jet (EMI)
6 I’M ON FIRE 5000 Volts (Phillips)
8 IN THE MOOD Joe Bob’s Nashville Sound Company (US Capitol)
10 ALL I WANNA DO Su Shifrin (EMI)

2 TUXEDO JUNCTION Manhattan Transfer (Atlantic)
3 COLD HAND WARM GUN Speedy Keen (Island)

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