January 24, 1976: Chubby Checker, War, 5000 Volts, Country Joe McDonald, Neil Sedaka

New Spins

CHUBBY CHECKER: ‘(At The) Discotheque’ (London HLU 10515)
Originally flip of ‘Do The Freddie‘ (which is consequently the only Checker hit I lack), this used to change hands amongst disco DJs at anything up to fifty quid . . . so there’ll be much gnashing of teeth now.  Chubby rhymes “discotheque” with “hey hey hey” as he adapts to a boogalooing 1965 Philly beat, which while far removed from ‘The Twist’ should still go down well up North.  Less rare, the double A side coupling is his duet with Dee Dee Sharp on ‘Slow Twistin’‘.  Also out is ‘Reggae My Way‘ (20th Century BTC 2040), a 1973 mixture of steel drums, ‘Love Is Strange’, and not much actual reggae!

WAR: ‘Low Rider’ (Island WIP 6267)
Delayed by a new label deal, the funksters’ huge US hit is a well-proven disco smash which throbs and jumps along with more energy than anything since their great ‘Me And Baby Brother’.
★ JH PICK

5000 VOLTS: ‘Bye Love’ (Philips 6006501)
Borrowing a bit from the TK sound, sizzling cymbals and long intro included, the guys and gal mix up their vocals more than before as they hustle along to an extremely pretty melody.  Gawd knows who’s actually singing!
★ JH PICK

COUNTRY JOE MCDONALD: ‘Breakfast For Two’ (Fantasy FTC 123)
Joe’s dreamy slowie has lovely San Francisco harmonies and the same languid atmosphere as Steve Miller’s ‘The Joker’.  Not obvious, but well worth trying.
★ JH PICK

NEIL SEDAKA: ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’ (Polydor 2058684)
Skip the snatch of his ’62 version and the dead slow bit, and start with the rhythm – then see how long it takes for people to twig that this is the oldie slowed down to a romantic smooch (which still sounds remarkably like ‘Since I Fell For You’!)
★ JH PICK

LITTLE TONY: ‘Shakin’ All Over’ (RCA 2688)
Minus his brothers, Italian Tony (who in fact did an early cover of Chan Romero’s ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’) now gets to grips with the Johnny Kidd classic, doing this new slower treatment with more power than another version by Cliff Bennett’s group, Shanghai (Thunderbird THE 104)

LLOYD PARKS: ‘Mafia’ (Cactus CT 75)
Only now filtering through to the pop crowds, Lloyd’s “me a mafia” grinder could well be as big as it was in reggae circles last year.
★ JH PICK

JUDY MOWATT: ‘Too Good For Me’ (Torpedo TOR 52)
Subtle sophisticated slowie, beautifully made and hopefully just right for late night smoochers.  My own fave of the week.

LOVE BITE: ‘Killer Jaws’ (Magnet MAG 53)
British girlie group with a basic disco beat.  I still reckon that ‘Super Jaws’ by Seven Seas is the best of these spin-offs.

JACKIE ROBINSON: ‘Moving Like A Superstar’ (Pye 7N 25700)
More German “soul”, evidently, with fast thump beat and chanting ladies.  Not bad of its type, it could be big.

CHRIS SPEDDING: ‘Jump In My Car’ (Rak 228)
Bouncy mid-tempo ‘Honky Tonk Woman’-type thing.

AL MATTHEWS: ‘Your Affair’ (CBS 3912)
Back in his ‘Fool’ groove on another Pierre Tubbs tune, Al sounds great again – although this song (already familiar to Capital Radio listeners) may be too similar to hit.

MYSTIC MOODS: ‘Honey Trippin’’ (Mint CHEW 3)
Nice smoothly chugging instrumental with fans aplenty, it could be another ‘Afternoon Of The Rhino’.

PAT WILLIAMS ORCHESTRA: ‘Police Story’ (Capitol CL 15844)
Reissued telly theme, a brassy sparse beater with possible Northern appeal.

BILLY OCEAN: ‘Love Really Hurts Without You’ (GTO GT 51)
Last time he sounded like the Drifters and now he shamelessly rips off the Four Tops.  Sugar pie, honey bunch!


Disco exhibition time

LIVERPOOL IS to be the location for the recently announced DISCO NORTH, which amounts to a Northern edition of last September’s London-based Disco 75 exhibition and DJ convention, which many Northern DJs were unable to attend.

Organised by National Association of Disc Jockeys boss, Ben Cree, the Disco North show will be held at Liverpool’s Centre Hotel on Monday and Tuesday, March 22nd and 23rd, 1976. Already many major equipment manufacturers have booked exhibition space, and Cree is confident that the show will be another huge success. He may be contacted for further information at Hitchin (0462) 50918.

This year’s London event, Disco 76, will again be held at the Bloomsbury Centre Hotel, over three days this time, September 6th, 7th and 8th.

This week sees what may well be the most ambitious Disco convention of the year taking place in New York City. Organised by Billboard magazine and also by coincidence called Disco 76, it is a three day forum consisting of many panel sessions, as well as exhibits and live music sessions. I will be attending as a guest panellist (alongside such as Van McCoy, Norman Harris, Thom Bell!), and you can read the full story in next week’s issue.


Miller Mania!

WITH SO much talk about Glenn Miller and In The Mood, and with so many versions of the tune coming out, which are the ones to use?

GLENN MILLER’s 1939 original, part of his hitbound Moonlight Serenade maxi (RCA 2644), is obviously the most authentic, although the recording quality leaves much to be desired in discos. (I’ve always used an old Golden Guinea remake that sounds similar but stronger.) If you’ve got a crowd who really do Jitterbug or Jive to it. then this is the type of sound you need.

SOUND 9418’s contemporary treatment (UK 121) was created as a Pop record to introduce the tune and idea to people not already familiar with
it. As such it works extremely well, but because it incorporates disco and reggae rhythms within its punchy drive – only starting and ending in the traditional way – it is not so good for the more serious Jitterbugger. It has however been designed to have the most impact in discos, which indeed it has.

JOE BOB’S NASHVILLE SOUND COMPANY (Capitol CL 15847) is the strings-led Country version about which I raved in August, and which has been such a huge success for me at MoR-type gigs ever since. Its release now seems somewhat late when you consider that twice last year I suggested to Capitol that they put it out, at a time when they could have had the field to themselves. Although it suffers from a weak guitar solo, this version remains a lot of fun for use at MoR parties.

JAMES LAST’s typical treatment (Polydor 2121271) is jolly enough in its Easy Listening way, but is more of a fast Quickstep than anything else.

Not to be forgotten are such old versions as those by ERNIE FIELDS, THE HAWK (alias Jerry Lee Lewis), JOE LOSS, SYD LAWRENCE, etc – all of which and more are doubtless to be unleashed on us before the month is out!


star tip
Smash the Rollers!

ROY GOULD (Treasure’s Stereo Disco, Northampton) is likely to get his head bashed in, but his star tip suggestion is so funny that it has to be shared. It’s called SMASH THE ROLLERS!

Roy sells raffle tickets at 2p each, the first and only prize being a Bay City Rollers record . . . and the use of a large hammer! The idea of course is to smash the Rollers, whose records he gets secondhand from the local junk shop.

Roy announces the raffle several times, threatening to play a Rollers LP if tickets move slowly, and he usually makes between £1.50 and £2. Some people buy 50p worth of tickets, and once a girl gave him £1 for the privilege.


dj hot line

O’JAYS: I Love Music (Phila Int) much loved by many, like Jon Taylor (Crockers, Norwich), Steve Day (Chingford), Bob Sampson (Black Cobra Disco, Burgess Hill), Alan Gold (Brighton) . . . DAVID RUFFIN: Walk Away From Love (Tamla) huge for Colin King (Blue Room, Sale), Peter Greig (Route 66 Disco, Plympton), Anthony Allan (Speakeasy, Wakefield), Les Aron (Bali Hai, Bognor Regis). Steve Ingram (DJ Enterprises, Weybridge).

. . . various In The Moods are in evidence – Jon Taylor, Steve Day, Theo Loyla (Banana Power Discos, Bridge, Kent), Peter Greig, Andy Cassidy (Sundown, London), Anthony Allan, Mark Rymann (South Wales clubs) and Les Aron with SOUND 9418 (UK), while Les also charts GLENN MILLER (RCA), as do Doctor John (Disco-Tech, Telford), Mike McLean (Strath-disco, Glasgow) and Steve Ingram . . . Steve also sticks with ERNIE FIELDS (London), Colin
McLean (Acas Club, Hamilton) plays both GLENN MILLER and JAMES LAST (Polydor), Gary Bowen (Bath) camps it up with BETTE MIDLER (Atlantic), and Colin King is first to tip Moonlight Serenade . . . Pete Banks (Lightning Discos, Croydon) plays BENNY GOODMAN: Stompin’ At The Savoy (RCA) “for all our punters In GI and ’40s gear (only thanks to you!)” – why, shucks, Pete! . . .

The mysterious J W. (JW Roadshow, Haverhill) infos that the incredible
TABOU COMBO: New York City (Decca) – and in fact the whole LP plus
its follow-up LP – were huge last year when he DJ’d In Paris.

. . . WHO: Squeeze Box (Polydor) shaping up nicely for “Kangaroo” Keith Scott (SuperSounds Disco, Edinburgh), Alan Gold and Mike McLean . . . at last DOOLEY SILVERSPOON: Let Me Be The No. 1 (Seville) is spreading from Jon Taylor to Vaughn Royse (Jail Disco, Bodmin) and Frank Wavish (De-Luxe Disco, Plympton) . . . Frank reports that the Twist has finally taken off
in Plympton – he charts REAL McCOY: Twist & Shout (Route) along with
Willy Cash (Untouchables Disco, Appleby) – whereas “Dirty” Harry Park (Geordie Pride Roadshow, Wallsend) reports the Twist being dead.


UK Disco Top 20 – January 24, 1976

01 01 Fatback Band – Do The Bus Stop – Polydor
02 03 Sailor – Glass Of Champagne – Epic
03 05 Chubby Checker – Let’s Twist Again – London
04 08 Paul Davidson – Midnight Rider – Tropical
05 09 Miracles – Love Machine – Tamla Motown
06 07 David Bowie – Golden Years – RCA
07 02 Hot Chocolate – You Sexy Thing – Rak
08 — Donna Summer – Love To Love You Baby – GTO
09 12 Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody – EMI
10 11 Trammps – Hooked For Life – Atlantic
11 — Gloria Gaynor – How High The Moon – MGM
12 16 Barry White – Let The Music Play – 20th Century
13 04 Impressions – First Impressions – Curtom
14 — R & J Stone – We Do It – RCA
15 re O’Jays – I Love Music – Philadelphia Int’l
16 10 Roxy Music – Both Ends Burning – Island
17 — David Ruffin – Walk Away From Love – Tamla Motown
18 18 Chuck Jackson – I’ve Got The Need – All Platinum
19 — A Wing & A Prayer Fife & Drum Corps – Baby Face – Atco (US import)
20 — Martha Reeves – Jimmy Mack – Tamla Motown


james’ top ten

1 IN THE MOOD, Sound 9418 (UK)
2 BABY FACE, Wing & A Prayer Fife & Drums Corps (Atlantic)
3 LET THE MUSIC PLAY, Barry White (20th)
4 SUMMER PLACE 76, Percy Faith (CBS)
5 MIDNIGHT RIDER, Paul Davidson (Tropical)
6 BUMP BOUNCE BOOGIE, Asleep At The Wheel (US Capitol)
7 LOVE ROLLERCOASTER, Ohio Players (Mercury )
8 WIDE-EYED & LEGLESS, Andy Fairweather-Low (A&M)
9 LOW RIDER, War (Island)
10 SUNSHINE DAY, Osibisa (Bronze)

BREAKERS
1 HURRICANE, Bob Dylan (CBS)
2 CHANGE (MAKES YOU WANT TO HUSTLE), Donald Byrd (Blue Note LP)
3 BYE LOVE, 5000 Volts (Philips)

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