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’. 

LIQUID PLEASURE: ‘Take A Little’ (Midland Int’l MID 3) (mentioned in Billboard column 5/15/76, Billboard chart debut 5/29/76)
Derivative but madly happy fast churning jiggler, worth trying.

JESSE GREEN: ‘Flip’ (EMI 2564) (Billboard chart debut 2/5/77)
Good if obvious follow-up, similar strong and speedier rhythm.

WEBSTER LEWIS: ‘Theme’ (Epic EPC 4758)
Luscious instrumental hustler, destined to be a terrific mixer!

RUBY KEELER & DICK POWELL: ’42nd Street’ (UA UP 36190)
Sensibly edited, this 1933 tapdancer is the Busby Berkeley number that I’ve been using at MoR gigs for years.

THE MOUSE FACTORY: ‘Minnie’s Yoo Hoo’ (Buena Vista BV 3)
Another MoR must, it’s crazy Walt Disney fun with Charleston-ish beat.

MIKE OLDFIELD: ‘Portsmouth’ (Virgin VS 163)
Stately hornpipe hijinks for Christmas frolics.

ANDY STEWART: ‘Blow Blow My Kilt Away’ (EMI 2556)
Och aye the noo, it’s a jolly jig!

BAND OF THE BLACK WATCH: ‘A Scottish Medley’ (Spark SRL 1147)
Useful singalong for such Scots as know the songs.

PRYDE: ‘The Funky Beggarman’ (Polydor 2058793)
Bagpipes and synthetics aren’t ideal partners but will please some.

RUDY & THE RIALTOS: ‘Christmas Tears Will Fall’ (Gull GULS 46)
Great ’50s-style slow lurcher with Wolfman Jack dialogue and ringing phones.

J.A.L.N. BAND: ‘Life Is A Fight’ (Magnet MAG 78)
More like before, again with unnecessary lyrics.

SALSOUL ORCHESTRA: ‘Nice ‘N Naasty’ (Salsoul SZ 2011) (Billboard chart debut 8/21/76)
Typical NY disco chugger with Silver Convention-type chix and ‘Jaws’ base.

SILVER CONVENTION: ‘Everybody’s Talking ‘Bout Love’ (Magnet MAG 81)
Tinny strings and “knock knock” lyrics – kinda trite, but flipped by the good slow ‘Thank You Mr. DJ’.

TINA CHARLES: ‘Dr. Love’ (CBS 4779)
Rather static jiggly thudder overshadowed by the 4:45 Brass Construction-type instrumental ‘Boogiethon’ on her new LP.

THE G. BAND: ‘Lay Your Love On Me’ (CBS 4710)
With ‘Makes You Blind’ a US disco smash, their CBS debut is a less exciting bouncy vocal thunker.

GROUCHO: ‘The Old Days’ (Charly CS 1018)
Continental-type deep-voiced send-up slowie, and a rave-up Italiano flip for MoR fun!

CANDI STATON: ‘Run To Me’ (Warner Bros. K 16838) (mentioned in Billboard column 6/26/76, Billboard chart debut 7/4/76)
Already much used by DJs as ‘Young Hearts, Part 2’, which it is.


Mix-Master

This is Chris Hill’s “Mix For All Seasons”!  Waiting until it gets to the slow doodling outro link, he mixes DONNA SUMMER ‘Spring Affair’ (GTO LP cut) into HEATWAVE ‘Boogie Nights’ (GTO LP cut), and then if he’s in the mood carries on with JAMES BROWN ‘Get Up Offa That Thing’ / ‘Release The Pressure’ (Polydor LP cuts), ROY AYERS ‘Hey, Uh, What You Say Come On’ (Polydor – US import), and MASS PRODUCTION ‘Welcome To Our World’ (Cotillion LP cut – US import).


UK Disco Top 20 – November 20, 1976

01 01 Tavares – Don’t Take Away The Music – Capitol
02 02 Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music – Epic
03 09 Leo Sayer – You Make Me Feel Like Dancing – Chrysalis
04 06 Chicago – If You Leave Me Now – CBS
05 03 Paul Nicholas – Dancing With The Captain – RSO
06 11 Stevie Wonder – Isn’t She Lovely – Motown
07 07 Detroit Spinners – Rubberband Man – Atlantic
08 08 Lalo Schifrin – Jaws – CTI
09 10 Climax Blues Band – Couldn’t Get It Right – BTM
10 05 Ritchie Family – Best Disco In Town – Polydor
11 04 Rick Dees – Disco Duck – RSO
12 NE Steve Miller Band – Rock ‘N Me – Mercury
13 15 Boz Scaggs – Lowdown – CBS
14 NE Boney M. – Daddy Cool – Atlantic
15 NE Billy Ocean – Stop Me – GTO
16 20 Barbara Pennington – 24 Hours A Day – UA
17 NE Rose Royce – Car Wash – MCA [Imp]
18 13 James Brown – Get Up Offa That Thing – Polydor
19 NE Barry White – Don’t Make Me Wait Too Long – 20th Century
20 NE Dr. Hook – If Not You – Capitol
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (mentioned in Billboard column 6/5/76, Billboard chart debut 6/19/76)
#2 (Billboard chart debut 9/4/76)
#3 (Billboard chart debut 12/18/76)
#6 (Billboard chart debut 10/30/76)
#7 (Billboard chart debut 8/7/76)
#8 (mentioned in Billboard column 6/12/76, Billboard chart debut 7/17/76)
#10 (Billboard chart debut 7/10/76)
#11 (Billboard chart debut 9/11/76)
#13 (mentioned in Billboard column 4/3/76, Billboard chart debut 5/29/76)
#14 (mentioned in Billboard column 9/25/76, Billboard chart debut 11/20/76)
#16 (Billboard chart debut 1/15/77)
#17 (Billboard chart debut 10/2/76)
#18 (Billboard chart debut 9/4/76)
#19 (Billboard chart debut 11/13/76)


Songs mentioned in “DJ Hotline”:

BRENDON: ‘Gimme Some’ (UK)
ROSE ROYCE: ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’ (MCA) (Billboard chart debut 12/25/76)
KEITH BARROW: ‘Precious’ (CBS)
MASS PRODUCTION: ‘Welcome To Our World’ (Atlantic – US import) (Billboard chart debut 10/23/76)
STEVIE WONDER: ‘I Wish’ (Motown LP cut) (mentioned in Billboard column 10/16/76, Billboard chart debut 10/23/76)
DR. BUZZARD’S ORIGINAL SAVANNAH BAND: ‘I’ll Play The Fool’ (RCA) (Billboard chart debut 6/26/76)
DOUBLE EXPOSURE: ‘Ten Percent’ (Salsoul – US import 12″) (mentioned in Billboard column 4/3/76, Billboard chart debut 5/1/76)
PARLIAMENT: ‘Gamin’ On Ya’ (Casablanca LP cut – US import)
BRASS CONSTRUCTION: ‘Ha Cha Cha’ (UA LP cut) (Billboard chart debut 11/20/76)
EL COCO: ‘Let’s Get It Together’ (AVI – US import) (Billboard chart debut 7/31/76)
FUNKADELIC: ‘Comin’ Round The Mountain’ (Warner Bros. LP cut – US import)
STANLEY TURRENTINE: ‘You’ll Never Find Another Love’ (Fantasy LP cut – US import)
SPIDER’S WEB: ‘I Don’t Know What’s On Your Mind’ (Fantasy – US import) (Billboard chart debut 11/13/76)

[Most of the titles above provided by Chris Hill, who Hammy says was the first British DJ serviced with an advance copy of the new Brass Construction LP]

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