May 21, 1977: “You should enjoy your disco sounds while you can”

Punk rock and new wave haven’t taken over totally yet, but there are now signs that they’re beginning to get a hold. The situation reminds me very much of the time in ’63 when the Stones were emerging. Then, the disco sounds came from America, and were dominated by finely honed black R&B (in its true sense) and ‘mechanical’ dance tunes – just like now. Funnily enough, the new wave was then applied to music by Curtis Mayfield, whose sophisticated style was growing alongside the birth of raw soul and early Motown. The mechanical dancers were inspired by the white-manipulated Philly scene of the time — the Cameo/Parkway labels, still riding high in the wake of the Twist.

This was the music that I, as a brand new disco DJ, loved – and just as the jocks of today hate the threat of punk rock, so I hated the way in which the Stones were ruining my favourite records as models for their roughened-up cover versions. (Here the parallel veers away, as today’s new wave are still copying early sixties R&B and not the modern stuff.)

What happened was that the rougher copies became more popular with the mass audience, who had to invent a non-dance — the Shake — as the Mersey era groups did not have a good dance beat. Today we have the Pogo, I believe.

When the British invasion happened in America, the white pop world there crumbled, with the resultant death of the mechanical dance records as all the white producers were trying to come up with British-sounding records. Submerged beneath all this, in fact soul music as we now know it was establishing its roots and Motown was able to become the sound of young America — but that’s another story!

The moral of the story is that you should enjoy your disco sounds while you can — it may not be long before the bottom drops out of the more mechanical end of the market today, as producers drop one moneymaker in favour of another. I don’t say that it will happen, but the possibility is there. Real soul music, however, will go on and on!

Paul Saville of Adrian’s Records in Wickford Shopping Hall, Essex, has sent in another list of 12-inchers, but this one is of British big ‘uns that have been made commercially available.  There is some confusion, as many have only been put out promotionally, not for sale.  These you can (or could) buy:

BONEY M: ‘Daddy Cool’ (Atlantic) (mentioned in Billboard column 9/25/76, Billboard chart debut 11/20/76)
CERRONE: ‘Love In C Minor’ (Atlantic) (Billboard chart debut 1/15/77)
TRAMMPS: ‘Disco Inferno’ (Atlantic) (mentioned in Billboard column 12/25/76, Billboard chart debut 1/15/77)
DETROIT SPINNERS: ‘Hits’ EP (Atlantic)
TAVARES: ‘Mighty Power Of Love’ EP (Capitol) (mentioned in Billboard column 6/5/76, Billboard chart debut 7/10/76)
RONI HILL: ‘You Keep Me Hanging On / Stop! In The Name Of Love’ (Creole) (Billboard chart debut 12/11/76)
HONKY: ‘Join The Party’ (Creole)
LITTLE RICHARD: ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ EP (Creole)
OZO: ‘Anambra’ (DJM) 

New Spins

BO KIRKLAND & RUTH DAVIS: ‘You’re Gonna Get Next To Me’ (EMI INT 582)
Yup, the madly nagging “keep on doin’ what you do” shuffler — one of the biggest import hits ever — is finally out, with the long LP version due in June. Stand back for a smash!

JACKSONS: ‘Show You The Way To Go’ (Epic EPC 5266) (Billboard chart debut 12/25/76)
Superbly soulful smooth chugger, compellingly powerful.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE: ‘If You Gonna Do It (Put Your Mind To It)’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 5237) (mentioned in Billboard column 4/2/77)
Pounding repetitive chanter, big on import.

XANADU: ‘Jungle Boogie’ (Velvet VEL 100)
Great simple chugger, worth finding (it’s the flip of ‘Baby Face’).

MUPPETS: ‘Mah Na Mah Na’ (Pye 7N 45698)
Eagerly awaited!

ELTON JOHN: ‘Your Song’ / ‘Rocket Man’ / ‘Saturday Night’s Alright’ (DJM DJR 18001)
Handy maxi.

TOUCH OF CLASS: ‘I’m In Heaven’ (from LP ‘I’m In Heaven’, GTO GTLP 024) (mentioned in Billboard column 8/9/75, Billboard chart debut 10/11/75)
Big via 12-inch advance promos, this bland Philly loper has a good Vince Montana vibes break (on Pt. 2 of the single, GT 93).

CLAUDJA BARRY: ‘Why Must A Girl Like Me’ (Mercury 6198126) (Billboard chart debut 12/4/76)
Phonetic perky disco skipper from Germany, big in US.

DOOLEY SILVERPOON AND JEANNE BURTON: ‘Am I Losing You, Pt. 2’ (Seville SEV 1024)
Sexily panting happy soul builder.

WALTER JACKSON: ‘Baby I Love Your Way’ (UA UP 36250)
Peter Frampton slowed ‘n souled.

DIMITRI: ‘The Magic Is You’ (Mercury 6011070)
Lovely lush Hurricane Smith-type Continental smoocher.

JERRY BYRNE: ‘Lights Out’ (Specialty SON 5011)
The original frantic rocker, now Dr. Feelgood’s flip.

LITTLE RICHARD: ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ / ‘Rip It Up’ / ‘By The Light Of The Silvery Moon’ (Creole CR 140)
Amazingly close to his fifties originals, this modern maxi is also out on 12-inch (first 5,000 only).

BILLY PRAGER: ‘Everybody’s Rockin” (Hep Cat CS 002)
Frantic raw bopper, available at oldies shops.

CRAZY CAVAN: ‘My Little Sister’s Gotta Motorbike’ / ‘Teddy Jive‘ (Charly CS 1026)
Stereophonic bop.

BOBBY HELMS: ‘Tennessee Rock ‘N Roll’ (MCA 298)
Real rockabilly.

JEAN-LUC PONTY: ‘New Country’ (Atlantic K 10839)
Freaky fiddle jig for hip ravers.

BLACKBYRDS: ‘Time Is Movin” (Fantasy FTC 141) (mentioned in Billboard column 12/4/76, Billboard chart debut 12/25/76)
Freaky fast cool flyer.

DENISE MCCANN: ‘Tattoo Man’ (Polydor 2121318) (mentioned in Billboard column 12/11/76, Billboard chart debut 1/15/77)
Chugging white Canadian disco hit.

UK Disco Top 20 – May 21, 1977

01 02 Joe Tex – Ain’t Gonna Bump No More – Epic
02 01 Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke – Motown
03 03 Van McCoy – The Shuffle – H&L
04 04 Shalamar – Uptown Festival – Soul Train
05 06 Tavares – Whodunnit – Capitol
06 07 Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up – Motown
07 20 Billy Paul – Let ‘Em In – Philadelphia Int’l
08 14 KC & The Sunshine Band – I’m Your Boogie Man – TK
09 09 Deniece Williams – Free – CBS
10 10 Delegation – Where Is The Love – State
11 11 Tony Etoria – I Can Prove It – GTO
12 16 Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop – Warner Bros.
13 05 Boney M – Sunny – Atlantic
14 15 Dead End Kids – Have I The Right – CBS
15 17 Leo Sayer – How Much Love – Chrysalis
16 08 Billy Ocean – Red Light Spells Danger – GTO
17 NE Rod Stewart – I Don’t Want To Talk About It – Riva
18 13 Brendon – Gimme Some – Magnet
19 RE Jimmy Bo Horne – Gimme Some – RCA
20 RE Andrew Gold – Lonely Boy – Asylum
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (Billboard chart debut 4/2/77)
#2 (mentioned in Billboard column 10/16/76, Billboard chart debut 10/23/76)
#4 (Billboard chart debut 1/29/77)
#6 (Billboard chart debut 4/2/77)
#7 (Billboard chart debut 1/22/77)
#8 (Billboard chart debut 10/30/76)
#13 (mentioned in Billboard column 10/9/76, Billboard chart debut 11/20/76)
#19 (Billboard chart debut 7/2/75)

Songs mentioned in “DJ Hotline”:

CHAPLIN BAND: ‘Let’s Have A Party’ (EMI)
GENE FARROW: ‘Hey You Should Be Dancing’ (Magnet) (Billboard chart debut 6/18/77)
BLACK TRASH: ‘Gonna Whup Yo Ass’ (Gregarious – US import)
CJ & COMPANY: ‘Devil’s Gun’ (Westbound – US import) (mentioned in Billboard column 10/23/76, Billboard chart debut 4/23/77)
GARNET MIMMS: ‘What It Is’ (Arista) (Billboard chart debut 3/26/77)
BOZ SCAGGS: ‘Lido Shuffle’ (CBS)
KOOL & THE GANG: ‘Open Sesame’ / ‘Superband’ (Contempo) (Billboard chart debut 12/18/76)
T-CONNECTION: ‘Do What You Wanna Do’ (TK 12″ – US import) (mentioned in Billboard column 2/19/77, Billboard chart debut 2/26/77)

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