December 29, 1979: The Hammy Awards for 1979

The Seventies are over and now many interested parties are eagerly trying to make out that the era of disco is dead and that “dance music” – which seems to boil down to 2-Tone’s product – is the sound of now. This may well be so for a large portion of the population, but historical perspective can put these assertions in their place. Would you call the Rolling Stones a disco group? You most certainly would not, yet the Stones are almost undoubtedly the most danced to group of recent years . . . at parties, pubs and other environments that are not necessarily disco clubs.

Club music, whether the public likes it or not, has ever since the early 60s been orientated towards black soul music. There seems little reason to suppose that this will change just because there’s a new form of energetic pop music on the charts. The fact that this new music draws some of its inspiration from past disco formats of the 60s does not make it compatible with the rhythms and conventions of modern disco. Mobile DJ’s, pubs and some specialist venues will or do already feature it with obvious relief, but just as there have always been a vast majority of DJ’s who have to play a wide variety of music to keep their general public happy, there will continue to be a minority of jocks working in a club environment where disco is distilled to its purest soulful form.

Why is soul equated with disco? The pattern has been set since the Twist gave way to the early Motown, Stax and James Brown of the original Mod era discotheques, and the name of the place became synonymous over the years to the type of music danced to within it. Maybe the term “disco” should be dropped altogether, so that we can revert to calling soul by its own name, and not confuse it with other species of dance music. This could make sense – except soul is so often not soulful, and in itself now a misnomer!


Once again the spotlight hits the podium, Tony Holden’s video camera begins to turn and a stream of substitutes step up to accept other people’s awards . . . yes folks, it’s the Hammy Awards for 1979!

LABEL OF THE YEAR: MCA, for discovering after the year was already half over that good disco music and even jazz if issued on 12in can and indeed does sell.

RECORD COMPANY OF THE YEAR: CBS, including Philadelphia International, Epic, TK, Tappan Zee, Blue Sky who put out so much product that the good stuff HAD to hit (and would have done so anyway).

RUNNERS UP: Pye, for starting well with 20th Century and Vanguard and then returning with Sugarhill and AVI (not forgetting Pye itself), RCA, for having the courage to stick with their 12in policy and release a lot of product when much of it (on RCA, Solar, 20th Century, Prestige, Milestone) did not cross over to big sales despite disco success.

ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY: CBS, for putting on 12in only what they think needs the sales impetus, WEA, for getting burned by their mass 12in LV release and subsequently deciding that all we want is Chic anyway (if you can find a dealer who bought enough albums to qualify for a 12in quota).

IMPORT OF THE YEAR: Lonnie Liston Smith ‘Space Princess’ (US Columbia 12”).

12IN OF THE YEAR: Crusaders ‘Street Life’ (MCA).

ONE THAT GOT AWAY: Edwin Starr ‘It’s Called The Rock’ (20th Century 12”).

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO: The Village People (who qualify for a gold record of their rendition of the New York telephone directory).

LP CUT OF THE YEAR: ‘Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush’ (Kiddicraft LP ‘Children’s Party Songs & Games’).

7IN OF THE YEAR: Er . . . who plays anything on 7in anyway (unless it’s on CBS)?

MARKETING PLOY OF THE YEAR: Fantasy getting Slick ‘Space Bass’ onto UK 12in before it was available in any other commercial form anywhere.

RUNNER UP: Mercury ditto with Kurtis Blow ‘Christmas Rappin’’ and insisting against De-Lite’s wishes that Kool & The Gang ‘Ladies’ Night’ should be on 12in here in order to sell.

DISCO PROMOTION PERSON OF THE YEAR: Ray Edwards, better known as Raymondo, who while working for EMI-LRD did more to promote disco in general (regardless of record label) amongst radio station personnel than anyone else.

RUNNERS UP: All my mates who I know and who know me, but excluding the so-called disco promotion people whose only contact has ever been a piece of typewritten paper enclosed with their product.

TREND OF THE YEAR: The “rock” dancestep rhythm.

EVENTS OF THE YEAR: Showstopper Promotions’s soul weekenders.

THERE’LL ALWAYS BE AN ENGLAND: Chris Hill.

SCOTLAND LOVES TO LOVE YOU BABY: Donna Summer.

TELL IT LIKE IT IS: Greg Lynn (CBS), for a classic quote.

IT PAYS TO INCREASE YOUR WORD POWER: Morgan Khan (Pye) and Fred Dove (WEA), for knowing what they want to say but not always how to say it.

SERVICES TO THE POST OFFICE OVER AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY: Glenn J. Simpson.

GOLDEN HANDSHAKE: Garrell Redfearn (MIF – which stands for Make It Funky, incidentally – and Disco magazine), for keeping the faith despite everything yet sadly saying a tentative goodbye.

A LARGE BRANDY AND COKE: Fatman Graham Canter (Mayfair Gullivers).

JOCK OF THE YEAR: Froggy, for being violently and unreasonably opposed to US-style mixing until his first visit to New York in February, since which he has done such an about turn that he is now virtually its biggest exponent (a little travel can broaden your mind!).

THAT’S ALL VERY WELL BUT: Dr Hook ‘When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman’ (Capitol), Bellamy Brothers ‘If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body’ (Warner Bros.), Cliff Richard ‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’ (EMI), Roxy Music ‘Dance Away’ (Polydor) . . . which by being universally applicable to general audiences were, certainly for me, the MoR crossover hits of 1979.

Well, that lot should give some people something to think about. See you next year!  Continue reading “December 29, 1979: The Hammy Awards for 1979”

December 22, 1979: Azymuth, Prince, Fat Larry’s Band, Edgar Winter, Gap Band

Odds ‘N Bods

Cool Yule y’all, and many thanks for all your pretty cards . . . Players Association’s new ‘We Got The Groove’ LP has been circulating to some lucky jocks on white label promo a month ahead of US release, the title track being a 130bpm blazer that vari-mixes nicely out of Isley Bros, while the 126bpm ‘Dance’ and 117bpm ‘We’re Almost There’ are OK too . . . David Bowie ‘John I’m Only Dancing (Again) (1975)’ (RCA 12in) is 120-126bpm . . . Millie Jackson’s ‘Live & Uncensored’ US LP is causing a stir with lovers of dirty language, one chanted bit actually being called ‘Phuck U Symphony’! . . . France Joli’s chart position is being defended as accurate by several contributing jocks, well aware of the justified suspicion of hype – however, it’s being promoted by three different companies and not just the one naughty plugger . . . Froggy didn’t turn up in Erith last week after all the nice things I’d said about his mixing, he’d forgotten a prior booking . . . Tom Myles of the Wirral’s mobile City Discos (051-677 7500) would like to know about any local DJ association, or from other jocks interested in forming one . . . Hemel Hempstead sees a new Wednesday jazz-funk club opening at Hustler’s in the Heath Park Hotel, Cotterells Road, on Wednesday 2nd January 1980, with Chris Brown, Sean French & Brother Louie joining resident Mike Allin . . . Sammy De Havilland, back from globetrotting for Bacchus, has landed at luxurious new Liberty’s in Dudley Road, Halesowen . . . Phil Black spins funk-soul imports at Pontypridd’s Georgian Club in Taft Street on Thurs/Fri/Saturdays now . . . Tommy Gunn, recovered from a leg injury – caused year’s layoff, is at Tipton Galaxy on Mondays and Stourbridge Hagley Road YWCA on Fridays . . . Paul Anthony’s RGS Records shop in Walsall serves up free wine all day on Xmas Eve . . . Graeme Bilton leaves the Thames riverboats on January 28th to move into the Royston/Cambridge area and wonders if there’s any vacancy for a funk lover who’s versatile (call 01-686 2303) . . . Andy Davison meanwhile has been developing that area’s funk scene with his Cambridgeshire Jazz-Funk & Soul Club, whose monthly meetings at Sawston Catholic go fortnightly next month . . . Ian “Appalling” Moore, the Revolta dancer, resurfaced at Erith 2001 last week and threatens to be back this Thursday – his agent for bookings is Ms Carol Smith on Gravesend 66914 . . . Havering DJ Assn announce their continued rapid growth and good reputation, inviting enquiries via PRO Mark Francis on Brentwood 215385 . . . Steve Wiggins (Barry Rugby Club) amuses his crowd by getting three would-be Wonder Mikes to try their rapping to Kurtis Blow’s B-side instrumental, blasting ‘em with a raspberry-blowing horn if they’re rotten, while three people miming to ‘The Laughing Policeman’ can also be a hoot . . . Andy & Geoff of the Utopia mobile, doing lots of gigs for the Ipswich area Scouts and Venture/Ranger Units, find this page very helpful – especially the BPM’s . . . Alan Donald (Rothesay) hears Margaret Trudeau phoned Pierre from Studio 54 to say that Teddy Kennedy was making a pass at her – “That’s OK,” came the reply. “Just make sure he drives you home!” . . . POP FIFTEEN (it being Xmas an’ all): 1 Pink Floyd, 2 Police, 3 Queen, 4 Tourists, 5 KC, 6 ELO. 7 The Beat, 8 M, 9 Jam, 10 Barry Biggs, 11 Dooleys, 12 Moody Blues, 13 Matchbox, 14 Billy Preston & Syreeta, 15 Blondie . . . HAPPY NEW YEAR!


UK Newies

AZYMUTH: ‘Jazz Carnival’ (Milestone MRC 101)
Amazingly huge considering its frantically fast and seemingly specialist appeal, this excitingly synthesized 135-134-135-140-136-0bpm Brazilian instrumental jazz-funk flier is now on UK-only 12in, fractionally faster than the much-imported LP version. Without necessarily crossing-over to pop tastes it’ll probably be a big seller.

PRINCE: ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ / ‘Just As Long As We’re Together’ (Warner Bros. K 17537T) (BNDA debut 11/10/79)
Reviewed on 7in last week, the 12in version clocks in at 119-117bpm, the whole second half being a great electronically booming, buzzing, burbling and bumping instrumental, while the older full-length flip is a jerkily lurching 124bpm falsetto chugger with a rattling and bubbling instrumental last part that I always used on its own as a mixer.

FAT LARRY’S BAND: ‘Center City’ (from LP ‘Bright City Lights – The Best Of Fat Larry’s Band Plus’, Fantasy FT 584)
With a short 114bpm intro to the Band added, this is the notoriously hard to find full 125-124-123bpm promo US 12in version of the now surprisingly slow-seeming funk smash from Larry’s WMOT days in ‘76. Although ‘Lookin’ For Love Tonight’ and ‘Boogie Town’ are included, it’ll be the big attraction.  Continue reading “December 22, 1979: Azymuth, Prince, Fat Larry’s Band, Edgar Winter, Gap Band”

December 15, 1979: Prince, Chic, Risco Connection & Joe Isaacs, Diana Ross, Dandy Livingstone

Odds ‘N Bods

MCA’s promo EP featuring the Crusaders’ solo stars is now ¡n circulation to just 1000 lucky jocks – conceived and segued by Sally “Minimix” Ormsby, it features Wilton Felder ‘Let’s Dance Together’ into Joe Sample ‘There Are Many Stops Along The Way’ and Stix Hooper ‘Cordon Bleu’ into Joe Sample ‘Carmel’ (the first pair being brill!) . . . Sheila B. Devotion’s 12in turns out to be 133-134-135bpm and mixes (minus intro) perfectly out of Isley Bros. while the instrumental break is long enough to take the Streisand/Summer slow intro through it . . . Peaches & Herb ‘I Pledge My Love’ / ‘Roller Skatin’ Mate’ is now on 12in (Polydor POSPX 86) . . . Pye have picked up Tony Rallo, not normally licensed to them for UK . . . Orville Sweeney, ex-RCA/ABC disco plugger, now heads DPC – Dancemusic Production Company (the chickens, why not call it Disco still?) – for Record Sales of 72 Newman Street, London W1 P3LA, and is working on Symarip ‘Skinhead Moonstomp’ . . . Hammersmith Palais this Sunday (16) hosts the Polydor/RSO sponsored National Association of Youth Clubs’ Steppin’ Out With Polydor Disco Dance Championship, the young teams having to dance to – surprise, surprise – Polydor product . . . Sunday (16) also sees Thames Valley DJ Assn members staging a DJ panto at their meeting in Chippenham Alexandras (nee Blues), starting around lunchtime . . . Chris Browne (with an “e”) has, together with Chris Brown (no “e”), become so fed up with smart alec promoters billing events as starring their namesake (real or otherwise) that he’s now changed his stage name to Chris Britton – but appears to be doing Purley! . . . Kris Hill, Robin Vincent, Shaun French, Thom Holland, Geoff Young, where are you? A fortune (all of two and sixpence) could be yours! . . . Froggy’s mixing really is mind-blowing these days so do try and catch him somewhere; this Thursday (13) at Erith he and I are going to end up with an alternating “follow that then” mixing battle! . . . I did Pirbright Guards Depot’s Captains & Subalterns dance last week, which had a fancydress Pimps & Tarts theme (wot, no Arabs!), and amongst the rock ‘n pop I introduced Lowrell with “if you go to a club full of real pimps and tarts, this is what you’ll find them dancing to” – to which a voice behind me remarked “that’s very true”! . . . 12in imports are in noticeably short supply these days following the US death of disco . . . 8 only out of the US Disco Top 30 are crossover pop hits, while here last week the ratio was 21 out of 30 . . . Craig Dawson (Edinburgh) infos that his 12in of Diana Ross’s ‘Love Hangover’ is a Dutch Motown import . . . Pop Ten (hit titles outside the Disco 90): 1. Police, 2. Queen, 3. Dooleys, 4. Tourists, 5. Jam, 6. KC, 7. Amii Stewart, 8. Matchbox, 9. Lori & Chameleons, 10. Pink Floyd.


UK Newies

PRINCE: ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ (Warner Bros. K 175371) (BNDA debut 11/10/79)
Michael Jackson/Emotions-like squeaky jolter, 119-116bpm on 7in but due on full length 12in with his exciting old ‘Just As Long As We’re Together’ as flip (full review when received).

CHIC: ‘Les Plus Grands Succes De Chic / Chic’s Greatest Hits’ LP (Atlantic K 50686)
Useful collection but subtly altered BPM ratings, this (long version) ‘Good Times’ being 111bpm (compared with the ‘Risque’ LP/US 12in at 113bpm and UK 12in at 118bpm) while the (short) ‘Dance Dance Dance’ at 125(intro)-124bpm and (long) ‘Everybody Dance’ at 129-128-129-131-132-130bpm are both 1bpm faster. The latter at least now gets within range of Isley Bros. ‘Disco Night’ for mixers, and ‘Good Times’ is enough for Sugarhill Gang. The other hits are ‘Le Freak’ (121bpm), ‘I Want Your Love’ (115bpm), ‘My Forbidden Lover’ (105bpm) and ‘My Feet Keep Dancing’ (109bpm) – this last again being a noticeable amount slower.

RISCO CONNECTION & JOE ISAACS: ‘Good Times’ (Sound City SCD 003)
Great pitter-pattering new 116(intro)-114-115-114bpm 12in version starts off by echoing their ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ melodically and then does a modified Charanga 79 while all the time ringing interesting changes on the still perfectly recognisable Chic smash.  Continue reading “December 15, 1979: Prince, Chic, Risco Connection & Joe Isaacs, Diana Ross, Dandy Livingstone”

December 8, 1979: George Duke, Billy Ocean, Lakeside, War, Herbie Hancock

Ginger & Eddie were sadly missing in Oldham on Sunday when the Funk Mafia family descended on Romeo & Juliet’s for an alldayer, so my social notes will have to be incomplete.

However, despite a less well attended rival event in Liverpool, this experimental showcase for star Southern DJs Chris Hill, Sean French, Chris Brown, Tom Holland, Jeff Young and Froggy managed to attract a good crowd of rather serious funk fans who have yet to learn how to silly like the Southerners do.

Few (apart from the jocks) were in the intended Cowboys & Indians fancy dress, and – despite a piggyback “horse” race the only real silly was a traditional finale of ‘Mulberry Bush’, ‘Shout’ and ‘Bring The Family Back’ culminating in a massive hand-holding human chain forming a complete link as it raced around the entire club.

Oddly enough there was nobody actually from Oldham, the locals being from Manchester, with coaches coming from Liverpool and Doncaster, while the Champers and Frenchies tribes from West London and Camberley had also come up in coaches.

Froggy’s flawless mixing proved that he’s now as good as any top New York jock, and in fact I was surprised at the amount of mixing all the others were doing too. Reaction from the Northerners seemed to be a surprise at the DJ’s playing what the dancers wanted to hear instead of obscurities just to please themselves, and awe at the solid sound from Froggy’s roadshow equipment.

It was certainly a jazz-orientated day, with many of the hot sounds being oldies that were new to the Northerners, whose nostalgia for jazz-funk is necessarily limited by the recent emergence of the music locally. It seems that when Northern Soul switched from oldies to the then current fast New York material and Esther Phillips/George Benson jazz hits of the mid-70’s, the DJ’s missed out on the funkier hits that were big in the South.

Consequently while the music was a nostalgia trip for us it was a voyage of discovery for those new to it. Finally though the Southerners had the biggest shock of the day when, going against all the stories of how ahead the Northern jazz-funk scene is meant to be, the biggest floor-filler turned out to be Atmosfear!


Odds ‘N Bods

This Thursday (6) Froggy the Master Blender & Megamix the Mighty Chopper (that’s me!) start a major new mixing night at Erith 2001, which’ll be as funky as they’ll let us be . . . UK Disco chart this week sees an exceptionally strong Top 20, in which even most of the titles now slipping have in fact increased support . . . Music Week’s trade-aimed disco chart has been showing several alarming discrepancies from our own recently, thanks to the activity of a certain independent disco plugger whose promotion methods have cast doubt on several possibly legitimate chart titles – however, words have been had and hopefully the situation is now normal . . . Wilson Pickett ‘Groove City’ (EMI America 12EA 104) and Janis Ian ‘Fly Too High’ (CBS 12-7935) are now on 12in, the latter up a notch at 128bpm . . . Azymuth ‘Jazz Carnival’ and Prince ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ are due imminently on 12in, followed by Sonny Rollins ‘Harlem Boys’, Kinsman Dazz ‘Keep On Rockin’’, while Prince’s even more commercial ‘Sexy Dancer’ LP track is being kept back in case of a later US 12m remix . . . Ilford’s Room At The Top has made its £3 membership a once and for always life-time payment . . . Walsall’s well-fitted new Max’s club in Bridge Street should be just about open now, with Paul Anthony and Paul Reeves jocking . . . DMF Studio Sound at 9 Tournerbury Lane, Hayling Island, Hampshire PO11 9DH (Portsmouth 23798) make personalised DJ jingles to individual requirements, from scratch . . . Chris Dinnis, although still busy around South Devon, wants more soul/funk/jazz gigs, with or without roadshows, in any area – Sean French says his heart is in the right place, so call Chris on 06476-271 . . . Infinity Records has already gone and Electric/Cube are going, so grab their product while you can . . . Rokotto, old touring partners of Brass Construction, have been playing much of BC’s new material for months, and even did ‘Shakit’ on roadshow Disco . . . Showaddywaddy’s inclusion on a supposedly disco bill may seem to widen the event’s appeal but may I fear put off more than it attracts . . . Chart File’s Alan Jones is busily compiling a year-end 1979 Disco chart, so there’s no need for others to bother (as some so kindly have in the past) – thank you Keith Howie (Londonderry) for your early effort, with ‘Boogie Wonderland’ at number one . . . Bob Jones (Chelmsford) wonders whether Sir John Roberts is the same John Roberts wot dun ‘Sockin’ 1-2-3-4’ in the ‘60s? . . . POP TEN (titles outside UK Disco 90): 1 Specials, 2 Dr Hook, 3 Dooleys, 4 Janis Ian, 5 Police ‘Message’, 6 Buggles, 7 Queen, 8 Jam, 9 Specials ‘Gangsters’, 10 Sparks.


UK Newies

GEORGE DUKE: ‘I Want You For Myself’ (from LP ‘Master Of The Game’, Epic EPC 83951) (BNDA debut 12/15/79)
Lovely smoothly pushing 121bpm oogie chugger with tootling flute, squeaky chix and pretty piano is a current jazz-funk biggie, while the Funkadelic-type 116bpm ‘Games’ mixes perfectly (minus intro) out of ‘Knee Deep’. Other cuts were reviewed in depth on import.

BILLY OCEAN: ‘Are You Ready’ (GTO GT 12-259) (BNDA debut 12/13/80)
Michael Jackson meets KC on a totally derivative but bright sounding and obviously powerful 118bpm 12in smacker that should mix well between ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ and Rose Royce.

LAKESIDE: ‘Pull My Strings’ (from LP ‘Rough Riders’, Solar FL 13490) (BNDA debut 5/24/80)
Isleys-inspired group with a staccato changed bass-snapping 123bpm “rock” clapper, while after a galloping hooves intro the smacking 133-134bpm title track is very like ‘It’s A Disco Night’ and ‘From 9:00 Until’ is a 114bpm funk chugger.  Continue reading “December 8, 1979: George Duke, Billy Ocean, Lakeside, War, Herbie Hancock”

December 1, 1979: Positive Force, Roy Ayers, Kurtis Blow, Brass Construction, Narada Michael Walden

Odds ‘N Bods

Funk Mafia “family” members Chris Hill, Sean French, Chris Brown, Jeff Young, Tom Holland & Froggy head North on Sunday (2) to steal the bread out of local jocks’ mouths at an all-dayer in Oldham Romeo & Juliets – resentment seems to be running high amongst provincial DJs unable to make a national name for themselves! . . . Elton John ‘Johnny B. Goode’ (Rocket XPRES 2412) and Village People ‘Ready For The 80s’ (Mercury 9198505) are on 12in, the latter also on promo only 12in remix with overdubbed simple Xmas message from VP Ray Simpson . . . O’Jays ‘Sing A Happy Song’, Deniece Williams ‘I Found Love’ are now on US 12in . . . Pye’s R&B Division have done a promo only strawberry shaped and scented 7in of Rufus & Chaka . . . Mecca needs a dozen DJ’s for European work from February onwards using their own records – send demo tape and photo to Paul Casson, Mecca Agency, 14 Oxford Street, London W1N OHL . . . Honey Bee Benson awarded a six month £3,500 IDEA contract for Norwegian work to Jeff Slater (Chesham), who came third in the recent Gloucester Tiffanys mobile disco competition organized by Barry’s Disco Shop, which was won by lively newcomers Paul & Sam of Atmosphere II, Little Ian’s Creation Roadshow being 2nd . . . Billboard’s Disco International Forum in Monaco has been postponed until next autumn due to poor response . . . Radio London’s charity marathon in aid of Caribbean relief this Saturday will include a live link up with Mayfair Gullivers – I hope Fatman stays sober! . . . Greg Lynn has been promoted to product manager at CBS, prompting Mark Clark (Wokingham King Of Clubs) to comment “now that CBS is almost the same size as the Civil Service presumably they’re starting to copy their practice of pushing troublesome people upstairs!” . . . Lorraine Trent is now CBS Disco Pool chief, while at Phonogram with John Waller also promoted like Greg the disco plugger is Orin “Ladies Man” Cozier . . . Newcastle upon Tyne’s swank new Reflexions 2 in the Cloth Market (the old Inn Cognito site) is funkily import-orientated with regular jocks being Martin Urwin, Akin Oni, David Emery . . . Sunday next (9) Pete Tong, Tony Monson & Bob Jones funk the Thames with a riverboat all-niter leaving Westminster Bridge at 12:30am, £5 tickets from the jocks’ gigs or Disc Empire and Blues & Soul record shops . . . Chris Dinnis’s recent Perrin Sands Reunion at Sidmouth Winter Garden upped his funk nights’ normal prices, attracted fewer punters and thus lost the venue as a gig – which shows how much into the music South Devon fans are! . . . Ernie Priestman, partner/DJ at Whitehaven’s Whitehouse and a secret Genesis fan, restricts the club’s capacity to just 500 regardless of queues left outside so that there’s still a comfortable space to move and groove in – an enlightened policy surely? . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) reports the amazing fact that Liverpool currently lacks an import-stocking record shop despite the local DJ demand for one . . . Lowrell, a top seller in London, is still evidently not suitable for Capital Radio’s playlist . . . Steve Wiggins (Barry Rugby Club), recovering from a “Welcome Back The Mini” party, wants my remedy for cold-suffering jocks – well, my own cure is to OD on Vitamin C and go to bed with some sleeping pills, which sometimes is enough to dry me up for the following night . . . Chris Hill, who taught ‘em how to “silly” (not Philly) has a nifty mix of One Way ‘Music’ into George Duke ‘I Want You For Myself’ into Detroit Spinners ‘Body Language’, as well as Dazzle ‘You Dazzle Me’ into Patrice Rushen ‘Haven’t You Heard’.


UK Newies

POSITIVE FORCE: ‘We Got The Funk’ (Sugarhill SHL 102) (BNDA debut 1/12/80)
Immensely catchy chick-sung jittery 112bpm 12in “rock” jiggler has mind-knawingly nagging guitar jangling away and has been completely restructured for UK release so that the chant part that originally came in near the end is now spliced in all over the place for added impact. Oh, it mixes superbly both into and out of Sugarhill Gang!

ROY AYERS: ‘Don’t Stop The Feeling’ (from LP ‘No Stranger To Love’, Polydor 2391438) (BNDA debut 12/22/79)
Far more UK-style disco than his last self-consciously “disco” effort, the set’s strongest cut so far (it’s also on US promo 12in) is this incredibly repetitive jiggling 114-115bpm “rock” thudder with chanting Roy and wailing chick, which actually build up power through its monotony, while the formula repeats with slightly more vocal variation on the similarly sparse 120-119bpm ‘Shack Up, Pack Up, It’s Up (When I’m Gone)’ jitterer. ‘Slyde’ is a great simple fast leaping 129-128-130bpm bounder, ‘No Stranger To Love / Want You’ a lovely gently jogging 42bpm vibes instrumental that becomes a huskily multi-tracked vocal smoocher, ‘Don’t Let Our Love Slip Away’ a pretty Sergio Mendes-type 119-123bpm easy listening duet, ‘What You Won’t Do For Love’ an emphasis-shifting gentle yet tensely tugging 114/57-116/58-117bpm tempo switcher, and just the zingy 130-132-133bpm ‘Don’t Hide Your Love’ as his sole concession this time to dreaded US-style “disco”.

KURTIS BLOW: ‘Christmas Rappin’’ (Mercury BLOW 12)
‘Rapper’s Delight – Part Two’, except the tune is original and the DJ rap gets more varied, bringing in some call-and-answer audience participation towards the end. Starting with a 14 beat acappella “it was the night before Christmas” intro, the 112-113bpm 12in (not even out in the US yet!) mixes perfectly with Sugarhill Gang, of course!  Continue reading “December 1, 1979: Positive Force, Roy Ayers, Kurtis Blow, Brass Construction, Narada Michael Walden”