ODDS ‘N BODS
‘Sexy Cream’ by Slick has effectively been banned from radio play by the IBA, and probably BBC too . . . Derek Harriot ‘Born To Love You’, reviewed as a 7in last week, is now on 12in (Laser LAS 15T), while to complete the Lonnie Liston Smith import LP review, ‘Nightlife’ is a nice 120-122bpm gently jogging keyboard burbler but the 126-128bpm ‘Fruit Music’ works less well than the 126-124-126bpm ‘A Song For The Children’ title track (US Columbia JC 36141) . . . Miroslav Vitous ‘New York City’ (Warner Bros. 12in) turns out to be an accelerating 130-133-134-135-137-0bpm, now that I’ve checked my unwarped old LP version . . . Chic ‘My Forbidden Lover’ and Joe Sample ‘Carmel’ are due on 12in . . . I‘m pushing MCA for a UK 12in of Joe Sample’s old ‘There Are Many Stops Along The Way’, at 115bpm a great mate for ‘Street Life’, as at 112bpm is Deodato ‘Knights Of Fantasy’ – which could deserve UK issue now . . . Kool & The Gang’s jazz superstar-studded ‘Boogie Vibes’ promo did not end up on their new Deodato-produced LP after all – pity! . . . Heaven & Earth’s US Mercury LP is not set for UK release . . . British Discotheque Convention tickets are going so fast that the top jocks and disco pluggers this Frenchies-held bash is aimed at had better book now if they want to get in: contact Robin Nash (East Horsley 2531) and send your money! . . . Showstopper Promotions’ February Forum trip to Los Angeles (details last week) already has about 50 people booked and may end up with 150 – which could be a riot, the poor Americans not standing a chance! . . . Los Angeles-based expatriate Dick Sheppard is briefly back in Britain for BADEM’s Discotek 79 – over there he’s a top jock cos not only is he a good mixer, he can talk (something evidently gay Californian DJs are incapable of)! . . . Brighton funkateer Paul Clark (Brighton 698699) could do with a new Friday venue for his followers, while record companies interested in Papillon on Mondays for promotion nights should call him too . . . Strathclyde and other Scottish jocks seem to be reverting to rock ‘n pop in a big way, but are still the first to chart Donna Summer! . . . London’s Embassy Club opens an afternoon “Discoella” family show at Christmas – yes, that is indeed Cinderella goes Disco, a musical for kiddies (can you believe it?) . . . see you at BADEM (if I’m awake)!
WEDNESDAY (12) Hi-Tension’s hot tip Mirage funk Mayfair Gullivers, Froggy mixes US-style for teenagers at Southgate Royalty; FRIDAY (14) Steve Dee does Prestwood Village Hall, John DeSade does Faversham Youth Centre; SATURDAY (15) Rus Phillips’ flourishing Disco Dept at Manor Park Broadway’s ‘Ere For Music celebrates its first anniversary with free champers and everything marked down for the day, Robbie Vincent & Froggy funk Southgate Royalty, Radio Trent’s Dale Winton & Steve Young dish out freebies at South Normanton Storthfield Country Club (M1 exit 28), Ian Richards starts at Leicester’s New Cinderellas, Steve Dee does Tylers Green Village Hall; WEDNESDAY (19) Ilford Room At The Top celebrates its 9th Anniversary with a Gala fancy dress party featuring £200 prizes, half -price drinks all night and Page 3 models looking leggy — if it’s like last year’s it’ll be a gas!
JOSEPH JOHNSTONE, mobile on Worthing 203561, has been confused by recent comments on this page. First off he writes, “I don’t know where John Lewis (Brighton Metro) is getting so-called support for a boycott of WEA products, as I’ve spoken to many DJs here who think differently, their usual response being what a bloody fool he’s made himself look.” Maybe so, but John Lewis is a guy who sticks to his principles regardless, and indeed he is not featuring any WEA records, UK or import. Joseph continues, “Regarding your comment about DJs not creating hit records, I’m afraid you must be out of touch with reality — who do you think made hits out of the Crusaders, Me And You, Dooleys, Spyro Gyra, Johnny Mathis, Bellamy Brothers, Frantique, FLB, Benelux & Nancy Dee? These are just a few whose success owed nothing to radio but got started by the bloody hard work of club DJs like me.” The comment was attributed to WEA’s thought on the matter and was not mine alone, although when it comes to the records you’ve just mentioned you have to be joking, surely? Frantique and FLB I’ll grant you came exclusively from disco play (the former has needed radio to climb the chart though), the Crusaders and Spyro Gyra were around at a hip import-orientated level in the clubs for months before radio finally picked up on them and the hits came, Me And You, Johnny Mathis and arguably Benelux & Nancy Dee were started by radio in as much as they were already getting established before disco jocks started reporting them, and as for the Dooleys and Bellamy Brothers . . . well! Certain types of disco may be playing them (they’re good records), but so far the former has never had enough of our chart DJs on it to be a Breaker while the Bellamys has yet to get even one mention! The fact remains that the vast majority of DJs are lumbered with audiences who just are not receptive to new records until they can be seen (and heard) to be “popular”. There’s an awful lot of Britain out there, and sadly the way in which the national sales chart is compiled prevents regional club-derived sales from showing up until they are reflected all over the country: hence the importance of Radio One still, and the homogeneous — if not downright Wally — nature of so many “disco” hits at the supposedly national level. Disco DJs are important in that by playing new records they can get a reaction (even initial sales) which shows a possible future potential, but it has to be concluded that in no way do they make the really big hits. Radio is the final arbiter of mass taste, unfortunately. Bear in mind that sales revenue derived from a record at the sort of chart position which most disco hits reach is scarcely enough to pay for the advertising, let alone a full disco promotion service! Finally, Joseph concludes, “Have YOU ever tried to buy imports down here on the South Coast? If you could get the good records, who’s foolish enough to pay £3 for a single 12in when most of us are just about earning £7 a night in clubs? I spend £25 a week, every week, on records — and with all the other expenses I just about break even.” Well Joseph, I’m sorry to say it, but who’s the fool? You’re running yourself into the ground for no reward merely to subsidise other people’s entertainment . . . and club managers’ businesses. You obviously enjoy what you do or you wouldn’t do it, while at the same time I’m sure that there is a “cowboy” who would love to get your gig (although at £7 a night, who’s wearing the spurs?!). What would be the result if all the jocks in your area who reckon they’re any good decided to withdraw their labour? Would the cowboys who presumably might fill their places be bad enough to make the managers come back to you with a more realistic financial offer? When all is said and done, nobody is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to be a DJ. If you can’t stand the heat get out of the fire, you make the bed that you lie in, etc, etc.
DJ TOP TEN
CHRIS BROWNE spins nothing but jazz on Tuesdays at High Wycombe Tuesdays, drawing 200 fans despite lack of local import shops, but his crazy “theme” nights on Wednesdays now grab around 450 funsters — it’s a “New Year” party next week (19) — while overall during the week he tends to feature around an hour of oldies every night — similar to these. Ah, nostalgia!
01 CRYSTAL WORLD, Crystal Glass (Philips)
02 INSIDE AMERICA, Juggy Jones (Contempo)
03 GET DOWN, Kay-Gees (US De-Lite)
04 LONDON EXPRESS, Oliver Sain (Contempo)
05 WICKY WACKY, Fatback Band (Polydor)
06 FUNKY STUFF, Kool & The Gang (Polydor)
07 CHECKMATE, Barrabas (Atlantic)
08 FUNKY NASSAU, Beginning Of The End (Atlantic)
09 SHACK UP, Banbarra (United Artists)
10 RUNNING AWAY, Roy Ayers (US Polydor 12in)
COLIN DAY (Derby Tiffanys) treads a well worn path: “The other Friday, during one of my regular oldie spots, I segued the Bombers ‘Get Dancin’ into Voyage ‘Let’s Fly Away’ into Edwin Starr ‘Contact’ — a popular mix. What was the next request? Yes, you guessed it! ‘Er, could you play some fast funk, something oldish?’ I’m alright, it’s the rest of ’em!!” Yes, but though nice records (and as you say a good mix), those three aren’t really hard funk, are they?
CHEESECAKE CORNER — this is Bonnie Boyer, whose ‘Got To Give In To Love’ is at number 80 in the Disco chart. Born Bonalyn Karen Boyer in Reading, Pennsylvania, 27-year-old 5 foot 3 Bonnie counts astrology and dancing as her hobbies. She’s a Cancer.
DAVE JACKSON, currently doing MoR gigs through Sofiscodisc (Bradford 0274-661405), reconfirms my own point that you can mix within and between every type of music — but adds that as he’s the only MoR jock in his area that does mix, he’s viewed as a bit of an oddity … especially by other jocks! Two sequences that come to his mind are Darts ‘Duke Of Earl’ (Magnet) mixing anywhere into the first break of Gene Chandler ‘Get Down’ (20th Century 12in), and a special with Sparks ‘Beat The Clock’ (Virgin 12in) — which, while much requested, he finds is too complex with the drumming for his older dancers, so Dave starts off with Village People ‘YMCA’ (US Casablanca 12in remix) running the whole of Sparks’ intro in over the central rhythm break, then bringing up the middle break of Shalamar ‘Uptown Festival’ (RCA 12in) through Sparks’ own middle drum break, thus strengthening the beat. Ever chop mix waltzes, like I do, Dave?!
MICHAEL JACKSON: ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ (Epic EPC 12-7763) (BNDA debut 8/18/79)
Heaven-sent 12in of the already huge and now speeded-up 121bpm rattling jittery jolter.
EDWIN STARR: ‘It’s Called The Rock’ (20th Century TCD 2420)
Infectiously bounding 125-128bpm 12in thumper that should hopefully establish the “rock” dance here – it’s the elbows and knees-bent sideways-swaying step that you must have seen by now.
VAN MCCOY: ‘The Hustle’ (H&L 9198436)
Yesteryear’s dance now on 116bpm remixed 6:25 12in with overlaid syndrums and added rhythm. Continue reading “September 15, 1979: Michael Jackson, Edwin Starr, Van McCoy, Discotheque, Tamiko Jones”