November 29, 1975: Gil Scott-Heron, Donna Summer, Penny McLean, Cimarons, The Miracles

New Spins

GIL SCOTT-HERON: ‘Johannesburg’ (Arista 23)
The originator of ‘In The Bottle’, Gil gets a subtle Kasandra-type groove going on this slinky slow funky chanter that’s gradually growing Stateside.  Hypnotic stuff.

DONNA SUMMER: ‘Love To Love You Baby’ (GTO GT 17 – single; GTLP 008 – album) (mentioned in Billboard column 9/27/75, Billboard chart debut 10/4/75)
Out here since March [?], this Munich-made American’s pseudo-sexy monotonous thumper has just caught on big in US discos.  Expanded to fill the whole of one side of the new album, her ‘Pillow Talk’-type cooing and moaning gets spread a bit thin but the Barry White-ish backing’s several shifts could well make her the toast of Britain too.

PENNY MCLEAN: ‘Lady Bump’ / ‘The Lady Bumps On’ (EMI 2365) (mentioned in Billboard column 11/8/75, Billboard chart debut 11/15/75)
Another US biggie from abroad, this bouncy bumper’s being played on Canadian import although it’s probably from Germany, where it’s currently number one.  Penny sounds dreadful, but the B-side continuation is bearable being mainly instrumental with lotsa drums, bass and strings.  Continue reading “November 29, 1975: Gil Scott-Heron, Donna Summer, Penny McLean, Cimarons, The Miracles”

November 22, 1975: Chris Hill, Undisputed Truth, Leon Haywood, David Bowie, Fatback Band

New Spins

CHRIS HILL: ‘Renta Santa’ (Philips 6006491)
With a stroke of manic genius, the Canvey Island DJ has done a Dickie Goodman, cutting snippets out of hits by such Phonogram stars as the Stylistics, Moments, Alex Harvey, Ray Stevens, 10cc and 5000 Volts, and inserting them as the humorous answers to questions he asks of such as George Best, Edward Heath and tax exile Rod Bleep (the bleep is to prevent law suits, as the funniest part of the record concerns the mysterious rock star, Rod).  Being British, this is far more topical than the unavailable US hits by Dickie Goodman, and it should be the novelty smash of the season.  Oh yes, at the end he yells “oy, you bust me record” – and the “record – record – record” keeps repeating as it makes up the run-out groove!

UNDISPUTED TRUTH: ‘Higher Than High’ / ‘Spaced Out’ (Tamla Motown TMG 1014) (Billboard chart debut 10/25/75)

Strong intro impact and lotsa frantic freakiness on the A-side, but I prefer the slower flip, the incredibly sexy opening of which is totally toe-curling and useable on its own.

LEON HAYWOOD: ‘I Want’a Do Something Freaky To You’ (20th Century BTC 2228)
Edited from the even sexier LP cut, this slinky groin-grinder is like Barry White without the gruffness, and it features a moaning lady to help blood pressures boil!  Continue reading “November 22, 1975: Chris Hill, Undisputed Truth, Leon Haywood, David Bowie, Fatback Band”

November 15, 1975: Dooley Silverspoon, Bay City Rollers, Chris Bartley, The Troggs, The Wombles

New Spins

DOOLEY SILVERSPOON: ‘Let Me Be The No. 1 (Love Of Your Life)’ (Parts 1 & 2) (Seville SEV 1020) (mentioned in Billboard column 9/27/75, Billboard chart debut 10/18/75)
By far the strongest disco cut from his superb hustling LP, this romping and swirling Sonny Casella-produced example of the Sound Of New New York is hopefully the one to break him here like it’s doing in the States.  If you dig this, get the even better Jeanne Burton: ‘Nobody Loves Me Like You Do’ (SEV 1010), which is what alerted me to S.O.N.N.Y. in the first place.

BAY CITY ROLLERS: ‘Money Honey’ (Bell 1461)
Heavy guitar, pounding disco rhythm and police-siren type noises make this their most useable to date.

CHRIS BARTLEY: ‘I See Your Name’ (Right On! RO 105)
Great catchy brass and lazy though punchy beat (all emphasized on instrumental flip) help Chris sound like the sweetest thing this side of heaven.  Much better than the label’s attempts at funk, it’s a really happy dancer.  Continue reading “November 15, 1975: Dooley Silverspoon, Bay City Rollers, Chris Bartley, The Troggs, The Wombles”

November 8, 1975: compilation LPs, Rod Stewart, KC & The Sunshine Band, Billy Butler, Hot Chocolate

What with Christmas and party time coming, there suddenly seem to be a lot of hits-crammed compilation albums being released. This should be good news, especially to newer jocks who may be short of material.

Atlantic Black Gold Volume 2’ (Atlantic K 50164) has recent disco hits by the Average White Band, Jimmy Castor, Ben E. King, Herbie Mann, Eddie Harris and Gene Page amongst its many goodies.

Golden Hour Of Stax Hits’ (Golden Hour GH 841) ranges from the full LP version of Isaac Hayes’s ‘Walk On By’ and ‘Theme From Shaft’ via the Dramatics’ ‘In The Rain’ and ‘Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get’ to Johnnie Taylor’s ‘Who’s Making Love’ and William Bell & Judy Clay’s ‘Private Number’. Some snip at Golden Hour prices, when you consider that also included are big ‘uns by Jean Knight, Booker T & The MGs, Frederick Knight and Mel & Tim!

Get Down With Spring – 14 Hunks Of Funk’ (Polydor 2482271) is a collection of material from the US Spring label, which may not have as strong an identity as the others – until maybe I mention some of the artists, that is? How’s about the Fatback Band (‘Yum Yum’, ‘Wicki Wacky’, ‘Keep On Steppin’’ included), Joe Simon, Garland Green and Millie Jackson? Less consistent in content, but that little lot deliver the goods.

The killer set for most will of course be the incredible ‘Motown Gold’ (Tamla Motown STML 12003), which ought to make big bread for the ailing company, even if it does only contain about half of the subtitled 18 greatest hits. With hits included like Marvin Gaye’s ‘Grapevine’, Four Tops’ ‘Reach Out’, Supremes’ ‘Baby Love’, Miracles’ ‘Tears Of A Clown’, Temptations’ ‘Just My Imagination’ and Stevie’s ‘Yester-Me’, who’s to quibble about Syreeta’s ‘Your Kiss Is Sweet’, Commodores’ ‘Machine Gun’ and Ross/Gaye’s ‘You Are Everything’ being less than the greatest? They’re about the only modern things, bar Mr. Wonder, that they’ve broken here in ages! Oh, and there’s more by such as Gladys Knight, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Jimmy Ruffin, Jr. Walker and Martha Reeves! Too much!

Add to these the superbly annotated and chronologically compiled double-LP of all the Stones’ Decca hits, ‘Rolled Gold – The Very Best Of The Rolling Stones’ (Decca ROST 1/2, out next week), and groaning ‘Barry White’s Greatest Hits’ (20th Century BTH 8000), then you should have enough to make DJ’s jump for joy!


New Spins

ROD STEWART: ‘This Old Heart Of Mine’ (Riva 1)
Slowed to an Al Green tempo and then huskily sung, the Isleys’ oldie makes a much better bet for discos than ‘Sailing’.  Good for most audiences, too.

KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND: ‘I’m So Crazy (‘Bout You)’ (Jay Boy BOY 101) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/26/75)
A lot less catchy than “uh-huh uh-huh”, this fast knocker could be good up North, while the slower stomp of ‘Boogie Shoes’ on the flip sounds more like a national hit.  Continue reading “November 8, 1975: compilation LPs, Rod Stewart, KC & The Sunshine Band, Billy Butler, Hot Chocolate”

November 1, 1975: Andy Fairweather-Low, Juan Carlos Calderon, J.A.L.N. Band, Python Lee Jackson, Fleetwood Mac

New Spins

ANDY FAIRWEATHER LOW: ‘Wide Eyed And Legless’ (A&M AMS 7202)
Beautifully subtle swaying sophisticated semi-slowie, my own fave of the week, and hopefully ideal for those more romantic moments!

JUAN CARLOS CALDERON: ‘Bandolero’ (CBS 2726) (Billboard chart debut 6/21/75)
From last year like ‘El Bimbo’ and now re-issued after European and US success, this semi-hustling instrumental has a catchy melody and paradoxically fashionable sound – plus some Spanish guitar to snare the oldsters.  Useful, and could click.

J.A.L.N. BAND: ‘Street Dance’ (Magnet MAG 44)
Already extremely popular, this UK recreation of the unavailable Fatback Band instrumental is full of pounding bouncy funk beat and John Kongos-type party noises.  Continue reading “November 1, 1975: Andy Fairweather-Low, Juan Carlos Calderon, J.A.L.N. Band, Python Lee Jackson, Fleetwood Mac”