Chris Hill, now DJ’ing at Ilford’s Lacy Lady, moved back to his old haunt of Canvey Island’s Gold Mine on Sunday for a special one-off revival night . . . and what a beautifully heavy little number the joint was for a few hours again!
Kids had come in cars and coaches from all over the Home Counties to revisit the scene of 1975’s “Swing Thing” and to hear the best of fast Southern funk.
The ambience was like steam heat as the unself-conscious and spontaneously natural dancers liberated their healthy randiness and forgot the Nazi-revivalist times in which we live.
Frank sexuality was expressed in the healthy eroticism of their fancy dress, lit by flickering electric bulbs of multi-coloured hues.
The fancy dress winners included a (male and hairy!) mother and infant, overgrown boy scout, sexy schoolgirl, Diddyman, Spiderman and a couple of Fred Astaires, while a “mooning” contest between the lads of Stevenage and Romford saw the former letting it all hang out, over and over again! Oh yes, it was all healthy fun, the mood being moulded by Chris’s choice of music.
Naturally he played funky faves old and new, but things really took off when he progressed through thirties and forties swing tunes to the bootleg R&B of the early fifties before suddenly switching to organised country dancing. Yes, ‘Strip The Willow’ no less!
Then it was the ‘Hokey Cokey’, ‘Gay Gordons’, ‘Boomps-A-Daisy’ and ‘Conga’ going straight into Jackie Wilson’s ‘By The Light Of The Silvery Moon’, Mandy Miller’s ‘Nellie The Elephant’ and Tiny Tim’s ‘There’ll Always Be An England’ medley.
Master of the echo unit and mike, Chris fills out the records by adding harmonica, swanee music and vocal accompaniment, hardly ever letting anything sound the way it was intended.
He really does have to be seen to be believed and is a lesson for all beginning DJ’s who can learn a lot about pacing, verve and vitality by catching the likes of Chris and his peers.
Anyway, there’s likely to be another Gold Mine revival night near Christmas when the joint’ll be jumpin’ again!
And apologies to Dave Godin for some borrowed phraseology – nothing nasty meant!
GONZALEZ: ‘I Haven’t Stopped Dancin’ Yet’ (EMI 2706) (BNDA debut 12/12/78)
The long established live act’s best bet yet, a creamily churning happy romper with infectious Tavares-type appeal – a real grower!
PATSY GALLANT: ‘Are You Ready For Love’ (EMI 2714)
Rather good, pleasant, light lopper, surprisingly soulful.
SPACE: ‘Tango In Space’ / ‘Carry On, Turn Me On’ (Pye 7N 25756) (BNDA debut 6/4/77)
Double-sided disco smash, already charted as LP tracks and import 12in. Continue reading “October 29, 1977: Chris Hill’s revival night at Canvey Island Gold Mine”