November 27, 1976: Brass Construction vs. Mass Production

The battle is on and confusion reigns as Brass Construction’s new ‘Brass Construction II’ album (UA UAS 30016) is rivalled in DJs’ affections by the similar sounding (and looking!) hot new import album by hitherto unknown Mass Production, ‘Welcome To Our World’ (US Cotillion SD 9910).

Already many funky jocks have come out in favour of the latter, saying that it’s more the way that they thought the new Brass Construction set would sound. As BC are out here now and MP won’t be available until January, the situation will have to simmer for a while.

But what do the albums offer? Unlike their rivals, BC this time have nothing over six minutes long, and of the eight tracks only two are dancers that maintain their intensity: ‘Ha Cha Cha’ – the ‘Movin’’ of the set – and ‘Sambo’ (the ‘Changin’’?). MP also do eight tunes, with more vocal emphasis and several slowies but come up with three strong dancers all on Side 1: ‘Welcome To Our World (Of Merry Music)’ – their ‘Movin’’! – and ‘Wine Flow Disco’, which segues beautifully on the record into ‘I Like To Dance’.

We’ll have to wait and see who are the ultimate winners, while meanwhile it’s safe to say that both are equally good and funky!

Continue reading “November 27, 1976: Brass Construction vs. Mass Production”

November 20, 1976: “The boss of the funky club jocks is still Chris Hill.”

Search though we may for original DJs, the fact remains that you can’t beat the boss – and the boss of the funky club jocks is still Chris Hill. Star of ‘Renta Santa’ and now ‘Bionic Santa’, Chris is resident most nights at Ilford’s Lacy Lady, out to the east of London, where he has a loyal crowd of freakily dressed dancers who lap up the clever way he changes the sound of every record with echoing flutes and spontaneous raps. (Sorry, there’s no swing revival this time around!)

Unfortunately, it’s the way that Chris’s crowds dress that attracts the attention of the media usually, so here is some warning of what the papers will be showing once ‘Bionic Santa’ is the hit it’s bound to be.

Everyone at the Lady is heavily into the Punk look, and many are festooned with chains, safety-pins, rubber dummies, scissors, and all sorts of things hanging from their earlobes. PVC ‘Flash Gordon’ tops tend to be paired with pegged “Ali Baba” pants, or with trousers turned into a plus-four effect by woollen knitted leg-warmers.

If they don’t get their PVC tops from Image in Chatham, many of them make T-shirts out of polythene dustbin liners – others wear pyjamas, while quite a few “Tiger Skin” tops with scooped necks are about. Winkle-pickers, wing-tips or fancy sandals complete the effect, which is topped for blokes by neatly parted and brushed back shortish hair.

I know, that sounds just like your mate round the corner – but that’s the point, isn’t it? But I’ll bet there’s thousands who have yet to even dream of looking like that!

New Spins

WILLIE MITCHELL: ‘The Champion, Pts. 1 & 2’ (London HLU 10545)
Forget it – this much-sought old instrumental whomper stomper is a stone smash!  Try sitting still to this!

BARRABAS: ‘Checkmate’ (Atlantic K 10716) (Billboard chart debut 8/2/75)
Sprightly classic funker reactivated after a near miss earlier this year.  Do try it.

ULTRAFUNK: ‘Gotham City Boogie’ (Contempo CS 2100 / 12 incher CX 14) (Billboard chart debut 1/22/77)
Driving long 5:31 retread of the old Batman theme, full of fast funky rhythm like ‘Jaws’.  Continue reading “November 20, 1976: “The boss of the funky club jocks is still Chris Hill.””

November 13, 1976: Four Seasons, Queen, Brendon, KC & The Sunshine Band, Tommy Hunt

New Spins

FOUR SEASONS: ‘We Can Work It Out’ (Warner Bros. K 16845)
Beatles go symphonic with Frankie and the guys punching through the tempo changes.

QUEEN: ‘Somebody To Love’ (EMI 2565)
Danceable pent-up but off-key slowie, already stale over-exposure on radio.

BRENDON: ‘Gimme Some’ (UK 158)
Simplified slightly faster version of Jimmy Bo Horne’s huge funky thumper (RCA 2585), pretty powerful.  Continue reading “November 13, 1976: Four Seasons, Queen, Brendon, KC & The Sunshine Band, Tommy Hunt”

November 6, 1976: Donna Summer, Barry White, KC & The Sunshine Band, Clover, R. O’Casey

New Spins

DONNA SUMMER: ‘Four Seasons Of Love’ LP (GTO GTLP 018) (Billboard chart debut 10/9/76)
‘Spring Affair’ is the best of the funky jumpers in her ‘Try Me’ groove, others being ‘Summer Fever‘, ‘Autumn Changes‘ and ‘Spring Reprise‘ (‘Winter Melody’ is slow). The tracks mix with over-long doodling breaks this time, spoiling the continuous flow.

BARRY WHITE: ‘Is This Whatcha Want’ LP (20th Century BTH 516) (Billboard chart debut 11/13/76)
As well as the new single. ‘Now I’m Gonna Make Love To You’ and ‘I’m Qualified To Satisfy You‘ move along with future hit potential, while the sexy slow ‘I Wanna Lay Down With You Baby‘ gets pretty risky!

KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND: ‘KC & The Sunshine Band’ LP (Jay Boy JSL 12) (Billboard chart debut 10/30/76)
All the tracks are similar variations of a familiar funky formula, set by ‘Shake Your Booty’. Possible standouts include ‘Keep It Comin’ Love‘, ‘I Like To Do It‘ and ‘I’m Your Boogie Man‘ — but jocks will have their own ideas.  Continue reading “November 6, 1976: Donna Summer, Barry White, KC & The Sunshine Band, Clover, R. O’Casey”