February 21, 1976: Eddie Kendricks, Woody Herman, Asleep At The Wheel, M. & O. Band, Archie Bell & The Drells

This week’s column includes the first mention of remixing, in the review of Tom Moulton’s ‘Disco-Trek’ compilation LP.

New Spins

EDDIE KENDRICKS: ‘He’s A Friend’ (Tamla Motown TMO 1021) (mentioned in Billboard column 1/3/76, Billboard chart debut 1/24/76)
Produced by Philly’s Norman Harris, Eddie seems set to continue Motown’s new hit streak with this unhurried thumper, which — with the faster ‘All Of My Love’ flip — joins the NY disco hits ‘It’s Not What You Got’ and ‘Chains’ on his new LP (STML 12016). How long before he and David Ruffin make two ex-Tempts on the chart?

WOODY HERMAN: ‘Woodchopper’s Ball’ (MCA 230)
Woody’s jitterbugging swinger from ’39 is to be followed by many more big band singles, which can only establish the new craze even better than the twist.

ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL: ‘Bump Bounce Boogie’ (Capitol CL 15854)
Great modern-made boogie woogie in the authentic ’40s style, Andrews Sisters vocal and all! 

M. & O. BAND: ‘Let’s Do The Latin Hustle’ (Creole CR 120)
UK rights to Eddie Drennon’s hugely popular import being far too expensive, this crisper and punchier soundalike cover will do very well instead.

ARCHIE BELL & THE DRELLS: ‘Dance Your Troubles Away’ LP (Phila. Intl. PIR 81161) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 12/6/75, Billboard chart debut 12/13/75)
The nice enough ‘I Could Dance All Night’ and ‘Soul City Walk’ are totally overshadowed by ‘Let’s Groove’, which, after massive disco success is now their new US single. Like a subdued ‘Tighten Up’!

LIGHT FANTASTIC: ‘You Have Got Such A Lovely Mind’ (Penny Farthing PEN 908)
Lush ‘n lovely lightweight little hustler.

BOXER: ‘All The Time In The World’ (Virgin VS 135)
Powerfully punching bouncy British funker in the Bad Company, Ace and Stretch tradition.  Hit prospect.

BARRABAS: ‘Checkmate’ (Atlantic K 10716) (Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
The Spanish hijackers are back with more of that bouncy funk beat stuff.

J. WAITERS & THE ELECTRIFIERS: ‘If You Ain’t Getting Your Thing’ (Route RT 26)
Unusual bouncily clopping rhythm from an untypical Philly group.  Instrumental flip.

EXCITERS: ‘Suffering’ (20th Century BTC 1015)
From Ian Levine, with frothily accompanied 100 mph beat and longer disco flip.

BABE RUTH: ‘Elusive’ (from LP ‘Stealin’ Home’, Capitol EST 11451) (Billboard chart debut 11/29/75)
Leaping lively funker from a British based white group fronted by Jenny Haan, available on LP for ages and still not on 45 despite disco demand.

SIMON SAID: ‘Smile’ (Atlantic K 10714) (mentioned in Billboard column 11/22/75, Billboard chart debut 12/27/75)
Yet another oldie, getting a slower hustle revamp that’s also big in NY.  Do try and see the incredibly funny Smile movie, by the way.

FATBACK BAND: ‘(Do The) Spanish Hustle’ (Polydor 2066656) (mentioned in Billboard column 12/20/75, Billboard chart debut 12/27/75)
Totally American and unlike the Bus Stop, this archetypal NY disco hit is the music for the real Hustle dance step.  Terrific rhythm, lovely melody.

SALSOUL ORCHESTRA: ‘Tangerine’ (Epic EPC 4003) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 10/18/75, Billboard chart debut 11/8/75)
The Vince Montana-led Orchestra are huge in NY, where this happily hustling big band oldie has already been overtaken by ‘Salsoul Rainbow’ from their great LP (EPC 81127), which also contains ‘Salsoul Hustle’ and ‘Chicago Bus Stop’.

WING AND A PRAYER FIFE & DRUM CORPS: ‘Baby Face’ LP (Atlantic K 50227) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 2/7/76, Billboard chart debut 2/14/76)
Including the full 6:38 disco version of the title cut, plus the successful formula applied to a 9:45 medley of Al Jolson songs!  ‘Eleanor Rigby‘ and ‘The Charleston‘ get the works too, but another showbiz medley is spoilt by the slow ‘Somewhere’.

SOFTONES: ‘That Old Black Magic’ (Avco 6105045) (Billboard chart debut 12/20/75)
Enormously popular with NY’s champion hustlers, here’s another oldie given the full ‘Baby Face’ treatment.

TOOTS & THE MAYTALS: ‘Reggae Got Soul’ (Island WIP 6269)
. . . and Freddie’ s doing the Mouse! An unnecessary but supposedly commercial combination.

Import Picks

VARIOUS ARTISTS: ‘Disco-Trek’ LP (Atlantic SD 18158) (Billboard chart debut 2/7/76)
Ruggedly handsome ex-male model Tom Moulton is the king of the Disco Mixers – a new breed of engineers who take another producer’s finished record and re-mix the tape to make a brighter version that’s more suitable for play in discotheques.  On this album Tom has re-spliced and re-mixed such well-known hits as Sister Sledge’s ‘Mama Never Told Me’, Blue Magic’s ‘Look Me Up’, Jackie Moore’s ‘Time’, and the Valentinos’ ‘I Can Understand It’ so that they are now longer than before and have emphasized rhythm tracks.  Especially, he has picked out the hissing hi-hat cymbal beats, which are all-important to New York’s hustling dancers these days.

PHILLIP & LLOYD: ‘The Blues Busters’ LP (Scepter SPS 5121)
Ska fans will be right in guessing that these are Phillip James and Lloyd Campbell, but this Jamaican-recorded album has been re-mixed by none other than Tom Moulton.  Considering that what he does is so similar, Tom is not surprisingly a big fan of Jamaica’s dub producers.  However, this is far from dub in sound – instead, Tom’s done his usual trick and brought up the cymbals!  So what you get is ‘I Shot The Sheriff’, ‘Here I Am, My Girl’ and others with a steadily hissing hi-hat to give reggae an American appeal.  Oh well!

UK Disco Top 20 – February 21, 1976

01 01 Miracles – Love Machine – Tamla Motown
02 02 Four Seasons – December 1963 – Warner Bros.
03 NE Tina Charles – I Love To Love – CBS
04 06 War – Low Rider – Island
05 04 Donna Summer – Love To Love You Baby – GTO
06 08 O’Jays – I Love Music – Philadelphia Int’l
07 03 A Wing & A Prayer Fife & Drum Corps – Baby Face – Atlantic
08 11 George McCrae – Honey I – Jay Boy
09 09 Fatback Band – Do The Bus Stop – Polydor
10 05 Sound 9418 – In The Mood – UK
11 13 Ralph Carter – Extra, Extra (Read All About It) – Mercury
12 NE Manhattan Transfer – Tuxedo Junction – Atlantic
13 NE Juggy Jones – Inside America – Contempo
14 12 Faith, Hope & Charity – Just One Look – RCA
15 07 Osibisa – Sunshine Day – Bronze
16 NE Yvonne Fair – It Should Have Been Me – Tamla Motown
17 NE Slik- Forever & Ever – Bell
18 19 Fire – Oh That’s My Man – Jay Boy
19 NE Pluto Shervington – Dat – Opal
20 NE L. J. Johnson – Your Magic Put A Spell On Me – Philips
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (mentioned in Billboard column 10/4/75, Billboard chart debut 10/11/75)
#3 (Billboard chart debut 3/13/76)
#4 (mentioned in Billboard column 9/13/75)
#5 (mentioned in Billboard column 9/27/75, Billboard chart debut 10/4/75)
#6 (mentioned in Billboard column 10/11/75, Billboard chart debut 10/25/75)
#7 (mentioned in Billboard column 10/4/75, Billboard chart debut 10/11/75)
#8 (Billboard chart debut 1/24/76)
#9 (mentioned in Billboard column 11/15/75, Billboard chart debut 11/22/75)
#11 (mentioned in Billboard column 11/15/75, Billboard chart debut 12/6/75)
#13 (mentioned in Billboard column 11/29/75, Billboard chart debut 12/6/75)
#16 (Billboard chart debut 5/15/76)

Songs mentioned in “DJ Hot Line”:

ARCHIE BELL & THE DRELLS: ‘I Could Dance All Night’ (Phila. Intl.) (Billboard chart debut 5/31/75)
THE SUNSHINE BAND: ‘Rock Your Baby’ (Jay Boy) (Billboard chart debut 10/18/75)
THE DISCO SOUND OF ANDRE GAGNON: ‘Wow’ (Decca) (Billboard chart debut 1/17/76)
AL MATTHEWS: ‘Your Affair’ (CBS)
THE PEARLS: ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’ (Private Stock) (mentioned in Billboard column 2/7/76, Billboard chart debut 2/28/76)
DE BLANC: ‘Oh No Not My Baby’ (Arista) (Billboard chart debut 12/27/75)
TABOU COMBO: ‘New York City’ (Decca)
JOHNNY WAKELIN: ‘Reggae, Soul And Rock ‘N Roll’ (Pye)
BILBO BAGGINS: ‘Back Home’ (Polydor)
URSULA DUDZIAK: ‘Papaya’ (Arista) (Billboard chart debut 11/8/75)
LLOYD PARKS: ‘Mafia’ (Cactus)
CHEQUERS: ‘Miss Payne’ (Creole)
BONEY M.: ‘Baby Do You Wanna Bump’ (Hansa – German import)
GEORGE MCCRAE: ‘Take This Love Of Mine’ (Jay Boy) (Billboard chart debut 1/24/76)
V.I.P. Connection: ‘Please Love Me Again’ (Creole)
JOHN HOLT: ‘I’d Love You To Want Me’ (Trojan)
SASSAFRASS: ‘Wheelin’ ‘N Dealin’ (Chrysalis)

Next week: The Miracles’ run at #1 ends (sooner than I thought, to be honest) and the Who “squeeze” onto the Top 20!

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