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. 

CIMARONS: ‘Wicky Wacky’ (Vulcan VUL 1005)
In fact the flip of ‘Tradition’, this Fatback Band oldie is now absolutely terrific, full of incredibly strong rhythm and an overall James Brown feel.  Dig it in stereo!  Surely nobody can sit still to this?

MIRACLES: ‘Love Machine’ (Parts 1 & 2) (Tamla Motown TMG 1015) (mentioned in Billboard column 10/4/75, Billboard chart debut 10/11/75)
Punchy fast beat and staccato singing make this ‘City Of Angels’ album track the Smokey-less guys’ best dance bet to date.  Complete with bits of Bertha Butt growling, it’s real funky fun.

DRIFTERS: ‘Can I Take You Home Little Girl’ (Bell 1462)
More MOR triteness from the veterans, whose ‘Under The Boardwalk’ (Atlantic K 10691) is re-issued too.

DERRICK HARRIOT: ‘Eighteen With A Bullet’ (Trojan TR 7973)
Pete Wingfield’s summertime smash sounds like a pick to click again in this superb reggaefication, the Version flip of which has a terrific stereo gimmick.

CHUCK JACKSON: ‘I’ve Got The Need’ (All Platinum 6146310)
Much requested as by the Moments on their ‘Sharp’ LP, this smooth though fast wukka-wukker finds underrated Chuck in fine fettle.

OLD BILL: ‘Cokey Cokey’ (Penny Farthing PEN 900)
Done as a doo-wop slowie, like ‘Eighteen With A Bullet’, this unlikely treatment might make a good joke.  Oddly, there’s also a less inventive pop-reggae version out, by Colonel (Ring ‘O 2017104).

RONNIE DAVIS: ‘Maga Lion’ (Angen ANG 110)
Basic but immensely powerful reggae reworking of ‘Fatty Bum Bum’, now reminiscent of the Maytals’ old ’54-46 That’s My Number’ in its bass-heavy simplicity.

MOHAWKS: ‘The Champ’ (Pama PM 719)
British recorded but totally American in sound, this funky organ instrumental rip-off of ‘Tramp’ was a disco smash in ’68.

SMALL FACES: ‘Itchycoo Park’ (Immediate IMS 102)
Happy-go-lucky rhythm and singalong chorus on this 1967 classic.

SAILOR: ‘A Glass Of Champagne’ (Epic EPC 3770)
Bright and breezy modish pop, with neo-Harley mannerised vocals.

BLUE MAGIC: ‘Magic Of The Blue’ (Atlantic K 10689) (mentioned in Billboard column 4/26/75, Billboard chart debut 9/20/75)
Already picking up tips, this Norman Harris-prod Philly hustler starts with a lot of instrumental before the very second-fiddle vocals appear.  Bit like a male Silver Convention.

REVELATION: ‘Get Ready For This’ (RSO 2090167) (Billboard chart debut 9/6/75)
Co-prod by Norman Harris, this bouncy smooth thumper features a lead singer who’s actually given a chance, but it’s still a bit slick.

BASIC BLACK & PEARL: ‘There’ll Come A Time, There’ll Come A Day’ (Bus Stop BUS 1039)
Evidently from Canada, this soulful and sweet-singing chick gets a good bouncy Al Green-type drumkit pushing her along, and the result’s a grower.

AL GREEN: ‘Full Of Fire’ (London HLU 10511)
Issued (in demo form, anyway) with long disco version flip, Al’s cool newie is just like all the others but with maybe more propulsive bouncy drumming behind him.

Import Picks

BOTTOM & COMPANY: ‘Here For The Party’ (Motown M1363F)
Bang in the People’s Choice groove, this funky clap rhythm chanter hasn’t shown up yet but is surely bound to become a disco delight.  It sounds more like Britain than do most American R&B hits nowadays.

SOUL TRAIN GANG: ‘Soul Train ’75’ (Soul Train SB 10400) (Billboard chart debut 9/27/75)
Tied in with the big US TV show, this Gene Page-arranged hustler is streaming straight to the top in the R&B charts.  Slinky chix coo the lyrics, while flipside the strings and things take over for an instrumental run through that’s rhythmically stronger somehow.  Pretty label design.

S. S. O.: ‘Tonight’s The Night’ (Shady Brook 45-019) (Billboard chart debut 10/11/75)
Shrill chix, squeaky strings and a gruff bloke keep giving way to braying brass on the 5:00 disco version of this effective jiggly rhythm semi-slow funkster.  Nice wah-wah synthetics, too.

TOMORROW’S PROMISE: ‘You’re Everything Good To Me’ (Mercury 73790)
The Bert DeCoteaux-arranged rhythm keeps pumping away as the guys do their Temptations impressions and the strings shimmer.  The whole effect is nice and happy, with the rhythm being more of a bumper if anything.  Pleasantly fresh.

UK Disco Top 20 – November 29, 1975

01 01 Roxy Music – Love Is The Drug – Island
02 02 George McCrae – I Ain’t Lyin’ – Jay Boy
03 13 Stretch – Why Did You Do It – Anchor
04 05 Jim Capaldi – Love Hurts – Island
05 06 Hot Chocolate – You Sexy Thing – Rak
06 17 Rod Stewart – This Old Heart Of Mine – Riva
07 04 Maxine Nightingale – Right Back Where We Started From – United Artists
08 07 Hello – New York Groove – Bell
09 03 Trammps – Hold Back The Night – Buddah
10 NE KC & The Sunshine Band – I’m So Crazy ‘Bout You – Jay Boy
11 12 Jigsaw – Sky High – Splash
12 18 John Lennon – Imagine – Apple
13 NE Impressions – First Impressions – Curtom
14 NE John Asher – Let’s Twist Again – Creole
15 14 Silver Convention – Fly Robin Fly – Magnet
16 11 George Benson – Supership – CTI
17 09 Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony – Change With The Times – Avco
18 RE Four Seasons – Who Loves You – Warner Bros.
19 RE Leroy Brown – One Woman Man – EMI
20 16 Dee Clark – Ride A Wild Horse – Chelsea
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#7 (Billboard chart debut 4/3/76)
#9 (Billboard chart debut 6/21/75)
#10 (mentioned in Billboard column 7/26/75)
#15 (mentioned in Billboard column 7/19/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
#16 (Billboard chart debut 5/17/75)
#17 (Billboard chart debut 10/4/75)
#18 (Billboard chart debut 8/23/75)

Songs mentioned in “DJ Hotline”:

BENNY GOODMAN: ‘Stompin’ At The Savoy’ (RCA)
MANHATTAN TRANSFER: ‘Tuxedo Junction’ (Atlantic)
RAMSEY LEWIS: ‘Spiderman’ (Columbia – US import) (Billboard chart debut 1/17/76)
TREMELOES: ‘Ascot Cowboy’ (DJM)
BIDDU ORCHESTRA: ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ (Epic) (Billboard chart debut 11/22/75)
LINDA RONSTADT: ‘Heatwave’ (Asylum)
DANIEL BOONE: ‘I Think Of You’ (Penny Farthing)
TROGGS: ‘Satisfaction’ (Penny Farthing)
GENE PITNEY: ‘Train Of Thought’ (Bronze)
BUNNY SCOTT: ‘Come On Party’ (2nd Tracs)
DOOLEY SILVERSPOON: ‘Let Me Be The No. 1 (Love Of Your Life)’ (Seville) (mentioned in Billboard column 9/27/75, Billboard chart debut 10/18/75)
VENTURES: ‘Superstar Review’ (UA) (Billboard chart debut 9/6/75)
JOHNNY CLARKE: ‘I’m Gonna Put It On’ (Vulcan)
BILL AMESBURY: ‘Every Girl In The World’ (Power Exchange)
LAURIE HEATH: ‘We Danced It Our Way’ (EMI)

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