April 28, 1979: Caister Weekender report, Earth Wind & Fire with The Emotions, GQ, Tata Vega, Raydio, Gino Soccio

Showstopper Promotions’ trail-blazing All-Weekender at Caister’s Ladbrokes Holiday Camp in Norfolk this last weekend was a seaside frolic that will linger fondly and funkily in many people’s memories for a long time . . . at least until the next one, in October! The brain-child of Robbie Vincent (who, appropriately as it turned out, sported a witty ‘Caister Escape Committee’ sweat-shirt), the funky fun began on Friday evening and continued with silly games and competitions right through to Sunday afternoon.

Something between 3,500 to 4,000 kids arrived ready to boogie, and the atmosphere was incredible. This was real escape, with virtually anything goes being the order of the day. Music was split between two large halls and a smaller retreat (which I never actually got to!), with a rota of star jocks doing alternating sets.

Obviously there was the strawberry-blonde dyed Chris Hill, but for many the high spot was Greg Edwards’s expert mixing session on the final afternoon. Hill’s rabble-rousing almost got out of hand when two nice young girls were shy about airing their breasts on stage and he literally threw them back into the crowd. If you must have nudity, Chris, how about employing a professional next time, so everyone’s happy? That nasty moment apart, he did his usual Funk Party rally act, rapping this time over McFadden & Whitehead’s ‘Ain’t No Stopping Us Now’ . . . which was played so often it was silly.

Sean French proved to be the dark horse among the DJs assembled there – an endearingly ungainly mover, Sean has been growing in stature as a crowd-pleasing funk jock and was much talked about over the weekend. This is not to belittle the fine funk jocks like Chris Brown, Tom Holland, Jeff Young, Froggy, and of course Robbie Vincent himself, all of whom lived up to their reputations.

Robbie’s special Wally contest was won by a guy in stacked heels, flares, satin jacket and curly wig, who fell about in Ian Moore style – but for me the winner was the truly obnoxious Glen Crimmens (17) of Ilford’s Lacy Lady, who poured beer all over himself, threw chairs, flashed porno pix and actually ate two Village People records! Wot, no piss drinking? The Lacy’s Funky friar did well though, he stood still to begin with, really dumb, thinking about it, then smeared the judges with snot!

Despite this free and easy atmosphere, there was no real trouble until the last day, when a security guard thought some kids from Hemel Hempstead were misusing a fire extinguisher and got clobbered for his trouble. This led to the police setting up roadblocks for the kids’ minibuses, and then started a great exercise in public relations whereby anyone with out-of-date tax disc or dodgy tyres got pulled in by the police as they left the camp to go home. Escape Committee, indeed! All those going by bus congregated around the gate and cheered everyone getting nicked, which in time defused the well meant but stupidly conceived situation.

With so many kids on the loose it was an amazingly well-behaved gathering for the whole weekend, everyone being there for fun, music and the company of kindred spirits. The real holiday camp spirit was raised by such silly contests as digging up buried treasure on the beach, a “Soul jog”, “drag race” (yes, nothing to do with street machines!), and the usual fancy dress dances.

Saturday’s big fancy dress ball ended with a mass side-to-side shuffle and unaccompanied chanting to ‘Now That We Found Love’ segued into ‘I Love Music’ . . . though at other times it was decidedly ‘Ain’t No Stopping Us Now’ that became the new anthem. The final Sunday afternoon farewell ended with Sections One, Two and Three of the crowd competing against each other in the usual way – except the team work is really sophisticated now, each section capable of doing something different in counterpoint to the others. Suddenly it was ‘Land Of Hope And Glory’, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and the Monty Python theme, ‘Liberty Bell’, and everything was over.

Why, you may ask, didn’t I plug this amazing event in advance? Quite simply, the word had spread so fast on the grapevine when it was first announced some months ago that there were no tickets left, even then. The planned Caister Reunion All-Nighter at London’s Empire Ballroom (the previously hinted-at venue) has been refused a licence by the police at Whitsun, but now Showstopper Promotions hope to get one for the August Bank Holiday. Meanwhile, with a warning to CBS’s Greg Lynn to stay clear of Irish rock stars, and a big hi to Dee, I leave you with the weekend’s catchphrase . . . Gertcha!


Disco News

CBS Records are very grudgingly introducing unlimited 12in editions at £1.99 but still think the format is merely a chart-place gimmick of no real value, their sales director even going on record saying “I’d rather it would all just go away and we could sell small black things with holes in the middle for the sake of the music on them” – Dear John Mair, it’s for the sake of the music (like bass response and clarity) that the 12in came into being . . . Billy Preston & Syreeta ‘Go For It’ (12TMG 1139) is due this week on brown vinyl 12in for a Motown first – it’s also in the new US-style 12in sleeve which features the US Motown label’s map of Detroit . . . RCA start releasing 20th Century product this week, with Edwin Starr’s ‘H.A.P.P.Y. Radio’ (very ‘Headline News’, Northern fans!) due on 12in any day now . . . Chris Michael Browne’s DJ contest finals are next Tuesday (1) at Elephant & Castle Charlie Chaplin’s, with judges set as disco pluggers John Waller, Fred Dove, Ray Edwards, plus Capital producer Mo Stone (really?), DJ Gavin Breck and probably myself . . . Nick Halliday (Basingstoke) kindly sent me Meco’s ‘Superman’ on 12in – having tried to get rid of it twice as a spot prize! . . . Graham Gold (01-570 7531) has funk, will travel – and needs more residency nights.


New Spins

EARTH, WIND & FIRE WITH THE EMOTIONS: ‘Boogie Wonderland’ (CBS 12-7292) (BNDA debut 6/2/79)
Given an exclusive UK preview at Caister (where unchecked turntable speed makes my provisional reading of 129-131bpm approximate only), this 8:20 12in finds the guys n’ gals joining forces for an urgent fast strutting full-tilt stamper with staccato chanting from the chix and smoothing strings over the chugging brass, all very exciting and enthusiastically received.

GQ: ‘Make My Dream A Reality’ (from LP ‘Disco Nights’, Arista ARTY 169)
Actually proving to be far from watered-down in comparison with the title track hit, this great 122bpm soul stormer has indeed got similar elements but is a much more powerful song . . . rather than just a disco workout. Due on full 6:22 12in in a fortnight, it’s here joined by the also hot 130bpm ‘This Happy Feeling’ and a dynamite revival of Billy Stewart’s ‘I Do Love You’ smoocher.

TATA VEGA: ‘Get It Up For Love’ (Motown 12TMG 1140) (BNDA debut 4/14/79)
Now indeed on 5:56 12in with the annoying slow centre section edited out, this intensifying 122bpm jittery swayer hangs together better than the LP version and should get even bigger. It’s double-A flipped by the 6:01 churning 124bpm clomper ‘I Just Keep Thinking About You Baby’. 

RAYDIO: ‘Hot Stuff’ (from LP ‘Rock On’, Arista SPART 1087)
Although containing the ‘You Can’t Change That’ 86bpm single (now evidently available in transparent vinyl and sleeve on Arista ARI CV), the biggest cuts so far are this powerful 116bpm funker and the 120bpm title track which both pack a mighty punch in similar style. Three hot cuts can’t be bad!

GINO SOCCIO: ‘Dancer’ (Warner Bros. K 17357) (BNDA debut 2/24/79)
Specially edited and remixed by Gino while on a recent UK visit, this the 7in version has an interesting additional synthesizer line through the main vocal and could be fun to synchronize (either in or out of step) with the 12in version to give a vocal echo or extended length.

SARAGOSSA BAND: ‘Rasta Man’ (Decca GFR 13829)
German singalong pseudo-reggae (not even that, actually – just pure pop) plods along on 4:00 12in at 98bpm and has pop fans in Scotland (of course!).

ODYSSEY: ‘Native New Yorker’ (RCA DDC 002) (BNDA debut 8/27/77)
Now sounding sadly dated, the subtle 106bpm soul swinger has not worn well since late ’77, but is on 5:35 12in again – and is a classic, regardless.

FUNKADELIC: ‘Cholly’ (Warner Bros. K 17321)
Uncompromisingly P-funky 102bpm burbler merely goes on longer now that it’s on 12in.

JACK LANCASTER/RICK VAN DER LINDEN: ‘African Violet’ (from LP ‘Wild Connections’, Acrobat ACRO 2)
Lushly synthesized (without the usual synth sound) jazzily tripping 112bpm swayer for jazz-funk freaks to check.

INNER CITY EXPRESS: ‘Dance And Shake Your Tambourine’ (RCA DDC 005)
Never a classic in this cover-version, the 103bpm jitterer has weathered really badly though it’s on 5:35 12in.

TONY WILSON: ‘Try Love’ (from LP ‘Catch One’, Bearsvllle K 55526)
Creakily-sung hybrid pop-slanted yet “disco” 113bpm chugger with Bee Gees chord changes.

BLOODSTONE: ‘It’s All Been Said Before’ (from LP ‘Don’t Stop!’, Motown STML 12097)
Happily romping 134bpm instrumental drive slows to 132bpm for the main falsetto vocal part of this old-fashioned piano-bashing racer, now in an unsexy UK sleeve.

ALICIA BRIDGES: ‘Body Heat’ (Polydor POSPX 38)
Boring 108bpm rock-orientated thumper on 5:20 12in lacks her ‘Night Life’ charm.

PAMALA STANLEY: ‘This Is Hot’ (Sidewalk 12YSID 105) (BNDA debut 9/22/79)
Melodic 128bpm thumper on 12in sounds like Mary Hopkin singing Cher.

STU PHILLIPS: ‘Theme From “Battlestar Galactica”’ (MCA 12MCA 415)
Not only the movie but the music too is a ‘Star Wars’ copy, on 128bpm Meco-style 5:38 12in.

TARTAGLIA & THE SPACE ANGELS: ‘It’s Love, Love, Love’ (MCA 416)
Easy-paced comes-and-goes 130bpm cooing cliched chix from ‘Battlestar Galactica’, less than exciting.

MICHAEL ZAGER BAND: ‘Life’s A Party’ LP (Private Stock PVLP 1045)
Blandly hustling 121bpm title-track clapper goes into a bubbling break and synthesizer section but never gets exciting, while the same dreary girlie group spreads tedium throughout the rest – especially as side two segues continuously. Life’s not as dull as this party!


Imports

REAL THING: ‘Can You Feel The Force’ (US Epic 28-50689)
Completely remixed 7:40 US 12in version slows to 128bpm and cools out the surface excitement by bringing up the rhythm and brass but suppressing the guitar and rearranging the vocal pattern – however, the 6:32 instrumental flip is really rhythmic and reaches a freakily echoed “whoo-ooh” vocal two-thirds through, to become the hotter side here. Jocks are already having fun with it.

ANITA WARD: ‘Ring My Bell’ (US TK Disco TKD 124) (BNDA debut 4/14/79)
Remixed from her Juana label LP for 8:08 12in, this deadpan-sung 127bpm ditty has catchy elements, including a continuously repeated ‘Night Owl’ type “hoo-hoo-hoo” sound and some subdued but appropriate ringing, yet I still think it’s kinda monotonous over such an unvarying length. It’s getting hot for plenty of jocks, though.

DONNA SUMMER: ‘Hot Stuff’ (US Casablanca NBD 20159 AS) (BNDA debut 4/21/79)
Meatier and more aggressive than usual, this 6:45 12in from her upcoming new ‘Bad Girls’ album is a forcefully wailed thumping 121bpm chugger with a rock-type guitar break and a non-zingy beat that’s likely to widen her appeal (and credibility) in Britain again.

TAKA BOOM: ‘Night Dancin’’ (US Ariola AR-9010)
Chaka Khan’s Undisputed Truth-singing sister wails an infectious 125bpm polyrhythmic canterer with exciting strings and percussion break on 7:36 12in.


UK Disco Top 90 – April 28, 1979

01 01 Players Association – Turn The Music Up – Vanguard 12″
02 02 Sister Sledge – He’s The Greatest Dancer / We Are Family – Atlantic 12″/LP/US Cotillion 12″
03 08 The Jacksons – Shake Your Body Down To The Ground – Epic 12″
04 05 Chic – I Want Your Love / Chic Cheer – Atlantic 12″
05 06 Village People – In The Navy – Mercury 7″/12″
06 03 GQ – Disco Nights (Rock Freak) / Boogie Oogie Oogie – Arista 12″
07 04 Gary’s Gang – Keep On Dancin’ / Do It At The Disco – CBS 12″
08 09 Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive – Polydor 7″/12″
09 07 Gibson Brothers – Cuba – Island 12″
10 11 Real Thing – Can You Feel The Force – Pye 12″/US Epic 12″
11 10 Kleeer – Keep Your Body Workin’ – Atlantic 12″
12 12 Gonzalez – Haven’t Stopped Dancin’ Yet – Sidewalk 12″
13 13 Crown Heights Affair – Dance Lady Dance – Mercury 12″
14 20 Gino Soccio – Dancer / Dance To Dance – Warner Bros. 12″
15 14 Narada Michael Walden – I Don’t Want Nobody Else – Atlantic 12″
16 15 Light Of The World – Swingin’ – Ensign 7″/12″
17 16 FLB – Boogie Town – Fantasy 12″
18 17 Bell & James – Livin’ It Up (Friday Night) – A&M 12″
19 21 Bunny Sigler – By The Way You Dance / I’m Funking You Tonite – Salsoul 12″
20 18 George Benson – Love Ballad – Warner Bros. 7″/12″
21 22 Three Degrees – The Runner – Ariola 12″
22 19 Edwin Starr – Contact – 20th Century 12″
23 23 Sylvester – I (Who Have Nothing) – Fantasy 12″
24 30 McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now – US Philadelphia Int’l 12″
25 25 Philly Cream – Jammin’ At The Disco – Fantasy 12″
26 24 Arpeggio – Love And Desire – Polydor 12″
27 27 Beach Boys – Here Comes The Night – Caribou 12″
28 26 Wardell Piper – Captain Boogie – Midsong 12″
29 37 Force – Rock Your Baby – US Philadelphia Int’l 12″
30 49 Eugene Record – Magnetism – Warner Bros. 12″
31 45 Amii Stewart – Knock On Wood – Atlantic 12″
32 28 Gene Chandler – Get Down – 20th Century 12″
33 32 Dennis Brown – Money In My Pocket – Lightning 12″
34 35 Tata Vega – Get It Up For Love / Come On Try My Love / I Just Keep Thinking About You Baby – Motown LP/US 12″
35 46 Herbie Hancock – Tell Everybody / Ready Or Not / Trust Me – CBS 7″/LP/US 12″
36 47 Joe Thomas – Make Your Move / Sugar Smack – US LRC LP
37 31 Bill Summers – Straight To The Bank – Prestige 12″
38 55 Side Effect – Disco Junction – Fantasy 12″
39 38 Lemon – A-Freak-A / Chance To Dance – US Prelude 12″/LP
40 29 Inner Circle – Everything Is Great – Island 12″
41 41 Melba Moore – Pick Me Up, I’ll Dance – Epic 12″
42 42 GQ – This Happy Feeling / Make My Dream A Reality / I Do Love You – Arista LP
43 48 T-Connection – Saturday Night – TK 12″
44 39 George Duke – Party Down – Epic 12″
45 43 B. Baker Chocolate Co. – Snow Blower / Higher ‘N Higher / Spirit Level – US LRC LP
46 33 Keith Barrow – Turn Me Up – CBS 12″
47 40 Lorraine Johnson – Feed The Flame – Epic LP/US Prelude 12″
48 34 Hilary – Do It – US Columbia 12″/LP
49 36 Herbie Hancock – You Bet Your Love – CBS 12″
50 51 Gap Band – Baby Baba Boogie / Shake – US Mercury LP
51 58 Bombers – (Everybody) Get Dancin’ – Flamingo 12″
52 62 Nytro – Nytro Express – US Whitfield 12″
53 61 Skyy – First Time Around / Let’s Get Up / This Groove Is Bad – US Salsoul LP
54 56 Fantastic Four – BYOF / Sexy Lady – Atlantic 12″/US 12″ remix
55 59 Poussez – Come On And Do It – Vanguard LP
56 78 Raydio – Rock On / Hot Stuff / You Can’t Change That – US Arista LP
57 69 Richard Evans – Burning Spear / Do-Re-Me-For-Soul – US Horizon 12″/LP
58 68 Players Association – Ride The Groove / Everybody Dance / The Closer I Get To You – Vanguard LP
59 53 Jackie McLean – Dr. Jackyll And Mr. Funk – US RCA LP
60 54 Sarah Dash – Sinner Man – Kirshner 12″
61 50 George Benson – Soulful Strut / Unchained Melody / Before You Go / Hey Girl / Nassau Day – Warner Bros. LP
62 85 M – Pop Muzik – MCA 12″
63 74 Doobie Brothers – What A Fool Believes – Warner Bros. 7″/12″ remix
64 88 Eddy Grant – Living On The Frontline / Frontline Symphony – Ensign 12″/Ice LP
65 57 Crown Heights Affair – The Rock Is Hot / Come Fly With Me / Empty Soul Of Mine / You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me – Mercury LP
66 72 Montana – I Love Music / You Know How Good It Is – US Atlantic 12″/LP
67 NE Linda Clifford – Bridge Over Troubled Water / Don’t Give It Up / Hold Me Close – RSO 12″/US LP
68 71 Lamont Dozier – Boogie Business / Love Me To The Max / Bittersweet – Warner Bros. 12″/US LP
69 65 Air Power – Be Yourself – US AVI 12″
70 73 Hemlock – Disco Break – US Warner Bros. 12″
71 75 Carrie Lucas – Dance With You – US Solar 12″
72 64 Peggy Scott – You’ve Got It All – Pinnacle 12″
73 NE Richard Tee – First Love / Strokin’ – US Tappan Zee LP
74 86 Mass Production – Can’t You See I’m Fired Up / Strollin’ / Firecracker – US Cotillion 12″/LP
75 66 Richard T. Bear – Sunshine Hotel – RCA 12″
76 76 Gary’s Gang – Showtime / Let’s Lovedance Tonight – CBS LP
77 79 Alton McClain & Destiny – It Must Be Love / Crazy Love – Polydor 7″/US 12″
78 81 Giorgio Moroder – Chase – Casablanca 12″
79 90 War – Good Good Feelin’ – US MCA 12″
80 60 Crackin’ – Double Love – Warner Bros. 12″
81 82 Voyage – Let’s Fly Away – GTO 12″
82 NE Mantus – Rock It To The Top / Midnight Energy – US SMI LP
83 87 Pointer Sisters – Fire – Planet 7″
84 80 Motown Sounds – Bad Mouthin’ / Groove Time / Space Dance – Motown LP
85 84 Arthur Adams – I Like It Funky – US A&M LP
86 77 Brainstorm – Hot For You / Don’t Let Me Catch You With Your Groove Down – US Tabu 12″
87 NE Dance People – Dance People – Satril 12″ promo
88 RE Mantus – (Dance It) Freestyle Rhythm – Atlantic 12″
89 RE Raul De Souza – Til Tomorrow Comes / Up And At It – Tower LP
90 NE Spyro Gyra – Morning Dance / Starburst / Heliopolis – US Amherst/Infinity LP
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #2 (BNDA debut 2/10/79) / #3 (BNDA debut 1/6/79)
#4 (BNDA debut 12/16/78) / #5 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #6 (BNDA debut 2/24/79)
#7 (BNDA debut 1/6/79) / #8 (BNDA debut 11/11/78) / #9 (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
#11 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #12 (BNDA debut 12/23/78) / #14 (BNDA debut 2/24/79)
#15 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #19 (BNDA debut 3/10/79) / #21 (BNDA debut 5/26/79)
#22 (BNDA debut 11/18/78) / #23 (BNDA debut 3/24/79) / #24 (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
#25 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #26 (BNDA debut 12/16/78) / #27 (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
#28 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #31 (BNDA debut 2/3/79) / #32 (BNDA debut 11/18/78)
#34 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #35 (BNDA debut 7/14/79) / #37 (BNDA debut 2/10/79)
#39 (BNDA debut 1/6/79) / #41 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #47 (BNDA debut 11/25/78)
#50 (BNDA debut 5/12/79) / #51 (BNDA debut 2/10/79) / #55 (BNDA debut 4/14/79)
#60 (BNDA debut 11/11/78) / #62 (BNDA debut 9/8/79) / #63 (BNDA debut 4/7/79)
#67 (BNDA debut 3/31/79) / #68 (BNDA debut 5/5/79) / #71 (BNDA debut 3/10/79)
#73 (BNDA debut 3/22/80) / #75 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #77 (BNDA debut 3/24/79)
#78 (BNDA debut 1/20/79) / #79 (BNDA debut 4/14/79) / #81 (BNDA debut 12/2/78)
#82 (BNDA debut 3/31/79) / #86 (BNDA debut 4/7/79) / #88 (BNDA debut 2/17/79)

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