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) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 7/19/75, LP Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
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) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 8/30/75, LP Billboard chart debut 9/13/75)
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) (mentioned in Billboard column 10/4/75, Billboard chart debut 10/11/75)
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) (mentioned in Billboard column 5/31/75, Billboard chart debut 6/28/75)
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.

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 NE 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 NE Biddu Orchestra – I Could Have Danced All Night – Epic
16 RE Impressions – First Impressions – Curtom
17 15 Leroy Brown – One Woman Man – EMI
18 NE Chris Hill – Renta Santa – Philips
19 20 Ramsey Lewis – Spiderman – Columbia
20 NE Stylistics – Na Na Is The Saddest Word – Avco
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#2 (Billboard chart debut 4/3/76)
#3 (mentioned in Billboard column 7/19/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
#9 (mentioned in Billboard column 11/15/75, Billboard chart debut 11/22/75)
#15 (Billboard chart debut 11/22/75)
#19 (Billboard chart debut 1/17/76)

Songs mentioned in “DJ Hotline”:

DONNA SUMMER: ‘Love To Love You Baby’ (GTO) (mentioned in Billboard column 9/27/75, Billboard chart debut 10/4/75)
GRAEME EDGE: ‘The Tunnel’ (Threshold)
MUSCLES: ‘Make Me Happy’ / ‘Funky Music’ (Big Bear)
YVONNE FAIR: ‘It Should Have Been Me’ (Tamla Motown)
TRAMMPS: ‘Hooked For Life’ / ‘I’m Alright’ (Atlantic) (Billboard chart debut 8/16/75)
HAFFY’S WHISKEY SOUR: ‘Shot In The Head’ (Decca)
LITTLE BOBBY REY: ‘Rocking “J” Bells’ (Top Rank)
NED MILLER: ‘Do What You Do Do Well’ (London)
ROD STEWART: ‘Twisting The Night Away’ (Mercury)
MICHAEL ZAGER’S MOON BAND: ‘Do It With Feeling’ (Bang – US import) (mentioned in Billboard column 11/22/75, Billboard chart debut 11/29/75)
O’JAYS: ‘I Love Music’ (Philadelphia Intl.) (mentioned in Billboard column 10/11/75, Billboard chart debut 10/25/75)

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