PARTY SEASON POST MORTEM
I HOPE your gigs at Xmas were as good as mine, which were far funkier and less Middle Of The Road than usual. This meant that I was able to let my hair down and really get into playing all the great sounds that I normally only get to write about.
My biggest buzz of the season was getting away with TABOU COMBO’S
incredible LP version of New York City (Decca), which drove one crowd
wild for its entire duration (and that’s an energetic and long track)! I now
learn from Peter Robbins (Bacchus International) that It’s big in Switzerland – he’s had to send the album to several of Bacchus’ installations there.
The biggest disco smash, however, has to be the delayed WING AND A PRAYER FIFE AND DRUMS CORPS’ revamped Baby Face (Atlantic), which is now available. Surprisingly this is one case where the disco mix sounds weaker than the commercial A-side. I played the hell out of this, segueing into that unavailable Disco Bells from the US library music firm mentioned in RM&D of 6.12.75. Another segue was DAVID BOWIE’S Golden Years (RCA) into STEVIE WONDER’S Superstition (Tamla Motown) – and somehow BOWIE’S Fame got involved on several occasions along with PINK FLOYD’S Money (Harvest), STRETCH’S Why Did You Do It (Anchor) and JIMMY “BO” HORNE’S Gimme Some (RCA). BAD COMPANY’S Can’t Get Enough (Island) and ROXY MUSIC’S Love ls The Drug (Island) fitted in there somewhere, too – it’s all good soul music!
DONNA SUMMER’S Love To Love You Baby (GTO) was rather a trick – while very popular, the album version keeps stopping to do its gear changes for too long, with the result that dancers who don’t know it leave the floor. I got away with it once, but elsewhere I had to segue other records in the gaps, coming back into the album after each. Another disappointment was discovering how muddy the FATBACK BAND’S (Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop (Polydor) sounds In a disco situation, although BARRY WHITE’S Let The Music Play (20th Century) was a big positive plus, sounding just great.
Yes, it was a good Xmas, with lots of soul, boogie and rock, and no worries about the noise being too loud!
SOUND 9418: ‘In The Mood’ (UK 121)
OK, here it is! Jonathan King has made the definitive disco version by taking the traditional old brassy approach, mixing it with the strings sounds from Joe Bob’s recent US treatment, and then – with the tempo staying the same throughout – throwing in a “disco” segment followed by a reggae section. Gimmicky, catchy and crazy as can be, it’s all such fun that it has to appeal to everyone! As I have an interest in the record I hope you’ll realize that my reviews are unbiased once you’ve heard it yourselves. The throwaway flip is called ‘Jimmy’s Theme‘ . . . I wonder why?
★ JH PICK
CREATION: ‘I Get The Fever’ (Black Magic BM 109)
This late 60s fast romper, also credited in its day to the Prophets, is a madly infectious vocal group chanter with a huge reputation up North. Out several times before, it’ll probably hit now on Black Magic. As flip there’s a similarly fast instrumental by Thom Bell and Bobby Martin called ‘Cheyenne’, credited to Promised Land.
GLORIA GAYNOR: ‘How High The Moon’ (MGM 2006558)
Gloria gallops along to the S.O.N.N.Y. rhythm with hi-hats flying (not that Sonny Casella produces her), and if not too fast for dancers she should do better than last time with this formularised oldie.
★ JH PICK
FAITH, HOPE & CHARITY: ‘Just One Look’ (RCA 2632)
Van McCoy’s revival of Doris Troy’s 1963 classic now follows the ‘To Each His Own’ formula maybe just a little bit too closely to sound spontaneous. Still, it should do well in many discos and – increasingly important these days – the tune is very well known.
★ JH PICK
BABY FACE: ‘Baby Face (Latin Feel)’ (Pye 7N 45563)
The flip of a UK soundalike cover of the great Wing & A Prayer Fife & Drum Corps version, this is the same track but with overlaid Latin percussion which makes it different enough to stand on its own – or as a segue out of the original.
PERCY FAITH: ‘Summer Place ‘76’ (CBS 3820)
Still they’re coming, famous oldies squeezed into a disco formula. This time it’s the original hitmaker doing the squeezing, and Percy manages to make his lovely 1960 smash almost unrecognizable in the process. However, he makes it very disco ’76 and it should be useful.
★ JH PICK
DONALD BYRD: ‘Change (Makes You Want To Hustle)’ (Blue Note BNXW 7003)
The Black Byrd goes blatantly disco with a funky chanter that features strings and things as well as a few Tijuana twiddles from his horn. The terrific rhythm should make it a club fave and his tour could help it go pop.
DALIDA: ‘J’Attendrai’ (Decca FR 13618)
After a long but luckily skippable intro, the veteran continental glamour gal eases into a disco tempo that really takes off when a great brass break erupts, enlivening everything. Sung in French and still more MoR than funk, it’ll be useful for some.
★ JH PICK
BYRON MCNAUGHTON & HIS ALL NEWS ORCHESTRA: ‘Right From The Shark’s Jaws (The Jaws Interview)’ (Route RT 23)
Dickie Goodman’s ‘Mr. Jaws’ cutup is still unavailable here, yet this inferior copy of the idea uses oldies by the Beach Boys, Robin Ward and newies by the Bee Gees and Harold Melvin to name but a few – and indeed it’s the wide range of material that makes it mildly interesting. Incongruously the ‘Jaws Jam’ flip is a straight-booting jazz instrumental, credited to The Chief.
THE MILESTONES FEAT. BUTCH BAKER: ‘The Joker’ / ‘Juicy Brucie’ (Black Magic BM 111)
Ultra-fast ‘I Can’t Help Myself’ rhythm and maniacal giggles spice up this rather nice Northern instrumental, while the chunkier flip is ‘Night Train’ in all but name.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: ‘Reggae Chartbusters ‘75’ (Cactus CTLP 114)
In a move worthy of K-Tel or Arcade, Cactus have scooped the compilation rights to the few reggae-type hits the Gull, Magnet and Pye have ever had (all labels totally unrelated to each other), and placed them with their own array of recent hits on this 12-track album of which the title is no misnomer. Thus it contains Typically Tropical’s ‘Barbados’ and The Diversions’ ‘Fatty Bum Bum’, Susan Cadogan’s ‘Hurt So Good’ and Johnny Wakelin’s ‘Black Superman’, alongside Desmond Dekker’s ‘Israelites’ and ‘Sing A Little Song’, Rupie Edwards’s ‘Leggo Skanga’ and ‘Ire Feelings’, Judge Dread’s ‘Je T’Aime’ and ‘Big 10’, and – the only ones that didn’t go pop – John Holt’s ‘Love Is Gone’ and Jason Sinclair’s ‘The End Of The World’.
NEGRIL: ‘Negril’ (Klik KLP 9005)
Negril is the name of the album and of the group, and the group is practically a supergroup at that, including such reggae stars as Peter Tosh, Family Man, Leslie Butler, Cedric Brooks and Joe Higgs, plus America’s Richard Tee. They make lovely lazy instrumental music which is perfect for the stoned but the main point of this review is that the lead track on side one is their treatment of ‘I Shot The Sheriff’. To put it simply – if I ever feel like letting the Wailers’ ‘Live At The Lyceum’ run on from ‘No Woman No Cry’ into ‘I Shot The Sheriff’, I don’t let it ‘cos these days I segue into this instead.
dj hot line
Renta Santa star Chris Hill (Top Of The Pops and Gold Mine, Canvey Island) has Sid Phillips: You Came A Long Way From St. Louis (HMV) and Ted Heath Orch: Opus One (Decca) as his new Jltterbuggers – I use the Mills Brothers: Opus One (Brunswick) myself – so find ’em if you can! . . . Babe Ruth: Elusive (Capitol) and De Blanc: Oh No Not My Baby (Arista) are also big for Chris, whose chart-topper is O’Jays: I Love Music (Phila Int LP) . . . Garry D. Sprott (Edinburgh) Is brave enough to chart Kenneth McKellar: It’s A Long Way To Tipperary (Decca), which I use myself at times, while Willy Cash (Untouchables Disco, Appleby) and Mark Rymann (South Wales Clubs) both chart Joe Loss: Hokey Cokey (MfP) . . . Steve Ingram (DJ Enterprises, Weybridge) tips Ernie Fields: In The Mood (London) and Mark Rymann goes with the Glenn Miller Orch re- recording (Pye Golden Hour), whereas Les Aron (Life Discos, Bognor Regis), Pete Greig (Route 66, Plympton), Steve Day (Chingford) and Peter Robbins (Bacchus International Discos, London) are already raving about Sound 9418: In The Mood (UK) . . . other upcoming biggies – Wing & A Prayer Fife & Drum Corps: Baby Face (Atlantic) ties with Donna Summer: Love To Love You Baby (GTO) for Mark Rymann, Steve Day and Doctor John (Disco-Tech, Telford), while Larry Page Orch: Volare (Penny Farthing) is huge for Tom Russell (Kirkintilloch), Steve Day and Peter Greig . . . Tony Hadland (Reading) had an hour’s radio show every morning at nine last week on Radio Oxford, and Mark Rymann had a whole page about his disco in the Western Mall newspaper just before Xmas . . . great promotion idea of Warner Bros’ Fred Dove to send out WB slip mats, but a pity they were so small! . . . some number one’s – Barry White: Let The Music Play (20th C) for Colin King (Tiffany’s, Wigan/Manchester). Paul Davidson: Midnight Rider (Tropical) for Doug “The Mug” Forbes (Klouds, Warwick), and Leon Haywood: I Wanta Do Somethin’ Freaky To You (20th C) for Tom Russell . . . on Thursday, 8th, at the Lord Nelson in London’s Holloway Road I celebrated the King’s 41st with an all-Elvls show (including rarities), and next Thursday, 18th, I play all the old US dance craze discs from ’58 to ’66 (Including lotsa Twisters)!
DARRYL HAYDEN (Thames Valley Sound Discos, Heston, Middx) has come up with a lip that’s designed to please us plenty!
At his Thursday night gig at the Honeycomb in Hounslow, Darryl plays the entire new Disco Top 20 as printed in RM&D, which means that he has to get all the new entries by that evening. Before finishing off with the number one disco record, he runs down all the Top 20 titles – just like they do on the radio! The crunch comes when Darryl says that his audience has increased by at least 30 per cent since he started doing his Disco Top 20 show. Hmmm . . .
UK Disco Top 20 – January 10, 1976
01 01 Hot Chocolate – You Sexy Thing – Rak
02 04 Fatback Band – Do The Bus Stop – Polydor
03 03 Chubby Checker – Let’s Twist Again – London
04 06 David Bowie – Golden Years – RCA
05 02 Silver Convention – Fly Robin Fly – Magnet
06 05 Impressions – First Impressions – Curtom
07 re Chuck Jackson – I’ve Got The Need – All Platinum
08 — Miracles – Love Machine – Tamla Motown
09 12 Roxy Music – Both Ends Burning – Island
10 — Trammps – Hooked For Life – Atlantic
11 — Paul Davidson – Midnight Rider – Tropical
12 re Tymes – God’s Gonna Punish You – RCA
13 15 Drifters – Can I Take You Home Little Girl – Bell
14 — Chris Hill – Renta Santa – Philips
15 — Barry White – Let The Music Play – 20th Century
16 08 Sailor – Glass Of Champagne – Epic
17 11 Sam Cooke – Twistin’ The Night Away – RCA
18 14 Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody – EMI
19 — George & Gwen McCrae – I’ll Do The Rockin’ – President
20 — Larry Page Orchestra – Volare – Penny Farthing
james’ top ten
1 BABY FACE, Wing & A Prayer Fife & Drum Corps (Atlantic)
2 DISCO BELLS, Walter Murphy Orchestra (US Major)
3 WHY DID YOU DO IT, Stretch ( Anchor)
4 LOVE IS THE DRUG, Roxy Music (Island)
5 LET THE MUSIC PLAY. Barry White (20th Century)
6 LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY, Donna Summer (GTO LP)
7 GOLDEN YEARS, David Bowie (RCA)
8 NO WOMAN NO CRY, Bob Marley (Island LP)
9 IN THE MOOD, Sound 9418 (UK)
10 DANCE OF THE CUCKOOS, Band Of The Black Watch (Spark)
1 NEW YORK CITY, Tabou Combo (Decca LP)
2 LOVE ROLLERCOASTER, Ohio Players (Mercury)
3 I’M ON FIRE, Jim Gllstrap (Chelsea)