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!
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.
BILLY BUTLER: ‘Right Track’ (Epic EPC 2508)
Jerry’s brother Billy became a British legend as a result of this 1966 Northern beater (now in stereo). We used to play it down South then, too, and will probably be doing so again soon! A must for many.
HOT CHOCOLATE: ‘You Sexy Thing’ (Rak 221)
Effective disco rhythm even if the group isn’t everybody’s cuppa.
MAC & KATIE KISSOON: ‘I’m Just Dreaming’ (State STAT 15)
Innocuously MOR, complete with “dum dum dumby doo dum” chorus. Yeccchh, but it’ll work!
TYMES: ‘God’s Gonna Punish You’ (RCA 2626) (mentioned in Billboard column 9/20/75)
MOR with a hustle rhythm, but it’s still MOR, more than anything else. That’s the way the dollar tumbles.
COLOURS OF LOVE: ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ (DJM DJS 625)
Like a blast from the past, this lush Phil Fenoulhet-arranged harmony crooner could be nice as a party closer.
KEVIN COYNE: ‘Lorna’ / ‘Let’s Have A Party’ (Virgin VS 126)
Now Kevin twists! He also revives Elvis (and Wanda Jackson) on the flip! A taste I confess to having acquired, he’s one of our most imaginative stylists, yet these could well spread from the rock crowds who’ll certainly dig him.
SUE THOMPSON: ‘Paper Tiger’ / ‘Big Mable Murphy’ (London HLE 10509)
A lot older than she sounds, Sue’s countrified Motown beat on her 1965 US hit may go up North, while her more recent razzamatazzy goodtime flip is OK MOR.
TINA CHARLES: ‘You Set My Heart On Fire’ (CBS 3415) (mentioned in Billboard column 8/9/75, Billboard chart debut 9/6/75)
Already a US disco hit, Tina’s Biddu beater gets repromoted following all those recent shocking disclosures. Funny how one of the hook lines here is “Fire! Fire!”. As hustlers go, it does.
JACKIE TRENT & TONY HATCH: ‘Mr. And Mrs.’ (Pye 7N 45490)
Slush, with obvious potential – even if only satirical! – for weddings.
LOVE TOGETHER: ‘The More You Say’ (Philips 6006482)
Pastiche job of all the New Seekers’ hits, thus quite jolly MOR – if you can stand the ghastly brightness!
ALVIN ROBINSON: ‘Down Home Girl’ (Charly CS 1002)
The earthy New Orleans 1964 original of the Stones’ track, it might be fun as a pre-announced romantic spot, dedicated “to the woman in your life”!
HOAGY LANDS: ‘The Next In Line’ (UK USA 14)
I’ve been offered small fortunes for my old stateside copy of this catchy Northern dancer, which has pop appeal thanks to its strong melody, femme backup and Del Shannon organ. Hoagy, though hitless, sings up a storm on this, and also on ‘Friends And Lovers Don’t Go Together’ (UK USA 13), a simultaneously-released faster, messier raver of more specialist Northern appeal.
LINDA G. THOMPSON: ‘Ooh What A Night’ (Magnet MAG 46) (mentioned in Billboard column 10/25/75, Billboard chart debut 1/17/76)
The chick from Silver Convention about whom many jocks have raved already, doing a modishly thumping chunky hustler that gets expanded (with a good edit for segues) on the 6:23 Part 2 flip.
O’JAYS: ‘I Love Music’ (Philadelphia Intl. ZS8 3577) (mentioned in Billboard column 10/11/75, Billboard chart debut 10/25/75)
A two-parter from their new ‘Family Reunion’ LP, this Gamble & Huff hustler scudders and thumps its Norman Harris-arranged way along while Eddie and the guys get effortlessly impassioned about their love for the music. I can see why it’s already a US disco monster, but as I love music too I prefer their earlier work from when they were real.
PAUL KELLY: ‘Get Sexy’ (Warner Bros. WBS 8120)
Folksy funk, funky folk – the opening is kinda Paul Simon rather than Kelly until this Paul starts sounding happy about the world’s oldest recreation, all to a delightfully bouncy beat that underpins the escalating jollity. Cleverly constructed, it’s one hell of a production.
REFLECTIONS: ‘Love On Delivery (L.O.D.)’ (Capitol 4137) (Billboard chart debut 10/11/75)
Hoarse hollers and a Bert De Coteaux co-arranged hustle rhythm set the way for this to be a predictable but effective dancer, perked up by a busy bongo player.
EARLS: ‘Goin’ Uptown’ (Columbia 3-10225)
I guess these are the same white guys who did ‘Remember Then’ back in ’62, now doing an equally black-sounding funky catalogue of all the big disco stars’ names. Bert “this is getting boring” De Coteaux co-arranged. He’s come a long way since I knew him in his Adam Wade days.
UK Disco Top 20 – November 8, 1975
01 05 George McCrae – I Ain’t Lyin’ – Jay Boy
02 01 Drifters – There Goes My First Love – Bell
03 08 Trammps – Hold Back The Night – Buddah
04 02 Esther Phillips – What A Diff’rence A Day Makes – Kudu
05 11 Art Garfunkel – I Only Have Eyes For You – CBS
06 07 Natalie Cole – This Will Be – Capitol
07 09 Four Seasons – Who Loves You – Warner Bros.
08 20 Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony – Change With The Times – Avco
09 04 Dee Clark – Ride A Wild Horse – Chelsea
10 13 Maxine Nightingale – Right Back Where We Started From – United Artists
11 06 Roxy Music – Love Is The Drug – Island
12 RE George Benson – Supership – CTI
13 19 Gloria Gaynor – Do It Yourself – MGM
14 03 David Essex – Hold Me Close – CBS
15 10 People’s Choice – Do It Anyway You Wanna – Philadelphia Int’l
16 17 Hello – New York Groove – Bell
17 NE Tina Charles – You Set My Heart On Fire – CBS
18 NE Jim Capaldi – Love Hurts – Island
19 NE Silver Convention – Fly Robin Fly – Magnet
20 15 Faith, Hope & Charity – To Each His Own – RCA
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry
Appeared in Billboard:
#3 (Billboard chart debut 6/21/75)
#4 (Billboard chart debut 6/21/75)
#6 (Billboard chart debut 9/13/75)
#7 (Billboard chart debut 8/23/75)
#8 (Billboard chart debut 10/4/75)
#10 (Billboard chart debut 4/3/76)
#12 (Billboard chart debut 5/17/75)
#13 (mentioned in Billboard column 8/2/75, Billboard chart debut 8/23/75)
#15 (mentioned in Billboard column 6/14/75, Billboard chart debut 7/5/75)
#17 (mentioned in Billboard column 8/9/75, Billboard chart debut 9/6/75)
#19 (mentioned in Billboard column 7/19/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
#20 (Billboard chart debut 7/19/75)
Songs mentioned in “DJ Hotline”:
JOHN ASHER: ‘Let’s Twist Again’ (Creole)
LINDA G. THOMPSON: ‘Ooh What A Night’ (Magnet) (mentioned in Billboard column 10/25/75, Billboard chart debut 1/17/76)
SILVER CONVENTION: ‘I Like It’ (Magnet) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/19/75, Billboard chart debut 10/11/75)
DR. MARIGOLD’S PRESCRIPTION: ‘March Hare’ (Route)
ELTON JOHN: ‘Grow Some Funk Of Your Own’ (DJM)
PAUL NICHOLAS: ‘Shufflin’ Shoes’ (RSO)
HAZEL DEAN: ‘Our Day Will Come’ (Decca)
FRANKIE VALLI: ‘Our Day Will Come’ (Private Stock) (Billboard chart debut 10/25/75)
MARVELS: ‘Lovers’ Concerto’ (Gull)
UNDISPUTED TRUTH: ‘Higher Than High’ (Tamla Motown)
OHIO PLAYERS: ‘Love Rollercoaster’ (Mercury) (Billboard chart debut 9/20/75)