December 13, 1975: Marcels, Real McCoy, Silver Convention, Ritchie Family, Wing & A Prayer Fife & Drum Corps

New Spins

MARCELS: ‘Blue Moon’ (Pye 7N 45559)
Great timing for a reissue of this fun-filled 1961 chart-topper, as although not strictly a twister it’s still full of everything about which we wax nostalgic.  Far from the first, the burbling Mr. Bass Man and gibberish noises as done on this record are nevertheless now the archetype of that whole ‘Who Put The Bomp’ era.  On the flip you’ll find the added attraction of Big Dee Irwin (and Little Eva): Swinging On A Star.

REAL MCCOY: ‘Twist And Shout’ (Route RT 24)
Take nearer the Top Notes than the Isley Brothers in speed, this classic dancer has the Twist part of its title emphasized more than usual by ratatatat drumming and clapping while a noisy frenzy is generated behind the frantic hollering of London’s McCoys.  In 1975, it sounds good, all over again.

SILVER CONVENTION: ‘Silver Convention’ LP (Magnet MAG 5010)
The whole point of the album is lost in this, its British form, when as even the press release confesses the running order and backing tracks have been changed from those of its disco-smashing US counterpart.  Probably its biggest attraction would have been the complete ‘Fly Robin Fly’ / ‘I Like It’ segue – except that now those tracks are reversed!  Side One does indeed segue, but the edit between ‘Save Me’ and ‘I Like It’ is so atrocious that any competent DJ could do it better live just using the singles!  At least ‘Fly Robin Fly’ is 5:35 long, and the rest is passable muzak.

RITCHIE FAMILY: ‘Brazil’ LP (Polydor 2383358)
Another album of disco muzak, with the Side One segue being ‘Peanut Vendor’ / ‘Frenesi’ / ‘Brazil’.  The true story behind the original ‘Brazil’ single is that, as a gesture of goodwill towards his French licensees, Cotton Records’s boss Sonny Casella put together a Philadelphia session and in effect produced ‘Brazil’ for Jacques Morali, who subsequently claimed the sole production credit.  Casella and his protégé, Jeanne Burton, sung with three other session-singers on the single, but for this later album his services were not required – to the extent that for the follow-up single (which opens Side Two), his ‘Come With Me’ was rewritten as ‘Dance With Me’.  To the album’s credit, the segues are smooth and Side One makes excellent background music.

WING AND A PRAYER FIFE & DRUM CORPS: ‘Baby Face’ (Atlantic K 10705)
Named for their US label, the Fife & Drum Corps lay down a typical hustle rhythm and squeeze the Art Mooney/Little Richard oldie to fit their formula.  Surprisingly, it works well, even if at times the instrumental passages on the 6:38 disco flip do sound a bit anonymous.  Chix sing the repetitive title line, and if picked up by radio stations as a filler it should become another ‘Save Me’.

L.P.O. (LARRY PAGE ORCHESTRA): ‘Volare’ (Penny Farthing 909)
Another case of a famous standard being squeezed into the hustle formula, this amounts to being an instrumental treatment of the current US hit by Al Martino.  Somehow the Domenico Modugno oldie adapts less obviously well to the gimmick, although the LPO effort is possibly the better try.

ROXY MUSIC: ‘Both Ends Burning’ (Island WIP 6262)
And now Bryan Ferry does the hustle!  This ‘Siren’-culled track is low on melody, strong on hustle rhythm, and maybe misses the initial impact of the funky ‘Love Is The Drug’.  Do Roxy fans realize that they’re digging the dreaded soul music, I wonder!?

COUNT BISHOPS: ‘Route 66’ / ‘Ain’t Got You’ / ‘Beautiful Delilah’ / ‘Teenage Letter’ (Chiswick SW 1)
If you or your audiences hanker after the days when Blues Incorporated and the Rolling Stones played down at the original Marquee Club, then this rockin’ little EP (picture cover and all) could be your cuppa.  All the raucous raciness of early British R&B is lovingly recreated by the Count Bishops in an immediately grabbing way which should snare the more studious rock audiences at least.  Try tracks 1 and 3.

Import Picks

PURPLE REIGN: ‘This Old Man’ (Private Stock PS 45052)
Believe it or not, this is the kiddies’ “Nick Nack Paddy Wack” song – now given a tricky tempo-shifting soul treatment that works well without being a particularly easy dancer.  Singalong lyrics and sheer unexpectedness could help, though.

KISS: ‘Rock And Roll All Nite’ (Casablanca NB 850)
Currently hitting for these sub-Sweet painted popstars in its “live” version (the studio cut makes the better disciplined flip), this new contender in the rock & roll anthem stakes measures up quite well as a slab of obvious excitement, but could have been stronger if the title-line chorus had come at the very start as well.

STREET PEOPLE: ‘Never Get Enough Of Your Love’ (Vigor VI 1722)
Here’s a new hustler from New York that sounds surprisingly professional – until you check out the fact that Bert “Super Charts” DeCoteaux gets billed as arranger.  Sung by an accomplishedly smooth male vocal group, it’s altogether a slick piece of work, which maybe slips by just a little bit too easily in common with so many other slick hustlers of the same ilk.


IF CHRISTMAS only happened every four years, like leap year, it would mean a great deal more – that’s long been my theory, anyway! As it is, it’s here again, and with it the usual deluge of seasonal singles.

Repeated from last year and by far the best of the bunch, THE PASADENA ROOF ORCHESTRA’s White Christmas (Transatlantic BIG 521) is ideal MoR, while the same song multi-tracked into Four Freshmen-type harmonies by clever Adrian Baker (he’s more than a pretty face) is slow to start but ends up as a smoocher, credited in fact to THE TONICS (Magnet MAG52). BING CROSBY’s version is presumably still about (MCA) – it’s in any case on its own album (MCA MCF 2568), which features a great Jitterbugging version of Jingle Bells by Bing with THE ANDREWS SISTERS! – and the tune also gets slaughtered by funny FREDDIE STARR (Thunderbird THE 102), the only danceable bit of which is his brilliant impression of Elvis singing it somewhat faster than he did in 1957. ELVIS’ Christmas Album (RCA) is of course a must for many, best tracks being Santa Claus Is Back In Town, Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me, Blue Christmas, and indeed White Christmas.

Thanks to the saturation coverage given it every year by radio DJs, PHIL SPECTOR’s Christmas Album (Phil Spector International) is now synonymous with Christmas. This year’s single from it, a maxi, has Frosty The Snowman, White Christmas and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (2010010), leaving the best disco tracks still on the album, Sleigh Ride and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Oh, and THE CARPENTERS have smooched up the Coming To Town one, making it a good A-side to their usual Merry Xmas Darling (A&M AMS 7144). Less traditional fare includes MIKE, OLDFIELD’s bit of instant jollity, In Dulci Jubilo (Virgin VS 131). THE GOODIES’ silly Make A Daft Noise For Christmas (Bradleys BRAD 7533), which should be good if you can get audience participation, EBENEZER MOOG’s appropriately synthesized God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Rocket ROKN 503), THE O’JAYS’ five or six years’ old Christmas Ain’t Christmas New Year’s Ain’t New Year’s Without The One You Love (Philadelphia Int PIR 3743), FUNKY TURKEY’s Jingle Bell Funk (Bus Stop BUS 1633), and
JOHN DENVER’s Country-style Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas) (RCA 2636).

Those are all danceable, while three that are not but which will be very popular are GREG LAKE’s I Believe In Father Christmas (Manticore K 13511), GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS’ Silent Night (Buddah BDS 441) and BILL BARCLAY’s The Twelve Days Of Christmas (GM GMS 9041). And should you need some pure and unadulterated traditional carols, a budget album called Favourite Christmas Carols (Philips International 6382058) contains exactly that, all sung very sweetly by some blind girls from Shropshire.

dj hot line

DONNA SUMMER: Love To Love You Baby (GTO) is already giving lots of you the hots, especially the long LP version – Steve Bainbridge (Old’n New Disco, Liverpool) actually tipped it weeks ago but I only just got his letter, and it’s jumped to number one for Doctor John (Discotech, Telford) . . . definitely one to watch, GRAEME EDGE: The Tunnel (Threshold) is charted amongst all the funky imports for “Dirty Harry” Park (Geordie Pride Roadshow, Wallsend) and is tipped by Tom Russell (Kirkintilloch), who also raves about MUSCLES: Make Me Happy / Funky Music (Big Bear) . . . adding fuel to the Jitterbug fire, Roy Coates (Moonshadow Disco, Cobham, Surrey) charted GLENN MILLER: In The Mood (RCA) before last week’s issue was even written! . . . coincidentally, RCA have had such feedback from the North that they’re re-activating their GLENN MILLER maxi on January 9, trax being Moonlight Serenade, Little Brown Jug and – yes! – In The Mood . . . the negotiations for JOE BOB’S NASHVILLE SOUND COMPANY fell through, so his In The Mood will now not necessarily be out here
after all.

Glenn Jay (New Gaiety Centre, Leeds) and Ray Robinson (Tiffany’s, Leicester) both tubthumping for foxy YVONNE FAIR: It Should Have Been Me (Tamla Motown), and Ray also joins Frank Wavish (El Diablo, Plymouth) in tipping TRAMMPS: Hooked For Life (Atlantic) . . . years ago I raved about HAFFY’S WHISKEY SOUR: Shot In The Head (Decca), for which Norman Minto (Night Tripper Disco, Coupar Angus, Perthshire) now kindly thnaks me, mentioning also the Disco Bells of its day (1960!), LITTLE BOBBY REY: Rocking “J” Bells (Top Rank) and other such great old MoR dancers as NED MILLER: Do What You Do Do Well (London) and ROYAL SHOWBAND, WATERFORD: Hucklebuck (HMV) . . .

Chris Barnbrook (Kidderminder) reckons the time is right for a single of ROD BLEEP: Twisting The Night Away (Mercury) and suggests a disco treatment of the theme from Space 1999 could be good.

Renta Santa star Chris Hill (Gold Mine, Canvey Island) takes time out from counting his royalties to tip MICHAEL ZAGER’S MOON BAND: Do It With Feeling (US Band) and the LP version of O’JAYS: I Love Music (Phila Int) . . . my upcoming gigs at the Lord Nelson in London’s Holloway Road are the Thursday 11th when I play all the goodies from 1957, Monday 22nd when it’s all the Xmas records from the ’50s onwards, and Thursday Jan 1 when it’s 1960’s turn . . . oh, and several clubs around the country want me to put on my Twist Special, so more news of that later.

star tip

HERE’S A topical tip for this time of year from Bob Sampson (Black Cobra Disco, Burgess Hill Sussex).

Bob organised some party games – like Musical Chairs, Passing An Orange under the chin – at a party where there were a lot of children, and he found that the adults present joined in with such gusto that he now features these and similarly looney games at many of his supposedly sophisticated grownup gigs!

Another game popular at Bob’s dances is his special Train Journey Round The World. At each stop he plays a dance record to fit the country (Cancan, Hula, Limbo, Zorba, etc), finishing in London’s Soho with The Stripper. As the most enthusiastic stripper is usually a man Rob quickly fades into Kenny’s Fancy Pants if things start to look dangerous!

UK Disco Top 20 – December 13, 1975

01 01 Hot Chocolate – You Sexy Thing – Rak
02 10 Maxine Nightingale – Right Back Where We Started From – United Artists
03 05 Silver Convention – Fly Robin Fly – Magnet
04 03 Stretch – Why Did You Do It – Anchor
05 12 Chubby Checker – Let’s Twist Again – London
06 02 Roxy Music – Love Is The Drug – Island
07 04 Jim Capaldi – Love Hurts – Island
08 — Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody – EMI
09 19 Fatback Band – Do The Bus Stop – Polydor
10 06 Hello – New York Groove – Bell
11 08 John Asher – Let’s Twist Again – Creole
12 07 Rod Stewart – This Old Heart Of Mine – Riva
13 13 Jigsaw – Sky High – Splash
14 09 Bay City Rollers – Money Honey – Bell
15 — Biddu Orchestra – I Could Have Danced All Night – Epic
16 re Impressions – First Impressions – Curtom
17 15 Leroy Brown – One Woman Man – EMI
18 — Chris Hill – Renta Santa – Philips
19 20 Ramsey Lewis – Spiderman – Columbia
20 — Stylistics – Na Na Is The Saddest Word – Avco

james’ top ten

1 DANCE OF THE CUCKOOS Band Of The Black Watch (Spark)
2 IN THE MOOD Joe Bob’s Nashville Sound Company (US Capitol)
3 LET’S TWIST AGAIN Chubby Checker (London)
4 LOOKS, LOOKS, LOOKS Sparks (Island)
5 DON’T BE THAT WAY Benny Goodman (RCA)
7 LOVE HURTS Jim Capaldi (Island).

I WHITE CHRISTMAS Pasadena Roof Orchestra (Transatlantic).
2 DISCO BELLS Waiter Murphy Orchestra (US Major, unavailable)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: