September 29, 1979: Sterling, Diana Ross, Fern Kinney, Positive Force, Sugarhill Gang

Odds ‘N Bods

Frenchies Forum, or the British Discotheque Convention as most people are not calling it, pulls top jocks and industry leaders to Camberley Cambridge Hotel on Tuesday (2) for an evening’s discussion and entertainment . . . Kool & The Gang ‘Ladies’ Night’ 12in is due next week, with Teddy Pendergrass ‘Do Me’, Melba Moore ‘Burn’, Risco Connection ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ on 12in the following week and Isley Bros ‘It’s A Disco Night’, Force ‘Dirty Dog’ after that, Fat Larry’s Band ‘Center City’ 12in remix version, highly prized as you know, will finally be on FLB’s next LP . . . Herb Alpert’s ‘Rise’ does turn out to be on 33 1/3 rpm UK 12in, so speed-spins ARE possible still (though not necessarily recommended)! . . . Three Degrees ‘Jump The Gun’ (Ariola AROC 183), Barbra Streisand ‘The Main Event / Fight’ (CBS 12-7714), Inner Circle ‘We ‘A’ Rockers’ (Island 12XWIP 6498) are now on 12in . . . Jupiter Beyond ‘The River Drive’ is causing concern for record companies as not only Pye but also EMI LRD (and who else?) were confident they had the UK rights and were awaiting signed contracts! . . . Ronnie Milsap, the blind Country star, began the mid-‘60s as a totally convincing soul singer on Scepter, cutting the original ‘Let’s Go Get Stoned’ and many early Ashford & Simpson songs – and he’s now returned with a thudding slow funky 104bpm 12in bumper currently circulating on mystery white label promo . . . Blondie’s ABBA-esque ‘Dreaming’ clocks in at about 160bpm, if you’re interested . . . Ilford Room At The Top’s 9th Anniversary Fancy Dress Gala was won by Tony Smith who brilliantly dressed as an old man carrying a dustbin – except the old man was a dummy from the waist up, Tony’s upper half being hidden in the bin! . . . John Lewis says that if Joseph Johnstone could afford the petrol (or bus fare?) to get the 12 miles from Worthing to Brighton he’d find imports aplenty, and a lot more besides! . . . Russell Burtonshaw (Retford MAYC) reports the “rock” is already established in North Notts – accounting for his high chart placing of Gary Numan and Flying Lizards, who so far are preferred to Edwin Starr! . . . Britain’s provinces will capitulate in the end, the “rock” could be a new Twist! . . . Kev Hill (Brentwood) turns 21 on October 6th, and sent me a quid with which to drink his health (hic!), sho apart from shaying thanksh, I’m now open to similar bribes in return for birthday boy announcements (and 21 seems to be a popular age, huh, Paul & Steve?) . . . Ho ho ho!


UK Newies

STERLING: ‘Roll-Her, Skater’ (Motown 12TMG 1162)
Happily rattling and tootling Brian Holland-produced “rock” 12in with usefully choppable butch “one two three four DANCE, rock, freak – skate, dance, clap your hands” bits.

DIANA ROSS: ‘No One Gets The Prize’ (Motown 12TMG 1160) (BNDA debut 6/23/79)
‘Love Hangover’-style slow starting 117-119bpm 12in, better than ‘The Boss’.

FERN KINNEY: ‘Groove Me’ (WEA 79101) (BNDA debut 8/4/79)
US smash synthetically burbling 109bpm 7in revival of King Floyd’s 1970 funker, seen by some as a new ‘Ring My Bell’.  Continue reading “September 29, 1979: Sterling, Diana Ross, Fern Kinney, Positive Force, Sugarhill Gang”

September 22, 1979: Gap Band, Love De-Luxe, Poussez, The Emotions, Three Degrees

Odds ‘N Bods

Discotek ’79 was well run but seemed to lack a focal point and excitement, a frequent comment being that it didn’t show a wide enough range of “separates” for club installation . . . London’s Embassy Club came in for even more comment following the fiasco there when a Disco Awards ceremony was short of drink, food and a decent DJ, making many industry leaders very angry indeed . . . Mayfair Gullivers’ Graham “Fatman” Canter won the industry voted London Club DJ award (Steve Walsh runner-up), Guildford Cinderella-Rockorfella’s Big Al getting the regional prize . . . Gof Abbey replaces Pete Dyos as EMI GRD’s disco plugger . . . Morgan Khan is cutting Pye’s R&B mailing list from 480 to 220 DJ’s . . . Gonzalez ‘Move It To The Music’, previously withdrawn despite 12in promos going out, will now be released! . . . Buddah’s new LP by Osibisa & Beverley Johnson “featuring The Emotions” is due in six weeks . . . Shropshire DJ Assn meets Monday (24) at 8:30pm in the Oak Hotel Shelton, Shrewsbury, the fairly funky Thursday residency of Assn chairman Dave Thomas (details Shrewsbury 62895) . . . DJ Federation PRO Mike McLean now presents the weekend 2 to 6am nightowl shows on Radio Clyde, the three programmes (divided as rock-disco-jazz on different nights) giving him such a workload that he has resigned his chairmanship of the local Strathclyde DJ Assn . . . Gordon Stone has replaced the now London-based Phil Mitchell on BBC Radio Humberside’s Tuesday 8:45 soul news slot, which only lasts 10 minutes at the moment due to lack of response from the area’s apathetic soul fans . . . Robbie Vincent’s Radio London soul show two sunny Saturdays ago came live from the enormous Brent Fair, where “mafia” hit men Chris Brown, Sean French, Fatman, Brother Louie, Steve Walsh and various tribes went on to wreak havoc at a nice innocent little DJ competition for youth club members – which George Power seemed somehow to have entered several times! . . . Froggy blew £450 on some temporary Technics just so he’ll have vari-speed decks when I join him at Southgate Royalty next Saturday (29) – now there’s a friend! . . . Mike Tarbuck (formerly Mike Law of Blackburn Golden Palms, Cavendish Gallingreaves Hotel & Liverpool Romeo & Juliets) is now at Blackpool Tiffanys, and suggests a carefully scrutinised register of bona fide DJ’s to get specially discounted new disco product on an offers system as one way round current promotion problems . . . Tea Council Young DJ winner Graham Thornton now spins funk disco at Leeds Foxes on Mon-Wed-Thur-Fridays . . . Mayfair Gullivers was home away from home for the Crusaders during their recent tour . . . Phil Black (0222-595121, 592867, 567865) hopes to leave Cardiff for a few nights’ work in London at the end of the month and invites offers – pity he doesn’t dress up as a schoolgirl! . . . Early Riser Discotheque Services (01-520 3461) have combined equipment sales literature with a useful “forward planner”-type 1980 gig calendar for covering with coloured stickers . . . Houston oil man Don Perry reports a recently visited Cairo club was playing disco music off 78 rpm records – he became inquisitive when he heard the speed of the scratches and clicks! . . . Rob Harknett (Roydon Lovers Leap mobile), returned from a working holiday in Denmark, says over there the police raid clubs that play too loud, while record prices are £1.75 for 7in, £3 plus for 12in, £7 for LP . . . US 12in imports have settled at around £3.15 here of course . . . Gary Neal (Bristol Reeves) is so fed up with Just 4U’s Martin Starr issuing meaningless challenges to other funk clubs that he is ready to issue a challenge to Martin personally even though he doesn’t know what he’s challenging for – how about a joust at dawn? Chivalry ain’t dead, lads!


UK Newies

GAP BAND: ‘Baby Baba Boogie’ (Mercury 9198316) (BNDA debut 5/12/79)
Finally on UK 12in and likely to be big, the cleverly structured thumping flier winds up from a short 125bpm intro into 130-132bpm chix and thudding rhythm breaks with some Gene Chandler-ish “get down baby baba” bits before a clapping 133bpm fade. Jazzier heavy funk 102bpm B-side ‘Shake’ jiggler was big up North.

LOVE DE-LUXE: ‘Here Comes That Sound Again’ (Atlantic K 11359T) (BNDA debut 6/30/79)
Smash US remix 12in of the tritely simple but naggingly powerful 117bpm UK girlie group thudder, a nice chop-mixer with Al Hudson, out originally on limper 12in early this year (when it only hit Norfolk!).

POUSSEZ: ‘Come On And Do It’ (Vanguard VSL 5015) (BNDA debut 4/14/79)
Super-charged 12in remix of the buoyantly tripping 122bpm girlie group strutter now has sexy panting added (the 7in starts with it) after the bongo-backed breathily excited “where’d you learn to funk like that, c’est bon” bit. Lotsa fun!  Continue reading “September 22, 1979: Gap Band, Love De-Luxe, Poussez, The Emotions, Three Degrees”

September 15, 1979: Michael Jackson, Edwin Starr, Van McCoy, Discotheque, Tamiko Jones

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)!


UK Newies

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”

September 8, 1979: Michael Jackson, Archie Bell & The Drells, Bill Summers, Disco Dick, Rose Royce

Disco News

BADEM’S Discotek 79 exhibition at London’s Bloomsbury Centre Hotel near Russell Square opens for trade visitors this coming Tuesday (11) from 1 to 8pm and Wednesday (12) from 10am to 5pm, at which time it’s then open to general visitors until 8pm, and likewise on Thursday (13) from 10am to 6pm . . . Record Mirror’s stand at the show will be out to shock you – be warned! . . . Showstopper Promotions’ round trip to the Billboard Disco Forum in Los Angeles is set for Sunday, February 10th-17th inclusive, at a cost (liable to currency fluctuation) of £350 to include air fare, top class accommodation and airport transfers, with a deposit of £100 being required now: if you have not yet done so, call 01-886 8141 for an application form . . . WEA’s Fred Dove has been able to create a new “super elite” list of sixty jocks to service while the main list’s suspended (or wasn’t I meant to tell you that?!) . . . Van McCoy ‘The Hustle’ remix 12in is due this week – much to the relief of “Ras Clot” Chapman? . . . Kleeer’s current 12in EP turns out of course to be in “kleeer” vinyl again, but what a pity it lacks ‘I Love To Dance’ . . . Jr Walker ‘Wishing On A Star’ (US Whitfield LP) surely deserves UK singles release? . . . Rus Phillips (01-590 2946) is talking another set of telephone numbers again – offering £35 in desperation for an old Fat Larry’s Band ‘Centre City’ 12in promo . . . Flying Lizards ‘Money’ was a three-times-nightly request at my mobile gigs back in July but still awaits any real attention from chart-contributing DJ’s (who seem keener on Cliff!) . . . Roy Gould (Streatham) infos that Spyro Gyra is a weed, commonly found in ponds!


UK Newies

MICHAEL JACKSON: ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ (from LP ‘Off The Wall’, Epic EPC 83468) (BNDA debut 8/18/79)
Muttered 30/59bpm intro to a jolting moody 118/59bpm bumper that’s 6:02 on LP or 3:55 on 7in (EPC 7763) and already exploding. The Quincy Jones-produced set is sizzling hot all through, too, with the jittery 129bpm ‘Working Day And Night’ and bass-snapped rolling 123bpm ‘Get On The Floor’ “rockers”, Paul McCartney-penned 103bpm ‘Girlfriend’ jogger and Stevie Wonder-penned 50bpm ‘I Can’t Help It’ meanderer, while Rod Temperton penned the attractive 114bpm ‘Rock With You’ swayer, gentle 119bpm title-track loper and Heatwave-like 117½bpm ‘Burn This Disco Out’ lurcher. Wow!

ARCHIE BELL & THE DRELLS: ‘Strategy’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 7842)
Dynamite powerfully hypnotic, almost sinister, slinky 98bpm “sleaze” jogger – huge on US 12in but only a 3:28 7in here.

BILL SUMMERS: ‘Dancing Lady’ / ‘Feel The Heat’ (Prestige PRC 103)
Terrific 12in, reviewed on import last week, is an exciting 134-132bpm leaper, while here the possibly stronger 133pm flip now segues rather unnecessarily into the slow-starting thoroughly ethnic Latin ‘El Barrio’ bonus instrumental.  Continue reading “September 8, 1979: Michael Jackson, Archie Bell & The Drells, Bill Summers, Disco Dick, Rose Royce”

September 1, 1979: David Bendeth, Miroslav Vitous, Matumbi, Eddy Grant, Bobby Rush

Brass Construction were the big discovery of the very first Billboard Disco Forum back in early ’76, so (having got to know them in the meantime) I have had an extra kick from the fact that each of my last two visits were made all the better by the guys in the group taking me to their own favourite out-of-the-way night spots. Big famous discos are all very well, but for a night out with friends you can’t beat a neighborhood club.

In February they took me to Le Cocu, on East 55th Street, which while basically a French student and au-pair type of club becomes on Thursdays an almost exclusively black rendezvous when DJ Emile Sanon spins a mixture of Latin and funkier disco. The place most reminded me of Mayfair Gullivers. It’s not a particularly large room but nevertheless the dance floor boasts a dazzling array of twirling helicopter lights, pencil beams and a mirror ball. Friendly and fun, with great music – the Latin element prompting Dexter, Costa Rican pal of the group’s Mickey Grudge, to promise me he’d send me tapes of a six hour Latin programme that’s evidently a must on radio every Sunday. I’m still waiting!

This July visit, Mickey along with Randy Muller and their respective ladies took myself, Radio One’s Tony Hale and EMI LRD’s Ray Edwards to Tribeca on North Moore Street down near the Holland Tunnel. Built on several layers, the spacious ground floor bar looks down two levels to the dance floor at the back, with two fat columns rising from the dance floor with greenery growing from the top at ground floor height. However, down on the dance floor, these columns tower upwards more like the rocket ships in ‘Moonraker’, while the intermediate floor forms a gallery – all this being on quite a small, cramped scale. None of which concerned us, for while the jock played Village People to keep the kids amused (it was a refreshingly young hetero audience), the menfolk of the party retired to the games room to be beaten (embarrassingly consistently!) by yours truly at pinball. Maybe the hours spent on the old machine in Capital Radio’s canteen weren’t wasted after all!

The Sunday of this visit, Brass Construction’s Joe Wong sacrificed six hours of driving time to ferry a crowd of us in his vast Cadillac Eldorado to and from a barbecue Mickey Grudge threw for us at his home out on the South Shore of Long Island. Not far from the perimeter of Kennedy Airport, his flat in a tower block condominium cluster is an amazing 1½ hour drive from central Mahattan, yet still in New York. The route goes under the Verrazano Bridge of Travolta film fame, while on the way we decided against calling in for a snack at Joe & Mary’s Italian-American Restaurant in nearby Brooklyn – Joe and his guest Carmine Galante had not made a good ad for the food, splashed bloodily across the front pages two days earlier. The food at Mickey’s was terrific, sweet succulent ham and exotic sausages served hero-style in French loaves, but hardly a barbecue as cooked in the kitchen and eaten on a balcony fourteen stories up, and shrouded in deep fog. Many thanks though, Mickey (and Joe), it was really great. Later I looked in at a Brass Construction recording session in producer Jeff Lane’s studio above Studio 54.


Disco News

Discotek 79, BADEM’s big equipment exhibition at London’s Bloomsbury Centre Hotel near Russell Square, is running from Tuesday 11th to Thursday 13th and switches from trade-only to public admission at 5pm on Wednesday 12th. Look out for Record Mirror’s stand at Discotek 79, it’ll give you a buzz! . . . John Lewis (Brighton Metro) reports local DJ opinion as favouring a boycott of WEA product in retaliation against the mailing list suspension – but surely WEA’s reason is that the mailing list’s DJ’s don’t create hits anyway? . . . Pye’s Dave McAleer has seen the light and renamed the Disco Dept as the R&B Division to embrace jazz-funk, sophistisoul, Latin & reggae as well – which to many minds always have been Disco here . . . CBS’s Greg Lynn is the latest disco plugger to hint at cuts to come . . . US record companies now are gearing product that they hope will break in roller-discos, of which there are evidently thousands – though we’d probably call ‘em roller-rinks (and I seem to remember enthusing three years ago about DJ Paul Nice’s NY-style mixing for the rollerskating sessions at Edmonton’s Picketts Lock Leisure Centre!) . . . Dave Towry-Coker now features the ready-mixed US Disconet subscription-only 12in medleys (and other gay NY fodder) at the Monday roller-disco in London’s Covent Garden Jubilee Hall . . . David Bendeth of ‘Feel The Real’ import fame, though now working in Canada, is really from the Essex end of East London and used to gig regularly at the Speakeasy – shock, horror, gasp! . . . Cliff Richard ‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’ is 111 bpm, if you’re interested . . . Archie Bell ‘Strategy’ is due soon, but the Jones Girls’ follow-up will be ‘You Made Me Love You’ and not the already proven ‘Life Goes On’ LP track . . . Sarsie (01-980 2517) is looking for a new East London funk venue (emphasis on FUNK) following trouble with the kids at his last one – why can’t they behave? . . . Clive Southwell, who now adds weekends from Fri-thru-Monday at Angel Islington’s Blue Coat Boy to his gigs, reports the two far and away most popular requests at the recent Teen-Ex ‘79 teenagers’ exhibition were Slick ‘Space Bass’ and Jacksons ‘Shake Your Body’ . . . Decca’s Robert Blenman, fresh from accompanying Radio Luxembourg’s Roadshow, reports that South-Western DJs find disco product hard to get in local shops and have to contend with Wally requests – so what else is new? . . . Gary Oldis (Newton Aycliffe Gretna Green) is disgusted at the power of the (local) press following a recent visit to his club by a reporter who observed healthy disco activity through the bottom of a glass and went away to write lurid headlines about lechery and sex amongst the teenage set . . . Teesvalley Roadshow’s recently mentioned smart printed leather keyrings, handed out in place of business cards, have already brought in six extra bookings . . . David Emery (Newcastle) sez my plug for his promotion organizing service brought an immediate first day result, with Central Line’s agent ringing him to arrange local gigs – so you see it really does make sense to appear on this page! . . . Dave Else (Guildford Bridge) suggests funky silliness with Brother Bones ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ – the Harlem Globetrotters’ old training song – which gets ‘em skipping all over the joint: only trouble is, ya gotta find it, as it’s on 1952 Oriole . . . Iain Borg & Trevor “Rasta” Chapman (Croydon Foxy) are briefly funking Malta at St Paul’s Bay Regals and The Villa Rossa – and their anticipation of Wally fodder being needed too is only half-confirmed by the just-returned Rus Phillips (Manor Park Ere For Music), who says it’s very “disco” but with some cool clubs there as well . . . Rus also kicks off a sorta Jox Yockettes finale: “I approached a Maltese DJ and asked ‘have you got Spyro Gyra?’ – he replied ‘why, does it show?’!” . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillen’s): “A recent disco chart in the Daily Star made me realize I’d been introducing Diana Ross’s newie wrongly – they listed it as ‘The Boff’ (which is US slang for…)” (Enough! -Ed.) . . . Neil Fincham (Dunbar Goldenstones – and Monday late-niters at Gullane Old Clubhouse): “best request of the week – punter appears on stage, ‘can I have a request?’ ‘Sure, what?’ ‘Will you stop the music suddenly for about ten seconds so I can watch everybody looking silly?’ Answer unprintable.” (Thank God! -Ed.) . . . Sterling Vann (Bethnal Green Tipples): “Wally import newsflash – ‘Saturday Night Fever’ for imminent UK release! Latest Wally hit – ‘Polly Wolly Doodle’!” . . . Tom Wilson (Edinburgh Rutland): “Did you hear about the Irishman who had an artificial leg fitted? – his Wellie rejected it!”


UK Newies

DAVID BENDETH: ‘Feel The Real’ (Sidewalk 12SID 113)
Currently the disco chart’s biggest import, this gradually building 122-125 bpm 12in jazz-funk jiggler humps along with laid-back vocals suddenly spurting into a catchy staccato hook over the Canadian-based English guitarist’s chunky rhythm drive.

MIROSLAV VITOUS: ‘New York City’ (Warner Bros. K 17448T)
Much sought jazz-funk collectors’ item from ‘76 finally on 12in, the freaky 133 bpm bass burbler will have specialist appeal only but should go like hot cakes! Pity my copy’s warped.

MATUMBI: ‘Point Of View’ (MR 12RIC 101)
Madly catchy 120-124/62 bpm jaunty reggae 12in with an almost Dr Buzzard-like fascinating harmony echo effect and strange brass, likely to be huge.  Continue reading “September 1, 1979: David Bendeth, Miroslav Vitous, Matumbi, Eddy Grant, Bobby Rush”