June 4, 1977: “Insular Midlands jocks”

The Midlands have a large enough population to influence record sales, and the local disco DJ’s have in turn realised their own influence over the population.

Many of them are members of a record pool, undertaking to promote certain singles in a co-ordinated “power-play” push in return for free records from the companies involved. However, their influence remains local, and not national. Why, you may ask?

Well, for a start, you might have noticed the relative absence of Midlands contributors to this page’s DJ Hotline — and, consequently, to our Disco Chart. Unimportant though these may seem to insular Midlands jocks, think of the influence that these features could have if every week their “power-play” pick was made public.

Other DJ’s, not to mention record stores and radio stations, would then be encouraged to try the disc too.

Already many record companies recognise our importance by asking DJ mailing list applicants if they contribute to our chart, and the importance of the information gathered in this way is soon to increase.

The Midlands jocks purport to help record companies, but how whole-hearted is that help? Only by looking outside their own cosy circle can they make their influence known on the scale where it matters — nationally!


New Spins

JOHN MILES: ‘Slow Down’ (Decca F 13709) (Billboard chart debut 3/12/77)
Originally a blue-eyed soulster before he made ‘Music’, John’s now huge in US discos with this frantic ultra-fast funky galloper – 12-inched commercially here.

GARNET MIMMS & TRUCKIN’ COMPANY: ‘What It Is’ (Arista 12 ARISTA 109) (Billboard chart debut 3/26/77)
The Brass Construction-backed smash has been delayed so that now this commercial 12-inch can launch it hitwards!

CHUCK BERRY: ‘Sweet Little 16’ / ‘Guitar Boogie‘ (Chess 6078707)
Classic ’58 rockers. 

JESSE WINCHESTER: ‘Twigs And Seeds’ (Bearsville K 15535)
Great MoR drug song, a western swinger!

SARAH VAUGHAN & BILLY ECKSTINE: ‘Passing Strangers’ (Philips 6168018)
Smoochy mixer into ‘Strangers In The Night’!

ARTHUR PRYSOCK: ‘All My Life’ (Polydor 2121323) (mentioned in Billboard column 1/15/77, Billboard chart debut 1/29/77)
More butch romanticism and rattling rhythms.

OHIO PLAYERS: ‘O-H-I-O’ (from LP ‘Angel’, Mercury 9100031)
Freaky sounds intro a basic chant with good bouncy beat, while ‘Merry Go Round‘ is a jagged fast funker.

TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: ‘Anything That’s Rock ‘n Roll’ (Shelter WIP 6396)
Spikily spitting new wave chugger.

ZOE: ‘Don’t Stop Me (Dancing)’ (EMI 2627)
Just bouncy bass and breathy chick, but surprisingly funky.

ROKOTTO: ‘Get Up And Dance Now’ (State STAT 51)
Commercial smooth churner with socking backbeat.

CHOSEN FEW: ‘Thank You, Pts. 1 & 2’ (Polydor 2058872)
Kind of busy vocal group shuffler with lots of lead-swapping and harmony work.

LONNIE YOUNGBLOOD: ‘Gonna Fly Now’ (All Platinum 6146323)
Purpose-built disco version of the ‘Rocky’ theme, good for what it is.

SANGANAS FIVE: ‘Mama (Batutondele)’ (EMI 2630)
Re-issue of the lively Afro leaper.

AUGUST & DENEEN: ‘We Go Together’ / REFLECTIONS: ‘Like Adam And Eve’ (ABC 4181)
Strong vintage Northern coupling.

QUANTUM JUMP: ‘(Oh My Lord) Don’t Look Now’ (Electric WOT 15)
Johnny Guitar Watson-ish jazzy beat skipper.

COMMODORES: ‘Easy’ (Motown TMG 1073)
Lugubrious slowie maxied with ‘Machine Gun’, ‘I Feel Sanctified’ and 12-inched for jocks.

ROSE ROYCE: ‘I’m Going Down’ (MCA 301)
Lurching slow smoocher.

SHIRLEY BASSEY: ‘You Take My Heart Away’ (UA UP 36260)
The lovely Nelson Pigford and DeEtta Little soul slowie from ‘Rocky’.

ELOISE LAWS: ‘Love Goes Deeper Than That’ (Invictus INV 5247) (Billboard chart debut 3/12/77)
Pure modern jumpy disco, zero radio appeal.


Hot Vinyl

Bob Jones (Chelmsford Dee Jay’s) import tips:

MORNING, NOON & NIGHT: ‘Feeling Strong’ / ‘Bite Your Granny‘ (Roadshow LP cuts) (Billboard chart debut 7/9/77)
PETER BROWN: ‘Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me‘ (TK 12″) (Billboard chart debut 4/9/77)
LE PAMPLEMOUSSE: ‘Get Your Boom Boom (Around The Room Room)‘ (AVI 12″) (Billboard chart debut 3/19/77)
WILLIE BOBO: ‘Kojak Theme‘ (Blue Note)
CLAUDJA BARRY: ‘Sweet Dynamite‘ (Salsoul LP cut) (mentioned in Billboard column 1/22/77, Billboard chart debut 3/5/77)


Mix-Master

Dave Silver of Hull Tiffany’s suggests a Stevie Wonder segue — ‘cos, as he says, he’s still quite popular! His subtle mix goes: ‘Living For The City’, fading in the start of ‘Superstition’ so both run together until the first guitar note. Then, similarly into ‘Higher Ground’, then ‘Sir Duke’, ‘I Was Made To Love Her’, ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ and finally ‘For Once In My Life’ (all Motown).


DJ Top Ten

Stevie Quinn is resident jock at Disco Stamp in Mallorca’s Puerto Alcudia down sunny Spain way – making it a must for funky holidays!  He says the locals are pretty hip but he’s playing mainly to British people anyway, creating the holiday hits that they then go home to buy.

  1. GRAHAM CENTRAL STATION: ‘Now Do U Wanta Dance’ (Warner Bros. LP cut)
  2. TRAMMPS: ‘Disco Inferno’ (Atlantic LP cut) (mentioned in Billboard column 12/25/76, Billboard chart debut 1/15/77)
  3. BONEY M: ‘Daddy Cool’ (Atlantic) (mentioned in Billboard column 9/25/76, Billboard chart debut 11/20/76)
  4. HONKY: ‘Join The Party’ (Creole 12″)
  5. DENISE LASALLE: ‘Freedom To Express Yourself’ (ABC LP cut – US import) (Billboard chart debut 11/13/76)
  6. SHALAMAR: ‘Uptown Festival’ (Soul Train 12″) (Billboard chart debut 1/29/77)
  7. SAMMY GORDON & HIP HUGGERS: ‘Making Love’ (Polydor)
  8. T-CONNECTION: ‘Do What You Wanna Do’ (TK 12″ – US import) (mentioned in Billboard column 2/19/77, Billboard chart debut 2/26/77)
  9. RUTH DAVIS & BO KIRKLAND: ‘You’re Gonna Get Next To Me’ (Claridge LP cut)
  10. KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND: ‘I’m Your Boogie Man’ (TK) (Billboard chart debut 10/30/76)

Breakers

  1. CARRIE LUCAS: ‘I Gotta Keep Dancin” (Soul Train – US import) (Billboard chart debut 3/19/77)
  2. CELI BEE & THE BUZZY BUNCH: ‘Superman’ / ‘One Love’ (APA/TK LP cuts – US import) (mentioned in Billboard column 3/5/77, Billboard chart debut 3/26/77)
  3. LOVERS: ‘Discomania’ (Marlin – US import) (mentioned in Billboard column 5/7/77, Billboard chart debut 5/14/77)

What a sizzler . . . and I don’t mean the weather!


UK Disco Top 20 – June 4, 1977

01 02 Shalamar – Uptown Festival – Soul Train
02 01 Joe Tex – Ain’t Gonna Bump No More – Epic
03 05 Van McCoy – The Shuffle – H&L
04 04 Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up – Motown
05 03 Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke – Motown
06 12 Trammps – Disco Inferno – Atlantic
07 08 Tavares – Whodunnit – Capitol
08 10 Deniece Williams – Free – CBS
09 RE Rod Stewart – I Don’t Want To Talk About It – Riva
10 06 Tony Etoria – I Can Prove It – GTO
11 NE Boz Scaggs – Lido Shuffle – CBS
12 NE Gladys Knight – Baby Don’t Change Your Mind – Buddah
13 13 Blue – Gonna Capture Your Heart – Rocket
14 NE Rah Band – The Crunch – Good Earth
15 09 Heatwave – Too Hot To Handle – GTO
16 NE John Miles – Slow Down – Decca
17 NE Ronnie Jones – Soul Sister – Mercury
18 19 Bryan Ferry – Tokyo Joe – Polydor
19 15 Delegation – Where Is The Love – State
20 07 Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop – Warner Bros.
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (Billboard chart debut 1/29/77)
#2 (Billboard chart debut 4/2/77)
#4 (Billboard chart debut 4/2/77)
#5 (mentioned in Billboard column 10/16/76, Billboard chart debut 10/23/76)
#6 (mentioned in Billboard column 12/25/76, Billboard chart debut 1/15/77)
#16 (Billboard chart debut 3/12/77)
#17 (mentioned in Billboard column 1/22/77, Billboard chart debut 4/23/77)


Songs mentioned in “DJ Hotline”:

AMERICA: ‘Slow Down’ (Warner Bros.)
SHABBY TIGER: ‘Slow Down’ (RCA)
BRENDON: ‘Rock Me’ (Magnet)
SUNFIGHTER: ‘Café A-Go-Go’ (EMI)
GARNET MIMMS: ‘What It Is’ (Arista) (Billboard chart debut 3/26/77)
TOUCH OF CLASS: ‘I’m In Heaven’ (GTO) (mentioned in Billboard column 8/9/75, Billboard chart debut 10/11/75)
JESSE GREEN: ‘Come With Me’ (EMI)
CLOUD ONE: ‘Atmosphere Strut’ (Contempo) (Billboard chart debut 10/9/76)
T-CONNECTION: ‘Do What You Wanna Do’ (TK 12″ – US import) (mentioned in Billboard column 2/19/77, Billboard chart debut 2/26/77)
JACKSONS: ‘Show You The Way To Go’ (Epic) (Billboard chart debut 12/25/76)
SLAVE: ‘You And Me’ (Cotillion LP cut)
KALYAN: ‘Nice ‘N Slow’ (MCA) (Billboard chart debut 2/19/77)
EARL & THE STEAM TEAM: ‘Engine Of Love’ (MCA)
DUANE CLARK: ‘Gettin’ It’ (Spark)
HUNTER: ‘Rock On’ (Penny Farthing)
SKEETS BOLIVER: ‘Streethouse Door’ (Thunderbird)
SIMON MAY: ‘We’ll Gather Lilacs / All My Loving (Medley)’ (Pye)
MAC KISSOON: ‘Stone Walls’ (State)
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: ‘If You Gonna Do It (Put Your Mind To It)’ (Philadelphia Int’l) (mentioned in Billboard column 4/2/77)
EDDIE HOLMAN: ‘This Could Be A Night To Remember’ (Salsoul) (mentioned in Billboard column 3/19/77, Billboard chart debut 5/7/77)
SOUL IBERICA BAND: ‘Funky Flamenco’ (Ariola – Spanish import)
BELLE EPOQUE: ‘Black Is Black’ (EMI – French import) (Billboard chart debut 4/2/77)

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