November 24, 1979: Robin Beck, Rose Royce, Sylvester, Slave, Native Son

Caister came to Whitehaven in Cumbria when Chris Hill showed the great crowd at the Whitehouse how to Philli on Sunday. The fancy dressers, including a large percentage of extremely pretty girls, were initiated into the “let me tell you a story” part of Chris’s act, where they all sat on the floor to hear about some Scouts and guides camping, only to keep leaping up again to be afraid of the big bad wolf or go around the mulberry bush. Of course, they loved it but the first time Chris visited the club they were undoubtedly not ready for such a radical departure from what is supposedly expected of a top funk jock. Brand new funk they got aplenty too, plus a rare ‘Brother Jack McDuff’ track for the jazz freaks, but the atmosphere really came alive with Doctor Hill’s fun through funk therapy session.

Although about as far as anywhere you can get in England, the Whitehouse attracts kids from Carlisle, Kendal, Keswick as well as the locals, many of whom were into jazz funk before as the owners were involved in other venues prior to transforming this stale cabaret club into a disco that amazingly is well equipped as any in New York – except the turntables lack slipmats, making my preliminary short mixing set a trick! Although attracting queues right down the road at the weekend, the music played on normal disco nights actually varies little from the specialist jazz/funk on Thursdays and Sundays.

Odds ‘N Bods

Diana Ross ‘It’s My House’ WILL be on 12in, with remixed ‘The Boss’ & ‘No One Gets The Prize’ as segued flip, according to Motown’s Les Spaine (responsible for the bum steer last time!) . . . Dan-I is now evidently on 12in as (on US Columbia) is Janis Ian’s great ‘Fly Too High’ which nobody apart from radio seems to be playing . . . Booker T’s original ‘Green Onions’ is due on Atlantic 7in . . . Donna Summer’s special segued 12in sampler is delayed until the New Year (OK, Arbie?) . . . Sugarhill Gang’s Henry Jackson is nicknamed “Big Hank”, and NOT “Big Tank” (though it could have been worse!) . . . Kenny Everett on his Saturday Capital Radio show demonstrated a new machine that speeds or slows recorded sound without the original pitch altering – what a gas for vari-speed spinners! . . . Greg Davies (Stevenage Bo Jangles/Watford New Penny) got the year’s first Christmas card to me, and is planning a big (but only £2 a head) DJ forum for mid February . . . Ashley Woods (Sleaford 303531), busy enough locally, wants hipper gigs in the East Midlands where his import-orientated sounds might be more fully appreciated . . . Dave Rawlings (Basingstoke Maxwells) swapped jobs for one night to try working behind the bar, and his advice for others is not to try likewise! . . . Chris Browne (High Wycombe Tuesdays) is back in partnership with Stuart Genslan of Coard Promotions (01-586 0204) organising drink and record company promotions, with reasonable rates and package deals . . . Larry Foster has returned to Ilford Room At The Top on Thursdays as well as Fridays . . . Brighton Papillon starts another funk night on Wednesday imminently, with Laurie Page & Paul Clark jocking . . . Ken Mitchell (Cardiff Club Ty-Mawr) recommends the reasonable prices and good sounds supplied by Julian at Buffalo Records in Cardiff – how about a sales chart then? . . . Steve Walsh (London Lyceum/etc) obviously doesn’t want any more mentions – he sent me that bloody “Brill Building” chain letter from which I see Rod Stewart’s name has finally been deleted although Eric Clapton, Herb Alpert etc are still listed . . . Diana Ross’s ‘Love Hangover’ seems to be reviving on 12in, but ¡s it new? Any details, Les? . . . Scottish jocks, calm down – Stargard is bigger in Edinburgh than anywhere else! . . . Pop ten titles outside the UK Disco 90: 1 (2) Village People, 2 (82 on the main chart) Dusty Springfield, 3 (10) Specials, 4 (3) Buggles, 5 (6) Dooleys, 6 (8) Sparks, 7 (9) Umberto Tozzi, 8 (7) Police, 9 (-) Madness, 10 (-) Quick ‘Sharks Are Cool’ (Epic 12in).

UK Newies

ROBIN BECK: ‘Sweet Talk’ (Mercury BECK 12) (BNDA debut 9/29/79)
Winsomely sung pleasant Chic-type 116(intro)-115bpm 12in jogger rolls and thuds precisely along.

ROSE ROYCE: ‘Is It Love You’re After’ (Whitfield K 17456T)
Full length 12in version has a much longer moodily pulsating and stabbing 118bpm intro before flowing through 121-122-123-118-122-123bpm.

SYLVESTER: ‘Can’t Stop Dancing’ (Fantasy 12FTC 183) (BNDA debut 11/17/79)
Strongly structured and powerfully galloping 132-130-132bpm 12in finally finds the fat boy back on form but may now be too frantic for today’s tastes.  Continue reading “November 24, 1979: Robin Beck, Rose Royce, Sylvester, Slave, Native Son”

November 17, 1979: Sugarhill Gang, Stix Hooper, Shalamar, Phyllis Hyman, Chuck Cissel

Odds ‘N Bods

Lake District look out – Chris Hill plus a carload including myself will be at Whitehaven’s Whitehouse in Strand Street this Sunday for a “Cartoon Characters & Monsters” fancydress funkathon! . . . Rose Royce is due on 12in after all, Fern Kinney is now on UK-issued German import 12in (K 79101T), Ritchie Family 12in is out next week, Stargard will only be on 7in . . . Village People ‘Sleazy’ is deleted as of this weekend to be replaced by ‘Ready For The 80s’ . . . Nature’s Divine ‘Nature Divine’ / ‘I Just Can’t Control Myself’ is due on 12in . . . Positive Force has been delayed until early December . . . Brick and the Bang label evidently are no longer Phonogram’s . . . Sunday’s Disco Forum at the Victoria Venue in London saw all the usual faces plus some new ones but fewer in total than last year, and while some of the panel discussions spluttered into controversial life the main value as usual was in being able to meet people – for instance, London’s Steve Walsh discovered he was born a few doors down from Paul Anthony’s RGS Records shop in Lichfield Street, Walsall, while I established that Gloucester’s Honey Bee Benson looks even better than her photos! . . . Fatman Graham Canter fills the 3 to 4:30 mid-afternoon MoR slot on BBC Radio London this week . . . Chris Browne (High Wycombe Tuesdays) says that Wednesdays & Saturdays have finally become funky with big crowds, Thursdays being decidedly Wally night, and that despite misleading advertising he has no dates at Maidenhead Alexandras (nor does Chris Browne) . . . Teesvalley Roadshow of 7 Crossbeck Way, Ormesby, Middlesbrough, Cleveland (Redcar 475854) would like info about good hotels to stay at while touring Germany next Whitsun . . . Manor Park’s ‘Ere For Music at 826 Romford Road, London E12 5AD, have some nifty “Jazz-Funk” T-shirts for sale, cream/brown or sky/navy, at £3 by post (state size, colour and inside leg measurement) . . . £275 could buy you a D-registration Mini Traveller, ideal for compact mobile gear, which runs beautifully but needs body repairs and new locks – I can recommend it as I’m currently driving it while my Transit’s at Mini owner Sparrow’s garage (01-589 6800) . . . Pop Ten (titles outside UK Disco 90): 1 (1) Dr. Hook, 2 (3) Village People, 3 (2) Buggles, 4 (7) Selecter, 5 (8) Freda Payne ‘Band Of Gold’, 6 (4) Dooleys, 7 (6) Police, 8 (-) Sparks, 9 (-) Umberto Tozzi ‘Gloria’ (CBS 12”), 10 (-) Specials . . . Chart contributors, please do your utmost to get ‘em here by Wednesday each week – some South Coast, North Wales, North West, Northern Scottish and even London jocks are consistently late (though they’re gratefully received of course!).

UK Newies

SUGARHILL GANG: ‘Rapper’s Delight’ (Sugarhill SHL 101) (BNDA debut 10/13/79)
Try riding the rhythm of a 15 minute 112bpm 12in instrumental version of ‘Good Times’ by rapping “I said a hip-hop, the hibbit, the hippidibby hip hip hoppa you don’t stop the rock and do the bad man boogie say up jumped the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie da beat”.

STIX HOOPER: ‘Cordon Bleu’ (MCA MCAT 536)
Madly jaunty accordion jitterer by the Crusaders’ drummer still accelerates through 109-111-113-114-115bpm on “remixed” 12in.

SHALAMAR: ‘The Second Time Around’ (Solar FC 1709) (BNDA debut 3/22/80)
Shuffling “rock” chugger with syndrums and real grow-on-you appeal is sadly only 115bpm on UK 12in, as the US version synchs perfectly between Al Hudson ‘You Can Do It’ and Deborah Washington ‘Rock It’.  Continue reading “November 17, 1979: Sugarhill Gang, Stix Hooper, Shalamar, Phyllis Hyman, Chuck Cissel”

November 10, 1979: Lowrell, Rose Royce, Ramsey Lewis, Spoonin’ Gee, George Duke

Caister Concluded [Again?]

At the recent Caister weekender, Sean French & Chris Brown’s Children’s Party featured such funk hits as ‘Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush’, ‘Robin Hood’, ‘Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?’ and a Sooty show to amuse the kiddywinks. Chris Hill’s opening night fairy story, with everyone sitting on the floor doing sillies linked in with the narrative, was about the triumph of music over evil oppression, while the ‘Shout’ call-and-response chant was accompanied by an arms up-stretched, wrist-twisting cupped hands salute (like unscrewing an imaginary lightbulb). But what has all this got to do with soul music, some sour-faced stick in the muds are asking? Not a lot, but does it matter? The music was there too, as a rallying point and reason for everyone to identify with each other. The current material being played has already worked its way up the disco chart now, but other oldies apart from Brass Construction that were heavily featured included Grover Washington ‘Sausalito’, Roy Ayers ‘Running Away’, Crown Heights Affair ‘Far Out’, Charles Earland ‘Let The Music Play’, Deodato ‘Whistle Bump’, El Coco ‘Let’s Get It Together’, Joe Sample ‘There Are Many Stops’, Miroslav Vitous ‘New York City’ and of course the O’Jays ‘I Love Music’. Of the newies, Positive Force proved to be too late an arrival on import in sufficient numbers, but has more than made up for it since! Anyway, by Caister’s end everyone was singing over Al Hudson the revised lyrics “you know you have done it”, and once again the tribes were able to feel as if they’d achieved something significant, the final Finale on Sunday evening with Billy Paul’s ‘Bring The Family Back’ and huge ‘Auld Lang Syne’ circles.

Odds ‘N Bods

Sugarhill Gang and Positive Force have been snapped up for rush release by Pye . . . Storm ‘It’s My House’ is now on Scope 12in too (SC 10T), and it seems Viola Wills is also on 12in (where’s mine?) . . . Robin Beck ‘Sweet Talk’ 12in and Wayne Henderson ‘Dancing Love Affair’ 7in are due this week . . . Kool’s ‘Too Hot’ has been pulled off the B-side for use as a follow-up, while Phonogram’s John Waller intimates that jocks unable to break ‘Ladies’ Night’ (and there are some!) have been chopped from his mailing list . . . Patrick Juvet ‘Swiss Kiss’ is hitting almost exclusively just Scotland and the South Coast . . . Hudson People ‘Boogie On Downtown’ heavily features Light Of The World . . . Cory Daye (pictured last week) was indeed the leading lady in Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, but has yet to pick up DJ interest here for her current US disco smash . . . Island, with the imminent redundancy of plugger Eon, seem to be reducing their disco output . . . Allen & Blewitt, disco-cabaret duo from Hinckley Bubbles, were planning to blow up Broadcasting House on Guy Fawkes Day as a sponsored stunt in aid of the Variety Club of Great Britain – anyone hear the bang? . . . Capital Radio’s Mike Allen actually warmed up for me at Erith 2001, while at the Daily Star’s 1st birthday party last week I proved that the (jolly nice) people who like Streisand/Summer and similar fast tempos are indeed those who can’t dance – in other words, the majority of the population! . . . Streisand/Summer’s tempo-less intro actually mixes nicely through Herb Alpert and Kat Mandu . . . DJF (GB) Secretary Tony Holden and Press/PRO Mike McLean have both resigned due to other commitments, acting officers elected in their place being LODJ’s Bill Forrester and Clyde Coast DJA’s James “Fish” Heron . . . North Midlands DJ Assn’s next monthly meetings will be at Kirk Sandall Glassmakers Hotel (Doncaster), details from Chris Watts or Derek Dane on Sheffield 686414 or 874280 . . . Ilford Room At The Top jubilantly won their court case, there now being no police objection to their new licence . . . Greg Davies is looking for the “worst singer in the world” at Watford New Penny every Wednesday until Xmas! . . . Steve Dee (High Wycombe) says local band Match agreed with my constructively critical review of their current ‘Mister Dee Jay’ . . . Scott Wilson (Edinburgh) is delighted his local Asylum record shop at last is getting US 12in imports . . . Gary Allen (Liverpool McMillans) sent me the necessary quid with which to celebrate his 21st, so cheers (hic)! . . . Phil Black (Cardiff) sez thanx to Sammy Southall, Gin (a bird) and Oxo for giving him a good time in Jersey . . . Elton John must wonder what happened – his ‘Victim Of Love’ didn’t even hit Scotland! . . . Pop Ten this week (titles outside UK Disco 90) are: 1(4) Dr Hook, 2(1) Buggles, 3 (-) Village People ‘Sleazy’, 4 (6) Dooleys, 5 (2) Blondie, 6 (9) Police, 7 (-) Selecter, 8 (-) Freda Payne ‘Band Of Gold’, 9 (-) Madness ‘The Prince’, 10 (-) Suzi Quatro.

UK Newies

LOWRELL: ‘Mellow Mellow Right On’ (AVI AVISL 108)
Dynamite hit-bound import smash gently thudding 88bpm 12in swayer like a huskier Marvin Gaye singing ‘Float On’, with for some reason a fractionally faster 91bpm version as flip.

ROSE ROYCE: ‘Is It Love You’re After’ (Whitfield K 17456)
Dramatic synthesizer, brass and syndrums intro to a happily romping 119-121bpm 7in with wide appeal.

RAMSEY LEWIS: ‘Spring High’ (CBS 12-8007)
Immensely catchy synthesiser (by Stevie Wonder) and piano 115bpm jazz-funk skipper leads off a 4-track £1.59 12in oldies EP, also including the 41/82bpm ‘That’s The Way Of The World’ slowie, excitingly complex 110-107bpm ‘Tequila Mockingbird’ rhythm chatterer and tootling, tinkling and buzzing 121-122bpm ‘All The Way Live’ loper – all his recent classics!  Continue reading “November 10, 1979: Lowrell, Rose Royce, Ramsey Lewis, Spoonin’ Gee, George Duke”

November 3, 1979: Jupiter Beyond, Shalamar, Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer, Prince, Sonny Rollins

Caister Concluded

Last week’s piece continued . . . The party atmosphere was everywhere, especially at the children’s party hosted by Sean (Rasta jacket) French and Chris (“anyone got a fag?”) Brown. Chris Hill on the opening night had set the tone with his Max Bygraves “let me tell you a story” routine, where everyone sits on the floor between doing sillies listening to a particularly moving fairy story. Then there were the anthems, ‘There’ll Always Be A Caister’ and a ‘Dad’s Army’ – like “Who do you think you’re kidding, John Travolta, if you think soul music’s dead?” – plus the now obligatory ‘Shout’ chant. After it was all over, a show of hands produced a Caister playlist, topped by Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’, Kool’s ‘Ladies’ Night’ and Brass Construction’s ‘Movin’’.

By Caister’s end everyone felt as if they’d achieved something significant. Till next time, “rock” on! PS: Southgate Royalty this Friday (2) have a Weekender Awards fancydress party when prize-winners from both Caister and Cornwall will get their goodies, while next Saturday (10) Sidmouth Winter Garden stars Chris Brown & Sean French for the first Perranporth Reunion fancydress party!

Odds ‘N Bods

MCA Records have acquired Atmosfear ‘Dancing In Outer Space’ for imminent 12in reissue (MCAT 543), to be followed by Stix Hooper ‘Cordon Bleu’ (MCAT 536) . . . Shalamar ‘The Second Time Around’ 12in has risen in my estimation since discovering it synchs perfectly with Al Hudson! . . . Robert Zohn last week was misprinted as Robert John in Imports . . . Chris Hill made a cameo appearance in Sunday’s ‘It’ll Be Alright On The Night’ TV show, followed on Monday by his ‘Roadshow Disco’ spot . . . Southampton University’s Friday night Bootsies soul disco now pulls more than the Saturday rock night and is claimed to shatter the stereotyped image of university students only liking one thing . . . Dave Middleton, ex-Peaches, has teamed up with the Bletchley Soul Club to run import-orientated funk nights, the first at Bletchley Sycamore Club on Nov 19 . . . Paul Anthony’s RGS Records at 37 Lichfield Street, Walsall, seems to be attracting all the jocks who are anyone within the Brum area . . . Pop 10 this week (titles outside the UK Disco 90) features: 1(1) Buggles, 2 (2) Blondie, 3 (-) ABBA, 4 (10) Dr Hook, 5 (-) Dusty Springfield, 6 (-) Dooleys, 7 (-) Barbra Streisand ‘Main Event’, 8 (-) Sparks, 9 (7) Police, 10 (3) Specials ‘Gangsters’ . . . Chart contributors: please include slowies too if they’re popular.

UK Newies

JUPITER BEYOND: ‘The River Drive’ (Pye 12P 5012)
Terrifically exciting rattling 126bpm rhythm intro gives way to more smoothly zapping 125bpm melodic chix ‘n strings before the import smash 12in builds back through synthesizer to a rattling 126bpm finale.

SHALAMAR: ‘Right In The Socket’ (from LP ‘Big Fun’, Solar FL 13479) (BNDA debut 3/22/80)
Monster happily rattling and skittering 123bpm “rock” sizzler goes beautifully out of so many other disco hits of the moment (and chops perfectly into Stargard!), while ‘The Right Time For Us’ is a more smoothly “rocking” 125bpm, ‘The Second Time Around’ is the un-remixed 113bpm original version of the now very different 12in, ‘I Owe You One’ is an attractive 112bpm jogger, and ‘Girl’ is almost ‘Shame’-like at 131-130bpm.

BARBRA STREISAND & DONNA SUMMER: ‘No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)’ (CBS 13-8000) (BNDA debut 10/27/79)
Barbra’s snail-paced intro seems short now in comparison with the full 11:44 of this the 12in version, which Donna paces at a frantic pop-orientated 136bpm.  Continue reading “November 3, 1979: Jupiter Beyond, Shalamar, Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer, Prince, Sonny Rollins”