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! 

MUSCLE SHOALS HORNS: ‘Born To Get Down (Born To Mess Around)’ (London HLM 10526) (mentioned in Billboard column 3/13/76)
Funky fast instrumental with chanting, synthetics, rattling percussion and – unsurprisingly – lotsa brass. Bright impact, should do well.

WALTER MURPHY & THE BIG APPLE BAND: ‘A Fifth Of Beethoven’ (Private Stock PVT 59) (Billboard chart debut 4/24/76)
Forget Waldo de los Rios here, Big Walt sets Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (the ‘V for Victory’ one) to a ticking disco rhythm that loses interest after a while.

LINDA & THE FUNKY BOYS: ‘Sold My Rock ‘N Roll’ (Spark SRL 1139)
Though hardly original, by combining the best bits from several recent disco faves this happy stamper has instant appeal.  American Linda scored with a Continental cover of ‘Shame, Shame, Shame’ before this, if you want a hint.

TWO MAN SOUND: ‘Disco Charlie Brown’ (Mint CHEW 6)
Jolly Euro-Pop smash of typical type, covered here also by the ‘Y Viva Espana’-singing SYLVIA (Sonet SON 2075), although this I believe is the original.

SHERMAN BROTHERS: ‘Smile Baby Smile, Pts. 1 & 2’ (Magnet MAG58)
Jr. Walker-type sax and phonetically-enunciated singalong Stevie Wonder-ish vocals give this Euro-Disco hit a well-tried attraction which has already earned DJ reaction.

PETER ALLEN: ‘The More I See You’ (A&M AMS 7228)
Similar substitute for Chris Montez, whose version remains an MoR standard.

TONY ORLANDO & DAWN: ‘Cupid’ (Elektra K 12204)
Moderately jaunty revival of Sam Cooke’s classic, the closest they’ve come to their much missed MoR style for ages.

JEAN SHEPARD: ‘Mercy’ (UA UP 36106)
With radio play, the ‘Dear John’ lady’s happily bouncing country thumper could be great MoR — it has enough ‘Tennessee Birdwalk’ feel to work anyhow.

BUDDY & THE DIMES: ‘It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie’ (EMI 2440)
Emile Ford and Tommy Bruce meet the Inkspots in the canyons of your mind! It’s slow, gimmicky and good fun.

JACKIE EDWARDS: ‘Come On Home’ (Island WIP 6285)
Wilfred’s 1965 song is Chuck Jackson-ish and has the sort of sound that’s big up North. The similar but fruitier flip is ‘I Feel So Bad‘.

SKIN, FLESH & BONES: ‘Guitar Rhythm’ (Opal PAL 10)
In fact the dubwise version of ‘Man Come, Man Go’, this powerfully pounding reggae instrumental has great freaky guitar breaks that’ll blow your brains out!

HEPTONES: ‘Cool Rasta’ (Horse HOSS 124)
. . . and this cool reggae slowie has a bass beat so booming that it’ll blow your speakers!

PLUTO: ‘I-Man Bitter’ (Cactus CT 91)
Pluto Shervington with ‘Dat’ sound but political lyrics.

THE DON HARRISON BAND: ‘Sixteen Tons’ (Atlantic K 10749)
With the old Credence rhythm section & Clifford and Cook it’s not a surprise that this rock retread of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s oldie sounds very much like the real CCR. Rock jocks are already nodding.


UK Disco Top 20 – May 8, 1976

01 01 Silver Convention – Get Up And Boogie – Magnet
02 04 Hank Mizell – Jungle Rock – Charly
03 12 Andrea True Connection – More, More, More – Buddah
04 02 Barry White – You See The Trouble With Me – 20th Century
05 06 Hot Chocolate – Don’t Stop It Now – Rak
06 15 Isaac Hayes – Disco Connection – ABC
07 03 Brass Construction – Movin’ / Changin’ – UA
08 10 Fox – S-S-S-Single Bed – GTO
09 NE Jimmy James – I’ll Go Where The Music Takes Me – Pye
10 05 Roger Collins – You Sexy Sugar Plum – Fantasy
11 07 Billy Ocean – Love Really Hurts Without You – GTO
12 08 Trammps – Where The Happy People Go – Atlantic
13 20 Rimshots – Do What You Feel – All Platinum
14 09 Brotherhood Of Man – Save Your Kisses For Me – Pye
15 11 Pioneers – Feel The Rhythm – Mercury
16 19 Diana Ross – Love Hangover – Motown
17 NE Johnnie Taylor – Disco Lady – CBS
18 RE ABBA – Fernando – Epic
19 RE Sailor – Girls, Girls, Girls – Epic
20 NE David Ruffin – Heavy Love – Tamla Motown
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (mentioned in Billboard column 2/14/76, Billboard chart debut 3/13/76)
#3 (mentioned in Billboard column 1/3/76, Billboard chart debut 1/17/76)
#4 (Billboard chart debut 3/13/76)
#6 (Billboard chart debut 1/24/76)
#7 (mentioned in Billboard column 1/17/76, Billboard chart debut 1/24/76)
#9 (Billboard chart debut 4/17/76)
#11 (Billboard chart debut 4/3/76)
#12 (mentioned in Billboard column 11/8/75, Billboard chart debut 2/14/76)
#13 (mentioned in Billboard column 11/1/75)
#16 (Billboard chart debut 2/28/76)
#17 (Billboard chart debut 3/20/76)
#20 (mentioned in Billboard column 8/2/75, Billboard chart debut 11/1/75)


Songs mentioned in “DJ Hotline”:

BILLY PAUL: ‘Let’s Make A Baby’ (Philadelphia Int’l)
BIDDU: ‘Rain Forest’ (Epic) (mentioned in Billboard column 4/17/76, Billboard chart debut 4/24/76)
BIDDU: ‘Exodus’ (Epic) (Billboard chart debut 9/20/75)
DON WOODY: ‘Barking Up The Wrong Tree’ (MCA)
SHAWNE JACKSON: ‘Get Out Of The Kitchen’ (RCA)
THE CHARLES RANDOLPH GREAN SOUNDE: ‘Star Trek’ (UK) (Billboard chart debut 11/29/75)
ARCHIE BELL &THE DRELLS: ‘Let’s Groove, Pt. 1’ / ‘Soul City Walk’ (Philadelphia Int’l) (mentioned in Billboard column 12/6/75, Billboard chart debut 12/13/75)
CANDI STATON: ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ (Warner Bros.) (Billboard chart debut 4/17/76)
GOLD CONNECTION: ‘Darling I Like It’ (NEMS)
REAL THING: ‘You To Me Are Everything’ (EMI) (Billboard chart debut 11/6/76)

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