April 25, 1981: Whispers, Quincy Jones, Isley Brothers, Rick James, Heath Bros


EAST MIDLANDS DJ Assn’s disco exhibition is at Derby Tiffany’s this Sunday (26) from noon till 8pm . . . Birmingham equipment stockists Disco Electronics and Roadshows Disco Centre are again combining to put on a successor to last year’s Disco Light & Sound ’80 exhibition, this years titled Discoscene ’81 and at Solihull St John’s Hotel on Sunday 17th May from noon until 7pm with an impressive line up of exhibitors, full details from Terry Lees on 021-707 1925 . . . Thames Valley DJ Assn members meet this Sunday (26) at Staines Jacksons club at 12 Clarence Street starting noon . . . Rah Band ‘Downside Up’ is now indeed on 12”, Ronny’s BPM should have read as 110/55-111-112-113bpm, and it’s Eric Hine doing ‘Fade Away’ . . . King Pleasure, the 58 year-old pioneer of jazz scatting (real name Clarence Beeks) who originated the classic ‘Moody’s Mood For Love’ treatment copied by George Benson, very sadly died last month, in Los Angeles . . . Brighton’s Metro re-opens as Busby’s II next week (note that Busby’s relates to Busby Berkley and not the P.O. Buzby bird!), Paul Clark & Mick Fuller being regular jocks there on Thursdays and Sundays . . . Harvey Mason studied at the Berklee School Of Music, not Berkeley . . . Nicky Peck reports that Gillingham Central is getting so busy that Sundays are about to become membership nights in an effort to control the crowds, local jazz-funkers M.S.Q. appearing there live this week (26) . . . Holly House Publications are now making circular shaped “frisbee” business cards customised according to your choice of colour and design, full details from 2 Holly Rd, St Mary’s Bay, Kent, TX29 0XB . . . Geoff Dorsett (Halifax) and others in search of hard to find records, why don’t you check the small ads? . . . Tony Clarke is finding disco life very different jocking in Rognan, Norway, but came across a good import record shop on his four day journey in Oslo, called Bus Stop . . . TWA’s dirt cheap package holidays to the States have to be booked and paid for by April 30th, don’t forget (four days in New York all-in for £164 for example) . . . Caister was widely regarded by lots of other people to have been the best in quite a while, too . . . Kev Hill (Brentwood) says he’s the phantom Bum Burner, not the Phantom Phonecaller – so that’s what he needs the jelly for! . . . Gary Allan (Liverpool McMillans) is a bit fed up with the Cambridge Dons, who used one of his official Liverpool Gnome noses for their phallic fun at Caister, and never returned it! . . . John Douglas (Braintree) reckons Roy Ayers ‘Love Will Bring Us Together’ from the ‘Fever’ LP would make an ace single right now, and revives Sir John Roberts ‘Ain’t Nothing Like Making Love’ (US Venture LP) . . . DJ feedback about the ‘Hit Numbers’ BPMs is non-existent, but I personally find my efforts invaluable at mobile gigs, and I’m gradually BPMing a lot of other pop material with which I’m not so familiar (only having to use it a few times a year these days) the mixes I’ve been coming up with as a result being dynamite) . . . Davy King (Ballymena Raglan Lounges) now leaves us with a joke that’s too late for Easter – “Where did they get the food for the Last Supper?” – “Judas’s carry-out!” . . . only two days after writing the last issue, there’s not really a lot to talk about this week . . . KEEP IT GOOD!

ALPHONSE MOUZON producer / arranger / writer and drummer on the ‘By All Means’ jazz-funk smash that bears his name, and a lot of hot playing by Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Ritenour and Seawind – was born November 21st, 1948, in Charleston, South Carolina, and played side drum aged 12 in a marching band at school. In 1966 he moved to New York where he started taking an interest in the piano but actually gigged for eighteen months with a society band as roadie cum fill-in drummer, working at the same time as a hospital orderly while studying dramatics.

Whispers In The Air

THERE’S A catchphrase in my mind that the record company don’t seem to have thought of yet, something like ‘Solar So Good’. In other words, almost everything that label has laid its hands on in the last year or so seems to have had the technical supervision of King Midas.

In the States, Lakeside are building a beat which could still cross here, and the other Solar songsters have already made a noise in the UK. Dynasty are currently warm on our dancefloors with ‘Groove Control’, from their ‘Adventures In The Land Of Music’ album. They went all the way across in 1979 with ‘I Don’t Want To Be A Freak (But I Can’t Help Myself’.

Choreographed chic might not be your cuppa but it’s hard to deny the slickness and style the Whispers have brought to bear on our disco scene since the beginning of last year. That was when, after years of reputation without reimbursement, the Whispers first had their wallets filled with green notes, GB-style. It was via ‘And The Beat Goes On’, then as now a dancefloor monster of fearsome strength from the fearsome five.

Those five are Wallace (“Call Me Scotty”) Scott, twin brother Walter (no, you weren’t seeing double), Marcus Hutson, Nicholas Caldwell and the splendidly named Leavell Degree – If only he had two brothers I could knock you out with a crack about the Three Degrees. Bet you’re glad he hasn’t.

This thing’s been building since the guys were at Junior High School. Brothers Walter and Scotty conceived the idea on the influence of a relative. “We had an uncle whom we would always listen to,” recounts Walter, “and he taught us a lot about harmonising. That’s where we learned that kind of singing.” The men from uncle, you might say.

Next came the meeting with Marcus and Nicholas and the Whispers became a going concern. And a growing concern to begin with, because they weren’t too sure where they were heading at first. Marcus Hutson recalls that “At first we were really singing as a hobby. After we got out of school we decided to quit our jobs and really go all the way.”

That upsurge in ’80 was thanks not just to ‘And The Beat Goes On’ but a strong eponymous album, with the ballad ‘Lady’ as a hit in great contrast to the first, and a contemporary treatment of Smokey Robinson’s ‘My Girl’ as an added treat. The album also contained ‘A Song For Donny’, their tribute to the late and much underrated soul man, based on an old Hathaway tune with new lyrics supplied by Solar’s Carrie Lucas. (She had a taste of the top with ‘Dance With You’).

The Whispers took it further, too, by helping to set up the Donny Hathaway Scholarship Fund together with Solar President Dick Griffey, who just happens as well to be their co-producer. All the proceeds of that tribute song are donated to the Fund.

Such an explosion of fortunes as the Whispers enjoyed last year seemed hard to maintain. But that they’ve done, courtesy of another musclebound LP called ‘Imagination’, whence comes the one you might be tapping your toe to even as I write, name of ‘It’s A Love Thing’. Not just that any more, but these days it’s a success thing for the Whispers too.

People really go for those synchronised sweaters.


QUINCY JONES: ‘Razzamatazz’ (LP ‘The Dude’ A&M AMLK 63721).
Amazingly Michael Jackson-like though in fact Patti Austin-sung smash 0-120bpm slickly flowing Rod Temperton-penned chugger mixes sensationally with Brothers Johnson ‘Stomp’. The similar 120bpm ‘Turn On The Action‘ being less strong, while Stevie Wonder synthesizes on the slinkily rolling sinister steadily clopping vocoder-sung 96bpm title track jogger and on his own jittery little 111bpm ‘Betcha’ Wouldn’t Hurt Me‘. ‘Somethin’ Special’ being a pleasant pulsating 51/103bpm swayer. You’ll note that ‘Razzamatazz’ is actually hitting higher than the also included 123bpm ‘Ai No Corrida’ 12in!

ISLEY BROTHERS: ‘Tonight Is The Night (If I Had You)’ (LP ‘Grand Slam’ Epic EPC 84914).
Still most essential for the full length version of this beautiful lush 48/96bpm smoocher, and the bittersweet 41bpm ‘I Once Had Your Love (And I Can’t Let Go)’. The set falls into cliches on the fast material like the ludicrously ‘That Lady’-style 126-128bpm ‘Young Girls’, urgent jittery 120-122-124-125bpm ‘Party Night’, similar 122-123-124bpm ‘Don’t Let Up’, jerky cantering 122-123-124bpm ‘Hurry Up And Wait’, and jagged fast 128-129-128-127-126bpm ‘Who Said?’.

STEPHANIE MILLS Featuring TEDDY PENDERGRASS: ‘Two Hearts’ (20th Century-Fox TC 2492).
Perfectly timed tense pent-up gruff than soaring 107-108bpm 7in jolting jogger (surely destined for 12in too?) like a less lively ‘Back Together Again’, prod/penned by Mtume & Lucas, flipped by Stephanie’s solo 33- 35bpm ‘I Just Wanna Say’ smoocher.  Continue reading “April 25, 1981: Whispers, Quincy Jones, Isley Brothers, Rick James, Heath Bros”

April 18, 1981: Jeff Lorber Fusion, Imagination, Banzai, Jay Hoggard, Bobby Thurston


SHOWSTOPPER PROMOTIONS National Soul Day has been cancelled until later in the year when bands with star power will hopefully be available, but meanwhile all the mafia jocks will be at Luton Caesars Palace for a May 4th all-dayer instead — and on the following May 25th Bank Holiday at Reading Top Rank, where the jazz-funk all-dayers originally began! . . . Hi-Tension, Shakatak & Index are now confirmed as the bands at Leeds Queens Hall all-dayer on Easter Monday, with all the Northern jazz jocks like John Grant, Colin Curtis, Pete Girtley, Chris Tittley, Pete Haigh, Eric Hearn, Alex Lowes . . . Chris Tittley and Pete Haigh obviously don’t pack out Blackpool JR’s on Wednesdays, considering they’re there on Tuesdays — and next Tuesday (21) the area’s top jazz-funk band Spiral-Axis play live . . . Jeff Lorber’s album is due here early May . . . Arista have picked up Shirley James and Danny Ray ‘Why Don’t You Spend The Night’ for pressing, distribution and promotion on its original Black Jack label, which hopefully will make it the next reggae crossover monster it’s been threatening to be . . . Hawkeye on their own behalf initially tried to interest RCA in ‘Good Thing Going’ amongst other records before Pete Tong did indeed bring Sugar Minott specifically to the attention of Rowdy Yeats (who was already hearing it at Gullivers), some time after which Rusty Egan then collared someone else at RCA, but nobody in control there actually decided to pick it up until publisher Jobete’s Ivan Chandler then expressed his keenness for RCA to go with it — and let that be an end to it! . . . MCA have promo-ed a mystery white label ‘Strange Changes’ 12in that’s a Fleetwood Mac-ish 124bpm cool ticker . . . Roland DeVille’s ‘Come Dancing’ had a good review months ago when Capital Radio were plugging it but only now, when belatedly it arrived for free on DJs’ door-mats, has it shown up in the breakers — but will it sell (like hell!) now it’s cold on radio? . . . I do resent the way records I can’t even give away keep showing up in DJs’ charts just because they got them for free — there are some really dumb clucks out there — yet really hot sales items take ages to show up . . . Phonogram’s recent promo mailing was hot though, Parliament ‘Crush It’ being 111bpm, ConFunkShun ‘Lady’s Wild’ 112-111-112bpm, Bar-Kays ‘Body Fever’ 115bpm (synch the 11 beats siren intro onto the 2nd beat in a bar) . . . The Clash is on Dutch 12in now and UK imminently . . . The Quick ‘Zulu‘ has exploded as anticipated with all audiences — It even pulled middle-aged punters at a mobile gig last weekend! . . . Ennio Morricone ‘Chi Mai‘ however was my four-plays monster, even when sent up rotten, and segues perfectly on into ‘The Blue Danube’ . . . Spandau Ballet ‘Muscle Bound’ synchs sensationally with the Rolling Stones ‘Hot Stuff’! . . . LOTW ‘Time’ 12in is great fun to restructure using two copies, chopping, phasing and extending . . . Ashley Woods must be mad but he’s selling an enormous collection of recent jazz / funk / disco / soul gems, so send a large 15½p SAE for the list to him at 12 Ancaster Drive, Sleaford, Lincs, NG34 7LY . . . David Emery, busy not only jocking around Newcastle-upon-Tyne, has a Rancho “Jungle Car” for sale to anyone with a smallish disco they’d fancy transporting in style . . . Kev James does Tuesdays (futurist) and Thursdays at Golders Green Great Expectations with live bands, and is indeed looking for more bands to work regularly — send demo tapes and info to him at Burnett House, Burgess Hill, London NW2 . . . Linx’s David Grant it was who was rudely awakened bright and early at Caister by Canvey Goldmine’s Stan Barrett playing ‘Rise And Shine‘ really loud on a cassette player outside his hotel door — the trouble was David didn’t have his glasses on and couldn’t at first find the player let alone the off switch! . . . Jeffrey Elkins marries Ann Maloney next month . . . Johnny Walker (Camberley Frenchies / Staines Jacksons) and Chris Dinnis (Exeter Boxes) both rave about Atmosfear’s up-coming ‘En Trance album . . . Craig Dawson (Edinburgh) and others, please note, it’s not that I don’t know nuffink, squire, but I really don’t know who’s distributing the recent less legal disco mixers . . . Alan Coulthard (Record Mirror!) says if Carol Jiani is “disconcertingly slow though fast seeming” then Vera ‘Take Me To The Bridge’ is definitely ”disconcertingly fast though slow seeming!” . . . Congress ‘That’s Jazz’ maddeningly familiar guitar is like Bobby Caldwell ‘Down For The Third Time’ — isn’t it? . . . ‘Bits & Pieces III’ is reviving as interest grows in the ‘Stars on 45’ cover version, with many jocks specifying they’re only using the pop oldies last half now . . . Colin Day, homesick for ‘Tiswas’ at Zurich Club Of Clubs (is he due for a shock when he holidays here next month!), says Kano ‘It’s A War‘ (US Emergency LP) at number one in his chart is the source of that solid backbeat on ‘Bits & Pieces III’ . . . I thought the trees in the obviously summer filmed ‘Long Good Friday’ were in implausibly verdant full leaf for Easter, but the way things are going this year they’ll probably be autumnal by the time we get to Good Friday! . . . Davy King (Ballymena Raglan Lounges) asks, “what’s green and eats nuts?” — er, the answer is disgusting, but if you don’t know, check your local VD clinic (or RM’s Susanne Garrett!) . . . KEEP IT GOOD, FRIDAY!

HARVEY MASON has a 3-track 12in out next week, teaming his imminent new LP’s ‘How Does It Feel‘ and ‘On And On’ with the older ‘Till You Take My Love’ off his ‘Funk In A Mason Jar’ set. The super-sessioneering drummer, born 1947 in Atlantic City, studied music right through his schooldays and then with scholarships at Berkley and the New England Conservatory. After graduating early he toured Europe with Erroll Garner before becoming an LA studio regular in 1970, playing with such as Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters prior to signing solo to Arista in ’75.


JEFF LORBER FUSION: ‘Spur Of The Moment’ (Arista ARIST 12410).
Dynamite powerfully leaping strutting 121bpm jazz-funk instrumental stormer destined to be another MFSB (it mixes with ‘Mysteries Of The World’ and The Quick ‘Zulu’) but badly placed at the tail end of a 3-track 12in after the more specialist lurching 114bpm ‘Magic Lady‘ jolter, both being double ‘A’-ed with the blatantly funky 114-115-116-115bpm ‘Monster Man‘ heavy bass jittered chanter.

IMAGINATION: ‘Body Talk’ (R&B RBL 201).
Everyone’s describing this hauntingly atmospheric jazzy piano played and squeaky guys crooned deliberate slow 85bpm 12in jogger as Yarbrough & Peoples with Herb Alpert’s ‘Rise’ beat, and everyone’s right! It builds up plenty of power that’s all its own though, with an instrumental flip.

BANZAI: ‘Runaway’ (Groove Production GP 105T).
Beefily recorded as usual by Chris Palmer with a lively though simple socking beat, this naggingly catchy jazzy 120-119-120bpm 12in instrumental skipper is only on white label so far in this version.

REVELATION: ‘Feel It’ (Handshake HAN-DX 3).
Solidly lurching smooth soul vocal group thudder originally on UK 7in last year, then US 12in, and now finally out here in the latter full length 0-114-115-116-115-116-115-116bpm version with pleasant cool piano amongst the busily pattering, though strings smoothed, instrumental extension.  Continue reading “April 18, 1981: Jeff Lorber Fusion, Imagination, Banzai, Jay Hoggard, Bobby Thurston”

April 11, 1981: Caister report, Dartford Flicks/Rusty Egan futurist night report, Carol Jiani, Harvey Mason, Thelma Houston


ALPHONSE MOUZON won Capital Radio’s ‘People’s Choice’ vote for this week . . . LOTW ‘Time’ on 7in, despite the chart and ads saying ‘Remix’, is not the remix at all but just the now boring old LP version .. . Not James Player ‘Friends Again’ is now available via Pinnacle in evidently yet another new mix . . . Banzai ‘Runaway’, a UK jazz-funk killer debuted at Caister by Martin ‘So Long Zapata’ Collins, will be on Groove Production 12in soon . . . Mantra ‘Doin’ It To The Bone’ is now on 12in US promo, as are remixes of ConFunkShun ‘Lady’s Wild’ and Bar-Kays ‘Body Fever’, from Phonogram . . . US album newies include a slew of ‘Best Of’ sets from Ramsey Lewis, Hubert Laws, Wilbert Longmire, Johnnie Taylor, Bobby Hutcherson and the Tappan Zee label . . . WEA’s Fred Dove, ticked off for not moving with the times, has been ordered to compile a mailing list for white-orientated dance product — surprise, surprise! . . . Fred incidentally, as may not be widely known, was taught to drive by Rusty Egan . . . Greg Lynn’s ‘Bitter Suite’ liner notes are amazingly inaccurate in places, which makes one wonder what he was actually doing all those years as a disco plugger . . . Pete Tong claims to have introduced Sugar Minott ‘Good Thing Going’ to RCA, whereas Hawkeye certainly think that Rusty Egan did and don’t know Tongy, while one thing is definitely indisputable — Graham Gold and I were the first white jocks to play it! . . . Linx’s David Grant stayed in style at a hotel near Caister but Sketch slummed it at the camp, spending much of Friday night cruzin’ for burgers (or something) and generally looking in vain for the Brixton Front Line . . . Sketch, Rush Release’s Robert Blenman (who looks just like David Grant when wearing tuxedo fancydress!), Excaliber’s Morgan Khan, DJ Alan Jewell and myself then ended up partying in a caravan with what seemed like all of Radio Invicta and some nice young ladies. . . Canvey Goldmine’s Stan Barrett played ‘Rise And Shine’ really loud on a cassette player outside his hotel door — the trouble was David didn’t have his glasses on and couldn’t find the off switch! . . . Sketch when last seen was lighting ladies’ cigarettes with special flashy Linx bookmatches . . . I meanwhile had a flood after turning on the hot tap, and discovered it’s no fun trying to bale out a rapidly sinking caravan with just a dustpan and brush! . . . Froggy revealed on Radio Caister that he got his nickname 11 years ago at Chadwell Heath Birdsnest (latterly the Regency Suite) where his hyperactivity and boney build prompted the staff to say he was as jumpy as a frog . . . Yarmouth’s Anglian Lodge was indeed visited by a bunch of us, heartiest eaters being Tom Holland, Fred Dove and yours truly . . . Carol ‘Clumsy’ Hill, now rapidly deflating, swears by her Terry DeHavilland shoes (Paula please note!) . . . Staines Fusion Few’s Caister fanzine proved to be a bumper pack featuring photos of the DJs’ heads superimposed on muscleman bodies, plus a great Snoopy cartoon about a certain ill-fated Lincolnshire all-dayer . . . DJs were abuzz about the crossover potential of the Clash and Quick singles, much played on Radio Caister . . . Inversions, Shakatak and Level 42 are amongst bands reputedly appearing live at a ‘BritFunk’ all-dayer on Easter Bank Holiday Monday at Leeds Queens Hall . . . Croydon Scamps has an Easter Monday ‘Junior All-dayer’ (presumably under-18s) with lotsa jox and something called the Colah Triplets live on stage . . . Steve Kaye’s captive audience may or may not like soul music but that’s what they get on Liverpool’s Sunshine Radio hospital network every Sunday 6 – 8pm . . . Gary Allan and some of the Liverpool Gnomes just squeezed into Caister thanks to late cancellations, and Blackpool’s lofty Pete Haigh was amongst a coach load from Standish Cassinellis . . . Pete reports that Blackpool has 18 major discos within one square mile (plus a dozen or more outside that area), all of which stay open seven nights a week even out of season in winter — which may explain why he and Chris Tittley aren’t as busy as they could be jazz-funking JR’s on Wednesdays . . . Al Taylor reckons St Asaph Stables is now a futurist venue . . . Mark Clark (Bracknell) says Gene Dunlap gets credited at the end of ‘The Coalminer’s Daughter’ as a member of the on-screen band — which seems surprising . . . Groove Records’ Jean was mugged outside her flat by some superannuated “mods” in a white van, who didn’t get much but it hurt in more ways than one . . . Brentwood’s Kev Hill apparently claims to be the notorious Phantom — and what’s this good thing he’s got going with Tony Hodges? . . . Bernie Lyons says Dublin’s Berni Inn could be the unlikely venue for a jazz-funk night — and with his name he ought to jock it! . . . Paul Stewart (Belfast) advises that Martians are more plentiful in Galway than funkateers, who are scarce enough in either Dublin or Belfast . . . Davy King (Ballymena Raglan) mixes Coast To Coast, Bucks Fizz, Racey ‘Some Girls’ at parties for the jivers . . . Flash Gordon (Bristol Sinatra’s) — whose mum knows him as Percy Veerance — says that even in the current situation your punters will become more receptive to new records if you mix them in regularly after the known hits, so that the dancers lost initially will soon be back on the floor once they’ve got used to them . . . Easter deadlines loom early next week, so chart contributors please post ’em by this Saturday if at all possible . . . KEEP IT GOOD!


SPRING CAME early with the gathering of the tribes at Caister this year, for although the breezes were far from balmy at this seashore site, the darling buds of May were further advanced than they had been even a month later in the season at the two weekenders held there last spring. Now back at the superior main Ladbrokes holiday camp and with a set limit on numbers attending, the Showstopper Promotions event managed against all the odds to get out of the predictable rut it had been in danger of following and proved to be one of the freshest weekenders in a long time. This was largely on account of the deliberate policy to play new, or at least unhackneyed, material as much as possible, certain key oldies (spot ’em among the Breakers!) being used sparingly with great effect by the DJ team of Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Froggy, Chris Brown, Sean French, Jeff Young, Brother Louie, Tom Holland, Mick Clark, Pete Tong, Chris D Smith and Martin Collins. As soon as the two dance halls closed down for the night, Froggy’s gear was back in use, this time linked to Radio Invicta providing a continuous jazz-funk programme for the campers until midday, the DJ whose on-air style impressed me the most being the extremely professional Martin Collins, who could walk into Capital’s Night Flight spot any time he chooses, in my book! Although attempted last autumn, this radio service was another innovation that made this Caister stand out. A measure of its effect was that, at some unearthly hour, the on-air jock experimented with the event’s new catchphrase chant “Hi De Hi” – and the “Hi De Ho!” that roared back from all the chalets and caravans must have woken half Norfolk! Sean French enthusiastically good-humoured as ever, tended to keep playing the Muppets and ‘ Mah Na Mah Na’, Chris Hill’s closing vibe-up was the JB’s ‘Honky Tonk’ with an improvised rhyming blues vocal added by himself. Chris Brown ended one night with some rock ‘n’ roll which made a few people think they’d hit Sho-Pro’s other rock ‘n’ roll Caister weekender, while Mick Clark and Pete Tong impressed many with their up-front jazz newies especially during a roller-disco session. The disappointment was that the eagerly anticipated talent contest, so good in October, sadly lacked comparable talent this time. Elaborately staged with two traditional pit musicians and the Sea Scouts Band performing a spectacular opening, the show dragged on with the only real highlights being a joke and song from the cleverly different Gareth Harris, a one man band version of ‘Parisienne Girl’ by Incogcrappo, a distastefully phallic bit of jiggery pokery from the Cambridge Dons, a wickedly funny impression of Douglas Bader playing golf by Martin Reid, a Village People send-up by the Brixton Front Line, and a winning performance by one of their number as an Italian opera singer, with all the right bombastic postures but no trousers! He incidentally won a Polaroid Land Camera in the ‘Take Your Pick’-styled awards ceremony – none of yer rubbish. The only sour note in an otherwise happy weekend was that during the very final finale – with the crowd refusing to budge until the reluctant jocks HAD to play all the well-worn traditional old closing numbers they’d been trying to avoid – someone systematically broke into a lot of chalets and ripped off all the radio/cassettes they could find. What a bummer. Otherwise, it really was a good Caister and one of my favourites. Next time hopefully the radio will relay the entire event all day too, making life a lot easier for those with other things to do! If you plan on going in October you’d better send an SAE pretty darned pronto for priority booking into Showstopper Events, Royalty Nitespot, Southgate, London, N14. Caister 6 is October 23/24/25, but before that there’s the National Soul Day on May 4th Bank Holiday Monday at Brighton Conference Centre with all the mafia jocks plus Greg Edwards and a ‘2001’ all-dayer on Easter Monday at Southampton Top Rank. Hi De Hi!


CAROL JIANI: ‘Hit ‘N’ Run Lover’ (Champagne F1ZY 506).
Synth driven rattling zingy 122bpm 12in squawker with good squealing sax and an overall feel reminiscent of ‘Delirium’ or ‘Shame’ (though actually slower in BPM if not in sound), initially huge for gay clubs but now a big pop disco crossover.

HARVEY MASON: ‘How Does It Feel’ (LP ‘M.V.P.’ Arista AB 4283).
Bright sounding rather shrill vocal set circulating on white label at the moment, this macho-introed then squeakily falsetto sung bass-bounded happy fast 0-131bpm EWF-ish romper being the one to get Caister plays, while ‘Going Through The Motions‘ is a wailing chick-quavered hard knocking little 118-119-120bpm trotter with some great rhythm playing, ‘We Can Start Tonight‘ a jittery jaunty staccato steadily chugging 119-120-121bpm harmony chanter. ‘On And On’ a syndrum-spiked jerky 62-124-122bpm slick skipper, ‘Universal Rhyme’ a changeable 114bpm swayer. ‘Don’t Doubt My Lovin’ a spurting squeaky stop/start 0-115bpm jolter, and ‘Spell’ a slow 0-76/38bpm jogger.

THE QUICK: ‘Zulu’ (Epic EPC A 12-1119).
MFSB-type bass-walked terrific cool 0-118bpm 12in blue-eyed vocal thudder promoed on white label could cross over between disco, futurist, pop and even jazz-funk as it was with the Clash one of Caister’s talking points and much played on the radio there.  Continue reading “April 11, 1981: Caister report, Dartford Flicks/Rusty Egan futurist night report, Carol Jiani, Harvey Mason, Thelma Houston”

April 4, 1981: Shakatak, Alphonse Mouzon, Fuse One, Dave Pike, Nobuo Yagi


TEDDY PENDERGRASS ‘Love T.K.O.’ will finally be out here to coincide with his UK visit, jocks getting a 3-track promo-only 12in . . . Morgan ‘Mr Reliability’ Khan’s R&B label for UK product will debut after much re-recording with Imagination ‘Body Talk‘, a falsetto-sung slinky steady, slow-rolling 83bpm ‘Rise’-type thudder with Yarbrough & Peoples-style feel through a piano-based sound that’s all its own – and to judge from Capital Radio play it’s rather good . . . RCA look likely to be picking up the next reggae smash too, the lovely Shirley James / Danny Ray ‘Why Don’t You Spend The Night‘ currently on Black Jack 12in . . . Manchester-originating Inversions secret ingredient since moving South turns out to have been session sax superstar Steve Gregory, so no wonder they’re good – Steve, once a mainstay of Gonzales, I’ve known since he was in that 1965 Alan Price Set (with Radio One’s John Walters on trumpet), but he still looks about 18, darn him! . . . Alan Price back then incidentally could be reckoned to have had the first jazz-rock group . . . Inversions at Mayfair Gullivers last Wednesday were technical perfection to hear, visually only coming alive when their percussionist let rip, and attracted to the club such as Johnnie & Keith Wilder, Zoot Money, plus Gully’s stars in residence, Clem Curtis and Carl Douglas . . . Casablanca / Chocolate City labels will soon be distributed here via Phonogram . . . East Midland DJ Assn hold a disco exhibition on Sunday 26th April between noon and 8pm at Derby Tiffanys, fast food and bar open all day, details from Derby (0332) 367959 / 763769 . . . Staines Fusion Few’s fanzine will be available for free, while Groove Weekly have a double boomer-basher issue for Caister in which Exeter’s Chris Dinnis starts a fortnightly ‘Wild West Column’ covering the funk scene at his end of the country . . . Caister-goers are as usual advised to take home comforts with them (I’m not sure about the chalets, but you won’t go wrong taking matches, bog paper, soap, towel, an FM radio and plenty of food) . . . Yarmouth’s Anglian Lodge at 69 Regent Road (50 yards up on the left off the roundabout at the top of the main seafront promenade) is traditionally the mafia’s favoured late-nite eaterie for cheap lobsters and gigantic steaks, but check first that it’ll be open late on Friday (Gt. Yarmouth 3985) . . . Nostalcia ‘Break Down‘ has sold so well it could be in short supply and is unquestionably the most useful “mixer” to date for funk jocks – a real floor filler, it really flows without any naff links to disrupt the happy dancers . . . Nostalcia in fact breaks down at 117-116-117-116-117-122-120-122bpm and the much poppier ‘Goodie Goodie Mixer’ at 115(TK)-114-115bpm . . . Mike Allen can now be revealed as Capital Radio’s future lunchtime jock, Graham Dene going back to breakfasts but just at the weekend . . . Congress ‘That’s Jazz’ could kick off a chain reaction, with Greg Edwards planning to go into record production properly next year . . . Mark Clark (Bracknell) has left Reading’s Radio 210 to go back on the road – “there’s more money in it and less bitching!” says he . . . MI5 mole probes and tales of treachery are getting as common in the papers now as shock horror sensations about chart hyping . . . Chris Tittley & Pete Haigh (Blackpool), who notice a return to heavy funk but with a fast beat in their area report that the Northern jazz-funk scene is now getting organised with a sense of responsibility, to prevent a repeat of last year’s debacle . . . I discovered a dynamite long running mixing General Caine II ‘Jungle Music‘ into Mel Sheppard ‘Can I Take You Home‘, while Graham Gold went brilliantly from the new US promo remix of ConFunkShun ‘Lady’s Wild’ into Heatwave ‘Jitterbuggin’ . . . Brian Brindle (Chelsea Kings Road) finds the 1973 Eddie Harris ‘Is It In‘ LP popular and modern sounding still (try it with Manu Dibango!), and Mad Max Cosgrove (Southern) recommends the old Hi-Tension ‘Latin Inspiration‘ . . . Bob ‘The Boring Minder’ Jones gets Chelmsford Countryman full to overflowing on Mondays playing old jazz and ’70s soul . . . John Douglas is surprised the Under-16s on Tuesdays at Colchester Embassy prefer chart disco hits to the Mod/Futurist thing, while on the jazz-funk Sundays there, he and Gary Soul have revived in a big way the Penthouse Orchestra ‘Let Me Be Your Fantasy‘ . . . Ronnie Jones ‘Video Games‘ (Polydor 12in) which I still rate highly, has been getting more futurist play than straight disco . . . Barry King, resident with his Wheels of Steel show at Ballymena’s Raglan Lounges in Northern Ireland says Landscape now pulls as many dancers as the local number one, Kelly Marie . . . Alan Coulthard (Barry Atlantic Wine Bar) should note that it was quite accurately observed that Carol Jiani was listed as a gay smash, but it’s a crossover and surely sounds faster than its 122bpm . . . Stephen Robinson (Darlington), that recent futurist splurge was not intended by me to takeover the page to the extent it did, OK? . . . I picked up on ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ rather than conversation heard in ‘Superman II’ during a Mid West small town bar scene . . . Disco 90 and Futurist 40 chart contributors are requested to post their charts early in the hope they’ll reach us by Thursday, (with any info enclosed being published the following week), the address being Record Mirror, 40 Long Acre, London, WC2E 9LG . . . Richard Hart (Wells-Next-The-Sea) provides us with this exchange “I say I say did you know that Steve Austin has changed his parts supplier to Ford” – “No, why?” – “Cos Ford parts are easier to get” . . . Boom Boom . . . KEEP IT GOOD!

DAVID BENDETH was born In East London but from high school days on has shuttled backwards and forwards between Canada and London, and more recently New York. In 1979 he was backed by the likes of Lenny White, Billy Cobham and Marcus Miller on his debut solo LP, which spawned his ‘Feel The Real’ hit now re-recorded on his brand new ‘Just Dessert’ album.

On track with Shakatak

“DJs seem to like the name – no one ever says “That was the new single by Shakatak”, they all say “That was the new single by Shak-a-tak.” It’s a good word to get your chops around.”

The words of Bill Sharpe and Roger Odell, two-fifths of another little part of the British jazz-funk uprising, name of Shakatak and recent chart residents with ‘Feels Like The Right Time’ and ‘Living In The UK’. Like their Polydor stablemates Level 42 they’ve been getting famous quietly, preferring to build slowly and surely via those records and a series of successful but spasmodic club gigs. If they’ve gone in your ear already and been made welcome, you’ll want to know that the coming out is imminent, by way of an album and tour.

They’re plenty happy that people are writing about them at all, mispellings or not, for a long time they didn’t think that their music was quite the ticket so far as potential record sales went. Roger recalls the birth of the band. “I was playing in a sort of jazz-rock, jazz-funk band with Bill and Keith Winter (Shakatak guitarists) called Tracks. I was also playing with Nigel and Steve Underwood (Shakatak bass) in another band doing Earth, Wind and Fire material and so on. We did a record ourselves with Tracks, a little 200 copies job, and sold them just at our local gig. Nigel heard it and said we should combine the two bands.”

Bill Sharpe recalls of ‘Steppin’: “I think Radio One refused to play it because of all the gaps in it. It did remarkably well considering it had hardly any radio play, it got to about 76 or something.” Frustrating to get so near to the all-important 75? Seems not. “Being our first record we were pretty pleased that it did so well. “Anyhow the two subsequent singles, which are hard to resist jazz-pop just made for radio have cracked that chart and the big push is coming. Their first album ‘Drivin’ Hard’, recorded in the first two months of this year, is out in May and they’re aiming at a three or four week tour in support of that. They promise some variety and experimentation on the LP, too. “People who’ve just heard our singles will be surprised,” notes Bill Sharpe.

‘Living In The UK’ sounds like an appropriate hit for one of the nation’s new wave of jazz-funkers. Ain’t no half ‘Steppin’.


ALPHONSE MOUZON: ‘By All Means’ (Excaliber EXCL 509).
The hottest jazz-funk album import smash of the year now with the hottest two tracks back-to-back on excellent value full length (a combined 22:30) 12in! The star-billed drummer thumps along behind Herbie Hancock’s fluidly sizzling piano, the ‘Seawind Horns’ blistering brass. Lee Ritenour’s guitar rhythm accents and a Freddie Hubbard flugelhorn solo on the 57-113-114 bpm subtly building then hard driving A-side (beat started at the main bass beat or the brass), the ‘Do I Have To?‘ flip being an attractive nagging 98bpm jogger.

FUSE ONE: ‘Grand Prix’ (CTI CTSPX 16).
And yet more excellent jazz-funk 12in value, combining the two hottest tracks from the first of a planned series of Creed Taylor-produced supersession albums. Fuse One comprising here Joe Farrell, John McLaughlin, Stanley Clarke and Paulinho DaCosta on a bounding electronically pinging and plunking 0-129-126-129-131-130bpm fast jagged throbbing racer, flipped by the possibly more easily accessible catchily tootling 109-110 bpm ‘Double Steal‘ jogger.

BENNY GOLSON: ‘The New Killer Joe Rap / The New Killer Joe’ (LP ‘Bitter Suite’ CBS 22082).
Make no mistake – this is the one that’s going to sell CBS’s (once more) excellent value budget priced double LP of jazz-funk classics! Much sought since it was scarce on import, the jive-talking sleazy 117bpm rap by Ted Lange in Dr Horse ‘Jack That Cat Was Clean’ style leads into a superb sparse bass-pushed 119bpm groove very similar to the original Quincy Jones version. The other great tracks being such recent faves as MFSB ‘Mysteries Of The World’, Ned Doheny ‘To Prove My Love’, Herbie Hancock ‘Just Around The Corner’, Rodney Franklin ‘In The Center’, George Duke ‘Brazilian Love Affair’, Hubert Laws ‘Family’, plus Richard Tee ‘First Love’, Stanley Clarke ‘Together Again’, Phil Upchurch ‘Strawberry Letter 23’, Eric Gale ‘Sara Smile’, Ramsey Lewis ‘You Are The Reason’, Bob James & Earl Klugh ‘Kan’, John Tropea ‘To Touch You Again’ / ‘Lady Blue’, Willie Bobo ‘Palos’, Sadao Watanabe ‘All About Love’, and interestingly the widely overlooked almost futurist synth jiggled thudding 0-110bpm Johnny Harris ‘Odyssey (Part 1)‘. Given a bit more time I might even get around to BPMing the rest one day!  Continue reading “April 4, 1981: Shakatak, Alphonse Mouzon, Fuse One, Dave Pike, Nobuo Yagi”