Everyone knows about Northern Soul and some say that there’s such a thing as Southern Soul – but how many have noticed there may also be Eastern Soul? Since I started compiling the expanded Disco Charts for Record Mirror and Music Week, I’ve noticed a very definite trend for certain funky-type sounds to happen especially in London and the Southeast and up in the Northeast. Many of them also get action between these areas, in East Anglia and up through the East Midlands. Is this merely a coincidence? Several record company promotion people have confirmed that they too have noticed this pattern of response to certain of their releases. While the rest of the country’s discos tend to feature the more obvious pop material the jocks up the eastern side of the country certainly seem to be a lot funkier in their tastes. There are of course many exceptions elsewhere, in Liverpool especially, but of those who contribute charts the funkiest DJ’s would appear to be from the east!
Current sounds that could be called Eastern Soul include Roy Ayers Ubiquity ‘Running Away’ (Polydor), Le Pamplemousse ‘Get Your Boom Boom Around The Room’ (Barclay), Village People ‘San Francisco’ (DJM), Fantastic Four ‘I Got To Have Your Love’ (Atlantic), Earth, Wind & Fire ‘Serpentine Fire’ (CBS), Lenny Williams ‘Choosing You’ (ABC LP), Diana Ross ‘Your Love Is So Good For Me’ (Motown LP) and even Rose Royce ‘It Makes You Feel Like Dancing’ (Whitfield LP). Another whose high disco chart placing has been almost entirely due to the south and north east is Eddie Henderson ‘Say You Will’ (Capitol) which never had a single mention from any DJ west of Nottingham!
All this is not to malign DJ’s from elsewhere; rather, it questions why tastes up the eastern side of Britain should be so similar and so different. North versus South is a geographical division that can be explained by sheer distance, but this is a less logical frontier. Well, what do you make of it? Whether DJ or disco dancer, let me know what you think. And if you’re an outraged funky DJ from the west, you’ve only yourself to blame for the imbalance caused by your not sending in your weekly chart!
LA BELLE EPOQUE: ‘Disco Sound’ (from LP ‘Miss Broadway’, Harvest SHSP 4074) (LP BNDA debut 6/18/77)
Even better than the 12in version, this side long continuous medley cuts up ‘Black Is Black’ between several other tunes, all with the same sound, so that the song as a separate track just doesn’t exist!
BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS: ‘Jamming’ (Island WIP 6410)
Superbly sensuous reggae, proved with the passage of time to be the ‘Exodus’ LP’s best track.
VILLAGE PEOPLE: ‘San Francisco’ / ‘In Hollywood’ (from LP ‘Village People’, DJM DJF 20524) (BNDA debut 7/30/77)
Already a disco hit here on import alone, it’s a hoarsely soulful side-long segue of pounding perfection. The edited single (DJS 10817) flips ‘San Francisco’ with the equally good ‘Fire Island’.
EMOTIONS: ‘I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love’ (CBS 5819) (BNDA debut 8/28/76)
Laid-back funky chugger, a US biggie last year.
AMANDA LEAR: ‘Blood And Honey’ (Ariola ARO 103)
Watch it, here’s the next Euro-monster to follow Baccara! It even comes in three different lengths, spread between the 7in and a limited 12in (ARO 103-12). You’ve been warned!
SAAR BAND: ‘Magic Mandrake’ (Calendar DAY 111)
Powerfully chugging simple stomper, strong enough to smash and sure to be big.