March 20, 1976: Biddu Orchestra, Michael Zager, George & Gwen McCrae, Andrea True Connection, Ted Heath

New Spins

BIDDU ORCHESTRA: ‘Rain Forest’ (Epic EPC 4084) (mentioned in Billboard column 4/17/76, Billboard chart debut 4/24/76)
Lushly arranged with sweeping strings and prodding brass, this beautiful almost Santana-ish rhythm throbber is an ever-evolving delight. I’ve been having great fun making it even longer by mixing two copies together. The flip will please many too, as its the much-demanded ‘Exodus’, an archetypal “disco” sound.

MICHAEL ZAGER & THE MOON BAND: ‘Do It With Feeling’ (London HLM 10521) (mentioned in Billboard column 11/22/75, Billboard chart debut 11/29/75)
Ex-Ten Wheel Drive, Zager gets a great funky chant thing going with a big bouncy beat.

GEORGE & GWEN MCCRAE: ‘Let’s Dance, Dance, Dance’ (President PR 451)
Standout cut from their album, this exuberant fast happy dancer is a stone gas that ends up by quoting from other disco hits. 

ANDREA TRUE CONNECTION: ‘More, More, More’ (Buddah BD 442) (mentioned in Billboard column 1/3/76, Billboard chart debut 1/17/76)
At last starting to chart in the States, this monotonously nagging US disco smash by a deadpan-voiced New York actress has a rhythm that’s just one notch of variable turntable speed above Donna Summer. A Tom Moulton mix, of course!

TED HEATH: ‘Opus 1’ (Decca 13629)
Coupled with the catchy clapping ‘Hot Toddy‘ from ’53, this brash and brassy 1957 treatment of the tune currently out by the Mills Brothers is an adrenaline rush of excitement. Oh yeah!

SYD LAWRENCE ORCHESTRA: ‘Pennsylvania 6-5000’ (Philips 6006510)
Nice clean recreation of the Glenn Miller hit, and ditto for the ‘String Of Pearls‘ flip.

SAILOR: ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ (Epic EPC 3858)
Jolly street busker sound.

COMMODORES, JACKSON 5, EDDIE KENDRICKS, ETC: ‘Motown DiscoTech 2’ LP (Tamla Motown STML 12019)
Third [?!?] in their DiscoTech line, this album segues (very well) a mixture of Motown material from ’73/74/75 by those named plus Undisputed Truth, Temptations, Yvonne Fair, Miracles, Marvin and Diana and others, including the LP-length versions of ‘Keep On Truckin” and ‘Forever Came Today‘. Excellent for DJs who want a slow pint!

Never before on one UK LP have so many true classics of this ’50s vocal group style been available. One outstanding rarity is the Rainbows’ ‘Mary Lee’ – the 1955 group included Marvin Gaye, Billy Stewart and Don Covay, and man do they wail! Not normal disco fodder maybe, but try a track instead of the Stylistics in your smooch spot.

BLOODSTONE: ‘Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love)’ (Decca F 13628)
The soul group go MoR on a usefully straight version of Cole Porter’s wittily naughty “Lithuanians and Letts do it” ditty. Ella Fitzgerald does it more slyly though!

DIANA ROSS: ‘Love Hangover’ (from LP ‘Diana Ross’, Tamla Motown STML 12022) (Billboard chart debut 2/28/76)
After a slower first few minutes actually sung by Di, the 7:48 track suddenly perks up into a bubblingly beaty instrumental disco romp that’s all the rage in New York and Canvey Island.

JOHN PAUL YOUNG: ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ (Private Stock PVT 49)
Out here months ago before its US success, this beefy Australian pop stomper will be good if it’s a hit this time, and may have Northern appeal.

JONA LEWIE: ‘Piggy Back Sue’ (Sonet SON 2048)
Louisiana-loving Lewie throws the lot plus all he’s got into this great piano rockin’ boogie. Fantastic full sound, bopping rhythm.

JR. WALKER: ‘Don’t Lose What You Got’ (from LP ‘Hot Shot’, Tamla Motown STML 12018)
Holland Bros instrumental with a terrific modern bouncy rhythm pushed along by some great synthetic noises and Walker’s wailing sax.

BRECKER BROTHERS BAND: ‘Keep It Steady (Brecker Bump)’ / ‘Grease Piece‘ / ‘If You Wanna Boogie . . . Forget It‘ (from LP ‘Back To Back’, Arista ARTY 128)
A hustler, a bouncy-funker, and a tricksy slower vocal funker from the brassy band’s US hit album, which I find a bit boring.

JOE SIMON: ‘I Need You, You Need Me’ (Polydor 2066649) (mentioned in Billboard column 12/20/75)
Stomping semi-hustler.

TYRONE DAVIS: ‘Turning Point’ (Brunswick BR 31)
Great Beat for black clubs.

THE TYMES: ‘Only Your Love’ (RCA 2658) (Billboard chart debut 2/21/76)
Slickly skipping hustler.

Import Picks

PETER FRAMPTON: ‘Show Me The Way’ (A&M AM 1795)
Taken from his States-shaking ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ LP, this is one of the numbers on which he bends the guitar notes by using a Talkbox connected to his mouth. An incredibly effective sound results, which dominates the otherwise normally sung happy toe-tapper.

GRAHAM CENTRAL STATION: ‘The Jam’ (Warner Bros. WBS 8175)
Burbling organ-driven rhythm and plenty of complicated convoluted funk, with only scant vocals in funny accents.

UK Disco Top 20 – March 20, 1976

01 01 Tina Charles – I Love To Love – CBS
02 02 Four Seasons – December 1963 – Warner Bros.
03 03 Fatback Band – Spanish Hustle – Polydor
04 05 Stylistics – Funky Weekend – Avco
05 04 Billy Ocean – Love Really Hurts Without You – GTO
06 06 O’Jays – I Love Music – Philadelphia Int’l
07 08 M. & O. Band – Let’s Do The Latin Hustle – Creole
08 09 Glitter Band – People Like You – Bell
09 12 20th Century Steel Band – We’ve Got To Work To Stay Together – UA
10 NE Barry White – You See The Trouble With Me – 20th Century
11 07 Status Quo – Rain – Vertigo
12 NE Sassafras – Wheelin’ ‘N Dealin’ – Chrysalis
13 11 Gallagher & Lyle – I Wanna Stay With You – A&M
14 RE Brass Construction – Movin’ / Changin’ – UA
15 NE Linda Thompson – Ooh What A Night – Magnet
16 NE Trammps – Where The Happy People Go – Atlantic
17 RE Small Faces – Itchycoo Park – NEMS
18 NE John Kongos – I No. 7 (Only Wants To Get To Heaven) – A&M
19 NE Parliament – Give Up The Funk – Casablanca [Imp]
20 NE Pink Floyd – Money – Harvest
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (Billboard chart debut 3/13/76)
#3 (mentioned in Billboard column 12/20/75, Billboard chart debut 12/27/75)
#5 (Billboard chart debut 4/3/76)
#6 (mentioned in Billboard column 10/11/75, Billboard chart debut 10/25/75)
#9 (mentioned in Billboard column 8/28/76)
#10 (Billboard chart debut 3/13/76)
#14 (mentioned in Billboard column 1/17/76, Billboard chart debut 1/24/76)
#15 (mentioned in Billboard column 10/25/75, Billboard chart debut 1/17/76)
#16 (mentioned in Billboard column 11/8/75, Billboard chart debut 2/14/76)
#19 (Billboard chart debut 9/18/76)

No “DJ Hot Line” this week.

Next week: Tina holds on to the top spot for a fifth week, and, figuring John’s ‘Imagine’ did well enough, British DJs spin Paul’s best-known slow song!

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