August 6, 1977: Star Wars singles, Mass Production, Instant Funk, Celi Bee & The Buzzy Bunch, Ritchie Family

‘Star Wars’, America’s blockbusting sci-fi movie smash, shown here later in the year – has sparked off a new craze and a US chart war of its own. The John Williams-penned main theme (a bit like ‘Born Free’ and ‘The Big Country’ combined) is a straight sound-track winner by London Symphony Orchestra (20th Century), but the disco battle rages between Meco (Millennium), Graffiti Orchestra (Prodigal) and David Matthews (CTI). Meco (Meco Monardo in mufti) has the most interesting version, being edited from a continuous 15:47 album track medley of all the film’s music in disco style, with great freaky synthesized sound effects on ‘Music Inspired by Star Wars, and Other Galactic Funk’ (Millennium MNLP 8001).

Mass Production ‘I Believe In Music’ (US Cotillion LP/Disco 12-inch) has been rushed out to a few key jocks prior to its UK release soon. A real hotsie, it combines rattling percussion, ‘Dazz’ bass and voice-box gimmickry with the group’s heavy brass and vocal sound for an almost overpowering onslaught. It sure is excitingly busy if not exactly tuneful – but as T-Connection managed to sell on its sheer disco power, then so should this. The ‘People Get Up’ flip has a good DJ intro before hitting a more Brass Construction groove. 

New Spins

INSTANT FUNK: ‘It Ain’t Reggae But It’s Funky’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 5500) (Billboard chart debut 12/25/76)
Sho’ is! Bass-heavy hard ‘n fast driver, huge on import.

CELl BEE & THE BUZZY BUNCH: ‘One Love’ (from LP ‘Celi Bee’, TK XL 14060) (mentioned in Billboard column 3/5/77, Billboard chart debut 3/26/77)
Excitingly percussive fast instrumental last half of the 8:08 track (possibly on UK 12-inch soon) is a US smash – and a great mixer! – while the full 5:09 ‘Superman’ is a Puerto Rican Boney M.

RITCHIE FAMILY: ‘Quiet Village’ (Polydor 2058912) (Billboard chart debut 7/9/77)
Big in US discos, Martin Denny’s oldie gets a few words and a trendy thud beat – though the exciting ‘Voodoo’ flip could be better here.

OLYMPIC RUNNERS WITH GEORGE CHANDLER: ‘Keep It Up’ (RCA PC 5048) (Billboard chart debut 11/12/77)
Out soon, first of the new 99p RCA Disco Direction 12-inchers is a fast 6:40 whomper stomper that’s more instrumental than vocal (and much better than ‘Little Girl’!).

BOBBY MARCHAN: ‘I Wanna Bump (With The Big Fat Woman)’ (Mercury 6167522)
Bit late but certainly good follow-on, while the more KC-like ‘Disco Rabbit’ has import tips too.

LITTLE RICHARD: ‘Lucille’ / ‘Long Tall Sally’ / LARRY WILLIAMS: ‘Bony Maronie’ / ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’ (from EP ‘Hey, Hey, Rock ‘N Roll’, Specialty SONE 1)
Rockin’ classics, but beware strangely phased stereo on the Williams side.

CONNIE FRANCIS: ‘Who’s Sorry Now?’ / ‘Lipstick On Your Collar’ (Polydor 2066839)
Possibly her two most enduring classics, great MoR.

T-CONNECTION: ‘Disco Magic’ (from LP ‘Magic’, TK XL 14054) (mentioned in Billboard column 7/24/76, Billboard chart debut 9/4/76)
Full length 7:15 version of the synthesizer groover (possibly a 12-inch soon), plus of course the full ‘Do What Ya Wanna Do’.

TROPEA: ‘The Funk You See, The Funk You Do’ (from LP ‘Short Trip To Space’, TK XL 14061)
Incredibly funky slow jiggler.

JOHN FORDE: ‘Stardance’ (EMI 2656)
‘Jeans On’ goes galactic!

QUINT: ‘It’s Much Better Now’ (UA UP 36279)
Attractive pop hustler.

ELVIS PRESLEY: ‘Way Down’ (RCA PB 0998)
Swamp rocker with pop appeal.

JAMIE WILDE: ‘You’re My Baby’ (Polydor 2058902)
Infectious pure pop.

BILLION DOLLAR BAND: ‘Love’s Sweet Notions’ (from LP ‘Billion DB’, TK XL 14051)
Slow sweet soul floater, and laid-back KC-type ‘I Like Whatcha Doin’’.

RENEE GEYER: ‘Heading In The Right Direction’ (Polydor 2086802)
Sophisticated soulful smoocher.

PATSY GALLANT: ‘From New York To L.A.’ (EMI 2620)
Canadian chick like Petula Clark singing ‘Love Hangover’.

GAP BAND: ‘Thinking Of You’ (from LP ‘Gap Band’, Tattoo FL 12168)
Stevie Wonder-ful smoocher, plus their great happy jazzily leaping ‘Out Of The Blue’ funker.

Mix Master

Sensational stereo effects come from overlapping the “car noises” part of Kraftwerk ‘Autobahn’ (Vertigo) during the long synthesizer break of Donna Summer ‘I Feel Love’ (GTO) – this being only 0:50, you have to use just the main last two-thirds of the “car” break, the bassier rhythm of which somehow gets lost amidst the shriller Summer sound. Another great overlap is a long synchronised mix from the guitar part of Slave ‘You And Me’ (Cotillion) into NCCU ‘Bull City Party’ (UA, best of all the US LP version).

Hot Vinyl

Graham Canter (London Gullivers) – who will be Dave Simmons’s stand-in on BBC Radio London’s Soul ’77 Show for Thursdays Aug 18/25 – import tips:

KELLEE PATTERSON: ‘If It Don’t Fit Don’t Force It’ (Shadybrook LP cut)
SUNBEAR: ‘I Heard The Voice Of Music Say’ (Soul Train)
SMOKEY ROBINSON: ‘Theme From Big Time’ (Motown LP cut) (Billboard chart debut 8/6/77)
CONTROLLERS: ‘Somebody’s Gotta Win’ (Juana LP cut)
MOTHER FREEDOM BAND: ‘Beautiful Summer Day’ (All Platinum)
YOUNGHEARTS: ‘Sho Nuff Must Be Love’ / ‘If’ (ABC LP cuts)
JERRY BUTLER: ‘Chalk It Up’ (Motown 12”) (mentioned in Billboard column 2/5/77, Billboard chart debut 3/12/77)

UK Disco Top 20 – August 6, 1977

01 01 Donna Summer – I Feel Love – GTO
02 03 Boney M – Ma Baker – Atlantic
03 02 Hot Chocolate – So You Win Again – Rak
04 05 T-Connection – Do What You Wanna Do – TK
05 04 John Miles – Slow Down – Decca
06 09 Detroit Emeralds – Feel The Need In Me – Atlantic
07 06 Danny Williams – Dancing Easy – Ensign
08 10 Lovers – Discomania – Epic
09 12 Rah Band – The Crunch – Good Earth
10 17 Floaters – Float On – ABC
11 07 Gladys Knight – Baby Don’t Change Your Mind – Buddah
12 16 Commodores – Easy – Motown
13 NE New York Port Authority – I Got It – Invictus
14 08 Jacksons – Show You The Way To Go – Epic
15 RE Fat Larry’s Band – Centre City – WMOT
16 RE Philadelphia All-Stars – Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto – Philadelphia Int’l
17 RE C.J. & Company – Devil’s Gun – Atlantic
18 14 Dave Edmunds – I Knew The Bride – Swan Song
19 NE Candi Staton – Nights On Broadway – Warner Bros.
20 NE Cameo – Post Mortem – Casablanca
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (Billboard chart debut 5/28/77)
#2 (Billboard chart debut 8/6/77)
#4 (mentioned in Billboard column 2/19/77, Billboard chart debut 2/26/77)
#5 (Billboard chart debut 3/12/77)
#6 (mentioned in Billboard column 8/7/76, Billboard chart debut 4/30/77)
#8 (mentioned in Billboard column 5/7/77, Billboard chart debut 5/14/77)
#13 (mentioned in Billboard column 5/7/77)
#14 (Billboard chart debut 12/25/76)
#15 (mentioned in Billboard column 12/11/76, Billboard chart debut 1/15/77)
#16 (Billboard chart debut 7/23/77)
#17 (mentioned in Billboard column 10/23/76, Billboard chart debut 4/23/77)
#19 (mentioned in Billboard column 7/2/77)

Songs mentioned in “DJ Hotline”:

EMOTIONS: ‘Flowers’ (CBS) (Billboard chart debut 10/30/76)
BRUCE JOHNSTON: ‘Pipeline’ (CBS) (Billboard chart debut 7/16/77)
SPACE: ‘Magic Fly’ (Pye) (Billboard chart debut 6/4/77)
MEMPHIS HORNS: ‘Get Up And Dance’ (RCA) (mentioned in Billboard column 1/15/77, Billboard chart debut 2/26/77)
ROKOTTO: ‘Get Up And Dance Now’ (State)
BLONDE ON BLONDE: ‘Subway’ (Chrysalis)
LE PAMPLEMOUSSE: ‘Get Your Boom Boom (Around The Room Room)’ (AVI – US import) (Billboard chart debut 3/19/77)
FACTS OF LIFE: ‘Sometimes’ (TK)
MUSCLES: ‘If It Relaxes Your Mind’ (Big Bear)
TEDDY PENDERGRASS: ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ / ‘The More I Get, The More I Want’ (Philadelphia Int’l) (Billboard chart debut 3/19/77)
GENE FARROW: ‘Hey You Should Be Dancing’ (Magnet) (Billboard chart debut 6/18/77)
OSIBISA: ‘The Warrior’ (Bronze) (Billboard chart debut 2/12/77)
LASO: ‘LaSo Square’ (MCA) (Billboard chart debut 5/28/77)
NCCU: ‘Bull City Party’ (UA)
O’JAYS: ‘So Glad I Got You, Girl’ (Philadelphia Int’l)
PEACHES & HERB: ‘We’re Still Together’ (MCA)
RICHARD HEWSON ORCHESTRA: ‘What Shall We Do When The Disco’s Over’ (Splash) (Billboard chart debut 3/4/78)
JOE TEX: ‘We Held On’ (Epic)
ZOE: ‘Don’t Stop Me Dancin’’ (EMI)
ARTHUR PRYSOCK: ‘All My Life’ (Polydor) (mentioned in Billboard column 1/15/77, Billboard chart debut 1/29/77)
COMMODORES: ‘Brick House’ (Motown) (Billboard chart debut 4/16/77)
SLAVE: ‘You And Me’ (Cotillion)
JOHNNIE TAYLOR: ‘Your Love Is Rated X’ (CBS)
LOVE & KISSES: ‘I’ve Found Love’ (Casablanca – US import) (Billboard chart debut 6/11/77)
SALSOUL ORCHESTRA: ‘Getaway’ (Salsoul – US import) (Billboard chart debut 5/7/77)
WHISPERS: ‘Make It With You’ (Soul Train – US import) (Billboard chart debut 7/23/77)

One thought on “August 6, 1977: Star Wars singles, Mass Production, Instant Funk, Celi Bee & The Buzzy Bunch, Ritchie Family”

  1. MUSCLES: ‘If It Relaxes Your Mind’ (Big Bear) now there’s a record that brings back memories, worked on Promo with this 7″ only (most tracks were)…. Blue eyed soul – before the description was coined, Big Bear Records was Jim Simpsons label, well known around Birmingham as Black Sabbath’s first manager.
    Thank you – for the memories via “Hammy”, keep up this superb piece of work


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