May 29, 1976: Bryan Ferry, Sandy Nelson, Maxine Nightingale, Band Of The Black Watch, Hank Mizell

New Spins

BRYAN FERRY: ‘Let’s Stick Together’ (Island WIP 6307)
The most positive newie of the month, Bry’s rousing revival of the Wilbert Harrison/Canned Heat classic boogie is a “get it on” gas that will fill the floor!

SANDY NELSON: ‘Let There Be Drums’ (UA UP 36114)
Sandy’s ’61 stomper is solid rocking rhythm and hitbound again.

MAXINE NIGHTINGALE: ‘Think I Want To Possess You’ (UA UP 36120)
Enthusiastic if unexceptional bouncy hustler, totally overshadowed by the sparser and more percussive ‘One Last Ride’ flip, which is much, much better and should be checked.  Continue reading “May 29, 1976: Bryan Ferry, Sandy Nelson, Maxine Nightingale, Band Of The Black Watch, Hank Mizell”

May 22, 1976: “The apparent apathy of London DJ’s is amazing.”

Disco dee-jay’s are so consistently failing to support attempts to give them a unity that soon nobody will bother to help them. Or maybe they are happy to be thought of as nothing more than a bunch of kids playing records in the evenings?

Certainly, it was the older and more responsible type of DJ who supported last Thursday’s NADJ-run Promotion Forum, held at London’s Centre Hotel. Even so, the DJ’s there were almost outnumbered by the record company people attending – fast becoming the norm for this type of affair. To quote one DJ, Johnnie Stuart (Scallywags, Hastings), “The apparent apathy of London DJ’s is amazing, especially when you consider that many of those who have made the effort to come are from Glasgow, Cardiff, Bournemouth and Hull.”

The Promotion Forum delivered all that had been promised, but with the small number of DJ’s present, most of the interaction between the panels and the audience tended to involve people already established in the industry. Among those DJ’s who did get involved was Chris Hill (Canvey Island).

It was Chris who was called on to present the award for the “Promotion Person Of The Year”, the winner being Andy Stinton of Creole Records. Andy appeared on five of the six panels during the day, the subjects discussed by each being Promotion, Mobiles, Mailing Lists, Reaction Reports, Promotion Nights and an Open Forum.

There should have been more DJ’s present to argue their case. As it is, don’t now be surprised to find it harder to get free demos unless you return all your reaction reports.  Continue reading “May 22, 1976: “The apparent apathy of London DJ’s is amazing.””

May 15, 1976: “That makes it a disco record?!”

Two weeks ago I suggested that if records like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Music’, ‘Silver Star’ and ‘Fernando’ were being requested but not danced to, they did not deserve to be included in a disco chart.

DJ response was varied though fairly united as to the non-danceability of the records mentioned.  Only Steve Lloyd (SL Discos, Llanelli) found that his 16 to 19 year old audiences danced to the whole of the Queen and ABBA sides.

Stuart (Raquels, Wakefield) said “no, no, no” they don’t dance, and observed that the records mentioned were requested mainly by fellas who had no dress sense and were generally untidy – not the sort of guys that a girl would look at, let along dance with!  When ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was current he in fact refused to play it because he knew it would upset the people who were dancing.

“Dirty Harry” Park (Corner House, Heaton), Frank Wavish (De-Luxe Disco, Plympton) and Les Aron (Seagull Club, Selsey) play the popular non-dancers at the start (and sometimes at the end) of the evening, and having got them out of the way then get on with the real disco records.  But they don’t chart the non-dancers.

Ian Walton (Caesars Lodge, Nailsworth, Stroud) recommended making a diplomatic excuse about not playing the non-dance record requested (“Sorry, I broke it!”), and then playing something else by the same artist that is danceable.  Another way in his eyes is not to buy the dreaded record in the first place!  He finds that ‘Music’ is a good closing record if faded up from a slowie into the “classical” break and voiced-over before the final climax.

Predictably, the dancers’ angle was represented exclusively by some female fans of Freddy Mercury and Queen.  Elizabeth Fletcher (Egham) thinks ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is bliss and the ideal accompaniment for a lovely intimate smooch with a dishy male.  Kathleen Easton (Catford) finds it the most perfect accompaniment for free expression.  In fact, her idea of free expression is to rehearse for days to the music and then dance in a trance before three hundred college students, none of whom could dance to it at all.  That makes it a disco record?!

Yvonne Castle (Charlton) doesn’t request Queen because her local DJ won’t play it, but he does play the flip which she can dance to.  In any case she finds that she can dance to all these records just by “doing her own thing” regardless of tempo changes, which is as good an answer as any.  Continue reading “May 15, 1976: “That makes it a disco record?!””

May 8, 1976: Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Dion, Sound 9418, Muscle Shoals Horns, Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band

New Spins

HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES: ‘Tell The World How I Feel About ‘Cha Baby’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 4238) (Billboard chart debut 12/6/75)
A disco and radio smash in New York three months ago (check back to my Disco 1976 reports for interesting reading with hindsight), this shortened LP cut remains a perfect blend of soulful vocal and hustling thumping rhythm.

DION: ‘The Wanderer’ (Philips 6146700)
A classic that has gained in stature since it hit in 1962, Dion’s powerful swaggering macho love ’em and leave ’em stomper is all set to hit again.  ‘Little Diane‘ makes a fine flip for fans, but can’t equal the top for dynamic disco oomph.  A must!

SOUND 9418: ‘The Yam’ (UK 131)
Debuted by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in 1938’s ‘Carefree’, this gaily tripping instrumental works well as happy MoR – even if it is more clodhopping than toe-tapping in its heavy-handed rhythm.  Actually, I’m impressed!  Continue reading “May 8, 1976: Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Dion, Sound 9418, Muscle Shoals Horns, Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band”

May 1, 1976: “If they don’t dance to it, please don’t chart it!”

Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was possibly the start of it, and now John Miles’s ‘Music’, ABBA’s ‘Fernando’ and the Four Seasons’ ‘Silver Star’ continue the puzzling pattern.

All these records are extremely popular as chart hits, but do you actually dance to them?

They have all cropped up in our contributing DJ’s Disco Chart returns, which would suggest that you do, but if so – how do you dance to them?  Their common characteristic is a muddle of tempos, some fast and danceable but others being patches of dead slowness.

If the DJ’s slip just the fast bits into their show, that might be the answer. If you manage to dance to both the fast and the slow bits, you’re better than I thought!  And if you go and sit down to listen to the record, it’s not really a disco record.

Just because a record is popular, it isn’t automatically a disco hit. Discos are for dancing, and that is what this page and the Disco Chart are all about.  If Pop hits are appearing in the Disco Chart, yet are only there because they’ve been requested by people who don’t dance to them they don’t deserve to be there.

DJ’s and dancers alike, please let me know the answer to this question! And DJ’s – if they don’t dance to it, please don’t chart it!  Continue reading “May 1, 1976: “If they don’t dance to it, please don’t chart it!””