April 3, 1976: Keith Emerson, Atlanta Disco Band, Mel Blanc, Chubby Checker, Mutter Slater

Disco North Depression hit

AS REPORTED, the Disco North exhibition last week in Liverpool began with a bang as all the lights (and sounds ) blew the fuses of the Centre Hotel. This also happened on the second day, with the result that many exhibitors were rightly disgruntled.

Roger Squire moved his own Disco Centre display into a private suite elsewhere in the hotel, and reported increased interest in these less noisy surroundings.

Jingle Singles pulled out after only one day, but that was because all their listening gear had been stolen from their van outside.

Theft and even violence was ever-present in crime-ridden Liverpool, the most horrendous experience being that of NEMS Records’ plugger Neil Ferris, who was actually mugged in his own car while asking the way. Maybe it was because the area is so depressed and DJ rates are proportionately lower that there was a relatively small turnout for the show, Liverpool and Northern DJs being disinterested in expensive new equipment?

The final attendance figure being approximately 1,000 visitors, many in fact coming from the South, would seem to suggest this.

Two inexpensive hits of the show were Atlantic Records’ 12 inch slip mats, and M-Jay Electronics (Bradford) handy-sized electronic siren units. Martin Blake kept being a nuisance with their fog machines, Judge Dread sang some rude songs.

Cookies Disco Centre presented an excellent programme every time their allotted 10 minutes of noise came around, and Creole Records got everyone drunk on cheap wine. Not to mention TVL’s video demonstration, which kept turning into a blue movie show!

At last I was able to meet Les Spaine, who really is the Godfather of all the DJs in Liverpool. My thanks go to Mike Davidson (Babalou) who showed many out-of-towners around, to Dave Porter (Oscars) who as king of the jingles will be a radio name one day, to Chris Graham (Scamps) who let me use his flashy console, to Terry Lennaine (Radio Mersey-side) who bought me chip butties, to Dave Eastwood (Radio City) who had me on his late night show, to Tommy Burns (Beachcomber) who coped admirably with the strippers, to Stan Green (Russell’s) who played good party records among the hustlers, and to Cliff Wilding (Early Riser Disco Services, Walthamstow) and Garrell Redfearn (MIF Disco Promotion) who got me there and back!

New Spins

KEITH EMERSON: ‘Honky Tonk Train Blues’ (Manticore K 13513)
ELP’s Keith turns to his “other” piano as he knocks out a great swinging version of Meade Lux Lewis’s 1930s boogie-woogie raver. Authentic in every way, Benny Goodman-type backing and all!

ATLANTA DISCO BAND: ‘Bad Luck’ (AriolaAmerica AA 102) (Billboard chart debut 10/4/75)
A disco smash since last year on import, this ultra-rhythmic bumpy bass and jiggly guitar instrumental is an established classic already. Drummer Earl Young was never busier!

MEL BLANC: ‘I Taut I Taw A Puddy-Tat’ (Capitol CL 15866)
Probably best if used only in part, as a surprise insert, this vintage silliness is indeed Tweetie-Pie and friend of cartoon fame. Lotsa laffs, while the flip’s ‘That’s All Folks’. 

CHUBBY CHECKER: ‘Dancin’ Party’ (London HLU 10524)
If only Decca had heeded the advice that this just had to be the follow-up to ‘Let’s Twist Again’, they’d have given Chubby another hit. Now, great though this hand clapper is, it’s probably missed the boat. ‘Limbo Rock‘ as alternative A-side has its uses too.

MUTTER SLATER: ‘Dancing On Air’ (Rocket ROKN 510)
Although brand new, Mr. Slater’s coolly crooned frothy little ditty sounds like an authentic early Thirties fox trot with vocal refrain. Lovely MoR.

ELLA FITZGERALD: ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’ (Verve 2009017)
One of several evocative slowies that make a great end to the evening, Ella’s dreamy reading of the “how strange the change from major to minor” tune is of course an ace smoocher at any time.

PASADENA ROOF ORCHESTRA: ‘Top Hat, White Tie And Tails’ (Transatlantic BIG 589)
Jaunty Thirties recreation of the famous Fred Astaire-sung number.

ARMADA ORCHESTRA: ‘Band Of Gold’ (Contempo CS 2063) (Billboard chart debut 11/29/75)
Starting as a UK LP track, exported to and remixed in New York, and now back on 45 in all its thunking bouncing backing-track glory! A hit!

CHARLIE RASP: ‘Randy Rooster’ (EMI 2429)
Extremely effective disco instrumental, full of funky bounce.

MIKE MORAN BAND: ‘Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy’ (Power Exchange PX 203)
Powerfully pounding semi-heavy treatment, miles better than the much-touted ‘Autumn Leaves‘ plug side.

THE TEMPREES: ‘I Found Love On A Disco Floor’ (Epic EPC 4097) (mentioned in Billboard column 2/28/76)
In the rapidly churning Trammps style, the Temprees find friends among the happy people. Effectively abrupt clavinet break should help.

BOBBY WOMACK: ‘Daylight’ (UA UP 36068)
Tense lead-in to a gorgeous mellow medium thudding swayer of great beauty.

The original pipe version on the flip is no way a dancer but could be good if you’re into creating evocative sound pictures.

CHAMPS BOYS: ‘Tubular Bells’ (Philips 6006519) (mentioned in Billboard column 4/3/76, Billboard chart debut 4/24/76)
Chris Hill’s little secret, this French plodder puts the main theme from Mike Oldfield’s modern classic to the Donna Summer bass line (which doesn’t need much juggling).

THE MIRACLES: ‘Night Life’ (Tamla Motown TMG 1023)
Staccato fast thwacker, probably too fast and too insubstantial.  At least the hustling instrumental ‘Overture‘ flip is a proven US disco hit, but again it’s a bit empty.

HELEN DAY AND CATCH: ‘You Can Do It Better With Me’ (Philips 6006503)
Catchy ditty with some baion added to the hustle for wider MoR appeal.  ‘I Got The Catch’ on the flip is getting disco action too.

HIDDEN STRENGTH: ‘Hustle On Up (Do The Bump)’ (UA UP 36085) (Billboard chart debut 1/31/76)
The champion hustlers at NY’s Disco ’76 did their thing to Hidden Strength playing live until things got serious, at which stage they asked for the Softones on record!  Useful if unspectacular disco fodder.

JACKEY BEAVERS: ‘Trying To Get Back To You, Girl’ (Jay Boy BOY 102)
Subtle cymbal schlurper with bubbling bass and soulful singing, unusual enough to click.

MAXINE NIGHTINGALE: ‘Gotta Be The One’ (UA UP 36086)
Bit of a grower, catchily taken at half speed, with a main melody hook that’s naggingly reminiscent of something else.

DON SEBESKY: ‘Skyliner’ (CTI CTSP 003)
Charlie Barnet’s famous wartime theme goes subduedly disco.


As well as all the Beatles’ old singles there are lots more classic floor-fillers currently on re-release. You probably know about the Doors ‘L.A. Woman’ (flip of ‘Riders On The Storm’) (Elektra K 12203), Rod Stewart ‘It’s All Over Now’ (Mercury 6167327), Bunny Sigler ‘Girl Don’t Make Me Wait’ / ‘Let The Good Times Roll’ (London HLU 10518), and the Small Faces ‘Lazy Sunday’ (Immediate IMS 106). Other useful goodies include Dawn ‘Knock Three Times’ (Bell 1468), Shocking Blue ‘Venus’ (Penny Farthing PEN 913), Hawkwind ‘Silver Machine’ (UA UP 35381), T. Rex ‘Get It On’ / ‘Hot Love’ (Cube BUG 66), Fats Domino ‘Blueberry Hill’ (UA UP 35797), Roy Orbison ‘Only The Lonely’ (Monument MNT 3965), Del Shannon ‘Runaway’ / ‘Keep Searchin” (Contempo-raries CS 9021), Barry Mann ‘Who Put The Bomp’ (ABC 4106), Dixie Cups ‘Chapel Of Love’ (Contempo-raries CS 9037), Honeybus ‘I Can’t Let Maggie Go’ (Decca F 13631 ), Tommy Roe ‘Sheila’ (ABC 4097), Isley Brothers ‘Twist & Shout’ (DJM DJS 640), Deodato ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)’ (CTI CTSP 004), and Wizzard ‘See My Baby Jive’ / ‘Angel Fingers’ / ‘Ball Park Incident’ (Harvest HAR 5106). Plus, some misses that will be known to many are Zap-Pow ‘This Is Reggae Music’ (Island WIP 6277), Al Wilson ‘Show And Tell’ / ‘La La Peace Song’ (Bell 1455).

‘Greatest Disco Ever’

THE GREATEST DISCO EVER is the optimistic name given to the Superspike (International Athletes Club) — benefitting disco being held this Tuesday, April 6, at the Empire Pool, Wembley. With such starts as Osibisa, Tina Charles and the complete Biddu Orchestra playing to the dancers, the huge arena’s floor should indeed be packed.

Emperor Rosko and Capital Radio DJs Roger Scott, Greg Edwards, Nicky Horne and Graham Dene will be spinning the platters (the show will be going out live on Capital), and other attractions include prizes for dancing the Hustle, Bump, Jive and Twist, and lavish TV sets, stereos and holidays in Greece for winning other competitions.

Tickets are £2. 50 (£2 in advance), box office number being 01-902 1234.

Then on Thursday, April 8, the NADJ are holding a special one day Promotion Forum at London’s Bloomsbury Centre Hotel. Open to all DJs, whether members of the National Association of DJs or not, the forum is an attempt to solve the many problems that exist between DJs and record companies.

This event will enable both sides to thrash out the age-old questions about free demos and disco mailing lists, with scheduled sessions covering mobile discos, reaction reports and promotion nights as well.

Registration costs £5 for DJs and £10 for record company personnel, and includes forum papers, refreshments and a special Promotion Awards Luncheon with wine.

Details from big Ben Cree at 0462-50918. I’ll see you at both events, so be there or be square!

James’ Top Ten

1 SAVE YOUR KISSES FOR ME, Brotherhood Of Man (Pye)
2 THERE’S A KIND OF HUSH, Carpenters (A&M)
3 CONCRETE & CLAY, Unit 4 + 2 (Decca)
4 NEW YORK CITY, Tabou Combo (Decca LP)
5 I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN, Frank Sinatra (Reprise)
6 OPUS 1, Ted Heath (Decca)
7 SPANISH WINE, Chris White (Charisma)
8 LET’S DO THE LATIN HUSTLE, Eddie Drennan (US Friends & Co LP)
9 I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND, Sparks (Island)
10 RADIO, Medium Wave Band (Spark )
1 GOT TO GET YOUR OWN, Reuben Wilson (Chess)
2 MAKES YOU BLIND, Glitter Band (Bell)

UK Disco Top 20 – April 3, 1976

01 01 Tina Charles – I Love To Love – CBS
02 02 Billy Ocean – Love Really Hurts Without You – GTO
03 05 Barry White – You See The Trouble With Me – 20th Century
04 03 Fatback Band – Spanish Hustle – Polydor
05 04 Four Seasons – December 1963 – Warner Bros.
06 NE 10cc – I’m Mandy, Fly Me – Mercury
07 11 Stylistics – Funky Weekend – Avco
08 15 Beatles – Yesterday – EMI
09 06 Gallagher & Lyle – I Wanna Stay With You – A&M
10 20 Sailor – Girls, Girls, Girls – Epic
11 12 Brass Construction – Movin’ / Changin’ – UA
12 08 Eddie Drennon & B.B.S. Unlimited – Let’s Do The Latin Hustle – Pye
13 10 20th Century Steel Band – We’ve Got To Work To Stay Together – UA
14 RE Sassafras – Wheelin’ ‘N Dealin’ – Chrysalis
15 09 Glitter Band – People Like You / Makes You Blind – Bell
16 NE Brotherhood Of Man – Save Your Kisses For Me – Pye
17 NE Cate Brothers – Union Man – Asylum
18 19 Trammps – Where The Happy People Go – Atlantic
19 14 O’Jays – I Love Music – Philadelphia Int’l
20 07 M. & O. Band – Let’s Do The Latin Hustle – Creole
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

No “DJ Hot Line” this week.

Next week: Somebody must have been sleeping on the job, because there’s no Top 20!

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