December 6, 1975: Band of the Black Watch, Bob Marley, John Conteh, Judge Dread, Armada Orchestra

New Spins

BAND OF THE BLACK WATCH: ‘Dance Of The Cuckoos’ (Spark SRL 1135)
Better known as the Laurel & Hardy theme, this divinely silly rumpty-tumpty instrumental is likely to become the new ‘March Of The Mods’, and is guaranteed to get your audience linking arms for a rampage of destruction!  Is there time for it to be THE Xmas hit of ’75?  Even the flipside’s cha-cha-cha ‘Caribbean Honeymoon’ makes a useful ‘Come Dancing’ sendup!

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS: ‘Live!’ (Island ILPS 9376)
This album of the Lyceum gig that produced ‘No Woman, No Cry’ (included now in its full 6:55 version) has to be the definite Marley set – it’s certainly won me over to him at last, anyway.  Amazingly good for dancing all the way through, with applause kept to a manageable minimum, although Side Two is possibly strongest for a general audience, featuring as it does ‘No Woman’, ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ and ‘Get Up, Stand Up’.

JOHN CONTEH: ‘The Boxer’ / ‘Dance The Boxer’ (Boxa K01)
Pugilistic champ Conteh’s much ballyhooed debut on his own label is surprisingly good, even if his voice is mixed so far back it’s almost over the ropes.  Pure disco funk of the War/Kool & The Gang type, it’s a punchy (ho ho ho!) energetic bouncy stomper which sounds possibly even better on the Conteh-less flipside version.  Certainly worth trying.

JUDGE DREAD: ‘Come Outside’ / ‘Christmas In Dreadland’ (Cactus CT 80)
The Mike Sarne hit from ’62 now features the girl being chatted up by Dread telling him to sod off, get stuffed and other such unladylike expressions!  Extremely rude and screamingly funny, it should be a monster.  The faster reggae flip is just as offensive, if less useful.

ARMADA ORCHESTRA: ‘Classical Bump’ (Contempo CS 2078)
Greig’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, having been rocked up in the past by Kokomo (not the group) as Asia Minor, now goes disco with a rattling fast bump rhythm.  And it sounds great! 

GRAEME EDGE: ‘The Tunnel’ (Threshold TH 22)
Wotta surprise, the Moodies’ drummer doing a basic disco funker!  Totally instrumental, it’s an ever-building whomping stomping pounder with wukka-wuks and sinister synthetics.  Genuinely funky, too!

DAVID: ‘Desiderata’ (UK 115)
Set now to a danceable gently rolling rhythm, the much-requested Les Crane oldie gets a useful reading by Capitol Radio’s Dave Cash, who intones the schmaltzy platitudes in plumy mid-Atlantic tones while chix chant and drums thunder.

MILLION AIRS: ‘South Rampart Street Parade’ (Buk BU 3024)
In fact the flip of the smoothly harmonized 50s style slowie ‘I’ll Never Smile Again’, this razzamatazzy Dixieland instrumental could be just the thing that some MOR jocks are looking for, especially as nobody seems to be making this happy sort of noise anymore.

MAX ROMEO: ‘Big Jack’ (Tropical Soundtrac TST 107)
A subtly obscene rewrite of the Adam and Eve story from Genesis, this powerful reggae semi-slowie sounds quite innocent until you listen closely to the words, which reveal that Adam’s biggest temptation was his own right hand!

JAH WOOSH: ‘The Slim Ting’ (Fattie Version) (Tropical, number unknown)
Good strong DJ Version of the Carl Malcolm hit, with a flipside dub version by Soul Syndicate.

DAVID RUFFIN: ‘Walk Away From Love’ (Tamla Motown TMG 1017) (Billboard chart debut 12/20/75)
Raved about in radio circles and fast moving Stateside, the ex-Temp’s intricately progressing pulsator is likely to be a grower and could well be big once people know its subtle shifts.

GWEN MCCRAE: ‘He Keeps Something Groovy Goin’ On’ (President PT 444)
Flip of her typically TK ‘Love Insurance’, Gwen’s soulfully emoted flowing slowie is a killer that to my mind cuts dead the sterile night club dirges of Gladys Knight.  This gal can sing!  Ow, ow, wail on!

AL MARTINO: ‘Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu)’ / ‘You Belong To Me’ (Capitol CL 15841) (Billboard chart debut 10/11/75)
Just what the world needs – and I kid you not! – a stereotyped disco remould of the 1958 Domenico Modugno international smash, totally twisted to fit an archetypal hustle backing.  The even older Jo Stafford slowie on the flip is one of my own faves (a recent miss for Jim Reeves), and I confess to preferring it.

MUSCLES: ‘Make Me Happy’ (Big Bear OURS 5)
Home-grown bouncy fast funker with chanting and soul clapping, energetic if routine.  The intro of the flipside ‘Funky Music’ could make a good jingle.

Import Picks

JEANNIE REYNOLDS: ‘Lay Some Lovin’ On Me’ (Casablanca NB 846)
Jeannie hangs up the phone to say that the way you touch her in places rated “X” is driving her insane – go on, move it to the left, move it to the right, yeah you got it baby, right there, that’s it!  All this she sings exultingly in frothy Mavis Staples-ish style to a happily hustling backing that’s spiced by some jiggly treble guitar which should cut through on the disco floor.  A funky goodie!

WALTER MURPHY ORCHESTRA: ‘Disco Bells’ (Major, unavailable through major outlets) (Billboard chart debut 12/27/75)
So obvious that it hurts, here’s a computerised disco single that bends that hoary old Xmas favourite, ‘Jingle Bells’, to fit the current New York hustle sound.  If it can be done to ‘Baby Face’ and ‘Volare’, why not ‘Jingle Bells’?  Although crammed with hit potential, this single is not generally available as it’s released for radio station use as a part of an overall “library music” catalogue put out by Thomas J. Valentino Inc. of 151 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036.  Whether Valentino will accept orders for just the single I know not, and neither do their UK agents, Audio & Video Ltd. (telephone 01-580 2283), but you can always try as you are bound to find the single useful if you can indeed get it.

TAVARES: ‘Free Ride’ (Capitol 4184) (mentioned in Billboard column 8/23/75)
Edgar Winter’s near-hit retains those great freaky guitar noises and in fact sounds not all that different vocally, too.  However, it will be interesting to see if what was once classified as rock will now be accepted as funk.  Tavares are in danger of going the Chambers Brothers route and falling between two schools here, whereas in America they’ll probably do well as they’ve made what amounts to an exciting record, period.

UK Disco Top 20 – December 6, 1975

01 05 Hot Chocolate – You Sexy Thing – Rak
02 01 Roxy Music – Love Is The Drug – Island
03 03 Stretch – Why Did You Do It – Anchor
04 04 Jim Capaldi – Love Hurts – Island
05 15 Silver Convention – Fly Robin Fly – Magnet
06 08 Hello – New York Groove – Bell
07 06 Rod Stewart – This Old Heart Of Mine – Riva
08 14 John Asher – Let’s Twist Again – Creole
09 NE Bay City Rollers – Money Honey – Bell
10 07 Maxine Nightingale – Right Back Where We Started From – United Artists
11 16 George Benson – Supership – CTI
12 NE Chubby Checker – Let’s Twist Again – London
13 11 Jigsaw – Sky High – Splash
14 10 KC & The Sunshine Band – I’m So Crazy ‘Bout You – Jay Boy
15 19 Leroy Brown – One Woman Man – EMI
16 02 George McCrae – I Ain’t Lyin’ – Jay Boy
17 NE Tymes – God’s Gonna Punish You – RCA
18 NE Brothers – Are You Ready For This – RCA
19 NE Fatback Band – Do The Bus Stop – Polydor
20 NE Ramsey Lewis – Spiderman – Columbia
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#5 (mentioned in Billboard column 7/19/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
#10 (Billboard chart debut 4/3/76)
#11 (Billboard chart debut 5/17/75)
#14 (mentioned in Billboard column 7/26/75)
#17 (mentioned in Billboard column 9/20/75)
#18 (mentioned in Billboard column 4/5/75, Billboard chart debut 4/12/75)
#19 (mentioned in Billboard column 11/15/75, Billboard chart debut 11/22/75)
#20 (Billboard chart debut 1/17/76)

Songs mentioned in “DJ Hotline”:

REUBEN WILSON: ‘Got To Get Your Own’ (Cadet – US import)
JAMES BROWN: ‘Hot’ (Polydor – US import)
JUGGY MURRAY JONES: ‘Inside America’ (Jupiter – US import) (mentioned in Billboard column 11/29/75, Billboard chart debut 12/6/75)
STAPLE SINGERS: ‘Funky Love’ (Curtom)
PAUL DAVIDSON: ‘Midnight Rider’ (Tropical)
MARVELS: ‘Lover’s Concerto’ (Gull)
FANTASTICS: ‘10 Minutes That Changed The World’ (Bus Stop)
SAILOR: ‘A Glass Of Champagne’ (Epic)
FLIRTATIONS: ‘Mr. Universe’ (RCA)

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