Swimsuits are a must if you’re going to Caister 2 this weekend – so are brollies! – not because of the weather, though but because you’ll get soaked by condensation raining down from the ceiling of the hall where all the funky action is! The Showstopper Promotions-run soul weekender has moved locations from the larger Ladbrokes camp to their Seashore caravans only camp which, nearer Yarmouth, is totally exposed right on the beach. Since Springtime seems later in reaching East Norfolk than other areas this year, the caravans last weekend were buffeted by howling gales and storms of hail in place of gentle April showers.
However, this was the only sour note in an event that ended by creating the best (and most trouble-free) atmosphere of any Caister yet. With only one music venue featuring the ‘Family’ team of Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Sean French, Chris Brown, Tom Holland, Jeff Young and Froggy (immortalised by the phantom Mohican placard flasher as “Froggy mixes better than a Kenwood Chef”) all in rotation, there is no variety in the music to choose between as there was at the old camp’s three main venues. But by being further from civilisation, there is no noise restriction and the grand finales can finish later.
What finales they are too! Roberta Flack ‘Back Together Again’ blending into Billy Paul ‘Bring The Family Back’ into McFadden & Whitehead ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ is the starting point, followed by an assortment from El Coco ‘Let’s Get It Together’, O’Jays ‘I Love Music’, Isleys ‘Shout’, Bobby Thurston ‘You Got What It Takes’, Sho Nuff ‘It’s Alright’, interspersed by Gerry & The Pacemakers ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, Lonnie Donegan ‘The Party’s Over’, Vera Lynn ‘There’ll Always Be A Caister’ (that Hill remains a mobile jock at heart!), and great call-and-answer responses of the usual “wah-ooh wah-hah” shout, “oh yes we are” – “oh no you’re not” pantomime routine, and some incredibly good “just the girls”/”just the fellahs” acappella singing.
Last Saturday a video camera was relaying the action into a neighbouring room where two colour screens and an extension of Froggy’s massive roadshow made it a cooler environment to hear what was happening, although by the finale that room was packed too and the crowd were joining in the chanting. Come the Sunday finish this room was empty of people but full of condensation-caused fog!
The condensation also fogged up the mirrors in the main room which were meant to send laser beams all around the place in a “dry” (ha ha) run for the much bigger and more spectacular laser display that will be at Sho-Pro’s big-top Knebworth Soul Day on May 26th Bank Holiday Monday (starring Lonnie Liston Smith, GQ, Eddy Grant, Light Of The World, the ‘Family’ jocks plus Colin Curtis & John Grant, circus acts and more). This event it is hoped will attract a truly national audience.
As it was, Caister 1 had crowds from Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol as well as London and the South, the reaction of Liverpool McMillans DJ Gary Allan, at his first Caister, being “we like to think that the all-dayers in the North are as good as this, but they aren’t!” Gary’s coming back this weekend, as are 300 more including myself to join the 2,000 or so fresh campers.
My motivation for returning it must be admitted is a great late-night restaurant in Yarmouth (lobster thermidor for £5.50!) and the fact that the old Ladbrokes camp has Sho-Pro’s Country Weekender going on at the same time. Yi-ha, git DOWN!
Oh yes – the music. Roy Ayers ‘Can’t You See Me’ seemed to be played rather a lot, Donald Byrd ‘Dominoes’ (Live At The Roxy) was as well but to better response and Dexter Wansel ‘Life On Mars’ was heavily requested evidently. Oldies rule?
Odds ‘N Bods
Ronnie Laws’ short UK tour – Birmingham (May 2), Hammersmith (3), Brighton (4), Manchester Dunstable (8) – sees UA release ‘Every Generation’ and not ‘OTBA Law’ as his next single . . . PRAT’s next disco special’s a 6-track 33 1/3rpm 12in (they may find this classified as an LP for chart sales returns) featuring La Pregunta ‘Chameleon’, Rinder & Lewis ‘Blue Steel’, Renzo Fraiese ‘12 Engle Street’, David Benoit ‘Los Angeles’, Jon Faddis ‘Razor Blade’ / ‘Good And Plenty’ (12P 5016) due mid-May . . . Phyllis Hyman’s Arista follow-up ‘Under Your Spell’ 12in will cost only 99p for the first 5,000 copies sold . . . Crown Heights Affair on fancily packaged UK 12in does indeed run faster. ‘Use Your Body & Soul’ at 120-119-120bpm and ‘You Gave Me Love’ at 116bpm, and debuts the De-Lite label here . . . Osibisa ‘Pata Pata’ switches from Pye to Calibre (CABL 102) in a remixed version with added afro party chanting . . . Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway ‘Back Together Again’ has been delayed . . . Ben E King ‘Music Trance’ will eventually be the B-side to a brand new A-side on UK 12in next month . . . Odyssey ‘Use It Up And Wear It Out’ (US RCA PD-11963) and Heath Brothers ‘For The Public’ (US Columbia 43-11258) are now on LP-length US 12in (Heath Bros minus the LP’s clapping intro/outro) while Cheryl Lynn ‘Keep It Hot’ (US Columbia 43-11261) gets a remixed break . . . BT Express’ long awaited (and rumoured to be cancelled) ‘1980’ album has finally appeared but doesn’t sound too special to these ears . . . Caister previews included Freeez ‘Keep In Touch’ (Pink Rhythm 12 Pinky 1), a fast flowing jazzy c. 133bpm 12in UK instrumental with Atmosfear-type breaks that you’d better order now as only 500 will be pressed, El Coco ‘Let’s Get It Together’ (remix) (AVI 12in), Eddy Grant ‘My Turn To Love You’ (Ice 12in), and Chris Hill’s hotly hyped remix of Sho Nuff ‘It’s Alright’ (Ensign 12in) . . . but who is Lorna Greene and why was Chris covering her up!? . . . Robbie Vincent’s oldies along with the more likely ‘Sausalito’ and ‘New Killer Joe’, included Le Pamplemousse ‘Get Your Boom Boom’ and O’Jays ‘Use Ta Be My Girl’ – which caused a conga line! . . . Caister artifacts include a “Don’t stop – FREEZE” badge and a T-shirt with the Glacier Mint bear saying “Freeze!” . . . Sho Pro’s Roger “Dynarod” Dance spent a lot of time in the loo, while Froggy came clean in the bath . . . Sunday 11th May at Solihull’s St Johns Hotel there’s a major Disco Light & Sound ‘80 exhibition organised by three Midlands dealers (details 021 707 4925) . . . Thames Valley DJA members meet this Sunday (27) lunchtime in Camberley Duke Of York for talks on first aid electronics crossovers . . . Brighton’s funky Paul Clark got voted the Public Relations Officer of the Sussex DJ Assn, much to his surprise . . . Jason West did his award-winning ‘Smelly Feet’ rap at USAF Alconbury Aquarius Club and someone let off a stink bomb! . . . Steve Dee’s staff of Amersham fracas fame have adopted my “Wally Herberts” comment as a slogan for future T-shirts! . . . Chris Dinnis’ last funk night at Sidmouth Winter Garden drew funk fans from Gloucester, Bristol, Cornwall, Weymouth and even North London, while his Exeter reunion attracted some Pete Tong followers from Kent . . . Chris Sidney Brown’s forthcoming ‘Family Album’ picture book surely won’t be complete without baby photos of Royston Hill, Allen Holland, Jeff Elkins and Steve Howlett?! . . . Noel Wright (Ware Beckets on Thurs/Fridays) says the local Ware Anti-Mod Pro-Soul Brigade keep insisting he chop Lena Martell into ‘Love Theme From Crossroads’ – are they really Wallys, he wonders? . . . Steve Dennis “The Menace” funks Birmingham Faces in Five Ways on four and a half nights a week – what would the next figure be in numerical sequence? . . . Camberley Frenchies’ Paul Wheeler & Robin Nash are planning with Mayfair Playboy Club’s Tony Jenkins some special jazz-funk Bunny Parties with PA’s by a celebrity secret jazz-funk fan . . . Yankee Disc’s Mike O’Shea offers £50 reward for the unidentified DJ who stirred up trouble with Groove’s Chris Palmer to identify himself . . . Rowdy Yeats of RCA (who are currently carving up the Disco Sales Chart) used to be in a Dudley-based precursor to Chicken Shack called Sounds Of Blue, along with Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac, Stan Webb etc . . . Tom Holland, whose warm-up jockette (and constant companion) is the oddly named Jeanneane Cesvette (alias Miss Blue Note), now revives CJ & Co ‘Sure Can’t Go To The Moon’ (US Westbound LP), Doug Richardson ‘Salsa Mama’ (US AVI LP) . . . Jeff Young has a gruesome line in true hospital stories (he’s a hospital lab technician in real life – don’t give up your day job, Jeff!) . . . Raydio, Lakeside, Ben E King, James Brown and the like have brought back heavy funk in a big way to Mayfair Gullivers . . . Kev Hill (Brentwood), fresh back from Ireland, says Galway area discos are invariably large houses DIY converted into dance halls and playing no soul at all but lots of Dave Edmunds ‘Singing The Blues’ . . . Andy Davison (Sawston) says the American and usually black disco jocks at East Anglia’s many USAF bases don’t use mikes but also don’t play gay disco – instead they mix jazz-funk and soul – they’re obviously not from LA! . . . Chris Jones (Cardiff) wonders how many other disco DJ’s are radio amateurs – I’m not sure if he means legal hams or naughty CB fans, but Sean French could probably tell him a thing or two . . . Chris Hill may have started the Freeze, but it would be nice if CBS would acknowledge my own part in actually finding and telling the world about ‘The Groove’ – which incidentally leapt straight into London’s sales Top 20 as the highest new entry last week . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!
MASS PRODUCTION: ‘Shante’ (Atlantic K 11475T)
Amazingly War-like jazzy instrumental builds with shifting solos in ‘Ghetto’ style on UK-only 12in from a quietly beating long start through 124(intro)-126-124-127-128bpm and is huge for funk jocks around the South and Merseyside.
KLEEER: ‘Close To You’ (Atlantic LV 36)
Creamily jittering 117(intro)-119-117(bass)-119bpm backbeat chugger has increased dramatically in my estimation since discovering its main beat mixes perfectly out of Jermaine’s ‘Burnin’ Hot’! While ‘Winners’ is on US 12in promo, this LV 12in is flipped by a Fred Dove segued medley of the old 124bpm ‘Tonight’s The Night’ and ‘I Love To Dance’.
WILBERT LONGMIRE: ‘Hawkeye’ (from LP ‘With All My Love’, Tappan Zee CBS 84155)
Great pattering long 115-116bpm jazz guitar instrumental was big on import and chops (minus intro) out of ‘OTBA Law’ and then synchs into ‘You Got What It Takes’ for my fave mix of a few weeks ago. Continue reading “April 26, 1980: “Sunny Caister”, Mass Production, Kleeer, Wilbert Longmire, Voyage, Aurra”