May 31, 1980: Phyllis Hyman, GQ, Slave, Baby’O, Ben E. King

Jazz-funk finally came of age at Knebworth on Bank Holiday Monday when over 12,000 funk fans crowded in or around a vast circus big top to make the biggest ever audience to date for this type of music. The event was Showstopper Promotions’ National Soul Day, where a Chris Hill-led line-up of DJs linked the live performances of Eddy Grant & The Frontline Symphony, Lonnie Liston Smith & His Cosmic Echoes, Light Of The World and GQ. All the acts were well received, but it was the bill-topping GQ who hcaused most excitement with a superbly slick show which however related to the chanting call-and-answer atmosphere that had been building to a climax all day. Early in their set, with the night drawing on, there was a breathtaking burst of lazer which filled the huge tent as the lights were dimmed. The skilfully organised event was marred towards the end by a gang of black youths evidently hell bent on preserving their stereotype as troublemakers, but otherwise everything went extremely well – meaning that at some time in the future an even bigger big top will be going up to house even more people. Who said that disco was dead?!

Odds ‘N Bods

Surface Noise ‘The Scratch’ is now on WEA 12in (K 18291T) . . . Chaka Khan’s LP, despite advance ballyhoo, has been delayed until June . . . CBS is finally issuing a 3-track 12in by Lonnie Liston Smith, but are doing too little too late and surely only that out of embarrassment for their blatant neglect of a consistently popular import artist . . . King Sounds ‘Patches’ is on overdue 12in (Island 12WIP 6595) . . . Johnny Logan’s chart topper with its modish sax sounds disco to me even though the 0-105-101bpm beat is inconsistent . . . Chelmsford Saracen’s Head live jazz-funk night is now every Friday . . . Brighton Papillon, temporarily closed for soundproofing, reopens around Midsummer . . . Ilford Room At The Top admits members for free before 9:30pm on Fridays now . . . Pete Tong funks Fridays, Tom Holland Saturdays at Isle Of Sheppey Leysdown-On-Sea Island – and doesn’t Tom look good in MY sunglasses! . . . Whitehaven Whitehouse, whose proximity to the harbour prompted Ernie ‘JA’ Priestman to get fully clothed punters wet through collecting seaweed during the hot spell, has lost its late Sunday licence thanks to a teetotal new police chief, thus blowing out several slated Chris Hill visits . . . Dennis Brynner & Dave Van Sieger’s Saturday lunchtime rundown of Southampton Virgin record store’s hot newies is now relayed to the neighbouring Jean Bar shop and probably by now to Huckleberry’s burger joint too, while at Southampton Barbarellas every Fri/Sat Dave does a “dancing in the funkshine” spot with Parliafunkadelicment, James Brown, Instant Funk etc . . . Steve Dee this weekend provides the commentary at Castle Donington’s 1980 International MARCOS/National Kit Car rally; similarly Richard Witcombe & Dave Higgins (Shepton Mallet) and Red Star Disco (Wells) do a Youth Club disco for tour days at the Royal Bath & West Show, using equipment from Frome’s Derek James Disco Centre . . . London LBC Radio’s Steve Allen writes to clarify that he has no connection with Peterborough’s probably better publicized Steve Allen – but where does that leave the Original Mirrors’ Steve Allen, of Paula’s Pages fame?!? . . . Knebworth extras should by now have included PA’s by the Harlem Globetrotters, Mystic Merlin, and Side Effect’s Augie Johnston joining Hill for a ‘Keep That Same Old Feelin’’ rendition . . . Manfredo Fesi ‘Jungle Kitten’ (US Tabu LP) seems to be replacing ‘Dominoes’ in the mafia’s affections . . . ITV’s recent ‘CHiPs’ episodes about roller disco allied with good weather seem to have started a real spread of dancing on roller skates . . . Blackpool’s Pete “Macrobiotic” Haigh & Frenchie recently visited Canvey Goldmine, stayed over chez Hill, and said everything was “brill” . . . Phonogram’s Orin Cozier now says he’s a “man’s man” – hmm, and he seemed such a nice boy . . . David Bendeth has signed with Ensign . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) is now known as Foggy following the addition of a fog machine . . . I, among many others, am no longer mentioning anything connected with a certain London DJ whose “fan” following are liable to wreck wherever he appears, as I don’t want to upset his “manager” by getting any facts wrong . . . Jason West’s favourite venue is not exactly Stevenage Bo Jangles! . . . Chris Hill refers us to ancient Egyptian pyramid carvings which clearly show people doing the Freeze, long before Alvin Cash . . . Bob Jones (Chelmsford) wants to know where to buy Japanese direct-cut/digital LPs like Lee Ritenour ‘In Rio’ (JVC), Yutaka Yokokura ‘Love Light’ (Alpha), Dave Grusin ‘Mountain Dance’ (JVC) – Hill’s got ‘em, so why not ask him? . . . Colin Day, ex-Derby Tiffanys, reports from Barbarellas in Wil, Switzerland, that Swiss clubs favour English or American jocks (many of the former avid RM readers) and that the scene is GREAT, with cheap £3.60 albums enabling him to push tracks by Fatback, Al Johnson, Switch, CHA, Jermaine Jackson despite a Wally preponderance amongst the locals, while a hot breaker is Baby’O ‘In The Forest’ . . . Brian Brindle (Chelsea Alibi) now mixes Mass Prod ‘Shante’ into Isaac Hayes ‘I Ain’t Never’, Ronnie Laws ‘OTBA Law’ into Ozone ‘Walk On’ and Ronnie Laws ‘All For You’ into ‘Young Child’ . . . Denise LaSalle ‘May The Funk Be With You’ runs gospel-111-pause-113bpm . . . Lipps Inc, hot on the heels of Liquid Gold here and huge Stateside too, surely proves that despite wishful-thinking media scaremongers, “disco” isn’t dead (unfortunately!) . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

PHYLLIS HYMAN: ‘Under Your Spell’ (Arista ARIST 12343)
Attractive creamily thudding 116-115-116bpm backbeat swayer on limited edition 99p 3-track 12in with the jaggedly romping 125bpm ‘Hold On’ and older jogging 93(intro)-94-95bpm version of Exile’s ‘Kiss You All Over’.

GQ: ‘GQ Down’ (Arista ARIST 12353)
Bass bubble jittery 122-123bpm “rock” thudder, far from their best but on 3-track 12in with the untidily fast 132bpm ‘It’s Like That’ and more interesting 119(bass)-124-123-124-125(break)-126bpm ‘Lies’.

SLAVE: ‘Are You Ready For Love?’ (Atlantic K 11482T)
Kalimba-plinking happy 124-123-124-123bpm 12in bouncer with lightly chanting chaps ‘n chix and exotic percussion.  Continue reading “May 31, 1980: Phyllis Hyman, GQ, Slave, Baby’O, Ben E. King”

May 24, 1980: Surface Noise, Gene Chandler, Randy Crawford, Gayle Adams, Frank Hooker & Positive People

In The Groove

The story behind Surface Noise’s ‘The Scratch’ is an object lesson in how to make a hit. One-time musician and record company executive and now owner of Soho Greek Street’s Groove record shop, Chris Palmer not surprisingly knew exactly the sort of thing that his customers would be likely to buy, and so on April 27th at home he multi-tracked a catchy little instrumental to the mechanical beat of a Rhythmbox. This rough demo tape created enough enthusiasm from all who heard it for Chris to book studio time and a few supplementary musicians to lay down the finished version just over a week later. By Friday May 9th the acetates of this were being played to death on London radio and in enough clubs to hit our disco chart last week, by which time the buzz was so intense that WEA snapped up the master for such a fantastic deal that Chris is still reeling! Although the limited pressing on his own Groove Production label (the only one to feature the full-length flip) came into the shops last Friday (16th) and started selling like wild, WEA are now doing their best to get their own 12in (with added chick on the flip) into the shops during the course of this week. Now, is that hot or is that hot?!? Few potential chartbusters can have been turned around so quickly from initial conception to finished product, especially when by an unknown act (albeit with influential friends!). So, from The Groove we have ‘The Scratch’. What next . . . ‘The Warp’?!

This Monday (26) sees Europe’s biggest circus tent holding something like 15,000 funkateers at the first ever Knebworth festival to feature soul and jazz. Just outside Stevenage on the other side of the A1(M), the stately home’s park will now reverberate to the sound of Lonnie Liston Smith, GQ, Eddy Grant, Light Of The World all playing live and DJs Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Greg Edwards, Froggy, Sean French, Chris Brown, Tom Holland, Jeff Young, Brother Louie, Colin Curtis and John Grant. Additional features include a spectacular laser show, continuously running film of last month’s Caister weekenders, genuine circus acts – and doubtless some animal acts as well!

Then on Sunday, June 1st, it’s Stevenage Bo Jangles’ turn as the venue for Greg Davies’ Disco Forum 80. Starting at 2 pm, the event will include talks by record company reps, DJ association officers and someone from Bacchus International, displays by Optikinetics and Disco Supplies, and a panel discussion with record pluggers John Wailer, Sally Ormsby, Fred Dove, Theo Loyla, Loraine Trent, Roger St Pierre, plus (though not a plugger!) myself. To be sure of getting in on the day, book the £2 tickets in advance from Greg Davies, 11 Hampton Close, Wilstead, Beds MK45 3DA (further details on 0234-741462 or 04626-6821). And if he cancels this one at the last minute, I will personally kill him!

Odds ‘N Bods

Lipps Inc, evidently huge in Scotland (well it would be wouldn’t it?!), turns out to be but one of four tracks on a ‘Hot From The Casbah’ 12in EP featuring additional SLOP by Danielle, Evelyn Thomas & Ultimate . . . L.A. Boppers are due on 12in now . . . Voyage ‘I Love You Dancer’ (sensational out of ‘I Shoulda Loved Ya’) and Ndugu ‘Shadow Dancing’ (ditto ‘Stomp!’) deserve more support, while Stacy Lattisaw ‘Don’t You Want To Feel It’ and BT Express ‘Does It Feel Good’ look like being their respective LPs’ long-term winners . . . Change ‘Searching’ is already rapidly overhauling ‘A Lover’s Holiday’ to become a monster (how about singles release, Fred?), although John Kaye (Mirfield) adds to my original review saying “‘Angel In My Pocket’ is a 128bpm (?) Chic-like bass thudder that could be as hot, thus making the whole LP pretty useful all round” – OK John? . . . Three Degrees’ best known fan, no names mentioned, also digs Donna Summer and other black ladies! . . . West Kingsdown King’s Lodge is suddenly no longer a Pete Tong gig due to a takeover prior to last week’s advertised dates . . . RCA’s Rowdy “Chicken Shack” Yeats owned a Stourbridge record shop in the ‘60s called The Groove, and subsequently suggested this still registered name to the Soho shop when that opened . . . Soho’s Groove meanwhile has just started a “Check out the Groove” competition with free entry forms to customers, who have to list the most titles including the word “groove” to win (after July 4th) bumper prizes, the official adjudicator being myself . . . Dennis Brynner & Dave Van Seiger now spin ‘em and sell ‘em every Saturday lunchtime at Southampton’s Virgin record store . . . Raymondo returns to Fantasy, the US label this time though, as their UK advance man to work on building an import buzz for their product (excellent news!) . . . Rudy “Rapper” Gilpin, ex-Gulllvers, is now working in a hi-fi store while looking for another gig (01 578 3775 evenings), and Smokey Joe of the famed but now closed Cue Club needs a gig too (0442-47915) . . . Avenue B Boogie Band singer Will Collins hasn’t given up his day job yet – he works in a New York dry cleaners . . . Steve Dee’s new monster roadshow rig, featuring Gauss and JBL stacks driven by HH Electronic MOS FET power amps, will be unveiled at the next Bournemouth Stateside Center alldays (Froggy please note!) . . . Erik-Jack (Bognor Regis) is knackered what with discos at night and teaching disco dancing by day to 7,500 pre-teen schoolkids as part of the Butlins School Venture Weeks scheme! . . . Paul Stewart does his best to funk Belfast but says club managers there only want punters who dress like Wallys – still, Paul, it’s no worse than Peterborough! . . . Jo Field (Hemel Hempstead) now wants a BPM counter: you’ll have to get a “hand tally counter” from a stationers and click off the beats to a stopwatch, setting the counter to 9999 for the first beat to start on zero so that the timing is right . . . Sterling Vann (Bethnal Green Tipples) just won a T-shirt as I write this by ringing Dave Cash on Capital Radio and asking for more jazz-funk! . . . Brian Brindle (Chelsea Alibi) sez the rapidly reviving Lonnie Liston Smith ‘Expansions’ mixes perfectly out of Bunny Mack . . . ‘Calibre Cuts’ is actually number one for Richard Witcombe & Dave Higgins at Shopton Mallet Youth Centre . . . Noel “Double Top” Wright (Ware Beckets) is getting darts lessons (or something) from a lady punter . . . Edgbaston Faces manager evidently answers (reluctantly) to the name Eddie Dingbat, though he’d prefer Dignam! . . . Bournemouth Soul Centre – gee (hic!) thanksh! . . . Light Of The World’s upcoming new Augie Johnson-produced LP will revolutionize all our concepts of British soul, blah blah blah (sez “Ladies Man” Cozier) – just send us a promo and we’ll see! . . . Sean Martin (Borough Green) is keen to get a Swanley Moat gig as he thinks he could attract more funksters than the Wallys who are currently encouraged there – don’t bet on it, Sean . . . Andy Davison (Sawston) and another Andy of Paddington both point out the obvious, that Alvin Cash’s ‘Philly Freeze’ in 1966 preceded any invention of Chris Hills’ – yes, but . . . Bank Holiday Monday was originally going to be kept clear of funk events by gentleman’s agreement to make Showstoppers’ Knebworth a truly National soul day, except of course there aren’t many gentlemen in the business . . . Radio Invicta fans please note that I don’t listen to anything on the radio on Sundays, as once awake I watch telly! . . . Southampton University Bootsies’ student soul festival was evidently a big success, with visitors from all over South England, and yet the brief mention of it in this column amounted to half the advertising for it! . . . you know this page is read, so why aren’t YOU writing to it? . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

SURFACE NOISE: ‘The Scratch’ (Groove Production GP 101)
Immediately catchy simple little flute ‘n synth hook over a bass-driven jaunty 119bpm jazz shuffle with sax, percussion, bass and piano breaks on 4:41 12in A-side, the 5:14 flip having more bass after the piano before the flute returns. As you’ve probably gathered, it’s gonna be huge!

GENE CHANDLER: ‘Does She Have A Friend?’ (20th Century/Chi-Sound TCD 2451)
Superb powerfully nagging purposeful 89-90-91bpm 12in plodder sets up an identifiable lyric situation from everyone’s personal experience that could make it the soulful summer’s answer to ‘Always In The Kitchen At Parties’.

RANDY CRAWFORD: ‘Last Night At Danceland’ (from LP ‘Now We May Begin’, Warner Bros. K 56791)
Crusaders-produced set for the ‘Street Life’ gal with Joe Sample to the fore, this being a lovely throbbing 106-110-112bpm jogger, ‘Same Old Story (Same Old Song)’ a slower 98-99bpm swayer, ‘Blue Flame’ a pent-up 108/54-111bpm lurcher and ‘Tender Falls The Rain’ a dead, dead slowie.  Continue reading “May 24, 1980: Surface Noise, Gene Chandler, Randy Crawford, Gayle Adams, Frank Hooker & Positive People”

May 17, 1980: Al Johnson, Stephanie Mills, Three Degrees, Breakwater, Booker T. Jones

Odds ‘N Bods

Surface Noise ‘The Scratch’ (due imminently on Groove Production GP 101) literally exploded in London over the weekend, with rave reaction to the 120bpm jazz instrumental from dancers and saturation radio play from Greg Edwards, Mike Allen & Robbie Vincent – Groove’s Chris Palmer when last heard was muttering “I think I’ll have to press more than the thousand” . . . A&M have unearthed a new longer cut of Brothers Johnson ‘Light Up The Night’ for 12in next week . . . Stacy Lattisaw ‘Jump To The Beat’ will be on 12in here soon . . . Teena Marie’s 12in is delayed due to EMI’s factory strike . . . Jeff Lorber Fusion ‘Lava Lands’ is a frenetic 124-126bpm stereo searer, ‘Fusion Juice’ a punchy 121-122bpm wailer with sax ‘n synth solos, just to clarify last week’s review . . . Roberta & Donny could be another McFadden & Whitehead after all considering they beat even the Specials on Capital Radio ‘People’s Choice’ last week . . . Steve Allen’s seminar last week for his Peterborough DJ team was spirited fun – present were Dave Peters, Barry Jay, Tom Bryan, Pat Mills, Malc James, Paul (Ivor) Lee, Vince King, Rob Starr, Phil Woods, Jay Cee, John Stevens, Mike Barrie . . . Vaughan Mason & Crew ‘Bounce Rock Skate Roll’ is evidently huge in East Anglia’s many USAF bases . . . Peterborough’s Anabelles is at least honest in its seediness while the only other club in town is the brand new La Scala which struck me like a Wimpy Bar with pretensions although the locals think it’s spiffing – suits and ties are the rule at both, giving them real kids appeal, I don’t think! . . . Whitehaven Whitehouse’s Ernie Priestman, suntanned from Cumbrian waterskiing, joins the Peterborough mob in wanting to see more “up-country” gossip in this column – I can’t write it if YOU don’t send it! . . . Bristol mafioso Martin Starr, mightily impressed by Mike Allen’s jazzy Capital shows (around midnight at weekends) since he started funking Basingstoke Sinatras every Friday and Cobham Silvermere plus Sinatras Saturday, reports Yellow Magic Orchestra to be huge in Bristol “. . . and I wasn’t even on it!” . . . Martin Collins getting a good reputation for his funky Sundays at Stevenage Bo Jangles, also his Letchworth gigs at the Grange on Fridays and Pelican Wednesdays . . . Stevenage’s Vergers tribe think that the crowd at Caister are too young now, a comment heard from many more, all of whom are younger than me – but we all like the same music don’t we? . . . Larry Foster (Ilford Room At The Top) invented a dance called the Lurch and now has an even newer Son Of Lurch, while something called Rowing The Boat goes well with the Gap Band down Ilford way, evidently . . . Chris Dinnis reports that “the West’s worst singer” Mike Pidsley has been causing a sensation in Devon by dropping his Y-fronts every time ‘The Groove’ freezes! . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn members meet on Sunday (18) at Wheelers End Brickmakers around lunchtime . . . Steve Young (01-455 6409), promoting the Radio Trent DJs’ “best disco” on alternating Thursdays, wants record company PA’s with the possibility of radio interviews for any artistes supplied . . . Phonogram’s disco promotion dept has been renamed Street Beat promotions by Orin “Ladies Man” Cozier . . . Caroline Roadshow’s current gigs are being advertised on Radio Orwell to get over the lack of newspapers, their up-coming summer tour to be called Shipwreck Tour ‘80 with proceeds going towards the refloating of Mi Amigo, which it is hoped will become an offshore radio museum somewhere in East Kent . . . Steve Day & Neil Harnett will be playing disco music to the crowds at Tottenham Hotspurs FC when the next season opens . . . Pete Haigh & Frenchie (Blackpool) have revived Bataan ‘The Bottle’ (Epic), Patrice Rushen ‘Jubilation’ (US Prestige LP), Archie Bell ‘Let’s Groove’ (Philadelphia Int’l) in the North-West, while Tees Valley Roadshow’s Graham Bond says instrumentals are getting big in the North-East . . . David Emery, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s still flourishing Stage Door every Tuesday, finds it hard getting through to Pye’s Morgan Khan by phone – why not do as I do and ask for “the brat from PRAT”, you’ll get through in no time! . . . Sally Field says “happy birthday Jo” for last week . . . Darryl Hayden is probably the fire eating DJ that Disco Dave Singleton is looking for (try calling 0734-789482 or 01-898 1127) . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

AL JOHNSON: ‘I’m Back For More’ (CBS 8545)
Sensuously jogging 90/45bpm 7in soul ballad shared with wailing Jean Carn, a cover of the Leo’s Sunshipp tune and around on import for ages, flipped by the nice 22bpm ‘You Are My Personal Angel’ smoocher.

STEPHANIE MILLS: ‘Sweet Sensation’ (20th Century TCD 2449) (BNDA debut 4/12/80)
Somewhat stolid 109-110-111bpm 12in “rock” clomper borrows from ‘Ladies Night’ but pales now in comparison with her import LP’s superior ‘D-A-N-C-I-N’’.

THREE DEGREES: ‘Starlight’ (Ariola AROD 228)
Giorgio co-produced classy slow 21(intro)-41/82bpm 12in jogger makes a welcome change, but the flip’s frantic 136bpm ‘Bodycheck’ and 134bpm ‘Set Me Free’ find them back on form.  Continue reading “May 17, 1980: Al Johnson, Stephanie Mills, Three Degrees, Breakwater, Booker T. Jones”

May 10, 1980: Jermaine Jackson, Sho Nuff, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Stacy Lattisaw, Cameo

Odds ‘N Bods

Sunday (11) Midland dealers Disco Electronics, N H Field’s Discoscene & Roadshows Disco Centre present the major Disco Light & Sound ‘80 exhibition from noon-7pm at Solihull’s St John’s Hotel in Warwick Road, with over twenty leading manufacturers on show, a Lasertronics demonstration and more, admission 75p (full info on 021-707 1925) . . . Greg Davies’ Disco Forum ‘80 at Stevenage Bo Jangles during the afternoon of Sunday June 1st looks like making proper sense this time, with virtually all record companies there and a panel that still looks promotion-biased. £2 tickets from Greg at 11 Hampton Close, Wilstead, Beds MK45 3DA (0234-741462) . . . Whispers ‘Lady’ is now due on 12in (Solar SO 12-4) . . . Chris Hill & Froggy have raved-over promos of Sonny Rollins keyboardist Mark Soskin’s upcoming ‘Rhythm Vision’ LP (US Prestige) . . . PRAT have signed WMOT and issue Philly Cream’s newie soon, plus on Calibre next week they put out Freeez with a remixed B-side . . . Delegation’s album strangely seems to be selling now it’s on Mercury import more than when out here last year! . . . Donald Byrd’s “dead” ‘Dominoes’ 12in is due at last next week, while the hotter ‘Live At The Roxy’ version from the old Hollywood-recorded ‘Blue Note All Stars’ LP was in fact the only track recorded in New York’s Central Park instead! . . . Groove’s Chris Palmer turns multi-tracked one man band with a great instrumental jazz-funk leaper to be released on his shop’s own label as ‘The Scratch’ by Surface Noise . . . Groove is also doing roaring business with hard-to-get classic jazz cut-out albums, much to Chris Hill’s annoyance as now everyone can play his old rarities! . . . Hill has retaliated against everyone nicking his “freeze” dance with a new step, the “anti-freeze” – stay while ‘The Groove’ is playing and go potty ¡n the pauses! . . . Johnny Wright, of Holborn’s City Sounds record shop, hosted a black-tie spaghetti dinner for all the funk mafia last week – police were seen taking numberplate details of Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Chris Brown, Sean French, Froggy, Tom Holland, Jeff Young, Bob Jones, Pete Tong, Mick Clark, Paul Clark, Graham Canter, James Hamilton, Adrian Webb and Fred Dove! – after which it was down to Gullivers for Froggy to do his Moulinex mix . . . The Grape Escape in Red Lion Street was the meeting place, where barman Tony makes the best pina colada ever, matters discussed ranging from Steve Walsh’s size in gumboots to the adoption of the term SLOP to signify gay Shirt Lifter Orientated Product . . . Disco Dave Singleton (061-775 1299) wonders if there’s a busier DJ in the land: he’s currently doing twenty-one gigs a week (afternoons at Manchester Winchester Wild West Club, evenings at Manchester Rainbow and Knutsford Daddy Monkeys), and would like to hear from a fire-eating DJ! . . . Ashley Woods (Sleaford) bought a royal African python named Clyde, who really digs Grover Washington ‘Snake Eyes’ and Brothers Johnson ‘You Make Me Wanna Wiggle’! . . . Paul Anthony now funks Birmingham Libertys with its blue neon-lit infinity mirror tunnel entrance on Thurs/Saturdays, and early week is at Solihull Scandals . . . Noel Wright funks Ware Beckets Wed/Fridays now, with Les Knott on Thursdays . . . Nick Langham (Dalston Maksims) doesn’t feature our disco chart any more as his punters think it’s dated, whereas Radio Luxembourg’s Tony Prince doesn’t think it’s dated enough because he hasn’t heard some of the Top 30 hits yet . . . Steve Dennis “The Menace” features his club’s Funky 15 every Wednesday at Birmingham Faces . . . Mark Clark’s Hot Gossip Roadshow accompanies, tummy in, Gary Glitter at Hastings Pier Ballroom on Saturday (10), the kids in Hastings being really funky sez Mark – at that gig? . . . Liz Bailey (Leicester) wonders what CBS’s Loraine Trent has against gay discos . . . Radio Caroline being off the air, will the under belly of East Anglia now gradually lose its interest in heavy rock? . . . will pigs fly? . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

UK Newies

JERMAINE JACKSON: ‘Burnin’ Hot’ (from LP ‘Let’s Get Serious’, Motown STML 12127) (BNDA debut 4/5/80)
With the Stevie Wonder-ful jittery burbling title track now on smash-bound 111bpm 12in (12TMG 1183), this equally powerful Narada Michael Walden-ish 119bpm smacker is the consistently good album’s other outright winner and can be expected to chart in a big way on its own.

SHO NUFF: ‘It’s Alright’ (Ensign ENY 3712)
Maddeningly happy ultra catchy simple little jiggly 122bpm 12in chanted bubbly smacker, re-edited to Chris Hill’s requirements from a less infectious original.

ROBERTA FLACK WITH DONNY HATHAWAY: ‘Back Together Again’ (Atlantic K 114811) (BNDA debut 4/5/80)
The slinkier LP version’s over-long instrumental intro has been cut right down, the rhythm mixed more obtrusively and the central section altered to make a languidly swaying 109(intro)-111bpm 12in backbeat bumper that has the potential to be probably this year’s ‘Bring The Family Back’ rather than blockbuster ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ (both of which it resembles).  Continue reading “May 10, 1980: Jermaine Jackson, Sho Nuff, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Stacy Lattisaw, Cameo”

May 3, 1980: Caister report

Oldies rule indeed! This last weekend at Caister saw lots more just like before – in fact the sense of deja-vu was all too apparent as the DJs forced on into routines that had worked the week before – while the crowd appeared to be made up of rather older original funkateers and tribes. They certainly seemed taller! Enfield’s band of Robin Hood & the Merry Funkers were the best fancy-dressers, and in place of the Mohican placard flasher this week there was the mad bugler, who more or less hit the right notes when blasting forth with the Last Post or Boots and Saddles.

Sunday was sunny, and wafting through the caravans was the sound of skylarks, laughter and jazz cassettes, with a steady bass thump from the Mermaids Hall ever present. Apart from a few swiftly stopped incidents, the main hooliganism came from Showstopper’s boss, Adrian Webb, setting a bad example by squirting a fire extinguisher around the backstage dressing room.

WEA’s Fred Dove seemed strangely upset that Robbie Vincent plugged Boney M’s ‘Brown Girl In The Ring’, Chris Hill revived his Chuck Berry-inspired “I looked at my watch” accompaniment to John Handy’s ‘Hard Work’ (expect to hear this some more), and Froggy did well – Robbie made him miss the final ‘Shout’ cue and then he forgot to take his roadies home!

‘Shout’ and its associated chanting, so easily used to create audience response, did in fact become almost too much of a good thing, prompting one punter to snarl “aw shut up and put the music on!”

This clash of interests should be alleviated at the next Caister in October (when incidentally the Country weekender is at the old Ladbrokes camp), as the neighbouring room which this time housed the video screens will then be turned into a separate jazz venue for hard core music fans. And the Caister after that, because this one ran so smoothly, will be back at the old camp with its variety of venues.

Now that the Mafia’s main eating place is established as the Anglia Lodge (just off the top end of Yarmouth’s front in Regent Road – ask for Charlie), serving lobster and massive T-bones till the middle of the night, I reckon I’ll keep coming back for as long as there’s a Caister! But why, when I managed both weekenders this time, was there nobody from the specialist black press at even one?

Odds ‘N Bods

James Last ‘Seduction’ is now on same-length £1.35 12in (Polydor PDX 2071) . . . Roberta Flack ‘Back Together Again’, more the Caister theme than an anthem, is on 12in next week (Atlantic K 11481T) with a shorter intro and remixed middle . . . Skyy have been renamed New York Skyy just for the UK to avoid confusion with Sky, and ‘First Time Around’ is now their official A-side . . . PRAT have flipped Tony Rallo ‘Burnin’ Alive’ for a ready-made follow-up . . . Paul McCartney’s 131bpm ‘Coming Up’ should be called DOP – Dance Orientated Pop! – while Boney M’s ‘My Friend Jack’ is in reality a drug song about LSD, first done in ’67 by Smoke . . . El Coco’s 117bpm ‘Let’s Get It Together’ remix has great added smack ‘n sax, Renzo Fraiese’s remixed ’12 Engle Street’ running at 123-125-lull-128-123-128(outro)bpm, should you have had a PRAT promo . . . Chris Hill’s hotly hyped 122bpm Sho Nuff ‘It’s Alright’ will be out next week . . . Wednesday (7) sees me addressing an evening seminar of Steve Allen’s Peterborough-based DJ team, but what about I’m not sure (yet)! . . . Kenny Baxter’s Turntable are now resident jazz-funk group, with other live guests and Bob Jones spinning jazz on disc, every Thursday at Chelmsford’s Saracen’s Head . . . John Mayoh (Bolton Rockerfellas) infos that various experienced local jocks run a training course for would-be DJs at 7:30pm every Monday in Bolton’s Cotton Tree Hotel, Prince Street . . . Jason West’s winning ‘Smelly Feet’ DJ rap is being put on limited white label by Phonogram . . . Michael Brown (the truth is out!) asks “who is Mario Viola and where is his baby photo?” . . . Chris Bangs (South Harrow Bogarts on Sundays) speed-spins Lonnie Liston Smith ‘Bridge Through Time’ at about 40rpm . . . Brian Brindle (Chelsea Alibi) says he’s never been asked for Liquid Gold – is this a record? . . . Chris Jones (Cardiff) wonders since when were the Dooleys either rock or new wave but agrees they’re not disco – they’re certainly dorks though, right?! . . . Kev Rousell (Margate Sounds Sensational mobile) is both a soul and heavy metal freak, and accurately observes that heavy gigs are a lot easier to make seem exciting . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) needs a new Johnny Guitar Watson ‘A Real Mother For Ya’ 12in, his being destroyed in a pre-Caister warm-up water fight (that’ll teach him!) . . . Caister showed for sure that silk shorts and dimpled white thighs don’t go well together . . . Jo Field’s sister WAS there this weekend! . . . Colin Curtis & John Grant are flying down to the Knebworth Soul Day by helicopter, but the Southern mafia have yet to ensure it’s one of Jimmy Carter’s! . . . Franklin Sinclair (Stretford) wonders why Radio Luxembourg substitutes records on the Disco Computer chart show featuring our Top 30 – purely because they haven’t always got some and can’t get them out to the station in time . . . I wonder if Martin Platts (Blackburn) has ever really listened to Elvis Presley ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’, amazingly soulful for a white singer in ’56, it subsequently turned me towards deep black soul like the Falcons ‘I Found A Love’ . . . Geno Washington, while a good performer, was always the Wally mods’ fave and meant little to hipper soul fans, who preferred original rather than cover versions . . . Doctor John (Stratford Disco-Tech) appears to be jocking at Zurich’s Way Out in Switzerland, where Earth & Fire ‘Weekend’ is number one (that’s Earth & Fire, no Wind) . . . Paul Stewart (Belfast) sends a nicely funky chart from Northern Ireland – but where d’ya work, Paul? . . . “JC” Ellis (Newark) wants Record Mirror to feature colour posters of funksters like Narada Michael Walden, Shalamar, Whispers, Brothers Johnson, Phyllis Hyman, etc – so how about it Alf, there’s people out there buying records by them! . . . KEEP IT FUNKY!

No UK Newies or Imports this week.

UK Disco Top 90 – May 3, 1980

01 01 Brothers Johnson – Stomp! – A&M 12″
02 03 Bobby Thurston – Check Out The Groove – Epic 12″
03 04 Rodney Franklin – The Groove – CBS 12″
04 02 Leon Haywood – Don’t Push It Don’t Force It – 20th Century 12″
05 09 Mystic Merlin – Just Can’t Give You Up – Capitol 12″
06 07 Detroit Spinners – Working My Way Back To You – Atlantic 12″
07 05 Narada Michael Walden – Tonight I’m Alright – Atlantic 12″
08 14 Jermaine Jackson – Let’s Get Serious / Burnin’ Hot – Motown 7″/LP
09 12 Narada Michael Walden – I Shoulda Loved Ya – Atlantic 12″
10 06 Whispers – And The Beat Goes On – Solar 12″
11 10 Liquid Gold – Dance Yourself Dizzy – Polo 12″
12 08 Tony Rallo & The Midnite Band – Holdin’ On / Burnin’ Alive – Calibre 12″
13 13 Mass Production – Shante – Atlantic 12″
14 18 Crown Heights Affair – Use Your Body & Soul / You Gave Me Love – De-Lite 12″
15 11 Gibson Brothers – Cuba / Better Do It Salsa – Island 12″
16 21 Raydio – For Those Who Like To Groove / Two Places At The Same Time – Arista 7″
17 27 Teena Marie – Behind The Groove – Motown LP
18 30 Shalamar – Right In The Socket (remix) / The Second Time Around – Solar 12″
19 28 Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway – Back Together Again – US Atlantic 12″ promo/LP
20 51 Brenda Russell – In The Thick Of It / So Good So Right – A&M 12″
21 20 Sharon Paige – Tonight’s The Night – Source 12″
22 22 Dayton – Eyes On You / Livin’ For Today / Dank – US UA LP
23 15 Michael Jackson – Rock With You / Get On The Floor – Epic 12″
24 23 Chuck Cissel – Cisselin’ Hot – Arista 12″
25 26 Bobby Thurston – You Got What It Takes – Epic LP
26 17 Trussel – Love Injection – Elektra 12″
27 24 Ben E. King – Music Trance – Atlantic 7″/US 12″ promo
28 45 Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Running Away / Can’t You See Me – Polydor 12″
29 68 Diana Ross & The Supremes – Supremes Medley / Love Hangover – Motown 12″
30 44 Blondie – Call Me – Chrysalis 7″/Polydor LP/US Chrysalis 12″
31 19 Phyllis Hyman – You Know How To Love Me – Arista 12″
32 16 Fern Kinney – Together We Are Beautiful – WEA 12″
33 53 Gary Bartz – Music / Rockin’ All Night / After The Love Has Gone / Need Your Love / After Glow – US Arista LP
34 35 Lonnie Liston Smith – Love Is The Answer (all cuts) – US Columbia LP
35 40 Community People – Education Wrap – US Delmar Int’l 12″
36 31 Ronnie Laws – Young Child – UA 12″
37 65 Jerry Knight – Overnight Sensation – A&M 7″/US 12″
38 43 Chico Hamilton – Strut / Magic Fingers / Alekasam / Mysterious Maiden – US Elektra LP
39 55 Isley Brothers – Go All The Way / Pass It On / Don’t Say Goodnight / Say You Will – Epic LP
40 42 Brothers Johnson – Light Up The Night / This Had To Be / Celebrations / Smilin’ On Ya / You Make Me Wanna Wiggle – A&M LP
41 54 Herbie Hancock – Go For It / Making Love / Tell Everybody – CBS 12″
42 49 Herbie Hancock – Saturday Night / Stars In Your Eyes – CBS LP
43 41 Bunny Mack – Love You Forever – Rokel/RCA 12″
44 87 Chicago – Street Player – CBS 12″
45 46 Dr. Hook – Sexy Eyes / When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman – Capitol 12″
46 33 Ronnie Laws – O.T.B.A. Law (Outta Be A Law) / Every Generation / As One – UA LP
47 29 Atmosfear – Motivation / Extract – MCA 12″
48 25 Slave – Just A Touch Of Love – Atlantic 12″
49 76 Stephanie Mills – D-A-N-C-I-N’ / Try My Love / Mixture Of Love – US 20th Century LP
50 57 V/A – Calibre Cuts – Calibre 12″
51 38 Light Of The World – The Boys In Blue / This Is This – Ensign 12″
52 89 James Last Band – The Seduction (Love Theme) – Polydor 12″
53 58 Prince – Sexy Dancer – Warner Bros. 12″
54 50 Players Association – The Get Down Mellow Sound – Vanguard 12″
55 56 Con Funk Shun – Got To Be Enough / Happy Face – US Mercury 7″/12″/LP
56 72 Skyy – First Time Around (remix) / High – Salsoul 12″
57 48 Wilbert Longmire – Hawkeye – Tappan Zee LP
58 32 GQ – Standing Ovation – Arista 12″
59 80 Ndugu & The Chocolate Jam Co. – Give Your Love / Shadow Dancing – US Epic 12″ promo/LP
60 NE Raydio – It’s Time To Party Now / Until The Morning Comes / Tonight’s The Night / Everybody Makes Mistakes – Arista LP
61 59 Heath Brothers – For The Public – US Columbia 7″/LP
62 34 Blondie – Atomic – Chrysalis 12″
63 61 Donald Byrd – Dominoes (live at the Roxy) – US Blue Note LP
64 66 Randy Brown – The Next Best Thing To Being There / We Ought To Be Doin’ It / Love Formula 69 / You’re So Good – Casablanca 12″/US LP
65 88 Earl Klugh – Amazon / If It’s In Your Heart / Spellbound / Doc – US UA LP
66 52 Kleeer – Winners / Your Way / Open Your Mind / Rollin’ On – US Atlantic 12″ promo/LP
67 67 Billy Ocean – Stay The Night – GTO 12″
68 73 Kleeer – Close To You – Atlantic 12″
69 78 Stone City Band – Little Runaway / Strut Your Stuff – US Gordy LP
70 NE Change – A Lover’s Holiday / Searching / The Glow Of Love / It’s A Girl’s Affair – US RFC LP
71 NE Stephanie Mills – Sweet Sensation – US 20th Century 12″
72 62 Herbie Hancock – I Thought It Was You (Direct-Cut) – Japanese CBS/Sony LP
73 NE Dynasty – Satisfied / It’s Still A Thrill – Solar 12″
74 RE B.T. Express – Give Up The Funk / Taking Off – US Columbia LP
75 79 Al Johnson & Jean Carn – I’m Back For More / School Of The Groove / You Are My Personal Angel – US Columbia 7″/LP
76 64 Leo’s Sunshipp – Give Me The Sunshine / I’m Back For More – US Lyon’s LP
77 NE Sho Nuff – It’s Alright – Ensign 12″ promo
78 60 Gap Band – I Don’t Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance – Mercury 12″
79 74 Toots & The Maytals – Chatty Chatty / Turn It Up – Island 12″
80 63 Mandrill – Dance Of Love / Feeling Good / When You Shake – US Arista LP
81 71 Givens Family – The Year Of The Child – US Venture 12″
82 RE Avenue B Boogie Band – Bumper To Bumper – US Salsoul 12″
83 RE Whispers – Lady – Solar 7″/LP
84 NE Odyssey – Use It Up And Wear It Out / Don’t Tell Me, Tell Her / If You’re Lookin’ For A Way Out – US RCA 12″/LP
85 NE Manu Dibango – Goro City / Tek Time – Island 12″
86 81 Osibisa – Pata Pata – Pye 12″/Calibre 12″ remix
87 NE Viola Wills – If You Could Read My Mind – Ariola Hansa 12″
88 NE Voyage – I Love You Dancer / Do It Again – US Marlin LP
89 RE Niteflyte – If You Want It – Ariola 12″
90 84 El Coco – Let’s Get It Together (remix) – US AVI 12″ promo
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (BNDA debut 2/23/80) / #2 (BNDA debut 3/1/80) / #3 (BNDA debut 5/17/80)
#4 (BNDA debut 2/23/80) / #6 (BNDA debut 10/20/79) / #7 (BNDA debut 12/22/79)
#8 (BNDA debut 4/5/80) / #9 (BNDA debut 12/22/79) / #10 (BNDA debut 1/12/80)
#11 (BNDA debut 11/17/79) / #12 (BNDA debut 1/5/80) / #14 (BNDA debut 3/22/80)
#15 (BNDA debut 4/7/79 & 9/8/79) / #16 (BNDA debut 5/17/80) / #17 (BNDA debut 3/29/80)
#18 (BNDA debut 10/20/79) / #19 (BNDA debut 4/5/80) / #21 (BNDA debut 2/16/80)
#23 (BNDA debut 8/18/79) / #24 (BNDA debut 1/12/80) / #25 (BNDA debut 3/1/80)
#26 (BNDA debut 12/8/79) / #27 (BNDA debut 3/1/80) / #28 (BNDA debut 9/24/77)
#30 (BNDA debut 3/8/80) / #31 (BNDA debut 11/10/79) / #37 (BNDA debut 4/19/80)
#39 (BNDA debut 4/26/80) / #41 (BNDA debut 7/14/79 & 4/19/80) / #42 (BNDA debut 4/19/80)
#48 (BNDA debut 1/12/80) / #53 (BNDA debut 11/10/79) / #54 (BNDA debut 3/22/80)
#56 (BNDA debut 3/8/80) / #58 (BNDA debut 3/1/80) / #60 (BNDA debut 12/6/80)
#66 (BNDA debut 4/5/80) / #67 (BNDA debut 4/11/81) / #70 (BNDA debut 3/29/80)
#71 (BNDA debut 4/12/80) / #73 (BNDA debut 1/19/80) / #74 (BNDA debut 4/19/80)
#78 (BNDA debut 3/8/80) / #80 (BNDA debut 4/19/80) / #84 (BNDA debut 4/5/80)
#87 (BNDA debut 8/30/80) / #88 (BNDA debut 5/17/80)

Bubbling under the UK Disco Top 90:

HIROSHIMA: ‘Lion Dance’ (Arista 12”)
KWICK: ‘I Want To Dance With You’ / ‘We Ought To Be Dancing’ / ‘Tonight Is The Night’ (US EMI America LP) (BNDA debut 6/14/80)
EDDY ROSEMOND: ‘Funk It’ (US Laser 12”)
DEXTER WANSEL: ‘Life On Mars’ (US Philadelphia Int’l LP)
DEODATO: ‘Whistle Bump’ (remix) (US Warner Bros. 12”) (BNDA debut 5/27/78)
FREEEZ: ‘Keep In Touch’ (Pink Rhythm 12”)
GREY & HANKS: ‘Now I’m Fine’ (RCA 12”) (BNDA debut 3/8/80)
TRAMMPS: ‘Hard Rock And Disco’ (Atlantic 12”) (BNDA debut 4/19/80)
JIMMY RUFFIN: ‘Hold On To My Love’ (RSO 7”)
AVERAGE WHITE BAND: ‘Let’s Go Round Again’ (RCA 12”) (BNDA debut 7/12/80)
DOROTHY MOORE: ‘Talk To Me / Every Beat Of My Heart’ (Epic 7”)
PARLIAMENT: ‘Theme From The Black Hole’ / LOOSE CHANGE: ‘I Wanna Hold On To You’ (Casablanca 12” EP) (BNDA debut 2/23/80)
AURRA: ‘In The Mood (To Groove)’ / ‘When I Come Home’ (US Dream LP) (BNDA debut 5/17/80)
CROWN HEIGHTS AFFAIR: ‘You’ve Been Gone’ / ‘I See The Light’ / ‘Sure Shot’ (De-Lite LP)
JUDY ROBERTS BAND: ‘Never Was Love’ (US Inner City LP)
RENZO FRAIESE: ‘12 Engle Street’ (Pye 12” promo)
RANDY CRAWFORD: ‘Last Night In Danceland’ (US Warner Bros. LP promo)
COLLINS & COLLINS: ‘You Know How To Make Me Feel So Good’ / ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ (US A&M LP)
RAY GOODMAN & BROWN: ‘Special Lady’ (Mercury 7”)
LOVE COMMITTEE: ‘I Wanna Make Love To You’ / ‘Boogie Papers’ (US T-Electric LP)
LIPPS, INC.: ‘Funkytown’ (US Casablanca 12”) (BNDA debut 1/26/80)
BREAKWATER: ‘Say You Love Me Girl’ (US Arista LP)
DENISE LASALLE: ‘I’m So Hot’ (US MCA 7”) (BNDA debut 5/31/80)


1 (2) UB40, 2 (1) Lambrettas, 3 (3) Bodysnatchers, 4 (4) Madness, 5 (10) Dexy’s Midnight Runners, 6 (6) Muffins, 7 (9) Bad Manners, 8 (5) The Beat, 9 (18) Nolans, 10 (12) Genesis, 11 (7) Vapors, 12 (-) Paul McCartney, 13 (15) Pretenders, 14 (11) Dooleys, 15 (-) Rupert Holmes, 16 (-) B.A. Robertson, 17 (16) Harry J., 18 (-) Jam ‘Going Underground’, 19 (14) Selector, 20 (13) M