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)
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)
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)
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)
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.

You won’t believe this . . . but The Jitterbug is back!

YOU MAY remember a few months back my raving about a Misty-ish arrangement of Glenn Miller’s In The Mood, only available on import, by JOE BOB’S NASHVILLE SOUND COMPANY. It has remained in my own personal Top Ten ever since as it gets such great reaction at MoR-type gigs.

Well, it seems that a large number of dee-jays all around the country have either been trying to get that version or else have been asked to play it, and as a compromise have been playing whatever other versions they could get, the JOE BOB record evidently being somewhat elusive. Added to this, the mood has also been right for a general 1940’s revival, what with some of the recent fashions, the publicity about MANHATTAN TRANSFER, and SPARKS’ Looks, Looks, Looks.

As a result, several DJs have reported a growing feeling for old Big Band music, in particular Tony Seville (Cardiff Mobile Discotheque Services), who used Joe Loss’s version to satisfy repeated requests for In The Mood, and Chris Hill.

Chris Hill is the DJ from the Gold Mine on Canvey Island who has just brought out that hitbound cut up, Renta Santa (Philips), and it was while he was visiting me with a copy of it that I discovered just how deeply into Big Band, Swing and Boogie-Woogie his otherwise funky Southern Soul audiences have become. We have both been using this sort of music at MoR parties for a long time, but now Chris finds that his audiences at the Gold Mine really love to work out the proper Jitterbug, Jive and Quickstep movements – which look really great when done by people in GI fashions!

Last Saturday I joined Chris Hill at the Gold Mine to see what went down. Sure enough, the fog-bound crowd went straight into In The Mood, and carried on to such ’30s / ’40s / ’50s swingers as GLEN MILLER’S Moonlight Serenade, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Stardust, String Of Pearls, Little Brown Jug (all on RCA), THE ANDREW’S SISTERS’ Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (RCA), ARTIE SHAW’S Frenesi (RCA), WOODY HERMAN’S Woodchopper’s Ball (MCA), BUDDY BERIGAN’S Frankie and Johnny (RCA), and – especially – BENNY GOODMAN’S Stompin’ At The Savoy and Don’t Be That Way (both by chance available this week on The Best Of Benny Goodman, RCA Starcall HY 1020).

I then turned Chris onto some that I use, like ELLA FITZGERALD’S Beat Me Daddy Eight To The Bar (Verve), WILL BRADLEY’S Boogie Woogie Maxie (RCA LSA 3214) and GLENN MILLER’S Make Believe Ballroom Time. Plus one of my own pet segues, RAY NOBLE’S Top Hat (RCA LSA 3067), HARRY ROY’S Somebody Stole My Gal (Starline MRS 5068) and – the clincher – SID PHILLIPS’ Hors D’Oeuvres (HMV).

The question now is – will the Jitterbug take off and become the next big thing, after the Twist? Just as a hint, it looks as if the record that helped start it all by being unavailable – the JOE BOB – will indeed be out here sometime in January.

dj hot line

DAVID: Desiderata (UK) makes a super bridge between slow and fast sequences as you can dance to it at both tempos, opines Bob Preedy (Bachus Entertainments, Gulseley).

Already rating races from Ashley Eatly (Ashley’s Disco, Ferryside) and Steve Day (Chingford), BAND OF THE BLACK WATCH: Dance Of The Cuckoos (Spark) has to be an Xmas party biggie . . . WALKER BROTHERS: No Regrets (GTO) a Sussex hit for Les Aron (Bali-Hai, Bognor Regis) and Chris Sang (Hove) . . . MUSCLES: Make Me Happy (Big Bear) is breaking out for Melvin Davis (Mad Mel’s Disco, Warminster) and Peter Grelg (Plympton).

Superbly funky REUBEN WILSON: Got To Get Your Own (US Cadet) works wonders for Chris Hill (Gold Mine, Canvey Island), and Chris’s own RENTA SANTA (Philips) is already number one for Anthony Allan (Speakeasy Wakefield), who has GRAEME EDGE: The Tunnel (Threshold) as record of the week . . . DJ “Big John” (Lights Fantastic Disco, Plymouth) finds THE SURFARIS: Wipe Out (Paramount) a sensational segue out of Let’s Twist Again . . . funky Les “Godfather” Spaine (Timepiece, Liverpool) tips the Fame-like JAMES BROWN: Hot (US Polydor) and JUGGY MURRAY JONES: Inside America (US Jupiter) . . . STAPLE SINGERS: Funky Love (Curtom) a tasty album track for Rob Sampson (Black Cobra Disco, Burgess Hill) . . . PAUL DAVIDSON: Midnight Rider (Tropical) is charted at last, by Jeff Bunting (Hull) . . . MARVELS: Lover’s Concerto (Gull) is big for Tom Lafford (Barry), who also tips the FANTASTICS: 10 Minutes That Changed The World (Bus Stop), and for Ray “Rosko” Robinson (Tiffany’s, Leicester) . . . Ray Robinson, chuffed about a visit from the man himself, also tips JUDGE DREAD: Come Outside (Cactus), as does Dave Singleton (Irlam) . . . SAILOR: A Glass Of Champagne (Epic) is a bubbler for Mike McLean (Strathdisco. Glasgow) . . . William Fitton (Newton Heath, Manchester) wants info about good JOE LOSS and JIMMY SHAND-type party LPs, so let’s have recommendations from you all in time for Xmas . . . FLIRTATIONS: Mr. Universe (RCA) the most popular record in Cleveland, infos Ron Harrison (Colditz Disco, Eston) . . . this Thursday 4th at the Lord Nelson in London’s Holloway Road I help Roger Scott play all the hits from 1964, and then next Thursday 11th I do 1957 . . . uh huh!

star tip

Two more tips about tape to follow on from last week’s. First, Tom Amigo (Cardiff Mobile Discotheque Services) suggests taping the bouncier records – like The Hokey Cokey, Knees Up and Gay Gordons – so that when on a mobile date where the floor may be a bit dodgy you won’t find that the record jumps about.

Peter Greig (Route 66 Disco, Plympton) has taped a special Xmas jingle to advertise the festive events upcoming at his residencies. He uses the first five secs of PLASTIC ONO BAND: Happy Xmas War Is Over (Apple), cuts into BING CROSBY: Jingle Bells (MCA) with a voice-over listing the events, and fades straight into the “And the snowman brings the snow” bit at the end of WIZZARD: I Wish It Could Be Xmas Every Day (Harvest). A good idea that can be adapted musically to any occasion.

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 — 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 — 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 — Tymes – God’s Gonna Punish You – RCA
18 — Brothers – Are You Ready For This – RCA
19 — Fatback Band – Do The Bus Stop – Polydor
20 — Ramsey Lewis – Spiderman – Columbia

james’ top ten

2 WHY DID YOU DO IT Stretch (Anchor)
4 LOVE HURTS Jim Capaldl (Island)
5 LOVE IS THE DRUG Roxy Music (Island)
6 IN THE MOOD Joe Bob’s Nashville Sound Company (US Capitol)
8 WIDE EYED AND LEGLESS Andy Fairweather Low (A&M)

1 DANCE OF THE CUCKOOS Band Of The Black Watch (Spark)
2 HAPPY TO BE ON AN ISLAND IN THE SUN Demis Roussos (Philips)
3 MONEY HONEY Bay City Rollers (Bell)

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