January 17, 1976: Four Seasons, George McCrae, Tropical Band, The O’Jays, Jesse Green

New Spins

FOUR SEASONS: ‘December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)’ (Warner Bros. K 16688)
Celebrating possibly their first meeting with Dawn, the guys get enthusiastic on a mid-tempo stomper that is crammed with grow-on-you appeal.  Should be huge.

GEORGE MCCRAE: ‘Honey I’ / ‘Take This Love Of Mine’ (Jay Boy BOY 107) (Billboard chart debut 1/24/76)
Two trax from his last album, and the flip is my old fave happy romper!  The hit side is similar to his usual style, with its long intro and familiar format.

TROPICAL BAND: ‘Porto Rico’ (Bradleys BRAD 7535)
Like a breath of fresh air, this sparkling instrumental has heavy disco rhythm and synthetic lead spiced by Latin brass, scat-singing chix, and deep-voiced gent intoning the title. 

O’JAYS: ‘I Love Music’ (Philadelphia Int’l. PIR 3879) (mentioned in Billboard column 10/11/75, Billboard chart debut 10/25/75)
Better late than never, provided import and album sales haven’t done irreparable harm to its chances, this US and UK disco biggie is a fast hustling cymbal sizzler that builds and builds.

JESSE GREEN: ‘Nice And Slow’ (EMI 2386) (mentioned in Billboard column 4/24/76, Billboard chart debut 5/1/76)
Possibly another ‘One Woman Man’, this low-key little bouncy hustler has elements of George McCrae amidst its own jolly sound.  Expatriate Jamaican, Jesse has backed Jimmy Cliff.  Check him out.

TINA CHARLES: ‘I Love To Love’ / ‘Disco Fever’ (CBS 3937) (Billboard chart debut 3/13/76)
Getting her own back on Donna Summer?!!  Tina, voice of 5000 Volts, is higher-pitched than before on this well-defined hustling thumper, prod by Biddu.  Frantic flip has the man’s ‘Jump For Joy’ feel, and it could be bigger.

AFRIC SIMONE: ‘Rayaya’ (Galaxy GY 103)
Already getting disco action, this lurching Afro-rock chanter features click-singing Afric, catchy chix, throbbing rhythms, and electronic whip-cracks.  From France.

BOB DYLAN: ‘Hurricane’ (CBS 3878)
Almost a Steely Dan feel to this accelerating beater, with its great chorus line.  Yeah, Dylan does disco!  Pity about the expletive deleted.

ELTON JOHN: ‘Grow Some Funk Of Your Own’ (DJM DJS 629)
The most obvious cut on ‘Rock Of The Westies’, yet this to my mind terrific fast churner must be too complex or something as whenever I’ve tried it the dancers lose interest.

DONNY & MARIE OSMOND: ‘Deep Purple’ (MGM 2006561)
Already top of Capital Radio’s Hitline, this sure smash will be good MOR if you can’t find the 1963 Nino Tempo & April Stevens original, which it copies so slavishly.

DICKIE GOODMAN: ‘Mr. Jaws’ (Private Stock PVT 44)
A well-kept secret, this the original US smash cut-up is indeed now out here.  Quite funny and commendably close to the movie’s plotline.

RALPH CARTER: ‘Extra, Extra (Read All About It)’ (Mercury 6167 286) (mentioned in Billboard column 11/15/75, Billboard chart debut 12/6/75)
Well-tried simple lyrics and a flyaway tempo help young Ralph, the world’s youngest self-made millionaire (he used to do McDonalds hamburger commercials).  Exciting if trite.

B.T. EXPRESS: ‘Peace Pipe’ (EMI Int’l. INT 518) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/12/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
Originally coupled with ‘Give It What You Got’ as a double-sided US hit, this “hunka chunka stick it up your jumpa” funka is probably a bit old now for the clubs.

JAMES BROWN: ‘Hot’ (Polydor 2058642)
Huge as an import in the funky clubs, this belatedly is Mr. Brown’s much-discussed rip-off of Bowie’s ‘Fame’.

RON BANKS & THE DRAMATICS: ‘(I’m Going By) The Stars In Your Eyes’ (ABC 4090)
Beautiful and truly soulful vocal group slowie, cleverly linked to a zodiac sign idea.

RICHARD HEWSON ORCHESTRA: ‘Love For Hire’ (Splash CP 2) (mentioned in Billboard column 2/7/76, Billboard chart debut 2/28/76)
Much tipped already, this pounding disco instrumental is spoilt only by an off-key chick’s occasional vocal – otherwise it’s brassy rhythm all the way, with quite a catchy melody.

EVELYN THOMAS: ‘Weak Spot’ (20th Century BTC 1014)
Co-prod in Chicago by Ian Levine, this sounds more like an authentic Northern dancer than the real thing!  Backing track flip.

BILBO BAGGINS: ‘Back Home’ (Polydor 2058667)
Noisily blatant but effective pop.

HUSTLER: ‘Money Maker’ (Firefly/A&M AMS 5004)
Quo-type stomping pop-rock.


Import Picks

ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL: ‘Bump Bounce Boogie’ (Capitol 4187)
From the country-loving band’s American album, ‘Texas Gold’, this brassy big band boogie is slap bang in the middle of the Jitterbug groove that’s getting so big.  With Andrews Sisters-type vocals and madly happy playing, it sounds totally authentic and – as I’ve already proved – it really works!

JOE BOB’S NASHVILLE SOUND COMPANY: ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ (Capitol 4182)
This indeed is the country strings-dominated band whose ‘In The Mood’ was such a success for me last year, indirectly helping to start the whole Jitterbug thing.  Their newie is another Glen Miller swinger (given a female chorus this time) which is almost as good, while on the flip they even do ‘Take The A Train’, which is certainly useable too.

NEIL SEDAKA: ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’ (Rocket PIG 40500)
From his ‘The Hungry Years’ album, Neil’s new US hit starts out with a snatch of his original 1962 recording before it fades away and he launches into a dead slow piano-backed treatment that somehow manages to make the song sound like ‘Since I Fell For You’.  It’s lush ‘n lovely, and makes an intriguing smoocher – especially minus the giveaway intro.


UK Disco Top 20 – January 17, 1976

01 02 Fatback Band – Do The Bus Stop – Polydor
02 01 Hot Chocolate – You Sexy Thing – Rak
03 16 Sailor – Glass Of Champagne – Epic
04 06 Impressions – First Impressions – Curtom
05 03 Chubby Checker – Let’s Twist Again – London
06 05 Silver Convention – Fly Robin Fly – Magnet
07 04 David Bowie – Golden Years – RCA
08 11 Paul Davidson – Midnight Rider – Tropical
09 08 Miracles – Love Machine – Tamla Motown
10 09 Roxy Music – Both Ends Burning – Island
11 10 Trammps – Hooked For Life – Atlantic
12 18 Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody – EMI
13 NE ABBA – Mamma Mia – Epic
14 RE Small Faces – Itchycoo Park – NEMS
15 12 Tymes – God’s Gonna Punish You – RCA
16 15 Barry White – Let The Music Play – 20th Century
17 19 George & Gwen McCrae – I’ll Do The Rockin’ – President
18 07 Chuck Jackson – I’ve Got The Need – All Platinum
19 RE Hello – New York Groove – Bell
20 RE Biddu Orchestra – Exodus – Epic
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (mentioned in Billboard column 11/15/75, Billboard chart debut 11/22/75)
#6 (mentioned in Billboard column 7/19/75, Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
#7 (Billboard chart debut 1/17/76)
#9 (mentioned in Billboard column 10/4/75, Billboard chart debut 10/11/75)
#11 (Billboard chart debut 8/16/75)
#15 (mentioned in Billboard column 9/20/75)
#16 (mentioned in Billboard column 12/20/75, Billboard chart debut 3/13/76)
#17 (mentioned in Billboard column 12/6/75, Billboard chart debut 12/13/75)
#20 (Billboard chart debut 9/20/75)


Songs mentioned in “DJ Hotline”:

WING AND A PRAYER FIFE & DRUM CORPS: ‘Baby Face’ (Atlantic) (mentioned in Billboard column 10/4/75, Billboard chart debut 10/11/75)
LARRY PAGE ORCHESTRA: ‘Volare’ (Penny Farthing)
AL MARTINO: ‘Volare’ (Capitol) (Billboard chart debut 10/11/75)
SOUND 9418: ‘In The Mood’ (UK)
WOODY HERMAN: ‘Woodchopper’s Ball’ (MCA)
JIMMY LUNCEFORD: ‘My Blue Heaven’ (MCA)
ANDREWS SISTERS: ‘Beat Me Daddy Eight To The Bar’ (MCA)
COMMANDERS: ‘Hors D’Oeuvres’ (Decca)
PERCY FAITH: ‘Summer Place ‘76’ (CBS) (Billboard chart debut 11/1/75)
JOHN CONTEH: ‘The Boxer’ (Boxa)
LOVE BITE: ‘Killer Jaws’ (Magnet)
PENNY MCLEAN: ‘Lady Bump’ (EMI) (mentioned in Billboard column 11/8/75, Billboard chart debut 11/15/75)
OSIBISA: ‘Sunshine Day’ (Bronze)

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